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Thursday, May 27, 2010

4 Concerts for Soulful Summer Sounds

Summertime will be here in just a few short weeks.  Here are 4 USA concert picks for classic soul fans in each region around the country.  Next time, 4 international picks.

Jill Scott / Maxwell
Friday, June 4, 2010
Oracle Arena
Oakland, CA
7:00 pm

Patti LaBelle
Saturday, June 12
Miller Stage
Milwaukee, WI
10:00 pm

Erykah Badu
Monday, June 14
Verizon Theatre At Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, TX
7:30 pm

Earth, Wind & Fire
Thursday, June 24
Uptown Ampitheatre at The Music Factory
Charlotte, NC
7:30 pm

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Posted by King on 05/27 at 01:00 AM
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jimmy Castor Bunch Funk Jammin

From underground cool to comedic novelty, Jimmy Castor covers all the bases displaying musical versatility as his calling card.

Will he sing, swing with saxophone, or stomp all night long in the funk?

The New York City native has the expressive multicultural Big Apple as his foundation.

Latin-soul, Afro-Cuban, pop, R&B, funk.  It’s all in The Jimmy Castor Bunch, his showcase group.

This picture is from the cover of his ‘best of’ 2002 CD, The Jimmy Castor Bunch 16 Slabs of Funk.

Released on the BMG label, I wouldn’t say that this is the definitive greatest hits collection, as some good stuff from Castor’s Atlantic Records days are missing.

Track one is an edited version of the funk classic “It’s Just Begun,” a song sampled by numerous hip hop heavies.  The famous 10 second sax solo that opens the song has be cut out.

Novelty tunes “Say Leroy” and “Troglodyte (Cave Man)” are here.

His instrumental saxophone virtuosity shines on Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face."

"Tribute to Jimi: Purple Haze/Foxey Lady” introduces Hendrix’s music to Castor’s fan base, but this medley doesn’t soar like the original tracks.

“Bad," an unappreciated short 2-minute message song, has the hook, rhythm, and lyric to make it all work.  Listen to 40 seconds of “Bad” below.

Of the 16 songs on this album, the ones I have mentioned present the essence of Jimmy Castor.

His Atlantic album catalogue has been reissued.  Perhaps there is a definite best of Jimmy Castor in the future.

I would include the excellent full version of “Potential,” and “Soul Travelin’,” a song The Jimmy Castor Bunch recorded with New York City deejay Gary Byrd.

Read his official biography and listen to my 10 minute conversation with Jimmy Castor and Gerry Thomas (from a longer interview I did back in the day).

But first, listen to The Jimmy Castor Bunch get funky with “Bad."

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Posted by King on 05/25 at 09:00 PM
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Your Super Soul Revival is Back for 2010

Who says there’s nothing new or compelling under the sun from straight ahead rhythm & blues!

Have you picked up on some of today’s fresh contemporary jams?

Yes, the golden age of classic soul is long gone, but…

Rather than lament about today’s music as 2nd best, one has to dig a little bit deeper.

Since the beginning of Powerhouse Radio online in 2001, we’ve always included a handful of carefully selected new tracks fitting the style of the vintage classic soul that you love.

We received a 2010 promotional copy of Soul Revival, part of the Discover Songs series curated by NPR with help from Shout Factory.

This is an example of digging deep.

Soul Revival includes several great tracks that we already play.

I can’t imagine anyone not liking this compilation.

Ryan Shaw kicks things off with “Do The 45,” a tip of the hat to Jr. Walker & the All-Stars that really cooks.

Contributions from Raphael Saadiq, Ann Peebles, Candi Staton, Bettye Lavette, Thelma Houston, and others all complement the old school theme of this mostly new or recent music collection.

Check this one out.  You’ll be glad you did.

Soul Revival:

  1. “Do The 45” - Ryan Shaw
  2. “Am I Wasting My time?” - Eli “Paperboy” Reed & The True Lovers
  3. “100 Yard Dash” - Raphael Saadiq
  4. “Disrespectful” - Chaka Khan with Mary J. Blige
  5. “100 Days, 100 Nights” - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
  6. “No Smoke Without Fire” - James Hunter
  7. “Love and Happiness” - Thelma Houston
  8. “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” - Ann Peebles
  9. “Love Comes and Goes” - Lee Fields & The Expressions
  10. “I Still Want To Be Your Baby” - Bettye Lavette
  11. “If It Wasn’t For Loving You” - Steve Cropper & Felix Cavaliere
  12. “How Do I Tell Him” - The Revelations featuring TrĂ© Williams
  13. “His Hands” - Candi Staton

Listen to 30 seconds of “Do The 45” by Ryan Shaw.  He also does a great version of the much recorded classic “Memphis Train” as featured on the Soul Men movie soundtrack.

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Posted by King on 05/20 at 08:00 PM
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

10 Parliament - Funkadelic Freeze Frames

Some music artists get really creative commissioning expressive cover art on their albums.

Just look during the height of the vinyl record era for some of the most memorable masterpieces.

From classic soul, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Ohio Players, and Parliament - Funkadelic are 3 great examples.

Watch the one minute slide show featuring some of leader George Clinton’s most memorable Funkadelic cover-branding visuals to promote these well received albums.

As a special bonus, grab the Funkadelic “Electric Spanking of War Babies" wallpaper from PictureSleevePop.com.

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Posted by King on 05/18 at 09:00 PM
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stevie Wonder Celebrates 60

Just in time for the celebration of Stevie Wonder’s 60th birthday on May 13, 2010, pop culture writer Mark Ribowsky has put the Motown legend under the literary microscope in a new book.

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: The Soulful Journey of Stevie Wonder meticulously chronicles his compelling story from child prodigy to international super star.

Ribowsky doesn’t sweep some of the negative parts of the Wonder odyssey under the rug.

He keeps the story real by taking an honest look at how Stevie grew up within the Motown family driven by his positive inner talent (accompanied by some external negative demons along for the ride).

Through the pen of the author, this is an entertaining, fun story, which in many was reflects the zany personality of Stevie Wonder.

The details in Signed, Sealed, and Delivered: The Soulful Journey of Stevie Wonder are thoroughly intense.

Ribowsky is gifted in documenting the elaborate minutiae of Stevie’s story in a way that sometimes reads more like a novel than a biography.

After the first third of the book you’ll discover how dysfunctional elements of Wonder’s family influenced relocation to Detroit, Michigan.

Mark Ribowsky uses many quick anecdotes from supporting Wonder sources including quotes from books by Supreme Mary Wilson, music critic Nelson George, and Stevie’s mother, Lula Mae Wright (Hardaway).

If you have always been confused about what Stevie Wonder’s real name is, here is a brief excerpt from Signed, Sealed, and Delivered that explores this topic:

There’s so much in this story that I haven’t even scratched the surface, so next time, we’ll get to Ribowsky’s narration about Stevie Wonder’s wild days at Motown when he began producing memorable music.

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Posted by King on 05/13 at 09:00 AM
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Earth Wind & Fire Cover Art

Here’s a 60 second Earth, Wind & Fire slide-show video featuring their provocative album cover art.

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Posted by King on 05/11 at 01:00 AM
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Lena Horne Leaves a Lasting Legacy of Music

Lena Horne was an all-media superstar who captured hearts on radio, television, movies, records, and Broadway.

Ms. Horne was attracted to show business early as a 16-year-old chorus girl at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club in 1933.

She was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 30, 1917, and celebrated her 90th birthday in 2007.

Ms. Horne has just passed away at 92 (on May 10, 2010).

In 1981, Quincy Jones’ Qwest Records released Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music Live on Broadway.

Listen to 60 seconds of Lena Horne singing “If You Believe” from this double album.

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Posted by King on 05/10 at 09:00 PM
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Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Winstons Color Him Father

"Color Him Father” is one of those rare positive message songs that graced the classic soul - pop radio airwaves back in 1969.

Washington, DC’s the Winstons created this song.

Fast forward to 2010, as a new group of Winstons under the direction of trademark owner Joe Phillips continues to keep the sound alive.

Although none of the original members from the 1969 crew are in the current group, the new Winstons have been performing since 1996.

They’ve released a new 4-song EP disc with: “Don’t Blame It On Me,” “Still,” “Good Single Lady,” and “Put Your Hands Up.”

My favorite, “Put Your Hands Up” (for your father), salutes those great dads who take care of business.

“Still" captures the sound of love by staying true to the Commodores original.

"Good Single Lady” gets going with the Johnnie Taylor “Disco Lady” rhythm.

Novelty hooks are great to generate a buzz about a song, and the EP title track “Don’t Blame It On Me” has one.

There’s comical amusement in the serious message scorning those deadbeat dads who refrain : ‘The kid is not my son.’ We’ve heard this before in “Billie Jean."

Listen for yourself to 59 seconds of “Don’t Blame It On Me,” but first...watch the Winstons perform their classic “Color Him Father."

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Posted by King on 05/06 at 01:00 AM
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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

War Serves Up A Spicy Cinco De Mayo Sing-along

On War’s 1982 album Outlaw, you’ll find the lively “Cinco De Mayo,” a festive and funky anthem for Cinco De Mayo Day.

Sing-along with War for 30 seconds.

They have the jazz, rock, Latin, and R&B groove.

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Posted by King on 05/04 at 01:00 AM
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