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Thursday, March 26, 2009

13 Blue Magic Lane is Home for 5 Philly Fellas

Richard Pratt, Vernon Sawyer, Keith Beaton, Ted “Wizard” Mills (lead vocals), and Wendell Sawyer are the 1975 version of Blue Magic.

This montage of photos is from the original inner jacket sleeve from their album Thirteen Blue Magic Lane.

Wedged between 1974’s Blue Magic (that included the hit “Side Show"), and their 2nd 1975 record The Magic of the Blue (featuring “Three Ring Circus"), Thirteen Blue Magic Lane wasn’t unlucky with respect to several strong tracks highlighted by:

  • “Chasing Rainbows”
  • “Magic of the Blue”
  • “We’re On The Right Track”
  • “What’s Come Over Me” (with Margie Joseph)

Blue Magic, from the city of brotherly love, textured “the sound of Philadelphia” to their own strengths using many of the city’s top session musicians and producers during the legendary Gamble and Huff era.

Even with the expectation of a signature ballad serenade, a Blue Magic show from my personal experience was always well paced, energetic, and lively.

In 2008, a live in concert Blue Magic DVD was finally released.

A classic soul gem to seek out if you can find it is the 1976 live double album featuring Blue Magic, Margie Joseph, and Major Harris, from which we occasionally play tracks on Powerhouse Radio.

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Posted by King on 03/26 at 08:15 PM
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Unique Musique Banned in Boston

Musique’s 1978 dance hit “In The Bush” psyched out a lot of people who select radio station songs due to suggestive lyrics that seem mild today.

The hook laden refrain “push push in the bush” caused manager imaginations to run wild, even though there wasn’t one real naughty word in the entire song.

Earlier in the same decade the word “crap” was edited out of Paul Simon’s song “Kodachrome” before some radio stations would play it.

With such sensitivity by radio people not to offend local “community standards” among rabbit eared listeners, the hesitation to play “In The Bush” was not a surprise.

No station wanted a listener to complain to the Federal Communications Commission.

The original Musique featured Jocelyn Brown, Angela Howell, Gina Tharps, and Christine Wiltshire on Keep On Jumpin’.

Pictured here are their replacements, Mary Seymour, Denise Edwards, and Gina Taylor, who were featured on the 2nd album, Musique II.

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Posted by King on 03/25 at 07:45 PM
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mandrill Fencewalks to Morocco

The classic soul “Fencewalk” funk ensemble Mandrill will be returning to the stage with some European and USA appearances during the 2009 tour season.

One of their first ports of call will be at the northern tip of Africa: Tangiers, Morocco, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea.

All the action happens at the Tanjazz Music Festival, featuring Mandrill on Friday, June 12th, and Saturday, June 13th.

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Posted by King on 03/19 at 07:40 PM
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Vanessa Williams Celebrates

Today, March 18th, is the birthday of singer, actor, and former Miss America Vanessa Williams.

Her most recent CD, 2005’s Everlasting Love, was striking in its creative brush stroke; adding new color to the canvas of 12 golden oldies.

Among those put to the test, “Never Can Say Goodbye” (featuring George Benson), and “I’ll Be Good To You” (The Brothers Johnson original).

Blessed with a gorgeous voice, Vanessa has cruised the middle of the road mainstream with the airy hits “Dreamin’,” “Save the Best for Last,” and “Love Is” (with Brian McKnight).

Her tempo crankers “The Right Stuff” and “Running Back To You” get the party started.

With those 80’s, 90’s, and new millennium hits behind her, Let’s look for some future magic from Vanessa Williams.

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Posted by King on 03/18 at 01:00 AM
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bobby Womack, Little Anthony, and Run-D.M.C. are New Kings of Rock

Bobby Womack, Little Anthony and the Imperials, and Run-D.M.C. join other new honorees on Saturday, April 4th, 2009 as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame freshmen.

Here are some excerpts from the biographies of these new inductees, courtesy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

An Artist becomes eligible for induction in the Hall 25 years after the release of their first record.

Bobby Womack has thrilled through his music as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. The son of a steelworker, he was born in Cleveland, where he and his siblings formed a gospel group.

While touring with the Soul Stirrers, the Womack Brothers met that group’s lead singer, Sam Cooke. Under Cooke’s tutelage, they crossed the bridge from sacred to secular music, recording for his Sar label as the Valentinos.

The Womack brothers cut two R&B classics as the Valentinos: “Looking for a Love” (later covered by the J. Geils Band), and “It’s All Over Now” (a song that became the Rolling Stones’ first U.S. hit).

Womack also played guitar in Cooke’s band. Womack has written songs recorded by Wilson Pickett “I’m a Midnight Mover,” George Benson’s “Breezin’,” Janis Joplin’s “Trust Me,” and many others.

Wilson Pickett recorded 17 of Bobby Womack’s songs.

Womack made his greatest mark in the 70’s and 80’s racking up 33 charting singles, including the Top 10 classic R&B hits “That’s the Way I Feel About Cha,” “Woman’s Gotta Have It,” “Check It Out,” and “If You Think You’re Lonely Now.”

His first gold single was “Harry Hippie,” a meditation on wasted lifestyles written specifically about his brother and more generally about the counterculture.

Womack topped the R&B chart in 1974 with his remake of “Lookin’ for a Love” and reached #2 in 1973 with his interpretation of the blues standard “Nobody Wants You When You’re Down and Out.”

Little Anthony and the Imperials are Anthony Gourdine, Clarence Collins, Tracy Lord, Glouster “Nat” Rogers, Sammy Strain, and Ernest Wright Jr.

Little Anthony and the Imperials were one of the best vocal groups to emerge from New York City.  They outlasted their peers by virtue of “Little Anthony” Gourdine’s powerful, soaring vocals and the consummate professionalism of the Imperials, who mastered a broad range of material and knew how to work a stage.

Legendary dj Alan Freed, an influential New York disc jockey and concert promoter, christened Gourdine “Little Anthony,” for the youthful quality in his voice.

Freed and fellow dj/promoter Murray Kaufman (“Murray the K”) enjoyed the sound of Little Anthony and the Imperials and helped launch their career with airplay and concert bookings.

“Tears on My Pillow,” their first single for Gone Records, was one of the biggest hits of 1958, reaching #2 on the R&B chart and #4 on the pop chart.

In 1960, the group scored again with the danceable “Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko Bop.”

Little Anthony and the Imperials had the Top 10 classic soul hits: “Goin’ Out of My Head,” and “Hurt So Bad.” The Letterman covered “Goin’ Out of My Head” and made it a Top 10 hit again in 1968.

Linda Ronstadt did the same with her cover of “Hurt So Bad” in 1980.

Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell (died October 30, 2002) are Run-D.M.C.

They changed the sound of rap, hip hop, street fashion and popular culture in general.  Run-D.M.C.’s first release was the 12-inch single “It’s Like That”/”Sucker M.C.’s.”

Run-D.M.C. gave rap its first gold album Run-D.M.C. in 1983, and its first platinum album King of Rock in 1985.

They were the first rap act nominated for a Grammy Award (Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group), for 1986’s Raising Hell.

A ‘born again’ Christian, Run – now known as Rev. Run – stars in his own family-based television reality series, Run’s House.

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Posted by King on 03/12 at 01:00 AM
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Thursday, March 05, 2009

London Calling Michael Jackson to the Stage

Michael Jackson has just announced 10 concert dates at the O2 Arena in London.

A press release today (Thursday, March 5th), on his official website reminds us that M.J. has not played a series of concerts since he last toured 12 years ago.

"I am coming to London to play the songs my fans want to hear” says the king of pop.

The 10 nights at the O2 Arena begin on July 8th, 2009, with tickets going for £75 ($105)/ £65 ($91) and / £50 ($70).

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Posted by King on 03/05 at 03:48 PM
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Funky Funkadelic

March 5, 1978 - “Flash Light” by Parliament is the number one R&B song.

Here is Funkadelic, (their alter ego), with George Clinton holding court in the corner.

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Posted by King on 03/05 at 01:00 AM
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