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  • 0 Classic Soul Radio Busts a Mobile Device Move

    • Radio
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 12/30/2011

    Pandora’s move to mobile devices is no secret, as they have cornered a large share of the market. As a live365 broadcaster, I’ve waited for the opportunity to listen to the Powerhouse Radio classic soul (and more) stream from various wireless devices using live365’s platform. iPhone support came first. Now, Android has followed. The Beta version of the Android App (released in mid 2011) was not stable enough for me to recommend. The updated 2012 Android App is great. Having a 4g phone provides the best listening experience, although you may not have a constant 4g connection if travelling by car. On a recent 45 minute drive between downtown Washington, DC, and Baltimore, I tried the live365 App on a Droid Bionic using Verizon Wireless. The signal got dropped only once in downtown DC, and I can honestly say that it was a better listening experience than satellite radio’s frequent drop outs. If you are the driver, fiddling with a cell phone/smart phone during transit is something you don’t want to do. When listening this way, I try to set it (the phone), and forget it, until I want to turn the music off. I also recently tried listening to Powerhouse Radio on a Kindle Fire via the built in web browser. Because Kindle uses a much slower connection speed, I don’t yet recommend listening with this device. 2022 Update: Live365 shutdown in January, 2016 ending our stream along with every other Live365 broadcaster. Their service restarted in 2017. We did not rejoin their service. The photo above is a picture of Powerhouse Radio playing Sly & The Family Stone during the non-stop 24/7 stream on an Android phone. D̶o̶w̶n̶l̶o̶a̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶i̶P̶h̶o̶n̶e̶,̶ ̶i̶P̶a̶d̶,̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶i̶P̶o̶d̶ ̶T̶o̶u̶c̶h̶ ̶o̶r̶ ̶A̶n̶d̶r̶o̶i̶d̶ ̶A̶p̶p̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶l̶i̶v̶e̶3̶6̶5̶,̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶i̶T̶u̶n̶e̶s̶ ̶o̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶A̶n̶d̶r̶o̶i̶d̶ ̶M̶a̶r̶k̶e̶t̶,̶ ̶(̶G̶o̶o̶g̶l̶e̶ ̶P̶l̶a̶y̶)̶,̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶u̶n̶e̶ ̶u̶s̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶p̶h̶o̶n̶e̶!̶ Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Michael Jackson Mixes Make Immortal Moves

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 11/30/2011

    If you’ve been lucky enough to see the international Michael Jackson Cirque Du Soleil Immortal World Tour going on now through the end of 2012, you’ve heard some ingenious new takes on several M-J classics. In the show a live band plays his music to accompany the visual story of his life through the movement of the Cirque Du Soleil performers. After seeing the electrifying show in Las Vegas in December 2011, I wanted the CD version of these new mixes. The ‘Immortal’ versions of Jackson’s amazing hits are cleverly mixed. If the originals are burned in your memory, it may take you several plays of the revised songs to hear them in a new way. Some of the tracks are unique. A few have not been included in previously available material. My favorites include the English – Spanish version of “I Just Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” with Siedah Garrett, an acoustic piano only with vocal version of “I’ll Be There,” and an update to Megamix, now called “Immortal Megamix” featuring “Can You Feel It/Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough/Billie Jean/Black or White.” There are 20 tracks here, all emphasizing Michael’s voice, from the Jackson 5, Jacksons, and Michael Jackson catalogue. The use of technology to energize the Michael Jackson experience is to be complemented. In some songs, certain pauses are added, or sped up, just for the right effect, without ruining the soul of the original song. If you ignored Michael Jackson Immortal when it was released, you should take a second look. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 True Soul Classics from Little Rock Arkansas

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 10/26/2011

    In the history of classic soul, the grits n’ grooves city of Memphis in the southwest corner of Tennessee gets much well deserved credit for cultivating the music. Stax ruled the roost back in the day, with The Soul Children, Isaac Hayes, Booker T & the MG’s, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Otis Redding, and an iconic list of artists. Hundreds of miles to the west in the neighboring state of Arkansas, Lee Anthony was building a local presence by nurturing True Soul Records out of Little Rock in 1968.   Anthony, who graduated from college with an art history degree, gathered a stable of local Little Rock musicians, groups, and artists partly collaborated through the many relationships he built while in school. Anthony was the entrepreneur and somewhat self-taught recording engineer who put his record studio dream together. Early on he would record tracks in his Little Rock Studio, and travel to Memphis to press 45 RPM vinyl records he could sell. Anthony gleaned inspiration along with ideas during numerous trips to Memphis, hanging out with the Stax crowd, attending their events, and observing recording techniques in their studio. He reflects within the liner notes of the recently released True Soul CD/DVD’s that “I came back to Little Rock and tried to duplicate the instrumentation Stax had.” One thing about the 32 tracks featured across the two volumes of True Soul. The sound is raw, experimental, and adventurous. Some describe it as southern soul. These songs sound less like multi-tracked studio creations and more like live slices of real performances from some committed, enthusiastic entertainers. This multi record set is billed as Deep Sounds from the Left of Stax 60s & 70’s Soul and Funk from Arkansas’s Legendary Independent Label. You generally wouldn’t call the Stax sound layered and sophisticated in production technique, compared to say Motown, as Stax was closer to the root of basic blues. The True Soul Records sound even more straightforward than Stax, and are driven by basic uncomplicated instrumental tracks to support the vocals. Most of these songs were not national or even regional hits. Reviewing them today captures the essence of how local tastes in American music back in the day could make or break artists. Today, national and global breakouts are commonplace propelled by satellite networks, computers, YouTube, and iTunes. I was blown away by the 30 odd pages of photos and liner notes (included in each volume) detailing the interesting history of the True Soul label and it’s place in rhythm and blues history. I admit this is a story I was not familiar with. Your browser does not support the audio element. Listen to 90 seconds of “Psychedelic Hot Pants” by York Wilborn’s Psychedelic Six, and learn more about Deep Sounds from the Left of Stax 60s & 70’s Soul and Funk from Arkansas’s Legendary Independent Label True Soul Records. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Ohio Players Album Covers

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 09/28/2011

    Pain, Pleasure, and Ecstasy. Album titles with cover art guaranteed to attract even more attention than the funky music inside of the exotic grooves. Take a Powerhouse Radio slide show trip with the "Fire" and "Skin Tight" Ohio Players from Dayton, Ohio. Both the album covers, and the players, have a special message for you. Watch and listen. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 08/31/2011

    While it's been a long road since her hits "Fame" and "Flashdance," Irene Cara continues to make enjoyable music driven by her wonderful voice. Her 2011 release, Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel, introduces 5 talented young ladies who excel in instrumental virtuosity. Irene sings lead, co-writes, and produces many of the tracks featuring Hot Caramel, however, the sweet ladies, including Audrey Martells, get their chance to shine in both lead and background vocals. Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel is a double CD release. CD volume 1 has a distinctly different personality from CD volume 2. CD 1 has a clear rock edge, although hip hop elements keep the sound contemporary. The songs on CD 1 aren't especially memorable or distinctive enough to be placed in the unique category, but they are competent and well performed. "Life in the Fast Lane," a track popularized by the Eagles, is a strong cover, but doesn't really showcase the strength of this album, which is found on CD volume 2. The 2nd CD has much better tracks, with the emphasis on R&B, both traditional and contemporary. To really hear these ladies play, you have to check out "The Best," a mostly instrumental power track that echoes jazz, rock, and soul. What I like the most about Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel is that it's different from today's predictable formulaic R&B releases. This release is a throwback to an era that specialized in great singing and solid musicianship. This double album would be better served if the promotional emphasis was directed to the stronger tracks on CD 2, including "Forgive Me," and "Soul Beat." Visit Irene Cara's site, and listen to 60 seconds of "Forgive Me" in a previous post. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 TSOP Soul Radio Salutes Philadelphia

    • Songs
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 07/31/2011

    If your passion is nothing but wall-to-wall Gamble & Huff Philly style sounds, you may want to check out TSOP Soul Radio, an online repository of the best of Philadelphia International Records. You'll hear a steady diet of O'Jays, Teddy Pendegrass, MFSB, and more. An appealing element of listening to TSOP Soul Radio is the deep track selection, playing almost everything from the Philadelphia International Records catalogue. 2022 Update: TSOP Soul Radio is now sunset, but Gamble-Huff Music Lives on. Check them out. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Michael Jackson's Solo Timeline

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 06/24/2011

    Here's a video flashback looking at the major albums released by Michael Jackson. June 25, 2011, is the 2nd anniversary of his death. The index of his picture book, Michael Jackson: The Man In The Mirror, 1958 - 2009, lists over 60 MJ solo singles released Between 1968 - 2003. His very first single was "Let Me Carry Your School Books" in 1968, followed by "Got To Be There" in 1971. Watch and listen to this 2 minute video tribute we enjoyed producing. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 20 Years of Mary J. Blige

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 06/14/2011

    Why watch the calendar until 2012! It's been almost 20 years we've enjoyed Mary J. Blige. Watch and listen to our special tribute. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Janet Jackson is all True for You

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 05/24/2011

    Inadequate self-esteem resulting from unjustified anxiety. That's the big take-away from Janet Jackson's 2011 self-help - autobiography: True You. As Janet describes it, "fear and uncertainty lead to feeling bad about myself." Along with writer David Ritz, Janet informally details important life transitions that helped her bridge the growth gap between youth and maturity. You won't find a discography of her music in the appendix. You won't find a list of all of her awards. What True You successfully reveals is how the youngest of the famous Jackson siblings finally found independence from certain ingrained family values that ultimately allowed her to break free into a new image, body, career, and love comfort zone. True You is surprisingly different from the expected 'tell all' tone of other bios, written by music celebrities, who usually attract readers by sharing seedy tabloid tales. I like how Janet strategically incorporates some powerful fan letters into her own story to illuminate universal themes of struggle, hurt, pain, and loss. This book is dedicated to her late brother, Michael. Janet talks vibrantly about their special close relationship. Down to earth details document siblings who are not hung-up on their celebrity. Janet relates fond memories about her youngest years with 'Mike.' Michael would repeatedly drive the two to different Los Angeles fast food restaurants, buy lots of goodies, and then go to areas in the city populated by the homeless to distribute the food. Food fables dominate True You. Janet's battle of the bulge are well documented, including her 2008 drop from 180 to 120 pounds. A lifetime of eating and yo-yo dieting are the outcomes of Janet's sensitive personality as she would react to teasing, criticism, and professional demands by turning to food. I enjoyed the Afterword "It's Not a Diet," written by her nutritionist David Allen, who in analyzing their long-term interactions stresses that changes in lifestyle, balanced meals, and adequate sleep were crucial in order for Janet to reach her goals. "True You" closes with nearly 80 pages of recipes designed by Janet Jackson and cooked for her by Chef Andre. Some of the suggestions detail the preparation of "Veggie Baked Eggs," (kid friendly) "Baked Oven Fries," and "Honey Yogurt with Peaches and Toasted Almond Parfait." Janet ends her self help - autobiography story with these words of guidance: "Proper nutrition" "Restorative sleep" "Wholesome foods" "Self-care, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually." Bravo Janet. Sunshine with plenty of warmth beams through True You. Nasty! ----- 2022 Update! We wrote and published the original review you've just read on May 24, 2011. With the January, 2022 release of the Janet Jackson documentary on Lifetime and A&E television we produced the book review as a new video! Enjoy. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Grammy Boots Soul to the Curb

    In a move designed to downsize the density of awards, the Grammys are streamlining their portfolio of potential winners for 2012. Categories are being sliced, diced, and reduced to 78 from 109. Some separate male and female awards will be combined into new categories. The R&B area was hammered pretty hard. 8 awards have been cut to 4. A review of the awards category restructuring page at Grammy.org reveals that "Best R&B Performance" will take the place of these 4 eliminated classifications: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (dropped) Best Male R&B Vocal Performance (dropped) Best R&B Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocals (dropped) Best Urban/Alternative Performance (dropped) As a result of discontinuing the "Best Female R&B vocal performance" and "Best Male R&B vocal performance," "The Best R&B Performance" now becomes highly competitive. Hip hop lost only one category dropping from 5 to 4. A date for the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012 has not been announced. Look for the show in February. Hopefully it will be shorter, and more entertaining. Previous Post | Next Post

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