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Sunday, July 31, 2011

TSOP Soul Radio Salutes Philadelphia

If your passion is nothing but wall-to-wall Gamble & Huff Philly style sounds, you may want to check out TSOP Soul Radio, an online repository of the best of Philadelphia International Records.

You’ll hear a steady diet of O’Jays, Teddy Pendegrass, MFSB, and more.  An appealing element of listening to TSOP Soul Radio is the deep track selection, playing almost everything from the Philadelphia International Records catalogue.

Posted by King on 07/31 at 06:11 PM
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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

6 Songs from 2010 with Powerhouse Soul

Across all musical genres the usual suspects released an adequate supply of new tunes during 2010.  It’s debatable how much of it was truly distinguished.

Among our 6 Songs from 2010 with powerhouse soul, just 2 are new, the rest are covers, albeit very good ones.

The emotional power of the 20 live tracks provided by the artists on the Hope for Haiti Now album benefiting the victims of the earthquake there reflect the seriousness of one of the most important stories of the year.

1) “Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour) Version 1.0” by Jay-Z, Bono, The Edge, and Rihanna is at the top of our list.  Good message, great collaboration, nice beat.

2) “Wake Up Everybody” lead by John Legend, Melanie Fiona, and Common is next.  A very good contemporary version of the classic by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes.

3) “The Word” by Bettye LaVette is the surprise of the year.  Good things come to those who wait.  Ms. Lavette retooled this Lennon & McCartney song and took it to Memphis.

4) “Move on Up” Angelique Kidjo (with John Legend & Bono) turned Curtis Mayfield’s anthem into a world music theme.  Exposure during the World Cup was nice.

5) “Night Shift” (Tribute to Michael Jackson version), the Commodores.  In 2010 the Commodores re-released their original hit with new lyrics dedicated to the King of Pop to coincide with the anniversary of his death.  The update works perfectly.

6) “Breaking News,” Michael Jackson.  When your “B” material is still better than the “A” material of many other artists, you know you are special.  This is an excellent, sarcastic boogie-down “in your face” response to the media for their attempt to demonize M-J.

The song opens with hilarious sound bites from frantic TV & radio news reporters talking smack about his antics.  “Breaking News” was recorded a couple of years ago, but never released until this fall.  It’s included on Jackson’s scheduled December 14th offering of never released material: Michael.

Posted by King on 12/08 at 07:30 PM
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Halloween Dance and Party Music to Die For

Two new wacky party albums packed with danceable delights along with frightening sound effects have just dropped in time for Halloween tricks and treats 2010.

Dance and Party Music to Die For has nice remixes including the “Halloween Theme” by John Carpenter.

Going Gaga for the Lady Zombie by Halloween Music Freaks includes “The Howling” (werewolves transformed by the full moon on the prowl), “Zombie Hospital” (the undead wreaking havoc) and “Wicked Witches Waltzing Around The Cauldron” (freaky witches dancing and laughing as they make mischief).

You can find Dance and Party Music to Die For and Going Gaga for the Lady Zombie at iTunes, and Amazon.com.

Listen to the great remix of the “Halloween Theme."

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Posted by King on 10/12 at 09:00 PM
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Dells Are Harmony

Chicago’s Dells, kings of harmony, formed in 1953, and recorded for Chess and Vee-Jay Records.  By the 1970’s, The Dells moved to Mercury Records, ABC, and Chi-Sound.

The Dells had hits in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.

Listen to just over 60 seconds of The Dells singing “A Heart Is A House For Love,” featured in the soundtrack from The Five Hearbeats movie, (song produced by George Duke, 1991).

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Posted by King on 08/24 at 09:30 PM
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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Millie Jackson Country

Country tunes in Nashville for the talented tongue of Millie Jackson?  That’s what she did in 1981, broadening her horizons to the masses.

This 45 RPM picture sleeve single is from her country album, Just a Li’l Bit Country.

She tackles the Don Gibson song, “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” a major hit for Ray Charles in 1962.

There must have been an international market for European country lovers, as this particular copy was made and pressed in West Germany by Polydor Records.

However, what Millie Jackson does best is to rock the house with her live and uncensored no holds barred charm.

An excellent example, Millie’s classic soul jewel, “If Loving You is Wrong, I Don’t Want to Be Right."

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Posted by King on 08/03 at 08:30 PM
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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Michael Jackson Tribute by the Commodores

“Nightshift," the haunting tribute hit by the Commodores memorializing Marvin Gaye, among others, was released in 1984.

The song won a Grammy Award in 1985.

25 years later in 2010, the Commodores have re-recorded “Nightshift” with their original production team (Dennis Lambert & Peter Wolf) as a tribute to Michael Jackson.

They’ve done a nice job updating this classic soul gem.

Listen to 45 seconds of “Nightshift,” a tribute to Michael Jackson.

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Posted by King on 07/08 at 09:30 PM
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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Bloodstone Stays Cool with Natural High Vibes

"Natural High” was Bloodstone’s only certified-gold single.  “Why do I keep my mind, on you all of the time” lyrically opens the #4 R&B, #10 pop 1973 hit.

Group member Charles McCormick, (2nd from the left), wrote this classic soul ballad for his wife, his senior-class high school sweetheart.

Bloodstone was formed in Kansas City, Missouri, by McCormick, Harry Williams, Charles Love, Willis Draffen Jr., and Roger Durham.

When the temperature gets hot, “Natural High” puts you in a cool state of mind.

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Posted by King on 07/06 at 09:00 PM
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

One Million Fans Try a Little Tenderness with Otis Redding

There’s a reason why well over one million fans have enjoyed this 1967 Stax Tour Otis Redding live performance.

Brightened up your day and watch the classic “Try A Little Tenderness."

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Posted by King on 06/29 at 09:00 PM
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

7 Songs that Score for the 2010 World Cup

Here are 7 songs that score for the 2010 World Cup football - soccer experience happening now in South Africa.

  1. “Move on Up” - Angelique Kidjo, John Legend, and Bono written by Curtis Mayfield
  2. “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” - Shakira (the official World Cup song)
  3. “Sign of a Victory” - R. Kelly, (the official anthem of the World Cup)
  4. “Satellite” - Uwu Lena, (unofficial German football song)
  5. “Shout for England” - Dizzee Rascal
  6. “Wavin’ Flag” - K’Naan (used by Coca-Cola ads)
  7. “Oh Africa” - Akon and Keri Hilson (used by Pepsi ads)

You can see the live version of “Move On Up” featuring Angelique Kidjo and John Legend (close to the top of our Facebook.com/PowerhouseRadio page) for a limited time.

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Posted by King on 06/17 at 07:15 PM
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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Bettye LaVette Sings the Real Deal

Bettye LaVette is the legendary female classic soul lady who’s career is repeatedly described as invisible anonymity.

She’s not a household name.  How can this be?

In 1962, she had a top 10 R&B hit with her very first recording, “My Man-He’s A Lovin’ Man."

Through the years, Bettye has teased the R&B charts, never quite breaking through to big time fame.

Despite this stigma, she’s earned an iconic reputation as one of the most gifted song interpreters you’ll ever hear.

Enter Bettye LaVette’s May, 2010 release Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook.

Classic soul invades the classic rock play book to sprout 13 re-groomed tunes.

The album concept reverses the 1960’s trend of British bands covering the songs of American blues artists.

LaVette recasts the formula weaving rock hits into fresh, mellow, torch songs fueled by soul-to-the-bone emotion.

These chestnuts are not the usual overexposed suspects.

Even If you’ve never heard of the original songs, and don’t know who recorded them, this collection could easily stand on it’s own as a quality introduction to Bettye LaVette.

I have been following the hype about this album for months, and I’m happy to say it delivers.

One personal criticism is LaVette’s choice to sing some of what were original uptempo classics as ballads this time around, however she creates inspired renderings with clear, understood lyrics.

Who says you can’t have a renaissance in the music business after kickin’ it for over 40 years!

Check out Bettye LaVette Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook

  1. “The Word” (Lennon & McCartney)
  2. “No Time To Live” (Capaldi & Winwood)
  3. “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” (Benny Benjamin)
  4. “All My Love” (John Paul Jones & Robert Plant)
  5. “Isn’t It A Pity” (George Harrison)
  6. “Wish You Were Here” (Roger Waters)
  7. “It Don’t Come Easy” (Richard Starkey)
  8. “Maybe I’m Amazed” (Paul McCartney)
  9. “Salt of the Earth” (Mick Jagger & Keith Richards)
  10. “Nights In White Satin” (Justin Hayward)
  11. “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad” (Eric Clapton)
  12. “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” (Elton John)
  13. “Love Reign O’er Me” (Pete Townshend)

Track 13 is a bonus track recorded live at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, December, 2008.

Listen to 30 seconds of “Isn’t It A Pity” sung by Bettye LaVette.

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Posted by King on 06/03 at 01:00 AM
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Smokey Robinson Writes the Mighty Classics

You know you’re a great song writer when your catalog of melodies includes hundreds of compositions.

At last count, Smokey Robinson had over 460 songs registered in the official online song databases as author (or co-author).

Without Smokey, how would Motown have had all of those early hits?

Let’s not even mention the scores of artists who have covered his songs.

"Ain’t That Peculiar,” Marvin Gaye and George Clinton.  “My Girl,” the Temptations and the Whispers.  “Tears of A Clown,” the Miracles and Shalamar.

One of your all-time favorites might just be a Smokey Robinson song.

When it comes to love and romance, the pen of ‘Bill’ William ‘Smokey’ Robinson is number one.

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Posted by King on 03/23 at 07:30 PM
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Queen of Soul Creates Golden Aretha Duets

Throughout her fabulous career, Aretha Franklin has collaborated with the best in the business.

In 2007, Arista Records released Jewels In The Crown: All-Star Duets with The Queen.

These ‘song buddy’ partnerships have become so commonplace that it’s easy to take them for granted...but not Aretha’s.

You get a soup to nuts smorgasbord of delicacies from Miss Franklin on Jewels In The Crown, and that’s what I like the most about this CD.

Funk, classic soul, middle of the road, rock, gospel, and a touch of opera on “Nessun Dorma” (with the New York Recording Orchestra) make this a very strong collection of songs.

All of the tunes are powered with emotion.  Her song partners are allowed to shine and share the spotlight.

If you missed this one the first time around, check it out.

Jewels In The Crown: All-Star Duets with The Queen:

  1. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” with Keith Richards
  2. “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” with Eurythmics
  3. “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” with George Michael
  4. “What Now My Love” with Frank Sinatra
  5. “Put You Up On Game” with Fantasia
  6. “What Y’All Came To Do” with John Legend
  7. “Never Gonna Break My Faith” with Mary J. Blige & the Harlem Boys Choir
  8. “Through The Storm” with Elton John
  9. “It Isn’t, It Wasn’t, It Ain’t Never Gonna Be” with Whitney Houston
  10. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” with Bonnie Raitt and Gloria Estefan
  11. “Doctor’s Orders” with Luther Vandross
  12. “Ever Changing Times” with Michael McDonald
  13. “Chain of Fools” with Mariah Carey
  14. “Don’t Waste Your Time” with Mary J. Blige
  15. “Love All The Hurt Away” with George Benson
  16. “Nessun Dorma” with the New York Recording Orchestra

Listen to 60 seconds of Aretha swing with Frank Sinatra on the standard:  “What Now My Love."

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Posted by King on 02/18 at 07:30 PM
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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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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Black History Month Classic Soul Anthems

The White House is getting ready to host a civil rights music review on February 10, 2010.

President and Mrs. Obama have invited Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, John Mellencamp, Smokey Robinson, Seal, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and the Howard University Choir to perform music from the movement.

A PBS television broadcast on February 11th, as well as a one hour NPR radio special on selected stations during Black History Month will feature the concert.

One of the best classic soul compilations of civil rights era music is Black Power: Music of A Revolution.

This 2 CD set was released on the Shout label in 2004.

It has one of the best collections I’ve seen of both message music and liberation prose from the golden age of R&B.

Here are the tracks on Disc 1 & 2:

  1. “The Black Panther Party” - Huey Newton
  2. “You’re The Man pts. 1 & 2” - Marvin Gaye
  3. “Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto” - Philadelphia Int’l All Stars
  4. “Change It” - Kathleen Cleaver
  5. “Song To The System” - Segments of Time
  6. “Right On” - Sons of Slum
  7. “Tell It Like It Is” - S.O.U.L.
  8. “Mighty Mighty” - Earth Wind & Fire
  9. “Compared To What” - Les McCann & Eddie Harris
  10. “I Don’t Know What This World Is Coming To” - Soul Children
  11. “Power to the People” - Huey Newton
  12. “Give More Power To The People” - Chi-Lites
  13. “Give The People What They Want” - O’Jays
  14. “We Want Black Power” - Stokely Carmichael
  15. “Say It Loud - I’m Black and I’m Proud” - James Brown
  16. “Blackenized” - Hank Ballard
  17. “So Much Strength” - Stokely Carmichael
  18. “Fight The Power (pt. 1)” - Isley Brothers
  19. “Stop Singing and Start Swinging” - Malcolm X

  1. “Standing & Fighting” - Malcolm X
  2. “Message From a Black Man” - Temptations
  3. “Part - E, S’ - Watts Prophets
  4. “Violence is as American as Cherry Pie” - H. Rap Brown
  5. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” - Gil Scott-Heron
  6. “When The Revolution Comes” - The Last Poets
  7. “Am I Black Enough For You?” - Billy Paul
  8. “Black Unity” - Stokely Carmichael
  9. “My People...Hold On” - Eddie Kendricks
  10. “Be Thankful For What You Got” - William DeVaughn
  11. “Chocolate City” - Parliament
  12. “We’re a Winner (live)” - Curtis Mayfield
  13. “We Got More Soul” - Dyke & The Blazers
  14. “I Am Somebody (part 2)” - Johnnie Taylor
  15. “Express Yourself” - Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band
  16. “Respect Yourself” - Staple Singers
  17. “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” - Nina Simone
  18. “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” - Kim Weston
  19. “Ain’t’ No Stoppin’ Us Now” - McFadden & Whitehead

The number of female artists represented is light, but still, this is a powerful music and spoken word reflection of the civil rights social movement.

Listen to 15 seconds of activist H. Rap Brown’s “Violence is as American as Cherry Pie.” Facebook fans, you’ll have to scroll down and click the link “View original post."

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Posted by King on 02/04 at 07:30 PM
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Classic Soul Memory from the Lost Generation

Chicago’s The Lost Generation recorded 2 albums for Brunswick Records before leaving the label in 1973.

Jesse Dean, Larry Brownlee, and brothers Lowrell and Fred Simon were The Lost Generation.

Their one major hit, “The Sly, Slick & The Wicked,” was Record World Magazine’s Song of the Year (a co-honor shared with “ABC” by the Jackson 5 in 1970).

"Beware young girls of the sly, the slick, and the wicked.” That’s the love song message these guys put over in this significant hit.

The music track is similar to the sound of their fellow label mates, The Chi-Lites.

Writer Kevin L. Goins says that The Lost Generation recorded this song at the tail end of a Jackie Wilson recording studio session.

Listen to 30 seconds of this noteworthy classic soul blast from the past, “The Sly, Slick & The Wicked” by The Lost Generation.

You can find the track on the deluxe 2 CD collection Brunswick Top 40 R&B Singles 1966 - 1975.

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Posted by King on 01/28 at 07:30 PM
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