"She's known as the hardest working young lady in show business today. Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Tina Turner." [more inside]
"...it should be made clear that Tehran in the ’70s was not an equivalent to New Orleans, Chicago or Detroit. There was no funk haven per se, but within the Iranian pop world some tracks did appear, and those records are a rare treasure trove for funk aficionados." — Searching for Iran’s lost funk [more inside]
In decades past, R&B and soul artists didn't shy away from covering country songs. That's right, children, straight up country songs. And the results were often stunningly good. For example, Al Green's performance of Kris Kristofferson's For the Good Times (best known as a hit for country crooner Ray Price). Or Ray Charles' performance of Eddy Arnold's You Don't Know Me. Or Aretha Franklin's performance of country chestnut You Are My Sunshine, first recorded in 1939 by the Pine Ridge Boys. And... [more inside]
GRiZ - Mad Liberation. Take a 21 year old bedroom producer from Michigan, raise them on the the internet with a near complete access to the history of modern music with a focus on electronic/dance and apparently you get this incredibly humanistic and cross-cultural album that's both homage, monument and appropriation of hundreds of influences in modern music in an incredibly dubby dubstep framework. (Free album download here.)
'textbook definition of surrealism' In his epic new bio of James Brown, "The One"--an account of not just the man's life and music, but a panoramic view of African-American, southern and American political and cultural history of the 20th Century--author R.J. Smith briefly discusses "Future Shock," a dance show that Brown hosted in the mid-1970s. It aired on a pioneering Atlanta station, WTCG, a Ted Turner-owned UHF station that would become a satellite channel by the end of 1976. Along with the pay-only HBO (started in '75 in select markets), WTCG paved the way for a cable TV revolution. Its name would be changed to WTBS (otherwise known as Superstation WTBS) in 1979. [more inside]
In the wake of their grunge-y breakout hit "Creep" and the success of sophomore record The Bends, Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead were under pressure to deliver once more. So they shut themselves away inside the echoing halls of a secluded 16th century manor and got to work. What emerged from that crumbling Elizabethan castle fifteen years ago today was a shockingly ambitious masterpiece of progressive rock, a visionary concept album that explored the "fridge buzz" of modernity -- alienation, social disconnection, existential dread, the impersonal hum of technology -- through a mosaic of challenging, innovative, eerily beautiful music unlike anything else at the time. Tentatively called Ones and Zeroes, then Your Home May Be at Risk If You Do Not Keep Up Payments, the band finally settled on OK Computer, an appropriately enigmatic title for this acclaimed harbinger of millennial angst. For more, you can watch the retrospective OK Computer: A Classic Album Under Review for a track-by-track rundown, or the unsettling documentary Meeting People is Easy for a look at how the album's whirlwind tour nearly gave Yorke a nervous breakdown. Or look inside for more details and cool interpretations of all the tracks -- including an upcoming MeFi Music Challenge! [more inside]
Ralph "Soul" Jackson is celebrating the release of his first full-length LP, The Alabama Love Man. He's been making the record with some help from friends and admirers for more than three years. But Jackson has been recording his brand of soul music with little success for more than forty years. [more inside]
Millions may know him best from one of the only lines he delivered in the Blues Brothers movie: "We had a band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline". Others who notice these things will remember him as the guy who also played the bass in the Blues Brothers band. And those for whom Stax records and the Memphis sound are important will know him as the four-string foundation of the great Booker T and the MGs, and the man who lent his solid, no-frills bass lines to many a tune by soul luminaries Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and lots of other greats. Memphis-born bassman Donald "Duck" Dunn has died while on tour (along with fellow legend and bandmate Steve Cropper) in Tokyo. RIP, Duck Dunn, and if there's any goat piss in heaven, I know you're gonna turn it into gasoline up there, too.
On January 13 and 14, 1972, Aretha Franklin sang during services at the Reverend James Cleveland's New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. The audio recordings released as Amazing Grace remain the largest-selling gospel album in history. However, of the 20 hours of 16mm film footage by Sydney Pollack - intended as a concert movie for tandem release - only a few snippets have ever been seen. (previously: 1, 2)
Alex Chilton (of the band Big Star) died two years ago today. Here's a choir singing Big Star's song "Thirteen."
Over its amazing 35 year run, Soul Train provided American television viewers with an incredible panorama, a veritable cornucopia of black popular music, and of course, entertained everyone with their legendary line dance segments. The man who created and hosted the show from its beginnings up until 1993, Mr. Don Cornelius, was on Wednesday found dead in his home, an apparent suicide.
After years of rumored depression, drug and alcohol addiction, and legal issues, D'Angelo is poised to make a comeback. [more inside]
The world just got a little less funky. Jimmy Castor passed away today. You might know him as the doo-wop Junior who replaced Frankie Lymon in The Teenagers. You might know him forYou Might know his hits Troglodyte, Hey, Leroy, or maybe the Bertha Butt Boogie. You might even know his Magic Saxophone. [more inside]
“Henrik's work speaks to the idea that there is no such thing as a soul or a self that's independent of the brain.”
Out-of-body experience: Master of illusion: Out-of-body experiences are just part of Ehrsson's repertoire. He has convinced people that they have swapped bodies with another person, gained a third arm, shrunk to the size of a doll or grown to giant proportions. [ . . . ] But Ehrsson's unorthodox apparatus amount to more than cheap trickery. They are part of his quest to understand how people come to experience a sense of self, located within their own bodies. The feeling of body ownership is so ingrained that few people ever think about it — and those scientists and philosophers who do have assumed that it was unassailable. [ . . . ] Ehrsson's work also intrigues neuroscientists and philosophers because it turns a slippery, metaphysical construct — the self — into something that scientists can dissect.
New Year's Eve is fast approaching, and for lots of folks that means... drinking. Plenty of drinking. And since there's no shortage of singers and songwriters who've had a little something to say about that particular topic, maybe some of the following tunes can serve as an appropriate soundtrack to your own joyous (or not?) imbibing of spirits. For example, there's... Jimmy Liggins with his succinct rendition of Drunk, and there's... [more inside]
Daptone Records, the Brooklyn soul revival label, is 10 years old. Daptone doesn't only make soul songs with themes and arrangements in the style of soul music but, more importantly, they make records that aesthetically sound like the era. [more inside]
The man who lent his wonderfully warm and soaring voice to the rolling soul ballad Get It While You Can, the limber southern funk of Eight Days on the Road, the coolly driving How Come My Bulldog Don't Bark, the mellow soul lilt (with breathtaking falsetto interjections!) of I Learned It All the Hard Way and so many other delightful soul numbers has died. Farewell Howard Tate. [more inside]
One's a spine-tingling howl of alienation gleaned from a spaghetti western. One's a bluesy transatlantic barnstormer that turned a young British singer into an icon of soul. Both feature powerful voices in unconventional styles mulling over intense feeling. And together, thanks to mash-up artist Divide & Kreate, they make for one of the best remixes out there [.mp3]. There's a similar mix with Cee Lo if you're so inclined, or check out the dueling cover by Upstart to hear the vocals beautifully intertwine. Mash-ups previously on MeFi.
DJHistory.com's list of 100 Greatest Dance Records may not be definitive or feature your favorite record, but it's hard to say that each and every record on there hasn't earned its place, from the Northern Soul swing of "The Clapping Song" to the post-ironic dancehall of "Pon De Floor." [more inside]
My assumption has always been: If something like a soul exists, and it affects our consciousness in any manner, then it must be detectable by some scientific device. I find it difficult to imagine that something can interact with my physical body without leaving any physical trace. But though I find it hard to imagine, is it possible for something like a soul to interact with me without leaving any physical trace?
Back in May of this year, Mayer Hawthorne put together a free collection of covers and descriptions of the tracks. The collection includes covers of The Isley Brothers (Work To Do, 1972), Chromeo (Don't Turn The Lights On, 2010), The Festivals (You’ve Got The Makings Of A Lover, late 1960s), Shorty's Portion (Fantasy Girl or Child, 1975?), Jon Brion (Little Person, 2008), and Electric Light Orchestra (Mr. Blue Sky, 1977). Chances are that you've heard of (or at least heard from) most of these artists, except Shorty's Portion, a one-off band with a small-run album. The group was centered around Steve Salazar, who was born with a hole in his heart, and died just short of his 27th birthday. [more inside]
Songwriter Nick Ashford died yesterday. Nickolas 'Nick' Ashford, along with his songwriting and marriage partner Valerie Simpson, wrote dozens of songs performed, covered and interpreted by artists like Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, Chaka Khan, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake and Amy Winehouse. [more inside]
Single-link-1-hour-Brazilian-music-mix-filter: DJ Bronco's Brasilian Soul Mix. No playlist, but does contain awesomely solid Brazilian tunage... enjoy!
Say, you wanna hear a sad song? Eddie Hinton was a guitar player, vocalist, and songwriter from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Co-writer of one of the tenderest, sexiest hits of the late 60s, Dusty Springfield's Breakfast in Bed, Hinton was a key member of the world-famous Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section from 1967 to 1971 (turning down an invitation from Duane Allman to be a member of the Allman Brothers Band) who worked as a studio musician on albums by Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, the Staples Singers, and Toots Hibbert, but his early success was sidetracked by mental problems, booze, and drugs. [more inside]
One hundred years ago Don Leslie was born. Leslie invented the Leslie speaker that made the Hammond organ famous. Listen to Svoogaloo by Sven Hammond Soul and the Organ grinder's swing by Jimmy Smith and my favorite Billy's Bag by Billy Preston. [more inside]
How Soul Music Became "Soul Music." A writer takes the occasion of the release of Adele's new album, 21, to explore the popularity and implications of the young British soul singers. "Because if we're truly living in an age that defies stereotypes and explodes clichés, where distances of all kinds have been virtually obliterated, then everything—timbre, blue notes, pronunciation, timing, diction—is available as stylistic options." [more inside]
Swimming around in a mixture of language and matter, humans occupy a particular evolutionary niche mediated by something we call 'consciousness'. To Professor Nicholas Humphrey we're made up of "soul dust": "a kind of theatre... an entertainment which we put on for ourselves inside our own heads." But just as that theatre is directed by the relationship between language and matter, it is also undermined by it. It all depends how you think it.
Gladys Horton, a founding member of the pioneering (yet undervalued by Berry Gordy and Motown) girl group The Marvelettes, who sang lead on their 1961 classic Please Mr. Postman has passed on. [more inside]
The new film Blue Valentine (trailer) features a damn fine 60's-era soul ballad called "You and Me," of mysterious origin. The exposure has sparked an effort to find out who sang it and where it came from. The archival label Numero Group (previously) discovered the rehearsal tape, labeled only 'Penny and the Quarters', at an estate sale in Columbus, OH. Since then, "we have played this recording to over 100 movers and shakers from the time and no one has a clue."
It’s maybe a little early yet for year’s end retrospectives, but who cares: we’ve got 157 songs, 10.5 hours, 1.12 GB of “some of the best and most notable music from 2010... covering indie, pop, rock, punk, folk, rap, R&B, soul, dance, country, modern classical, ambient and electronic music, and in many cases, hard-to-classify genre hybrids.” —Curated by FluxBlog’s own Matthew Perpetua.
Aloe Blacc, previously of LA-based hip hop duo Emanon, pulls a Cee-Lo and reinvents himself as a soul singer. [more inside]
The trick is to give without looking to receive - to give of yourself to your family, your friends, your community, and the world community with love. The King of Rock and Soul Solomon Burke, Archbishop of the House of God For All People and member of the Hall of Fame died on a plane (2) after arriving in Amsterdam. [more inside]
Given it is Sunday, feel free to get your Jesus on with The Mighty Clouds of Joy. Somebody say Amen.
Harlem Yodel. The Dandridge Sisters and the Cats and the Fiddle teach us how the yodel is done above 110th Street. [more inside]
As undeniably great as the golden age Motown studio musicians were, and as indisputably funky and creative as the arrangements were, you still have to think that maybe it would've been a good idea to release some of The Temptations amazing vocal group artistry in unaccompanied form. Maybe as B-sides or something. Well, that never happened back in the day, as far as I know, but we are extremely fortunate now to be able to hear a capella versions of many of the Tempts biggest hits, in stunningly impressive and thoroughly enjoyable unaccompanied renditions: Runaway Child Running Wild, Just My Imagination, Papa Was a Rolling Stone, Ball of Confusion, Get Ready and Cloud Nine . And folks, there's more a capella from the Tempts and other Motown acts floating around on the Tubes out there, so feel free to link to them in the thread, cause, you know, I Ain't Too Proud To Beg.
Janelle Monae has been busy since the release of The Chase EP, the first of four "suites" that make up her genre-bending epic set in the distant future. She's been "discovered" by Diddy, continued to find inspiration in unexpected places, founded an artists' collective in her adopted hometown of Atlanta, and found time to speak to Vogue about her singular sense of style. Somewhere in there, she's also recorded the next two parts of the Metropolis Suite, titled The Archandroid (which is out today), put out a teaser for the album, and also the video for the first single, Tightrope. [more inside]
Bridge Over Troubled Water For a lot of years I've been listening to simon and garfunkle sing this song... I think I've finally found someone that does it better... Aretha...
"Open your minds, earthlings, and prepare to be launched headfirst into an alternate universe. A place where robots fall in love with humans. Where your tour guide into this alternate realm is a demure lil thang with a bold set of pipes. 'I'm an alien from outer space,' declares Janelle Monáe on the first song of her debut album, Metropolis: The Chase Suite (Special Edition). Yes, Toto, we are no longer in Kansas anymore. Or even planet Earth." [more inside]
Dennis Coffey was one of the most prolific Detroit session and solo guitarists. His revamped site features a couple phenomenal podcasts of his music and interviews.