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Monday, March 31, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr. Classic Soul Dream Concert

Friday, April 4, 2008 is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1973, a 2nd annual Benefit Concert for the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Social Change was held at the Omni arena in Atlanta, Georgia.

RCA Records was a big sponsor of the event.  Many of their artists performed.

I’ve produced a special 5 minute 50 second video flashback of this classic soul concert for all to enjoy.

Here’s the rundown of the original double album.

Keep The Dream Alive

Side 1

  • Introduction: Mrs. Coretta Scott King
  • “Precious Lord” - Linda Hopkins
  • "It’s My Belief” - Linda Hopkins
  • “No One’s Gonna Be a Fool Forever” - Friends of Distinction
  • Medley: “Love Or Let Me Be Lonely,” “Going In Circles,” “Time Waits for No One,” “Grazing In The Grass” - Friends of Distinction

Side 2

  • “Hey Leroy” - The Jimmy Castor Bunch
  • “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” - The Jimmy Castor Bunch
  • “Betcha By Golly Wow” - The Jimmy Castor Bunch
  • “Troglodyte (Cave Man)” - The Jimmy Castor Bunch
  • Geraldine struts her stuff (Flip Wilson)

Side 3

  • “Make It With You” - Main Ingredient
  • “Work To Do” - Main Ingredient
  • Medley: “You’ve Been My Inspiration,” “Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling In Love),” “I’m So Proud,” “Everybody Plays the Fool” - Main Ingredient
  • Comments: Mrs. Coretta Scott King

Side 4

  • “Ain’t No Sunshine” - Jose Feliciano
  • “We’ve Only Just Begun” - Jose Feliciano
  • “Oye Como Va” - Jose Feliciano
  • Comments: Flip Wilson
  • Funny Talk: Flip Wilson
  • “Don’t Knock My Love” pts. 1 & 2 - Wilson Pickett
  • “Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You” - Wilson Pickett

Keep the Dream Alive was a great concert featuring strong performances.  The Atlanta community supported the effort with a large turnout.

Watch the video, then listen to my interview with Jimmy Castor and Gerry Thomas from 1977.

In honor of Dr. King’s legacy, this will be the only article posted in the Classic Soul R&B Music Jam this week.

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Posted by King on 03/31 at 01:02 AM
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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Classic Soul Cassette Widget in Tune with Technology

December 18, 2008 update: Like many online projects, Mixwit did not last.  They shut down operations on December 31, 2008, so the link to their site and the related audio is gone.


It’s not April 1st yet, and this is not a joke.  Here’s a really cool flashback to the golden days of those cassette based songs, now reincarnated inside of a contemporary web based music player.

I skipped over both music cassettes and 8-track tapes back in the day and went right from vinyl to CD, so finding this retro music widget reminded me of friends who always had their cassette tapes eaten by their car cassette players.

This widget has lots of personality!

The particular song I found and placed in the widget is “Funky Mule,” written by Buddy Miles, performed by an unidentified band.

If you know who the band is, please let us know.

Mouse-over the picture to see the pause and stop buttons (after you press the start button).

You can check the widget out from Mixwit.

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Posted by King on 03/27 at 01:02 AM
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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mariah Carey Mixes Fusion on E=MC2

Now billing herself as the best selling female artist of all time, Mariah Carey has her sights set on topping 2005’s The Emancipation of Mimi.

Her new atom splitting E=MC2 album puts some quantum mechanics behind the Mariah Carey musical formula, lead by “Touch My Body,” the first song promoted from the April 15, 2008 release.

Look for Mariah to do lots of interviews and personal appearances to support her new album.

She’s been adding to her record resume since 1990.  When you hear Mariah Carey, you feel the sonic vibrations of a voice powered by impressive passion.

Discover every chapter of the Mariah Carey story on her official web site.

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Posted by King on 03/26 at 07:30 PM
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Monday, March 24, 2008

Heatwave Hits & Video Memories

Brothers Johnnie and Keith Wilder were the core of Heatwave, the “Always And Forever” crew, who put together a team of gifted international musicians to deliver some jammin’ grooves.

Johnnie and Keith, Dayton, Ohio natives, fine-tuned their classic soul funk in Germany, following a tour of Army duty in the U.S. military.

Positive club exposure in London captured for Heatwave their first record deal.

1976’s Too Hot To Handle album, Heatwave’s first release, included both “Always And Forever,” and the dance classic “Boogie Nights."

You can find a collection of Heatwave videos on their official web site.

Tragically, Johnnie Wilder Jr. passed away at age 56, closing a long chapter of success for the original group.

Check out the Johnnie Wilder Jr. video remembrance, as well as the following videos below.  Warning: you won’t be able to stop or control the clips once they start, but the content in the official Heatwave video archive is worth it...

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Posted by King on 03/24 at 01:02 AM
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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Betty Wright Knocks Out the Clean Up Woman

When 19 year old Betty Wright released the classic soul hit “Clean Up Woman” in 1972, the song launched an expressive career for the Miami, Florida teenager.

With over 18 albums to her credit, Betty continues to belt out the tracks today.

She was only 15 when her first album, “My First Time Around,” was released on Atlantic’s Atco record label.

The majority of Miss Wright’s success came with a string of hits following “Clean Up Woman.” Betty’s voice projected playfulness, confidence, wisdom, and maturity beyond her years.

Singing with a tone of innocence to compliment a touch of raw vocal power, her musical stories stood out with entertaining and believable themes.

Betty Wright is one of the best representing the “Florida” soul sound.

Here are my top 4 Betty Wright songs:

  1. “Clean Up Woman”
  2. “Where Is The Love”
  3. “Tonight Is The Night”
  4. “Baby Sitter”

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Posted by King on 03/20 at 01:02 AM
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

DeBarge Family Motown Melodies

1985.  El, Bunny, Mark, James, and Randy DeBarge, cast in the media image of the Jackson 5, continue to crank out a string of classic soul hits for Motown.

The DeBarge family released their first album in 1981, finding most of their success in the mid 1980’s.

Some of their well publicized mis-steps along with personal problems of particular group members probably contributed to a compressed period for their 15 mintues of fame.

Happily, the DeBarge clan are survivors.

Second generation additions, along with founders Bunny, Randy, Mark, Anita, Alice, El, James, Chico, Chantal, Young, Peaches, Mama D., and Switch’s Bobby and Tommy continue to receive attention.

Mama, El, and Chico all have individual web sites.  Several fan web sites also keep track of the entire family.

Here are the lyrics to their hit “Who’s Holding Donna Now,” written by David Foster, Jay Graydon, and Randy Goodrum featuring El DeBarge on the lead vocal:

Sometimes a love won’t let go
Hard as I try I know it shows
Everybody’s telling me
You’ll be over her eventually
But how am I supposed to feel so secure.

When I keep wonderin’
Who’s holding Donna now
And I keep wonderin’
Who’s heart she’s knocking around
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do
To be in his shoes somehow
And I keep wonderin’
Who’s holding Donna now
And I keep wonderin’
What magic can be found
To turn me back to the world
Who’s holding Donna now.

The letter started with goodbye
I’ve read it half a million times
Tell me this is just a dream
When I wake up she’ll be here next to me
Tell me it will be just the way it was, oh

When I keep wonderin’
Who’s holding Donna now
And I keep wonderin’
Who’s heart she’s knocking around
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do
To be in his shoes right now
And I keep wonderin’
Who’s holding Donna now
And I Keep wonderin’
What magic can be found
To turn me back to the world
Who’s holding Donna now

Those Temptations vs. Four Tops tours were always fun.  Is there any chance of a future Jacksons vs. DeBarge tour?

Anything is possible!

Listen to 30 seconds of “Who’s Holding Donna Now” by DeBarge.

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Posted by King on 03/18 at 01:02 AM
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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Marvin Gaye's Magnificent Medley

When was the last time you heard Marvin Gaye’s magnificent medley in it’s entirety from the song collection What’s Going On? (the album considered by many as the best classic soul record of all time).

The 6 tracks on side one of the original 1971 album are tightly edited together without silence between the songs, enhancing the impact of Marvinís topical social commentary and humane visionary themes.

When the CD was finally released many years later, some listeners may have missed the ground breaking technique of a continuous medley: absent from most early R&B albums.

With the CD, now all 9 tracks were available for the expected continuous play from start to finish. So a medley?  No big deal.

We don’t play it that often, but we do play tracks 2 through 6 straight through when the spirit moves us on Powerhouse Radio...

  • 2) “What’s Happening Brother”
  • 3) “Flyin’ High (In The Friendly Sky)”
  • 4) “Save The Children”
  • 5) “God Is Love”
  • 6) “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)”

By the way, track 1 is “What’s Going On."

Two bonus tracks were added to the remastered CD edition released in 2003 giving the record a total of 11 songs.

Side one of the vinyl album is a masterpiece, and it’s a treat to hear it today.  Iím lucky to still have the original vinyl album in excellent condition.

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Posted by King on 03/13 at 01:02 AM
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Monday, March 10, 2008

Gamble & Huff Earn their Philly-Soul Hall of Fame Ticket

Philadelphia International Records label founders Kenny Gamble (left), and Leon Huff (right), will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2008.

The two songwriter-producers will be honored by receiving the first Ahmet Ertegun award for non-performers, Monday evening, March 10, in New York City.

"Love Train,” “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “When Will I See You Again,” and scores of hits have driven the Philadelphia International express to global fame.

Gamble and Huff piloted the last of the great classic soul record labels, building on the legacy of Motown, Stax, and Atlantic.

The Philly International catalogue has been mined to death with CD song reissues over the years.  Surprise, two new ones are hitting the marketplace now.

The Sound of Philadelphia: Gamble & Huff’s Greatest Hits is a new release featuring all of those memorable smashes: “Me & Mrs. Jones, “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now,” and many more.

Very few producers could get away with this ego strokin’ title, but Gamble & Huff can.

Then we have Conquer the World: The Lost Soul of Philadelphia International Records, the 2nd new release.  A treasure chest of obscure tracks are featured, from the talented Dee Dee Sharp Gamble, producer-artist Bunny Sigler, Johnny Williams, and many other performers.

Here are some of the original Philadelphia International Records vinyl album covers...

Johnny Williams had one minor hit back in 1973 on Philadelphia International called “Slow Motion.” Listen to 40 seconds of “Slow Motion” (from the original 45 RPM record).

Congratulations to Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff on their well deserved honor.

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Posted by King on 03/10 at 01:02 AM
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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Janet & Michael Jackson Share #1 at Billboard

While I’ve been listening to Janet Jackson’s new CD Discipline, trying to decide what if any of the collection I like, the release has quickly skyrocketed to the top of the Billboard 200.

It’s been a long time since Janet rose to #1.

Then, I tried to figure out, when was the last time, if any, both Janet and Michael Jackson had #1 Billboard albums at the same time.

Thriller 25, just released with plenty of remixes, is also slotted at #1 in the pop category for the Billboard publication issue of March 15, 2008.

Superstition says beware of the Ides of March!  That’s the day Emperor Julius Caesar met his doom (March 15).

For Janet and Michael however, it looks like this is their lucky day.

Now known in the music biz as classic soul “legacy artists,” Michael and Janet don’t get as much airplay as in the past.

# 1 chart positions for both of these records simultaneously in 2008 is quite a feat.

I’ll have much more to report about Janet’s Jackson’s Discipline soon.

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Posted by King on 03/06 at 07:30 PM
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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sister Kathy Sledge is Family

Sister Sledge lead singer Kathy Sledge recently launched a new web site featuring audio, video, and historical highlights of her own solo career.

Kathy is pictured here with her 10 piece band.

Tag along with this Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native, and get busy inside the wonderful world of Kathy Sledge.  We Are Family!

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Posted by King on 03/04 at 07:30 PM
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