• 0 Rose Royce Rides in Classic Soul Style

    Producer Norman Whitfield was the wizard behind the mix with a nice run mentoring these four albums by Rose Royce released between 1976 - 1979. Car Wash - 1976, In Full Bloom II - 1977, Strikes Again III - 1978, and Rainbow Connection IV - 1979. Three of these albums were released on his own label Whitfield, distributed by Warner Brothers, (with the exception of Car Wash, on MCA). Before his Rose Royce days, Norman Whitfield wrote and produced many classics for Motown, including "Ball of Confusion," and "Just My Imagination" by the Temptations. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Shelia E. and Natalie Cole Freeze Frames

    Natalie Cole's "I Live For Your Love" is one of the many 7 inch 45 rpm vinyl picture sleeve singles released to promote her music back in the day. Some of her other picture sleeves include: "Dangerous" "Jump Start" "When I Fall In Love" "Miss You Like Crazy" Shelia E.'s "The Glamorous Life" and "The Belle of St. Mark" are her two most popular picture sleeves, along with: "A Love Bizarre" "Sister Fate" "Bedtime Story" "Holly Rock" "Hold Me" "Koo Koo" In 2010, some of these sleeves are more valuable than the records. You may find some hidden gems lying in a basement, garage, attic, flea market, second-hand shop, or at a used record store. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Jimi Hendrix Experiences the Valleys of Neptune

    • Audio
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 03/11/2010

    He only authorized the release of 4 albums, yet Jimi Hendrix set the standard by which all other guitar legends are measured. 2010 is the year of the Jimi Hendrix Catalogue Project, a partnership between Sony Legacy Records and the Hendrix estate. It's been 40 years since his death in 1970. Over the decades, we've seen an unending parade of Hendrix reissues, remixes, and alternate take collections dropped on the market. I've passed on all of them...until now, and it was worth the wait! Valleys of Neptune was officially released on Tuesday, March 9. To say Jimi Hendrix was a genius is an understatement. Witness these 12 never before released songs (or versions), many courtesy of the final studio recordings by the original Jimi Hendrix Experience. You're not getting reheated leftovers. Valleys of Neptune features Hendrix in the recording studio during his creative peak. People who review music for a living have been gushing over this album anticipating its release for months. I agree it doesn't disappoint. Rather than spend a lot of time going through track by track, I'll say that Hendrix shows here why he is a master at blending blues and rock riffs into cascading explosions of stunning originality. He mesmerizes you with spontaneous tactical proficiency pushing the envelope repeatedly with surprise guitar licks to wow the senses. The Valleys of Neptune CD booklet contains 10 pages of enjoyable well researched liner notes by John McDermott who tells the inside story about the various tracks. 10 well photographed pictures detail the emotional focus of Jimi at work. Hendrix differentiates strong new versions of "Stone Free," "Fire," and "Red House" from the originals with equally compelling alternate arrangements. Valleys of Neptune: "Stone Free" "Valleys of Neptune" "Bleeding Heart" "Hear My Train A Comin'" "Mr. Bad Luck" "Sunshine of Your Love" "Lover Man" "Ships Passing Through The Night" "Fire" "Red House" "Lullaby For The Summer" "Crying Blue Rain" "Slow Version" (bonus) "Trash Man" (bonus) The 2 bonus tracks are not on all versions of this album. Look for the one with 14 songs. If I had to recommend 3 Jimi Hendrix albums for new fans, I would grab: Are You Experienced Electric Ladyland Valleys of Neptune Electric Ladyland is probably his best. Want to see the 2010 all-star Jimi Hendrix tribute concert tour? You'd better hurry, as most of the dates as of this writing are sold out. Ernie Isley of the Isley Brothers, and bassist Billy Cox (a Hendrix army buddy who played on the Band of Gypsys live album) are part of the tour. Thursday, March 11, San Francisco, CA - The Warfield Friday, March 12, Reno, NV - Silver Legacy Resort Casino Sunday, March 14, Denver, CO - Paramount Theatre SOLD OUT Monday, March 15, Salina, KS - Stiefel Theatre For The Performing Arts Tuesday, March 16, Kansas City, MO - Uptown Theatre Wednesday, March 17, Minneapolis, MN - Orpheum Theatre Thursday, March 18, Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre SOLD OUT Saturday, March 20, St. Louis, MO - Fox Theatre Sunday, March 21, Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theatre SOLD OUT Tuesday, March 23, Akron, OH - Akron Civic Theatre SOLD OUT Wednesday, March 24, Montclair, NJ - Wellmont Theatre SOLD OUT Thursday, March 25, Red Bank, NJ - Count Basie Theatre SOLD OUT Saturday, March 27, Atlanta, GA - Fox Theatre Your browser does not support the audio element. Listen to 33 seconds of "Bleeding Heart" by Jimi Hendrix from Valleys of Neptune. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Jimmy Cliff Rolls Reggae into Rock Hall of Fame

    • Audio
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 03/09/2010

    Jamaican Jimmy Cliff is in the fraternity of reggae brothers Johnny Nash, Bob Marley, Denroy Morgan, Shabba Ranks, and others. In different decades, these singers have all boosted the allure of reggae music as a dancehall genre crying out for more mass appeal acceptance. As an ambassador of his craft, Jimmy Cliff, and his respected brethren above, have all achieved it...hard earned cross-over mainstream success. Cliff recorded "Wonderful World, Beautiful People" in 1970, his biggest hit. You can listen to a sample of it below. With more than 30 albums in his catalogue, it's really not surprising that Jimmy Cliff is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday, March 15, 2010 in New York City. Cliff has more than 30 movie soundtrack credits to his name too. Perhaps his biggest claim to fame is as an actor. Watch the IMDB trailer from The Harder They Come, Cliff's 1972 role as a reggae singer looking to break out big. The Harder They Come is the movie credited with introducing reggae to a worldwide audience. Jimmy Cliff will join the other 2010 inductees: Abba, Genesis, The Hollies, and The Stooges. Your browser does not support the audio element. Listen to 30 seconds of "Wonderful World, Beautiful People" by Jimmy Cliff. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Sharon Jones takes the Long Road to SXSW in Austin

    The annual Austin, Texas music extravaganza, SXSW, (South by Southwest), will draw dynamic acts from all over the globe for the March 17 - 21 (music week), 2010 showcase. 1987 was the first SXSW in Austin, a unique music city that mixes jazz, blues, rock, country, & folk. This Texas town claims to have "more original music nightclubs in a concentrated area than any other city in the world." One group getting a lot of attention this year is Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, who will perform Wednesday evening, March 17. Within some music circles, the R&B authenticity of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings is hotly debated. Without question, Sharon's soulful delivery is genuine. Are the Dap-Kings the second coming of original instrumental virtuosity on par with Booker T. & the MG's (Memphis), The Funk Brothers (Motown), or MFSB (Philadelphia)? No, if that's what you're looking for. I'd argue that Jones & company have fused these influences to produce a contemporary neo classic soul sound that doesn't necessarily mimic the expectations of past legacy styles. When you have a diverse ethnic mix of musicians in a group, fresh sounds are often invented. People who have seen Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings rave about their intense live show. It's also rare for a performer to jump into the music game after the age of 40, and achieve the success Sharon has earned. You've heard the sound of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings in these movies: Soul Men (sound track), Up in the Air, American Gangster and The Great Debaters. If you won't be in Austin for SXSW, here's the current international tour schedule for Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: Friday, March 26, Snoe.down Festival - Rutland, VT Saturday, April 10, Astra - Berlin, Germany Tuesday, April 13, Trabendo - Paris, France Wednesday, April 14, Koko - London, UK Thursday, April 15, Paradiso - Amsterdam, Netherlands Saturday, April 17, Wanee Festival - Live Oak, FL Thursday, April 22, Festival Internationale de Louisiane - Lafayette, LA Friday, April 23, The Howling Wolf - New Orleans, LA Saturday, April 24, Double Decker Festival - Oxford, MS Friday, April 30, Apollo Theater - New York City, NY Saturday, May 1, Apollo Theater - New York City, NY Thursday, May 6, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Richmond, VA Friday, May 7, Ram's Head Onstage - Annapolis, MD Saturday, May 8, Jefferson Theater - Charlottesville, VA Sunday, May 9, The NorVa - Norfolk, VA Tuesday, May 11, Cat's Cradle - Carrboro, NC Wednesday, May 12, Orange Peel - Ashesville, NC Thursday, May 13, Center Stage - Atlanta Atlanta, GA Friday, May 14, Cannery Ballroom - Nashville, TN Saturday, May 15, Nelsonville Music Festival - Nelsonville, OH Monday, May 17, The Southgate House - Newport, KY Tuesday, May 18, Majestic Theatre - Detroit, MI Look for the new Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings collection, I Learned the Hard Way, their 4th album, scheduled for release on Tuesday, April 6th, 2010. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 The Sound of Philadelphia Challenge

    • Games
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 03/02/2010

    Do you know your Philadelphia International Records classic soul? Try the Sound of Philadelphia challenge just for fun. (Puzzle link removed. See below). All of the clues in this original game are easy, except for one! 2022 Update: Unfortunately the "flash" technology that the online puzzle used is no longer supported, however I went back to the original puzzle data and recreated the crossword for you with the 12 hints and solutions below! The Hints Me & Mrs. Jones guy Female lead on Harold Melvin's "Hope that we can be..." Didn't the Hart Brothers blow your mind? Partner of Kenny Gamble Partner of Leon Huff "When Will I See You Again" and "TSOP" ladies Harold Melvin and the... "You'll Never Find" this Chicago guy "Close the Door" and "Turn out the Lights" guy What you see in a clear sky for the O'jays MFSB universal theme "For the Love of Money" and "Backstabbers" group The Solution from top to bottom #####billypaul#####################sharonpaige##########delfonics#######################leonhuff############kennygamble################threedegrees################bluenotes##############lourawls###################teddypendergrass###########sunshine##################loveisthemessage############ojays############# You won't see it here but aligned vertically inside of the 'blue' puzzle (when solved) are the letters p-h-i-l-a-d-e-l-p-h-i-a from top to bottom in the column with the light shade! Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Let Freedom Sing: The Music of the Civil Rights Movement

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 02/25/2010

    As Black History Month 2010 comes to a close, here's a great review from of Let Freedom Sing: The Music of the Civil Rights Movement. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Philadelphia International Records Studio Saved from Inferno

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 02/23/2010

    Philadelphia producers Leon Huff and Kenny Gamble are pictured here in the recording studio. The Philadelphia International Records founders reported at a Tuesday February 23, press conference that their recording studio was spared in a recent weekend two-alarm fire at their headquarters. Melted in the blaze and gone for good: numerous gold and platinum records, along with about 40 percent of their memorabilia. Master recordings are stored off-site and are safe. The O'Jays, The Three Degrees, MFSB, Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, and others recorded hits for Gamble, Huff, and producer Thom Bell in these famous studios. Philadelphia fire fighters have not yet determined what caused the blaze, but Fire Commissioner Lloyd M. Ayers states that "it's a little suspicious." Gamble, Huff, and Bell own the building at 309 South Broad Street. They pledge to rebuild the structure, which has become a Philadelphia tourist attraction. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 The Queen of Soul Creates Golden Aretha Duets

    • Audio
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 02/18/2010

    Throughout her fabulous career, Aretha Franklin has collaborated with the best in the business. In 2007, Arista Records released Jewels In The Crown: All-Star Duets with The Queen. These 'song buddy' partnerships have become so commonplace that it's easy to take them for granted...but not Aretha's. You get a soup to nuts smorgasbord of delicacies from Miss Franklin on Jewels In The Crown, and that's what I like the most about this CD. Funk, classic soul, middle of the road, rock, gospel, and a touch of opera on "Nessun Dorma" (with the New York Recording Orchestra) make this a very strong collection of songs. All of the tunes are powered with emotion. Her song partners are allowed to shine and share the spotlight. If you missed this one the first time around, check it out. Jewels In The Crown: All-Star Duets with The Queen: "Jumpin' Jack Flash" with Keith Richards "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves" with Eurythmics "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" with George Michael "What Now My Love" with Frank Sinatra "Put You Up On Game" with Fantasia "What Y'All Came To Do" with John Legend "Never Gonna Break My Faith" with Mary J. Blige & the Harlem Boys Choir "Through The Storm" with Elton John "It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Never Gonna Be" with Whitney Houston "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" with Bonnie Raitt and Gloria Estefan "Doctor's Orders" with Luther Vandross "Ever Changing Times" with Michael McDonald "Chain of Fools" with Mariah Carey "Don't Waste Your Time" with Mary J. Blige "Love All The Hurt Away" with George Benson "Nessun Dorma" with the New York Recording Orchestra Your browser does not support the audio element. Listen to 60 seconds of Aretha swing with Frank Sinatra on the standard: "What Now My Love." Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Recycled Soul Gold Meets Motorcity Hits

    • Audio
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 02/17/2010

    When A Soulful Tale of Two Cities, the Detroit - Philadelphia R&B connection was released in 2006, it seemed we had just about reached the creative limit in the reincarnation of classic soul hits. Now in 2010 comes Motorcity Hits...Real Music Is Back, a new 17 song collection featuring fresh takes on divine Detroit ditties. The Four Tops, the Dramatics, the Miracles, the Contours with Joe Billingslea, the Original Vandellas, Freda Payne, and other artists are featured. Be sure to listen to the 60 second montage I've created from three of the featured tracks. One thing is certain, there is an eager market for vintage classic soul, but at what point will we become oversaturated with these infinite recorded retakes? The original versions are burned into our memories just like our a-b-c's. Will you accept essentially carbon copy updates? I do like the sparser instrumental treatment these songs receive. Freda Payne (pictured here) sounds just as good as she did back in the day. I don't believe the producers wanted to meticulously duplicate the sophisticated layering of the Motown originals. The updated arrangements salute the originals, but reflect an instrumental slickness that sings "2010." Here are the tracks: "Hitsville Hall Of Fame" - Various Artists "Money" - Paul Hill featuring Barrett Strong "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" - the Four Tops "Baby Come Close" - Keith Washington "Leavin You" - the Miracles "Needle In The Haystack" - the Velvelettes "Love Machine" - the Miracles "Bad Girl" - the Dramatics "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game" - Paul Hill "Even If My Heart Would Break" - the Contours with Joe Billingslea "Band Of Gold" - Freda Payne "Stubborn Kind Of Fellow" - Paul Hill Featuring George Clinton "Miles Away" - the Four Tops "Do You Love Me" - the Contours with Joe Billingslea "Since I Fell For You" - Laura Lee "Dancing In The Street" - the Original Vandellas "Baby I'm For Real" - Duane Parham featuring Pat Lewis Laura Lee, (left), takes the Lenny Welch serenade "Since I Fell For You," plugs in an intro rap, and sings her heart out. There are original members still with us from many of these groups. The Motor City Hits website 2022 Update: (now sunset) had some interesting links about these personalities in their artist(s) information section. Listen to 60 seconds of: the Four Tops, Freda Payne, and Laura Lee from Motorcity Hits...Real Music Is Back. Your browser does not support the audio element. Previous Post | Next Post

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