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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Prince Salutes James Brown at Super Bowl 41

Look for Prince to step lightly but brightly during the halftime show at Super Bowl 41 this Sunday, February 4.

During his set, Mr. “Purple Rain” is scheduled to include a tribute to James Brown.

One of the funkiest Prince hits is “Sexy M.F.,” a vamp that borrows heavily from the style of soul brother number one.

Don’t expect Prince to perform it, as the censors would have a field day hitting the bleep button.  (The halftime show will be on a slight broadcast time-delay).

We play a unique version of “Sexy M.F.” on Powerhouse Radio that even your grandmother could enjoy.

Like the Rolling Stones who performed last year, Prince is a non-conformist, who can offer up some spontaneous, unpredictable moves.

Given the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” incident in 2004, you can bet Prince will take the high road during the middle of the big game and keep things rated G.

For a trip down memory lane, here’s the list of some former Super Bowl halftime performers.

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Posted by King on 01/30 at 08:31 AM
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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Al Green Cooks up Definitive Classic Soul

Capitol Records EMI has just released Al Green: The Definitive Greatest Hits on both CD and DVD.

The DVD adds six film and video clips, including TV performances from 1971, 1978 and 2004.

Before you scan through the 21 tracks we list on this new collection, here are 4 powerful Al Green “extras” I recommend for any serious “jolly Green giant” fan.

  • “I’m a Ram” from Gets Next to You
  • “Light My Fire” from Gets Next to You
  • “Are You Lonely for me Baby” from Gets Next to You
  • “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” from Let’s Stay Together

Al Green Gets Next to You, released in 1971, may be his best album, as it emphasizes the grittiest aspects of his Memphis funk soul (with no pun intended).

Both “I’m a Ram” and “Are You Lonely for me Baby” showcase Green’s raw Southern soul style with some slick horn arrangements courtesy of producer Willie Mitchell.

"Light My Fire” is a terrific interpretation of the Doors classic, as it’s sung by Al in a slower bluesy delivery accented by an understated pulsating rhythm.

As Green progressed in his career, his hits were produced with a more mass appeal sound.  You won’t hear the harder edge.  Al’s cover of “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” is a great example.

"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” also appears on the R&B compilation CD, Soul of the Bee Gees featuring Gibb brother songs sung by Candi Staton, Chaka Khan, Melba Moore, Jerry Butler, Thelma Houston, and others.

Here are the tracks on Al Green: The Definitive Greatest Hits...

  1. Let’s Stay Together
  2. Tired Of Being Alone
  3. Take Me To The River
  4. I’m Still In Love With You
  5. Look What You Done For Me
  6. Here I Am (Come & Take Me)
  7. Love & Happiness
  8. Keep Me Cryin’
  9. Call Me (Come Back Home)
  10. Livin’ For You
  11. Let’s Get Married
  12. Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)
  13. L-O-V-E (Love)
  14. You Ought To Be With Me
  15. Oh Me, Oh My (Dreams In My Arms)
  16. Full Of Fire
  17. Back Up Train - (with The Soul Mates)
  18. I Can’t Get Next To You
  19. Belle
  20. I Can’t Stop
  21. Perfect To Me

There’s no argument that Al Green is one of the best “soul” singers of all time.  He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and he deserves to be there.

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Posted by King on 01/25 at 08:30 AM
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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New Diana Ross Covers Old Hit Parade

Diana Ross steps back on stage this March to kick off a new world tour.

Until then, she’ll have a great promotional opportunity as a mentor on Fox TV’s American Idol.

We’ve been playing 5 tracks on Powerhouse Radio from her new release, I Love You, (since the CD was released on January 16).

Listeners have the ability to vote on the tracks, and based on your rating numbers, you generally like Diana’s take on these 5 songs from among the dozen old classics she tackles.

Here’s the scorecard up until today (based on a scale of poor to excellent):

  • “Lovely Day” - good
  • “More Today Than Yesterday” - good
  • “The Look of Love” - good
  • “Only You” - good
  • “I Want You” - so so

Here’s a list of all of the Diana Ross I Love You tracks.

More on I Love You in the January 24, 2007 Powerhouse Radio Newsletter.

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Posted by King on 01/23 at 01:02 AM
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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Brian McKnight Touches Ten with Time

Brian McKnight has been making music since 1991.

The first time he entered a recording studio, he says he was motivated “to pick-up where Marvin Gaye left off."

That’s an inspiring comment from a young man who wants to continue the elegant tradition of smooth classic soul.

The Buffalo, New York native, born on June 5, 1969, is also aware of the changing nature of rhythm and blues today.

He notes in his official biography that “the landscape of soul music has gotten younger.” Despite this reality, Brian adds “I believe my material will appeal to everyone from teenagers to older folks."

With this challenge in mind, comes Ten, a new release from Brian on Warner Brothers Records, his first for the label.

"Used to Be My Girl” is getting a big push from the album.

As the ladies can tell you, Brian McKnight has mastered the softer side of soul.  Ten maintains his dominance within this genre.

To learn more about Brian’s secret formula for success, the official Brian McKnight biography (on his website) tells all.

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Posted by King on 01/18 at 01:02 AM
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Joyful Dreamgirl Jennifer Hudson wins Golden Globe

Jennifer Hudson has grabbed the Golden Globe award for the best performance by an actress in a supporting role for Dreamgirls.

Her biography says she sang for the very first time before a small church in her native Chicago, bringing the congregation to its feet with soul-stirring solo performances week after week.

Jennifer landed her first professional role in a local production of Big River.

In 2002, she was a featured vocalist on the Disney Wonder cruise ship.  In 2004, she pumped up the volume during season three of Fox TV’s American Idol.

Soak in all of the official Jennifer Hudson biography at Jennifer Hudson online.

Twenty-five years ago, Jennifer Holliday, the original Dreamgirl, created the breakout role of Effie White (for which Jennifer Hudson has won the Golden Globe).

In a recent television interview with Deborah Norville of Inside Edition, Jennifer Holliday says she’s very disappointed at her lack of involvement in the current film version of Dreamgirls.

Holliday says she thinks it’s ironic, that the performer who has the role of Effie in the film Dreamgirls, Jennifer Hudson, has the same first name and the same initials as Holliday.

“I’m glad about YouTube showing my 1982 Tony Awards performance, (Holliday says), because that way the public can see that I did it first and that this is being copied.”

Stand by for more Dreamgirl cat fights as we close in on the 2007 Academy Awards.  Yes, Jennifer Hudson is upstaging both Beyonce’ and Jennifer Holliday.

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Posted by King on 01/16 at 08:25 AM
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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Aretha and Beyonce go for the Golden Globes

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, has never won a movie Golden Globe Award.

On Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 15th, we’ll find out if she wins the honor on the televised NBC event.

Aretha is nominated for the best original song “Never Gonna Break My Faith,” sung with Mary J. Blige, from the movie Bobby, a film documenting the assassination of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, on June 6th, 1968.

Beyonce‘ is one of four song writers credited with creating the lyrics to “Listen” from Dreamgirls, also nominated for the best original song Golden Globe Award.

In Beyonce’s case, the February 25, 2007 song writer Academy Award will be limited to tracks with a maximum of three writers.  As such, it looks like she’ll be locked out of the “best song writer” Oscar.

Because the Golden Globe Awards are presented every year before the Academy Awards, Golden Globe winners can sometimes effectively indicate who will win the Oscars.

The Golden Globe Awards have enabled the non-profit Hollywood Foreign Press Association, (the sponsoring organization), to donate more than $6.5 million during the past twelve years to entertainment-related charities.

HFPA has also funded scholarships and other programs for future film and television professionals.

Here are all of the Golden Globe Award nominations and winners.

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Posted by King on 01/11 at 01:02 AM
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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ronettes Rock Hall of Fame

Legendary New York City radio dee jay “Murray the K” called them his “dancing girls."

And dance up a storm they did during their time in the spotlight.

The Ronettes will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 2007 on March 12 in New York City.

Estelle Bennett, Ronnie Spector, and Nedra Talley join...

  • The Supremes (1988)
  • Martha and the Vandellas (1995), and
  • The Shirelles (1996)

exclusively as the only “girl group” representatives in the Hall.

Here are the hits of the Ronettes...

  • “Be My Baby” (1963)
  • “Baby, I Love You” (1964)
  • “(The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up” (1964)
  • “Do I Love You? (1964)
  • “Walking In The Rain” (1964)

The ladies got together in 1958 as the Darling Sisters.  While still in junior high school, they turned professional.

Producer Phil Spector used them as backup singers as early as 1962.  After their string of hits, the Ronettes were history by 1966.

Veronica “Ronnie” Bennett was married to Phil Spector from 1968 - 1974.

Ronnie continues to be active.  She released Last of the Rock Stars in 2006, a 20 year follow-up to 1987’s Unfinished Business.

In many was, the induction of the Ronettes is a tribute to the dedication of Ronnie Spector to her life-long craft.

The salutation also honors this great “girl group” as significant contributors to popular music during an era of industry transition in the early 1960’s.

Not many acts can get elected to the Hall with such a short list of recordings.  Music insiders will tell you however that Ronnie Spector has one of the great pop music voices.  I certainly agree.

Here’s the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Full Inductee List from 1986 until the present.

In 2007, the Ronettes join Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, (first hip-hop group ever to be inducted), R.E.M., Patti Smith, and Van Halen in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Posted by King on 01/09 at 01:02 AM
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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Stax is back with Memphis Soul

The Stax record label, shown above on the extreme right in yellow, is returning after more than 30 years.

Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Stax featured the classic soul sounds of the Bar-Kays, Otis Redding, Johnnie Taylor, the Mad-Lads, the Soul Children, Frederick Knight, and many others.

Just re-signed to the label is arguably their biggest former star, Isaac Hayes.  He joins Angie Stone to form a nice foundation for a new roster of talent.

Stax folded in 1975.  Their studios were sold in 1981, and demolished in 1989.

The new Stax Museum of American Soul Music was constructed on the old site, opening in 2003, along with the Stax Music Academy.

Concord Records, who will be resurrecting the label, bought the Stax name in 2004.

Concord plans to release deluxe versions of classic Stax albums.

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Posted by King on 01/04 at 07:30 PM
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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Jill Scott Wins with Golden Collaborations

Happy New Year!

Grammy Award winning Jill Scott’s next studio album, The Real Thing, should be released by mid-2007.

With hits “The Way” and “He Loves Me” under her vocal belt, Jill has been living her life like it’s “Golden,” connecting to her fans from Scott central in Philly P-A.

Until The Real Thing is completed, as a teaser, Hidden Beach Records, (Scott’s label), is releasing a compilation of Jill’s best duets, featuring these highlights...

  • “The Rain” featuring Will Smith
  • “God Bless the Child” featuring Al Jarreau and George Benson
  • “Let Me” featuring Sergio Mendes and Will.i.am
  • “Said Enough” featuring the Isley Brothers
  • “Kingdom Come” featuring Kirk Franklin
  • “Slide” featuring Jeff Bradshaw
  • “Love Rain” featuring Mos Def
  • “Sometime I Wonder” featuring Darius Rucker
  • “8 Minutes to Sunrise” featuring Common
  • “Funky for You” featuring Common and Bilal
  • “Day Dreamin’” featuring Lupe Fiasco
  • “Good Morning Heartache” featuring Chris Botti
  • “One Time” featuring Eric Roberson

Collaborations is expected to be available on Tuesday, January 30, 2007.

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Posted by King on 01/02 at 07:15 PM
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