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  • 0 Akeelah and the Bee's A+ Classic Soul

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 04/20/2006

    Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett star in the new inspirational movie, Akeelah and the Bee, from Lionsgate films, opening Friday, April 28, 2006. Keke Palmer plays the gifted young girl, Akeelah. The Akeelah and the Bee soundtrack features classic R&B from The Jackson 5, The Spinners, Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, Al Green, The Brothers Johnson, and Aretha Franklin. You'll be able to find the CD at approximately 5,000 Starbucks locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. It's the first official motion picture soundtrack to be featured in the coffee giant's music promotion program. The Akeelah and the Bee soundtrack comes hot on the heels of another Lionsgate studio musical compilation, Madea's Family Reunion, which reached #2 on the soundtrack charts, re-teaming Lionsgate with Motown Records and director, actor, playwright, Tyler Perry. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 U Can't Touch This - MC Hammer all the Time

    There's nothing like the excitement of a large arena concert, with 18,000 plus fans dancing themselves into delirium. Such was the case at one of the strongest live shows I attended in the 1990's: Hammer at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Still known as "MC" back then, his electrifying and costly stage show rocked the big apple with "a cast of thousand" homeboy and homegirl dancers, extras, and hanger-on's. He had so many people on stage during his show, it was a visual blizzard keeping up with all the dancing and theatrical action. For the long haul, the expensive payroll of such a production proved too much to sustain. Today, Hammer is still showing us all those fancy moves, but now, he's doing it through the gift of online gab. If you're ready for Hammer in the morning, Hammer in the evening, Hammer all the time, then prepare yourself for the non-stop MC Hammer Blog experience. By the way, the former bat boy for the Oakland A's is doing his thing for Major League baseball too. It's home run Hammer time, slamming the online banter out of the park, faster than a super homeboy from the Oaktown. Hammer is too legit to quit. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Brenda Russell's Class Act

    Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Brenda Russell has had a long and varied career. She sings with the flava of many influences: R&B, jazz, classical, pop, rock, and Latin. A very unique mix indeed. Russell's bag of talent can be compared favorably to Alicia Keys' portfolio of abilities. Alicia reminds me very much of a young Brenda Russell. On both their resumes: Excellent piano playing Well written emotional lyrics Accomplished live performance Memorable musical melodies reflecting contemporary rhythmic styles Brenda's first hit was the ballad "So Good So Right," in 1979. The echo of her signature piano in that song, refined in the haunting melody of 1988's "Piano In The Dark," are both unforgettable. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Brenda grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She started playing piano while singing as a teenager performing in the Canadian production of the rock musical "Hair" in Toronto. Russell got her first big record deal after relocating to Los Angeles. Brenda says "I never write songs that are without hope. People have to be inspired to another level." Brenda Russell is a real class act. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Lionel Richie in Libya All Night Long

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 04/17/2006

    2005 marked the 20th anniversary of "We Are The World," the song written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson for the benefit of African famine relief. Saturday, April 15, 2006, another 20th anniversary was celebrated. This time, it was a United States raid on Libya, the African nation that denounced terrorism three years ago. Libya is now under the good graces of the USA. In a strange mix of politics and music, Lionel Richie was a featured performer among an international collection of stars, Saturday, April 15th, for an audience of nearly one thousand Libyan diplomats in Tripoli. The last posted tour on Lionel Richie's website lists 2004 dates promoting his "Just For You" 2004 CD. Is it possible that it was desirable in the Richie camp to avoid publicity for his new 2006 gig? When you are in the public eye, it's hard to fly under the radar screen. In Marc Taylor's book, A Touch of Classic Soul, the O'Jays admit "out of ignorance," they were unprepared for "how devastating it was going to be on our career," specifically, performing in South Africa in the 1980s. It's a new day. Technically, Apartheid is out of Africa. A gig is a gig, and gigs put money on the table. Let's see if Lionel Richie's new millennium African performance has any long lasting repercussions, either positive, negative, or both. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 June Pointer's Classic Soul Legacy

    • Website
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 04/15/2006

    Anita, Bonnie, Ruth, and June Pointer are four trail blazing sisters. The fact that they've sustained a long and successful career speaks well for their talent. I'm personally disappointed that the soulful Pointer Sisters didn't get as much airplay on traditional black radio as they deserved. June Pointer passed away from cancer in Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 11, at the age of 52. The official Pointer Sisters website has a nice biography of June Pointer (link removed - no longer available), as well as more significant Pointer Sisters stuff of interest to all fans of great music. When I'm in a public place that plays pop music, I'm fascinated by how when a Pointer Sisters song comes on, people of all ages and backgrounds start singing along (with the effect of lifting their spirits and mood). So long June. Thank you for your music. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Patti Labelle and Smokey Robinson to host the Pioneer Awards

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 04/14/2006

    The City of Philadelphia has rescued the cash strapped Rhythm & Blues Foundation, allowing the organization to revive it's Pioneer Awards (for soul legends), coming this June to the city of brotherly love. Philadelphia, the state of Pennsylvania, and business leaders have provided enough financial incentive for the R&B Foundation to vacate the big apple, New York City, and move to Philly town. We last heard from the Pioneer Awards in 2003. This year's showcase will be held during black music month, on June 29th. Patti Labelle and Smokey Robinson will host the ceremony. Chubby Checker, Bettye LaVette, Barbara Mason, The Delfonics, and producer Thom Bell will receive honors. At this year's Philadelphia ceremony, Motown founder Berry Gordy will receive a lifetime achievement award. Otis Redding will receive a posthumous Legacy Tribute Award. For more information about this organization's great charitable work, visit the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. next post

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