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  • 0 Songwriter Salute to Reggie Calloway

    • Songs
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 11/10/2022

    "Impossible Blues" is the one song I wrote as a teen. I've memorized the first two verses, but a bridge and refrain lyric have eluded me for years. It's a song to be continued. Songwriters become known when one or more of their songs becomes hits or their vibrant words survive through social impact in popular culture. Reggie Calloway is a songwriter I've admired for years. I've played his tracks performed by others during my shows on the radio. When the hits stop coming or focus shifts, many artists sell their intellectual property to the large companies who buy up song catalogues. Whitney Houston, Bob Dylan, and Barry Manilow are just a few who have sold their entire song portfolios. Beyonce', Justin Timberlake, and Olivia Newton-John have sold individual songs. Reggie Calloway is no different. I noticed that Mr. Calloway was offering a five percent writer's share of two of his hit songs back in 2009. You'll learn more about these songs after I explain more. Reggie retained Songvest, the first online music marketplace to offer fans and investors the ability to purchase a writer's share from their favorite songs and artists. My bids for both "Love Overboard" and "Freak-A-Zoid" did not meet the reserve price which is the minimum bid the seller will accept. When the auction was extended because no one met the reserve price for these two songs, I bid again for both songs seeking 1.5% of Reggie's writer's share. There were other Reggie Calloway songs in the auction. I won both bids offering several hundred dollars for each 1.5% share. Today I consider the price a real bargain. Here are my gold and platinum record presentations complete with Reggie Calloway's handwritten lyrics. The awards are enclosed in two large cases that are both 30-1/2 inches tall, and 18-1/2 inches wide. That's "Love Overboard" from Gladys Knight and The Pips on the left," certified gold for 500,000 album, cassette, and CD sales. "Freak-A-Zoid" from Midnight Star is on the right certified multi-platinum for two million album, cassette, and CD sales. Here's more about Reggie Calloway from part of his official biography shared with me by his marketing manager. ----- "Creating music that rings in the heart of souls has been a breeze for the Grammy songwriter, Reggie Calloway. "His prolific talent as a top music producer, hit writer, musician and artist has attracted some of the biggest names in the music industry. "Best known as the founder and leader of one of the most popular techno-funk bands, Midnight Star, Calloway lead the group to international success, writing producing and arranging a string of top mega #1 hits: "Operator" "No Parking On The Dance Floor" "Freak-A-Zoid" "Reggie Calloway is from Ohio. He earned the respect of music industry insiders for consistently writing a string of Grammy-nominated #1 hits for Teddy Pendergrass, Natalie Cole, and LeVert. "Mr. Calloway has produced several multi-platinum and gold albums. "In 1987 Reggie wrote "Love Overboard" for Gladys Knight and The Pips which won a Grammy Award. "Reggie received a Grammy nomination for R&B Songwriter of the year for the hit song "Casanova" by LeVert in 1987. He remains active today dazzling us with the magic of his music!"  Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Bobbi Humphrey Plays Her Fabulous Flute With Passion

    • Biography
    • by Kingsley H. Smith and guest
    • 09/15/2022

    Do you have an episode in your life when you lost a tangible item? Not a best friend, a loved one, or your favorite companion, but a keepsake possession that has lots of sentimental value? I don't mean dollar value. If you've been in this situation like me, the loss represents a significant subtraction. Before I dive deeper into the phenomenal femme flute sensation Bobbi Humphrey, here's what I lost connected to her essence. We talked live on-air in the WUSS radio studios on a chilly Friday morning leading into her two evening shows at The Wonder Gardens club in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The interview went well and was recorded. To my amazement, the recording has been missing in action ever since! Perhaps you were in the region listening at home, and recorded it. This conversation was one that I cherish. The recording is not among my reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes, DATS (digital audio tape), MiniDiscs, CD-R's, thumb drives, and other recordable media. Here is the large twenty-two inch by fourteen-and-one-half inch poster that promoted her show.  Stephen Thomas Erlewine writes on the official Blue Note label website... "Bobbi Humphrey is a jazz flautist whose musical tastes lean toward fusion and smooth jazz-pop. From the outset of her career, Humphrey was quite popular, winning a large crossover audience with her pop-oriented jazz-fusion. "Throughout her career, her popularity exceeded her critical acclaim, but she received high marks for her technique and showmanship. "Bobbi Humphrey was born in Marlin, Texas and was raised in Dallas. She began playing flute in high school and continued her studies at Texas Southern University and Southern Methodist University. "Dizzy Gillespie saw Humphrey play at a talent contest at Southern Methodist and, impressed with what he had heard, he urged her to pursue a musical career in New York City. "She followed through on his advice, getting her first big break performing at the Apollo Theater on amateur night. Shortly afterward, she began playing regularly throughout the city, including a gig with Duke Ellington. "Humphrey signed with Blue Note in 1971. Her smooth blend of jazz, funk, pop, and R&B fit in well with the new sound of Blue Note, and her six albums for the label — Flute In, Dig This, Blacks and Blues, Satin Doll, Live at Montreux, and Fancy Dancer — were all successes. "Tailor Made was the first of three albums for Epic Records; Freestyle followed in 1978 and The Good Life appeared about a year afterward. "During the ’80s, Humphrey continued to perform regularly, even if she didn’t record often. She returned to recording in 1989, releasing City Beat on Malaco Records. "Five years later, Passion Flute appeared on her own Paradise Sounds label, where she is President and C.E.O." ----- As mentioned by Steven, these three albums below are from my library. Fancy Dancer and Bobbi Humphrey's Best are on Blue Note. Tailor Made is on Epic (Columbia).  Memories are made of this! I'll keep looking for our Bobbi Humphrey interview. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 16 Powerhouse Radio Summertime Song Favorites

    • Songs
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 08/11/2022

    A week ago I updated 13 Powerhouse Radio Summertime Favorites to the new list below. The original thirteen songs were mixed from my vinyl or CD library to a standalone CD in 2007. Unfortunately modern cars no longer have CD players. One song was not included this time: "Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer" by Stevie Wonder. Just an oversight. Today, the summer playlist is expanded to sixteen tracks lasting fifty-nine minutes. My current automobile without CD player does have one USB port. Two previous cars had a couple of USB ports in each vehicle (without CD players). Time marches on! Today, this playlist lives, as one premixed track on a thumb drive that I can listen to at home, in the office, or while driving. You may want to try it as a Spotify playlist. The song order has been updated from the older version to maximize emotional enjoyment: "Picnic In the Park" - MFSB "Summertime" - Will Smith "Summertime" - MFSB "Summertime" - Janis Joplin with Big Brother & the Holding Company "Summertime" - Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong "Summer Snow" - Blue Magic "Indian Summer Love" - Con Funk Shun "My Sweet Summer Suite" - Love Unlimited Orchestra (Barry White) "Summertime" - Billy Stewart "Summertime" - Sam Cooke "Summer Madness" - Kool & The Gang "It's Summer" - War "Hot Fun in the Summertime" - Sly & the Family Stone "Long Hot Summer" - Jimi Hendrix Experience "Summer Breeze" - Isley Brothers "Cruel Summer" - Bananarama Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Picture Sleeve Pop Memorabilia

    • Photo
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 05/19/2022

    What are picture sleeves? They are physical paper covers that protect 45 RPM singles. Collectors dig deep to get their hands on these artistic sleeves. I've digitized my entire collection of picture sleeves to share with you. The Picture Sleeve Pop picture parade lives at PictureSleevePop.com. There are four sections to the website: Classic Pop Classic Rock Classic Soul Classic Christmas We add new sleeves as our collection grows. The individual sleeves have been downloaded thousands of times. Grab one for your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop as wallpaper. In my library I have both the sleeves and the songs that go inside! Here are two new ones waiting to be added to the collection. What is the problem with this one: Yikes. It's the "B" side of the sleeve. The "A" side is super boring with just the artist name and the featured song "Goldmine" in relatively small text. There is no image at all. RCA made a big mistake by not putting "The Pointer Sisters" name on the "B" side too. They didn't forget to hype the producer. This is bad 1986 marketing (when the song was released) but I understand. Possibly it was an attempt to broaden the audience for the group without showing their picture on the front of the sleeve. "Goldmine" is a nice pop song with a funky groove. Too bad "Goldmine" was a flop. On this one... You bet their name is on the "A" and "B" side of this picture sleeve! The Beatles. See some of your favorites at PictureSleevePop.com. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 MLK Jr., The Wall, and Berlin Radio

    • Personal
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 04/21/2022

    Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a sermon in this East Berlin church on September 13, 1964. While visiting West Berlin (Federal Republic of Germany) King insisted on visiting East Berlin too (GDR - German Democratic Republic). It was an unscheduled part of his trip to Germany. He spoke to 20,000 West Berliners on "Church Day" in the Waldbühne and to 3,000 GDR East Berlin citizens in the St. Marienkirche (St. Mary's Church) and at the Sophienkirche (Sophia Church) in Berlin-Mitte. In his East Berlin sermon, King said "No man-made barrier can erase the fact that God's children live on both sides of the Wall."  And the Wall did come down in 1989. I'm standing at a marker at the gate of Sophienkirche. I’ve taken multiple trips to Berlin: 2010 and 2014. The city and a special Berlin radio station I worked for gets a special chapter in my book Powerhouse Radio: Rough Roads, Radiance, and Rebirth to be released in late 2023 or early 2024. All radio stations have bumper stickers, mobile apps, and mugs! Below I'm holding a tenth anniversary mug symbolizing the community service engendered to the station's listeners in Berlin and beyond. On this FM station, the format was mostly talk. We did program eight hours of jazz on the weekends. Not smooth jazz, but traditional jazz Europeans like, to perk up their hungry ears yearning for more. Want to experience a deeper dimension of my Berlin broadcasting expedition? Check out this audio: https://powerhouseradio.com/airchecks/video5/khs_npr.html Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Summer of Soul…or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 02/25/2022

    The movie Summer of Soul was exclusively offered on streaming services until February 8, 2022. The DVD is now released. Summer of Soul…or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised is a Black History gem filmed in 1969. It is amazing that the master tapes of this cultural slice of America sat for over 50 years only to be recently rediscovered. 300,000 people attended The Harlem Cultural Festival in Mount Morris Park (renamed Marcus Garvey Park in 1973). Artists entertained over six consecutive weekends. Music, history and culture came together on the performance stage for all to see. The DVD is directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of The Roots fame. Held in the same year as the Woodstock Festival, film (movie) rights for The Harlem Cultural Festival generated zero interest in 1969 from entrepreneurs. Restoration of the master film is outstanding. We give the technical clarity of the cinematography an A+. The sound mix is also excellent. General Foods was one of the few corporate sponsors. The festival budget was so slim that lights for evening performances were not rented. We learn in the film that the stage was positioned to face west to capture the setting sun. The Black Panthers helped with security as there were questions about whether the New York City police would be there. Questlove does a brilliant job presenting this story in just under two hours. You’ll see tremendous performances by Stevie Wonder, The Chambers Brothers, B.B. King, Herbie Mann, and The 5th Dimension. The star parade continued with The Edwin Hawkins Singers, The Staple Singers, Professor Herman Stevens & The Voices of Faith, Clara Walker & The Gospel Redeemers, Mahalia Jackson, and some spiritual - cultural inspiration from The Reverend Jesse Jackson. Also seen in the DVD giving their best efforts are David Ruffin, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto, guitarist Sonny Sharrock, drummer Max Roach with singer Abbey Lincoln, and trumpeter Hugh Masekela. Dinzulu and his African Dancers and Drummers supply syncopated foot stompin' steps and beats to entertain the crowds. Comedians Moms Mabley and Willie Tyler & Lester (ventriloquist) contribute some laughs. Nina Simone really brings the house down with her songs. “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” is a highlight. The innovative Sly & The Family Stone also entertained Harlem with a whole new musical thing. What you’ll like most about Summer of Soul is the way cultural realities are integrated into the music story telling. Artists who were there in 1969 give their 2022 reflections on and off camera. We get an accurate Black perspective about a turbulent decade during which cutting edge music tried to push the activism of social change forward. We’ve spent a lot of time with 1) Summer of Soul. Four more movies are also recommended for a historic view about 20th Century classic soul music. 2) Soul Power (DVD released in 2010): Three nights of music in Zaire. It’s 1974. The boxing rumble in the jungle between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman is scheduled (they did fight 6 weeks later). Like Summer of Soul, this is more than just a concert film. It’s a slice of 1974 African American - Black African culture. Performances include The Spinners, B.B. King, The Fania All Stars featuring Celia Cruz, Bill Withers, Miriam Makeba, The Crusaders, conga player Big Black, and headliner James Brown. In a deleted scene you'll see Sister Sledge singing "On and On" (the Gladys Knight song from the Claudine Soundtrack). Other DVD deleted scenes offer insight into the culture of Kinshasa, Zaire. There are great segments of classic Muhammad Ali rhyming along with his signature catch phrases promoting the coming George Foreman fight. 3) The Blues Brothers and 4) Blues Brothers 2000. Worth it because Ray Charles, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and a master’s class worth of R&B and blues folks perform. Many of them are no longer with us. Tolerate the antics of Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi and John Goodman and watch the real musical stars shine. 5) Soul Men (honorable mention). This movie is clearly entertainment and not presented in any historic context. You might say that similarities exist between the Soul Men story and the career of Atlantic recording artists Sam & Dave. In Soul Men, lead actors Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac meander their way through a love hate relationship. Nice cameos too from Isaac Hayes and John Legend. Samuel L. sings great! Soul Men is worth your comedic time. Leave your comments if you've seen any of these 5 movies. I would say from a historic perspective our top 'must see pick' is Summer of Soul. Watch my video, then listen to what Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. have to say about the Summer of Soul in their audio interview. Listen to The 5th Dimension's Marilyn McCoo And Billy Davis Jr. reminisce about 1969's 'Summer Of Soul' and talk about their Beatles cover album Blackbird by visiting: https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2021/06/29/summer-of-soul-documentary Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Mary J. Blige: Swings, Hits and Misses

    • Commentary
    • by Kingsley H. Smith and guest
    • 12/22/2021

    What's your favorite Mary J. Blige song? It might be: "Be Without You" "Real Love" "Family Affair" "My Life" There are scores more to choose from. Other than her own, Mary J. has a thing for Elton John songs. She's featured on "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" live with Elton at Madison Square Garden in New York City (2000). Mary J. also sang the Elton song "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" from the 2004 movie Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. She does a wonderful duet "Being With You" on Smokey Robinson's 2014 CD Smokey & Friends. There's a lot of authentic gravity in Mary's live rendition of the traditional "Hard Times (Come Again No More)" as featured with the Roots on the multiple artist fundraiser collection album "Hope For Haiti Now." "Mary J.," has come a long way. From combat boot dilettante to co-headliner in the halftime show at the Super Bowl. The question remains, what lyric remembrance from her songbook had the largest impact? Antwane Folk takes an in-depth look back at this music icon's biggest single in the story "A Breakthrough: Mary J. Blige's 'Be Without You'" https://ratedrnb.com/2020/12/a-breakthrough-mary-j-blige-be-without-you/ Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Sharon Jones Tribute Story

    • Biography
    • by Kingsley H. Smith and guest
    • 10/28/2021

    In the battle between my post 2000 favorite female vocalist, top spot consideration meandered between Alicia Keys and Sharon Jones. I've always leaned towards power belters. Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan charge ahead in that department. You won't be surprised then that Sharon Jones comes out on top as my last twenty-year female vocalist favorite. She has a style all her own, and an emotional story of success to match. The horn arrangements in her songs are not Motown-Detroit and are not quite Stax-Memphis. The Dap-Kings band gives her music a special quality that echoes a signature of uniqueness. This remixed cover for the record 100 Days, 100 Nights is a throwback to 2007 when the album was released. Take a look at the original cover in my article: Retro-Soul Makes a Mighty Comeback. Here's a deeper look at Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings in the Sharon Jones Biography written by Mark Deming. ---------- "Few artists took longer to reach stardom, and gained as much critical acclaim once they found their audience, than R&B vocalist Sharon Jones. "Born in 1956, Jones had been singing in clubs since the early '70s without much success until she was recognized by a producer who paired her with her band the Dap-Kings in the late '90s. "Once she finally broke through, Jones became celebrated for her strong, emotive voice and phrasing that was powerful without showboating. "At her best, Jones could evoke the sound of classic soul and R&B of the '60s and '70s while summoning an energy and confidence that made her performances feel fresh and contemporary. "2002's Dap Dippin' with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings was the debut album that introduced her talent to the world, 2010's I Learned the Hard Way documented Jones and her band at the peak of their powers, and 2017's Soul of a Woman found Jones singing at the top of her game, even while fighting cancer. "Sharon Jones was born in Augusta, Georgia on May 4, 1956. She was the youngest of six siblings. "In 2013, Jones revealed that she had been diagnosed with cancer -- initially in the bile ducts, and later advanced to stage two pancreatic cancer -- but she continued to perform as often as her therapy schedule would permit, sometimes appearing on-stage with a bald head after chemotherapy caused her to lose her hair. "In late 2013, Jones was well enough to complete work on the next Dap-Kings album, and Give the People What They Want appeared in January 2014; it earned a Grammy nomination as Best R&B album. "Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple premiered a movie about the vocalist, Miss Sharon Jones!, at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. "Jones was in attendance for the debut screening, and revealed that her cancer had returned, but defiantly added, "I'm gonna keep fighting, we got a long way to go. "Sadly, she would lose her valiant battle with cancer, which took her life, at age 60, in November 2016. "Shortly before her death, Jones completed vocals for a final album with the Dap-Kings. That album, Soul of a Woman, was released in November 2017. "A collection of covers Jones had recorded with the Dap-Kings through their years together, Just Dropped in to See What Condition My Rendition Was In, appeared in January 2021." ---------- Listen to the Sharon Jones spin on "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours." It's less bluesy than typical Sharon Jones approaches but it is a deserving interpretation of a Stevie Wonder Motown classic! Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 RnB And Hip Hop Quiz Trivia

    • Games
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/23/2021

    In a couple of years we'll mark fifty years of hip hop! Some of you know that I write iOS and Android apps for mobile devices. As I worked in radio playing music on-air coupled with similar leisure efforts at home, I've always paid attention to the rhythms, beats, and musical grooves. One of my apps that surveyed the legacy classic song parade is RnB and Hip Hop Quiz. It's a trivia game that focuses on both genres.  Here's a quick 14 second teaser video featuring RnB and Hip Hop Quiz Game app for iOS (iPhone and iPad). Find out more on the App Store for RnB and Hip Hop Quiz trivia. Questions with images True or False questions Questions with multiple answers Turn time limits on or off Reset your progress in the game Select from multiple avatars Game music you can turn off Sound effects you can turn off Fun trophies The Android timeline for developing this game: RnB Music Quiz Soul was released in 2015 Hip Hop Quiz was released in 2016 RnB Music Quiz Soul for iPhone was released in 2019     RnB and Hip Hop Quiz for Android was released in 2020.   It's important to know that I wrote all of the trivia questions myself based on research and personal knowledge. Often I'm contacted by people who want to sell me quiz questions. I always politely decline. Discover the Android version of RnB and Hip Hop Quiz in Google Play. Speaking of writing, I've just begun a new project that I hope to finish as soon as possible. You'll discover an eye-opening look at my previous career along with the steps I took to thrive in broadcasting. Stay tuned for periodic updates. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Elton John Diamonds

    • Songs
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 05/21/2020

    I don't buy many CDs anymore, but I finally took the plunge to grab a lifetime of tracks created by a music maker that I've enjoyed for many years. You can say I've enjoyed him from the very beginning of his career. With only a couple of of seven-inchers and one twelve-inch 45 RPM vinyl track from this performer among my countless collection, it was time to get Elton John Diamonds at a great price. Diamonds is a three CD set with all of his hits and heavies. When you think of Elton John and Philadelphia, you might think of "Philadelphia Freedom." I was especially in the hunt for the overlooked Philly gem "Mama Can't Buy You Love." "Mama," included on the third CD is a very soulful track produced in the spirit of hit maker Thom Bell, the Spinners, and other Philly music stars of the 1970s. Leroy Bell and Casey James produced "Mama Can't Buy You Love" for Elton. Bell & James had their own solo hit in 1979 "Livin' It Up (Friday Night). Leroy Bell's uncle is Thom Bell. Here's a quick 56 second sample of "Mama Can't Buy You Love." The full length of the song clocks in at just under four minutes - about 30 seconds too long because of the monotonous yet silky smooth chorus that pads out the song until it ends! Your browser does not support the audio element. You have to lean into Elton John's ballads for the songs that made him a musical icon. You'll find them all on Diamonds: "Your Song," "Tiny Dancer," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," etc. My one disappointment was "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" presented as a live duet. George Michael and Elton John share the mic. This version is good, but I really wanted the solo Elton effort. I could have consumed more background material from the CD liner notes. There's not much info. You get the track list, writers, and song producers. That's it. However, if you only care about the songs, they are all here for you to enjoy! Elton John Diamonds. lapidarians rejoice! Previous Post | Next Post

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