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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

B.B. King and Friends Bust a Bluesy Movie Move

In 1998, B.B. King and friends recorded a masterful piece of R&B/blues/pop under the stage name “Louisiana Gator Boys.”

The all-star performance was featured in the movie Blues Brothers 2000, and on one song, showcased King, Dr. John, Lou Rawls, Eric Clapton, Grover Washington Jr., Bo Diddley, Clarence Clemons, Billy Preston, Koko Taylor, and several others.

The Blues Brothers first film project was released in 1979, and featured performance roles/songs from numerous stars including James Brown, Chaka Khan, Ray Charles, and the legendary John Lee Hooker.

Trivia question answer: Aretha Franklin is featured in both Blues Brothers movies, singing “Think,” in The Blues Brothers, and “Respect” in Blues Brothers 2000.

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Posted by King on 02/28 at 08:10 PM
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Monday, February 26, 2007

Dreamgirls Oscar Songs Gored by An Inconvenient Truth

With three different selections from Dreamgirls nominated for an Academy Award, Melissa Etheridge surprised Oscar world by winning for the best song, “I Need to Wake Up,” from Al Gore’s global warming movie An Inconvenient Truth.

It’s the revenge of Jennifer Holliday, the star of the Broadway production, who was very outspoken in her desire to have a connection with the Hollywood version of Dreamgirls.

Congratulations to Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls scene stealer, who is now an Academy Award winner, and gets the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in the film.

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Posted by King on 02/26 at 01:25 AM
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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dreamgirls vs. Cars vs. An Inconvenient Truth Song Showdown

Five tunes are nominated for the best song in a movie this year. A winner will capture the prize this Sunday, February 25th, during the 79th annual Academy Awards.

Dreamgirls has three song nominations:

  • “Listen” music by Henry Krieger and Scott Cutler; lyric by Anne Preven
  • “Love You I Do” music by Henry Krieger; lyric by Siedah Garrett
  • “Patience” music by Henry Krieger; lyric by Willie Reale

The two other nominees are:

  • “I Need to Wake Up” music and lyric by Melissa Etheridge from Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth
  • "Our Town” music and lyric by Randy Newman from Cars

Melissa Etheridge’s song only appears at the end of Al Gore’s movie.  It’s not an integral part of the way the story is told.

I haven’t seen Cars, so I won’t make any predictions about which of the five songs will grab the Oscar.

With three songs nominated, Dreamgirls definitely has a chance to win.

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Posted by King on 02/22 at 05:59 PM
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Little Richard, Sly Stone, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, & Prince

The first live popular music concert I ever attended as a 10 year old featured Little Richard as the headliner.  His act was an eye-opener.  Little did I realize then the historical importance of “Little Richard” Penniman to the history of rock and roll.

When comparing Little Richard, Sly Stone, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, and Prince, here’s a question for you...who has had the most lasting influence?  All six have certainly been remarkably successful!

All six have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

  • James Brown - 1986
  • Little Richard - 1986
  • Ray Charles - 1986
  • Jimi Hendrix - 1992 (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
  • Sly Stone - 1993 (Sly and the Family Stone)
  • Prince - 2004

I can seriously argue for five of the six.  Prince would have to be eliminated first, although “Mr. Purple Rain” is James Brown, Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix, and Sly Stone rolled into one unique package.

Ray Charles and James Brown are very close, but I’ll have to go with the “Godfather of Soul” as the most influential artist on the list.

Sly Stone and Prince both expanded on “Mr. Dynamite,” J.B.’s groove, to produce some funky Hendrix influenced rhythms.

Ray Charles may have been a more versatile artist, but James Brown, “the hardest working man in show business,” changed the face of soul music forever.

I’d argue that Brown’s influence in R&B has been more dominant than Hendrix’s influence in rock.  Jimi can’t be short changed however for his amazing contributions.

Let’s not dismiss the legacy of the living legend, Little Richard.  You see and hear more of him today primarily on television commercials, but Little Richard raised the bar on flamboyance in music.

I could name 10 artists that patterned their act from the flashy eccentric mannerisms of Little Richard’s stage persona.  Oh yes, his music was pretty good too.

Good Golly Miss Molly, it’s James Brown by a nose as the most influential personality among our list of super greats.  What do you think?

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Posted by King on 02/20 at 01:02 AM
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Thursday, February 15, 2007

New Tyler Perry Soundtrack Serenades Daddy’s Little Girls

With the arrival of Tyler Perry’s new movie, “Daddy’s Little Girls,” Friday, February 16, get ready for another classy soundtrack from Mr. “Madea.”

All of Perry’s soundtracks have been very successful, including Madea’s Family Reunion. One song from that flick, “Everyday (Family Reunion)” featuring Chaka Khan, Gerald Levert, Yolanda Adams & Carl Thomas was nominated for a 2007 Grammy Award.  “Everyday (Family Reunion)” should have won, (but it didn’t).

For Perry’s new love story, some great tracks have been selected.  Charles Moore does a wonderful job reviving the Sam Cooke classic, “A Change is Gonna Come.”

You’ll also find Beyonce’s “Daddy,” a strong bonus track on her Dangerously in Love CD that was never acknowledged in the liner notes.

Here are the songs from Daddy’s Little Girls:

  1. “Struggle No More (The Main Event) “ - Anthony Hamilton, Jaheim & Musiq Soulchild
  2. “Don’t Let Go“ - R. Kelly
  3. “Greatest Gift“ - Tameka Scott
  4. “Brown Eyed Blues“ - Adrian Hood
  5. “Family First“ - Whitney Houston, Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick And Family
  6. “Step Aside“ - Yolanda Adams
  7. “I Believe“ - Brian McKnight
  8. “Daddy“ - Beyonce’
  9. “Struggle No More“ - Anthony Hamilton
  10. “Blood Sweat & Tears“ - Governor
  11. “A Change Is Gonna Come“ - Charles Moore

This is a nice collection of R&B songs with positive messages supporting the theme of family in Daddy’s Little Girls.

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Posted by King on 02/15 at 09:01 AM
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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

10 Soulful Valentine Hits for the Heart

Some time ago, Michael Henderson wrote a magnificent and timeless song, “Valentine Love."

On his solo album, Solid, Michael slows the tempo and sings the song (by himself) as a straight forward love song.

In a duet with Jean Carn on the collection Norman Connors Saturday Night Special, “Valentine Love” is given a slightly quicker tempo, with Michael looking for forgiveness from the main lady in his life:

Valentine Love Lyrics by Michael Henderson:

I’m sending you a valentine
in hopes that you’re still mine
and if that valentine doesn’t reach you
it’s ok

Now it’s not as bad like you though it would be
Come on baby, take my heart.
I love you still and I always will
be yours be yours yours yours yours
I’m so in love with you

I’m sending you this valentine
in hopes that you’re still mine
and if that valentine doesn’t reach you
it’s ok

I can’t make up your mind for you
just have patience, that’s all you can do
I love you still, and I always will
be yours be yours,

I’m so in love with you (Michael’s version only)
I’m on my knees begging you back baby
there’s nothing I wont do
there’s nothing, there’s nothing Michael won’t do (Michael’s version only)
If I could only hold you in my arms again

I’m so in love with you
There nothing your baby won’t do
If I could just…

Hold me I’m in love

I’m sending you this valentine
I’m sending you this valentine
I’m sending you this valentine

I’m in Love

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Here are my “10 favorite soulful R&B valentine hits for the heart” ranked in order:

  1. “Just as Long as We Have Love” Spinners with Dionne Warwick
  2. “I’ll Try Something New” Smokey Robinson
  3. “I’ve Got So Much to Give” Barry White
  4. “Love’s Holiday” Earth Wind & Fire
  5. “Always” Atlantic Starr
  6. “Lady Love” Lou Rawls
  7. “All This Love” Patti Labelle (originally by DeBarge)
  8. “Tonight I Celebrate My Love” Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson
  9. “Give Me Your Love” Curtis Mayfield
  10. “Valentine Love” Norman Connors (featuring Michael Henderson and Jean Carn)

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Posted by King on 02/14 at 08:15 AM
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Monday, February 12, 2007

Grammy Award Winners a Mixed Bag

Grammy night was a mixed bag with the Dixie Chicks walking away with five awards, Red Hot Chili Peppers taking four, and Mary J. Blige cashing in three.

Best acceptance speech: Ludacris (for best rap album), who thanked everyone but his pizza delivery person.

Most surprised winner: Stevie Wonder with Tony Bennett for their duet “For Once in My Life.” Stevie seemed completely surprised.

Most unusual performance: a tie between Gnarls Barkley who sang “Crazy,” and Christina Aguilera, who tried on James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” for size.

This show tries to be something for everybody.  As a result, the prime time television broadcast blacks out many contemporary categories lots of people are interested in.

Considerable time is taken up acknowledging lifetime achievement honorees, at the expense of spotlighting more current talent (in the Grammy Award winners circle).

You get some brilliant moments of live performance from many of the artists as the main payoff for watching this show.  Overall, it’s hit or miss for consistent showstopping.  If you like the artist, you’ll probably like their performance.

Last week, I made a few predictions in the R&B category…


1) My pick: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance: “Be Without You” Mary J. Blige, The Breakthrough.

The winner: Mary J. Blige


2) My pick: Best Male R&B Vocal Performance: “I Call it Love” Lionel Richie, Coming Home.

The winner: “Heaven” John Legend


3) My pick: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: “Everyday (Family Reunion)” Chaka Khan, Gerald Levert, Yolanda Adams & Carl Thomas, Madea’s Family Reunion.

The Winner: “Family Affair” Sly & the Family Stone, John Legend, Joss Stone with Van Hunt


4) My pick: Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: “I Found My Everything” Mary J. Blige featuring Raphael Saadiq, The Breakthrough.

Winner: “God Bless the Child” George Benson & Al Jarreau featuring Jill Scott (my alternate pick, really more jazz than traditional R&B)


5) My pick: Best R&B Song: “Be Without You” Mary J. Blige, The Breakthrough.

Winner: Mary J. Blige


6) My pick: Best R&B Album: The Breakthrough Mary J. Blige.

Winner: Mary J. Blige


7) My pick: Best Contemporary R&B Album: B’Day Beyonce’

Winner: Beyonce


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Posted by King on 02/12 at 01:12 AM
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

7 R&B Grammy Award Picks

The 49th Annual Grammy Awards will be held this Sunday, February 11, 2007, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Here are my quick picks for possible winners in the R&B category.

  1. Best Female R&B Vocal Performance: “Be Without You” Mary J. Blige, The Breakthrough

  2. Best Male R&B Vocal Performance: “I Call it Love” Lionel Richie, Coming Home

  3. Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: “Everyday (Family Reunion) Chaka Khan, Gerald Levert, Yolanda Adams & Carl Thomas, Madea’s Family Reunion

  4. Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: “I Found My Everything” Mary J. Blige featuring Raphael Saadiq, The Breakthrough

  5. Best R&B Song: “Be Without You” Mary J. Blige, The Breakthrough

  6. Best R&B Album: The Breakthrough Mary J. Blige

  7. Best Contemporary R&B Album: B’Day Beyonce’

Check back on Monday, February 12, to see if I have any psychic abilities.  I don’t think I’ll be too embarrassed, because the 2007 Grammy Awards will be the year of Mary J. Blige.

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Posted by King on 02/08 at 08:15 AM
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Spinners Lose Vocalist Billy Henderson

Spinners vocalist Billy Henderson, an original group member, passed away last Friday of complications from diabetes in Daytona Beach, Florida.  He was 67.

Henderson left the Spinners in 2004 after suing the group’s corporation and business manager to obtain financial records.

Four of the original Spinners performed together until recently.

Spinners Live is a very good double album, featuring the rare duet with writer Linda Creed behind the mic on the classic soul hit, “Then Came You.” Dionne Warwick sang the original duet with the group.

The Spinners cut their teeth at Motown.  “It’s a Shame” was their one big Motor City hit for the label.

Take another look at the official Spinners biography at their website for colorful career highlights.

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Posted by King on 02/06 at 01:02 AM
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Monday, February 05, 2007

Prince Electrifies Big Game without getting Electrocuted

Two thumbs up to Prince for his electrifying halftime performance during a pouring rain at Super Bowl 41.

He looked good, sang with spirit, played with energy, and gave one of the best Super Bowl halftime performances ever.

Playing by the rules and delivering his hits clicked for pure entertainment.

No suprises for the censors, although the sequence of a silhouetted Prince with his Purple Rain guitar behind a wind blown curtain got suggestive if you were watching carefully.

Will the halftime performer next year at Super Bowl 42 be able to top Prince?

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Posted by King on 02/05 at 07:57 AM
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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Kool & the Gang Launch World Tour

Fans in Italy, St. Vincent, Norway, and the USA will be able to catch the energy of Kool & the Gang during their extended 2007 world tour.

Always exciting, I’ve never been disappointed at one of their shows.

Here’s the complete Kool & the Gang tour schedule featuring public and private dates.

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Posted by King on 02/01 at 01:02 AM
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