• 0 The Night James Brown Saved Boston

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

    The Night James Brown Saved Boston, a new VH1 documentary, is an amazing story about how the Godfather of Soul saved an American city from disaster in the immediate aftermath of the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Rare concert footage from his performance at the Boston Garden, plus personal recollections from band members, highlight this VH1 television special, scheduled for Saturday, April 5, at 9 pm Eastern, with a replay on Monday, April 7, at 10 pm Eastern. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 50 Years of Motown Video

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 03/31/2008

    Berry Gordy received an $800 loan on January 12, 1959, and used the proceeds to create "Hitsville, USA - The Sound of Young America," better known as Motown Records. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we've pulled out all the stops to create an entertaining new video tribute from "50 Years of Motown." Right away, you'll see "the 5 Motown families" represented on the revolving wheels of steel. All of the images were pulled from my personal archive of recordings and Motown memorabilia. It's amazing the number of artists who have passed through Berry Gordy's empire. Turn on your computer's sound and enjoy the 3 mintue 21 second video production. Leave a comment and tell me who I've missed. Two suspects are quite obvious! Congratulations from to the amazing artists who have shared their classic soul as part of "50 Years of Motown." Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Classic Soul Cassette Widget in Tune with Technology

    December 18, 2008 update: Like many online projects, Mixwit did not last. They shut down operations on December 31, 2008, so the link to their site and the related audio is gone. ------------------- It's not April 1st yet, and this is not a joke. Here's a really cool flashback to the golden days of those cassette based songs, now reincarnated inside of a contemporary web based music player. I skipped over both music cassettes and 8-track tapes back in the day and went right from vinyl to CD, so finding this retro music widget reminded me of friends who always had their cassette tapes eaten by their car cassette players. This widget has lots of personality! The particular song I found and placed in the widget is "Funky Mule," written by Buddy Miles, performed by an unidentified band. If you know who the band is, please let us know. Mouse-over the picture to see the pause and stop buttons (after you press the start button). You can check the widget out from Mixwit. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Mariah Carey Mixes Fusion on E=MC2

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 03/26/2008

    Now billing herself as the best selling female artist of all time, Mariah Carey has her sights set on topping 2005's The Emancipation of Mimi. Her new atom splitting E=MC2 album puts some quantum mechanics behind the Mariah Carey musical formula, lead by "Touch My Body," the first song promoted from the April 15, 2008 release. Look for Mariah to do lots of interviews and personal appearances to support her new album. She's been adding to her record resume since 1990. When you hear Mariah Carey, you feel the sonic vibrations of a voice powered by impressive passion. Discover every chapter of the Mariah Carey story on her official web site. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Heatwave Hits

    Brothers Johnnie and Keith Wilder were the core of Heatwave, the "Always And Forever" crew, who put together a team of gifted international musicians to deliver some jammin' grooves. Johnnie and Keith, Dayton, Ohio natives, fine-tuned their classic soul funk in Germany, following a tour of Army duty in the U.S. military. Positive club exposure in London captured for Heatwave their first record deal. 1976's Too Hot To Handle album, Heatwave's first release, included both "Always And Forever," and the dance classic "Boogie Nights." Tragically, Johnnie Wilder Jr. passed away in 2006 at age 56, closing a long chapter of success for the original group. Here's a photo courtesy of announcer DJ Cleo Rowe with Heatwave at radio station WNJR, Newark, New Jersey taken in 1978. The picture is from Cleo's radio archive. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Betty Wright Knocks Out the Clean Up Woman

    When 19 year old Betty Wright released the classic soul hit "Clean Up Woman" in 1972, the song launched an expressive career for the Miami, Florida teenager. With over 18 albums to her credit, Betty continues to belt out the tracks today. She was only 15 when her first album, "My First Time Around," was released on Atlantic's Atco record label. The majority of Miss Wright's success came with a string of hits following "Clean Up Woman." Betty's voice projected playfulness, confidence, wisdom, and maturity beyond her years. Singing with a tone of innocence to compliment a touch of raw vocal power, her musical stories stood out with entertaining and believable themes. Betty Wright is one of the best representing the "Florida" soul sound. Here are my top 4 Betty Wright songs: "Clean Up Woman" "Where Is The Love" "Tonight Is The Night" "Baby Sitter" Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 DeBarge Family Motown Melodies

    • Audio
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 03/18/2008

    1985. El, Bunny, Mark, James, and Randy DeBarge, cast in the media image of the Jackson 5, continue to crank out a string of classic soul hits for Motown. The DeBarge family released their first album in 1981, finding most of their success in the mid 1980's. Some of their well publicized mis-steps along with personal problems of particular group members probably contributed to a compressed period for their 15 mintues of fame. Happily, the DeBarge clan are survivors. Second generation additions, along with founders Bunny, Randy, Mark, Anita, Alice, El, James, Chico, Chantal, Young, Peaches, Mama D., and Switch's Bobby and Tommy continue to receive attention. Mama, El, and Chico all have individual web sites. Several fan web sites also keep track of the entire family. Here are the lyrics to their hit "Who's Holding Donna Now," written by David Foster, Jay Graydon, and Randy Goodrum featuring El DeBarge on the lead vocal: Sometimes a love won't let go Hard as I try I know it shows Everybody's telling me You'll be over her eventually But how am I supposed to feel so secure. When I keep wonderin'Who's holding Donna nowAnd I keep wonderin'Who's heart she's knocking aroundThere's nothing I wouldn't doTo be in his shoes somehowAnd I keep wonderin'Who's holding Donna nowAnd I keep wonderin'What magic can be foundTo turn me back to the worldWho's holding Donna now. The letter started with goodbyeI've read it half a million timesTell me this is just a dreamWhen I wake up she'll be here next to meTell me it will be just the way it was, oh When I keep wonderin'Who's holding Donna nowAnd I keep wonderin'Who's heart she's knocking aroundThere's nothing I wouldn't doTo be in his shoes right nowAnd I keep wonderin'Who's holding Donna nowAnd I Keep wonderin'What magic can be foundTo turn me back to the worldWho's holding Donna now Those Temptations vs. Four Tops tours were always fun. Is there any chance of a future Jacksons vs. DeBarge tour? Anything is possible! Your browser does not support the audio element. Listen to 30 seconds of "Who's Holding Donna Now" by DeBarge. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Marvin Gaye's Magnificent Medley

    • Songs
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 03/13/2008

    When was the last time you heard Marvin Gaye's magnificent medley in it's entirety from the song collection What's Going On? (the album considered by many as the best classic soul record of all time). The 6 tracks on side one of the original 1971 album are tightly edited together without silence between the songs, enhancing the impact of Marvin's topical social commentary and humane visionary themes. When the CD was finally released many years later, some listeners may have missed the ground breaking technique of a continuous medley: absent from most early R&B albums. With the CD, now all 9 tracks were available for the expected continuous play from start to finish. So a medley? No big deal. 2) "What's Happening Brother" 3) "Flyin' High (In The Friendly Sky)" 4) "Save The Children" 5) "God Is Love" 6) "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" By the way, track 1 is "What's Going On." Two bonus tracks were added to the remastered CD edition released in 2003 giving the record a total of 11 songs. Side one of the vinyl album is a masterpiece, and it's a treat to hear it today. I'm lucky to still have the original vinyl album in excellent condition. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Gamble & Huff Earn their Philly-Soul Hall of Fame Ticket

    • Audio
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 03/10/2008

    Philadelphia International Records label founders Kenny Gamble (left), and Leon Huff (right), will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2008. The two songwriter-producers will be honored by receiving the first Ahmet Ertegun award for non-performers, Monday evening, March 10, in New York City. "Love Train," "If You Don't Know Me By Now," "When Will I See You Again," and scores of hits have driven the Philadelphia International express to global fame. Gamble and Huff piloted the last of the great classic soul record labels, building on the legacy of Motown, Stax, and Atlantic. The Philly International catalogue has been mined to death with CD song reissues over the years. Surprise, two new ones are hitting the marketplace now. The Sound of Philadelphia: Gamble & Huff's Greatest Hits is a new release featuring all of those memorable smashes: "Me & Mrs. Jones, "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," and many more. Very few producers could get away with this ego strokin' title, but Gamble & Huff can. Then we have Conquer the World: The Lost Soul of Philadelphia International Records, the 2nd new release. A treasure chest of obscure tracks are featured, from the talented Dee Dee Sharp Gamble, producer-artist Bunny Sigler, Johnny Williams, and many other performers. Here are some of the original Philadelphia International Records vinyl album covers... Your browser does not support the audio element. Johnny Williams had one minor hit back in 1973 on Philadelphia International called "Slow Motion." Listen to 39 seconds of "Slow Motion" (from the original 45 RPM record). Congratulations to Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff on their well deserved honor. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Janet & Michael Jackson Share #1 at Billboard

    While I've been listening to Janet Jackson's new CD Discipline, trying to decide what if any of the collection I like, the release has quickly skyrocketed to the top of the Billboard 200. It's been a long time since Janet rose to #1. Then, I tried to figure out, when was the last time, if any, both Janet and Michael Jackson had #1 Billboard albums at the same time. Thriller 25, just released with plenty of remixes, is also slotted at #1 in the pop category for the Billboard publication issue of March 15, 2008. Superstition says beware of the Ides of March! That's the day Emperor Julius Caesar met his doom (March 15). For Janet and Michael however, it looks like this is their lucky day. Now known in the music biz as classic soul "legacy artists," Michael and Janet don't get as much airplay as in the past. # 1 chart positions for both of these records simultaneously in 2008 is quite a feat. I'll have much Janet's Jackson's Discipline soon. Previous Post | Next Post

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