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Powerhouse Radio Newsletter
Why Aretha is the One: Diva #1
June 6, 2002

This issue includes...

1) Why Aretha is the One: Diva #1
2) New and Notable: Earth Wind and Fire: Alive in '75
3) Music News: Quick Takes
4) Review: A Touch of Classic Soul
5) Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood: Lyric Power
6) Instant Access to PowerhouseRadio.com
7) Tell Us What You Think

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1) Why Aretha is the One: Diva #1

I love Chaka Khan, Deniece Williams, Phyllis Hyman, Dionne Warwick, Anita Baker, and many other great singers. My number one salute however has to go to Aretha Franklin.

She began her long recording career on Chess Records, with little fanfare. When she signed with Columbia Records in the early 60's, the pop tunes she recorded there didn't grab the imagination of the music listening public.

By the time Jerry Wexler and the Atlantic Records crowd tapped into the gospel roots of the Queen of Soul in the mid to late 60's, the rest, shall we say, is history.

Not resting on her Atlantic success, Aretha reinvented herself again in the 80's on Arista, working with producers like Narada Michael Walden.

This woman personifies soul. From ballads to rockers, from bluesy torch songs to gospel magic, from the songs of Carole King, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Curtis Mayfield, and everyone else in between, Aretha is truly an icon who in my opinion deserves to be at the top of the list.

Her gospel recordings with her father are legendary, and I also love her work with the Winans.

Powerhouse Radio

2) New and Notable: Earth Wind and Fire: Alive in '75

After 30 years in the business, Earth Wind and Fire continue to electrify audiences. Although Maurice White cannot presently tour with the group because of illness, the legacy of the elements of the universe continue in their live 2002 concerts.

Earth Wind and Fire's new album, That's the Way of the World: Alive in '75, was just released in late April, 2002. Featured tracks were recorded live in 1975 at different concert halls from across the USA including: Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and New York.

Tracks on the new collection include:

Shining Star, Happy Feelin', Yearnin' Learnin', Sun Goddess, Evil, Kalimba Story, Reasons, Mighty Mighty, and That's the Way of the World.

These live versions sparkle with energy similar to the magic of the live tracks captured on Gratitude, the Earth Wind and Fire double album, released in December, 1975.

Earth Wind and Fire: Alive in '75 is a very good collection that every fan of the band will enjoy.

3) Music News: Quick Takes:

Recent Music News Articles posted at PowerhouseRadio.com

** R&B Songwriting Legend Otis Blackwell Dead at 70

Brooklyn, New York City born songwriter Otis Blackwell recently passed away. He's famous for writing over 1000 songs, including material for Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Billy Joel, James Taylor, and Peggy Lee.

He wrote "Don't be Cruel," and "All Shook Up," made famous by Elvis Presley, as well as "Great Balls of Fire," a big hit for Jerry Lee Lewis.

** MTV Boots Heavy Metal for Hip-Hop

MTV is canceling their MTVx cable channel and replacing it with an all hip-hop music channel. The new hip-hop channel will play hip-hop videos 24 hours a day, commercial free.

** Coca-Cola Unsigned Artist Competition

The Coca-Cola New Music Award has returned to the American Music Awards to provide another unsigned artist a chance at stardom.

The nationwide search for the best unsigned artist or band in America includes playoff performances in New York and Los Angeles and an opportunity to perform live on the 30th Annual American Music Awards telecast in early January 2003 on ABC-TV.

To enter the Coca-Cola New Music Award competition, individual artists and bands are asked to submit three original songs and written lyrics, along with a biography and photo.

Send digital submissions to newmusicaward.com or by mail on audio cassette or CD. Online entries will be accepted until July 24 and mail-in entries through July 31.

All mail-in entries should be sent to:
"The American Music Awards Presents
The Coca-Cola NewMusic Award" Competition
151 West 25th Street 12th Floor
New York, NY 10001

4) Review: A Touch of Classic Soul

A Touch of Classic Soul: Soul Singers of the Early 1970's

Why were the O'Jays almost blacklisted from performing in the US? What's the real story behind the relationship between Teddy Pendergrass and Harold Melvin? How does the X-rated rap queen, Millie Jackson, continue to sell out shows despite the lack of air play on traditional radio?

You'll love discovering the answers to these questions, along with some other very interesting stories compiled in a series of interviews by author Marc Taylor with over 30 legendary stars.

I discovered this book by accident about a year ago through a brief mention in a community newspaper in New York City. Wanting to know the real deal, I picked up A Touch of Classic Soul, and it's companion book, A Touch of Classic Soul 2: The Late 1970's (to be reviewed in a future issue of the Powerhouse Radio Newsletter).

Here are the inside stories of all of the super stars, solo acts, and groups who made R&B music in the 1970's. Marc interviews or profiles:

Blue Magic
Chairmen of the Board
The Chi-Lites
The Delfonics
The Dells
The Dramatics
The Emotions
First Choice
The Friends of Distinction
Al Green
Isaac Hayes
The Intruders
Millie Jackson
Gladys Knight and the Pips
Jean Knight
The Main Ingredient
The Manhattans
Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes
The Moments (Ray, Goodman, and Brown)
New Birth
The Ohio Players
The O'Jays
Billy Paul
Freda Payne
The Spinners
The Staple Singers
The Stylistics
The Temprees
The Three Degrees
The Whispers
Barry White
Bobby Womack
Betty Wright

I love these kind of books where you can just start reading at any spot and just jump around. The stories are very entertaining. One serious common thread weaving through many of the tales: ignorance of the business side of the music industry held back the long term earning power of many of these R&B stars.

Now I know why there were two groups of competing Delfonics touring in the 1980's. Finally I have the 4-1-1 about all of those Playboy models hired by the Ohio Players for their risque album covers.

Taylor's writing style is informal and easy to enjoy. the tidbits of information pouring out of A Touch of Classic Soul make the book a joy for any fan of 1970's R&B. When you've finished this book, you'll be a fountain of information.

So how did The Dells become the musical consultants for Robert Townsend's movie, "The Five Hearbeats?" It's all in A Touch of Classic Soul: Soul Singers of the early 1970's.

Powerhouse Radio

5) Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood: Lyric Power

Courtesy of The Archive of Misheard Lyrics at

Song: Emotion
Artist: Destiny's Child

The real lyrics:
Cry me a river that leads to your ocean.

Misheard by Wendi as:
Cry me a river that leads to erosion

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7) Tell Us What You Think

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More 2002 Powerhouse Radio Newsletters:
December - Music Review: En Vogue, The Gift of Christmas
November - Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Movie and the CD
November - The Legacy of Jam Master Jay
October - Welcome to Our New Listeners and Subscribers
August - The Satellite Radio Revolution
July - How to Listen to Internet Radio on your Home Stereo

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