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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Masters of Funk Tour 2011 Rolls on

Pictured, The Bar-Kays.  The Masters of Funk 2011 World Tour rolls on.  Here’s the transcript of my interview with James JJ Underwood of JEA Right Now Records talking about the tour.

You can also listen to my Masters of Funk Tour 2011 interview that features the Bar-Kays latest release “Return of the Mack."

King: This is King from powerhouseradio.com and I am on the line with James JJ Underwood and JJ is the Office Manager for JEA Right Now Records. How you doing JJ?

James JJ Underwood:  I am doing fine, how about you there?

King: I am hangin’, I am hangin’ in, feeling pretty good today.  We want to talk to you a little bit about the Masters of Funk World Tour, which is featuring some of the great classic soul bands like the Bar-Kays, Con Funk Shun, Sugarfoot’s, Ohio Players.  I see you have a lot of different groups that are actually part of this tour but my understanding is not every group appears at every show. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

James JJ Underwood: Yes, we mix it up a little for every different venue that we go to.  The tours’ actually been going on for two to three years now. but we mix it up and give each city a little different taste of each group; because there are like 20 Bands involved in the tour, out of those 20 Bands like 4, or 5 bands perform at each venue. So we kind of spice it up a little and give the people a little bit of everything as far as the funk and the soul goes.

King: Now I see you guys are going to be in Detroit on April 2nd, 2011, so are you in the middle of the tour for the season. How many more dates do you have coming up in 2011?

James JJ Underwood:  We go to Detroit April 2nd, Chicago April 23rd, we do Memphis in May then we go to St. Louis in June. There is pretty much two dates a month, until the year is out for the Masters of Funk.  People really want to see this, they missed all the soul and funk groups. then, the live music people, are still really interested in the live music so the tour is going really well.

King: Is there any particular group among those that we have mentioned the Bar-Kays, Dazz Band, Sugarfoot’s, Ohio Players, Brick, Klymaxx, Mary Jane Girls, any one of these group at every show, do you have like a foundation group, or is it subject to change every show?

James JJ Underwood: It is subject to change every show it is usually, what the fans usually request.  For Phoenix we had Cherelle, the Dazz Band, Con Funk Shun and it was sell out and that’s what people wanted to see in Phoenix.

King: Where could people go to get the complete schedule of the Masters of Funk Tour?

James JJ Underwood: You can go to www.bar-kays.net.  There is a complete list of all the tour dates.  www.bar-kays.net, a complete list of everything.

King: I am King from powerhouseradio.com, we’re talking with JJ Underwood, he’s with JEA Right Now Records.  JJ you have mentioned that the tour is going through the end of the year, is that right into November and December?

James JJ Underwood:  Yeah, right until November and December.

King: So tell me about this new Bar-Kays song, Return of the Mack, I was just listening to it its pretty good. How did they get involved in putting this one out there?

James JJ Underwood: Mr. Larry Dodson, he likes to stay current with his music, and he is always coming up with something and he came up with this. I think it’s really a hit, it’s real current it still has the funk to it and it really displays the creativeness the Bar-Kays, still have.

King: And tell everybody who Larry Dodson is?

James JJ Underwood: Larry Dodson is the lead singer of the Bar-Kays.

King:  Alright, say JJ I want to thank you very much for talking to us about the Masters of Funk Tour 2011, and you said the tour has been going for a couple of years.  I hope in 2012 that you’re back at it one more time.

James JJ Underwood: Thanks for having me I appreciate it.

The Masters of Funk World Tour - 2011

  • Saturday, April 2, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan featuring: The Dazz Band, The Bar-Kays, Zapp, Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players
  • Saturday, May 7 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin featuring: The Bar-Kays, Con Funk Shun, Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players, Zapp, The Dazz Band
  • Friday, June 3 in St. Louis, Missouri featuring: The Bar-Kays, Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players, The Dazz Band
  • Saturday, June 11 in Louisville, Kentucky, featuring: The Bar-Kays, Slave, The Dazz Band
  • Saturday, July 16 in Nashville, Tennessee featuring:  Slave, The Bar-Kays, The Dazz Band
  • Saturday, August 20 in Kansas City, Missouri Featuring: The Bar-Kays, Slave, The Dazz Band

Posted by King on 03/29 at 08:00 AM
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tower of Funk Power

After all these years, Oakland, California’s Tower of Power just doesn’t seem to want to slow down.  This is a band at their best when they’re jammin’ live.

Take a look at the Tower of Power 2010 tour schedule.  New Jersey, Milan, Italy, Switzerland, Las Vegas: the guys are pumped to deliver the funk.

I’ve checked them out a couple of times live and they rock.

Enjoy this video from 2006 featuring their classic, “Soul Vaccination,” all across the nation!

Connect to Tower of Power on facebook.

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Posted by King on 06/10 at 08:00 PM
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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Roberta Flack Keeps Her Song Soft and Mellow

Always the master of timeless R&B, Roberta Flack continues to serenade audiences with her elegant mixture of toned down pop, soul, and jazz.

Roberta’s official biography tells the story...

"Classically trained on the piano from an early age, Ms. Flack received a music scholarship at age 15 to attend Howard University."

"She was “discovered while singing at the Washington, DC nightclub Mr. Henry’s by musician Les McCann, and promptly signed to Atlantic Records resulting in the release of a string of big Roberta Flack hits."

An interpretive album of Beatles’ classics is occupying lots of Roberta’s time, even as she sings to audiences during her 2010 tour.

Her Roberta Flack School of Music at the Hyde Leadership Charter School in the Bronx, New York, provides inspiring music education to underprivileged students free of charge.

That’s Roberta giving back to the community.

Roberta Flack live features the following dates:

  • Saturday, June 12, 2010, DC Jazz Festival, Washington, DC
  • Saturday, June 19, McDonald’s Gospelfest, Prudential Center Arena, Newark, NJ
  • Friday, July 9, Vancouver Island Music Fest, British Columbia, Canada
  • Saturday, July 17, BFLO Jazz Festival, Delaware Park, Buffalo, NY
  • Sunday, July 25, Calgary Folk Music Festival, Calgary, Canada
  • Saturday, September 4, Tokyo Jazz Festival, Tokyo, Japan
  • Saturday, September 18, Mayo Civic Center Theater, Rochester, MN

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Posted by King on 06/08 at 08:30 PM
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jeffrey Osborne Goes all the Way with LTD

Jeffrey Osborne has had a marvelous career.

He moved from behind the drum kit to center stage as lead vocalist for L.T.D., Love Togetherness & Devotion.

From 1969 to the present, Osborne has dived into funk, soul, and ballads propelled by powerful pipes pushing his resonant voice forward.

In 2009, Greatest Hits Live! was released, featuring a solid mix of L.T.D. and solo Jeffrey Osborne hits.

It’s a strong showcase of his deep catalog.

Take a look through the track list, then listen to 25 seconds of L.T.D.’s “Holding On” sung live by Jeffrey on this album.

  1. “We’re Going All The Way”
  2. “Don’t Get So Mad / medley I Don’t Need No Light”
  3. “Only Human”
  4. “Party Hearty”
  5. “Stranger”
  6. “Stay With Me”
  7. “Close the Door”
  8. “On the Wings of Love”
  9. “Holding On”
  10. “Concentrate On You”
  11. “We Both Deserve Each Other’s Love”
  12. “Love Ballad”
  13. “You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)”
  14. “Back In Love Again”
  15. “I’ll Be Around”

As of this writing, here are Jeffrey Osborne’s 2010 tour dates through October.

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Posted by King on 04/27 at 09:00 PM
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Diana Ross Touches the USA again

I really enjoyed attending my very first Diana Ross concert at the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey in January, 2008.

Spring is the time of the year Miss Ross likes to do what she loves...and that’s hit the road to entertain you.

Never seen her?  Don’t miss your chance in 2010!

The Boss still has the right stuff.  Charm, personality, showmanship, and hit music are all in the mix when this legendary diva takes the stage.

Here are Diana Ross more today than yesterday tour dates.

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Posted by King on 04/20 at 11:00 PM
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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Angelique Kidjo OYO

Back in 2002 on Powerhouse Radio, I started playing “Iwoya,” an Angelique Kidjo duet with Dave Matthews from her album, Black Ivory Soul, released that year.

Kidjo is a unique artist from West Africa, (Benin), mixing it up with a potpourri of eclectic world rhythms and soulful funky beats.

She’s just released her 9th album, OYO, singing in both traditional and English languages.

James Brown’s “Cold Sweat,” and Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up” (with John Legend & Bono) are a couple of the English language tracks.

Don’t worry about the language barrier, as this is universal music.

Kidjo has unfortunately never received a lot of exposure in the USA.  Perhaps this time around with a new album, things will change.

Her current tour is catering to her European fan base, with these 2010 dates:

  • April 11, Krefield, Germany - Kulturfabrik
  • April 12, Berlin, Germany - Kesselhaus
  • April 13, Hamburg, Germany - Fabrik
  • April 15, Frankfurt, Germany - Botfabrik
  • April 16, Cully, Switzerland - Cully Jazz Festival
  • April 17, Paris, France - La Cigale
  • April 20, Copenhagen, Denmark - Amager Bio
  • April 21, Helsinki, Finland - Savoy Theatre
  • April 22, Oslo, Norway - Cosmopolitan
  • April 24, Stockholm, Sweden - Gtakllaren

Watch Angelique Kidjo & Joss Stone perform “Gimme Shelter,” a blast from the past.

Listen to Angelique, John Legend, and Bono sing “Move on Up” (59 seconds) from her new album, OYO.

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Posted by King on 04/06 at 09:00 PM
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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sharon Jones takes the Long Road to SXSW in Austin

The annual Austin, Texas music extravaganza, SXSW, (South by Southwest), will draw dynamic acts from all over the globe for the March 17 - 21 (music week), 2010 showcase.

1987 was the first SXSW in Austin, a unique music city that mixes jazz, blues, rock, country, & folk.  This Texas town claims to have “more original music nightclubs in a concentrated area than any other city in the world."

One group getting a lot of attention this year is Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, who will perform Wednesday evening, March 17.

Within some music circles, the R&B authenticity of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings is hotly debated.

Without question, Sharon’s soulful delivery is genuine.  Are the Dap-Kings the second coming of original instrumental virtuosity on par with Booker T. & the MG’s (Memphis), The Funk Brothers (Motown), or MFSB (Philadelphia)?

No, if that’s what you’re looking for.

I’d argue that Jones & company have fused these influences to produce a contemporary neo classic soul sound that doesn’t necessarily mimic the expectations of past legacy styles.

When you have a diverse ethnic mix of musicians in a group, fresh sounds are often invented.

People who have seen Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings rave about their intense live show.

It’s also rare for a performer to jump into the music game after the age of 40, and achieve the success Sharon has earned.

You’ve heard the sound of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings in these movies: Soul Men (sound track), Up in the Air, American Gangster and The Great Debaters.

If you won’t be in Austin for SXSW, here’s the current international tour schedule for Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings:

  • Friday, March 26, Snoe.down Festival - Rutland, VT
  • Saturday, April 10, Astra - Berlin, Germany
  • Tuesday, April 13, Trabendo - Paris, France
  • Wednesday, April 14, Koko - London, UK
  • Thursday, April 15, Paradiso - Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Saturday, April 17, Wanee Festival - Live Oak, FL
  • Thursday, April 22, Festival Internationale de Louisiane - Lafayette, LA
  • Friday, April 23, The Howling Wolf - New Orleans, LA
  • Saturday, April 24, Double Decker Festival - Oxford, MS
  • Friday, April 30, Apollo Theater - New York City, NY
  • Saturday, May 1, Apollo Theater - New York City, NY
  • Thursday, May 6, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Richmond, VA
  • Friday, May 7, Rams Head Onstage - Annapolis, MD
  • Saturday, May 8, Jefferson Theater - Charlottesville, VA
  • Sunday, May 9, The NorVa - Norfolk, VA
  • Tuesday, May 11, Cats Cradle - Carrboro, NC
  • Wednesday, May 12, Orange Peel - Ashesville, NC
  • Thursday, May 13, Center Stage - Atlanta Atlanta, GA
  • Friday, May 14, Cannery Ballroom - Nashville, TN
  • Saturday, May 15, Nelsonville Music Festival - Nelsonville, OH
  • Monday, May 17, The Southgate House - Newport, KY
  • Tuesday, May 18, Majestic Theatre - Detroit, MI

Look for the new Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings collection, I Learned the Hard Way, their 4th album, scheduled for release on Tuesday, April 6th, 2010.

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Posted by King on 03/04 at 08:00 AM
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kool & the Gang Celebrate to Cheering Cuban Fans in Havana

Kool & the Gang are in the middle of a 4 day tour of Havana, Cuba, treating Cubans to American classic soul at it’s best.

Their Saturday, December 19 - Tuesday, December 22, 2009 shows have been authorized by the US government according to Robert “Kool” Bell, despite general travel restrictions by Washington to the communist island.

This is a rare appearance for an American group.  The last one was by Los Angeles band Audioslave in 2005.

The next stop on the current Kool & the Gang tour is a two-day gig at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida in early January, 2010.

Since many Cuban-Americans in Miami do not like the Cuban government, it will be interesting to see if there is any negative reaction to Kool & the Gang’s Florida appearances.

Robert “Kool” Bell says of Kool & the Gang’s Cuban trip: “our message is love, understanding and unity.  We don’t come as politicians, we come as musicians."

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Posted by King on 12/22 at 01:00 AM
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lisa Lisa Hits Em the Freestyle Way

Lisa Velez, the ‘Lisa Lisa’ in Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, has been called the Queen of Freestyle.

Bustin’ moves belting out uptempo tunes is only half of her appeal.

Lisa Lisa charms you with her bubbly vocal cheerfulness.

Ballads live in her comfort zone too, as demonstrated in the ginger delivery of Lisa Lisa’s classic slow jam “All Cried Out."

Life ‘N Love, released in July, 2009, is her latest album featuring 13 new tracks.

Looking back into the 1980’s, you don’t have think very long to remember at least 6 vintage Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam hits:

  1. “Can You Feel The Beat”
  2. “I Wonder If I Take You Home”
  3. “Lost In Emotion”
  4. “All Cried Out”
  5. “Head To Toe”
  6. “Let The Beat Hit ‘Em”

The New York City native is on the road to reconnect with her friends and fans.  Lisa Lisa has several dates with some familiar faces to party to the freestyle groove.

Different acts will appear with her on different dates, including Stevie B., Shannon, Expose’, and Rockwell.

  • Friday, October 30, 2009, Arizona State Fair - Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, AZ
  • Saturday, October 31, QC’s 20/20, Montebello, CA
  • Friday, November 6, Club KXX, Route 66 Casino, Albuquerque, NM
  • Friday, November 13, Taj Majal, Atlantic City, NJ
  • Saturday, December 19, Magic City Casino Amphitheater, Miami, FL

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Posted by King on 10/22 at 01:00 AM
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

George Benson Releases Songs and Stories

George Benson likes to throw rigid music categories out the window when he describes himself as “an entertainer” at heart.

During his successful career, George has repeatedly walked across ‘genre street’ bridging jazz, classic soul, and straight ahead R&B.

The new George Benson album, Songs and Stories, scheduled for an October 2009 release, leans toward the pop mainstream with tracks written by among others James Taylor, Smokey Robinson, Lamont Dozier, Bill Withers, and Donny Hathaway.

In reading through the official George Benson biography on his website, it’s clear that he has paid his dues excelling in a variety of award winning roles as both a guitarist and vocalist.

Benson’s hits are well known:  “This Masquerade,” “Give Me The Night,” “Inside Love.” A novelty favorite of mine is 1975’s “Supership,” a danceable ditty complete with ocean liner horn sound effects.

Songs and Stories continues the George Benson legacy with these tracks:

  1. “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight”
  2. “Family Reunion”
  3. “Show Me The Love”
  4. “A Telephone Call Away”
  5. “Someday We’ll All Be Free”
  6. “Nuthin’ But A Party”
  7. “Come In From The Cold”
  8. “Exotica”
  9. “Rainy Night In Georgia”
  10. “One Like You”
  11. “Living In High Definition”
  12. “Sailing”

Join Mr. Benson as he continues his international 2009 tour:

  • October 22, 2009 Westbury, NY Westbury Music Fair
  • October 24, Detroit, MI Masonic Center
  • November 12, Yerevan, Armenia - National Academic Opera and Ballet
  • November 14, Moscow, Russia Kremlin Palace
  • November 16, Baku, Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev Palace
  • November 18, Dubai, UAE Emirates Golf Club
  • November 19, Manama, Bahrain Venue to be announced
  • November 22, Rome, Italy Sala Santa Cecilia
  • November 23, Naples, Italy Teatro Augesteo
  • November 24, Bari, Italy Teatroteam
  • November 25, Catania, Italy Teatro Metropolitan

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Posted by King on 09/22 at 09:00 PM
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Pointer Sisters Keep their Trio Together

The beat goes on for The Pointer Sisters, despite the loss of June Pointer in April, 2006.

There’s strength in the family when multiple generations can sing together to create harmony in the name of beautiful music.

Issa, (on the right, with Ruth (left) and Anita Pointer (middle) is Ruth’s daughter.  Issa officially joined the group in 2003, and was 7 years old when the Pointer Sisters toured in 1985.

Read the compelling Issa Pointer story on the official Pointer Sisters website.

Catch the Pointer Sisters Saturday, September 26, 2009, at Bally’s in Atlantic City, NJ.

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Posted by King on 09/17 at 01:00 AM
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kool & the Gang Fall Tour

Kool & the Gang take it to the stage this fall as they continue their 2009 tour.

Mr. Bell and company still receive a lot of well deserved press.

Scan through several relatively recent reviews in Kool & the Gang news at their official website.

There are several very good early Kool & the Gang albums (pre 1979 Ladies Night).  I recommend their jazzy 1969 debut release, Kool & the Gang, and 1972’s underrated funk frolic: Music Is the Message.

Kool & the Gang are excellent live, so check them out when they come to your town.

  • Friday, September 18, 2009 Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts Cerritos, CA
  • Friday, September 25, Tropicana, Atlantic City, NJ
  • Saturday, September 26, Tropicana, Atlantic City, NJ
  • Sunday, September 27, Hollywood Bowl - Disco Fever 3, Los Angeles, CA
  • October
  • Friday, October 2, Gretna Heritage Festival, Gretna, LA
  • Saturday, October 3, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Biloxi, MS
  • Monday, October 12, Epcot Center, Lake Buena Vista, FL
  • Tuesday, October 13, Epcot Center, Lake Buena Vista, FL
  • Saturday, October 17, US Airways Center Phoenix, AZ
  • Thursday, October 29, Steel Arena Kosice, Slovak Republic
  • November
  • Thursday, November 12, El San Juan Hotel & Casino, San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Posted by King on 09/10 at 01:00 AM
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Anita Baker Sings in Key DC Appearance

It’s always a treat to catch Detroit, Michigan native Anita Baker under the bright spotlight.

The Grammy Award winning lady of “Rapture,” “Sweet love,” “Giving You the Best that I Got,” and other memorable hits is scheduled to appear in Washington, DC at Constitution Hall on Friday, September 18, 2009.

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Posted by King on 08/27 at 08:00 AM
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Earth Wind & Fire 2009 Tour Update

The Earth Wind & Fire 2009 summer tour is winding down...

  • Tuesday, August 25, 2009 Atlanta, GA, Chastain Park Amphitheater (with Chicago)
  • Wednesday, August 26, Cincinnati, OH, Riverbend Music Center (with Chicago)
  • Friday, August 28, Holmdel, NJ, PNC Bank Arts Center (with Chicago)
  • Saturday, August 29, The Reach Music Festival - Simsbury, CT, The Performing Arts Center At Simsbury Meadows
  • Sunday, August 30, Wantagh, NY, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater (with Chicago)
  • Wednesday, September 2, The Great Allentown Fair - Allentown, PA, Grandstand Stage (with Chicago)
  • Thursday, October 8, Jacksonville, FL, Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena

You can grab 3 previously unreleased MP3’s by joining Earth Wind & Fire and Chicago in their fight against hunger and poverty by making a $3 or more donation to WHY Fight Hunger.

I happily made a donation.  One of the 3 never released songs you’ll be able to download is a nice update of “Wishing You Were Here,” a great Earth Wind & Fire - Chicago collaboration.

This Chicago original gets a nice, jazzy update with EWF’s Philip Bailey singing lead.  It’s quite different from the hit version that teamed Chicago together with the Beach Boys.

The 2 additional songs you can download feature one from Chicago, and another from Earth Wind & Fire with Chicago.

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Posted by King on 08/25 at 07:30 PM
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Smokey Robinson Passes the Time Flying High with Hits

Bill (William) Smokey Robinson has been apart of the music scene since Motown captured the hearts of young America way back when.

Smokey’s sincere comments regarding fond memories of Michael Jackson have been well received in the media during the aftermath of the Jackson tragedy.

Time Flies When You Are Having Fun is the brand new Smokey Robinson album, scheduled for release on Tuesday, August 25, 2009, on his own label, Robso Records.

Smokey is on the road during his 2009 tour:

  • Wednesday, July 15, Costa Mesa, CA, Pacific Amphitheatre
  • Friday, July 17, Morton, MN, Jackpot Junction Casino
  • Saturday, July 18, Fort Worth, TX, Bass Performance Hall
  • Thursday, July 23, Clarkston, MI, DTE Energy Music Theatre
  • Saturday, July 25, Lisle, IL, Morton Arboretum
  • Friday, July 31, Kelseyville, CA, Konocti Field Amphitheater
  • August:
  • Saturday, Aug. 1, Oakville, CA, Robert Mondavi Winery
  • Friday, Aug. 7, Saratoga, CA, The Mountain Winery
  • Wednesday, Aug. 12, Vienna, VA, The Filene Center
  • September:
  • Friday, Sept. 4, Shreveport, LA, Sams Town Casino
  • Sunday, Sept. 6, Vinton, LA, Delta Downs Casino
  • Friday, Sept. 18, Galveston, TX, The Grand Opera House
  • Saturday, Sept. 19, Biloxi, MS, Beau Rivage Resort
  • October:
  • Wednesday, Oct 28, Newark NJ, NJ Performing Arts Center
  • November:
  • Friday, Nov 13, Agoura Hills, CA, Canyon Club

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Posted by King on 07/14 at 07:30 PM
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