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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Teena Marie Lady T

Hot irons in the fire!  Fiery classic soul.  Lady T., Teena Marie didn’t have to take a backseat to anyone.  I was lucky enough to see her perform live one time.

It was in a large Philadelphia arena.  The size of the crowd did not distract from the intimate punch Lady T. hammered home that night.  Teena Marie, March 5, 1956 - December 26, 2010.

Posted by King on 10/24 at 07:20 PM
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stephanie Mills In The House

Stephanie Mills, Kingsley Smith (King from Powerhouse Radio), and Diane Prior. It’s 1980, we are in the studio of WAYV-FM, Atlantic City, NJ. Diane, our evening dj, went on to WKTU-FM in New York City, and me to 4 different FM stations in Philadelphia, PA.

Posted by King on 09/19 at 07:07 PM
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sparkle Then and Now

Whitney Houston’s “Celebrate,” a nice uptempo duet with Jordin Sparks of American Idol fame was recorded in early February, 2012. The latest “Sparkle” movie was released in August, 2012. The original film from 1976 starred Irene Cara. “Celebrate” is included in the soundtrack.

Posted by King on 08/16 at 03:50 PM
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nile Rodgers Chic Le Freak

Nile Rodgers, the surviving founder of Chic, chronicles the rise of his group in “Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny.” Co-founder Bernard Edwards died in Tokyo, Japan in 1996.

The distinctive production style of Rodgers was responsible for hits by Diana Ross, David Bowie, Sister Sledge, Duran Duran, Grace Jones and many more.

Rodgers, a composer, arranger, guitarist and producer describes his humble beginnings in New York City before the dawn of Chic.  Readers of this autobiography will enjoy the special Nile anecdotes from various studio sessions.

Chic was a dynamic force, driven by the unique style of Rodgers and Edwards (on bass).  They don’t receive enough credit for their innovation.  Chic is often stereotyped in perception by attributing the blandness of the disco era to the group. Many negate Chic’s best work by lumping it in with the mediocre robotic melodies of disco’s heyday.

For the whole story, check out “Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny.”

Posted by King on 07/11 at 01:55 PM
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Whitney Houston So Emotional

From Newark, New Jersey to Beverly Hills.  Whitney Houston: born August 9, 1963 in Newark.  Died: February 11, 2012 in Beverly Hills. Celebrate her life with this “So Emotional” wallpaper from Picture Sleeve Pop.

Posted by King on 06/20 at 01:09 PM
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Monday, May 21, 2012

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

Posted by King on 05/21 at 12:34 PM
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lionel Richie Tuskegee

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.

Honarable 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!

Posted by King on 04/17 at 08:29 PM
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

President Obama sings Sweet Home Chicago

President Obama sings “Sweet Home Chicago."

Posted by King on 03/21 at 02:41 PM
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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Tribute to Soul Train - Don Cornelius

Here are 6 vintage classic Soul Train video performances presented as a tribute to the late host Don Cornelius.

Posted by King on 02/08 at 02:31 PM
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Aretha and Ray

Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles share a hug from back in the day.

Posted by King on 01/18 at 02:16 PM
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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Classic Soul Radio Busts a Mobile Device Move

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.

Download the iphone, iPad, and iPod Touch or Android App for live365, from iTunes or the Android Market, (Google Play), and tune us in on your phone!

Posted by King on 12/29 at 09:43 PM
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Michael Jackson Mixes Make Immortal Moves

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.

Posted by King on 11/30 at 08:30 PM
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

True Soul Classics from Little Rock Arkansas

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.

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.

Posted by King on 10/26 at 07:30 PM
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ohio Players Album Covers

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.

Posted by King on 09/28 at 09:00 AM
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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel

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 here to 60 seconds of “Forgive Me."

Posted by King on 08/31 at 07:15 PM
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