'here is the news...'
philadelphia international records building demolished...
The above imagery represents, to followers of Philly Soul, the unbearable ‘coming to terms’ that an era has finally passed, very much in the same way that Wigan Casino followers now visit a deserted car park, where their shrine to Sixties Soul music once stood, re-kindling memories of years past.
Back in 2010, Christopher Cimini, a 27-year-old man was charged with arson, relating to the Philadelphia music company offices of the songwriting team Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.
The building at 309 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, was home to many of the finest singers and songwriters of the Seventies and early eighties.
Owned since 1973 by pioneering songwriting partners Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell, the Philadelphia International records building was sold to a company called Dranoff Properties (who intend to build a 47-story SLS International hotel and luxury condominium).
The street called South Broad Street (in front the building) was previously renamed Gamble Huff Walk.
The likes of Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls, Jean Carn, The Jones Girls, the Intruders, the Jacksons, the Three Degrees, Harold Melvin, Billy Paul, MFSB, Jerry Butler, the Stylistics, Archie Bell & the Drells, McFadden & Whitehead, Phyllis Hyman, and the O’Jays all passed through the buildings doors.
Christopher Cimini’s 'antics', caused severe damage, resulting in fire, smoke and water damage, ruining 40 percent of the memorabilia at Philadelphia International Records. Only the recording studio survived.
Kenny Gamble said at the time ‘When I walked through it the other day, it was like an old friend had died, I’m looking for the resurrection. Bottom line is we’ll be back’. Sadly, 4 years down the line, that was not to be the case.
309 S. Broad Street now has been reduced to it’s original kit of component parts, with the future of the site in the hands of the developer.
Kenny and Leon said the ‘Philadelphia International Records was an incredible African-American institution and music and cultural brand’.
Where the next institution of it’s kind will be, who knows, however there are echoes of the ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ regarding the overall picture, namely ‘they paved paradise, put up a parking lot’.
‘The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP), was the Motown Records of the Seventies.
The imprint came into being in 1971.
Kenny and Leon collaborated with all genres within music, all of which ran parallel with the labels main imprint. These activities included work with the likes of Michael Jackson, Elton John, Dusty Springfield, Wilson Pickett, the Soul Survivors, Laura Nyro, the Trammps, the Dells amongst others.
Many of Philadelphia international’s releases, have now become mainstream classics.
Songs such as ‘Love Train’, ‘If You Don't Know Me by Now’, ‘For The Love Of Money’, ‘Don't Leave Me This Way’, ‘Me and Mrs. Jones’, ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me’, ‘Only the Strong Survive’, ‘You'll Never Find A Love Like Mine’ and ‘Ain't No Stoppin Us Now’, are now seen as more than R&B tracks. They are Pop classics today.
The Philadelphia International Records signage was removed before demolition took place.
The sign was disassembled it into six pieces, then transported to safe storage, (along with other artifacts and memorabilia) from the recording studios and offices, are being preserved for future museum consideration.
Before the fire, the Philadelphia International Records offices had become a major tourist attraction. School children and celebrity VIPs, came to the building to see the historic rooms and hallways.
The Philly team included Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, Thom Bell, Linda Creed, Gene McFadden and John Whitehead, Bunny Sigler, Dexter Wansel, Bobby Martin, the MFSB Orchestra, Baker, Harris and Young, Joe Tarsia (Sigma Sound) along with many other notable artists and writers.
In an ironic footnote, Gamble & Huff celebrated their 50th Anniversary in 2015.
record store day 2015...
soul brother records
Wounded Woman (180Gm) Ltd Ed Rsd
Hypnotized (180Gm Plus Bonus 45) Ltd Ed Rsd
Mystery Of Ages - Anthology Ltd Ed Rsd
Man Of Mine b/w Smother Me With Your Love Ltd Ed Rsd Numbered
We are delighted to announce that Soul Brother Records will be issuing four very special limited edition Vinyl releases for Record Store Day Saturday 18th April 2015.
These records will only be available on Record Store Day at Soul Brother records shop in Putney and other registered RSD stores.
I am sorry but under RSD rules we cannot accept pre-orders but we should have enough stock in the store of these releases for everybody who comes on the day. Any stock that is not sold in the store will be available for on-line and mail order sale on Saturday 25th April.
Details of all the other RSD exclusive releases will be sent out next week, but you can see the complete published list here.
We plan to stock all the Soul, Funk, Jazz, Reggae and Blues releases plus some of the more mainstream releases on the day.
I do hope that you can join us on the day, which will be a very special one for me as it is also my 60th Birthday.
1 Keswick Rd, East Putney
London SW15 2HL.
Open 7 days a week:
Mon–Sat: 10am - 7pm
Sunday: 11am - 5pm
Jazz FM-Love Supreme 2015 Artists announced...
last year-en route
The annual weekend festival in Glynde, near Brighton (U.K.) is an annual event we have attended since it's outset, a couple of years ago. The day is terrific, with the visitor not being treated like a 'cow in a field'! :)) Check this year preliminary line-up. More will follow:
I was contacted this week by my friend Bill Buckley, who is one of the hosts of the excellent http://www.soulandjazzandfunk.com/ website. Bill was a scribe, back in the day, for Blues and Soul magazine, so his writings I hugely respect. Bill said that he had written the liner notes for a Commodores compilation, which, initially, didn’t blow me away, and I began to wonder why that might be.
With the passing of the years, Soul fans have become something of an afterthought within the music scene. These days, a ballad is seen as a waste of web space. Look at the charts. How many ballads are to be found in the Top 50? Indeed, any of the new artists who release a single, which is also a hit, they are encouraged to reproduce more of the same. No change of direction is allowed, so, let’s say we bring up to date.
One of the Commodores contemporaries, Earth Wind & Fire? How would they fare on todays scene. What, say, the group had just hit pay-dirt with ‘Boogie Wonderland’, would CBS allow then to run with ‘After The Love Has Gone’ as a follow up? Certainly, not in todays marketplace. Back in the Seventies, songs such as ‘Misty Blue’, ‘Have You Seen Her?’ and ‘Kiss and Say Goodbye’ were O.K. to be let loose on the charts. Ballad material was acceptable. In 2015, we require ‘more of the same’, or ‘karaoke’. The latter format may well include a classic ballad, but woe-betide you if you try to write and release a new ballad. Your career would be finished.
So we look, retrospectively, into the distant past, and people’s memories fade. The Commodores? Oh yes, they did ‘Three Times A Lady’. Having lived through that era, bought music throughout that time scale, I know that there is much more to the Commodores than that ‘hit that became a template’. Bill was handed a poisoned chalice. He HAD to add that particular template, along with their evergreen melodies, such as ‘Easy’ (a tune which I still love, by the way), which went on to become part of a T.V. advert, however, Bill’s memories are inclusive of other aspects of this fine group.
One of my favourite albums of 1976, was the group’s ‘Hot On The Tracks’, which featured ‘Girl, I Think The World About You’, and the harmonic ‘High On Sunshine’ (later covered by the Fifth Dimension). Both tunes are included here, along with several other notable ballads from albums, which are now, almost completely, overshadowed by the template ballad, which formed the basis for future Lionel Richie songs including ‘Hello’, Still’, ‘Ballerina Girl’ and ‘Say You, Say Me’. Those songs overshadowed the best of Lionel’s and the Commodores work, an unfortunate set of circumstances which Lionel is still, to this day, trying to shrug off, as he and the group became hugely compartmentalised.
It is easy to forget that, in 1976, the Commodores were giving Earth, Wind & Fire a run for their money as a super group. All told, money is an enemy of the creative. Kool and the Gang made a huge amount of money from the song ‘Joanna’, however ,offer me that or ‘Summer Madness’, I know which of that group’s recordings I would rather find myself listening to.
This CD is a very bold attempt at addressing the misconceptions that many Soul people have regarding the Commodores. It is important to let you know that this album is aimed at those who prefer this fine group in a downbeat tempo. I love some of these tunes, even to this day, and thankfully, this set does not include any of Lionel’s solo ballad templates! ‘Hello’?....heaven help us all!
Soul Brother Records - Record Store Day 2014
Soul Brother records are one of the leading Shops in London specialising in Soul and Jazz on Vinyl and CD.
On record store day 19th April 2014 Soul Brother will be stocking a comprehensive selection of the limited edition Soul and Jazz RSD titles in depth on most titles.
In addition we will be stocking a wide selection of more mainstream RSD titles with approximately 300 titles in total.
A complete list of available titles will be published on our website by Friday 18th. We will be open early at 9am until 7pm
We will have the following special offers on the day
Down to the Bone will be signing advance copies of their new album ‘Dig It’ in store around 12.30
We will be giving away a FREE handy CD opener (worth £6.99) to all purchasing customers on the day.
There will be a wide selection of Vinyl LP’s in a one day sale at £5 each or 3 for £10.
Soul Brother Records
1 Keswick Rd
0208 875 1018
Soul Brother Records - Impending vinyl retail changes
Soul Brother Records have been in touch. There are some changes to the way vinyl is sold at this excellent retailer. Here is the lowdown from Laurence at the East Putney based store in London:
'Our office lease is expiring and a result we are having to move all our operations into the Keswick Road shop building.
As a result we are going to have to close the area where the original vinyl is displayed to the public.
Effectively customers will no longer be able to browse the vinyl racks in the shop.
The final day the vinyl racks will be on display will be this Sunday 18th September.
We will still be selling vinyl, in fact there will be more on site than before, it just wont be as visible.'
Soul Brother are a great store, holding many fine, hard to find, original albums at reasonable prices. Well worth a visit. Their website is here:
Malaco Records demolished by a Mississippi tornado
Malaco Records, established for over 44 years, has been dismantled by a huge tornado at it's offices in Mississippi.
Malaco was situated on Northside Drive in Jackson and was, to all intents and purposes, flattened.
Malaco Records was recently honored with an official marker (above), recognizing it as a Jackson landmark along the Mississippi Blues Trail.
The company was, initially, founded in the early Sixties, finding it's home in Jackson in 1967.
The tornado shredded two of the three buildings on the site, thankfully, no-one was killed.
One room, which stored the masters of recordings by many of the artists at the company, was one of the rooms destroyed.
Other area's lost included the record keeping and royalty departments.
The one surviving building is the warehouse, although a company spokesman said that the buildings were probably too old to be reconstructed.
The tornado's are a usual visitor to Mississippi during this season, although, this particular year has been worse than usual.
Malaco was the home to Bobby Blue Bland, Z.Z. Hill, Little Milton, Denise LaSalle, Johnnie Taylor along with many others.
The label's in-house band included Carson Whitsett on keyboards, Larry Addison on second keyboard; James Robertson on drums, Ray Griffin on bass, and Dino Zimmerman on guitar.
Malaco purchased the gospel division of Savoy Records in 1986, making it the number one African-American Gospel company in North America.
Conya Doss @ Soul Brother - 16th April 2011
Nile Rodgers is unwell
Nile Rodgers has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. I am sure you would like to visit his page and wish the man a speedy recovery:
New Lamar and Judy Thomas single
The 2001 Remix
'You Can't Blame Love'
In 1986 'You Can’t Blame Love' stayed on the UK Soul & Dance Charts for more than 20 weeks. After being licensed by, Cooltempo (Chrysalis Records), the track peaked at # 52 on the Pop charts, earning it a place in the British Guinness Book of Hit singles for Weeks on the Charts.'You Can’t Blame Love', went GOLD! in the Netherland on one CD Compilation. And now, this dynamic Soul Duo (Lamar & Judy) are backed with a blinding, slow-groove Soul Remix of their classic hit song.
This new CD release contains more than 13 tracks of “Unreleased & Re-released” material from this team of Grammy-Nominated Songwriters from America. Available for mp3 downloads now!. Feel the music once again: with this beautiful song and new remixed track.
Soul Brother Records & Randy Muller (Brass Construction)
Saturday 13th November @ 2pm
Randy Muller (of Brass Construction) will be at Soul Brother Records shop at 1 Keswick Road Putney London SW15 2HL (East Putney Tube Station) on Saturday 13th November at approx 2pm to meet his fans and sign copies of the newly re-issued Brass Construction, Brass Construction 11 and Brass Construction 5 CD’s on the Soul Brother label...
...which Malcolm and Laurence Prangell kindly sent me, along with a few other recent releases on Gil Scott Heron, Cedar Walton, the Natural Four and Norman Connors. The shop certainly deserves it's props for releasing some of the finest Soul material from the previous decades.
Here are some of the albums now available online and in the store (every one is a winner!):
Expansion Records present...
KENI BURKE live at the JAZZ CAFE
9th October 2010 - Parkway - Camden Town - London
100 tickets available. £20 per ticket (which will sell very quickly)
New Northern Soul movie 'Soulboy' (released 3rd September 2010)...
SoulBoy Press So Far…
Shimmy Marcus’s sweet film is set in the Wigan Casino northern soul scene of 1974. Martin Compston gives a very likeable performance as the delivery boy dreaming of nights of glory on the dancefloor and getting the prettiest girl , Nichola Burley.
Jason Solomons, Observer
… a surefire feel-good movie that bursts from the screen with energy. The film captures the soul movement wonderfully displaying a culture like we might as well be living it.
A Place For Reviews
Director Shimmy Marcus combines the classic soundtrack with some well choreographed moves, complete with a final dance off… SoulBoy is a warm coming-of-age tale that comes with some nice gags and is bound to be an audience favourite. ????
No issue is left untouched, giving Joe a place in the real world of relationships, role models, moral decisions, and demons. Its setting is tight in scope but universal in story as Joe tries to find his place in an established culture with customs, behaviours, and a strict social hierarchy. The soul tunes set the tone with a bouquet of hits to reflect every occasion. Meanwhile, a subtle nostalgia is at play with the warm tones and smooth rhythms of the dance-floor. An endearing British film that hits all the right notes.
Compston holds the screen as a perfectly likeable, fallible everykid (plus he’s either a great dancer, or the editing has been brilliantly managed to make him look like one), and he’s backed up by a great supporting cast of familiar faces. Marcus does a fine job of evoking the era on what must have been a very tight budget, and of course the soundtrack is magnificent.
Compston is excellent.
Edinburgh Film Festival Blogspot
Forget Spelbound, check the amphetamine-assisted spins on display in SoulBoy, which threatens to be the first decent movie depiction of the northern soul scene. Keep the faith!
this week’s winners and losersThe set-design is great, capturing the late Seventies Northern Soul movement very well, and the Wigan Casino has been rejuvenated superbly.
Catch up with Peven Everett's recent activities...
New Soul Music from Lamar Thomas
Project Title: No Rain No Rainbow
Artist: Lamar Thomas
Label: THOMTAY Records
T/T # 9610
Release date: March 15, 2010
A Message from: Lamar Thomas
'I take this moment out of my life, to spend just a moment, in your life.
I am, (as some may be aware) a veteran, songwriter, producer in this, the music industry. It is true that I started in this industry, many years ago and so, some of you who play music, may think of me as old. I am not.
It is true however, that I am older. And that makes me smarter, wiser and finds me still here. I have been blessed with A God-given talent to create stories and music for those stories. As I prepare to leave my job of working with young people in the performing arts for the last 16 years, I wanted to take just a moment to let you know some of the things; I would like to do during the rest of my life. And that is, I am going to again, start making music (fulltime). And so, I come to you for your ear for music and your expertise.
I want you to listen to my new studio CD, “No Rain No Rainbow.” I began work on this CD more than 2 years ago. It is a project that all of the Thomas clan is most proud of. I want no one to play this album, simply because my name in the industry may ring a bell. Nor do I want anyone to “NOT PLAY” this album because you knew or heard of me, years ago, and for that reason, you may think that I do not fit in today’s market. “I fit.” For I am a songwriter, and artist, and so, I hope that before you review this CD, “No Rain No Rainbow” that you will listen to it in it’s’ entirety. By doing this, I think that you will have a real good reason to support Soul Music, Rhythm & Blues, and Lamar Thomas
13 Tracks from Lamar Thomas 43rd Grammy Nominated Songwriter
1. I Found Love 2.I feel Good 3.No Rain No Rainbow
4. Baby tell me 5.If I had my way 6.My soul is not responding
7. Love come on 8.Say it ain’t so 9.You do magic
10. Blue Dress 11.Are you gonna love me back?
12. That’s what you get fool 13.You don’t know what love is
Check this link for the song 'I Feel Good'....
Promotional Single: “I Found Love”
Artist: LAMAR THOMAS
Label: THOMTAY Records
Thomas and Taylor Music Works
CD/Album: No Rain No Rainbow
THOMTAY Records # 9610
'Welcome to my world of music. I celebrate this year being in the music business for more than 40 years. I have been blessed to make music my life and music has made my life in every since of the word.
My new CD (“No Rain No Rainbow”) is in release as we speak (March 15), and will be available @ CD Baby and other venues. You can visit me at youtube.com (tandtmusicworks) and view this track and other tracks from the CD.
I would like all of you out there who support music, no matter what kind of music it is, to take a real pause and listen to this new CD, “No Rain No Rainbow”. What you are listening to may not necessarily be “what you like”, but I promise if you listen, you will “like what you hear”. Judy and I have tried on this CD to make not just the music that we like, rather we have attempted to return music to what we feel real music is, and we believe that it begins with the songs. Music for us begins with the words, the lyrics, the stories of life and love, and music begins with you finding yourself in what is being said for each of us.
The promotional track, “I Found Love” makes me happy when I hear it and it has made me feel good about music after being in it for all these years. Each time that I went into the studio over the past 21/2 years working on this project, I realize that in this life I had found love in my music. Music found me and thus I Found Love. I hope that you will play and support my music and I hope that you will know rain and rainbows in your life.'
All the best to you and yours,
Lamar R. Thomas, Sr.
Lamar R. Thomas, Sr.
Thomas and Taylor Music works
Teddy Riley and Blackstreet
Announce live show in London @ indigO2 at The O2
on the 2nd April 2010
One of the most popular R&B vocal groups of the '90s, BLACKstreet, announce their eagerly anticipated return to London for a one off show at indigO2 at The O2 Arena on 2nd April 2010. This is the first UK show from BLACKstreet since 1995. The multi-platinum R&B group had many hits throughout the ‘90s including their US No.1 smash ‘No Diggity’, ‘Don’t Leave Me’, and ‘Girlfriend/Boyfriend’
BLACKstreet was founded in 1992 by singer, producer, and new jack swing pioneer Teddy Riley after the breakup of his seminal trio Guy. Riley had taken a few years to concentrate on his booming production career, which saw him working with Wreckx-N-Effect, Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson, and SWV, among others.
BLACKstreet are recognised as one of the best exponents of slick ‘90s R&B in a golden era for the genre that included huge artists such at S.W.V, Boyz II Men, KC & JoJo and Jodeci. Having sold millions of records, and picked up a Grammy in 1998 for ‘Don’t Leave Me’, the band’s members got involved in side projects, occasionally teaming up for shows and projects. Now, they’re back to entertain the fans that their music became the soundtrack for, and perhaps pick up some news ones.
Tickets for this show are priced from £30.00 (excluding booking fee’s) available now from www.ticketmaster.co.uk / 08444 775 775
Marvin Gaye CD Winners!
Drawn by Grace Walker (my daughter) on the 14th of February 2010.
the winners are:
Eric Defay - France
Nick Power - Kingston Upon Thames
Gary Irwin - United Kingdom
Elliot Mount - United Kingdom
Peter Brewer - U.S.A.
Congratulations to all the winners. Universal have told me they will have further competitions to follow this year. Best of luck with those. I'll get the CD's in the post tomorrow.
Win one of 5 Marvin Gaye CD's by Valentine's Day!
Valentine's Day is nearly upon us, and, with most folks tightening their belts financially, wouldn't it be great to pick up a present for a loved one, for absolutely nothing!
A very nice woman called Pauline, who works for Universal Music in the U.K., got in touch with me and let me know the label were about to release a double CD set based around the more romantic side of Marvin Gaye's musical output. With the CD being a double album release, the folks at Universal have been able to embellish the usual song suspects, with a few lesser known Marvin tracks, which are all listed below. If you want an overview, the album is listed at Amazon here:
Pauline has already provided me with the 5 CD's up for grabs here, so what do you have to do to win a copy?
All I need from you is the answer to two questions (do read these carefully!), and, an e-mail with your answers. I will add your e-mail address to a competition bag here, and ask my daughter to draw the winners on Valentine's Day itself. I'll mail the CD's out after that date, immediately. A draw made before Valentines Day would give too shorter a time span for everyone to send their answers in. For my sins, I will mail out to any winner, regardless of whereabouts in the World you are. Off planet? I'll need to ask a city banker for some assistance! Please don't mail me any domestic addresses for security purposes (identity theft etc.). I will ask for home mailing addresses from the five winners personally, by e-mail.
The two questions? Here goes.....
1. Name 4 female Soul singers who have recorded duets with Marvin during his short lived career?
2. On Valentines Day this year, had Marvin Gaye lived, how old would he have been?
Do use this site for help with the answers, and read the questions carefully.
I'll post the winners names and hometown here (not address) here after the draw is made.
E-mail your answers to here:
Thanks to Pauline, and Universal, for providing these great prizes.
From Sheree Brown -January 2010
So much has happened over the past years which have kept me motivated and then again motivated all over. This time, two years ago, I had a life threatening illness that gave me a slightly different take on life. I now approach it pretty much the same, but with a new sense of urgency.
Out of this urgency has come two wonderful things: 1). my desire to seek out a company like Hidden Beach that has resulted in me becoming a part of its family and 2).the birth of two new music projects, "Zhakanaka the Word (the Peace & Hope Edition)" by Sheree Brown & Friends and "Messages from the Heart" by Sheree Brown.
All of this is fulfilling my desire to reach out and inspire others through my music while at the same time sharing my heart. It is amazing how much hurt there is in the world...but there is something so true about music...it can inspire and heal...it can be used as a tool to educate...it is powerful and can touch the heart in ways that words cannot.
The music CD, "Zhakanaka the Word (the Peace & Hope Edition)" was born from the heartwarming story of the Zhakanaka the Word book, which I have co-authored. It was initially written to inspire children but now has found its way into the hearts of all people and all ages. It embraces the simple theme of treating all people the way that we want to be treated and promotes peace, literacy, tolerance, human understanding, and is now addressing "green initiatives"...for if we all embrace this we can truly change the world.
"Messages from the Heart" is a book that features the stories of eight women and the tragedies and challenges in life that they have been able to overcome and triumph over. It has inspired the production of the music CD under the same name and is dedicated to these women and to those who have similar stories. This particular project is close to my heart because I am one of those eight women and I share about my personal challenges.
From my Capitol Record days up until now where I have a new family at Hidden Beach, I am so grateful to you and those who have supported me. I am excited that I have the opportunity to still create music from my heart and collaborate with others who share that same passion. I look forward to reconnecting with old friends who have followed my music and acquainting myself with new friends who will discover it for the first time.
Soul Power - A new DVD and Blu-Ray Disc release
Release Date: 16th November 2009
Soul Power is a movie based around the concert which accompanied the 1974 'Rumble In The Jungle' fight between Muhammed Ali and George Foreman. The show featured James Brown, The Spinners, B.B. King, Bill Withers, The Crusaders and Miriam Makeba.
Here are the company press release texts:
'In 1974, the most celebrated American R&B acts of the time came together with the most renowned musical groups in Southern Africa for a 12-hour, three-night long concert held in Kinshasa, Zaire.
The pipe dream of musician Hugh Masekela and producer Stewart Levine, this music festival became a reality when they convinced boxing promoter Don King to combine the event with "The Rumble in the Jungle", the epic fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, previously chronicled in the Academy Award winning documentary "When We Were Kings".
"Soul Power" is a verité documentary, entirely composed of footage shot in 1974 at the legendary music festival (dubbed "Zaire '74").
It shows the experiences and performances of such musical luminaries as James Brown, BB King, Bill Withers, Celia Cruz, Miriam Makeba, among a host of others. At the peak of their talents and the height of their careers, these artists were inspired by this return to their African roots, as well as the enthusiasm of the Zairian audience, to give the performances of their lives. The concert has achieved mythological significance as the definitive Africa(n)-American musical event of the 20th Century.
"Soul Power" has been crafted from the extensive footage which remained after the making of "When We Were Kings", which famously documented the epic title fight, but only briefly touched upon the Zaire '74 music festival.
This footage has remained vaulted for the past 35 years, unused, unseen, until now. Lensed primarily by celebrated cinematographers Albert Maysles (GIMME SHELTER, GREY GARDENS), Paul Goldsmith (RUST NEVER SLEEPS), Kevin Keating (HARLAN COUNTY USA), and Roderick Young (WATTSTAX), "Soul Power" finally provides today's audience the opportunity to experience this historic musical event in all of its magnificent, filmed glory, restored in HD and with incredible sound quality. An unbridled musical journey for the ages.
Special Features - Additional live performances and many deleted scenes. Full details TBC
SOUL POWER is released on DVD and Blu-ray as part of the Masters of Cinema series by Eureka Entertainment on 16th November 2009.'
Two new Soul Music books
The Motown Stars by Alex Mackenzie / Searching For Soul by Reg Stickings
New books, relating to Soul Music, are few and far between. None come for ages, then two come along...like London buses! These two books represent two typical templates regarding this genre, one of which is encyclopedic in format, the second based around a life experience.
'The Motown Stars' book has been painstakingly constructed by Alex Mackenzie, who got in touch with me a year or so ago, and spoke about his project. At the time I wasn't sure if the book would ever reach fruition. That was based upon a personal belief of mine, that this book is, in it's own way, a very brave book. Brave? Why, you might ask? To illustrate, well, back in the Sixties, I was interested in all things to do with space and the planets. This was probably due to the space programme, which is now in the news again, some 40 years after Neil Armstrong put 'Whitey on the moon' for the first time! LOL Back in those days, we were fed snippets of planetary information in absolute terms. Mars has two moons, Jupiter has 10 etc. In the following years, information came to light which rewrote the history books, and placed us in the position of constantly updating the information as it arrives on our desktops. The story of Soul Music, is a story which is being rewritten all he time. One day James Brown is touring, the next day we are laying him to rest. Books which are encyclopedic, are, in todays multimedia society, stop off points in any time period. Stop off points, which will be updated as the Associated Press beams information onto our computers and into our newsrooms. This is why this is a brave book. It is easy for the likes of myself, working on a constantly updatable database, to keep matters in a current format. Alex, in contacting me, wanted my help, which I gave to him as best as I could muster. I liked him for one big reason. When many archivers get in touch with me, I get asked after imagery at the site. I normally tell folks that they can use whatever they wish from the site. Invariably, this is followed by a further request for higher resolution image scans, saved in various formats, which I would have to resource, rescan and to the specifications of he requester, and all for free on their part! LOL. Alex didn't ask me for anything of the sort. As it turns out, the imagery works just fine in the book, and Alex kindly added credits for these and some textural help with Chapter Four of the book. Chapter Four spans 376 pages of the 521 overall, so I guess I did get to help a little. Alex works his way through many of the major Motown mainstays, intelligently constructing a very nice reference piece for future scribes, as well as the many established journalists out there. There is a very nice foreword, penned by Bobby Rogers of the Miracles, along with several reference sections, which many people will find invaluable. The timing of the book (coinciding with the 50th birthday of the label), all make the publication a must have for any archiver, as well as a great read for the accidental Soul tourist. Published by Together Publications, this would make a great present for any Soul music fan.
Reg Stickings book is an individual tale of one mans journey through the clubs and the music of the Seventies and Eighties, which is a additionally, a very personal journey for many other Soul Music followers out there. Many of the clubs that Reg passed through, I also attended back in the day! I must confess as to not being a Wigan Casino punter. My experiences at the time, were very much South Eastern based, however, Reg's descriptions of the Casino and the vibe there, almost bring the reader into the environment, personally. Reg is the same age as myself. Both 53, although I think Reg shames myself somewhat in as much as, his Soul adventures encompass a far greater Soul Experience than my own. I know what I like and tend to stick with that, whilst Reg is, and was, far more adventurous than I ever was. The charm of this book are the very personal anecdotes. The listings of records which moved the man at any particular point. Some moved myself, although, ask any Soul punter what was 'that tune' at any particular point, and the story would be different every time. Reg has been brave enough to put his experiences into print, which sets him apart from your average punter. Thank heavens he did just that. One particular section, which I particularly liked, were his listings of the music Reg is picking up thesedays. I have always been fascinated by the experiences of Soul punters, what they listened to, where they went, who they knew etc. One common thread are these people are driven by a passion for one thing. Soul Music. Reg is a carpenter by trade. My own friends, for instance, Greg Price and Plug are printers and van drivers respectively. Greg would, back in the day, stick dymo labels of his favourite tracks onto the dashboard of his delivery van ('New York City' by Miroslav Vitous was one tune I remember). Once folks like these get into your lives, they are there for the duration. Reg, and my path's may have crossed at the Lacy Lady or someplace similar in the past. I am sure if he lived locally here, we'd be the best of friends. This music has a habit of bringing folks together. Very nice book indeed. Published by SAF Publishing, and highly recommended.
Chaka Khan new single
Global soul icon, Chaka Khan, returns with a Grammy Award-winning, best-selling single that’s already won her rave reviews worldwide!
Following a hugely successful Club campaign last summer, new track, ‘Disrespectful’ will now be officially released on CD and digital download on the 29th June 2009. The track was also written by, and features R&B legend Mary J.Blige.
Gil Scott Heron - Upcoming live gig June 2009
There is a rare live performance by the excellent Gil Scott Heron upcoming. Here's the blurb:
'The incomparable & resilient Gil Scott-Heron comes to SOBs for a Summer Night of poetry
and music. The poet, musician, author & revolutionary is a revered living legend most famous for the 1970’s era-defining poem, 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised'.
Gil Scott-Heron’s politically charged material made him a stalwart figure in the 1970’s civil rights movement. His lyrical content covered topics like the superficiality of television and mass consumerism, the hypocrisy of some would-be Black revolutionaries, white middle-class ignorance of the difficulties faced by inner-city residents, and fear of homosexuals. His honesty, matter-of-fact delivery and fearlessness to address important social issues in the face of media criticism made him one of the foremost progenitors of contemporary hip-hop and spoken word. In fact, Heron is often referred to as 'The Godfather of Rap'.
After more than 30 years of social activism through music, Gil Scott-Heron remains dedicated to the civil rights movement and social equality. After a too-long hiatus the resilient Scott-Heron will take to the stage where seems to be most comfortable. June 10th promises to be an epic performance.'
Dark Streets - The Movie - Show Events
Samuel Goldwyn Films present Dark Streets, starring Gabriel Mann and Bijou Phillips in a film noir fever dream of music, seduction and murder, featuring stunningly choreographed dance numbers and an original soundtrack performed by legendary blues, jazz and R&B artists including Etta James, Natalie Cole, Dr. John, Aaron Neville, Solomon Burke, Chaka Khan, Richie Sambora and Marc Broussard.
DARK STREETS features 12 original songs written by James Compton, Tim Brown, Tony DeMeur and Bijou Phillips.
The film’s stylish and sultry dance numbers are choreographed by Keith Young (Rent) and performed by sensational underground performer Toledo and a stage full of L.A.’s most talented dancers.
DARK STREETS the movie presents TOLEDO, in his first feature film, in theaters December 12th.
The Toledo Show performs DARK STREETS, with special guest, Bijou Phillips, at the L.A. venues indicated above.
This is a public show, therefore tickets can be purchased from the various venues on the flyer.
Robbie Vincent is back on the airwaves!
Anyone into Soul Music, living within the London area, throughout the Seventies and Eighties, will know all about the legendary Radio London Saturday Lunchtime Soul Shows hosted by Robbie Vincent. These were essential listening programmes, which, almost told us what to place in our shopping bags, if you were into some of the better quality releases during that era. Robbie went on to host shows at Radio One on Sunday nights, Kiss and Jazz FM before taking a break (also working in television), with many Soul fans wondering if we would ever hear from the man again. In fact, the return to Radio, not only sees Robbie back on the air, he is also joined by the excellent Peter Young at the new Jazz FM digital radio station. Here's what Robbie told me:
'Hi Toby, I will as long as the station kicks in, be doing a Sunday show starting October 12th. Jazz FM due to kick off on October 6th digital, sky and web and I'll be on between 10 and 1pm on Sundays. Regards Robbie.'
Peter (PY) sent me this link, for further information:
All I can say is, what a relief, as most of London can now be revived from 'Smooth' stasis, and get back to picking up albums and listening to something other than karaoke or oldies all the time! We can now all throw away our medication and enjoy life once more! LOL
from back in the day
UPCOMING OXJAM CHARITY EVENT IN OCTOBER 2008
UPCOMING MOTOWN CHARITY EVENT
There will be some superb fundraising activities including a dream raffle, star draw and auction to raise money for this year's three charities: RSPCA Halifax, The Samaritans Halifax and Endometriosis UK.
FRANK MCCOMB IS BACK IN LONDON
ERIC ROBERSON HEADLINES AT URBAN TRIPLE-HEADER
London’s Indigo2 will play host to an urban music triple-header this autumn, with Eric Roberson, Anthony David and Angela Johnson teaming up for the exclusive one-off date on Saturday October 4.
Says Eric: “All three of us decided to come together for one major show for our UK and European fans, and it’ll be 4 hours of non-stop soul and R&B. ‘Honest music’, as Anthony and I like to call it.”
Eric recently guested on New Yorker Angela’s album “A Woman’s Touch” with the up-tempo “Let Me Know”, set for release as a single on May 26. Anthony is currently climbing the Urban charts in the US with “Words”, a duet with fellow Atlanta artist India Arie.
Among the artists for whom Eric wrote songs earlier in his career are Jazzy Jeff and Jill Scott, who describes him as “a brilliant singer with a voice like red velvet cake”. He has released six albums independently on his own Blue Erro Soul label in the US, and is signed as a songwriter to EMI Music.
Tickets for the show are available from May 19 from Ticketmaster 0844 844 0002 and www.theindigo2.com
Further information: Santosh Robinson 01903 771027
Mavis Staples and Jhelisa UK Tour 2008
Down in Mississippi
UK TOUR April 10th – 20th 2008
“At 68, she is still a rousing, powerful performer, and still taking chances. One of the great American voices.” The Guardian
The Down in Mississippi tour is a glorious baptism of deep-rooted soul, uplifting gospel and classic freedom songs. Featuring Mavis Staples with support from Jhelisa, two of the most powerful and soulful voices.
From her formative years with the Staples Singers - performing for the likes of JFK and Martin Luther King - to her remarkable solo career, Mavis Staples has worked her vocal magic on the highways and byways of gospel, folk, soul and blues. En route she has shared stage and studio with everyone from Prince and Dylan to Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin. In these very special concerts, the first lady of U.S. gospel revisits Staples Singers classics ('I'll Take You There', 'Respect Yourself' and more) and songs from the Civil Rights era revisited on last year’s fabulous Ry Cooder-produced solo outing 'We'll Never Turn Back'. Powerful, political and passionate Mavis’ music remains as relevant to today as in the Staples Singers ‘60s and ‘70’s heyday.
A perfect foil for Staples comes with support from Mississippi-born Jhelisa and her three piece band including acclaimed jazz pianist Robert Mitchell, Jhelisa, who is the cousin of Carleen Anderson and niece of James Brown legends Bobby Byrd and Vicki Anderson first came to UK attention in early 90’s with her big hit, Friendly Pressure. Her latest project Sunday In Algiers covers the work of Nina Simone and features her own unique arrangments of the likes of Mississippi Goddam, Feeling Good, Four Women, Suzanne, Never Walk Alone.
Mavis Staples appears with an amazing band featuring her sister Yvonne Staples, Chavonne Morris and Donny Gerard on backing vocals, drummer Stephen Hodges (Tom Waits and David Lynch), guitarist Rick Holstrom, bassist Jeff Turnes (Tom Waits, R.L. Burnside, Taj Mahal and Pinetop Perkins)
Mavis Staples and Jhelisa are availabe for interview and to arrange an interview or request more information or images please contact:
National press and radio: Kerstan@riotsquadpublicity.com 077756 55573
Regional press and radio: Sian@riotsquadpublicity.com 020 7223 7456
'The songs, imbued with Mavis’ ardent, potent pleading, suddenly seemed penned with her in mind. Add her husky contralto, sounding stronger than it has in a long time.. and you have an album that can only add to her legend'. Mojo
'Mavis Staples is one of the touchstones, Aretha and Diana are the other legendry female soul singers that make up the triumverate agaist which all others must be measured'. Word Magazine
Mavis Staples UK TOUR
With support from Jhelisa
10 Brighton Dome Concert Hall
01273 709709 brightondome.org, 8pm, £22.50-£19.50
11 Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
0151 7093789 liverpoolphil.com, 7.30pm, £22.50-£19.50
12 Gateshead The Sage Gateshead
0191 443 4661 thesagegateshead.org, 7.30pm, £19.50
14 Manchester Bridgewater Hall
0161 907 9000 bridgewater-hall.co.uk, 7.30pm £19.50-£15.50
15 London Barbican
020 7638 8891 barbican.org.uk, 7.30pm £22.50-£15
16 Basingstoke The Anvil
01256 844244 anvilarts.org.uk, 7.45pm, £18.50
17 Bristol Colston Hall
0117 922 3686 colstonhall.org, 8pm, £17.50
20 Leicester De Montfort Hall
0116 233 3111 demontforthall.co.uk, 7.30pm, £16.50-£14.50
“Sublime singer Anderson is probably one of the few singers whose voice is both soulful, jazzy and strong enough to perfrom a tribute to the great, late Simone” Time Out London
stylistics u.k. autumn schedules
Universal Music TV to release career-spanning collection of one of America’s best-loved soul groups, The Stylistics. Features the hits I’m Stone In Love With You, Donna, You Make Me Feel Brand New, People Make The World Go Round and Betcha By Golly, Wow. Coincides with highly anticipated UK tour. The Very Best Of The Stylistics released 29th October 2007 on UMTV.
UK tour starts at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall on 27th October. Following the success of the O’Jays, The Spinner’s and The Delfonics, America had just enough room for another highly successful soul group. That group came in the form of Philadelphia based quartet, The Stylistics. With their charisma, style and harmony, the group evolved into one of the best-selling soul acts of all time. At their peak in the early 1970s, The Stylistics had 10 straight top-ten hits cementing them firmly in the history of Soul music, and with artists including Johnny Mathis, Prince, The Beautiful Southand Smokey Robinson covering their repertoire, their influence of the world of popular music remains high. In fact, such is the relevance of the group, that the Sugababes are set to cover their classic Betcha By Golly, Wow on a forthcoming Radio 1 anniversary album. Now, to coincide with Philadelphia’s first men of Soul touring the UK, Universal Music TV will release The Very Best Of The Stylistics; a definitive collection released on 29th October, perfect for fans old and new. In 1971, the group collaborated with producer Thom Bell, the ingenious creator of the “Philly Sound” to release their debut self-titled album. The Stylistics would capture the imagination of the nation and the hearts of its women with their first single, You’re a Big Girl Now, which immediately became a top-ten hit. The Stylistics had started a trend. It was the broad falsetto of lead vocalist Thompkins Jr., a voice unlike any of his contemporaries or predecessors that appealed to the masses. With his style and delivery, fans and artists alike were mesmerised. Under the production of Bell, The Stylistics went on to produce top-ten hits from 1971 to 1974, culminating with their Grammy-Nominated hit, You Make Me Feel Brand New. It seemed every song the quartet released, greeted the airwaves with fresh, artistic fervor. Their emphasis on smoother, sweeter ballads made them the antithesis of many of their popular contemporaries and their tempo and style would vary effortlessly with each song. The Stylistics had carved themselves a reputation as perhaps the premier soul group during that span. Now nearly forty years on from their inception, their unique sound and spirit lives on. The 2007 personnel comprises original band members Herbie Murrell and Airrion Love, plus Harold ‘Eban’ Brown and Van Fields, who both joined the group in 2000.
Track-listing (Subject to change) 1. Can't Give You Anything (But My Love) No.1. 2. You Make Me Feel Brand New No. 2 3.. Sing Baby Sing No.3 4. Betcha By Golly, Wow No. 13. 5. Rockin' Roll Baby No. 6 6. I'm Stone In Love With You No. 9 7. Let's Put It All Together No. 9 8. Sixteen Bars No.7 9. Na Na Is The Saddest Word No.5 10. Peek-A-Boo No.35 11. Break Up To Make Up No. 34 12. Funky Weekend No.10 13. You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart) No. 24 14. 7000 Dollars And You No.24 15. You're A Big Girl Now - (US Chart - Black 7, Pop 73) 16. Hey Girl Come And Get It. (US Disco Chart 3) 17. Thank You Baby ( US Chart 7, Pop 70) 18. You Are Everything (US Chart - Black 10, Pop 9.) 19. People Make The World Go Round (US Chart Black 6, Pop 25) 20. Stop Look Listen (To Your Heart) ( US Chart Black 6, Pop 39) 21. Heavy Fallin' Out (US Chart - Black 6 , Pop 41)
The Stylistics will be touring the UK later this year, see tour dates below.
SAT 27TH OCT LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC 0151 709 3789
SUN 28TH OCT CHATHAM CENTRAL THEATRE 01634 338 338
WED 31ST OCT TRURO HALL, CORNWALL 01872 262 466
THUR 1ST NOV CARDIFF ST. DAVID'S HALL 02920 878 444
FRI 2ND NOV BEDFORD CORN EXCHANGE 01234 269 519
SAT 3RD NOV HARROGATE NIDD HALL 0870 601 6012
MON 5TH NOV PERTH CONCERT HALL 0845 612 6322
TUES 6TH NOV STIRLING ALBERT HALLS 01786 473 544
WED 7TH NOV EDINBURGH JAM HOUSE 0131 226 4380
FRI 9TH NOV DUNSTABLE LEISURE CENTRE 01582 602 080
SAT 10TH NOV SKEGNESS BUTLINS 0870 167 1003
WED 14TH NOV BIRMINGHAM JAM HOUSE 0121 200 3030
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FRI 16TH NOV DUDLEY CONCERT HALL 01384 812 812
SAT 17TH NOV BODELWYDDAN CASTLE NORTH WALES 0870 601 6012
SUN 18TH NOV LONDON RONNIE SCOTT 0207 439 0747
TUES 20TH NOV RHYL PAVILION 0870 330 0000
WED 21ST NOV THE MUNI, COLNE 01282 661 234
THUR 22ND NOV BATLEY FRONTIER CLUB 01924 442 122
FRI 23RD NOV BARROW FORUM TWENTY EIGHT 01229 820 000
SAT 24TH NOV MARGATE WINTER GARDENS 01843 296111
SUN 25TH NOV CHELTENHAM TOWN HALL 01242 227 979
TUES 27TH NOV WORTHING PAVILION 01903 206 206
WED 28TH NOV BASILDON TOWNGATE THEATRE 01268 465 465
THUR 29TH NOV BARNSTAPLE QUEENS THEATRE 01271 324 242
FRI 30TH NOV LAKESIDE COUNTRY CLUB 01252 836 464
SUN 2ND DEC ALBAN ARENA ST. ALBANS 01727 844 488
'new look' blues and soul hits the streets
Blues and Soul is a magazine I have been picking up from my local newsagent for over 30 years now. The editorial set up inevitably changes, although, anyone, even slightly interested in Soul Music in the U.K., is, at least, aware of this publication.
This latest metamorphosis sees the magazine move from a portrait format to a square layout, making sense as the format is now in line with that of the vinyl LP and the compact disc. Graphically, the layout changes have evolved rather than had a total remake.
I must admit, when I first saw the new layout I thought to myself 'they've cut the bottom off the previous issue'! I guess as human beings (and certainly this applies with the passing of the years), our first reaction might be, 'I don't like it'. No-one likes change, the older we get. With the re-design not being too radical, the readers are coaxed into accepting the new layout rather than being offered up a visual fait accomplis.
All of the journalistic 'heavyweight' contributors are all still here, thankfully, as they provide the literary ballast to an ever changing genre.
One of my main worries (which has been the case for the previous couple of years) is a fear that the seasoned, loyal Soul campaigner may feel sidelined and skip several pages, making a beeline for the real deal, not knowing many of the newer (snarling and body painted) artists they flip by, whose material mainly appears on the lesser Soulful radio stations out there.
This is a shame in many ways, however, all told, there are no real Soul stations on national radio. Thesedays the Sam Dees or Lamont Dozier fan has to listen on satellite or dig around on the Net. The alternative is to 'read all about it' via Blues and Soul or a similar publication.
I think Blues and Soul is a kind of benchmark, that, love or hate the designs over the years, Soul folks look to as a guide, tracking down what and what not to buy. Hell, I still buy the magazine! If I see something worthwhile within the publications pages, surely I can't be the only one.
Personally, I would like to see more on the artists that laid the foundations of where we are today, musically. The journalists 'shoot their best shots' and invariably come up with the goods. More power to their Bic Biro's!
Having said all of that, below is the only article I intensley dislike in the whole of the first re-designed issue. Quite what this idiot is rambling on about, well that is anyone's guess. Less of him please!
london west end company looking for singers and performers......
I have received in this plea for singers for two Soul Music theatre productions. Here are the details. Best of luck:
CASTING BREAKDOWNDANCING IN THE STREETS
Producer : Paul Walden and Derek Nichol for Flying Music
Director: Keith Strachan
Choreograher : Carole Todd
Musical Director : Iain Vince Gatt
Dates: Rehearsals from 29 January; Open 12 February – 1 year Equity contracts.
Venue : Playhouse Theatre, London
Auditions From next week in London
Ivor Novello Award-winning director Keith Strachan’s hit show DANCING IN THE STREETS, the spectacular celebration of classic music from the heart of the Motor City - Detroit, continues at the Playhouse Theatre.
Motown was a prominent force in breaking down barriers around the world and, equally as important, was responsible for producing some of the world’s most influential and enduring songs of the 20th century. The Dancing in the Streets company and band re-create the energy, style and music of the stars of the Motown stable.
To join the current company at the Playhouse Theatre, we are looking for :
MALE AND FEMALE SINGERS
to play various roles in the company including the following
Must be great blues/soul singers with good movement skills and charisma
SMOKEY ROBINSON/ENSEMBLE :- tenor/strong falsetto to “G”
STEVIE WONDER/ENSEMBLE :- high tenor/strong falsetto
MARVIN GAYE :- tenor/strong falsetto to “D”
LEVI STUBBS :- strong tenor who can chest to “C”
LIONEL RITCHIE :- rich baritone
MC/NARRATOR :- high tenor
MARTHA REEVES/ENSEMBLE :- strong mezzo belt to “E”
DIANA ROSS :- soprano who can “belt” mezzo “E”
TAMMI TERRELL :- strong mezzo to D flat
KIM WESTON :- strong mezzo
GLADYS KNIGHT :- alto/mezzo
3 MALE ENSEMBLE/COVERS : with various ranges from baritone, tenor, good falsetto
1 FEMALE ENSEMBLE/COVER : needs to be a strong soprano and mezzo coverMust be black/African American in heritage or appearance
(Section 5(2)(a) of the Race Relations Act 1976 applies)
Submissions by return with Spotlight number or website link (please, no attachments) to
or by post to
72 High Street, Ashwell, Near Baldock, Hertfordshire SG7 5NS
SWEET SOUL MUSIC
Producer : Paul Walden and Derek Nichol for Flying Music
Director: Keith Strachan
Dates: Rehearsals start 1st February 2007
Performances start 18th February 2007
Contract length : Initial contracts three months. Equity contracts.
Venue : UK TOUR
Auditions MONDAY 8th JANUARY IN LONDON and further dates next week
To honour the 40th anniversary of the first UK joint Stax/Atlantic tour and the 50th Anniversary of the foundation of Stax, the producers of the hit West End shows “Dancing in the Streets” and “The Rat Pack – Live from Las Vegas” bring you “Sweet Soul Music”. The show will be a spectacular celebration of the greatest hits from sensational soul legends Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Sam Cooke, Arthur Conley, Ben E King, Carla Thomas, Percy Sledge, Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd, Isaac Hayes, Booker T + The MG’s and many more.
To complete the casting on this production we urgently require further suggestions for
MALE AND FEMALE SINGERS
(Leads and on-stage backing/understudies)
Must be excellent blues/soul singers
– fabulous performers with good movement skills
Must be black/African American in heritage or appearance
(Section 5(2)(a) of the Race Relations Act 1976 applies)Please send suggestions as soon as possible (note imminent audition date), to:
Debbie O’Brien Casting
mary love comer unwell
I was in conversation with an artist on the AOL Instant messaging system. She lives nearby Mary Love Comer, who is reported to be unwell right now. Details are scarce, however I passed on the best wishes from the Soul fans in the U.K. I hope she has a speedy recovery.