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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Toni Braxton Returns with a Hot Pulse

Toni Braxton has spread musical joy ever since 1991’s “Love Shoulda Brought You Home” landed in the Boomerang movie soundtrack.

Her 5 Grammy Awards (1993, 1994, 1997, 2000) complement memorable hits including “Another Sad Love Song."

According to her official biography, while studying to become a teacher at Bowie State University in Maryland, Toni was discovered by producers L.A. Reid and Babyface.

She survived a well-publicized bankruptcy in 1997, which she characterizes as “a major learning opportunity for me."

Toni began her first Broadway run in 1998 with a starring role in “Beauty & The Beast."

In 2005, she headlined Toni Braxton: Revealed at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  In 2008, she competed on ABC’s Dancing with Stars and headlined the Dancing with the Stars tour.

Toni Braxton is now signed with Atlantic Records.  Her new album, Pulse, is scheduled for release on Tuesday, May 4, 2010.

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Posted by King on 04/29 at 09:00 PM
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jeffrey Osborne Goes all the Way with LTD

Jeffrey Osborne has had a marvelous career.

He moved from behind the drum kit to center stage as lead vocalist for L.T.D., Love Togetherness & Devotion.

From 1969 to the present, Osborne has dived into funk, soul, and ballads propelled by powerful pipes pushing his resonant voice forward.

In 2009, Greatest Hits Live! was released, featuring a solid mix of L.T.D. and solo Jeffrey Osborne hits.

It’s a strong showcase of his deep catalog.

Take a look through the track list, then listen to 25 seconds of L.T.D.’s “Holding On” sung live by Jeffrey on this album.

  1. “We’re Going All The Way”
  2. “Don’t Get So Mad / medley I Don’t Need No Light”
  3. “Only Human”
  4. “Party Hearty”
  5. “Stranger”
  6. “Stay With Me”
  7. “Close the Door”
  8. “On the Wings of Love”
  9. “Holding On”
  10. “Concentrate On You”
  11. “We Both Deserve Each Other’s Love”
  12. “Love Ballad”
  13. “You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)”
  14. “Back In Love Again”
  15. “I’ll Be Around”

As of this writing, here are Jeffrey Osborne’s 2010 tour dates through October.

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Posted by King on 04/27 at 09:00 PM
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stevie Wonder Takes 10

I’m reading through Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: The Soulful Journey of Stevie Wonder, a brand new unauthorized biography by Mark Ribowsky.

We’ll write up a review that will appear here soon.

Motown Stevie turns 60 on May 13, 2010.

In honor of the coming event, here’s another Powerhouse Radio photo puzzle for you to enjoy.

Stevie Wonder Takes 10 puts you on the spot for a trip down memory lane.

It’s a total recall picture challenge.  Are you a wonderful expert?

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Posted by King on 04/22 at 09:30 PM
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Diana Ross Touches the USA again

I really enjoyed attending my very first Diana Ross concert at the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey in January, 2008.

Spring is the time of the year Miss Ross likes to do what she loves...and that’s hit the road to entertain you.

Never seen her?  Don’t miss your chance in 2010!

The Boss still has the right stuff.  Charm, personality, showmanship, and hit music are all in the mix when this legendary diva takes the stage.

Here are Diana Ross more today than yesterday tour dates.

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Posted by King on 04/20 at 11:00 PM
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Can Record Store Day Save a Sinking Ship?

Album sales are down 6.1 percent in the first 3 month of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

They add that for the first time, iTunes and CD sales online have passed the traditional big box retailers.

Amazon and their digital brethren now make up the largest distribution channel for music, and for good reason.

Big boxers like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy have dropped the ball when challenged with stocking a satisfactory variety of the newest music being released.

You’ll always find the A-list performers in their racks, but you are hard pressed to find a deep selection of new music representing a variety of artists from different niche genres.

Jazz, soul, and R&B are frequent victims of this trend.

Bookstores including Encore and Barnes and Noble do a better job stocking tunes, but as with the big box stores, music sales no longer represent a growth area.

The digital music download world is hurting too.

Nielsen SoundScan says that downloads experienced their first year-to-year quarterly sales decline ever, falling about 1 percent between January 1 and April 4.

In the same period in 2009, digital download sales were up 13 percent over 2008.

CD’s will eventually go the way of the horse and buggy, just as electric vehicles will slowly take market share from gas engine cars.

Computers inevitably crash, and unless you back everything up, there’s still a better element of permanency when investing in compact discs.

The CD for many is still an important part of their music collection.

Once upon a time, the best place in town to salivate over new releases and bountiful catalogs was the record store.

I worked in an independent record store for 3 years part-time as a teenager.

Today, only the bigger cities can still support the few independent record emporiums that are left.

In Philadelphia, my favorite is Sound of Market Street (JazSound), surviving in 2010 with an awesome collection of CD’s (and vinyl discs).

A worldwide event has been created to spotlight stores just like Sound of Market (JazSound).

Saturday, April 17 will mark the 3rd annual Record Store Day.

RecordStoreDay.com says that the original idea for this promotion was “conceived by Chris Brown, and was founded in 2007 by Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner as a celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally."

The website further amplifies the concept explaining “this is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music."

"Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances."

Record Store Day is now celebrated on the 3rd Saturday every April.

At RecordStoreDay.com, I did a random ‘search by state’ to see what was happening in Texas.  Over 50 independent record stores came up in the Lone Star State, so there still is a heartbeat left in this disappearing institution that’s now on life-support.

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Posted by King on 04/15 at 01:00 AM
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chic Music Photo Puzzle

Chic music was always a hit with Nile Rodgers on guitar, Bernard Edwards on bass, Tony Thompson on drums, and vocalists Norma Jean Wright and Alfa Anderson singing the lead.

Est-ce que c’est chic?

The Chic Music Photo Puzzle has the answer.

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Posted by King on 04/13 at 09:00 PM
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Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Delfonics Debut Harmonic Philly Soul

The Delfonics set the stage for the Stylistics, the O’Jays, and the eventual parade of other future smooth Philly-soul vocal groups.

The sound of the Delfonics was not the funky sound of Motown, Stax, Memphis, or Chicago.

Producer Thom Bell enhanced what the Delfonics created to eventually popularize this style of quiet storm R&B.

Philadelphia’s original Delfonics: Wilbert Hart, William Hart, and Randy Cain first recorded for the Cameo Parkway label.  Thom Bell would grab them for his Philly Groove label, releasing “La La Means I Love You” in 1968.

Major Harris, of “Love Won’t Let Me Wait” fame would replace Randy Cain in 1971.

As Marc Taylor describes in his book A Touch of Classic Soul: Soul Singers of the Early 1970’s, there were 2 sets of Delfonics touring in the 1980s because of a legal fight over the name.

There will be no confusion when you watch and listen to my 30 second slide show featuring “the real” Delfonics.

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Posted by King on 04/08 at 09:00 PM
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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Angelique Kidjo OYO

Back in 2002 on Powerhouse Radio, I started playing “Iwoya,” an Angelique Kidjo duet with Dave Matthews from her album, Black Ivory Soul, released that year.

Kidjo is a unique artist from West Africa, (Benin), mixing it up with a potpourri of eclectic world rhythms and soulful funky beats.

She’s just released her 9th album, OYO, singing in both traditional and English languages.

James Brown’s “Cold Sweat,” and Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up” (with John Legend & Bono) are a couple of the English language tracks.

Don’t worry about the language barrier, as this is universal music.

Kidjo has unfortunately never received a lot of exposure in the USA.  Perhaps this time around with a new album, things will change.

Her current tour is catering to her European fan base, with these 2010 dates:

  • April 11, Krefield, Germany - Kulturfabrik
  • April 12, Berlin, Germany - Kesselhaus
  • April 13, Hamburg, Germany - Fabrik
  • April 15, Frankfurt, Germany - Botfabrik
  • April 16, Cully, Switzerland - Cully Jazz Festival
  • April 17, Paris, France - La Cigale
  • April 20, Copenhagen, Denmark - Amager Bio
  • April 21, Helsinki, Finland - Savoy Theatre
  • April 22, Oslo, Norway - Cosmopolitan
  • April 24, Stockholm, Sweden - Götakällaren

Watch Angelique Kidjo & Joss Stone perform “Gimme Shelter,” a blast from the past.

Listen to Angelique, John Legend, and Bono sing “Move on Up” (59 seconds) from her new album, OYO.

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Posted by King on 04/06 at 09:00 PM
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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Music Photo Puzzle of Kings

Even if you don’t know who this blues brother is, you’ll enjoy our newest “King Culture Music Photo Puzzle."

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Posted by King on 04/01 at 09:00 PM
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