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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Corinne Bailey Rae Wins Song Honor

Congratulations to British song bird Corinne Bailey Rae, who has been honored by song publisher Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI).

Rae’s song, “Put Your Records On,” has been acknowledged as one of the most performed songs on U.S. radio and television during the past 12 months.

Rae is currently at Abbey Road Studios in London working with Herbie Hancock on his upcoming Joni Mitchell tribute album, River: The Joni Letters.

Letters will feature well-known jazz musicians including Wayne Shorter.

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Posted by King on 11/29 at 09:15 AM
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Alicia Keys Serenades the World with Hot Numbers

Alicia Keys As I Am is a global hit.

We reviewed the CD in the most recent edition of the Powerhouse Radio Newsletter, emailed to our newsletter subscribers in early November.  The newsletter will be posted to PowerhouseRadio.com soon.

I love the CD.  It goes far beyond the predictable mold of most contemporary R&B - soul and hip-hop releases.

AliciaKeys.com, Alicia’s official web site, shares the good international news about her album:

  • USA #1
  • Switzerland #1
  • Holland #2
  • Singapore #2
  • Italy #3
  • France #5
  • New Zealand #5
  • Germany #6
  • Portugal #7
  • Austria #9
  • Australia #15
  • Norway #20
  • Denmark #22

As I Am is #1 at iTunes in Germany, Austria, Canada, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. It is #2 in France and Belgium.

My favorite among many songs from the album: “Superwoman."

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Posted by King on 11/27 at 08:45 AM
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Message from Bama the Village Poet

The Last Poets, Gil Scott-Heron, Nikki Giovanni, Sekou Sundiata, and others have married music with the spoken word to deliver powerful political messages.

Another artist of this genre is Bama the Village Poet.

Though mostly forgotten, his Ghettos of the Mind, released in 1974, delivered an array of entertaining, ironic, sarcastic and witty words scored to the beat of musicians Bernard Purdie, Cornell Dupree, Richard Tee, Gordon Edwards, and Billy Jackson.

Bama observed the world, and he critiqued it, with humor and eloquence.

Here’s the original vinyl album cover complete with my hand written notes.

Listen to 90 seconds of his classic piece, “Thanksgiving.” It’s no turkey.

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Posted by King on 11/21 at 01:02 AM
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Monday, November 19, 2007

J.B. Sings White Christmas for You

How many guys can claim that they’ve recorded the first Irving Berlin Music Company approved rendition of “White Christmas” since 1954.

J.B., pictured here, claims this honor.

Berlin wrote this song in 1942.  With over 500 versions out there, what does this Savannah, Georgia native, J.B., now living in Atlanta, bring to “White Christmas?"

Listen to the first 1 minute 47 seconds of the track, and find out.

J.B.’s “White Christmas” is smooth.  Do you hear just a little touch of Freddie Jackson?

Find out more about J.B. at JbSings.com

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Posted by King on 11/19 at 07:15 PM
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Dells Stay In Your Corner

The Dells are among a small group of unique vocal groups who bridged the transition between 1950’s doo-wop and 1970’s classic soul.

3 Delights from The Dells:

  1. “Oh What A Night”
  2. “Stay In My Corner”
  3. “I Can Sing A Rainbow/Love Is Blue”

Like Ray, Goodman and Brown, (formerly The Moments), The Dells borrowed from the harmonies of the doo-wop era, creatively integrating fresh vocals into the changing style of R&B as the group moved forward.

"Stay In My Corner” was a #1 R&B hit for The Dells in 1968.

"Oh What A Night” was a #1 R&B hit for the group in 1969.  The Dells first recorded the song in 1956 reaching #4 on the R&B charts using the song title “Oh What A Nite."

Through 1992, The Dells had 47 charted R&B hits.  Travel through the years with The Mighty Dells on their official web site to discover their amazing story.

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Posted by King on 11/15 at 01:02 AM
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Top 25 Christmas Holiday Songs

What are the top 25 Christmas holiday songs in the past 5 years?  ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers has put together a list based upon radio airplay.

Some quick facts:

  • Oldest songs: “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and “Winter Wonderland” (both 1934)
  • Newest song:  “Do They Know It’s Christmas? (Feed the World)” (1984)

  • Most recorded holiday song: “White Christmas” with over 500 versions in dozens of languages
  • Songs introduced in film and television:

    “White Christmas” in Holiday Inn (1942)

    “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

    “Silver Bells” in The Lemon Drop Kid (1950)

    “A Holly Jolly Christmas” in TV special Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1962)

  • Writer with most top holiday songs: Johnny Marks with 3 - “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas"

  • “Sleigh Ride” is the only holiday song written originally as an instrumental for a symphony orchestra. The Boston Pops Orchestra gave the first performance in a concert conducted by Arthur Fiedler at Symphony Hall in Boston, May 4, 1948.  The Boston Pops Orchestra recorded it in June of 1949. Mitchell Parish added lyrics in 1949.

You can vote for your favorite Christmas songs among 24 PowerhouseRadio.com favorites.

Here’s the ASCAP list.  We’ve added a classic soul or R&B artist who has recorded the song (if applicable).

At the end of the list, you’ll find a link revealing the artists who get credit for having the most popular versions (based on radio airplay).

1. “Winter Wonderland”
Written by: Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith
Aretha Franklin

2. “The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
Written by: Mel Tormé, Robert Wells
Nat “King” Cole

3. “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
Written by: Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin
Dionne Warwick with Gladys Knight

4. “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”
Written by: Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie
Jackson 5

5. “White Christmas”
Written by: Irving Berlin
Otis Redding

6. “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
Written by: Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

7. “Jingle Bell Rock”
Written by: Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe

8. “Sleigh Ride”
Written by: Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish
The Ronettes (most popular artist)

9. “Little Drummer Boy”
Written by: Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone
Stevie Wonder

10. “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”
Written by: Johnny Marks
Ray Charles

11. “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”
Written by: Edward Pola, George Wyle
Performed by: Andy Williams (most popular artist)

12. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
Written by: Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram
Al Green

13. “Silver Bells”
Written by: Jay Livingston, Ray Evans
Lou Rawls

14. “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”
Written by: Johnny Marks
Performed by: Brenda Lee (most popular artist)

15. “Feliz Navidad”
Written by: José Feliciano
José Feliciano (most popular artist)

16. “Frosty The Snowman”
Written by: Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins
The Ronettes (most popular artist)

17. “A Holly Jolly Christmas”
Written by: Johnny Marks
Burl Ives (most popular artist)

18. “Blue Christmas”
Written by: Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson
Elvis Presley (most popular artist)

19. “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”
Written by: Meredith Willson
Johnny Mathis (most popular artist)

20. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
Written by: Tommie Connor (PRS)
En Vogue

21. “Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)”
Written by: Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman

22. “(There’s No Place Like) Home For The Holidays”
Written by: Bob Allen, Al Stillman
Perry Como (most popular artist)

23. “Carol Of The Bells”
Written by: Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich
Yolanda Adams

24. “Do They Know It’s Christmas? (Feed the World)”
Written by: Midge Ure (PRS), Bob Geldof (PRS)
Band Aid (most popular artist)

25. “Wonderful Christmastime”
Written by: Paul McCartney (PRS)
Paul McCartney (most popular artist)

All of the most popular artists singing these songs are noted in the ASCAP Top 25 holiday songs on their web site (along with their methodology for compiling the list).

Check out our review of the Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, and the Powerhouse Radio Christmas holiday playlist.

Let’s wrap things up with 10 Legendary Classic Soul Christmas favorites:

  1. “The Christmas Song” Nat “King” Cole
  2. “Every Year, Every Christmas” Luther Vandross
  3. “Silent Night” Temptations
  4. “This Christmas” Donny Hathaway
  5. “Someday At Christmas” Stevie Wonder
  6. “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” Jackson 5
  7. “White Christmas” Drifters
  8. “Happy Holidays To You” Whispers
  9. “Christmas In Hollis” Run DMC
  10. “Christmas Rappin’” Kurtis Blow

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Posted by King on 11/14 at 01:02 AM
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Monday, November 12, 2007

Michael Jackson's New Ebony Look

The buzz is growing about the Michael Jackson cover story in the December 2007 issue of Ebony magazine.

It’s the 25 anniversary of Thriller.  Michael needs some positive publicity, hence “the king of pop” has granted access to Ebony.

The Brooklyn Museum in New York City was recently turned into a photo-shoot backdrop to stage “the neo-imaging renaissance look” for Mr. Jackson.

There’s a 2 minute plus video on the Ebony/Jet web site featuring magazine staffers who repeatedly justify the attention they are lavishing on M.J. by reciting his album/CD sales statistics.  It almost sounds like they are apologizing for placing him back in the spotlight.

Will Ebony do the hard reporting and present a balanced representation about the past 25 years in the life of the controversial Michael?

We’ll see.  I’m looking forward to reading it.

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Posted by King on 11/12 at 09:11 AM
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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Darlene Love Shines on It's Christmas of Course 2007

Darlene Love, the famous voice of The Crystals, has released her first Christmas Album.

It’s Christmas Of Course features a welcome blend of contemporary holiday songs from the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Darlene digs right into a variety neo-classics, showing her versatility as a singer.

You won’t find Irving Berlin or Felix Mendelssohn inspired Christmas music on this upbeat release.  Darlene Love is a child of the rock and soul era.  She punches out these multi-genre holiday anthems with allegiance to the rhythmic pop beat.

"We had a rule on this album: no oldies. We wanted to leave the ‘50s and ‘60s behind,” according to Shawn Amos, Vice President of A&R for Shout! Factory, (the record label releasing Love’s It’s Christmas Of Course).

Darlene is an example of how talent and luck can keep one in the game for the long haul.

She’s had her share of hits with The Crystals under the guidance of Phil Spector.  She’s paid her dues singing background vocals for Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, The Mamas and Papas, Dionne Warwick, The Beach Boys, and Cher.

What I like the most about It’s Christmas Of Course is how Darlene Love sings such a wide range of material with authority, refinement, and subtlety.

But then, she’s worked with the best.

I like all of the tracks on It’s Christmas Of Course, however, 4 of my favorites are:

  • “Who Took The Merry Out of Christmas”
  • “Please Come Home For Christmas”
  • “What Christmas Means To Me”
  • “Thanks For Christmas”

Here are all of the tracks with a notation about the original artists:

  1. “Christmas All Over Again” (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers)
  2. “Who Took The Merry Out of Christmas” (The Staple Singers)
  3. “Christmas Wish” (NRBQ)
  4. “Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto” (James Brown)
  5. “Please Come Home For Christmas” (Charles Brown)
  6. “2000 Miles” (The Pretenders)
  7. “Christmas Is The Time To Say ‘I Love You’” (Billy Squier)
  8. “What Christmas Means To Me” (Stevie Wonder)
  9. “Christmas Must Be Tonight” (The Band)
  10. “Thanks For Christmas” (XTC)
  11. “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” (John & Yoko & The Plastic Ono Band w/the Harlem Community Choir)
  12. “Night Of Peace” (Original Song)

Cissy Houston, the famous mother of Whitney, is a guest vocalist on “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)."

The first track, “Christmas All Over Again,” features a nice retro arrangement bringing to mind some classic Spectoresque girl group gusto.  You know it’s Darlene Love when you hear this one.

Darlene gets gritty on “Who Took The Merry Out of Christmas,” and “Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto.” She’s got a lot of soul in her powerful voice.

Whatever your musical taste, these 12 songs offer a fresh and enjoyable take on a cross-section of neo-classic holiday favorites.

Even though this is Darlene’s first solo Christmas album, she recorded “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” for Phil Spector’s Christmas album in 1963.

Love has performed the song for the past 20 years on David Letterman’s Late Show television broadcast.  Dave says that the performance is his favorite thing about Christmas.

What else has Darlene been doing in recent years? Just Lighting up Broadway with her performances in… 1) “Grease,” 2) the Tony-Award nominated “Leader of the Pack,” and 3) her current 2-year run as Motormouth Maybelle in the Tony-Award winning “Hairspray."

Darlene Love will appear at the Lincoln Center in New York City on December 17, 2007 for her annual Christmas Concert performance.

She’ll also appear on The David Letterman Show for the 22nd consecutive year on December 24, 2007.

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Posted by King on 11/08 at 01:02 AM
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Arrested Development Delivers New Music

Atlanta, Georgia’s Arrested Development is back.

Pictured is their 1992 release, 3 Years, 5 months and 2 Days in the Life Of...

Bookdiva D reviews Arrested Development’s new 2007 CD, Since the Last Time.

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Posted by King on 11/07 at 01:02 AM
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Angela Bofill Battles Life Beyond Music

After a couple of massive strokes, Angela Bofill continues rehabilitation treatment on the road to recovery.

Additional details are available on the official Angela Bofill web site.

Quite a bit has been written since her first stroke in 2006 about how her lack of health insurance has affected her ability to receive adequate health care.

The music community has rallied around her cause with financial donations.

Other friends have become involved in her plight by bringing awareness of her specific situation to the national U.S. health care debate - and the fact that many people don’t have any health insurance.

Ms. Bofill was 24 years old when she recorded her first album, Angie on the Arista GRP label in 1978.

She was born in New York City, grew up in the West Bronx, and attended Hunter High School, Manhattan School of Music, and Hartford Conservatory of Music.

Angie has one of those rare cross-over voices, equally suited for R&B or jazz.  She’s performed with jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderly, and others.

On his new 2007 release Missing You, Peabo Bryson tackles Angela’s classic, “I Try,” a song that she wrote.  Her stellar version, on the record Angel of The Night, is still the best rendering of this torch song.

Her are 3 Angela Bofill albums you’ll love:

  1. Angel of The Night
  2. Platinum & Gold Collection
  3. Angie

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

Keith Sweat's Sweet Christmas of Love 2007

Somewhat late to the 2007 Christmas party is Keith Sweat, who is scheduled to release A Christmas of Love on November 20th.

Sweat has been busy this year, hosting his own syndicated radio show, The Keith Sweat Hotel, live from Atlanta, GA, most nights from 7pm - midnight.

Keith has written 3 songs for his brand new Christmas collection: “It’s Christmas Again,” “Once A Year,” and “Under The Tree."

Sweat is one of the few survivors from the late 1980’s “new jack swing” era.

His trademark is “slow jam” magic, and Keith Sweat fans won’t be disappointed in the interesting mix of songs on A Christmas of Love.

Sweat is credited with forming the group LSG with the late Gerald Levert and Johnny Gill.  They released Levert-Sweat-Gill in 1997.

Keith has produced songs for The Isley Brothers, The O’Jays, Dru Hill, and Men At Large.

A Christmas of Love features:

  1. “Be Your Santa Claus”
  2. “Party Christmas”
  3. “It’s Christmas Again”
  4. “The Christmas Song”
  5. “All I Want For Christmas”
  6. “Once A Year”
  7. “Nothing Like Christmas”
  8. “Point Of Christmas”
  9. “Under The Tree”

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    Posted by King on 11/01 at 01:02 AM
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