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  • 0 Donna Summer Remembered

    LaDonna Adrian Gaines was born on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1948. She grew up in Boston with her parents and two sisters. By the time she was 12, she was singing Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick songs. On her approach to singing as an adult, Donna says in her autobiography "to this day I will approach a song as an actress approaches a script. I do not sing; I act. When I sing, I sing with the voice of the character in the song." With this in mind, one can be somewhat forgiving when reflecting on "Love To Love You Baby," Donna's over the top exercise in heavy breathing that was a big 1975 disco smash. Donna Summer passed away on May 17, 2012. Read our review of her autobiography "Donna Summer: Ordinary Girl" Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Lionel Richie Tuskegee

    • Review
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 04/17/2012

    As a solo artist Lionel Richie has always playfully stuck his toe in country music. He's been charmed by the genre recording past duets with both Alabama and Kenny Rodgers. Tuskegee is a bold experiment that was ultimately successful as it rode it's way to the top of the Billboard charts. Each song on the album is a 'glory days' Richie original. His partners on this project make up a who's who of country. Lionel brings a contemporary touch to these old songs to rejuvenate them more time. "You Are" with Blake Shelton "Say You, Say Me" with Jason Aldean "Stuck on You" with Darius Rucker "Deep River Woman" with Little Big Town "My Love" with Kenny Chesney "Dancing on the Ceiling" with Rascal Flatts "Hello" with Jennifer Nettles "Sail On" with Tim McGraw "Endless Love" with Shania Twain "Just For You" with Billy Currington "Lady" with Kenny Rodgers (new version) "Easy" with Willie Nelson "All Night Long" with Jimmy Buffet & Coral Reefer Band All of the country 'A' listers are here. The song arrangements respect the originals but discover some new territory through the fusion of two classic musical cultures that share similar emotions. I enjoyed all of these songs, especially "Endless Love" with Shania Twain. Whether it's Richie with Diana Ross, or Luther Vandross with Mariah Carey, "Endless Love" is hard to break. Honorable mention goes to "Lady" as Richie and Kenny Rodgers recreate the harmonic magic one more time to update their big hit. "Sail On" with Tim McGraw is pretty cool too! Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 President Obama sings Sweet Home Chicago

    • Video
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 03/21/2012

    President Obama sings "Sweet Home Chicago." Enjoy! Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Tribute to Soul Train - Don Cornelius

    • News
    • by Kingsley H. Smith
    • 02/08/2012

    Here are 6 vintage classic Soul Train video performances presented as a tribute to the late host Don Cornelius (1936 - 2012). 2022 Update: The videos originally posted by the L.A. Times have been removed. YouTube removed the account holder who posted the videos. YouTube did not remove the L.A. Times video account.  Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Aretha and Ray

    Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles share a hug from back in the day. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 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

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