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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brook Benton Crosses the Soul Bridge

I was about 5 years old when Brook Benton dominated the music charts, but older family members always listened to his records around the house.

Benton was swept along by the new wave of late 1950’s R&B, slowly morphing his easy listening approach to popular music into what I’d call pre-’Sam Cooke’ soul.

In 1984, just as the CD coffin was finally closing on vinyl albums, Mercury Records released a vinyl album Brook Benton: It’s Just a Matter of Time - His Greatest Hits.

Brook has a smooth, rich, deep, mellow voice, well suited for his mannerly disposition with songs.

He serenades rather than shouts.

Ann Rowena Harris, National Promotion Director of Urban Contemporary Music, Polygram Records, wrote the following liner notes on this 1984 album Brook Benton: It’s Just a Matter of Time - His Greatest Hits:

"It was just about the year that most teenage girls were swooning to Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson, the time of year when you prepared to go that last mile down the aisle for graduation."

"You can imagine how we felt in the fall of 1959.  For us, we knew it was just a matter of time."

"That seemed to be the record everybody started playing because we all knew we were headed for better things that fall."

"It was then that the golden voice caught hold, as if it were one big love affair."

"That was the voice of Brook Benton, smooth and deep like fine wine.  It was Brook’s “Endlessly” that kept you motivated through those final exams."

"Brook Benton was born, Benjamin Franklin Peay, in Camden, South Carolina, September of 1931."

"His first record for Mercury, the luminous “It’s Just a Matter of Time,” reached No. 3 on the pop charts."

"Starting in 1959, and on through the early 60’s, the team of Brook Benton and producer/song-writer Clyde Otis remained on top, a place previously and regally occupied by his great predecessor, Billy Eckstine."

"In 1970, after Brook and Mercury had parted company he recorded perhaps his greatest single, the gossamer “Rainy Night in Georgia."

"Brook still reigned supreme."

"Though it’s been years since the last hit, the voice still remains.  This album is a fitting testimonial.  Brook Benton will always have what it takes."

Four years after this tribute album was released, Brook Benton passed away in 1988.

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Posted by King on 01/29 at 01:00 AM
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Alicia Keys Unites with Yamaha for Piano Bliss

Alicia Keys and the world’s largest musical instrument manufacturer, Yamaha, have announced a new partnership to distribute piano-inspired sounds and future products.

Here is a photo of Keys playing Yamaha’s new AvantGrand hybrid piano.

"I wanted to create a sound that is just magnificent and that would inspire me to play,” says Alicia.

"It was an idea that was born during the creation of my last album As I Am, which was recorded at my own studio, The Oven Studios, in New York City."

Keys has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide since the release of her first studio album Songs in A Minor in 2001.

Want to take command of the keyboard like Alicia?

You too can learn how to play the piano and many other musical instruments by visiting Jermaine Griggs’ excellent Hear and Play website.

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Posted by King on 01/27 at 07:30 PM
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lisa Lopes Leaves Left Eye-Legacy

The official Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes website has announced the pending Tuesday, January 27, 2009 release of Eye-Legacy.

Lisa, a former member of TLC, was killed in an automobile accident (April 25, 2002) at the age of 30 in Roma, Honduras, a popular Caribbean vacation retreat.

TLC has sold over 45 million records, with “Waterfalls” leading the pack as one of their biggest hits in 1994.

Mass Appeal Entertainment is collaborating with the Lopes family to present this new “Left Eye” collection.

"Eye-Legacy offers a fresh twist on the only collection of unreleased songs created and performed by Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes,” according to Mass Appeal Entertainment.

The record company states that “the album is a tribute to “Left Eye” as an artist, the music she left behind, and the life she led as a creative and spiritual rapper, singer, songwriter, friend, daughter, and sister."

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Posted by King on 01/22 at 01:00 AM
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Monday, January 19, 2009

Lionel Richie Pitches New Melodies for 2009

Lionel Richie is gearing up for a new studio album release scheduled for Tuesday, February 17th, 2009.

From the sample tracks I’ve heard, the new CD Just Go, is a logical extension of the direction Lionel charted with the various “young gun” collaborators on his last album Coming Home, released in September, 2006.

On Just Go, Ne-Yo, Akon, and a few others co-write and produce along with Mr. Richie to freshen-up lionel’s new millennium croon.

Listen to 90 seconds of “Just Go,” by Lionel Richie, and cast your vote!

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Posted by King on 01/19 at 01:00 AM
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, and Beyonce' to Jam for Barack

The Presidential Inaugural Committee (pic2009.org) has confirmed the talent line-up scheduled to perform on Sunday afternoon, January 18, 2009, 2:30 pm Eastern at the “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial."

The event is free and open to the public, and may be worth the trip to Washington, DC.

Here are the confirmed performers:

  • Beyonce’
  • Mary J. Blige
  • Stevie Wonder
  • John Legend
  • Usher
  • Herbie Hancock
  • will.i.am
  • Shakira
  • Bono
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Sheryl Crow
  • James Taylor
  • John Mellencamp
  • Josh Groban
  • Garth Brooks
  • Renee Fleming
  • Heather Headley
  • Jennifer Nettles

Queen Latifah, Jamie Foxx, Denzel Washington, and Martin Luther King III will read historical passages after each musical set as the stage is changed for the next performer.

More talent will be announced by pic2009.org as they are confirmed.

HBO will broadcast the event live with a replay scheduled for later in the evening.

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Posted by King on 01/15 at 01:00 AM
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Monday, January 12, 2009

50 Years of Motown

Berry Gordy received an $800 loan on January 12, 1959, and used the proceeds to create “Hitsville, USA - The Sound of Young America,” better known as Motown Records.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we’ve pulled out all the stops to create an entertaining new video tribute from PowerhouseRadio.com: “50 Years of Motown."

Right away, you’ll see “the 5 Motown families” represented on the revolving wheels of steel.

All of the images were pulled from my personal archive of recordings and Motown memorabilia.  It’s amazing the number of artists who have passed through Berry Gordy’s empire.

Turn on your computer’s sound and enjoy the 3 mintue 21 second video production.  Leave a comment and tell me who I’ve missed.  Two suspects are quite obvious!

Contratulations from PowerhouseRadio.com to the amazing artists who have shared their classic soul as part of “50 Years of Motown."

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Posted by King on 01/12 at 01:00 AM
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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Chess Soul Drives Cadillac Records to the Bank

Chicago is one of the great American cities famous for creating musical history.

The ‘Windy City’ has nurtured great artists, great music, and great radio.

Curtis Mayfield, the Chi-Lites, Walter Jackson, the Lost Generation, and Ramsey Lewis are just a few of the 2nd generation Chi-Town classic soul sensations.

One of the best first generation compilations featuring a treasure trove of Chicago goodies is the double CD Chess Soul: A Decade of Chicago’s Finest.

2008’s Cadillac Records movie featuring Beyonce’ as Etta James is a semi-fictional account of the story of Chicago’s Chess Records, and it’s founder, Leonard Chess.

After the blues era peaked, Chess, notable for recording the blues masters, turned his attention to the emerging R&B scene.

Chess Soul: A Decade of Chicago’s Finest, showcases recordings made between 1961 - 1971.

What makes the Chess soul sound so distinctive is the close lineage the music has to the blues.

Many of the 45 songs featured in this collection were regional rather than national or international hits.  All the more reason to take a closer look at the tone and texture that makes these songs stand out.

It doesn’t get any better than the vintage classic soul sound of Gene Chandler, Fontella Bass, Etta James, and Billy Stewart.

Chess Soul: A Decade of Chicago’s Finest was first issued in 1997, to mark the 50th anniversary of the record label.

There’s an authentic raw edge to most of these songs.

Singing with emotion is the audience pleasing formula used by these artists.

You won’t find as much of the slick uptown production style that marked the later sophisticated soul of Motown, Stax, Atlantic, and Philadelphia International Records.

Regardless, Chess Soul: A Decade of Chicago’s Finest is an excellent anthology revealing why the Windy City is so important in the history of R&B.

Take a look through the track list.  These songs will bring back great memories.

CD 1

  1. “Mama Didn’t Lie” - Jan Bradley
  2. “Strange Feeling” - Billy Stewart
  3. “I’ve Been So Lonely” - Cookie & The Cupcakes
  4. “Soulful Dress” - Sugar Pie DeSanto
  5. “Love Ain’t Nothin’ (But A Monkey On Your Back) - Johnny Nash
  6. “Who’s That Guy?” - The Kolettes
  7. “Ain’t Love Good, Ain’t Love Proud” - Tony Clarke
  8. “I Had A Talk with My Man” - Mitty Collier
  9. “I Can’t Help Myself” - The Gems
  10. “Don’t Mess Up A Good Thing” - Fontella Bass & Bobby McClure
  11. “Voice Your Choice” - The Radiants
  12. “Selfish One” - Jackie Ross
  13. “The Entertainer” - Tony Clarke
  14. “I Do Love You” - Billy Stewart
  15. “Love Is A Five Letter Word” - James Phelps
  16. “The Soul of A Man” - Fontella Bass
  17. “Temptation Bout To Get Me” - The Knight Brothers
  18. “Do I Make Myself Clear?” - Etta James & Sugar Pie DeSanto
  19. “Take Me For A Little While” - Jackie Ross
  20. “What About Me?” - The Valentinos
  21. “I’m Satisfied” - Mitty Collier
  22. “Searching For My Love” - Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces
  23. “Only Time Will Tell” - Etta James

CD 2

  1. “Rescue Me” - Fontella Bass
  2. “I’m Not Ashamed” - Bobby McClure
  3. “Stay By My Side” - Jo Ann Garrett
  4. “Have Pity On Me” - Billy Young
  5. “Wade In The Water” - Ramsey Lewis
  6. “I Fooled You This Time” - Gene Chandler
  7. “Don’t Pass Me By” - Big Maybelle
  8. “Lonely Girl” - Andrea Davis
  9. “To Be A Lover” - Gene Chandler
  10. “Don’t Knock Love” - Barbara Carr
  11. “I Believe She Will” - Eddie & Ernie
  12. “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” - Marlena Shaw
  13. “A Love Reputation” - Denise LaSalle
  14. “Dirty Man” - Laura Lee
  15. “I Can’t Make It Without You” - Fred Hughes
  16. “Hold On” - The Radiants
  17. “Good To Me” - Irma Thomas
  18. “You Left The Water Running” - Maurice & Mac
  19. “Oh What A Day” - The Dells
  20. “Baby, I Love You” - Little Milton
  21. “Losers Weepers” - Etta James
  22. “Give Your Baby A Standing Ovation” - The Dells

Chess Soul: A Decade of Chicago’s Finest

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Posted by King on 01/08 at 01:00 AM
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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

India.Arie Drops Love Testimonial Kiss

India.Arie has a new album on the way, Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics, scheduled for release on Tuesday, February 10, 2009.

She’s nominated for a new Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a duo or group with vocals for “Words” by Anthony David (featuring India.Arie).

The 51st Annual Grammy Awards will be presented on “Grammy Sunday,” February 8, 2009, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California (broadcast live on CBS from 8 - 11:30 p.m Eastern).

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Posted by King on 01/06 at 07:30 PM
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Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Brothers: Isley

Here are original Isley guys Rudolph, O’Kelly, and Ronald on the cover of their 1969 T Neck album, The Brothers: Isley.

"I Turned You On” and “The Blacker The Berrie” are 2 uptempo hits from this release.

On the back cover of this vinyl LP, liner note writer Richard Robinson describes the entrepreneurial spirit of the business oriented Isley Brothers who created their own record label (T Neck), management firm, and television production company.

O’Kelly Isley, who died in 1986, explains in the liner notes that “we do all types of music but until we owned our own record company we had to stay in the particular bag that was selling at the time.  Now we can do whatever we want, be it gospel, country and western, or rock."

The rest as they say is history, as the Isley Brothers successfully morphed through 6 decades of music generating hit after hit.

In the late 1980’s, Chris Jasper, a former member of the expanded Isley Brothers, also went on to form his own independent record label, Gold City Records.

Gold City has recently featured the latest contemporary gospel recorded by Chris Jasper.

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Posted by King on 01/01 at 01:00 AM
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