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  • 0 The Brass Construction Skyy Connection

    • Audio
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/16/2008

    Many of the 1970's era classic soul bands were bulging with bodies, and the 9 man ensemble of Brass Construction is no exception. Keyboard, flute, timbale, percussion, and vocalist group member Randy Muller arranged the songs on their 1975 debut album, Brass Construction. Horns dominated much of soul during the golden age of R&B. Brass Construction is a great example of power funk blending guitars, brass, and percussion. "Movin'" and "Changin'" are perhaps the best Brass Construction tracks ever, both from their very first release. Brooklyn, New York's B.T. Express was influential in inspiring the sound of their New York City Borough brethren, Brass Construction. When the 1980's rolled around, Randy Muller continued to influence the sound of the new decade, producing and arranging several tracks for Skyy, (shown here), including their 1983 album, SkyyLight. Skyy's biggest hit was 1981's, "Call Me." Listen to 90 seconds plus of Brass Construction's "Peekin'," followed by "Show Me The Way" from Skyy. Your browser does not support the audio element. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Beyonce' Is Queen of Chess Movie & New Album

    Contemporary audiences know that Motown, Stax, Atlantic, and Philadelphia International Records provided a promotional gateway for what would later become the broad social acceptance of the beat of rhythm and blues. Take the R out of R&B, and the beaming B becomes a beacon for the relatively unknown shadowy story of the business of blues record labels. Leonard Chess was an entrepreneur who was in the right place at the right time during the day when blues was king. In the 1950's and 1960's, his Chicago based Chess Records is credited with launching the electrified careers of many blues artists. Etta James is one of them, and Beyonce' will star as Etta in Cadillac Records, a new movie coming soon about how Chess Records ruled the sound of electrified blues. Other notables in this flick include Mos Def, who plays Chuck Berry, and Cedric the Entertainer, who will portray bluesman Willie Dixon. 1968's Electric Mud, by blues icon Muddy Waters, is the sole Chess album in my personal collection. Muddy was cast in an unusual role on this record performing trendy psychedelic blues ditties. Although I enjoyed it, the album was universally panned, but it's a good example of how Chess Records tried to keep in step with the changing music tastes of the time. Beyonce' is one of the biggest stars in Cadillac Records. Her presence should drive interest into this historic record company (Chess). Jumping from the past to the present: on October 7, 2008, two new songs, "If I Were A Boy," and "Single Ladies" will be available to radio from Beyonce's forth coming third studio album, which will not be released by Music World Music/Columbia Records until Tuesday, November 18th. Beyonce' has co-written and co-produced all of the tracks on (as of this date) the untitled new album. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/09/2008

    Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia, is the most ambitious CD collection to date chronicling the amazing classic soul journey of R&B music innovators Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff. 71 songs are featured on the new 4 disk set, due for release at physical and digital retail outlets on Tuesday, October 21, 2008, via a partnership between Legacy Recordings and Philadelphia International Records. How is this anthology different from The Sound of Philadelphia: Gamble & Huff's Greatest Hits or Conquer the World: The Lost Soul of Philadelphia International Records, both released earlier this year? 33% of the tracks on this new record were never released on Philadelphia International Records! However, either Gamble & Huff, or their creative musical collaborators, are responsible for prominently injecting the Philly sound into the production of these expatriate non-P-I-R tracks. CD 1 "Expressway (To Your Heart)" Soul Survivors "La-La Means I Love You" Delfonics "Cowboys To Girls" Intruders "Hey, Western Union Man" Jerry Butler "Ready Or Not Here I Come" Delfonics "Only The Strong Survive" Jerry Butler "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" Delfonics "Brand New Me" Dusty Springfield "Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You" Wilson Pickett "You're The Reason Why" Ebonys "Drowning In The Sea of Love" Joe Simon "I'm Stone In Love With You" Stylistics "I Miss You" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes "Back Stabbers" O'Jays "Sunshine" O'Jays "I'll Be Around" Spinners "Slow Motion (pt. 1)" Johnny Williams "Me & Mrs. Jones" Billy Paul "If You Don't Know Me By Now" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes "Love Is Here" Futures CD 2 "Love Train" O'Jays "Break Up To Make Up" Stylistics "Family Affair" MFSB "It's Forever" Ebonys "Time To Get Down" O'Jays "There's No Me Without You" Manhattans "I'll Always Love My Mama" Intruders "The Love I Lost" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes "I Wanna Know Your Name" Intruders "Dirty Ol' Man" Three Degrees "Put Your Hands Together" O'Jays "Thanks For Saving My Life" Billy Paul "Mighty Love" Spinners "Be Thankful For What You Got (Pt. 1)" William DeVaughn "For The Love Of Money" O'Jays "Where Do We Go From Here" Trammps "T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)" MFSB (featuring the Three Degrees) CD 3 "Then Came You" Spinners with Dionne Warwick "Love Is The Message" MFSB (featuring the Three Degrees) "When Will I See You Again" Three Degrees "Where Are All My Friends" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes "Picture Us" Bunny Sigler "Bad Luck" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes "Give The People What They Want" O'Jays "Billy's Back Home" Billy Paul "Hope That We Can Be Together Soon" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (featuring Sharon Paige) "Do It Any Way You Wanna" People's Choice "The Big Hurt" People's Choice "Let Me Make Love To You" O'Jays "Wake Up Everybody" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes "I Love Music" O'Jays "Don't Leave Me This Way" Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes "Let's Groove" Archie Bell & The Drells "Livin' For The Weekend" O'Jays CD 4 "Kiss and Say Goodbye" Manhattans "I'm Not In Love" Dee Dee Sharp "You'll Never Find Another Love" Lou Rawls "The Rubberband Man" Spinners "Enjoy Yourself" Jacksons "Free Love" Jean Carn "I Don't Love You Anymore" Teddy Pendergrass "See You When I Get There" Lou Rawls "Use Ta Be My Girl" O'Jays "Close The Door" Teddy Pendergrass "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" McFadden & Whitehead "You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else" Jones Girls "Hurry Up This Way Again" Stylistics "Love T.K.O." Teddy Pendergrass "I Ain't Jivin', I'm Jammin'" Leon Huff "It's Gonna Take A Miracle" Deniece Williams "If Only You Knew" Patti LaBelle Deniece Williams, William DeVaughn, Joe Simon, The Trammps, Dusty Springfield, The Spinners, The Delfonics, The Stylistics, The Manhattans, Jerry Butler, and Wilson Pickett did not record for Philadelphia International Records. Including these performers does reveal how the Philly production sound touched a broad variety of individual styles. For instance, you'll see in the video below the album cover featuring the spirited vocalist who went straight from Memphis to Philadelphia to capture some Philly magic. Most of the tracks on Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia are full-length original album versions. Unlike Philadelphia Classics, the double LP set from 1977 (released on CD in 2002), which featured spectacular extended versions of "Don't Leave Me This Way, "Love Is The Message," and others, there are no super extended versions in this 4 CD release. Instead of the short versions of "Be Thankful for What You Got (pt. 1)" by William DeVaughn, and "Let's Groove" by Archie Bell & The Drells (only 3 minutes here), I would have included the longer original album versions. My favorite lost track in this collection is "I'm Not In Love," Dee Dee Sharp's sexy cover of the 1975 10CC hit. I used to play Dee Dee's version on the radio back in the day. Glad it is here, although on my pre-release copy of this box set, Dee Dee Sharp's name is missing from the performer list on the back CD jacket! If you treat yourself to this excellent collection, the CD bonuses include: A booklet with unpublished photos Philadelphia International Records Timeline Historical essays by Felix Hernandez, Lynell George, Gerald Early, Joe McEwen, and James Miller Conversations with Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and producer Thom Bell This is hot stuff! A one-hour television special, Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia will blast off on PBS in November, 2008 with repeats through 2009. Enjoy the 1 minute video tribute that I've produced and narrated in honor of Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Rhythm & Blues Foundation Hosts Pioneer Awards Party

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/04/2008

    Dionne Warwick, Jerry Butler, and Bonnie Raitt will co-host the Rhythm & Blues Foundation's 20th Anniversary Pioneer Awards gala in Philadelphia, Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.       Chaka Khan will be honored with the Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award.     Bill Withers, Teena Marie, and singer-songwriter Sugar Pie DeSanto will receive the Foundation's Individual Artist Award.         The Whispers and Kool & the Gang will receive the Foundation's Group Artists Award.       Motown's fabulous musicians, the Funk Brothers, will receive the Foundation's Sidemen Award.     Donny Hathaway will posthumously receive a Legacy Award in recognition of his classic soul excellence from the 1970s.       Al Bell, former president of Stax Records and Motown Records, will receive the Ahmet Ertegun Leadership Award. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Natalie Cole: Still Unforgettable

    • Songs
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/02/2008

    On Tuesday, September 9, 2008, Natalie Cole is set to release Still Unforgettable, a new collection of songs she's compiled from "the great American song book." Natalie recorded Unforgettable...with Love in 1991 featuring the title track duet with her late father, Nat King Cole. The album Unforgettable...with Love sold over 14 million copies. Still Unforgettable promises 14 more memorable melodies from the world of pop standards, including one more duet with her late father: "Walkin' My Baby Back Home." Other CD highlights: "The Best Is Yet To Come" "Until The Real Thing Comes Along" "It's All Right With Me" "Nice N' Easy" "Something's Gotta Give" "But Beautiful" Still Unforgettable will be distributed by Rhino/WEA on the DMI label. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Timmy Thomas and Steve Winwood Roll Together

    • Audio
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 08/28/2008

    Timmy Thomas had a terrific classic soul hit, his biggest, "Why Can't We Live Together," back in 1973. The optimistic song speaks of hope, harmony, and a more peaceful world. In 2003, Steve Winwood captured the essence of the original song and added some lively organ on his CD, About Time. Both versions offer gritty organ solos showcasing the virtuosity of Thomas and Winwood on their keyboards. Thomas wrote the song. His full length original is 4 minutes, 40 seconds. Winwood clocks in at 6 minutes, 39 seconds. Your browser does not support the audio element. Listen to both Thomas and Winwood in this short, 48 second Classic Soul R&B Music Jam Blog mix by yours truly. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Jimmy Castor, Flying Saucers, & Convention 72'

    • Audio
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 08/25/2008

    If you look closely inside of the pimpmobile included in the cover art of our featured LP, you can spot some tricky characters on their way to the political conventions back in 1972. Producer Dickie Goodman was one of the original creators of the "Flying Saucer," a record that told a storyline using sections of current hits to answer questions from a narrator. Just like the people who claimed to see real ones, "Flying Saucers" were popular in the 1950's, then disappeared in the 1960's. They made a short return in the 1970's. "Convention 72'" below is from the vinyl album, The Original Flying Saucers, on IX Chain Records. The Original Flying Saucers album features: "Watergrate" "Superfly meets Shaft" "Convention 72'" "Flying Saucer Part 1" "Flying Saucer Part 2" "The Touchables" "Flying Saucer The Second" "Ben Crazy" "On Trial" "Santa & The Satellite Part 1" "Santa & The Satellite Part 2" I'm waiting for flying saucers to make their big new millennium return! Your browser does not support the audio element. Listen to 60 seconds of the original 5 minute "Convention 72," featuring quite a bit of The Jimmy Castor Bunch and a pinch of Joe Tex! Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Female Stars Sing a Song for Cancer Research

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 08/21/2008

    Producers Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Antonio "L.A." Reid have come up with a 2008 concept to rival 1985's "We Are The World," the song that benefited African famine relief. 15 female stars have agreed to record "Just Stand Up," scheduled to hit airwaves and computers on September 2, 2008. Sales at retail locations and iTunes downloads will benefit cancer research. So which hot female "femme fantastics" representing the new school have jumped on board to harmonize together on "Just Stand Up?" Here's the scorecard: Mariah Carey Beyonce' Mary J. Blige Rihanna Ashanti Fergie Melissa Etheridge Sheryl Crow Ciara Keyshia Cole Leona Lewis LeAnn Rimes Carrie Underwood Miley Cyrus Natasha Bedingfield Should be a collector's item for individual fans of each lady. Hopefully, big bucks will be raised from the sale of "Just Stand Up" to benefit a very worthy cause. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Evelyn Champagne King Toasts New Open Book CD

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 08/19/2008

    Evelyn "Champagne" King has released her first new album in 15 years, Open Book. In a press release describing her new collection of songs, Evelyn dedicates her effort noting "this one is for my fans." The song Open Book is a ballad Evelyn describes as "slightly autobiographical." Making waves and getting club action right now is "The Dance," the first release from the CD. Evelyn is scheduled to debut the album at The House of Blues in Los Angeles, Tuesday, August 19, 2008. Evelyn "Champagne" King's top 5 classic soul gems: "Shame" "Love Come Down" "I'm In Love" "I Don't Know If It's Right" "Back To Love" Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 50 Ways To Love Michael Jackson

    If 50 is the new 40, then the decade defying young at heart Michael Jackson has a lot to celebrate during many fun filled years to come. The media certified tabloid musical giant, lovingly crowned, "The King of Pop," turns 50 years old on August 29, 2008. Jacko joins Madonna, who also turns 50 on August 16, 2008, as another new AARP recruit (formerly American Association of Retired Persons). Barring any health issues, I believe that Michael Jackson will eventually make a notable comeback. In honor of his 50th birthday, here is my endearing timeline list of 50 Ways to Love Michael Jackson: 1958 - Michael Jackson is born (August 29th) 1968 - The Jackson 5 are signed by Motown Records 1969 - Motown releases Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5 album 1970 - "I Want You Back" - Jackson 5 #1 song in January 1970 - "ABC" - Jackson 5 #1 in April 1970 - "The Love You Save" - Jackson 5 #1 in June 1970 - "I'll Be There" - Jackson 5 #1 in October 1971 - "Never Can Say Goodbye" - Jackson 5 #1 in May 1972 - "Got To Be There," MJ's first solo album is released 1972 - "Ben" becomes a hit single and album. (Rat power movie theme)! 1972 - MJ scores with the top 2 hit "Rockin' Robin'," a remake of the 1958 Bobby Day smash 1974 - "Dancing Machine" - Jackson 5 #1 in May 1976 - The Jacksons release The Jacksons on Epic Records produced by Philadelphia's Gamble & Huff 1977 - MJ begins preparing for his role in the movie The Wiz 1978 - The Jacksons release the critically acclaimed Destiny album 1979 - MJ releases Off The Wall produced by Quincy Jones 1980 - MJ scores a #1 song with "Rock With You" 1982 - MJ duets with Paul McCartney on Thriller with "The Girl Is Mine" 1982 - MJ writes and produces "Muscles," a top 10 Diana Ross hit 1983 - The Jackson 5 reunite for Motown's 25th Anniversary show in Los Angeles featuring a moonwalking MJ 1983 - Thriller conquers the charts 1983 - MJ duets with Paul McCartney for "Say Say Say," spending 6 weeks at #1 1984 - MJ wins 7 American Music Awards 1984 - MJ wins 3 MTV Music Video Awards 1984 - MJ receives 2nd degree burns on the set of a Pepsi commercial 1984 - MJ sings "State of Shock" with Mick Jagger on the Jacksons album Victory 1985 - MJ buys the publishing company owning the rights to 250 Beatles songs for $47.5 million 1985 - MJ and Lionel Richie write "We Are The World" and record the song with 43 stars to benefit USA for Africa's efforts for famine relief 1986 - MJ gets wacky with Bubbles the chimpanzee, Crusher, his 300 pound snake, and cocoons in a hyperbaric breathing chamber for shots of hyped oxygen 1987 - MJ's "Bad" tops the charts (R&B and pop) 1987 - MJ reaches #1 (pop & R&B) in Britain with the Siedah Garrett duet, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" 1988 - MJ buys Sycamore Ranch in California - the future Neverland Ranch 1988 - "Man In The Mirror" become a #1 song 1990 - MJ wins the Entertainer of the Decade Award from the America Cinema Awards Foundation 1991 - MJ signs what is called a billion-dollar entertainment deal with Sony Music 1991 - The Dangerous album is released 1992 - MJ is interviewed by Ebony Magazine 1992 - The Jacksons: An American Dream debuts on national television dramatizing the story of the famous Gary, Indiana family 1993 - MJ performs during halftime at Super Bowl XXVII (27) 1994 - MJ retains attorney Johnny Cochran and settles a 1993 child molestation charge out of court for a reported $20 million dollars 1995 - MJ and sister Janet Jackson sound off on the song "Scream" 1995 - MJ and wife Lisa Marie Presley call it quits 1995 - HIStory: Past, Present, and Future , Book 1 MJ's double album of past hits creates some buzz and becomes a #1 best seller 1996 - MJ marries Debbie Rowe 2001 - Invincible CD is released 2006 - MJ escapes to the island of Bahrain, off the coast of Saudi Arabia, to rebuild his career 2007 - MJ is interviewed by Ebony magazine 2008 - 25th anniversary version of Thriller is released 2008 - MJ's plastic surgeon checks into a California psychiatric hospital 2008 - Rumors fly that MJ will make a comeback at a Las Vegas casino hotel Previous Post | Next Post

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