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.
The man behind the classic sound of Al Green, Memphis producer and soulmeister supreme Willie Mitchell has passed on. Many of the Al Green sides are legendary, of course, and very well known (as is the fantastic "I Can't Stand the Rain, by Ann Peebles), but be sure and head over to the excellent Funky 16 Corners where you can hear three of his lesser-known but deeply grooving productions. Fat stuff. So long, Willie Mitchell, and thanks for the wonderful music.
"Not to get all 'We Are the World,' but Kalakat shows how little difference there is between Iranians and people of any other country." 70s Funk and Soul in Iran
Here’s a cool concept. Top breakthrough bands of the day playing LIVE on TV late every Friday night. Such was The Midnight Special - from 1972 - 1981 (though the glory days were the early to mid 70s, that lost decade somewhere between the meltdown of the hippie dream and the coincident eruptions of PUNK + DISCO upon planet rock). [more inside]
Soul Train (wiki) has a youtube channel. Lots of great performances here, but in particular I recommend The O'Jays, Sly and The Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, The Stairsteps, and the Jackson 5. What really makes it worth watching though are the clips of the Soul Train Line dancing to hits of the day, artists like The O'Jay, Curtis Mayfield, War, and The JB's.
Timi Yuro, an Italian-American singer born in Chicago (where, the story goes, her nanny snuck her into clubs to watch singers like Dinah Washington and Mildred Bailey), was arguable the greatest blue-eyed soul artist of the '60s. [more inside]
"...A Fourth of July picnic, a Sunday Best church revival, an urban rock concert and a rural civil rights rally"
There was a historic music festival in the summer of 1969. But it's not the one that took place in Bethel, NY. The Harlem Cultural Festival ran from June 29 to August 24 that summer, presenting a concert every Sunday afternoon in Mount Morris Park (known today as Marcus Garvey Park). Three hundred thousand people turned out for the six free concerts, hearing acts like Nina Simone , Sly & the Family Stone (the only act to play both Woodstock and the "black Woodstock"), Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, The 5th Dimension, Moms Mabley and. Speakers included Jesse Jackson and "blue-eyed soul brother" Mayor John Lindsay. Security was courtesy of the Black Panthers, since the NYC police refused to provide it. Filmmaker Hal Tulchin recorded over 50 hours of concert footage, which has remained unreleased. Historic Films seems to hold the footage; it was supposed to be made into a movie to premiere at Sundance 2007, but its release seems to be continually delayed for reasons unclear. [more inside]
Sister Sue, tell me baby what are we gonna do. She said take two candles, and then you burn them out. Make a paper boat, light it and send it out, send it out now ... Willy DeVille (formerly William Dorsay), died of pancreatic cancer on August 6, at the age of 58. So much of his music evoked the languid heat of a city night. This might be a good evening to turn it up loud. [more inside]
Jackie Shane could rock the Sapphire Club. He was part of the Toronto Sound of the sixties, and made his mark not only for his soulful voice, but also for his flamboyent, gender ambiguous appearance (video). His song Any Other Way went to Number Two on the Canadian Billboard chart in 1963, and was his biggest hit. While his discography was short and he has faded into obscurity, he has been recognized by the queer community and music bloggers as a trail-blazing performer. In My Tenement, Comin Down, You Are My Sunshine, Stand Up Strait and Tall, Don't Play That Song.
Greil Marcus writes Real Life Top Ten for the Believer Magazine, in which he lists "anything that remotely has to do with music, a dress Bette Midler wore at an awards show or a great guitar solo in the middle of a song that otherwise wasn't very interesting." But he's been writing this column online for just about 10 years. [more inside]
Soul! New York City PBS affiliate WNET have digitized 9 episodes of Soul!, a early 1970's live music program, providing a groovy video interface with chapters to break down each hour long episode. [more inside]
Snooks Eaglin has died. One of New Orleans' most authentic and underrated guitar players won't be making his jazz fest gig this year. Next time you have some red beans & rice, take a moment to remember the guy who some called the human jukebox.
"A wildly flamboyant funk diva with few equals even three decades after her debut, Betty Davis combined the gritty emotional realism of Tina Turner, the futurist fashion sense of David Bowie, and the trendsetting flair of Miles Davis, her husband for a year. ... she turned Miles on to Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone (providing the spark that led to his musical reinvention on In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew), then proved her own talents with a trio of sizzling mid-'70s solo LPs." - All Music Guide (many links nsfw-ish)
Dee Dee Warwick, sister of Dionne and a fine soul singer in her own right, recently passed on to that other shore. This blog entry on Dee Dee features mp3 links to her wonderful cover of the Elvis Presley hit Suspicious Minds and the heartrending She Didn't Know. More: I'm Gonna Make You Love Me, Monday Monday and Foolish Fool.
Legendary record man and music producer Jerry Wexler died on August 15, at the age of 91. His keen insight, and his deep love and appreciation for the artists he worked with resulted in an extraordinary enriching of American music. [more inside]
So, there was this little rock band from England, and they got pretty famous and all, so famous that they initiated the era of stadium concerts, back in '65, at a little place in Queens called Shea. But there was an opening act that night, led by a sax-blowin' fellow name of King Curtis, and he kicked total muhfukkin ass, and it wasn't even with his baddest band! You can hear them here. Jump Back! [more inside]
September 14, 1998 "the Tan Canary" passes away. He started out as a gospel singer but went on to perform blues, soul, county, and jazz. In 1968 he covered the country standard "Release Me" and it became a hit. His audience grew, but stardom outside of his home in New Orleans was not to be his. [more inside]
Amy Winehouse has Emphysema. The 24 year old artist, whose career has netted multiple awards but has often been overshadowed by her drug use, now faces a lung condition that can be slowed but never reversed, with effects ranging from shortness of breath to cyanosis and heart faliure.
Al Green sits in with Chicago (SLYT with a massive side order of awesome).
Regarding the 'Creole Beethoven' Wardell Quezergue, composer, arranger, big band leader, master of Second Line funk, who brought us Earl King's Trick Bag, the Dixie Cups' Iko Iko and Chapel of Love, King FLoyd's Groove Me, Baby, Jean Knight's Mr. Big Stuff to name but a few--not to mention A Creole Mass--and who, later in life, survived Katrina, to become, among other things of late, according to Home of the Groove's Quezergue Onstage and Behind The Scenes, a street performer in the French Quarter. His is a name that ought not be forgotten. [more inside]