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  • 0 Little Richard, Sly Stone, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, & Prince

    The first live popular music concert I ever attended as a 10 year old featured Little Richard as the headliner. His act was an eye-opener. Little did I realize then the historical importance of "Little Richard" Penniman to the history of rock and roll. When comparing Little Richard, Sly Stone, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, and Prince, here's a question for you...who has had the most lasting influence? All six have certainly been remarkably successful! All six have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: James Brown - 1986 Little Richard - 1986 Ray Charles - 1986 Jimi Hendrix - 1992 (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) Sly Stone - 1993 (Sly and the Family Stone) Prince - 2004 I can seriously argue for five of the six. Prince would have to be eliminated first, although "Mr. Purple Rain" is James Brown, Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix, and Sly Stone rolled into one unique package. Ray Charles and James Brown are very close, but I'll have to go with the "Godfather of Soul" as the most influential artist on the list. Sly Stone and Prince both expanded on "Mr. Dynamite," J.B.'s groove, to produce some funky Hendrix influenced rhythms. Ray Charles may have been a more versatile artist, but James Brown, "the hardest working man in show business," changed the face of soul music forever. I'd argue that Brown's influence in R&B has been more dominant than Hendrix's influence in rock. Jimi can't be short changed however for his amazing contributions. Let's not dismiss the legacy of the living legend, Little Richard. You see and hear more of him today primarily on television commercials, but Little Richard raised the bar on flamboyance in music. I could name 10 artists that patterned their act from the flashy eccentric mannerisms of Little Richard's stage persona. Oh yes, his music was pretty good too. Good Golly Miss Molly, it's James Brown by a nose as the most influential personality among our list of super greats. What do you think? Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 New Tyler Perry Soundtrack Serenades Daddy’s Little Girls

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 02/15/2007

    With the arrival of Tyler Perry's new movie, "Daddy's Little Girls," Friday, February 16, get ready for another classy soundtrack from Mr. 'Madea.' All of Perry's soundtracks have been very successful, including Madea's Family Reunion. One song from that flick, "Everyday (Family Reunion)" featuring Chaka Khan, Gerald Levert, Yolanda Adams & Carl Thomas was nominated for a 2007 Grammy Award. "Everyday (Family Reunion)" should have won, (but it didn't). For Perry's new love story, some great tracks have been selected. Charles Moore does a wonderful job reviving the Sam Cooke classic, "A Change is Gonna Come." You'll also find Beyonce's "Daddy," a strong bonus track on her Dangerously in Love CD that was never acknowledged in the liner notes. Here are the songs from Daddy's Little Girls: "Struggle No More (The Main Event)" - Anthony Hamilton, Jaheim & Musiq Soulchild "Don't Let Go" - R. Kelly "Greatest Gift" - Tameka Scott "Brown Eyed Blues" - Adrian Hood "Family First" - Whitney Houston, Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick And Family "Step Aside" - Yolanda Adams "I Believe" - Brian McKnight "Daddy" - Beyonce' "Struggle No More" - Anthony Hamilton "Blood Sweat & Tears" - Governor "A Change Is Gonna Come" - Charles Moore This is a nice collection of R&B songs with positive messages supporting the theme of family in Daddy's Little Girls. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 10 Soulful Valentine Hits for the Heart

    • Songs
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 02/14/2007

    Some time ago, Michael Henderson wrote a magnificent and timeless song, "Valentine Love." On his solo album, Solid, Michael slows the tempo and sings the song (by himself) as a straight forward love song. In a duet with Jean Carn on the collection Norman Connors Saturday Night Special, "Valentine Love" is given a slightly quicker tempo, with Michael looking for forgiveness from the main lady in his life: Valentine Love Lyrics by Michael Henderson: I'm sending you a valentine in hopes that you're still mine and if that valentine doesn't reach you it's ok Now it's not as bad like you though it would be Come on baby, take my heart. I love you still and I always will be yours be yours yours yours yours I'm so in love with you I'm sending you this valentine in hopes that you're still mine and if that valentine doesn't reach you it's ok I can't make up your mind for you just have patience, that's all you can do I love you still, and I always will be yours be yours, I'm so in love with you (Michael's version only) I'm on my knees begging you back baby there's nothing I wont do there's nothing, there's nothing Michael won't do (Michael's version only) If I could only hold you in my arms again I'm so in love with you There nothing your baby won't do If I could just? Hold me I'm in love I'm sending you this valentine I'm sending you this valentine I'm sending you this valentine I'm in Love ---------- Here are my "10 favorite soulful R&B valentine hits for the heart" ranked in order: "Just as Long as We Have Love" Spinners with Dionne Warwick "I'll Try Something New" Smokey Robinson "I've Got So Much to Give" Barry White "Love's Holiday" Earth Wind & Fire "Always" Atlantic Starr "Lady Love" Lou Rawls "All This Love" Patti Labelle (originally by DeBarge) "Tonight I Celebrate My Love" Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson "Give Me Your Love" Curtis Mayfield "Valentine Love" Norman Connors (featuring Michael Henderson and Jean Carn) Happy Valentine's Day. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Grammy Award Winners a Mixed Bag

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 02/12/2007

    Grammy night was a mixed bag with the Dixie Chicks walking away with five awards, Red Hot Chili Peppers taking four, and Mary J. Blige cashing in three. Best acceptance speech: Ludacris (for best rap album), who thanked everyone but his pizza delivery person. Most surprised winner: Stevie Wonder with Tony Bennett for their duet "For Once in My Life." Stevie seemed completely surprised. Most unusual performance: a tie between Gnarls Barkley who sang "Crazy," and Christina Aguilera, who tried on James Brown's "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" for size. This show tries to be something for everybody. As a result, the prime time television broadcast blacks out many contemporary categories lots of people are interested in. Considerable time is taken up acknowledging lifetime achievement honorees, at the expense of spotlighting more current talent (in the Grammy Award winners circle). You get some brilliant moments of live performance from many of the artists as the main payoff for watching this show. Overall, it's hit or miss for consistent show-stopping. If you like the artist, you'll probably like their performance. Last week, I made a few predictions in the R&B category?   1) My pick: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance: "Be Without You" Mary J. Blige, The Breakthrough. The winner: Mary J. Blige   2) My pick: Best Male R&B Vocal Performance: "I Call it Love" Lionel Richie, Coming Home. The winner: "Heaven" John Legend   3) My pick: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: "Everyday (Family Reunion)" Chaka Khan, Gerald Levert, Yolanda Adams & Carl Thomas, Madea's Family Reunion. The Winner: "Family Affair" Sly & the Family Stone, John Legend, Joss Stone with Van Hunt   4) My pick: Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: "I Found My Everything" Mary J. Blige featuring Raphael Saadiq, The Breakthrough. Winner: "God Bless the Child" George Benson & Al Jarreau featuring Jill Scott (my alternate pick, really more jazz than traditional R&B)   5) My pick: Best R&B Song: "Be Without You" Mary J. Blige, The Breakthrough. Winner: Mary J. Blige   6) My pick: Best R&B Album: The Breakthrough Mary J. Blige. Winner: Mary J. Blige   7) My pick: Best Contemporary R&B Album: B'Day Beyonce' Winner: Beyonce'   Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 7 R&B Grammy Award Picks

    The 49th Annual Grammy Awards will be held this Sunday, February 11, 2007, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Here are my quick picks for possible winners in the R&B category. Best Female R&B Vocal Performance: "Be Without You" Mary J. Blige, The Breakthrough Best Male R&B Vocal Performance: "I Call it Love" Lionel Richie, Coming Home Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: "Everyday (Family Reunion)" Chaka Khan, Gerald Levert, Yolanda Adams & Carl Thomas, Madea's Family Reunion Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: "I Found My Everything" Mary J. Blige featuring Raphael Saadiq, The Breakthrough Best R&B Song: "Be Without You" Mary J. Blige, The Breakthrough Best R&B Album: The Breakthrough Mary J. Blige Best Contemporary R&B Album: B'Day Beyonce' Check back on Monday, February 12, to see if I have any psychic abilities. I don't think I'll be too embarrassed, because the 2007 Grammy Awards will be the year of Mary J. Blige. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Spinners Lose Vocalist Billy Henderson

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 02/06/2007

    Spinners vocalist Billy Henderson, an original group member, passed away last Friday of complications from diabetes in Daytona Beach, Florida. He was 67. Henderson left the Spinners in 2004 after suing the group's corporation and business manager to obtain financial records. Four of the original Spinners performed together until recently. Spinners Live is a very good double album, featuring the rare duet with writer Linda Creed behind the mic on the classic soul hit, "Then Came You." Dionne Warwick sang the original duet with the group. The Spinners cut their teeth at Motown. "It's a Shame" was their one big Motor City hit for the label. Take another look at the official Spinners biography at their website for colorful career highlights. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Prince Electrifies Big Game without getting Electrocuted

    Two thumbs up to Prince for his electrifying halftime performance during a pouring rain at Super Bowl 41. He looked good, sang with spirit, played with energy, and gave one of the best Super Bowl halftime performances ever. Playing by the rules and delivering his hits clicked for pure entertainment. No suprises for the censors, although the sequence of a silhouetted Prince with his Purple Rain guitar behind a wind blown curtain got suggestive if you were watching carefully, will the halftime performer next year at Super Bowl 42 be able to top Prince? Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Kool & the Gang Launch World Tour

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 02/01/2007

    Fans in Italy, St. Vincent, Norway, and the USA will be able to catch the energy of Kool & the Gang during their extended 2007 world tour. Always exciting, I've never been disappointed at one of their shows. Here's the complete Kool & the Gang tour schedule featuring public and private dates. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Prince Salutes James Brown at Super Bowl 41

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 01/30/2007

    Look for Prince to step lightly but brightly during the halftime show at Super Bowl 41 this Sunday, February 4. During his set, Mr. "Purple Rain" is scheduled to include a tribute to James Brown. One of the funkiest Prince hits is "Sexy M.F.," a vamp that borrows heavily from the style of soul brother number one. Don't expect Prince to perform it, as the censors would have a field day hitting the bleep button. (The halftime show will be on a slight broadcast time-delay). We play a unique version of "Sexy M.F." on Powerhouse Radio that even your grandmother could enjoy. Like the Rolling Stones who performed last year, Prince is a non-conformist, who can offer up some spontaneous, unpredictable moves. Given the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" incident in 2004, you can bet Prince will take the high road during the middle of the big game and keep things rated G. Check out the Super Bowl halftime show. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Al Green Cooks up Definitive Classic Soul

    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 01/25/2007

    Capitol Records EMI has just released Al Green: The Definitive Greatest Hits on both CD and DVD. The DVD adds six film and video clips, including TV performances from 1971, 1978 and 2004. Before you scan through the 21 tracks we list on this new collection, here are 4 powerful Al Green "extras" I recommend for any serious "jolly Green giant" fan. "I'm a Ram" from Gets Next to You "Light My Fire" from Gets Next to You "Are You Lonely for me Baby" from Gets Next to You "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" from Let's Stay Together Al Green Gets Next to You, released in 1971, may be his best album, as it emphasizes the grittiest aspects of his Memphis funk soul (with no pun intended). Both "I'm a Ram" and "Are You Lonely for me Baby" showcase Green's raw Southern soul style with some slick horn arrangements courtesy of producer Willie Mitchell. "Light My Fire" is a terrific interpretation of the Doors classic, as it's sung by Al in a slower bluesy delivery accented by an understated pulsating rhythm. As Green progressed in his career, his hits were produced with a more mass appeal sound. You won't hear the harder edge. Al's cover of "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" is a great example. "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" also appears on the R&B compilation CD, Soul of the Bee Gees featuring Gibb brother songs sung by Candi Staton, Chaka Khan, Melba Moore, Jerry Butler, Thelma Houston, and others. Here are the tracks on Al Green: The Definitive Greatest Hits... Let's Stay Together Tired Of Being Alone Take Me To The River I'm Still In Love With You Look What You Done For Me Here I Am (Come & Take Me) Love & Happiness Keep Me Cryin' Call Me (Come Back Home) Livin' For You Let's Get Married Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy) L-O-V-E (Love) You Ought To Be With Me Oh Me, Oh My (Dreams In My Arms) Full Of Fire Back Up Train - (with The Soul Mates) I Can't Get Next To You Belle I Can't Stop Perfect To Me There's no argument that Al Green is one of the best "soul" singers of all time. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and he deserves to be there. Previous Post | Next Post

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