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  • 0 Steve Arrington Slides into a Pure Funk Thang

    • Audio
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 12/04/2009

    I was pleasantly surprised with the good news about Steve Arrington's new 2009 release, Pure Thang, a collection containing 17 tracks. Arrington was the vocalist fronting Slave, and Steve Arrington's Hall of Fame. These groups brought us "Just a Touch of Love," Slide," Weak at The Knees," as well as other hits. When Steve left classic soul to become a minister in the early 1990's, one assumed that his funky grooves would forever take a back seat to sacred melodies.     Like the metamorphosis of Al Green, and to a greater extent former Isley Brother Chris Jasper, Pure Thang keeps a legacy sound authentic while seeding the songs with positive spiritual messages. This record is definitely a funk album, however Steve subtlety works in lyrical references to reflect his faith and beliefs while keeping the devotional anecdotes about love respectful. There are lots of positive messages to pick up on between the funky grooves. Pure Thang is heavy on the bass and percussion, a signature Steve Arrington treatment. He plays most of the instruments on several tracks. Guest musicians round out the sound on other songs throughout the project. Arrington has his own style. He improvises a lot lyrically travelling through these tunes while keeping the pace lively. You'll find two instrumentals, "Coolin" and "Sunrise." These are jazzy mid tempo movements providing a couple of 'time out' breaks from his gritty n' glorious groove. The ballad "Song for Coretta and Rosa" is an ode to two great women of civil rights history. Spiritual shout outs don't distract from the fun as the tone of Pure Thang is to entertain rather than to preach. My favorite track is "Soul Food," a driving culinary confection complete with yummy references to 'stick to your ribs' delights. Arrington praises all things wonderful at the dinner table, including family, tradition, and history. He then tips his hat to both Marvin Gaye, and the Staple Singers. "Right On Time" talks about the beauty of a romantic relationship blessed and guided by virtuous good. In "The Devil Can't Sing Amazing Grace," Steve asserts that 'the devil doesn't run the show any more.' "It's True" follows the 'devil' track and pulls no punches with it's message of salvation. Steve reminds us with glee that 'you know this funk it's got power' in "Power." Funk rules. Overall, Pure Thang is a welcome return for Steve Arrington. When an artist writes, arranges, and produces their own album, it's hard to objectively balance the right mix of creative variety while you wear all the hats. I think some additional collaboration with other talent might have pushed Steve a little further. With that said, the stand-out tracks help sustain continuity throughout the release. The arrangements are not overly elaborate, keeping the funk groove up front without complicated distractions. Your browser does not support the audio element. Listen to 30 seconds of "Holla" from Pure Thang, Steve Arrington Pure Thang:   "Right Here Right Now" "I'm on Fire" "Time To Ride" "Nobody Else" "I Like What You Do" "Song For Coretta and Rosa" "Coolin" "Right There" "Power" "Holla" "Sunrise" "Tones" "Soul Food" "Pure Thang" "Right On Time" "The Devil Can't Sing Amazing Grace" "It's True"   Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Beyonce Captures 10 Grammy Nominations

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 12/02/2009

    Beyonce' has been nominated for 10 Grammy Awards. The 52nd annual music excellence celebration takes place Sunday, January, 31, 2010, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. CBS TV has the event from 8:00 pm - 11:30 pm Eastern. Beyonce' has been nominated in these 10 categories: Record of the Year "Halo," from I Am... Sasha Fierce Album of the Year I Am... Sasha Fierce Song of the Year "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" from I Am... Sasha Fierce Best Female Pop Vocal Performance "Halo" from I Am... Sasha Fierce Best Female R&B Vocal Performance "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" from I Am... Sasha Fierce Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance "At Last" from: Cadillac Records (music from the motion picture) Best R&B Song "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" from I Am... Sasha Fierce Best Contemporary R&B Album I Am... Sasha Fierce Best Rap/Sung Collaboration "Ego" Beyonc' & Kanye West Best Song written for Motion Picture, Television or other Visual Media "Once In A Lifetime" (from Cadillac Records) songwriters: Beyonce' (and others) Previous Post | Next Post

  • 1 Candy Cane Christmas from Darius Rucker

    Darius Rucker, vocalist - guitarist of Hootie & the Blowfish fame, has just dropped "Candy Cane Christmas," a 2009 holiday ditty right out of the Lou Rawls, Sammy Davis Jr. school of pop. This charming song has all the hooks of an attractive Christmas classic. "Candy Cane Christmas" offers Darius a way outside of blues-rock to showcase his earthy voice. Listen to and enjoy 30 seconds of "Candy Cane Christmas" by Darius Rucker. Your browser does not support the audio element. 2022 Update: Download below has expired. Download the complete song for free (for a limited time) from the iTunes music store. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Jennifer Hudson Serenades Barack and Michelle

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 11/24/2009

    Here's a very short video featuring USA first lady Michelle Obama speaking to young women from the White House Leadership and Mentoring Program about the musical entertainment planned for the President's first state dinner, Tuesday, November 24, 2009, headlined by Jennifer Hudson. To see the First Lady talk about how protocol and hospitality at state dinners can help foster good relations and build strong friendships among world leaders, watch the first 16 minutes of Michelle Obama's 2009 Mentoring Program remarks at the White House on YouTube. Bonus video 2022 update on YouTube: Jennifer Hudson performed again four years later as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama danced during the January 21, 2013 Inauguration Ball celebrating Obama's 2nd term reelection. Enjoy the Al Green music! Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Temptress Tina Turner Tantalizes at 70

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 11/23/2009

    Anna Mae Bullock, the international diva from Brownsville, Texas, celebrates her 70th birthday as Tina Turner on Thursday, November 26, 2009. She has a wonderful 4 minute video that first appeared on TinaTurnerBlog.com in 2008 featuring her reflections about 50 years in the music business. Tina says in the video that she wants to give her fans what they want while she tries to keep the music presentation fresh. Her comments about fashion are revealing! Here's the video on YouTube posted by TinaTurnerBlog.com. Tina Turner: dynamic visual appeal, bombastic vocal range, and trailblazing crossover success! Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Hip Hop Gods are Disciples of Classic Rap Web Site

    • Website
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 11/20/2009

    Here's the "honorary" official time keeper of the new website, HipHopGods.com. Public Enemy's Flava Flav wants you to check in for news, information, videos, content and commentary about classic old school hip hop. The plan for this site is to immortalize the legends of the genre. Check out the HipHopGods.com news page, poke through their blogs, (written by Darryl Mack, Chuck D., and others), and watch some of the classic videos from back in the day. HipHopGods.com has a nice clean look. Visually, it's well designed. One suggestion: where's the search engine? Maybe I missed it, but you've gotta have one of those. To get the VIP content, you should register with the site. A big shout out to Public Enemy for their excellent Washington, DC show yesterday (November 18), to benefit homeless youth. Thank you Chuck D. for turning everyone on to the HipHopGods.com website. See photos from the benefit concert on the Powerhouse Radio Facebook fan page. 2022 Update: Here's another Public Enemy photo on the Powerhouse Radio Facebook page from 2015 that I took in Atlantic City, NJ. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Public Enemy to Help Homeless Youth

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 11/17/2009

    Public Enemy, featuring the reunited Flava Flav and Chuck D, will perform Wednesday evening, November 18, 2009, at the G.W. Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC. The US Congress has designated November as National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, sponsored by Virgin Mobile USA's RE*Generation initiative to help homeless youth. Proceeds from the Public Enemy show will benefit the Sasha Bruce House. The world premiere of Kyocera's ALL Access documentary will be presented prior to Public Enemy's performance. Kyocera created an ALL Access rock documentary from Virgin Mobile's FreeFest music festival, featuring interviews with Public Enemy, Weezer, Franz Ferdinand, Taking Back Sunday, Blink-182 and others. Bring a new or gently used coat to help DC's "One Warm Coat" initiative and you will receive a V.I.P. upgrade while they are available. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Howard Hewett Christmas

    Howard Hewett found independence in his solo career the second time around when he moved on from Shalamar to pursue additional interests. Just after December 25th, 2008, I was able to get a hold of his new holiday album: Howard Hewett Christmas. Timing is everything, so last year's missed opportunity opens the door to a new season of cheer, a perfect time to take a look at this still relatively new release. Fans easily connect Jody Watley's female voice to the aural personality of Shalamar's vocal blend. There were several guys in the history of Shalamar, so in many ways, Howard Hewett is an undiscovered lead singer. He gets the job done on Howard Hewett Christmas. I can't say that there's an aspect of his voice that really makes it unique, but he performs the songs well using very tasteful arrangements. The carols are just contemporary enough to give the songs a new millennium edge without drifting into gimmicky waters. It's easy listening, with some great help from among others: Stevie Wonder who performs a harmonica solo on "The Christmas Song." George Duke produces a couple: "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" and "That's Christmas." Howard collaborates with other writers for a couple of pleasant original songs, "That's Christmas" and "I Remember Christmas." Ralph Johnson of Earth Wind, & Fire fame plays drums on several tracks and produces 5 of the songs. Howard Hewett Christmas is delightful. The tempo is just right for relaxing listening. "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" "The Christmas Song" with harmonica soloist Stevie Wonder "Sleigh Ride" "That's Christmas" "Baby It's Cold Outside" "Christmas Time" "Christmas On Sunset, interlude" "I Remember Christmas" "What Child Is This" "This Christmas" "Silent Night" Your browser does not support the audio element. Enjoy 30 seconds of "Baby It's Cold Outside," a duet with Jasselle. She sings her part in Spanish, Howard sings his part in English. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Picture Sleeve Pop Features 45 RPM Record Memorabilia

    • Website
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 11/10/2009

    Once upon a time, before the dawn of the compact disc, popular songs were creatively marketed using visual art to tease interest in the new releases. A cottage industry driven by music fans quickly blossomed as collectors enthusiastically embraced these colorful slices of culture containing cool images. Oh yeah, the music was pretty good too! 45 RPM vinyl records were a showcase for picture sleeve pop images of Elvis, Michael Jackson, and the Beatles. It was great promotion for all of the music artists. Charles Szabla has written Goldmine 45 Rpm Picture Sleeve Price Guide, one of the best definitive reviews about the artful genre. You'll find these pictures sleeves offered by collectors worldwide all over the Internet. I started collecting these sleeves when I was 12 years old, and I have a ton of them. That's why I created a showcase for them, PictureSleevePop.com. Classic soul, classic pop, and classic rock are all represented, so relive some magical memories, grab some wallpaper, and take a look at my personal collection of original picture sleeves from the 1960s through the 1980s. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Wynton Marsalis Christmas Jazz Jam a Gem

    Mix some soulful swing with a generous portion of good old New Orleans gusto, and you have Wynton Marsalis at his multicultural best on the contemporary Christmas Jazz Jam, new for 2009. Watch the video below for a taste of Wyton's virtuosity. I had the pleasure of attending a Wynton Marsalis concert in St. Paul, Minnesota several years ago. Without question, Mr. Marsalis commands technical dominion over his horn with the skill of a world class surgeon conducting a scalpel. Improvisation for an instrumental player is key to pumping excitement into traditional repertoire, and Christmas Jazz Jam doesn't disappoint. This is the first Wynton Marsalis holiday album in 20 years. He's joined by his septet to present the following traditional songs: "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" "Mary Had a Baby" "Jingle Bells" "Blue Christmas" "Go Tell It On the Mountain" "O Christmas Tree" "O Little Town of Bethlehem" "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" "The Christmas Song" "Good King Wenceslas" "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" "Greensleeves" Wynton Marsalis is a Pulitzer Prize/Grammy Award winner, with more than 70 albums in his portfolio. Christmas Jazz Jam is available on iTunes, and exclusively at Target.  Bonus! Wynton reads 'Twas The Night Before Christmas Previous Post | Next Post

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