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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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Friday, June 24, 2011

Michael Jackson's Solo Timeline

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.

Posted by King on 06/24 at 07:30 PM
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Monday, June 13, 2011

20 Years of Mary J. Blige

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.

Posted by King on 06/13 at 09:28 PM
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Janet Jackson and Friend

Right now is always a good time to have some fun with Janet Jackson.  Enjoy Janet and Friend.  Do you know who the friend is?

Posted by King on 03/16 at 07:30 PM
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

10 Parliament - Funkadelic Freeze Frames

Some music artists get really creative commissioning expressive cover art on their albums.

Just look during the height of the vinyl record era for some of the most memorable masterpieces.

From classic soul, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Ohio Players, and Parliament - Funkadelic are 3 great examples.

Watch the one minute slide show featuring some of leader George Clinton’s most memorable Funkadelic cover-branding visuals to promote these well received albums.

As a special bonus, grab the Funkadelic “Electric Spanking of War Babies" wallpaper from PictureSleevePop.com.

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Posted by King on 05/18 at 09:00 PM
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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

War Serves Up A Spicy Cinco De Mayo Sing-along

On War’s 1982 album Outlaw, you’ll find the lively “Cinco De Mayo,” a festive and funky anthem for Cinco De Mayo Day.

Sing-along with War for 30 seconds.

They have the jazz, rock, Latin, and R&B groove.

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Posted by King on 05/04 at 01:00 AM
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Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Delfonics Debut Harmonic Philly Soul

The Delfonics set the stage for the Stylistics, the O’Jays, and the eventual parade of other future smooth Philly-soul vocal groups.

The sound of the Delfonics was not the funky sound of Motown, Stax, Memphis, or Chicago.

Producer Thom Bell enhanced what the Delfonics created to eventually popularize this style of quiet storm R&B.

Philadelphia’s original Delfonics: Wilbert Hart, William Hart, and Randy Cain first recorded for the Cameo Parkway label.  Thom Bell would grab them for his Philly Groove label, releasing “La La Means I Love You” in 1968.

Major Harris, of “Love Won’t Let Me Wait” fame would replace Randy Cain in 1971.

As Marc Taylor describes in his book A Touch of Classic Soul: Soul Singers of the Early 1970’s, there were 2 sets of Delfonics touring in the 1980s because of a legal fight over the name.

There will be no confusion when you watch and listen to my 30 second slide show featuring “the real” Delfonics.

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Posted by King on 04/08 at 09:00 PM
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rose Royce Rides in Classic Soul Style

Producer Norman Whitfield was the wizard behind the mix with a nice run mentoring these four albums by Rose Royce released between 1976 - 1979.

Car Wash - 1976, In Full Bloom II - 1977, Strikes Again III - 1978, and Rainbow Connection IV - 1979.

Three of these albums were released on his own label Whitfield, distributed by Warner Brothers, (with the exception of Car Wash, on MCA).

Before his Rose Royce days, Norman Whitfield wrote and produced many classics for Motown, including “Ball of Confusion,” and “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations.

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Posted by King on 03/18 at 07:45 PM
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Shelia E. and Natalie Cole Freeze Frames

Natalie Cole’s “I Live For Your Love" is one of the many 7 inch 45 rpm vinyl picture sleeve singles released to promote her music back in the day.

Some of her other picture sleeves include:

  • “Dangerous”
  • “Jump Start”
  • “When I Fall In Love”
  • “Miss You Like Crazy”

Shelia E.’s “The Glamorous Life" and “The Belle of St. Mark” are her two most popular picture sleeves, along with:

  • “A Love Bizarre”
  • “Sister Fate”
  • “Bedtime Story”
  • “Holly Rock”
  • “Hold Me”
  • “Koo Koo”

In 2010, some of these sleeves are more valuable than the records.

You may find some hidden gems lying in a basement, garage, attic, flea market, second-hand shop, or at a used record store.

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Posted by King on 03/16 at 01:00 AM
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Recycled Soul Gold Meets Motorcity Hits

When A Soulful Tale of Two Cities, the Detroit - Philadelphia R&B connection was released in 2006, it seemed we had just about reached the creative limit in the reincarnation of classic soul hits.

Now in 2010 comes Motorcity Hits...Real Music Is Back, a new 17 song collection featuring fresh takes on divine Detroit ditties.

The Four Tops, the Dramatics, the Miracles, the Contours with Joe Billingslea, the Original Vandellas, Freda Payne, and other artists are featured.

Be sure to listen to the 60 second montage I’ve created from three of the featured tracks.

One thing is certain, there is an eager market for vintage classic soul, but at what point will we become oversaturated with these infinite recorded retakes?

The original versions are burned into our memories just like our a-b-c’s.

Will you accept essentially carbon copy updates?

I do like the sparser instrumental treatment these songs receive.

Freda Payne (pictured here) sounds just as good as she did back in the day.

I don’t believe the producers wanted to meticulously duplicate the sophisticated layering of the Motown originals.

The updated arrangements salute the originals, but reflect an instrumental slickness that sings “2010."

Here are the tracks:

  1. “Hitsville Hall Of Fame” - Various Artists
  2. “Money” - Paul Hill featuring Barrett Strong
  3. “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” - the Four Tops
  4. “Baby Come Close” - Keith Washington
  5. “Leavin You” - the Miracles
  6. “Needle In The Haystack” - the Velvelettes
  7. “Love Machine” - the Miracles
  8. “Bad Girl” - the Dramatics
  9. “The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game” - Paul Hill
  10. “Even If My Heart Would Break” - the Contours with Joe Billingslea
  11. “Band Of Gold” - Freda Payne
  12. “Stubborn Kind Of Fellow” - Paul Hill Featuring George Clinton
  13. “Miles Away” - the Four Tops
  14. “Do You Love Me” - the Contours with Joe Billingslea
  15. “Since I Fell For You” - Laura Lee
  16. “Dancing In The Street” - the Original Vandellas
  17. “Baby I’m For Real” - Duane Parham featuring Pat Lewis

Laura Lee, (left), takes the Lenny Welch serenade “Since I Fell For You,” plugs in an intro rap, and sings her heart out.

There are original members still with us from many of these groups.

The Motor City Hits Records website has some interesting links about these personalities in their artist(s) information section.

Listen to 60 seconds of: the Four Tops, Freda Payne, and Laura Lee from Motorcity Hits...Real Music Is Back.

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Posted by King on 02/16 at 09:00 PM
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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Black History Month Classic Soul Disc Jockeys

It’s time to have some fun and go back to those thrilling days in our past when spectacular entertainers thrilled radio listeners.

There will be a quiz, so please join in.

In 1999, William Barlow wrote a great book, Voice Over: The Making of Black Radio.

Mr. Barlow presents an outstanding timeline based story about how enterprising African American voices made their way into communities through radio to entertain, inform, and educate.

I highly recommend this book for those of you interested in the real story about how ‘black radio’ was created and evolved.

Our purpose here however is the music, so in honor of Black History Month, we present 5 disc jockeys who had a significant impact on their industry, cities, and fans.

You get to guess who is who.

Listen to the 2 minute feature below.  Can you figure out the names of all 5 disc jockeys.  Maybe you know only one.

But wait.  There’s another angle to this game.  Each disc jockey is featured from an actual vinyl record they released to the public back in the day.

Leave a comment and take a guess about who these folks are.

Some hints: think Windy City, The Big Apple, and The City of Brotherly Love.

At the end of Black History Month, I will reveal who each person is, along with the names of the songs, and the labels they were released on.

These tracks all come from my personal collection.

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Posted by King on 02/09 at 07:30 PM
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Time Plays it Cool for New Year's Eve

That’s Morris Day out in front on the cover of the Time’s 1981 album, The Time.

As was normal back in the day, record label Warner Brothers stamped a “loaned for promotion only” sticker on the upper right side of my deejay copy (of the vinyl disc).

Terry Lewis, Jimmy Jam, Monte Moir, Jellybean Johnson, Jesse Johnson, and Morris Day were the Minneapolis, Minnesota Time.

They’ll be represented during the 16 hour plus Powerhouse Radio New Year’s Eve Special beginning at 9 am Eastern.

During a portion of the special, I’ll be plugging in my announcers microphone to provide an additional element of that old school classic soul touch.

As 2009 comes to a close, faith is the key, and hope unlocks the door for an optimistic year in 2010.

Before successful on-air times at both WBLS in New York City, and WUSL Power 99 FM in Philadelphia, I got some seasoning working at a variety of radio stations.

So, compare what you hear on these two brief excerpts from way back when to our special on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2009!

Total running time is 4 minutes, 30 seconds for the complete aircheck.  The first clip features WALL contest time.  Remember when radio stations always featured non-stop contests?

Clip two takes you to Atlantic City, New Jersey.

For several of my early artist interviews, visit the Powerhouse Radio archive.

I don’t have any pictures from WALL, but here’s one from May, 1977 taken at WUSS about a year after the clip recording.

By the way, the picture of me at the top of this page is new, from about 2006.

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Posted by King on 12/30 at 12:30 PM
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Thursday, September 03, 2009

B.T. Express Beat Non-Stop Groove

Brooklyn, New York’s B.T. Express are remembered for their 1974 classic soul hits “Do It (’Til You’re Satisfied)” and “Express."

They chugged along the funky ‘dance-music’ track conducting 8 energetic albums including Non-Stop, their 2nd release, shown here.

Listen to 30 seconds of the underground favorite, “Peace Pipe,” the first track on Non-Stop.

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Posted by King on 09/03 at 07:30 PM
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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Blue Magic - Major Harris - Margie Joseph Live

Here’s Blue Magic, Major Harris, and Margie Joseph on stage at the Latin Casino dinner theatre in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Bill Thompson, an entertainment writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer in a 1975 article described their appearance: “there was an Atlantic Records Company musical extravaganza and recording session Monday night that would make Caesars Palace in Las Vegas seem like a coffee shop."

Thompson added “the show began with the orchestra playing the sound track of the movie Jaws, along with a film introduction of the recording stars, and it ended almost two hours later with a standing ovation."

The Latin Casino is long gone.  Subaru of America headquarters now occupies the Cherry Hill, New Jersey space.  However, the double album recording of this event, released in 1976, lives on with many outstanding tracks.

Major Harris, of “Love Won’t Let Me Wait” and the Delfonics fame, sings solo, and in tandem with either Blue Magic or Margie Joseph.

The performers sing their own songs, along with covers from Barry White, and versions of Gamble and Huff Philadelphia International hits including “I Love Music” and “Bad Luck."

Blue Magic, Major Harris, and Margie Joseph Live is an enjoyable mix of classic soul memories.

In 2007, Major Harris released his version of “My Cherie Amour,” the Stevie Wonder hit.

Listen to 50 seconds of Major singing “My Cherie Amour."

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Posted by King on 09/01 at 08:00 AM
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Woodstock Is Still Wonderful at 40

Woodstock, the 1969 arts and music festival, is an important iconic cultural event because of the changing artistic and social norms the concert both magnified and challenged.

August 15 - 18, 40 years ago this weekend, the harmonic happening happened.

The historic gathering of close to 500,000 people in Woodstock, New York was not the first flower-power super show.  Woodstock occurred 2 years after 1967’s Monterey Pop, a legendary California gathering of contemporary music elite.

We remember Woodstock, for creating the formula for Live Earth, Live Aid, Farm Aid, and the subsequent gigantic song filled mega affairs yet to come.

Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in the planning, execution, and organization of Woodstock.

Just out of high school during the summer of 69’, I wrote the organizers for ticket information and received disappointing news from them in a letter laced with typographical mistakes.

In retrospect, with no tickets and no way to get there, it was a smart move for me not to attempt to go (from New York City) despite being just 80 miles away from the town of Woodstock.

Hundreds of thousands attended, including the gleeful gate crashers who soaked in the spirit of free admission, free music, and frequent rain during the weekend.

Woodstock, Monterey Pop, and many of the other Wal-Mart sized festivals have always been criticized for sparse representation of R&B and soul performers.

Monterey Pop had Booker T & The MG’s, Otis Redding, and Hugh Masekela.  Woodstock had Sly & The Family Stone, Richie Havens, and Santana.  Both featured Jimi Hendrix.

Missing from these grand spectacles, real blues legends like B.B. King.

Despite the booking lapses, it was still much easier to create a somewhat diverse concert bill in 1969 than what might be expected today.

Woodstock had among others…

  • Folk: Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie, Melanie, Tim Hardin
  • Rock: Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Ten Years After
  • Soft Rock: Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
  • Blues Rock: Canned Heat, Butterfield Blues Band
  • Pop: Sha-Na-Na, John Sebastian

Woodstock is given a pass for the technical quality of the concert recording.  Admittedly, this was a tough job.

According to the official documentation on the original vinyl 3 album set, 64 reels of 8 track tape were used to capture three and 1/2 days of music.

Each day consisted of 18 continuous hours of performances.  The final mixes are rough by today’s standards.  What stands out is the energy and passion of the performers as they were motivated to jam thanks to the responsive, enthusiastic crowd.

In 1994 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Woodstock, a 4 CD collection was finally released with cleaner mixes.  Melanie, Tim Hardin, and a few other performers who appeared in 1969 (but were not on the original record) got added to the updated release.  Still, we remember this 60’s defining event not so much for the music, but for it’s social significance.

Listen for our 40th anniversary Woodstock tribute on Powerhouse Radio on Friday, August 14, 2009, during the 11 am eastern hour.

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Posted by King on 08/13 at 01:00 AM
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