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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jackie Wilson the Legend

The man known as “Mr. Excitement” began and ended his career as a member of a group.

He sang with the Dominoes in 1951.  In 1975, Jackie Wilson, the singer and the showman, performed the lead vocal for the Chi-Lites on “Don’t Burn No Bridges."

In the period between these 2 groups, the explosive solo career path of Jackie Wilson paved the way for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

As a 16 year old amateur Golden Gloves welterweight boxing champion in 1950, Sonny Wilson pretended to be 18 to qualify for the sport.

Luckily for the music world, Sonny Wilson would abandon boxing to thankfully morph into Jackie Wilson and launch his singing career just one year later.

By 1960, vocal sensation Jackie would break the one week attendance record at the Apollo Theater in New York City.

He lived with a bullet in his stomach that could not be removed, the result of a 1961 encounter with a Juanita Jones, a female fan, who shot him in his New York City apartment.

There would be more tragedy for Jackie, as he suffered a 1975 heart attack on stage in the Philadelphia area while singing his classic “Lonely Teardrops” at the Latin Casino dinner theater in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

With 47 songs on the R&B charts, and at least 54 in the top 100 pop singles chart, Jackie Wilson’s 17-year-plus solo career is the stuff of legends.

His voice sends chills up and down your spine.  Just listen to “Baby Workout” if you have any doubts.

Jackie Wilson died on January 21, 1984.  His music lives on for new generations to enjoy.

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Posted by King on 03/30 at 09:00 PM
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Erykah Badu Presents New Amerykah part 2 Return Of Ankh

Dallas, Texas native Erykah Badu is scheduled to release New Amerykah, PT. 2: Return Of Ankh on Tuesday, March 30, 2010.

This is her 9th album.

Badu, a unique singer and songwriter, commands a very loyal fan following.

With vocals that sometimes assault the senses, Erykah is not afraid to put fresh spins on R&B grooves.  It’s this capacity that makes her stand out from the rest of the formulaic female crowd.

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Posted by King on 03/25 at 08:30 AM
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Smokey Robinson Writes the Mighty Classics

You know you’re a great song writer when your catalog of melodies includes hundreds of compositions.

At last count, Smokey Robinson had over 460 songs registered in the official online song databases as author (or co-author).

Without Smokey, how would Motown have had all of those early hits?

Let’s not even mention the scores of artists who have covered his songs.

"Ain’t That Peculiar,” Marvin Gaye and George Clinton.  “My Girl,” the Temptations and the Whispers.  “Tears of A Clown,” the Miracles and Shalamar.

One of your all-time favorites might just be a Smokey Robinson song.

When it comes to love and romance, the pen of ‘Bill’ William ‘Smokey’ Robinson is number one.

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Posted by King on 03/23 at 07:30 PM
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rose Royce Rides in Classic Soul Style

Producer Norman Whitfield was the wizard behind the mix with a nice run mentoring these four albums by Rose Royce released between 1976 - 1979.

Car Wash - 1976, In Full Bloom II - 1977, Strikes Again III - 1978, and Rainbow Connection IV - 1979.

Three of these albums were released on his own label Whitfield, distributed by Warner Brothers, (with the exception of Car Wash, on MCA).

Before his Rose Royce days, Norman Whitfield wrote and produced many classics for Motown, including “Ball of Confusion,” and “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations.

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Posted by King on 03/18 at 07:45 PM
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Shelia E. and Natalie Cole Freeze Frames

Natalie Cole’s “I Live For Your Love" is one of the many 7 inch 45 rpm vinyl picture sleeve singles released to promote her music back in the day.

Some of her other picture sleeves include:

  • “Dangerous”
  • “Jump Start”
  • “When I Fall In Love”
  • “Miss You Like Crazy”

Shelia E.’s “The Glamorous Life" and “The Belle of St. Mark” are her two most popular picture sleeves, along with:

  • “A Love Bizarre”
  • “Sister Fate”
  • “Bedtime Story”
  • “Holly Rock”
  • “Hold Me”
  • “Koo Koo”

In 2010, some of these sleeves are more valuable than the records.

You may find some hidden gems lying in a basement, garage, attic, flea market, second-hand shop, or at a used record store.

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Posted by King on 03/16 at 01:00 AM
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jimi Hendrix Experiences the Valleys of Neptune

He only authorized the release of 4 albums, yet Jimi Hendrix set the standard by which all other guitar legends are measured.

2010 is the year of the Jimi Hendrix Catalogue Project, a partnership between Sony Legacy Records and the Hendrix estate.

It’s been 40 years since his death in 1970.

Over the decades, we’ve seen an unending parade of Hendrix reissues, remixes, and alternate take collections dropped on the market.

I’ve passed on all of them...until now, and it was worth the wait!

Valleys of Neptune was officially released on Tuesday, March 9.

To say Jimi Hendrix was a genius is an understatement.  Witness these 12 never before released songs (or versions), many courtesy of the final studio recordings by the original Jimi Hendrix Experience.

You’re not getting reheated leftovers. Valleys of Neptune features Hendrix in the recording studio during his creative peak.

People who review music for a living have been gushing over this album anticipating its release for months.  I agree it doesn’t disappoint.

Rather than spend a lot of time going through track by track, I’ll say that Hendrix shows here why he is a master at blending blues and rock riffs into cascading explosions of stunning originality.

He mesmerizes you with spontaneous tactical proficiency pushing the envelope repeatedly with surprise guitar licks to wow the senses.

The Valleys of Neptune CD booklet contains 10 pages of enjoyable well researched liner notes by John McDermott who tells the inside story about the various tracks.

10 well photographed pictures detail the emotional focus of Jimi at work.

Hendrix differentiates strong new versions of “Stone Free,” “Fire,” and “Red House” from the originals with equally compelling alternate arrangements.

Valleys of Neptune:

  1. “Stone Free”
  2. “Valleys of Neptune”
  3. “Bleeding Heart”
  4. “Hear My Train A Comin’”
  5. “Mr. Bad Luck”
  6. “Sunshine of Your Love”
  7. “Lover Man”
  8. “Ships Passing Through The Night”
  9. “Fire”
  10. “Red House”
  11. “Lullaby For The Summer”
  12. “Crying Blue Rain”
  13. “Slow Version” (bonus)
  14. “Trash Man” (bonus)

The 2 bonus tracks are not on all versions of this album.  Look for the one with 14 songs.

If I had to recommend 3 Jimi Hendrix albums for new fans, I would grab:

  1. Are You Experienced
  2. Electric Ladyland
  3. Valleys of Neptune

Electric Ladyland is probably his best.

Want to see the 2010 all-star Jimi Hendrix tribute concert tour?  You’d better hurry, as most of the dates as of this writing are sold out.

Ernie Isley of the Isley Brothers, and bassist Billy Cox (a Hendrix army buddy who played on the Band of Gypsys live album) are part of the tour.

  • Thursday, March 11, San Francisco, CA - The Warfield
  • Friday, March 12, Reno, NV - Silver Legacy Resort Casino
  • Sunday, March 14, Denver, CO - Paramount Theatre SOLD OUT
  • Monday, March 15, Salina, KS - Stiefel Theatre For The Performing Arts
  • Tuesday, March 16, Kansas City, MO - Uptown Theatre
  • Wednesday, March 17, Minneapolis, MN - Orpheum Theatre
  • Thursday, March 18, Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre SOLD OUT
  • Saturday, March 20, St. Louis, MO - Fox Theatre
  • Sunday, March 21, Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theatre SOLD OUT
  • Tuesday, March 23, Akron, OH - Akron Civic Theatre SOLD OUT
  • Wednesday, March 24, Montclair, NJ - Wellmont Theatre SOLD OUT
  • Thursday, March 25, Red Bank, NJ - Count Basie Theatre SOLD OUT
  • Saturday, March 27, Atlanta, GA - Fox Theatre

Listen to 33 seconds of “Bleeding Heart” by Jimi Hendrix from Valleys of Neptune.

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Posted by King on 03/11 at 01:00 AM
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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Jimmy Cliff Rolls Reggae into Rock Hall of Fame

Jamaican Jimmy Cliff is in the fraternity of reggae brothers Johnny Nash, Bob Marley, Denroy Morgan, Shabba Ranks, and others.

In different decades, these singers have all boosted the allure of reggae music as a dancehall genre crying out for more mass appeal acceptance.

As an ambassador of his craft, Jimmy Cliff, and his respected brethren above, have all achieved it...hard earned cross-over mainstream success.

Cliff recorded “Wonderful World, Beautiful People” in 1970, his biggest hit.  You can listen to a sample of it below.

With more than 30 albums in his catalogue, it’s really not surprising that Jimmy Cliff is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday, March 15, 2010 in New York City.

Cliff has more than 30 movie soundtrack credits to his name too.

Perhaps his biggest claim to fame is as an actor.  Watch the trailer from The Harder They Come, Cliff’s 1972 role as a reggae singer looking to break out big.

The Harder They Come is the movie credited with introducing reggae to a worldwide audience.

Jimmy Cliff will join the other 2010 inductees: Abba, Genesis, The Hollies, and The Stooges.

Listen to 30 seconds of “Wonderful World, Beautiful People” by Jimmy Cliff.

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Posted by King on 03/09 at 01:00 AM
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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sharon Jones takes the Long Road to SXSW in Austin

The annual Austin, Texas music extravaganza, SXSW, (South by Southwest), will draw dynamic acts from all over the globe for the March 17 - 21 (music week), 2010 showcase.

1987 was the first SXSW in Austin, a unique music city that mixes jazz, blues, rock, country, & folk.  This Texas town claims to have “more original music nightclubs in a concentrated area than any other city in the world."

One group getting a lot of attention this year is Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, who will perform Wednesday evening, March 17.

Within some music circles, the R&B authenticity of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings is hotly debated.

Without question, Sharon’s soulful delivery is genuine.  Are the Dap-Kings the second coming of original instrumental virtuosity on par with Booker T. & the MG’s (Memphis), The Funk Brothers (Motown), or MFSB (Philadelphia)?

No, if that’s what you’re looking for.

I’d argue that Jones & company have fused these influences to produce a contemporary neo classic soul sound that doesn’t necessarily mimic the expectations of past legacy styles.

When you have a diverse ethnic mix of musicians in a group, fresh sounds are often invented.

People who have seen Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings rave about their intense live show.

It’s also rare for a performer to jump into the music game after the age of 40, and achieve the success Sharon has earned.

You’ve heard the sound of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings in these movies: Soul Men (sound track), Up in the Air, American Gangster and The Great Debaters.

If you won’t be in Austin for SXSW, here’s the current international tour schedule for Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings:

  • Friday, March 26, Snoe.down Festival - Rutland, VT
  • Saturday, April 10, Astra - Berlin, Germany
  • Tuesday, April 13, Trabendo - Paris, France
  • Wednesday, April 14, Koko - London, UK
  • Thursday, April 15, Paradiso - Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Saturday, April 17, Wanee Festival - Live Oak, FL
  • Thursday, April 22, Festival Internationale de Louisiane - Lafayette, LA
  • Friday, April 23, The Howling Wolf - New Orleans, LA
  • Saturday, April 24, Double Decker Festival - Oxford, MS
  • Friday, April 30, Apollo Theater - New York City, NY
  • Saturday, May 1, Apollo Theater - New York City, NY
  • Thursday, May 6, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Richmond, VA
  • Friday, May 7, Ramís Head Onstage - Annapolis, MD
  • Saturday, May 8, Jefferson Theater - Charlottesville, VA
  • Sunday, May 9, The NorVa - Norfolk, VA
  • Tuesday, May 11, Catís Cradle - Carrboro, NC
  • Wednesday, May 12, Orange Peel - Ashesville, NC
  • Thursday, May 13, Center Stage - Atlanta Atlanta, GA
  • Friday, May 14, Cannery Ballroom - Nashville, TN
  • Saturday, May 15, Nelsonville Music Festival - Nelsonville, OH
  • Monday, May 17, The Southgate House - Newport, KY
  • Tuesday, May 18, Majestic Theatre - Detroit, MI

Look for the new Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings collection, I Learned the Hard Way, their 4th album, scheduled for release on Tuesday, April 6th, 2010.

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Posted by King on 03/04 at 08:00 AM
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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Sound of Philadelphia Challenge

Do you know your Philadelphia International Records classic soul?

Try the Sound of Philadelphia challenge just for fun.

All of the clues in this original game are easy, except for one!

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Posted by King on 03/02 at 01:00 AM
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