• 0 Funk Legends Invade Houston

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 04/16/2009

    The Legends of Funk tour 2 touches down in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, April 18, 2009 at the Arena Theatre. Con Funk Shun, the Bar-Kays, Slave Funk Band, and Sugarfoot's Ohio Players are scheduled to perform. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Bobbi Humphrey Puffs Flute Power Passion

    When you are the first female artist signed to the legendary Blue Note Records, the expectations are huge. Bobbi Humphrey did hit the high note, cultivating a string of successful albums injecting R&B roots into a container of smooth contemporary jazz. She never had a breakthrough hit single, but it didn't matter. Her excellent body of work stands the test of time. As with most diverse musicians, Bobbi worked with the best, including Stevie Wonder for the memorable track "Home Made Jam." After a 6 album run with Blue Note (beginning in 1971), she moved to Columbia Records (Epic), where the pressure for a more commercial vibe dominated the shifting style of her music. Visit the official Bobbi Humphrey Blue Note website. I have a lost audio interview I did with her way back when that I hope to find one day deep inside of the Powerhouse Radio archive! Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Narada Michael Walden Foundation brings Sunshine Concert to San Francisco

    • Concerts
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 04/09/2009

    On the observance of Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2009, producer, musician and songwriter Narada Michael Walden will present Let the Sunshine In, a concert featuring: Mary Wilson (former Supreme) Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. (5th Dimension fame) Sting Earl Klugh Tevin Campbell Bob Weir (Grateful Dead) Maestro Michael Morgan David Grisman Shanice Wilson Lisa Fisher Jeanie Tracy Ralphe Armstrong Dale "Satchmo" Powers The Narada Michael Walden Band Several other musicians will participate. This special event will benefit Oakland, California's Christopher Rodriguez, an innocent 11 year old victim of gun violence, who was hit by a stray bullet while at a piano lesson and who is now partially paralyzed. The concert, to be held at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, will also support the scholarship fund of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and benefit the work of the Narada Michael Walden Foundation. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 A Creative Source Sure Shot

    On the flip side of this 45 rpm vinyl dj promotional copy, a famous New York City radio station music director inscribed the phrase "sure shot." I'm showing you the side without the writing, so you can get a clean look at this Sussex label 1973 original version of "You Can't Hide Love," recorded by Creative Source, and written by Skip Scarborough. This is the same song that became a big hit for Earth, Wind & Fire on their 1/2 live 1/2 studio double album, Gratitude, in 1975. Although billed as a "sure shot" by our mystery music director, this fate was not to be. "You Can't Hide Love" did not become a hit for Creative Source. Creative Source's version sounds closer to what you'd expect from the 5th Dimension or Friends of Distinction - a smooth blend of male/female harmony, but not nearly as progressive in production as the adventurous reincarnation by the elements of the universe, Earth, Wind & Fire. What makes this copy of the Creative Source song personally valuable to me is the calligraphy on the side of the disc I haven't shown you. New York City denizens have probably already guessed that the scribe was the famous dj Frankie Crocker, who picked this tune as a WBLS "sure shot" while I was working there. Yes, this is the actual copy of the 45 that was transferred to an audio tape cartridge and included the opening announcement voiced by Frankie who chimed: "It's another WBLS sure shot." Those were the days! Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Stevie Wonder Does DVD at the O2 in UK

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 04/02/2009

    I've seen Motown Stevie Wonder twice, live at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. I'm sure I don't have to convince you of how good Stevie Wonder is live. On March 9th and 10th, 2009, UK and USA retail outlets received Stevie Wonder Live At Last: A Wonder Summer's Night. This performance, on DVD and Blu-ray, was recorded at the O2 Arena in London in 2008, the same place where Prince set concert attendance records, and where Michael Jackson will attempt to make his 2009 comeback in July. Here are the songs Stevie sings on his DVD Stevie Wonder Live At Last: A Wonder Summer's Night: "Intro / All Blues" "As If You Read My Mind" "Master Blaster (Jammin')" "Did I Hear You Say You Love Me" "All I Do" "Knocks Me Off My Feet" "UK Medley" "People Make The World Go 'Round" "Higher Ground" "Spain" "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing" "Visions" "Living For The City" "Part-Time Lover" "Overjoyed" "Lately" "I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life" "My Cherie Amour" "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" "Sir Duke" "I Wish" "Isn't She Lovely" "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" "I Just Called To Say I Love You" "You Are The Only One For Me" "Superstition (So What The Fuss)" "As" Previous Post | Next Post  

  • 0 13 Blue Magic Lane is Home for 5 Philly Fellas

    Richard Pratt, Vernon Sawyer, Keith Beaton, Ted "Wizard" Mills (lead vocals), and Wendell Sawyer are the 1975 version of Blue Magic. This montage of photos is from the original inner jacket sleeve from their album Thirteen Blue Magic Lane. Wedged between 1974's Blue Magic (that included the hit "Side Show"), and their 2nd 1975 record The Magic of the Blue (featuring "Three Ring Circus"), Thirteen Blue Magic Lane wasn't unlucky with respect to several strong tracks highlighted by: "Chasing Rainbows" "Magic of the Blue" "We're On The Right Track" "What's Come Over Me" (with Margie Joseph) Blue Magic, from the city of brotherly love, textured "the sound of Philadelphia" to their own strengths using many of the city's top session musicians and producers during the legendary Gamble and Huff era. Even with the expectation of a signature ballad serenade, a Blue Magic show from my personal experience was always well paced, energetic, and lively. In 2008, a live in concert Blue Magic DVD was finally released. A classic soul gem to seek out if you can find it is the 1976 live double album featuring Blue Magic, Margie Joseph, and Major Harris, from which we occasionally play tracks on Powerhouse Radio. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Unique Musique Banned in Boston

    Musique's 1978 dance hit "In The Bush" psyched out a lot of people who select radio station songs due to suggestive lyrics that seem mild today. The hook laden refrain "push push in the bush" caused manager imaginations to run wild, even though there wasn't one real naughty word in the entire song. Earlier in the same decade the word "crap" was edited out of Paul Simon's song "Kodachrome" before some radio stations would play it. With such sensitivity by radio people not to offend local "community standards" among rabbit eared listeners, the hesitation to play "In The Bush" was not a surprise. No station wanted a listener to complain to the Federal Communications Commission. The original Musique featured Jocelyn Brown, Angela Howell, Gina Tharps, and Christine Wiltshire on Keep On Jumpin'. Pictured here are their replacements, Mary Seymour, Denise Edwards, and Gina Taylor, who were featured on the 2nd album, Musique II. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Mandrill Fencewalks to Morocco

    The classic soul "Fencewalk" funk ensemble Mandrill will be returning to the stage with some European and USA appearances during the 2009 tour season. One of their first ports of call will be at the northern tip of Africa: Tangiers, Morocco, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea. All the action happens at the Tanjazz Music Festival, featuring Mandrill on Friday, June 12th, and Saturday, June 13th. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Vanessa Williams Celebrates

    Today, March 18th, is the birthday of singer, actor, and former Miss America Vanessa Williams. Her most recent CD, 2005's Everlasting Love, was striking in its creative brush stroke; adding new color to the canvas of 12 golden oldies. Among those put to the test, "Never Can Say Goodbye" (featuring George Benson), and "I'll Be Good To You" (The Brothers Johnson original). Blessed with a gorgeous voice, Vanessa has cruised the middle of the road mainstream with the airy hits "Dreamin'," "Save the Best for Last," and "Love Is" (with Brian McKnight). Her tempo crankers "The Right Stuff" and "Running Back To You" get the party started. With those 80's, 90's, and new millennium hits behind her, Let's look for some future magic from Vanessa Williams. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Bobby Womack, Little Anthony, and Run-D.M.C. are New Kings of Rock

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 03/12/2009

    Bobby Womack, Little Anthony and the Imperials, and Run-D.M.C. join other new honorees on Saturday, April 4th, 2009 as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame freshmen. Here are some excerpts from the biographies of these new inductees, courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. An Artist becomes eligible for induction in the Hall 25 years after the release of their first record. Bobby Womack has thrilled through his music as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. The son of a steelworker, he was born in Cleveland, where he and his siblings formed a gospel group. While touring with the Soul Stirrers, the Womack Brothers met that group's lead singer, Sam Cooke. Under Cooke's tutelage, they crossed the bridge from sacred to secular music, recording for his Sar label as the Valentinos. The Womack brothers cut two R&B classics as the Valentinos: "Looking for a Love" (later covered by the J. Geils Band), and "It's All Over Now" (a song that became the Rolling Stones? first U.S. hit). Womack also played guitar in Cooke's band. Womack has written songs recorded by Wilson Pickett "I'm a Midnight Mover," George Benson's "Breezin," Janis Joplin's "Trust Me," and many others. Wilson Pickett recorded 17 of Bobby Womack's songs. Womack made his greatest mark in the 70's and 80's racking up 33 charting singles, including the Top 10 classic R&B hits "That's the Way I Feel About Cha," "Woman's Gotta Have It," "Check It Out," and "If You Think You're Lonely Now." His first gold single was "Harry Hippie," a meditation on wasted lifestyles written specifically about his brother and more generally about the counterculture. Womack topped the R&B chart in 1974 with his remake of "Lookin' for a Love" and reached #2 in 1973 with his interpretation of the blues standard "Nobody Wants You When You're Down and Out." Little Anthony and the Imperials are Anthony Gourdine, Clarence Collins, Tracy Lord, Glouster "Nat" Rogers, Sammy Strain, and Ernest Wright Jr. Little Anthony and the Imperials were one of the best vocal groups to emerge from New York City. They outlasted their peers by virtue of "Little Anthony" Gourdine's powerful, soaring vocals and the consummate professionalism of the Imperials, who mastered a broad range of material and knew how to work a stage. Legendary dj Alan Freed, an influential New York disc jockey and concert promoter, christened Gourdine "Little Anthony," for the youthful quality in his voice. Freed and fellow dj/promoter Murray Kaufman ("Murray the K") enjoyed the sound of Little Anthony and the Imperials and helped launch their career with airplay and concert bookings. "Tears on My Pillow," their first single for Gone Records, was one of the biggest hits of 1958, reaching #2 on the R&B chart and #4 on the pop chart. In 1960, the group scored again with the danceable "Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko Bop." Little Anthony and the Imperials had the Top 10 classic soul hits: "Goin" Out of My Head," and "Hurt So Bad." The Letterman covered "Goin' Out of My Head" and made it a Top 10 hit again in 1968. Linda Ronstadt did the same with her cover of "Hurt So Bad" in 1980. Joseph "Rev. Run" Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell (died October 30, 2002) are Run-D.M.C. They changed the sound of rap, hip hop, street fashion and popular culture in general. Run-D.M.C.'s first release was the 12-inch single "It's Like That"/"Sucker M.C.'s." Run-D.M.C. gave rap its first gold album Run-D.M.C. in 1983, and its first platinum album King of Rock in 1985. They were the first rap act nominated for a Grammy Award (Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group), for 1986?s Raising Hell. A 'born again' Christian, "Run" now known as "Rev. Run" stars in his own family-based television reality series, Run's House. Previous Post | Next Post

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