Wednesday, October 29, 2008
11 Halloween Music Picks to Spook Your Soul
When you seek out entertaining Halloween music, you have to have frightful, suspenseful, wacky, weird, ghostly, chilling, quirky and fun filled scary themes. What else would charm the primal groove of your ‘All Saints Eve’ soul?
These rhythmic wonders fit the bill and deliver the goods.
Here are my 11 Halloween Music Picks to Spook Your Soul:
- “Thriller” - Michael Jackson
- “Superstition” - Stevie Wonder
- “Addams Groove” - Hammer
- “Ghostbusters” - Ray Parker Jr.
- “Born on Halloween” - Blue Magic
- “Skeleton In the Closet” - Louis Armstrong with Jimmy Dorsey
- “I Put A Spell On You” - Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
- “Haunted (By Your Love)” - Blue Magic
- “Headless Horseman” - Bing Crosby with Vic Schoen
- “Spooky” - Classics IV with Dennis Yost
- “Devil with The Blue Dress” - Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
Grab these for your Halloween party, digital music player, or CD burn.
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Monday, October 27, 2008
McFadden and Whitehead's Ain't No Stoppin' The Phillies
Here’s the actual 45 RPM vinyl record label (center only without the baseball) of the McFadden & Whitehead collector’s item from the PowerhouseRadio.com archive: “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now (The Philadelphia Phillies Version)” from 1980.
Listen to my 90 second edited version of this special classic soul anthem, adapted by Gene McFadden, John Whitehead, and Ron Hunter for the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team.
Although their 2008 opponents are the Tampa Bay Rays rather than the (1980) Kansas City Royals, this ‘Sound of Philadelphia’ flashback ‘rally cry’ still has the pulsating Philly-soul energy to inspire today’s team.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008
Kindred the Family Soul's House of Love
City of brotherly love Philadelphia husband and wife team Aja Graydon and Fatin Dantzler are Kindred the Family Soul.
Don’t let their dour looks fool you. Kindred’s music will lift your spirits.
The Arrival, their 3rd album, was just released (October 21, 2008).
Kindred’s first CD, Surrender To Love in 2003 produced the hit “Far Away,” a mellow retro-sounding mid-tempo ballad highlighting a strong vocal performance (in the best tradition of great classic soul).
"House of Love” from The Arrival offers a valuable message about the strength of family.
Listen to 45 seconds of “House of Love” from Kindred the Family Soul.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The Four Tops Historic U.K. First
When it comes to male lead singers from the guy groups of the Motown era, none was better than the Four Tops’ Levi Stubbs.
His distinctive voice piloted the Motor City ensemble to fame and fortune as one of Motown’s most successful “sound of young America” ambassadors.
Stubbs passed away on Friday, October 17, 2008 at his home in Detroit, Michigan.
The Four Tops were the first black artists to reach #1 on the British album charts (a 1968 greatest hits collection).
Following quickly in their footsteps to #1 on the U.K. album charts would be the Supremes.
Here are my thoughts in 90 seconds on the legacy of Levi Stubbs and the Four Tops, who now have one sole surviving member from the original group (Abdul Fakir):
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Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tina Turner Time
As Tina Turner chugs along with her 2008 world tour, she’s dropped another greatest hits collection into the music pipeline.
Tina! was released on September 30th.
Tours sell archives, so having some “fresh” material in the marketplace generates sales.
You’ll find many of these songs on other “best of Ike & Tina Turner” anthologies. A nice exception is the inclusion of 3 powerful live tracks that brighten the compilation.
As for the studio recordings, “Proud Mary” is a newer somewhat sedate 1993 version without the presence of Ike. “Nutbush City Limits,” updated in the 1990’s with a dance floor groove, uses the classic 1973 Ike Turner guitar hero mix.
The magnificent “Private Dancer” appears in a short 4 minute version, rather than the 7 minute original from 1984.
Two hit movie themes add some depth: 1985’s “We Don’t Need Another Hero” from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and Tina’s 1995 James Bond theme “Goldeneye."
A couple of brand new songs, “It Would Be A Crime” and “I’m Ready” round out the CD as the final two tracks. “It Would Be A Crime” is the stronger of the two.
- “Steamy Windows”
- “River Deep-Mountain High”
- “Better Be Good To Me”
- “The Acid Queen”
- “What You Get is What You See”
- “What’s Love Got To Do With It”
- “Private Dancer”
- “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)”
- “I Don’t Wanna Fight”
- “Let’s Stay Together” (Live In Amsterdam)
- “I Can’t Stand the Rain” (Live In Amsterdam)
- “Addicted To Love” (Live At Camden Palace)
- “The Best”
- “Proud Mary”
- “Nutbush City Limits”
- “It Would Be a Crime” (Bonus track previously unreleased)
- “I’m Ready” (Bonus track previously unreleased)
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Tower of Power Celebrates a Funky 40 Oakland Stroke
Tower of Power, Oakland, California’s brassy funk ensemble, is celebrating a milestone: 40 years of bump city nitty gritty.
They are having a big celebration Saturday, October 18, 2008 at the Fillmore in San Francisco.
Tower of Power is back in the studio recording a new album. Here’s a nice discography of all 21 Tower of Power albums (with tracks) at their official website.
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Thursday, October 09, 2008
The Jacksons are Joyful about New Icon Honor
Performing Rights organization BMI represents more than 375,000 songwriters, composers, and publishers with more than 6.5 million works.
At their September, 2008 Urban Music Awards in Los Angeles, the Jacksons were honored with the BMI Icon Award.
Marlon, Tito, Janet, Jackie, & Randy Jackson (left to right). Where’s Michael and Jermaine? (missing in action!)
Here’s a portion of what BMI’s had to say about the Jacksons in capturing their tribute:
“One of pop music’s most influential quintets, The Jacksons blazed a trail for R&B and pop music, creating a sound and musical image that is emulated to this day."
"Hailing from Gary, Indiana, and formed in 1966, the Jackson brothers—Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Michael and, joining in 1976, younger brother Randy—were a true American success story, transcending race and redefining the sound of pop and R&B music."
"They were the first group to have their first four singles hit number 1, and they remain one of the most globally influential pop and R&B groups in history."
"The Jackson 5 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997."
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Tuesday, October 07, 2008
George Clinton & his Gangsters of Love
In September, 2008, P-Funk fans received a new taste of “The Mothership Connection” in the guise of George Clinton and his Gangsters of Love.
In full disclosure, I’m a big fan of the original Parliament-Funkadelic recordings. I have a combined mix of at least 9 of their very early individual vinyl albums.
Somehow, the novelty of funkmaster George Clinton, the “One Nation Under A Groove” guy, recording a new CD of love songs seems out of character with his “Dr. Funkenstein” persona.
Fear not. Clinton doesn’t exactly create a Ronald Isley styled collection of standard chestnuts.
Helped by a supporting cast, the tunes stay interesting. Lending their credibility are Carlos Santana, Sly Stone, El DeBarge, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and legendary Philadelphia producer/engineer Bobby Eli.
Still, it’s hard to take some of these covers seriously, but then, the original appeal of P-Funk mania was Clinton’s zeal for fun and unpredictability.
So get ready for several unconventional interpretations of Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Ruby & The Romantics, The Four Tops, and others.
Either George Clinton and his Gangsters of Love CD is genius, or the joke’s on us.
- “Ain’t That Peculiar"- (featuring El DeBarge/Sly Stone/The P-Funk All-Stars)
- “Never Gonna Give You Up” - (featuring El DeBarge)
- “Mathematics Of Love” - (featuring Kim Burrell)
- “Let The Good Times Roll” - (featuring Kim Manning/Red Hot Chili Peppers)
- “Pledging My Love”
- “Gypsy Woman” - (featuring El DeBarge/Carlos Santana)
- “It’s All In The Game” - (featuring Belita Woods)
- “Heart Trouble” - (featuring Paul Hill)
- “Our Day Will Come” - (featuring Kendra Foster)
- “Sway” - (featuring Belita Woods)
- “A Thousand Miles Away”
- Hidden Track 1
- Hidden Track 2
- Hidden Track 3
- Hidden Track 4
Those 4 hidden tracks feature collaborations with some folks who I guess didn’t want their names plastered on the CD jewel case.
Hidden Track 1, borrowing portions of the melody from “I’ll be Good To You” by the Brothers Johnson, features a lively rap from guess who?
The final 3 hidden tracks sound like outtakes to pad the CD.
Listen to 1 minute & 12 seconds of Barry White’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” featuring George Clinton and El DeBarge.
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Thursday, October 02, 2008
Aretha Returns with This Christmas 2008
Aretha Franklin has recorded several Christmas songs throughout her career, but never a complete holiday album, until now.
On Tuesday, October 14, 2008, This Christmas Aretha is scheduled to be released.
The album is a joy. Aretha’s magic is her unique ability to stamp her vocal personality on this material with trademark nuances of gospel, blues, and straight ahead soul.
Every cut is a pleasure to listen to. It’s hard to choose a favorite. This Christmas Aretha weaves a tone of tradition tying together the varied selections. The songs are a vibrant showcase for a style that only Ms. Franklin can serve up.
Her pipes are still peppy with precision. Though she can’t command some of the silky tonality of her younger years, there’s no doubt that Aretha’s voice still has plenty of pop to dominate these excellent arrangements.
Aretha Franklin fans, old and new, will love This Christmas Aretha:
- “Angels We Have Heard On High”
- “This Christmas”
- “My Grown-Up Christmas List”
- “The Lord Will Make A Way”
- “Silent Night”
- “Ave Maria”
- “Christmas Ain’t Christmas (Without The One You Love)”
- “One Night with The King”
- “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
- “T’was The Night Before Christmas”
Here’s Ms. Franklin signing copies of the This Christmas Aretha CD ‘booklet insert’ at Borders in Washington, DC (Monday, October 20, 2008) for hundreds of adoring fans.
Listen to 30 seconds of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” by the Queen of Soul, Aretha.
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