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Thursday, September 27, 2007

7 Patti Austin Picks for Live Concert Action

Patti Austin brings her unpredictable charm and stunning voice to several international stops on her current 2007 tour.

The New York City native has shared her glowing warmth with both fans and fellow musicians.

Patti’s duet credits include some passionate vocal power with both George Benson and Michael Jackson.

Like many performers, Austin paid her early dues singing background vocals on the recordings of Roberta Flack, Angela Bofill, and others.

You probably remember her number one hit, and biggest song to date, the classic: “Baby Come To Me."

Here are 7 Patti Austin picks for live concert action:

  1. “Baby Come to Me” (duet with James Ingram)
  2. “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?” (James Ingram with Patti Austin)
  3. “Do You Love Me”
  4. “So Amazing” (tribute to Luther Vandross)
  5. “Stop Look and Listen”
  6. “Every Home Should Have One”
  7. “Honey For The Bees”

Patti Austin on Tour:

  • Friday, September 28, 2007 Greek Theatre - Los Angeles, California

  • Wednesday, October 10, Myerson Symphony Center - Dallas, Texas with Duke Ellington Orchestra and Byron Stribling

  • Saturday, October 27, “IMAC” - Huntington, Long Island, New York

  • Sunday, October 28, Ramshead Tavern - Annapolis, Maryland

  • Wednesday, November 7, Basel, Switzerland with Clayton-Hamilton Big Band

  • Friday, November 9 - Sunday, November 11, DeVos Performance Hall - Grand Rapids, Michigan with the Grand Rapids Symphony

  • Tuesday, November 13 - Wednesday, November 14, Papillon VI, The Centre - Vancouver, Canada...special guest artist of Emil Chau

  • Saturday, November 17, Papillon VI, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium - San Francisco, California...special guest artist of Emil Chau

  • Monday, December 31, Kennedy Center - Washington, DC

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Posted by King on 09/27 at 08:00 AM
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bobby Bland Finds Love in American Gangster

One of my favorite Bobby Bland tunes is “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.” This song appears on his 1974 album, Dreamer.

The tune “Ain’t No Love...” is prominently featured in the trailer for the new Denzel Washington - Russell Crowe drama, American Gangster.

Denzel stars as Frank Lucas, a Manhattan, New York City drug dealer who is smuggling heroin into the USA inside of the coffins of dead soldiers returning from the Vietnam War.

Given the backdrop of the 1970’s, “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” is the perfect R&B – pop - blues hybrid to dramatize the theme of the movie.

I once saw Bobby Bland perform in front of approximately 25 people at a large Southern New Jersey nightspot.  Needless to say, with so few people there, many performers would have just gone through the motions, but not Bobby Bland.

He’s a legend in blues, R&B, and soul.  It’s great to see a song he made famous exposed again in the backdrop of American Gangster, scheduled to open this November on the silver screen.

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Posted by King on 09/25 at 07:30 PM
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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Classic Soul Legend Betty Lavette to release The Scene of The Crime

Betty (also known as Bettye) Lavette is a stealth classic soul artist who has flown below the radar screen of many lovers of R&B.

The Detroit, Michigan performer is scheduled to release a new album on Tuesday, September 25, 2007.

A club and “chitlin circuit” veteran, Lavette recorded “My Man, He’s A Lovin’ Man” and “You’ll Never Change” for Atlantic Records in 1962.

After Atlantic, next stop was LuPine, a label that eventually when out of business.  She recorded for a string of other record labels in the 1960’s, but was forced to make the majority of her income from the club circuit.

In 1969, Betty Lavette recorded Joe South’s “Games People Play” in Nashville, a song highly regarded as a southern country soul classic.

By 1971, it was back to Atlantic and their sister label Atco, where she recorded “Heart of Gold."

Lavette next called Epic Records home in 1975, and cut Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors.” Projects for West End Records, Motown, Street King, and the Motor City label were to follow.

Betty Lavette albums:

  • Easier To Say Than Do - Charly
  • Tell Me A Lie - Motown
  • Nearer To You - Charly
  • Let Me Down Easy (live) - Munich
  • A Woman Like Me - Blues Express
  • I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise - Anti
  • Take Another Little Piece of My Heart - Varese Sarabande

If you are a Betty Lavette fan, what’s your favorite song from her catalog?

A true survivor, Betty presses on with 2007’s The Scene of The Crime.

Catch all of the drama inside of the Betty Lavette story by visiting her official website.

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Posted by King on 09/20 at 08:30 AM
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bobby Byrd’s Glow was James Brown’s Brightest Flame

Bobby, Maceo, Fred, Clyde, and Bootsy.

Inside most of his funky hits during the 1970s, James Brown triumphantly mentions at least one of his band partners during the jam session.

The notable 5 include bassist Bootsy Collins, drummer Clyde Stubblefield, horn players Fred Wesley & Maceo Parker, and vocalist/keyboard player Bobby Byrd.

Byrd passed away on September 12, 2007.  His biggest solo hit was, “I Know You Got Soul,” but he’s primarily remembered for trading “shout outs” with James Brown during several memorable funk sessions.

6 of Bobby Byrd’s Best:

  1. “I Know You Got Soul” (solo)
  2. “I Need Help” (solo)
  3. “Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved” (with James Brown)
  4. “Soul Power” (with James Brown)
  5. “Talking Loud and Saying Nothing” (with James Brown)
  6. “Sex Machine” (live version with James Brown)

The Hip hop mc/dj duo of Eric B. & Rakim sampled “I Know You Got Soul” in 1986 to reincarnate the Bobby Byrd anthem on the dance floor.

Hugh Gregory’s biography of Bobby Byrd picks up the Byrd story in 1953, when he was lead singer and pianist in the Gospel Starlighters.  Gregory mentions that James Brown joined Byrd’s group that same year.

Brown convinced Byrd to musically move the group from gospel to R&B, so they changed the name from Gospel Starlighters to the Famous Flames.

When the Flames and James Brown parted ways, Byrd joined Soul Brother Number One’s new band, the JB’s.

As a vocalist, Bobby Byrd’s light did not shine as brightly as James Brown’s, but Byrd in collaboration with “Mr. Dynamite” produced some of the funkiest tracks in the history of classic soul.

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Posted by King on 09/18 at 01:02 AM
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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Diana Ross to receive Kennedy Center Honor

Diana Ross will be honored by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, December 2nd.

CBS will broadcast the event live from the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, DC.

2007 marks the 30th anniversary of the gala.

5 artist/songwriters will be honored this year, including Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.

President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush will hold a reception at the White House for Diana Ross and the other honorees.  The President and First Lady will also attend the broadcast event at the Opera House.

Comedian actor Steve Martin, film director Martin Scorsese, and pianist/conductor Leon Fleisher round out the complete Kennedy Center class of 2007.

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Posted by King on 09/13 at 08:30 AM
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Hammer, & Paula Abdul Grab the Original MTV Video Music Awards

Do you remember when MTV played just music videos?  If you do, then you remember the early days of the MTV Video Music Awards.

  • 1984 - Michael Jackson wins 3 MTV Video Awards in year one: Best Choreography, Best Overall Performance, and Viewer’s Choice for Thriller.

  • 1985 - Tina Turner wins the Best Female Video award for “What’s Love Got to Do with It?"

  • 1987 - Paula Abdul wins the Best Choreography award in year 4 for setting up the dance routine in Janet Jackson’s “Nasty."

  • 1990 - MC Hammer wins Best Dance Video and Best Rap Video for “U Can’t Touch This” at the 7th annual MTV Video Music Awards.

Still going strong after 23 years.  See you next September.

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Posted by King on 09/11 at 01:02 AM
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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Jill Scott, Peabo Bryson, Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey Prepare New Fall Releases

Post Labor Day, new music releases hit the distribution pipeline like clockwork.

2007 is no exception.

Here are 5 collections coming your way that place R&B out front.

  1. Jill Scott - The Real Thing - Tuesday, September 25
  2. Peabo Bryson - Missing You - Tuesday, October 2
  3. Alicia Keys - As I Am - Tuesday, November 6
  4. Boyz II Men - Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA - Tuesday, November 13
  5. Mariah Carey - TBA - Tuesday, November 20

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Posted by King on 09/06 at 07:30 PM
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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Stevie Wonder Overjoyed to Tour Again

Stevie Wonder last toured in 1995.  According to his website, he’s back on the road for several special dates this Fall:

  • Tuesday, September 4, 2007 - The Mountain Winery - Saratoga, CA
  • Wednesday, September 5, 2007 - Greek Theater - Los Angeles, CA
  • Monday, September 10, 2007 - Charter One Pavilion - Chicago, IL
  • Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - Meadow Brook Music Festival - Rochester Hills, MI
  • Friday, September 14, 2007 - Chastain Park - Atlanta, GA
  • Sunday, September 16, 2007 - Pier 6 Concert Pavilion - Baltimore, MD
  • Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - Radio City Music Hall - New York, NY
  • Thursday, September 20, 2007 - Bank Of America Pavilion - Boston, MA

Wonder historically puts on an excellent show, so he’s not to be missed.

More dates will be added.  The September 18th show at Radio City Music Hall is a benefit concert, co-headlined with Aretha Franklin, for the Martin Luther King Jr. Washington, DC National Memorial.

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Posted by King on 09/04 at 01:02 AM
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