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Reply #60 posted 06/08/18 8:42am


Lost John Coltrane Recording From 1963 Will Be Released at Last


“Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album” was cut by the saxophonist’s classic quartet two years before “A Love Supreme.” Then it was stashed away.

On March 6, 1963, John Coltrane and his quartet recorded at the Rudy Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey. The session was never released — until now.CreditChuck Stewart

By Giovanni Russonello

  • June 7, 2018

If you heard the John Coltrane Quartet live in the early-to-mid-1960s, you were at risk of having your entire understanding of performance rewired. This was a ground-shaking band, an almost physical being, bearing a promise that seemed to reach far beyond music.

The quartet’s relationship to the studio, however, was something different. In the years leading up to “A Love Supreme,” his explosive 1965 magnum opus, Coltrane produced eight albums for Impulse! Records featuring the members of his so-called classic quartet — the bassist Jimmy Garrison, the drummer Elvin Jones and the pianist McCoy Tyner — but only two of those, “Coltrane” and “Crescent,” were earnest studio efforts aimed at distilling the band’s live ethic.

But now that story needs a major footnote.

On Friday, Impulse! will announce the June 29 release of “Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album,” a full set of material recorded by the quartet on a single day in March 1963, then eventually stashed away and lost. The family of Coltrane’s first wife, Juanita Naima Coltrane, recently discovered his personal copy of the recordings, which she had saved, and brought it to the label’s attention.

There are seven tunes on this collection, a well-hewed mix that clearly suggests Coltrane had his sights on creating a full album that day. From the sound of it, this would have been an important one.

“Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album” is due on Impulse! on June 29.Credit

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“In 1963, all these musicians are reaching some of the heights of their musical powers,” said the saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, John Coltrane’s son, who helped prepare “Both Directions at Once” for release. “On this record, you do get a sense of John with one foot in the past and one foot headed toward his future.”

That’s true — though as Mr. Coltrane was careful to point out, his father always lived in a state of transition. The poet and critic Amiri Baraka wrote in 1963 that Coltrane’s career was one of simultaneous “changes, resolutions and transmutations.” As the public came to depend on the grounding wisdom of his saxophone sound in the late 1950s and ’60s, Coltrane kept shifting and expanding it.

By the time he signed with Impulse! in 1961, he had mostly left behind the swift harmonic movement of his earlier work. He was resolutely exploring other elements: drones influenced by North African and Indian music; unbounded and jagged melodic phrasing. One of Coltrane’s earliest biographers, C.O. Simpkins, described the quartet’s shows in these years — with Mr. Jones lighting fires and Mr. Tyner splashing them with multihued harmonies — as a kind of euphoric cleanse. The quartet, he wrote, “would beat the unclean air until it begged for mercy.”

But Coltrane had a funny problem: He was also quite commercially successful, particularly for an improvising musician of such rigor. He had arrived at Impulse! shortly after scoring a megahit with “My Favorite Things,” and the producer Bob Thiele felt obligated to provide a stream of concept-driven and consumer-friendly projects. The other albums he made in 1963 with Coltrane were “Ballads,” “Duke Ellington and John Coltrane” and “John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.”


Coltrane, the drummer Elvin Jones, the bassist Jimmy Garrison and the pianist McCoy Tyner in the studio.CreditJim Marshall

“Coltrane” and “Crescent,” the albums that show us Coltrane condensing his quartet’s live persona for posterity, are marvelous. They balance deep blues playing with lengthy, minor-key chants, laced through with an explosively rhythmic group dynamic. But in the two years between their recording — spring 1962 to spring 1964 — we had little to go on until now.

[Read Ben Ratliff on “the miracle of Coltrane.”]

“Both Directions at Once” was recorded at the Rudy Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey, small-group jazz’s premier recording habitat, on March 6, 1963. Two days earlier, Mr. Tyner had taped “Nights of Ballads and Blues” there (it’s an underrated gem that shows the lush shading and ardent poise of his playing). The day after “Both Directions at Once” was recorded, Coltrane’s quartet — which was in the midst of a two-week run at Birdland in Manhattan — returned to the studio with Hartman, a baritone crooner, to knock out that album, which became a classic.

But on this newly discovered collection, we hear something close to the breadth of what Coltrane and his associates were delivering onstage. “You get a lot of that musical meat, but in a context that will be more accessible to a lot of listeners,” said Lewis Porter, a pianist and scholar, who was sent an early copy of the album.

On “Slow Blues,” Coltrane lights into split-toned incantation almost immediately, then carries a steady improvisation forward for nearly the entire 11-and-a-half minutes of the track, interrupted only by a brief Tyner solo.


Mr. Tyner, left, and Coltrane. Mr. Tyner recorded his album “Nights of Ballads and Blues” two days before the lost session.CreditJoe Alper

Impulse! is releasing the album as a single disc, featuring one rendition each of the seven tunes the band cut that day. (Ravi Coltrane and the record executive Ken Druker chose the order.) But for those who buy the deluxe edition, with seven alternate takes from the same session on a separate disc, the biggest score will be the four renditions of “Impressions.” Meditative but headlong, this piece had been the quartet’s concert centerpiece for two years at that point, but Coltrane still hadn’t given it a name. (On the tape box that was found, it was untitled.)

An expansive live version would be released later in 1963, on an album called “Impressions,” but this March recording session marked the second and, apparently, final time Coltrane would attempt to wrangle “Impressions” into a studio recording. All the versions hover around the four-minute mark, but each take is different; on two of them, the band rides along at a comfortable, medium tempo with Mr. Tyner adding a chiming, two-chord pattern. On the final two takes, Coltrane ticks the tempo up higher, and slashes boldly without a piano beneath him.

The album also includes two original tunes that seem to have been committed to tape here for the first and only time. They’re identified by the numbering system that Thiele used in the studio. The first, “11383,” is a brisk minor blues, with the swirling momentum typical of Coltrane’s live performances and his most affecting records.

Then there’s “11386,” a shimmying melody that begins with a wide-flung first section — pulpy chords resounding from Garrison’s bass — then a passage of beaming swing. It bears some structural similarity to Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things” arrangement. But as Mr. Porter pointed out, the tune also sounds a lot like the writing of Mr. Tyner. Indeed, throughout the 1960s, the pianist was writing pieces with this same kind of fast, dancing melody, and a similar balancing act between swing and straight rhythms.

“He’s so on top of that piece. It’s just a thought,” Mr. Porter said, referring to Mr. Tyner’s avid playing on all three versions of “11386” featured here. “Where is it written that everything they played had to be by Coltrane?”

It’s a tempting, provocative question, and a good one. It’s one of many that this discovery allows us to start asking about the work of an epochal band in its prime.

Chris Robinson Soars As the Crow Flies in Oakland

06 Jun 2018


It's a balmy Friday night in the Bay Area here on May 11 and Uptown Oakland is buzzing with anticipation because Chris Robinson and his new side project As the Crow Flies are rolling into the Fox Theater. This show opens the final weekend of a month-long national tour where the former Black Crowes singer is touring behind the song catalog of the Black Crowes for the first time since the band's breakup five years ago. Following two previous hiatuses, it seems the Crowes are grounded for good this time. But the music still lives on in the memory of all who were drawn to its sonic call, which was many a rock 'n' roller from 1989 to 2013.

Robinson perhaps foreshadowed this tour last summer when he slipped a few Crowes tunes into his solo acoustic repertoire, whetting the appetite of long time fans. As the Crow Flies now flips the script as a side project to the Chris Robinson Brotherhood (CRB), which launched in 2011. The CRB has been going strong ever since with Robinson pulling off the rare feat of putting together a second band that's arguably just as good as the one that made him a rock 'n' roll star in the early '90s. The Black Crowes helped launch a jamrock movement that scarcely existed when they first hit the scene, and has since grown exponentially over the past two decades to open a door for the CRB to chart a similar trajectory with a little more creative freedom since fans aren't clamoring for the hits.

As to why 2018 is the time to revisit the music of the Black Crowes, it's probably not a coincidence that brother Rich Robinson put together his own Crowesy reboot in 2017 with The Magpie Salute featuring former Crowes lead guitarist Marc Ford as well. Now Chris counters with a lineup that features young phenom guitarist Marcus King and three former Crowes in bassist Andy Hess, guitarist Audley Freed and keyboardist Adam MacDougall along with drummer Tony Leone (the latter two being current members of the CRB). Chris has cited a rare three-month break in the CRB's schedule as an opportunity to revisit these songs, so why not?

"The songs that you write, to me, that's the real jewel of the thing. That's the thing that's going to be here way after you're gone. If the songs resonate, then it says something about them. I think that's how I got into this world. This is what I dreamed about. If you can weave your dream into the reality of your life ... And these songs are the magic engines that run that dream. That's important to me," Robinson explained to Rolling Stone magazine earlier this year.

The bottom line for the Black Crowes was that the Robinson Brothers just weren't getting along, with hints of the classic "creative differences" probably being the ultimate culprit in the band's demise. It's hard to create harmonious rock 'n' roll music from the heart if the band members aren't on the same spiritual/philosophical page, hence it's tough to fault anyone for going their own way if that's what they needed to do to find peace and harmony within. But tonight, the music of the Black Crowes will soar once more and fans are stoked.


Chris Robinson / Photo by Doug Clifton

The band comes out blazing on high energy fan favorites "Remedy", "Sting Me" and "Twice as Hard", with Robinson clearly in high spirits. The latter tune conjures a particularly vivid nostalgia for some Gen-Xers, being that it's the first track from the Black Crowes' first album back in an era where albums meant something more and were listened to repeatedly since there was no such thing as internet radio or streaming services. The 21st century has become a golden age of sound as far as access to music goes, yet there's also been something lost with the role that albums used to play in establishing a band.

With most of tonight's songs coming from the band's first three albums that were released between 1990 and 1994, there's a Gen-X revival in the air that conjures that rebellious feeling when the Black Crowes were kicking ass and taking names as rock 'n' roll upstarts with a deep background in the blues. The melancholy catharsis of "Seeing Things" dips into this bluesy well before "High Head Blues" cranks things back up with Robinson's penchant for mixing the blues with a groovier melodic rock flavor. The band is having a great time here and it's downright contagious.

The somber "Good Friday" finds Robinson back in blues preacher mode with a chance to blow some harmonica as well. The song builds into a strong jam with some great shredding from King for a big crowd-pleasing peak, with the tune then finding its way into a hot cover of CSNY's counterculture classic "Almost Cut My Hair". When Robinson sings, "But I didn't and I wonder why, I feel like letting my freak flag fly," you know he means it. The jam is another platform for more great lead guitar riffage from King and Freed as it become clear the duo have developed some genuine chemistry on the tour. The 21-year-old King looks like he could be a teenager plucked from Middle Earth, but his playing demonstrates the seasoned maturity of an old soul.

This kind of deep blues jamming that takes the audience on a transformative sonic journey is what the Black Crowes live show was all about, so it's a strategic selection when the band follows this sequence with the Crowes' "Wiser Time". The classic road song from the 1994 Amorica album has a timeless quality that few other songs from the era can match, with Robinson singing of the band being able to part the seas on a good day while finding such feats to be glory beyond reach on a bad day. It's this sense of searching for the sound that will transport everyone present to a higher plane that has separated the Black Crowes, the CRB and their jamrock brethren from all the bands that just play the same show every night.

MacDougall dials up a great organ solo here with a wizardly tone science that makes it easy to see why Robinson has kept him close by his side for 10 years now. King and Freed both crank up the blues rock power as the band takes the jam for a ride that is indeed glorious, as King steps up with some melty wah-wah shredding to create a big sonic wave that receives strong feedback from the audience. Freed then takes the baton and leads the band to catch another rocking sonic wave as he too delivers hot bluesy riffage to keep the jam grooving on.


Chris Robinson / Photo by Doug Clifton

The obligatory "She Talks to Angels" provides a breather before the band digs back into the jams with the seminal "Thorn in My Pride" from 1992's The Southern Musical & Harmony Companion. This was the song that really enabled the Black Crowes to establish themselves as an improvisational force, taking a six minute track and stretching it out much further in the live setting. The song also hinted at Chris Robinson's Deadhead background with the lyrics imploring a lover to let her love light shine. As the Crow Flies lets the jam shine here as the guitarists cut loose over the infectious groove to the delight of all. Then Robinson follows with some high-energy harmonica work that always seems to conjure the spirit of the Dead's legendary Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, as there just aren't many blues rockers who still carry the torch for the art form. This in turn gives way to still more smoking jammage before the song's triumphant piano breakdown/outro.

The band then tears through "Jealous Again" and "Hard to Handle" to cap the rousing set, including a seamless segue from the latter into Deep Purple's "Hush" as the Black Crowes were fond of doing in 2013. Robinson has proven himself one of the classic rock genre's most devoted curators over the years, delivering an eclectic array of covers from his wide range of influences and nailing the vibe every time as he does again here. MacDougall gives the jam a big boost with an epic Jon Lord organ solo to power a climactic jam that closes out the set as it drops back into a last chorus of "Hard to Handle". The encore features more of these influences with smashing takes on the Doors' "Peace Frog" and Rick Derringer's "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo".

It's been an uplifting night of feel good rock 'n roll music and cathartic blues, leaving the audience elated as they exit to Telegraph Avenue's enticing strip of craft brew pubs and cocktail bars. Marcus King has been a revelation for those who were unfamiliar with the young gun, showing why guitar great Warren Haynes has compared him with Derek Trucks and produced his second album. Robinson meanwhile has given the fans what they've been craving with a dynamic blast from the past that sets the stage for another big year from the CRB.

"When the world is full of chaos and doom and fear, people like us want to get down and do our work. Our work is positive work. It's not going to fucking change the world or anything, but it can get you through the night," Robinson told Rolling Stone. This concept of putting out positive vibrations to help transform dark into at least some momentary lightness has been a hallmark of Robinson's career and has certainly been achieved again here tonight.


LE tour print by Marc Spusta

Imagine John Yoko: New official John Lennon ‘Imagine’ book announced

June 7, 2018 by Paul Sinclairtags: Books, John Lennon, The Beatles, yoko ono


A new book about the making of John Lennon‘s 1971 album Imagine – personally compiled and curated by Yoko Ono – will be released in October. Imagine John Yoko is billed as the ‘definitive inside story’ of the making of the album, which is told in ‘revelatory’ detail.

The 320-page hardcover book will the encompass locations, the creative team, the artworks and the films, in the words of John & Yoko and the people who were there. It will feature 80 percent exclusive, hitherto-unpublished archive photos and footage sequences of all the key players in situ, together with lyric sheets, Yoko’s art installations, and exclusive new insights and personal testimonies from Yoko and over forty of the musicians, engineers, staff, celebrities, artists and photographers who were there – including Julian Lennon, Klaus Voormann, Alan White, Jim Keltner, David Bailey, Dick Cavett and Sir Michael Parkinson.


Imagine John Yoko will showcase Yoko’s archive of photos and artefacts, using artfully compiled narrative film stills, and featuring digitally rendered maps, floorplans and panoramas that recreate the interiors of Tittenhurst Park in evocative detail. John & Yoko introduce each chapter and song; Yoko also provides invaluable additional commentary and a preface.

All the minutiae is examined: the locations, the key players, the music and lyrics, the production techniques and the artworks – including the creative process behind the double exposure polaroids used on the album cover.

Yoko says about this book: “A lot has been written about the creation of the song, the album and the film of Imagine, mainly by people who weren’t there, so I’m very pleased and grateful that now, for the first time, so many of the participants have kindly given their time to “gimme some truth” in their own words and pictures”.

The book will be published on 9 October (John’s birthday) by Thames & Hudson and rumours persist that an Imagine super deluxe edition box set will be released around the same time.



Joanna Teters has been making her way through the R&B, soul and reggae scenes across NYC for years, offering today the sultriest of vocal charm layered over silky beats with “Back To Brooklyn”. This title track is vying for title status this week, seducing with little subtlety and aiming straight for the soul. Fans of Janelle Monae and Anderson .Paak take note – Joanna is having fun but is not messing around. This is the real deal.

Her latest venture, Back To Brooklyn, is out June 15th. Stay tuned and listen below.



[Edited 6/8/18 9:17am]

Just Music-No Categories-Enjoy It!
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Reply #61 posted 06/08/18 8:42am


Prince’s 60th birthday has been marked with a new album announcement

A previously unreleased Prince album will finally be available to purchase in September, with today’s announcement of its forthcoming release marking what would’ve been the iconic artist’s 60th birthday.

The album, titled ‘Piano & A Microphone 1983’, has been given the green light for release by Prince’s Estate, who have announced today (June 7) that the record will be released by Warner Bros. Records.

Image result for âPiano & A Microphone 1983â

As the title suggests, ‘Piano & A Microphone 1983’ was recorded by Prince in 1983, and consists of nine intimate home recordings Prince made at the piano. The album was recorded at Prince’s Kiowa Trail home studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and was engineered by Don Batts.

The tracklist – which you can see below – includes a cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case Of You’, as well as early versions of ‘Purple Rain’, ’17 Days’ and ‘Strange Relationship’. A version of the 19th century spiritual ‘Mary Don’t You Weep’ is also included, with that song set to be featured on the soundtrack of Spike Lee’s upcoming film BlacKkKlansman.

Image result for âPiano & A Microphone 1983â

‘Piano & A Microphone 1983’ Tracklist

1. 17 Days
2. Purple Rain
3. A Case Of You
4. Mary Don’t You Weep
5. Strange Relationship
6. International Lover
7. Wednesday
8. Cold Coffee & Cocaine
9. Why The Butterflies

The album – which will be released on September 21 – is available to pre-order now on CD, LP, Deluxe CD+LP, digital release and pre-save for streaming.

Speaking about the new release, the Prince Estate’s entertainment adviser Troy Carter said: “This raw, intimate recording, which took place at the start of Prince’s career right before he achieved international stardom, is similar in format to the Piano & A Microphone Tour that he ended his career with in 2016.

“The Estate is excited to be able to give fans a glimpse of his evolution and show how his career ultimately came full circle with just him and his piano.”

Smashing Pumpkins release comeback single ‘Solara’

Smashing Pumpkins have released their comeback single, ‘Solara’. Check it out below.

It’s the first Pumpkins song to feature founding members Billy Corgan, James Iha, and Jimmy Chamberlin since 2000.

Although it’s just the audio released so far, Billy Corgan last month teased the official music video for the track.

A photo shared on Instagram shows the frontman in a similar robe-like garb that he wore during the ‘Adore’ era, as Corgan waits ominously in a dimly-lit room beside and empty cage.

Corgan also revealed that the video had been directed by Nick Koenig, who has recently wracked up millions of hits on Youtube with the videos for ‘Spotlight’ by Marshmello and ‘Awful Things’ by Lil Peep.

Meanwhile, as relations show no sign of improving between the band and former bassist D’Arcy Wretzky, Smashing Pumpkins are currently gearing up for a US tour as well as the release of three EPs of new material with the majority of their ‘classic’ founding line-up.

  • Read more: 50 geeky facts about Smashing Pumpkins

The eight tracks (titled ‘Alienation’, ‘Travels’, ‘Silvery Sometimes’, ‘Solara’, ‘With Sympathy’, ‘Marchin’ On’, ‘Knights of Malta’, ‘Seek And You Shall Destroy’) were produced by Rick Rubin and feature Corgan on guitar and vocals, along with guitarist James Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin from the original line-up, joined by longtime recent collaborator Jeff Schroeder.

Meanwhile, Corgan recently made headlines by defending the work ethic of fellow grunge icon Kurt Cobain.

“Kurt Cobain as a lyricist, as a songwriter, as visionary was a fucking assassin. He was great at what he did and it’s a shame he didn’t do more of it,” Corgan argued.


Jerry Maren, Who Sang and Danced as a Munchkin in Oz, Dies at 98


Jerry Maren attended a screening of the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz” in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 2009. Most of those who played Munchkins in the movie went on to non-Hollywood careers, but he made a career of performing.CreditCharley Gallay/Getty Images

By Brooks Barnes

  • June 6, 2018

LOS ANGELES — Jerry Maren, who danced into pop culture in 1939 as the tartan-costumed, candy-toting Munchkin leader of the Lollipop Guild in “The Wizard of Oz,” a role that overshadowed a lifetime of quiet offscreen work to bring dignity to dwarfs, died on May 24 in San Diego. He was 98.

His death, at a care facility in the La Jolla section, was first reported on Wednesday. A nephew, Lloyd Decker, said the cause was congestive heart failure.

Mr. Maren was the last survivor of the more than 100 dwarfs who performed as Munchkins in numbers like “We’re Off to See the Wizard” and “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead,” according to Stephen Cox, the author of “The Munchkins of Oz.”

“In many ways, with his humble charm, he became the most beloved of all of them,” Mr. Cox said in a telephone interview.

Most of the “Wizard of Oz” dwarfs went on to lead non-Hollywood lives, returning to the spotlight only occasionally for studio-organized publicity stunts and fan events. But Mr. Maren spent his life as a performer, including doing stunt work for child actors like Jodie Foster and Ron Howard. He appeared in more than 60 films and television series, among them “Bewitched,” the satirical soap opera “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” and “The Gong Show,” where his job was to merrily scatter confetti.

“It wasn’t much, but it was steady,” he wrote of that experience in his 2006 memoir, “Short and Sweet: The Life and Times of the Lollipop Munchkin.”

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Like any character actor, Mr. Maren went where the work took him. He was an Oscar Mayer spokesman in the 1950s, traveling the country in a Weinermobile. (His duties included popping out of a hatch and tossing weeny-whistles to spectators.) In popular commercials for children’s shoes in the late 1940s, he played Buster Brown, wearing a Little Lord Fauntleroy uniform and singing: “That’s my dog, Tige, he lives in a shoe. / I’m Buster Brown. Look for me in there, too.”

He was also Mayor McCheese in McDonald’s commercials in the 1970s. “Big Mac built my house,” he wrote. (That house, in Los Angeles, was built to scale — his.)

With a friend and fellow actor, Billy Barty, Mr. Maren in 1957 founded Little People of America, a nonprofit advocacy organization that says it has roughly 6,000 members.


Jakob (Jackie) Gerlich, left, Jerry Maren and Harry Doll of "The Lollipop Guild" of Munchkinland in The Wizard of Oz (1939).CreditMGM/Photofest

“He took it as his responsibility to show, through a strong sense of self and speaking out and personal example, that little people are just people,” Mr. Cox said. “All of the other Munchkins had a great deal of respect for Jerry.” (About 10 young girls without dwarfism were hired to fill out the Munchkin ensemble; according to Mr. Cox, a handful survive.)

Mr. Maren, who liked to chomp cigars and wear porkpie hats, was “happily patient” at fan events, even when attendees asked derogatory questions about his stature, said John Fricke, a historian of all things Oz and co-author of “100 Years of Oz: A Century of Classic Images” (1999).

Mr. Fiske said that Mr. Maren had worked to debunk the “demeaning legends” that sprung up around the Munchkins, in particular that they were more interested in alcohol and wild sex than in making a movie.

In his book, Mr. Maren blamed a troubled Judy Garland, who played Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” for erroneously painting her dwarf castmates as miscreants. Referring to a 1967 television interview in which she told Jack Paar that the Munchkins “all got smashed every night” and had to be “picked up in butterfly nets,” Mr. Maren wrote: “Judy was telling it according to her pills and booze that day. She left behind a legacy of untruths about us.”

A Munchkin Welcome - The Wizard Of OzCreditVideo by WBMoviesOnline

He was born Gerard Marenghi on Jan. 24, 1920, in Roxbury, Mass., to Raphaela and Emilio Marenghi, Italian immigrants. The youngest of 12 children, he wanted to be a baseball player. But his pituitary dwarfism, diagnosed when he was a teenager, prompted him to consider show business, despite discouragement from his father, a shoe factory worker.

By the age of 18, when he stood 3 feet 6 inches tall (he later grew about a foot with the help of hormone treatments), he had gained attention in New England by performing with a vaudeville act called Three Steps and a Half. He was the half.

A scout for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, looking for dwarfs to play Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz,” summoned him by telegram to New York, where he was cast on the spot. He adopted the stage name Maren and traveled by bus to Los Angeles. He got the part of the Lollipop Munchkin — the giant candy he held was made of painted balsa wood — because he could both sing and dance.


Actors who played some of the original Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz” held commemorative placards after receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007 in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. From left were Meinhardt Raabe, Clarence Swensen, Jerry Maren and Karl Stover.CreditRobyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Like the other Munchkins, Mr. Cox wrote, Mr. Maren was paid $100 a week. Toto, Dorothy’s dog, earned $125.

Mr. Maren married Elizabeth Barrington Maren, also a dwarf, in 1975. (Ms. Maren, who died in 2011, became known at “Wizard of Oz” fan events for wearing a T-shirt that read, “I Partied With the Munchkins.”) No immediate family members survive.

A fan of horse racing, Mr. Maren also played softball in a league called the Hollywood Shorties until he was in his 80s. And he was an avid golfer. Asked by The Los Angeles Times in 1993 to name his golfing strength, he said, “My short game, of course.”

Clarence Fountain, 88, Dies; Led the Blind Boys of Alabama

George Scott, left, Clarence Fountain and Jimmy Carter of the Blind Boys of Alabama at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan in 2002.CreditJack Vartoogian/Getty Images

By Daniel E. Slotnik

  • June 6, 2018

Clarence Fountain, who sang gospel music fit to call down the heavens as the leader of the award-winning Blind Boys of Alabama for more than 60 years, died on Sunday at a hospital near his home in Baton Rouge, La. He was 88.

The Blind Boys’ manager, Charles Driebe, said the cause was complications of diabetes.

The Blind Boys of Alabama sang a raucous, exuberant style of gospel that mixed harmony vocals with impassioned call-and-response shouting intended to rouse an audience into a religious fervor.

Explaining the group’s sound to The New York Times in 1987, Ray Allen, a folklorist and music historian, said it had evolved from the more staid style known as jubilee gospel into one that is distinguished by “a prominent lead singer shouting and preaching and backed by a rhythm-and-blues band.”

“Vocally, it made use of stronger rhythms and vocal techniques, such as moaning, melisma, falsetto and trance-induced kinds of behavior that had obvious antecedents in Caribbean or West African worship,” Mr. Allen continued. “The jubilee groups, by contrast, stood up straight and didn’t move around much.” The Blind Boys, he said, “were at the forefront of the transition.”

Mr. Fountain, who had a deep, versatile voice that became weathered over the decades, often sang lead. When he did, he could sound as explosive as James Brown. (Mr. Driebe said it might be more accurate to say that Mr. Brown sounded like Mr. Fountain.)

"Too Close To Heaven" - By The Five Blind Boys Of AlabamaCreditVideo by Pannellctp Traditional Gospel Music

The Blind Boys had their roots in the mid-1940s at a segregated school for the blind in Talladega, Ala., where Mr. Fountain and five friends formed a group they originally called the Happy Land Jubilee Singers.

Renamed the Blind Boys, the group was well established on the gospel circuit by the time many other performers, including Otis Redding, Little Richard, Sam Cooke and Mr. Brown, became famous for moving from gospel to secular music.

Mr. Fountain said that over the years some producers had tried to persuade him and the group to make pop records, but he refused.

“I didn’t turn my back on the Lord,” he said on the NPR program “Morning Edition” in 2001. “I said I wanted to sing gospel music and I wanted to sing it for the Lord.”

Still, the Blind Boys’ foot-stomping sound appealed to secular audiences — and to secular artists. They worked with Lou Reed, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Neil Diamond, Tom Waits, Aaron Neville and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.


The Happy Land Jubilee Singers shortly before the group was renamed the Blind Boys of Alabama in 1948. From left were Johnnie Fields, Mr. Fountain, J.T. Hutton, Ollie Thomas, George L. Scott and Velma Traylor.

Beginning in the 1990s, the Blind Boys became more open to covering songs by artists like Mr. Reed, the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Dylan, Prince and Curtis Mayfield, as long as the lyrics did not betray their spirituality.

The results could be striking. In one instance the group sang the lyrics to “Amazing Grace” over the Animals’ arrangement of the traditional song “The House of the Rising Sun.”

The Blind Boys Of Alabama "Amazing Grace"CreditVideo by Pannellctp Traditional Gospel Music

“I’ve taken the theory that music is music, and all you have to do is just sing it and keep your lyrics clean and you’re on your way,” Mr. Fountain said on NPR’s “Weekend Edition” in 2002. “So we try to put the gospel feel to it, and it makes it much better than it was when it was rock ’n’ roll, you know?”

In 1994 the Blind Boys received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Their “Spirit of the Century” won the 2001 Grammy for best traditional gospel album, and they went on to win four more Grammys before receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy in 2009.

They collectively sang the part of Oedipus in “The Gospel at Colonus,” a musical retelling of “Oedipus Rex,” which starred Morgan Freeman and was presented on Broadway in 1988. They performed all over the world and visited the White House repeatedly, singing for Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Mr. Fountain did not perform for Mr. Obama; he retired from touring with the group in 2007. But he still sang on occasion, Mr. Driebe said, most recently at a performance with Marc Cohn and the Blind Boys in Baton Rouge in May.

Mr. Fountain was born on Nov. 28, 1929, in Tyler, Ala., to Will and Ida Fountain and grew up in Selma. His father was a sharecropper. Clarence lost his vision when he was 2 after a caregiver tried to cure an eye infection with a lye-based solution. He was sent to the Alabama School for the Negro Blind in Talladega (now part of the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind) when he was 8.

He joined a boys choir there before forming the Happy Land Jubilee Singers. By the late 1940s the group was touring full time, and in 1948 they changed their name to the Five Blind Boys of Alabama. They have used variations on that name ever since, including Clarence Fountain and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

The Blind Boys lineup has changed over the years. The last surviving original member is Jimmy Carter, who is still touring with the group.

Mr. Fountain married Barbara Robertson in 1999. She survives him. His survivors also include several children.

Mr. Fountain said in a 1993 interview that he did not mind performing in secular venues because “God is everywhere, and we think he’s in the nightclub too, if you bring him in there.” By the same logic, he said, he saw nothing wrong with bringing the energy of a rock concert to a revival tent.

“If James Brown could come in here and do the twist, and do the mess around for the Devil, then I feel like it’s all right if I stand up here and mash potatoes for God,” he said at one live performance, moments before launching into “Look Where You Brought Me From.”

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Back to the 80s: The Time / Ice Cream Castle / ‘Neapolitan’ coloured vinyl

June 11, 2018 by Paul Sinclairtags: #backtothe80s, 1980s, prince, the time


The Time‘s third album Ice Cream Castle will be reissued on ‘Neapolitan’ coloured vinyl in July.

The 1984 album was largely written, produced and arranged by Prince and the two best known songs Jungle Love and The Bird both featured in the Purple Rain film.

This new vinyl edition is part of Rhino’s ‘Back to the 80s‘ series and is pressed on a mix of pink, white and brown vinyl – hence ‘Neapolitan’ – and will be released on 27 July 2018


Side One:

  1. Ice Cream Castles
  2. My Drawers
  3. Chili Sauce

Side Two:

  1. Jungle Love
  2. If The Kid Can’t Make You Come
  3. The Bird

Back to the 80s: a-ha / Hunting High and Low pressed on clear vinyl LP

June 11, 2018 by Paul Sinclairtags: #backtothe80s, 1980s, a-ha, coloured vinyl


Great price for forthcoming clear vinyl pressing

a-ha‘s stunning debut album Hunting High and Low will be reissued on a clear vinyl pressing.

The 1985 album features four UK top ten hits, including the evocative title track, US chart-topper Take On Me (which peaked at number two in Britain) and UK number one The Sun Always Shines On TV.

This new clear vinyl pressing of Hunting High and Low forms part of Rhino’s Back to the 80s series and will be released on 6 July 2018.


Side One:

  1. Take On Me
  2. Train Of Thought
  3. Hunting High And Low
  4. The Blue Sky
  5. Living A Boy’s Adventure Tale

Side Two:

  1. The Sun Always Shines On T.V.
  2. And You Tell Me
  3. Love Is Reason
  4. I Dream Myself Alive
  5. Here I Stand And Face The Rain

Jorja Smith's 'Lost & Found' Is a Revelatory Debut

11 Jun 2018




8 June 2018

Today is Jorja Smith's birthday. She is 21 years old.

Twenty-one is not an age that typifies maturity, or confidence, or patience. Twenty-one is where you're just figuring out your place in the world; 21 is an age of endless possibility and paralyzing fear, a gateway to adulthood, the age at which "the rest of your life" has started, with all the crushing implications and expectations that come with that realization.

Jorja Smith sounds as though she has bypassed all of that. She sings like she was born knowing how, and her writing isn't far behind.

Lost & Found is an album years in the making -- it includes "Blue Lights", a single Smith released back in 2016, as well as "Teenage Fantasy" and "Where Did I Go?", which have both been kicking around since last year. The construction of the album, not to mention the individual songs, is infused with patience and care. This patience is on display immediately in the opening title track. It fades in, gentle and languid, offering an introduction that meticulously avoids a big splash, even waiting a full 40 seconds before introducing a beat, a minute and a half before the first verse actually starts. Smith vocalizes and ad-libs to that point, gently demonstrating the strength and control she has in her voice before that voice ever jumps to the front of the mix. And then, when Smith herself finally does step into the spotlight, we hear a voice that evokes passing thoughts of Adele, of Lily Allen, of Martina Topley-Bird. The mellow jazz-R&B backdrop is perfect for her tone, painting images of smoke-obscured clubs and black-tie fashion. It's a stunning start.

Songs like "Lost & Found" are all over the album. "February 3rd" rides minimal percussion and a less-is-more bassline to spotlight Smith's words -- vague but evocative poetry, like "It won't work if it don't make sense at all / I'm so lost that I can't see through the fold / The same stains that were left from the cherry wine / The same stains that I wish we could both rewind" -- and a voice that switches effortlessly from low to high register. "Goodbye" switches the instrumentation to a simple acoustic guitar, over which Smith sounds like a natural songsmith. "Wandering Romance" floats along without percussion, an almost stream-of-consciousness performance whose structure only reveals itself after a few listens.

There are tracks that remind us of Smith's age in the best possible way. "Blue Lights" uses gentle-but-crisp percussion -- think early Massive Attack -- to support a song that tries to reconcile the necessity of and the danger inherent in the presence of police with the searching sincerity that youth can bring. "Teenage Fantasy" punctuates a mature rumination on the expectation and reality of love with a little bit of playfulness on the melody and a giggle. "Lifeboats (Freestyle)" is a fine crack at hip-hop, where we get to hear Smith rap a bit over a spare beat and some expert jazz guitar from fellow up-and-comer Tom Misch. For all the maturity on display, there is also a sense of exploration here. Somehow, not a single experiment falls flat.

Perhaps the only criticism to be levied here is that Smith's writing hasn't quite caught up to her performance chops. Few of the songs leave a lasting impact beyond the thrill of hearing Smith perform them. Her songs tend to deal in generalities, hiding personal experience behind metaphor, raw emotion behind seasoned production. There isn't a single clunker on Lost & Found, granted, but there's also not a single track here that's a lock to elevate Smith to the sort of international superstardom that a voice like hers is destined for.

While the songs on Lost & Found may not be perfect, however, it is still an astounding and appealing debut from an artist we're bound to be hearing from for a long time. This is not a first album that sounds like a first album; it is a first album that sounds like it came from an artist who has been doing this for years and years, an artist who already has award shows and headlining tours in her rear view mirror. As such, it's hard to keep from seeing those things in Jorja Smith's future. Lost & Found is a revelation.


Dionne Farris is "Hopeless" again with The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra


(June 9, 2018): A little over 20 years ago, soul singer supreme Dionne Farris interpreted a Van Hunt song for the Love Jones soundtrack, and created an adult soul classic. “Hopeless” has lived on as a favorite since then, and Farris continued to impress her fans with her (too infrequent for my taste) recordings.

Fast forward to 2018, and the creation of Grammy nominated trumpeter Russell Gunn, The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra, which is releasing its debut album Get It How You Live, on July 13. His mission for the 19-piece Big Band, is to breathe new life into “traditional” jazz Big Bands by expanding its possibilities in the modern era, with doses of jazz, R&B, pop, hip hop and funk.

Gunn says, “Most of the music on ‘Get It How You Live’ is original compositions that I felt were deserving of expansion into the grander format of a large jazz ensemble.” And it is an attractive mix of new tunes and reimaginations of familiar songs.


That brings us back to “Hopeless,” the auspicious addition to the disc, complete with a bigger, jazzier sound that the original version – and a twist toward the end - and with Farris back in front, leading with her plaintive vocals and sounding great.




[Edited 6/11/18 7:54am]

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Street Musician Chelsea Williams Has a New LP, a U.S. Tour and a Video With Maroon 5, but Still Loves L.A.’s ‘Dancing Drunks and Babies’ (Q&A)

Street Musician Chelsea Williams Has a New LP, a U.S. Tour and a Video With Maroon 5, but Still Loves L.A.’s ‘Dancing Drunks and Babies’ (Q&A)

Chelsea Williams knows how to work a crowd. Williams honed her craft as a singer-songwriter busking around Los Angeles for the past decade, a regular at Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. Playing acoustic guitar, Williams performs a mix of Americana and indie-folk tunes as she competes with breakdancers, drummers, magicians and clowns for attention – and a few bucks – from tourists and locals at the shopping mecca.

Williams’ hard work paid off in a recording contract with Interscope Records – a deal that resulted in one unreleased album that Williams calls “everything that I never wanted to be.” Undeterred, Williams gained national attention with a featured spot in Maroon 5’s hit music video “Daylight (Playing For Change)” and NBC’s Today Show.

Coping with drunks and noise on the streets of L.A. toughened Williams, who kept on writing new songs and performing at the Promenade. Williams has just released a new album, Boomerang, on Blue Élan Records. She describes her personal journey in 12 infectious folk-pop tunes produced by multi-instrumentalist Ross Garren. Williams now embarks on a tour that includes a stop at New York’s Bitter End, where Bob Dylan –”a huge influence” – played early in his career. “I hope maybe there’s a tiny bit of Dylan’s spirit still there,” says Williams.

Rock Cellar asked Williams about her new album and her busking career – and whether success will bring her in from the streets for good.

Rock Cellar: For those who have never been there, set the scene of what the Third Street Promenade is like.

Chelsea Williams: It’s a three-block stretch of outdoor mall. There’s a bunch of shoppers out there bustling around all the time. There’s an occasional breakdancer booming loud music. There’s the woman who reads tea leaves in her giant hat. There’s all kinds of performers out there. I once saw nine accordion players. I tend to play on the weekend mornings because it’s quieter, there’s less breakdancers out there and I tend to get parents and their kids walking down, having breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

Chelsea Williams Perofrming Live

Do you still play there?

Chelsea Williams: I do still play there occasionally. I don’t play there as much as I used to because I have other stuff going on, but I love playing there and I hope to continue playing there as long as I play music.

How long have you played there?

Chelsea Williams: I was 19 or 20 when I started. It’s been about 10 years.

You’ve sold 100,000 CDs there, to everyone from Ron Howard to Sheryl Crow. What did you learn about performing over that time?

Chelsea Williams: Probably almost everything I know about performing, Things that I probably don’t even know that I know, because it’s been the primary place that I’ve performed for the last 10 years. I used to play out there 20 hours a week. Now it’s more like four or six hours a week but I think one of the most important things that I’ve learned out there is how to get people’s attention when they’re not there to see you. Because nobody really goes there to see the performers – maybe some people do but most people there are there to have lunch or to go to the Adidas shop or go to Old Navy or wherever. It’s about what song can I play or how can I sing it or how can I look somebody in the eye in a way that makes them want to stop for a second and explore a little further.

Image result for chelsea williams boomerang

Did you ever become discouraged while waiting to be discovered and getting a record deal?

Chelsea Williams: Although those have always been goals of mine, they haven’t been the be all and end all of career goals. I just love playing music for people. I love performing at shows and seeing drunk people and babies dance. That’s my favorite thing in the whole entire world. While there have been ups and downs in my career, as long as I can go out, as long as I can take my guitar out and move somebody, I feel pretty happy.

You must have met your share of characters out there. What’s the weirdest encounter that you’ve had?

Chelsea Williams: Oh my goodness [laughs], that is a tough one. Man, everything from a guy I saw at nine o’clock in the morning on a Saturday with a huge American flag in his hand that jumped up on a trash can and dove into the sidewalk, there’s all kinds of stuff.

There was one guy who tried to throw his bike at me, which was very scary. I’m pretty sure he was homeless or had some kind of mental issue. He was playing guitar in a spot where I was set up. He came up and started playing guitar right next to me and I asked him if he would stop because it was disturbing the show. He got very upset with me and threatened to throw his bike at me. He picked it up and shook it at me. But this was a real interesting thing because 10 people ran over to the scene and stood between me and him. It was one of those rare moments where your faith in humanity is restored.

Wow, people really will step in and help. It was nice.

You must have gotten your share of promises about making the big time. Now that you are making it, what was your biggest disappointment during that time?

Chelsea Williams: I gotta say, when I was signed to Interscope Records, that was an absolute dream come true because when I was around 14 and I started to take music seriously, I sat down and I Googled all the record companies. I looked at what artists they had and I tried to piece together what kind of label they were at their hearts. And Interscope Records was the major record label that I decided I wanted to be signed to.

And later in life, I don’t even know if I remembered that until I got the signing papers from Interscope, and I was thinking, oh my God, this is the record company that I decided when I was 14 I wanted to be signed to. So it was like this huge wave of hopefulness and oh, my dream’s come true. And then to find out that it was everything that I never wanted to be. They wanted me to release music that had nothing to do with me. It was a bit of a disappointment, I must say.

What kind of music did they want you to record?

Chelsea Williams: The main difference was, I think the only real instruments were guitar and bass. Even the drums were synthesized. I had an idea of putting banjo on one of the songs and they ended up using a synthesized banjo. I didn’t have creative control. It seemed like everything was processed and it did not hold up to my core values as a person or a musician.

Because for me, when I’m making music, it’s very important that the music that I’m making can be reproduced live. I cut my teeth on performing live, I’ve made my living as a live performer for the last 10 years. That’s one of my basic tenets as a musician. So that was tough for me to stomach, for sure.

And then you sang about it on “Fools Gold” and “Dreamcatcher.”

Chelsea Williams: Exactly. Rather than go to therapy, which I probably should have done [laughs] I just wrote songs about it.

Who were some of your musical influences?

Chelsea Williams: I grew up listening to people like Neil Young and Crosby Stills & Nash, Todd Rundgren, these are some artists that my mom introduced me to. Carole King, just great, fantastic songwriters in sort of the folk genre. And when I started growing up and hanging out with my ruffian friends [laughs] they introduced me to people like Elliott Smith and Radiohead and the Pixies. And Dylan is a huge influence, absolutely.

You’re scheduled to play the Bitter End in New York, where Dylan played early in his career.

Chelsea Williams: I’m so excited about that. That’s definitely a bucket list item for me. The last time I was in New York I specifically made a trip to the Bitter End and took a picture in front of it because I’m a huge fan.

What are your thoughts about playing on the same stage where Dylan and many other greats played back in the day?

Chelsea Williams: I hope maybe there’s a tiny bit of Dylan’s spirit still there [laughs]. I hope it will rub off on me. No, I’m just excited to play there and excited to say that I’ve played there. It’s an absolute dream come true.

Appearing in the Maroon 5 video for “Daylight (Playing For Change)” had to have been a big break. How did that come about?

Chelsea Williams: That was a big surprise to me actually because I met this guy while I was playing on Third Street Promenade. He runs the Playing For Change video series. And he just asked me to do a live video on Third Street Promenade. He brought this sound equipment, he told me what song to learn. He said, “It’s a Maroon 5 song.” I said OK, I learned it, I showed up and we recorded it. And I had no idea what they were planning to do with it. And they didn’t tell me ’til it was on the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown. And I turn on the television and I’m like, “Wait a second, I’m on television, that’s odd!” [Laughs] I didn’t know that was gonna happen.

Tell me about recording Boomerang. What were you looking for in the song selection process?

Chelsea Williams: Until recording Boomerang I had not released a solo record in five or six years. So I definitely had a lot of back catalog songs to deal with that I wanted to represent that portion of songwriting. But I also had new stuff that I really wanted to make the record. So we just pulled up to the studio and I recorded just acoustic demos, guitar and vocals. Part of the important thing with this record for me was, even though the production style is bigger than I’ve released in the past, there’s strings and horns and all kinds of stuff going on, arrangement-wise, I wanted to make sure that the songs stood up on their own, just guitar and vocals. So that was the first step, to get them all down with acoustic guitar and vocals and see how it came across.

Chelsea Williams

So we just dove in from there. The producer, Ross Garren and I got out of L.A., we went up the Central Coast of California, stayed in this place that had no Internet access. We picked 16 songs at first and went to work arranging them and trying to figure out what instrumentation would go where and put them all together and brought it back down to L.A. where we ended up recording 14 of the songs and 12 of them made the record.

When you tour will you have any backing musicians or will it be just you and your guitar?

Chelsea Williams: It’s gonna be a little bit of both. Some of the shows, I’ll be able to take a band and some of the shows I’ll just be playing solo. Over the past year I’ve been working a lot with a looping pedal to fill in the sounds of the record a little bit more. It’s a live recording tool you can use. Say you want to lay down a beat. You click the pedal and play claps and then those claps play back and then you can record over that live.

So when I play solo I’ll be playing a little bit with that looping pedal but I’ll also be playing with Ross Garren. He plays piano and harmonica and there’s a great guitar player, John Schroeder, who will be playing with me as well on some of these gigs in California that I have coming up.

After 10 years on the Promenade, you must be able to handle any audience.

Chelsea Williams: I would hope so. I definitely have had my share of drunk people that just come up to me. It’s so weird, it’s always the drunk people that come up and stand one foot away from your face and just stare at you [laughs]. Now if I can’t handle playing for a couple of thousand people after that, I don’t know what will prepare me.

What’s next? Will you do a long tour or are you thinking about the next album?

Chelsea Williams: Through September and October I’ll mostly be on the road playing New York, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin and a lot in California as well. I’m really looking forward to that and then after that I’m looking forward to taking a month to just go out into the desert somewhere with no distractions and write again. I’m really itching to write. The last year and a half has been such a whirlwind and I’m really interested to find out what comes out of me musically after this year. It’s been a lot of firsts.

Right now I’m still in the planning stages of the tour, which is the stressful part. Once everything’s put together I just get to go out and travel and show up. Right now I’m still planning everything, like OK, now if I drive this fast from Point A to Point B can I make it to the gig on time? I’m doing all the planning and the math right now. But yeah, I’m really looking forward to actually getting on the road and performing and looking forward to opening for Poco in New York. That’s gonna be so exciting.

Chelsea Williams : Acoustic Outtakes from Boomerang

Chelsea Williams : Little Halo Demo Sessions

Beautiful acoustic versions from Chelsea's outstanding debut album Boomerang.

Free Downloads:


Hawaiian Newcomer Ash Reveals Soulful Debut Single, ‘Lover Friend’


The music industry has a newcomer who goes by the name of Ash. The Hawaiian-born songstress recently released her debut single “Lover Friend,” in which she teamed up with Grammy-nominated R&B producer starRo, from Japan, to create the song.

“Lover Friend” is an earthy ballad that invokes the metaphysical bonds that are shared between two people. Through the beauty of her voice, Ash describes touching and other acts of passion committed with another, while mentioning auras and chakras. The song takes listeners in and out of the terrestrial plane, the same way energy and love pass through the universe and exists beyond the surface of what we can see.

Image result for Ash  Single, âLover Friendâ

“On the purest side of the Lover is one that embarks on a journey of healing their heart through loving it’s self unconditionally; that is you being your greatest friend,” Ash says of the track’s origin. “In this story I then go on meeting reflections of myself, and had loved each one. Innocent and confusing, it was all healing and the coming to learning that our friendship will always be the most magical connection that I’ve truly desired. To end, it comes full circle how the song starts and who it started with is now and will always be that one eternal, Lover friend.”

Image result for Ashley Lilinoe

Born Ashley Lilinoe, Ash is a 22-year-old native of Oahu, Hawaii. A singer and guitarist, she’s mostly known as a 2016 contestant on American Idol. Ash now lives on an organic farm in Kelowna, British Columbia with her partner. Apparently, she’s deeply passionate about cultivating, seeding, and transplanting crops. Her affinity with sustainability is also described in her music.

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“Our buying and trashing mindset has encouraged polluted water sources and growing lands, and millions of post-consumer landfill sites that ooze the toxicity of a greedy and scarce culture,” she says. “I played a part in this until I woke up.”

Ash credited with being considered as a “grassroots queer Sade.” Her style that’s infused with influences from Tash Sultana, SZA, and Jhene Aiko.


Published on May 23rd, 2018 | by Keith McNeil

Jade Novah – All Blue

After teasing the track on social media to widespread fan excitement, singer, actress, and social influencer Jade Novah unveils her brand new single “All Blue”.

Over a sultry drum beat and dreamy instrumentation, her powerhouse voice immediately takes hold. The vocalist’s spunky verses build towards a sweeping and soaring refrain that showcases her expansive range. She admits, “I got my head up in the clouds again. It’s all blue.”

“All Blue” paves the way for the arrival of Jade’s new album All Blue—due out soon via Empire.

Known for her blockbuster vocals, sizzling screen presence, and upbeat influence online, Jade’s cumulative views exceed 40 million across a combination of covers, sketches, and original tunes, while social following surpasses 750,000 fans. Everybody from Good Morning America and BuzzFeed to Rolling Stone, Essence, and Ebony has touted her talents. However, fans get to know her like never before on All Blue.

"All Blue" Expected Jul 13, 2018:

Image result for Jade Novah - All Blue cd


1 3:39
2 3:55
3 2:54
4 3:48
5 1:05
6 3:40
7 3:29
8 4:09
9 1:12
10 3:11
11 1:03
12 4:09
13 3:52
14 4:07

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Reply #64 posted 06/11/18 9:13am


Hear Macy Gray's Cheeky New Meghan Trainor Team-Up 'Sugar Daddy'

Track will appear on singer's upcoming 10th album, 'Ruby'

Macy Gray teased her new album, 'Ruby,' with a cheeky song, "Sugar Daddy," co-written by Meghan Trainor.

Macy Gray lights up a nightclub in the video for her cheeky new song "Sugar Daddy," co-written with Meghan Trainor. The track will appear on Gray's new album, Ruby, set to arrive September 7th.

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"I Try" singer adds raspy soul to pop star's 'Dangerous Woman' ballad "Leave Me Lonely"

The Christian Lamb–directed clip stars Gray as a lounge singer struggling to win over the club's picky clientele. Things turn in her favor when she launches into the snappy "Sugar Daddy," which pairs crisp trap percussion with a jaunty piano melody. "And I know I got it bad, I got a problem," Gray sings, "But I'll take them cavities long as I get them from you."

"I love this song, I loved making it," Gray tells Rolling Stone. "I believe it's going to be the song of the summer."

The "Sugar Daddy" video doubles as a tribute to the 1972 Billie Holiday biopic Lady Sings the Blues, which featured Diana Ross in the starring role. Fittingly, Ross' son, Evan Ross, co-stars in the "Sugar Daddy" clip, playing a slick nightclub patron trying to entice Gray with a big tip.

Ruby will be Gray's 10th studio album and first since 2016's Stripped. Along with Trainor's contribution, the record will feature a guest appearance from guitarist Gary Clark Jr. Johan Carlsson, Tommy Brown and Tommy Parker Lumpkins helped produce the record.


Macy Gray Announces New Album 'Ruby' & Upcoming Tour Dates: Exclusive

Giuliano Bekor
Macy Gray

Over the last two decades, Macy Gray’s raspy, soulful tunes have gained her acclaim globally on the music scene. This fall, the veteran songstress is readying for her tenth LP, Ruby, with appreciable production by several guests.

Still, upon the announcement of her record sales exceeding 25 million worldwide, the artist shifted gears for her 2016 Chesky Records debut, Stripped. Listeners of Stripped were captivated by Gray's offering of jazzy covers of classics like Bob Marley and The Wailers', "Redemption Song," and even a revamp of her Grammy awarded breakout-hit "I Try." Now, while her last album was critically-acclaimed, fans are anxious to press play on more of the songsters' outlandishly colorful original music. Ruby -- which will be released under Artistry Music, a Mack Avenue label -- will unravel a bevy of gritty R&B tracks that fans have been longing for.

Gray connected with Billboard to chat about Ruby's unique soundscapes, touring the states and Europe with her live band, the significance of artists acknowledging their influence and utilizing their platforms responsibly, and why returning to the spotlight has been therapeutic. Check out why our eyes are glued and ears are lent to all things Macy Gray.

What can fans anticipate sonically with this forthcoming album?

Sonically, it is beautiful. It has all sorts of [fusions]. There are a lot of live instruments. We mixed it with samples. We had a ball. But, it is very different. At the same time, it is excellent ear candy. It is actually very pop. Still, it is gritty and grimy and dirty. [The record] will be super R&B. You know, with my stuff, there is always a jazz element. That is what I grew up on. I can't wait for everybody to hear it. I love it.

The re-release of your 2001 audiovisual "Sweet Baby" featuring Erykah Badu began buzzing the top of the year again. When will we see more music videos from you?

We actually just wrapped one up. I want to tell you the title, but I don't know if I can! Anyway, there is a visual for it, and it's coming out at the end of the month. The video is staring Evan Ross. I can't wait for you to see it.

On Twitter, you announced that you have two upcoming NYC shows scheduled for later this month. Do you have anything special planned for your Opry City Stage performances?

Yeah, it is a brand new venue. So, of course, we are going to take in some new songs from the album. And, New York is always a good crowd, but a tough crowd. So, you have to work hard in New York City. It is going to be a great show. We are going to be ready for them!

Your Instagram post of you wearing the hat that read "Make Kanye Great Again" shook up fans. What responsibility do you feel artists have regarding their influence?

Well, you have a great responsibility. There are going to be a lot of people, who because they like your art, they are interested in what you have to say, and where you are coming from. They see your art and feel that they can relate to you. So, your influence, what you have to say and the direction that you point people into matters. They already feel like they are connected to you, you know?

Well, you do not have to be a role model, but you do have to recognize that you do have a voice. And, that it matters to people, and [your voice] affects things. The things you say and the things you do, once you get to that level, it [can change] things massively.

Now that you're gearing up to release new music, will there be more tour dates associated with Ruby?

Oh, yeah! We are going to go crazy. We do this short New York and D.C. run. Then, we are going to go kind of around the states in August and September. We are going to do a real tour, [then head to] Europe in October and November.

What do you hope resonates with your listeners in conjunction with all you're working on?

Mostly, my album! I think when you make a good record, you do magical things to people. The listeners feel better, and see things better [with a solid LP]. Some people [even] understand their relationship better. [Laughs] The album is therapeutic, and it is a good joint. So, I hope my new collection reaches a lot of people. I really think everybody is going to dig it. And, I hope it makes people happy.

I am already back in the studio working on more stuff, and I'm just writing a lot. I am really on fire music-wise. So, that is something you can definitely count on: a lot more music.

Netflix Pacts With Barbra Streisand for Six Vintage Specials, Expanded Edition of ‘A Star is Born’

Barbra Streisand is getting deeper into business with Netflix, setting a licensing pact with the streaming giant for six vintage music specials and an expanded edition of 1976’s “A Star is Born.”

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Streisand unveiled the deal Sunday night at the closing night of Netflix’s month-long FYSee awards promotion installation at Raleigh Studios. The music legend sat with Jamie Foxx for a Q&A to talk up her recent Netflix special “Barbra: The Music… The Mem’ries… The Magic!”

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The licensing pact covers some of the Great Society-era network TV specials that helped cement her status as a superstar: “My Name Is Barbra” (1965), “Color Me Barbra” (1966), “Barbra Streisand: A Happening in Central Park” (1968), “Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments” (1973), “Barbra Streisand: The Concert” (1994), and “Barbra Streisand: Timeless” (2001).

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The expanded edition of the 1976 romantic drama “A Star is Born” will feature Streisand performing an instrumental version of “Evergreen” for the first time along with additional footage added to the film’s “With One More Look At You/Watch Closely Now” medley finale. Streisand starred with Kris Kristofferson in the film directed by Frank Pierson and penned by Pierson, Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne.

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The new cut of Streisand’s “A Star is Born” arrives as yet another version of the enduring Hollywood tale is set to arrive in theaters in October. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga star in the story of an aging star who gives a boost to a rising talent. Cooper also directs.

(Pictured: Jamie Foxx and Barbra Streisand)

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Jon Spencer Previews Debut Solo Album With Raw 'Do the Trash Can'

Rocker plots summer tour with the Melvins

Legendary garage rocker Jon Spencer unveiled a gritty new track, "Do the Trash Can," the first offering off his debut solo album, Spencer Sings the Hits!, set to arrive early this fall.

From Pussy Galore to 'Freedom Tower,' the combustible blues-punker looks back

On "Do the Trash Can," Spencer puts classic rock and roll dance tunes through a madman's rock grinder. Buzzsaw guitar riffs groove alongside a metallic clatter of percussion, while Spencer lets loose with a wild vocal performance.

Spencer has enjoyed a long career with an array of bands, most notably fronting the Blues Explosion, while also playing with Pussy Galore, Boss Hog and Heavy Trash. For his first solo record, Spencer embraced a DIY approach and partnered with Quasi bassist/keyboardist Sam Coomes and drummer M. Sord.

"Sam is someone with whom I have crossed paths many times over the years, I have always been a fan of his wild keyboard style and twisted tunesmith," Spencer said. "In fact we kicked around the idea of a collaboration way back in the early Aughts. I got to know Sord from many projects done at the Key Club (Andre Williams, JSBX, & Boss Hog), he was the handyman and assistant engineer that turned out to be a great drummer."

Spencer, Coomes and Sord cut Spencer Sings the Hits! with producer Bill Skibbe at his Key Club Recording Company in Benton Harbor, Michigan. However, the group's session was cut short after three days due to the sudden death of Spencer's father-in-law. After spending time with family, Spencer returned to Key Club to finish overdubs and mixes on his own. The record will feature percussion with a metallic edge, a nod, Spencer said, to his past with Pussy Galore.

"Nothing like digging an old gas tank out of a Michigan junkyard snow bank in January," Spencer recalled. "Junkyard owner kept asking me if the metal was for a school project, but as a bluegrass player he could understand the possible use for a recording session."

JOHN SPENCERLegendary garage rocker Jon Spencer will release his debut solo album, 'Spencer Sings the Hits!' this fall.Michael Lavine

Prior to releasing Spencer Sings the Hits!, Spencer will embark on a North American tour this summer. The trek kicks off July 29th at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota and wraps August 11th at Ottawa Tavern in Toledo, Ohio. The Melvins are set to join Spencer during the early stages of the tour.

Spencer Sings the Hits! Track List

1. "Do the Trash Can"
2. "Fake"
3. "Overload"
4. "Time 2 Be Bad"
5. "Ghost"
6. "Beetle Boots"
7. "Hornet
8. "Wilderness"
9. "Love Handle"
10. "I Got the Hits"
11. "Alien Humidity"
12. "Cape"

Jon Spencer + The Melvins Tour Dates

July 29 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue (with the Melvins)
July 30 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon (with the Melvins)
July 31 – Chicago, IL @ Park West (with the Melvins)
August 1 – Goshen, IN @ Ignition Music Garage
August 2 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme (with the Melvins)
August 3 – Detroit, MI @ El Club (with the Melvins)
August 4 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
August 5 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue Theatre (with the Melvins)
August 6 – Rock Island, IL @ Rock Island Brewing Co (with the Melvins)
August 7 – St. Louis, MO @ Old Rock House
August 8 – Champaign, IL @ Memphis on Main
August 9 – Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar
August 10 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Woodward Theater
August 11 – Toledo, OH @ Ottawa Tavern

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Fleetwood Mac Guitarist Danny Kirwan Dead at 68

Danny Kirwan, a key force in Fleetwood Mac’s bluesy three-guitar attack of the late ‘60s and as a singer and songwriter on the group’s transitional albums of the early ‘70s, died Friday. He was 68.

No details about his death were immediately available. The band’s founding drummer Mick Fleetwood acknowledged Kirwan’s passing in a statement for the group on his Facebook page Friday evening.

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“Danny was a huge force in our early years,” Fleetwood wrote. “His love for the blues led him to being asked to join Fleetwood Mac in 1968, where he made his musical home for many years.

“Danny’s true legacy, in my mind, will forever live on in the music he wrote and played so beautifully as a part of the foundation of Fleetwood Mac…Thank you, Danny Kirwan. You will forever be missed!”

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In a 2015 story for the New York Observer, writer and musician Tim Sommer called Kirwan — pictured above, center, with the group in 1970 — “one of the great lost figures in rock history (both literally and figuratively).”

In early 1968, at the age of 17, the South London-born Kirwan — who had showed formidable skill in the London trio Boilerhouse — joined the original Mac lineup of Fleetwood, guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer and bassist John McVie. In its earliest incarnation, the group was a leading light of the English blues scene.

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His first recorded work reached the U.S. on the 1969 compilation album “English Rose,” which included the band’s chart-topping U.K. instrumental “Albatross” and its B side, Kirwan’s composition “Jigsaw Puzzle Blues.”

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He held his own opposite Green and Spencer on the subsequent singles “Oh Well,” “Rattlesnake Shake” and “The Green Manalishi,” and his playing powered the classic 1969 set “Then Play On.” A frequently bootlegged live recording of the three-guitar lineup captured at the Boston Tea Party in early 1970 showed off Fleetwood Mac’s considerable concert firepower, also on display in a BBC performance of “Oh Well” from 1969.

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However, at around the same time, while on tour in Germany, the group attended a party where Kirwan and Green reportedly took LSD laced with a powerful ingredient that, according to Fleetwood and McVie, apparently caused significant changes in their behavior for years to come. The tormented Green left the act soon thereafter, and the quartet lineup (augmented by keyboardist Christine McVie, who soon joined the band as a full member) issued “Kiln House” in the fall of 1970. The collection was highlighted by Kirwan’s rolling composition “Station Man.”

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Spencer became the next significant defection, bolting for an association with the religious cult Children of God, and he was replaced by American singer-songwriter-guitarist Bob Welch. Kirwan and Welch split the writing difference on a pair of elegant and underrated LPs, “Future Games” (1971) and “Bare Trees” (1972), to which Kirwan contributed such ethereal tunes as “Sands of Time,” “Bare Trees” and “Child of Mine.”

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Kirwan’s escalating alcoholism led to confrontations with the other members of the band, including an altercation with Welch, and Fleetwood, who had become the acting manager of the band, fired him in 1972.

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He remained active briefly, recording unsuccessful three solo albums for the British label DJM in 1975-79. His recording career ended at that point; his alcoholism and severe mental health problems left him homeless for several years.

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He remained estranged from his former band mates, and failed to appear when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Fleetwood Mac in 1998. After Welch’s departure in 1974, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined, creating the best-known lineup of the group.

Divorced, Kirwan is survived by a son.

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Lorraine Gordon, Keeper of the Village Vanguard Flame, Dies at 95

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Lorraine Gordon kept independent jazz alive at the legendary Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village. The club hosted musical greats like Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and John Coltrane.Published OnJune 9, 2018

  • June 9, 2018

Lorraine Gordon, who took over the Village Vanguard, New York’s oldest and most venerated jazz nightclub, in 1989 and remained its no-nonsense proprietor for the rest of her life, died on Saturday in Manhattan. She was 95.

The cause was complications of a stroke, said Jed Eisenman, the longtime manager of the club.

“Wherever I happened to be,” Ms. Gordon said in a 2007 interview with The New York Times, “music was always with me.”

Ms. Gordon was married for 40 years to the Vanguard’s founder and owner, Max Gordon. But she had been a jazz fan long before she met him. She fell in love with jazz as a teenager in the 1930s, listening to it on WNYC radio. The music pierced her soul, she said, “like a spike in my heart.” It was the start of a lifelong romance.

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“I was lucky,” she said. “I was attracted to something wonderful which appealed to me.”

She made her first trip to the Vanguard in 1940, when she was 17 years old and a member of the Hot Club of Newark, a society of jazz enthusiasts. Not long thereafter, she met her first husband, a fellow music lover: Alfred Lion, the founder of Blue Note Records, a leading jazz label, where she would work selling the music during and after World War II.

Nine years after that first visit to the Vanguard, having divorced Mr. Lion but still in love with jazz, she married Mr. Gordon. More than seven decades later, long after Mr. Gordon’s death in 1989, she was still running the club — booking performers, counting the receipts, taking no guff and keeping the flame.

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“When I have to make a decision,” she joked, “I ask, ‘What would Max do?’ Then I do the opposite.”

The Vanguard remained essentially unchanged throughout the decades after Mr. Gordon opened it at 178 Seventh Avenue South in Greenwich Village in 1935: a wedge of a room, one flight down from the sidewalk, seating 123 people. The club has always had immaculate acoustics; more than 100 records recorded live at the Vanguard by musicians like John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Sonny Rollins and Wynton Marsalis attest to that. A good table put a customer practically face to face with a great musician. There were very few bad tables.


Ms. Gordon (then Lorraine Lion) with Louis Armstrong in 1946.

Ms. Gordon, often nursing a glass of vodka, presided over the scene with a personal brand of tough love. She played her role like the wisecracking star of a black-and-white movie, and she helped make the Vanguard an unfailing fountain of late-night music. But she was also a hard-driving manager; she had to be.

“We open at 3,” she once said, describing the daily grind. “Deliveries come in, the phones are ringing, the roof is leaking, there’s something always going wrong, and then musicians come to rehearse. Every Tuesday night there’s a new group, so every six nights there’s a changeover. Sound checks have to be done. Instruments have to be brought in or taken out.”

She put in six hours of work before the first of the night’s two sets. The first usually began at 9 o’clock sharp, the second at 11. (In later years the start times were changed to 8:30 and 10:30.)

“I’m a stickler for being on time,” Ms. Gordon said. “And the show goes on — on time.”

Under her direction, the show went on and on. The Vanguard celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2015.

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Lorraine Gordon (right) with jazz saxophonist Illinois Jacquet backstage at Village Vanguard in 1988. Photo by Enid Farber

Lorraine Gordon was born Lorraine Stein in Newark on Oct. 15, 1922, at the dawn of recorded jazz and blues. The middle-class daughter of a homemaker and a businessman, she grew up in and around Newark and began traveling to New York to hear music as soon as she was able. (Her older brother, Phillip, who died in 2009, was also a jazz fanatic; he painted the mural on the Vanguard’s back wall.)

As a teenager, she was listening to Blue Note records — which featured some of the greatest jazz musicians of the day — before she met the label’s owner, Mr. Lion, in 1940. They hit it off immediately.

Ms. Gordon in the 1950s with her husband, Max, the longtime owner of the Vanguard, at the Blue Angel, his East Side nightclub.

“He presented me with two volumes of all the records he had made until that time,” she recalled. “That was a great present.”

They married not long after Mr. Lion was drafted, early in World War II — or, as she put it, “Blue Note Records and I got married.”

Once he got out of the Army, she worked full time for the label: packing records, mailing them out, handling public relations. At the time the Blue Note label was chartreuse and blue, and the couple painted their first apartment those same colors.

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In the summer of 1948 she was trying to promote a Blue Note musician — the pianist Thelonious Monk, then little known — when she met Max Gordon quite by accident on Fire Island. “I accosted Max Gordon,” she remembered. “I’m all business. I told him about Thelonious Monk. He was very interested. He said, ‘I just happen to have an opening in September.’”

They struck a deal. Monk was “in and out in one week,” she said. “But Max and I were not in and out in one week, somehow. Whatever the connections were, they took hold.”

The two were married in 1949 and had two daughters, Rebecca and Deborah. They survive her, as does a grandson. Deborah Gordon will take over the Vanguard, Mr. Eisenman said.


Ms. Gordon in 2000, when the Village Vanguard was celebrating its 65th year.

CreditChester Higgins\The New York Times

The Vanguard had originally been a place for poetry and comedy as well as music. But the advent of television, where comedians and variety acts flourished in the 1950s, meant “the end of nightclub acts of that genre at the time,” Ms. Gordon said. “And that’s when Max decided to stick with jazz.”

In the early 1960s Ms. Gordon became a political activist, protesting against nuclear testing and, later, the war in Vietnam. In 1965 she made an unauthorized trip to Hanoi as a member of the group Women Strike for Peace. She carved out a life for herself apart from the club, working at the Brooklyn Museum as a merchandising manager.

In 1989, when Mr. Gordon died, there was no question that the show would go on — and that it was up to Ms. Gordon to make it go on.

“No one had to ask me,” she said. “There was nowhere else to go but me.”

The Vanguard closed the evening of Mr. Gordon’s death, but “I opened the club the next night,” she recalled in 2007. “I took reservations on the phone; there was a band still playing that Max had booked in advance, fortunately.” She learned the trade as she went along, “from one day to the next,” she said.

“I began, well ... running the Village Vanguard,” Ms. Gordon wrote in her 2006 memoir, “Alive at the Village Vanguard: My Life in and Out of Jazz.”

Ms. Gordon’s contributions to jazz were recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, which announced in 2012 that she was the winner of a Jazz Masters award. The awards ceremony was held in New York in January 2013, but she was too ill to attend.

Until just a few weeks earlier, though, she had still been at the Vanguard almost every night. She usually stayed through the first set, sometimes into the second set, sometimes all night. She felt she had no choice but to go on; the music was always her great passion.

“To keep the music alive,” she said, “is the most important thing there is in my life.”

Jeffery C. Mays contributed reporting.

Jerry Hopkins, Biographer of Jim Morrison, Is Dead at 82

Jerry Hopkins in a family photo from the early 2000s. “Jerry was part of the founding generation” of Rolling Stone, the magazine’s co-founder Jann Wenner said.
  • June 8, 2018

Jerry Hopkins, a first-generation music writer for Rolling Stone magazine whose many books included biographies of Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley and Jimi Hendrix — as well as a memoir of his affair with a transsexual prostitute — died on June 3 in a hospital in Bangkok. He was 82.

His son, Nick, said the cause was heart failure.

Mr. Hopkins produced an eclectic range of work that was largely about rock music but that also included books and articles about exotic food, sex, travel and Hawaiian musical instruments.

But his most famous subject was undoubtedly Jim Morrison, who rose to fame as the charismatic lead singer of the Doors and was only 27 when he died in Paris in 1971.

“Morrison was the most interesting of all the rock stars I met because he was the best conversationalist,” Mr. Hopkins told Post Magazine,published by The South China Morning Post, in 2013. “Something I always had trouble with at Rolling Stone was that I was interviewing people whose avenue of communication was singing or playing an instrument. Why should anyone expect them to have a political opinion worth listening to?”

Mr. Hopkins had a long interview with Morrison for Rolling Stone in 1969 in which the singer discussed the roots of his performing, his poetry, the chaos the Doors created in performance, and his arrest for exposing himself at a Miami concert.

“If for some reason you’re on a different track from other people you’re around, it’s going to jangle everybody’s sensibilities,” Morrison said in a meandering response to a question about an obscenity arrest in New Haven. “As long as everything’s connecting and coming together, you can get away with murder.”

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Mr. Hopkins started writing Morrison’s biography after wrapping up “Elvis: A Biography” (1971), which he had dedicated to Morrison. A collaboration with Danny Sugerman, the manager of the Doors (who died in 2005), the book was rejected by many publishers until a young editor at Warner Books took a chance on it.

Explaining his role in the writing of the book, Mr. Sugerman told The Los Angeles Times in 1980, “The book is still essentially Jerry’s, but I tried to get a theme going through it: Jim’s testing the bounds of reality.”

“No One Here Gets Out Alive” was a New York Times paperback best seller for about a year and helped renew interest in the Doors. The director Oliver Stone bought the rights to the book and Mr. Hopkins’s research materials for his film “The Doors” (1991), which starred Val Kilmer as Morrison.

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“I have mixed feelings about the movie,” Mr. Hopkins told Scott Murray, a Bangkok-based writer, in 2007. “Mainly that it was so one-sided. Jim was a drunken fool, but that wasn’t all he was. I knew Morrison. I knew him to be a man who had a sense of humor about himself.” And, he said, “Forty percent of the movie is sheer fiction.”

In 2013 Mr. Hopkins wrote an e-book about Morrison, “Behind Closed Doors,” which he called an epilogue to the biography.

He also wrote biographies of Hendrix, David Bowie and Yoko Ono, collaborated with Don Ho on his autobiography and was hired by Raquel Welch as her authorized biographer. (No book ever came of that arrangement.) And he wrote a book about the history of the Hawaiian dance the hula.

“No One Here Gets Out Alive,” which Mr. Hopkins wrote with Danny Sugerman, was a New York Times best seller and helped create renewed interest in the Doors.

Elisha Gerald Hopkins was born on Nov. 9, 1935, in Camden, N.J., and grew up nearby in Haddonfield. His father, Francis Brognard Hopkins, co-owned a dry-cleaning store, and his mother, Ruth May (Ginder) Hopkins, ran it.

Reading voraciously as a youngster motivated him to write. He was fascinated by the newspaper dispatches of Ernie Pyle, a World War II correspondent who was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire in 1945 near Okinawa. “I decided that was what I wanted to do when I grew up: travel the world, meet interesting people, write about them and get paid for it,” he said in 2013.

After graduating from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., he earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. He wrote for The Twin-City Sentinel in Winston-Salem, N.C., The Village Voice in New York and The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. In the early 1960s he was a writer-producer for “PM East,” a television talk show hosted by Mike Wallace, and a talent booker for the syndicated “Steve Allen Show.”

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“No title on the door, but my boss, Steve Allen, says I am his ‘vice president of left fielders,’ ” Mr. Hopkins wrote in The Los Angeles Free Press in 1966, referring to the oddball people he booked for the show. He recalled that one of them, the future rock star Frank Zappa, pitched his talent to him by saying, “I play musical bicycle” and “I want to teach Steve how to blow bicycle.” For a segment in 1963, Mr. Zappa played the bike.

In 1966, Mr. Hopkins and a partner opened Headquarters, a shop that sold drug paraphernalia, in the Westwood section of Los Angeles. He was also writing freelance articles for various publications, and in 1967 he responded to an ad in an early issue of Rolling Stone asking for submissions of music reviews. He sent in his review of a Doors performance at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, and the magazine ran it. Full-time work there soon followed, and in 1972 he became the magazine’s London correspondent.

In his roughly 20 years at Rolling Stone, he wrote about Presley in Las Vegas, apartheid in South Africa and Dr. Arthur Janov’s primal scream therapy. His interview subjects included Keith Moon, the notoriously hard-living drummer of the Who, who recalled destroying a Holiday Inn room in Saskatchewan: “I took out me hatchet and chopped the hotel room to bits. The television. The chairs. The dresser. The cupboard doors. The bed. The lot of it.”

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Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone, said in a telephone interview: “Jerry was part of the founding generation, he’s one of the founding fathers, and he loved that. He was like a utility infielder — he could do anything.”

Mr. Hopkins moved to Hawaii in 1976 and to Thailand in 1993. In his later years he explored Asian life and culture.

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In Honolulu, he met and fell in love with a transgender prostitute who had not yet had sexual reassignment surgery. In his book about their relationship, “The Ultimate Fish” (2014), Mr. Hopkins wrote that his obsession with rock music had been replaced by a different one.

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“I believe the transgendered are the most interesting, and the most courageous, people I’ve ever met and tried to understand,” he said.

In Thailand, he met and married Lamyai Sakhohlam, who survives him. They lived in Bangkok and on a farm near the Thailand-Cambodia border.

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Hopkins is survived by his daughter, Erin Hendershot; his brother, Jack; and eight grandchildren. His marriages to Sara Cordell, Jane Hollingsworth (the mother of his two children) and Rebecca Erickson Crockett ended in divorce.

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At the end of “No One Here Gets Out Alive,” Mr. Hopkins wrote that after hearing so many negative stories from friends, lovers and acquaintances, he no longer found Morrison as endearing as he had at the outset.

“I never did figure out why I was so affected by Jim’s death,” he wrote. “Maybe it was the same reasons so many others were. The music got to me.”

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Mya Slays In ‘You Got Me’ Video


Mya is doing her thing on the independent tip! In April, she dropped her eighth studio album, TKO (The Knock Out), and on Monday (June 11), she dropped the video for “You Got Me.”

The sensual clip sees Mya doing what she does best, oozing sex appeal to an infectious groove. With the help of her dancers in a dance studio, she seduces her love interest to a show meant only for him.

The visual was shot in Glendale, California and about the album, Mya says it oozes “grown and sexy R&B vibes.”


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Freddie Jackson New Album “Love Signals” and Tour

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Legendary soul singer Freddie Jackson is back with a new album. It is called Love Signals and it is out now. If you are a fan of the singer, you will like the new material.

Two of the highlights for us include the title track Love Signals and Rescued Me.

You can check out the entire album on your favorite streaming service.

Jackson will also perform some shows, including a big show in Los Angeles on July 20th. That is the Gentlemen of Soul event with The Whispers, Jeffrey Osborne, Peabo Bryson and Howard Hewett.

Chloe Nixon

Up and coming Indie musician and song-writer, 14-year-old Chloe Nixon drops her first album Anomalous Soul on June 1st, 2018. The album will be available on iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, and other stores.
​Chloe will be performing live at her album release party on June 1st at Warehouse 508 in Albuquerque, NM.

As a young artist, Chloe is creating a fresh sound that combines elements from different genres including R&B, alternative, jazz-rock, dance, and classical.
Chloe would like to use music to spread love, positive vibrations, and to be a voice for what she believes in. She writes about things she's passionate about including love, social justice, and just being a teenager. She is a strong supporter of self- expression and believes everyone has something beautiful and unique inside of them. She believes everyone's soul should be expressed because it is a beautiful gift to the world. This particular passion of hers is why she titled her first album “Anomalous Soul”.
Chloe had the honor of performing some of her original music, and an aria from an opera at TEDx ABQ in 2015, when she was just 12-years-old. Chloe is classically trained in voice and received a gold medal in the 2017 Golden Key Music festival for her performance of “Summertime” from the opera Porgy and Bess, which she performed at Carnegie Hall.
While Chloe is still in school, you can often find her singing and playing her guitar at various venues, such as coffee houses, around Albuquerque.

01 – On the Way
02 – Blossom
03 – Constantly
04 – Cafe
05 – Intertwine
06 – Feel Like Me
07 – Free Fall
08 – Pretty Birds
09 – Teach Me
10 – Give Me a Reason
11 – Audio Dreamz
12 – Rainbow




The Beach Boys With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
The Beach Boys With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Capitol Records

The past decade has been a very good time to be a Beach Boys fan, beginning with their 50th anniversary tour in 2012, which featured Brian Wilson for the first time since 1965 as a full-time touring member, to their great studio album That’s Why God Made the Radio, released the same year, the bands’ first in nearly two decades. Topping that off came the official release of SMiLE in 2011, which fans had been waiting over 40 years to hear. Now the band has the honor of having their iconic hits complimented by dense strings of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The overall blend of the orchestra and the Beach Boys is quite complimentary. However, the earlier era tracks like “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “California Girls” clash with the backing of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, especially the former which seems oddly out of place on the album. On the other hand, it is no match for the poor choice to include “Kokomo” on this record. Out the hundreds of songs to choose from they had to pick this dud? “Forever”, sung by Dennis Wilson, would have been a perfect substitute and would have fit in perfectly with the orchestration. In fact, he is the only Beach Boy not to have a track featuring lead vocals on this album. Even Bruce Johnston, Brian Wilson’s touring replacement turned full-time member, has his “Disney Girls” thrown in there. But in all honesty that is one of the best choices on the album and one that is on par with the 1971 original.

It’s not surprising that the tracks taken from their groundbreaking Pet Sounds album fit extremely well into the lush classical settings. “You Still Believe in Me” in particular stands out from the Pet Sounds era as it is essentially a Bach-like Baroque piece to begin with, but it is “Don’t Worry, Baby” that is the centerpiece on the album. Originally recorded in 1964, it was a step forward for the band and an attempt by Brian Wilson to aspire to more than just the surfing songs he had been composing. Here, the Royal Philharmonic blends their lavish strings flawlessly with the dense harmonies of the Beach Boys.

The album ends with Brian Wilson’s “Teenage Symphony to God” aka “Good Vibrations”, another glorious take on a classic that works seamlessly with the new orchestration. The song, originally laced with layers of vocal harmonies and psychedelic instrumentation, is complemented further with the extravagant cellos provided by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra who also give the perfect outro for both the song and the album.

The overall vibe of the record is something similar to Days of Future Passed, the 1967 classic by the Moody Blues, which also featured dreamy pop tunes with dramatic classical interludes. The combination of pop and classical is always a difficult task to pull off, but the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra have come together with the iconic sounds of the Beach Boys and pulled it off successfully.


The exciting newcomer drops her sleek new experimental pop number.

On the day when our Lord and Saviour Charli XCX has dropped her new mixtape (sidenote: “Pop 2” is non-stop bangers), it’s only right that the only music we plug today is that by equally badass pop babes. So let us introduce you to your new fave, Azusena.

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Releasing her first two tracks via Soundcloud a few years ago, the British-American artist was always destined for greatness with her mum being Prince collaborator and former pop sensation, Jill Jones, and her dad the male supermodel, Cameron Alborzian (talk about incredible genes, eh?).

Already having a fantastic 2017, she dropped the glitchy and gorgeous “Better” along with the cinematically sultry “Red Sky” earlier this year; fully establishing herself as a master in melodic minimalism and hypnotic lo-fi sounds, she’s now releasing her latest track “Shiva”…

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“’Shiva’ represents male energy that have been around me and changed me as a woman,” Azusena says of the song. Championing female empowerment, the song is a warm and captivating experimental pop sizzler, showcasing the 23-year-old’s luscious vocals.

An exciting glimpse at what she can do, 2018 is set to see Azusena claim her rightful place among pop royalty.


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Basia Returns With Sublime New Album “Butterflies”

First Studio Album In Nine Years (Out Now) Delivers Classic Basia Sound With Long-time Musical Partner Danny White

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Basia has always been in a unique place in the music biz, as you cannot compare her to any other artists. Her style has delighted audiences for many years. After some time out of the spotlight, Basia has released a new album, Butterflies, and she has brought her Brazilian, jazzy style with her.

“We’ve been recording Butterflies for a few years, without any hurry, making sure that we were always true to ourselves,” says Basia. “Although we are aware of what is successful in the music scene at the moment – we avoid copying and we try not to be influenced by it. It’s obvious that what we are doing musically differs from the current fashionable style but we believe that there are listeners who will find something interesting in our productions; maybe exactly because they are different. We’ve been very lucky so far to find a receptive and loyal audience who still seem to wait for more from us and we very much appreciate their patience.”

The first single, Matteo, has been out for a while, and if you have not heard it, check out the lyric video below.


Kandace Springs Releases Black Orchid EP

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Singer and pianist Kandace Springs offers her fans a taste of her forthcoming sophomore album due out later this year with the release of her Black Orchid EP, featuring three brand new tracks produced by Karriem Riggins that are available to stream or download today. Kandace delivers a pair of inspired covers with her simmering take on The Stylistics’ “People Make the World Go Round” and a radiant performance of the Roberta Flack-popularized torch song “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (a crowd favorite at Kandace’s live shows), along with the ruminative “Black Orchid” which highlights the acoustic strum of guitarist-songwriter Jesse Harris (who struck GRAMMY gold with Norah Jones by penning her breakout hit “Don’t Know Why”).

Kandace is currently opening for multi-platinum and award-winning artists Daryl Hall & John Oates and Train along their co-headline North American summer tour. This is ongoing until August 11 in Seattle, WA. Produced by Live Nation, the extensive trek will make over 35 stops across the U.S. and Canada including Chicago, Philadelphia, Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and Kandace’s hometown Nashville. Tickets are on sale now at

Prince once said that Kandace Springs “has a voice that could melt snow.” The music icon heard her cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” online and invited her to perform with him at Paisley Park for the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain, becoming a mentor to the young singer and pianist. Another legend, Daryl Hall, also discovered Kandace early on, inviting her to perform on his TV show Live from Daryl’s House.

Kandace’s 2014 self-titled EP turned even more heads and led to performances on Letterman, Kimmel and Fallon, as well as the Afropunk and BONNAROO festivals. Okayplayer called her as “a vocal force to be reckoned with” and Afropunk dubbed her “a versatile and vital artist.”

Kandace Springs Releases Black Orchid EP

Kandace’s 2016 debut album Soul Eyes presented an already remarkably mature artistic voice with an album that touched upon soul and pop while channeling her jazz influences as well as her NASHVILLE upbringing. MOJO marveled at the album’s “sensuous vocals with minimalist yet elegant arrangements” while The Guardianraved that “she has a rare ability that can’t be taught – to sound like an old soul, just doing what comes naturally.”<

Kandace draws much of her musical inspiration from her father, Scat Springs, a respected session singer in Nashville. It was due to him that Kandace grew up surrounded by music, and he encouraged her to take piano lessons after he watched her peck out melodies on the instrument when she was 10. Yet as a girl, she was equally interested in other creative outlets, especially visual art and, more unexpectedly, automobiles. “My dad gave me a Matchbox car, and my mom gave me a Barbie,” she says. “I drew a mustache on the BARBIE and never played with it again, and I still have the Matchbox car.” (Her obsession with cars, which she collects, rebuilds, and resells, continues to this day.)

Something deeper in the young musician was sparked when she heard Norah Jones’ 2002 Blue Note debut, Come Away With Me. “The last song on the record is ‘The Nearness of You’ and that song really inspired me to learn to play piano and sing. It was just so soulful, simple and STRIPPED down. That really moved me and touched me. It’s when I realized, ‘This is what I wanna do.'”

Early Years

Kandace began gigging around Nashville, and eventually an early demo she recorded caught the ears of Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken, the production team who have written hits for Shakira, Christina Aguilera, and Kelly Clarkson, and are best known for discovering Rihanna as a teen and signing her to their production company SRP. Rogers flew to NASHVILLE with an offer to sign Kandace. Still only 17 years old at the time she and her family decided that it wasn’t the right time to pursue a recording career, instead taking a job at a downtown NASHVILLE hotel where she valet parked cars by day and sang and played piano in the lounge at night.

A few years later, Kandace was talking about going to automotive design school, but her mother suggested that she get back in touch with Rogers and Sturken. She instead moved to New York and started working seriously on new songs and demo recordings. She eventually landed an audition with Blue Note President Don Was at the Capitol Records Tower in Los Angeles, winning him over with a stunning performance of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (the original of which he had coincidentally produced).

As Kandace continues to develop as an artist, she’ll surely win over many other hearts. “I would like to be known as one of the younger people that are keeping jazz and soul alive and vibrant, “she says. “I love the realness of jazz and soul.”


Howard Hewett Concert Dates 2018

What can you say about Howard Hewett? When you talk about all time singers, he is always at the top of that list. The reason for this is the versatility. You have great male singers, but most of them are exclusively balladeers. There’s nothing wrong with that, but at times I used to cringe a little when an artist would attempt to put out an uptempo jam. The songs were usually decent, but you knew that they were not going to be number one hits.

Howard on the other hand, is one of the few male vocalists that can truly transition from slow jams to mid-tempo songs to dance tracks. All you need to do is go back to Shalamar to recognize the uptempo stuff.

I will NEVER get tired of A Night To Remember!

When he went solo, Hewett gave us some classic slow jams, thereby cementing himself as one of the all time male vocalists.

He still performs with Shalamar, but the only problem is that they almost exclusively perform in the UK, so those of us here in the United States are not able to see the group perform.

Luckily, Hewett performs several solo shows in the US. Hey, at least we have that, right?

Here are some of the exclusive summer dates for Howard Hewett.

Howard Hewett Concert Dates

Gladys Knight Concert Tour 2018

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Gladys Knight has been entertaining audiences since the early 1960’s. Here we are in 2018, and she is STILL performing live. Pretty amazing, if you ask me.

She really has had two separate careers. One with The Pips, and the other as a solo act.

I totally forgot that she remade the Karyn White hit, Superwoman. White’s version will always be the standard, but there is something about Knight, Dionne Warwick and Patti LaBelle singing together that it seems like an event.

Speaking of remakes, the End Of The Road Medley is one of my all time favorites. I left both of those below just in case you need to listen again.

Knight will perform select dates throughout 2018, and she will perform with the mighty O’Jays on several dates.

Here is what we have:

Saxophonist Michael Paulo calls upon friends to celebrate “Beautiful Day”

Ray Parker Jr., Paul Brown, Peter White, David Benoit, Paul Jackson Jr. and Brian Simpson are among his buddies illuminating the new soul-jazz album. The first single, “Who You Gonna Call?,” impacts radio.

Michael Paulo | Beautiful Day

MENIFEE (7 June 2018): From beginning to end, saxophonist Michael Paulo’s “Beautiful Day,” is a celebration of love, friendship and the Aloha spirit. Opening with the title track inspired by the joyous news that he was going to become a grandfather and closing with the timeless Carole King ode to friendship, “You’ve Got A Friend,” Paulo’s eleventh solo disc dropped on the Apaulo Productions imprint. The collection is comprised of eight Paulo compositions and five modern classics produced by Paulo with two tracks helmed by two-time Grammy winner Paul Brown. The first single presently collecting radio spins and playlist adds spotlights guitarist Ray Parker Jr. on the aptly titled “Who You Gonna Call?”

Inherent in Paulo’s soulful play emoted through tenor, soprano and alto saxes on “Beautiful Day” is an effervescent spirit, a hallmark that perhaps emanates from the DNA of his Hawaiian blood. A genuine sense of gratitude is another vital element present in his recordings. With that ethos, Paulo crafted a set list that enabled him to record with and feature some of his accomplished friends the likes of which include guitarists Parker Jr., Brown, Peter White and Paul Jackson Jr.; pianist David Benoit, keyboardist Brian Simpson, bassists Freddie Washington and Roberto Vally, percussionist Lenny Castro, and drummers Gorden Campbell and Michael White.

“I truly have the best friends in life that always are there to support me. ‘You’ve Got A Friend’ represents why I am able to do what I do. I hope this record will touch people emotionally. My approach to playing has always been about expressing feeling and emotion and drawing the listener in so that they forget all the stress in their lives. I hope it renews their spirit, so they can continue to be happy and express love. When I perform live, my biggest gratification is when I feel that I have uplifted people emotionally and they can go home feeling good about themselves and life in general. That’s our gift as musicians and I am so blessed to be able to do what I do,” said Paulo.

The album also showcases Paulo’s touring band – a trio of Hawaiians comprised of Kimo Cornwell(keyboards), David Inamine (bass) and Fred Schreuders (guitar) along with drummers Land Richards and Sergio Gonzalez – which will take the stage with Paulo at SoCal hotspot Spaghettini on July 21 to celebrate the release of “Beautiful Day.”

Paulo’s professional career spans more than forty years, and includes gigs playing alongside R&B, pop and jazz headliners Al Jarreau, James Ingram, Patti Austin, Jeffrey Osborne, Kenny Loggins, Johnny Mathis, Bobby Caldwell and Rick Braun. He debuted as a solo artist in 1977 with the Japan-only release of “Tat’s in the Rainbow,” an album that highlighted Herbie Hancock on keyboards. Paulo continues his dual career as a solo artist and as a first-call session player-sideman. He also produces concerts and jazz festivals in Hawaii and in the long-time California resident’s home state. These days, Paulo tours frequently with Peter White, who plies his signature delicate acoustic guitar nuances in addition to contributing to the arrangement for “Beautiful Day’s” profound version of Sting’s “Fragile.” The saxman’s longest touring association was with Jarreau, with whom he shared the stage throughout the late crossover crooner’s glory days.

“I recorded ‘Your Song’ as a tribute to Al, who gave me my big break when he hired me for his touring band in 1983. We toured the world together for eleven years and he featured me on his ‘Live in London’ album. I used his arrangement of ‘Your Song’ and David Benoit delivered a heartfelt piano performance. I miss Al.”

Paulo’s “Beautiful Day” album contains the following songs:

“Beautiful Day” featuring Paul Brown

“Mr. Magic” featuring Paul Brown


“Back with the Funk” featuring Paul Jackson Jr.

“Your Song” featuring David Benoit

“Who You Gonna Call?”



“Keiko’s Groove”



“Fire Dance”

“You’ve Got A Friend”

Mabel's "Fine Line" Featuring Not3s Is a Proper Winter Warmer

Please enjoy more excellence from one of our favourite musicians on the up.

Lauren O'Neill

Image via YouTube

For my money, Mabel(neneh cherry's daughter), a popstar for our current moment if ever there was one, has not yet put a foot wrong. Following the release of her emotionally intelligent and sonically versatile mixtape Ivy to Roses (one of Noisey's 100 best of 2017, no less) at the end of last year, her first new track of 2018 has arrived. It's called "Fine Line," it features fellow rising star Image result for singer mabel

It's bright, with shiny production that'll surely have you pining for longer days, and kidding yourself that this freezing cold wind cannot possibly last much longer, and it's also an experiment in unpredictable melodies that has really paid off. Like all Mabel's material, it really finds its feet in the chorus—she has an uncanny ability to bring the drama of a great pop refrain to songs that lean more towards R&B—and Not3s adds a fun verse near the end to keep the momentum up.

Excellent stuff, once again, from Mabel, for whom my crystal ball predicts wonderful things in this, the year 2018.

listen to it here:

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Metallica awarded 2018 Polar Music Prize

The Grammy award-winning rockers were awarded the prize tonight in Sweden

Rock legends Metallica have been awarded the prestigious Polar Music Prize this evening (14.06.18).

  • Read more about the Polar Music Prize here.

Lars Ulrich and Roberto Trujillo accepted the award from His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

British Rock legends Roger Glover and Ian Paice from Deep Purple read the citation prior to Metallica’s accepting the award.

Glover said: “In the early 80s, we were riding high ding a big festival in England…I heard this band backstage, they were on stage…I’d heard the name, didn’t know anything about them. I went on the side of the stage to have a look and thought, yes, there’s something happening here.”

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“…The audience was singing every word they sang. And that’s what impressed me, when you touch that many people with your music there is something special going on….what a band.” The citation from Deep Purple received a standing ovation.

Accepting the award, drummer and co-founder of Metallica Ulrich said: “Who would have thought, when Metallica started this musical journey 37 years ago, that one day we would be standing in front of both musical royalty and actual royalty, accepting one of the most prestigious prizes that can be bestowed upon musicians?”

Tonight – along with fellow laureate Dr. Ahmad Sarmast – we are honored to be awarded the @PolarMusicPrize from His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. The ceremony will be on @TV4 in Sweden at 20.00 CET and can also be streamed on TV4 Play. #PolarMusicPrize

“The type of music that we play was not supposed to be acknowledged or embraced by the mainstream, the media, or even large audiences. In 1981 when this band formed, I just wanted to play music in a collective setting and feel like I belonged to something bigger than myself.”

He added: “From the beginning, we always felt like outsiders. We always felt like somehow we were not good enough, not cool enough to be accepted by a general music audience…then an unexpected thing happened. The mainstream audience began moving closer and closer to the area where the musically disenfranchised like ourselves were hovering.”

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“…About 10/15 years later, we found ourselves right in the middle of that very mainstream which we had felt so vengefully ostracised from. Receiving this prize solidifies the idea that no matter how alienated you feel, connecting to other people through music is not only possible but can be outright inspirational and life changing.”

The prize, now in its 27th year, was originally founded by Stig ‘Stikkan’ Anderson who was the publisher, lyricist and manager of pop legends ABBA. In one of the most unlikeliest of covers of all time, Metallica covered ABBA’...g Queen’ earlier this year.

Set up to honour “significant achievements in music and/or music activity” the award also celebrates music that “breaks down musical boundaries.”

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Ulrich also went on to say it was “an honour” to share the award with Dr Ahmad Sarmast and The Afghanistan Institute of Music who has set up an organisation to rebuild music and support musicians in Afghanistan.

Previous winners of the prize include Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder.

Listen to Nicki Minaj’s new track with Ariana Grande, ‘Bed’

It's taken from Minaj's upcoming new album 'Queen', which this week has been pushed back to an August release

Nicki Minaj has shared a brand new track in the form of the Ariana Grandecollaboration ‘Bed’ – check it out below.

The song is taken from Minaj’s upcoming fourth...Queen’,which this week had its release date pushed back to August 10.

Minaj and Grande have now released their latest collaboration, ‘Bed’. This marks the latest link-up from the two artists following on from Minaj’s feature on the 2016 Grande song ‘Side to Side’ and the forthcoming track ‘...Coming’. You can listen to ‘Bed’ below, via Spotify.

‘Bed’ is the latest preview from ‘Queen’ to have emerged so far, following on from the Lil Wayne collaboration ‘Rich Sex’ and the singles ‘Chun-Li’...e Tingz’. Aside from ‘Barbie Tingz’, those tracks are all currently expected to make the final cut of ‘Queen’.

Minaj will promote ‘Que...September. The jaunt will visit the UK and Ireland in March 2019 – you can see the dates below and find tickets here when they go on sale tomorrow (June 15) at 10am.

11 – London, The O2
14 – Birmingham, Birmingham Arena
15 – Dublin, 3Arena
17 – Glasgow, SSE Hydro
18 – Manchester, Manchester Arena

This Is Morrissey / new compilation

Parlophone will issue This Is Morrissey, a new single-disc Morrissey compilation in July.

The semi-random 12-track selection includes two Record Store Day A-sides (the Mael Mix of Suedehead and the live Satellite of Love) neither of which have been issued on CD before, along with 10 other tracks from albums and singles issued on Parlophone in the late 80s and early 1990s. For some reason, Your The One For Me Fatty is a live version. The vinyl has a bonus track of Angel, Angel Down We Go Together, from Viva Hate and if you buy the CD in America you’ll get a 10-track edition

Morrissey apparently curated this himself, and in a rare interview (with Fiona Dodwell) he described how he made the selection: “It’s difficult to choose because so many of the songs are fantastic. The album is so full of life, and worthy questions, and great choruses, and quite playful. It’s a very underrated catalogue, but perhaps everyone feels this way about their own songs.”

This is Morrissey will be issued on CD on 6 July. At the time of writing, it’s only £4.99 in the UK, cheap enough to pick up just for those two RSD tracks. The vinyl will follow on 31 August.

CD edition

  • 1. The Last of the Famous International Playboys (2010 Remastered Version)
  • 2. Ouija Board, Ouija Board (2010 Remastered Version)
  • 3. Speedway (2014 Remastered Version)*
  • 4. Have-A-Go Merchant
  • 5. Satellite Of Love (Live)
  • 6. Suedehead (Mael Mix)
  • 7. Lucky Lisp (2010 Remastered Version)*
  • 8. Whatever Happens I Love You
  • 9. You’re The One For Me Fatty (Live)
  • 10. Jack The Ripper
  • 11. The Harsh Truth of the Camera Eye (2013 Remastered Version)
  • 12. Everyday Is Like Sunday (2010 Remastered Version)

Vinyl Edition

Side 1
1. The Last of the Famous International Playboys (2010 Remastered Version)
2. Ouija Board, Ouija Board (2010 Remastered Version)
3. Speedway (2014 Remastered Version)
4. Have-A-Go Merchant
5. Satellite Of Love (Live)
6. Suedehead (Mael Mix)

Side 2
1. Lucky Lisp (2010 Remastered Version)
2. Whatever Happens I Love You
3. You’re The One For Me Fatty (Live)
4. Angel Angel Down We Go Together (2011 Remastered Version)
5. Jack The Ripper
6. The Harsh Truth of the Camera Eye (2013 Remastered Version)
7. Everyday Is Like Sunday (2010 Remastered Version)

Natalie Prass Goes on a Journey to 'The Future and the Past'

Photo: Shawn Brackbill / Courtesy of artist




1 June 2018

Natalie Prass' new release The Future and the Past is well titled. The songs' lyrics concern impending events of a personal and political nature (depending on the song). The music's rhythms recall the dance-pop the late '80s and '90s. Janet Jackson reportedly was a major influence. And while Prass found it unnecessary to say, the record is firmly in the present moment. That is true in the entertaining way she portrays what's going on as well as the surprising manner in which she conveys emotional depth through seemingly superficial trappings.

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To put it more simply, the record rocks and offers insightful commentary on the world we inhabit. Prass looks ahead and frets about what might happen and looks to yesterday for precedents. "If I can't dance I don't want to be in your revolution," feminist anarchist Emma Goldman reportedly said. That could serve as the motto here. From the very beginning of the album, Prass gets her groove on. The opening track "Oh My" begins with drums and synth, before a scratchy guitar riff and an ooo-ooo chorus joins in—and then the vocals come. The song is a diatribe about the current state of the world from both an ecological and political perspective. "Seems like every day we're losing / When we chose to read the news," she sings with a heartbreaking ache. The death of the bee population, global warming, fake news, etc. are the new normal. Prass might be saying something we already know, but she does it to a sophisticated dance beat.

Even with the more intimate songs, such as the passionate "The Fire"and the sultry "Short Court Style", rhythms lie at the tracks' heart. She uses strong R&B arrangements to create beats that evoke one's physicality. Prass might be singing about a higher love, but it's one whose corporeal interactions raise the body and the soul. She wants the listener to feel it physiologically.

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Of course, life is more than just politics or sex. Sometimes it's both! Prass addresses the problem of sexism—when one is identified purely by one's physical appearance—on "Sisters". She offers concrete examples in her anthem for women to join together as on the telling verse: "One time for our girls at school / Who can't get ahead no matter what they do / And when they grow up and they try to work / Oh no, but they ain't nothing but the shorter skirt." Prass is not teaching as much as preaching to her female audience. The bouncy instrumental accompaniment serves to motivate and encourage.

The ship of state is going down. One would have to be blind not to see the signs. They are in bright neon all around us. What does one say about a wolf in wolf's clothing that is not obvious? The positive aspects of American progressive thought are in decline, and the zealots have taken over. Prass suggests that we can look and listen to what came before for sustenance. Her paean to Karen Carpenter ("Far From You") works as a concrete example as Prass compares what was to what is in specific terms of beauty. The present may not be what it used to be. Music can give us solace and inspiration, and we can love and support each other.

So let's raise a glass and make a toast, Prass suggests. The future may look bad, but it doesn't have to be that way. Together we can make things better. Come here, baby she intimates. Let's lift our spirits together.

Kate Vargas Moves the Table "7 Inches" with Clever Ballad (premiere)

Photo: Jared Roybal


Kate Vargas' smoky vocals slink across the ominous corridors of "7 Inches", a jazz-infused folk song from her forthcoming LP, For the Wolfish & Wandering. Having played with this chord progression since she was 16, the song silkily sleuths through potentially criminal permutations before a big reveal. She provides us with an inherently ensnaring composition, from the way its lyrics are written to how Vargas and her band deliver them alongside such a smooth air of mystery.

By the end, its tongue-in-cheek lens over the standards of both breakup and murder ballads give way to a cleverness behind Vargas'croon. It's a unique take on both that keeps listeners on their feet, most certainly deserving of a title as For the Wolfish & Wandering. The LP is set to be released on 27 July. Ahead of the full album's release, Vargas has shared some words on "7 Inches" with PopMatters.

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"There's a big reveal in the song so, if you haven't listened to it yet, please do so before continuing."

"I had listened to a very in-depth podcast about Charles Manson before we wrote this song. The thing that stood out to me the most was this story about how the Manson Family would break into people's houses, but they wouldn't take anything, they would just move the furniture."

"I co-wrote this one with Carley Baer and Tarl Knight at the Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. They wrote all the clever lines."

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"There's an incredible thing happening there, at the Holiday. Three times a year, 30-40 songwriters are invited to stay, write, and record for a week. The songs coming out of there are among the best I've ever heard. And all of them play on their own online radio station."

"I've got a few stories from performing this one because, not wanting to give anything away, I only preface the song by saying the title is '7 Inches'. And sometimes I'll add that it's about criminal activity. The audience is usually quite tense until we reach the end of the chorus, the reveal line. I once played it in a church, and the pastor told me afterward that, up until that line, he thought he was going to have a heart attack!"

"He forgave me."

NEW ALBUM, For The Wolfish & Wandering, JULY 27th, 2018

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On Christina Aguilera's New Album, Control Is Liberation

If you’ve been searching for Christina Aguilera, she’s ready to be found. Again. If you want to find her on her latest album, Liberation, you’ll have to read between the lines (and get through an instrumental, a Rogers & Hammerstein homage, some spoken tracks, and some samples from Kanye West’s library) to get at the real Christina Aguilera. Because her story is less in the lyrics and more in the crafting of the tale on this album as its executive producer — something she’s been perfecting since 2002’s Stripped.
The narrative is, as described, liberation. To those ends, Aguilera addresses gender inequality, both in terms of the commodification of women as objects to workplace marginalization for women; gender norms, from carnal desire to beauty standards for women; and relationships, from bad ones to escape to good ones that set you free. She makes a lot of universal tropes feel personal thanks to her trademark emotive delivery, especially in the feel-good hip hop influenced “Sick of Sittin’” and the pop empowerment-themed “Like I Do.” The dirrty side of her is present and accounted for on the Kanye West-produced “Accelerate,” and on “Pipe,” which is about exactly what you think it is.
Aguilera turns in a remarkably personal performance on the ballad “Deserve,” a song so harrowing it feels like she stepped right out of a therapy session and into the vocal booth. But, she wasn’t a writer on the track at all, it’s by Julia Michaels and Uzoechi Emenike. That’s not a diss: She’s done such a good job of curating, as well as co-writing, a collection of songs here that feel of the same stripe of soul-bearing moments we haven’t seen since Stripped. On Liberation, Aguilera finally embraces that she is at her most powerful when she is at her most raw; in fact, she feels most in control when she’s truly baring her soul, rather than kowtowing to generic, corporate musical trends.
There are very few weaknesses on Liberation. The segue from the heaviness of “Fall In Line,” her excellent duet with Demi Lovato, into “Right Moves” is tough, leaving the latter, a jaunty, summery track with island music roots feeling extra frivolous. But any follow-up“ Fall In Line” was going to have a hard road to hoe anyway. Things also feel a bit excessive on the tail end. Any of the final three songs could have been cut to make the album more concise and the message a bit clearer. It’s certainly understandable to want to end on an upbeat note with classic pop track “Unless It’s With You” after an album packed with such intense songs, but “Masochist” and “Pipe” don’t quite make sense back to back.
West makes another appearance to lend his production ear on the album’s first track, an take off on the Sound of Music's “Maria,” while Anderson .Paak shows up on a few tracks. The rest of the album’s producers are handpicked by Aguilera to fit into the slots and sounds she wants. That may be the album’s biggest power move. Aguilera is also co-credited with A&R (picking the songs) on the album, a job usually reserved for some dude at the record label who shows up in the studio to say, “Yeah, I don’t hear a hit.” Taking that role on for herself? Liberation.

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Neil Diamond Dazzles, Ariana Grande Sings, Mariah Carey Delivers Funny Speech at Songwriters Hall of Fame

Although they can seem formulaic, any major awards show, particularly one like the Songwriters Hall of Fame, is very difficult to pull off. While it’s a hallowed honor, the absolute apex for a songwriter — and the ceremony is a cross between the Grammy Awards and an annual family reunion for the tight-knit songwriting and music-publishing community — it faces many of the challenges that shows like the Grammys and the American Music Awards have, even though it isn’t televised. It needs a combination of starpower and underdog; it needs musical diversity; it needs the honorees to be present (although last-minute cancellations do occur, like Jay-Z last year); it needs strong, suitable but also unexpected inductors. Sometimes they’re obvious: At Thursday night’s show, country superstar Alan Jackson was inducted by longtime producer Keith Stegall. Sometimes they’re not: Woody Guthrie’s daughter Nora inducted John Mellencamp. And it also needs a high percentage of inductees that are capable of delivering a strong performance. All that, for the past 49 years. Not so easy!

And as with any such show, surprises are key to keeping the evening lively. While this year’s list of honorees was a strong one — Jackson, Mellencamp, Jermaine Dupri, Bill Anderson, Steve Dorff, Allee Willis were all inducted, while Neil Diamond, Sara Bareilles and Universal Music Group chief Lucian Grainge all received special awards — there was also a surprise performance from Ariana Grande and induction speeches from Usher, The Weeknd (who flew in from Paris just to be there) and even Mariah Carey, who delivered a sassy and funny speech inducting Dupree.

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. From the top…

The show always starts off strong, and this year had one of the best we’ve seen in our many years of attending the ceremony. Brandon Victor Dixon, who is currently playing Aaron Burr in “Hamilton” and appeared as Judas in the recent “Jesus Christ Superstar” remake (hm, we sense a motif?) kicked off the night with a rousing medley of Willis’ “Neutron Dance” (a 1983 hit for the Pointer Sisters) and Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.” He soared through both songs with masterful ease, freestyling on the chorus of “September” while the backing singers held it down, ranging from falsetto to a guttural soul growl. In her acceptance speech, Willis praised Dixon for his brave comments to Vice Pr...erformance — which of course incurred the president’s Twitter wrath — and spoke of how remarkable her career has been for someone who does not play an instrument. She also recalled her upbringing in Detroit and said she learned everything she knows from the music she heard emanating from inside Motown’s Hitsville USA studios, outside of which she spent many hours of her youth. She also spoke often of her father’s half serious warning before she left home — “stay away from black culture” and said that she told him on his deathbed: “I just wrote the music for ‘The Color Purple’ — and he was gone in an hour.”

Mellencamp told a story about his grandmother, who lived to be 100. “She was doing pretty good up to 98, but she would call me up — she called me Buddy — and go ‘Why don’t you come over and see me, I’m not gonna be there much longer.’ So I’d drive over and she was bedridden so I would lay in bed with her – and I’m 40-some years old – and she’d talk about McCarthyism and rural education. One day she said, ‘Buddy, we should pray,’ so she started saying a little prayer and then [he yelled] her voice rose: ‘Me and Buddy wanna come home!’ And I looked at her and said ‘What? Grandma, Buddy does not want to come home. Buddy has got a lot more sinning he plans on doing.’ And she goes, ‘It’s just like you, Buddy, to be a smart alec when I’m talkin’ to God. You’re gonna find out real soon that life is short, even in its longest days.’” And then he played his song “Longest Days,” followed by, of course, his 1982 hit “Jack and Diane.” “Here’s another song,” he said, introducing it. “I don’t know why I play it anymore except people like it.” Okay Buddy.

A ripple of surprise ran through the room when Grande took the stage and sang her way beautifully through her hit “Be Alright” — and then was followed by The Weeknd, who had apparently flown all the way in from Paris to be there to deliver a brief introduction to Universal Music Group CEO/Chairman Lucian Grainge, who was awarded the Howie Richmond Hitmakers honor. He spoke at length of his father’s record shop and his recently deceased brother Nigel, who ran Ensign Records, and his own early days as a publisher.

“I trace my love for music to North London, where I grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” he said. “My father owned a small record shop, and so our family listened to just about everything — from Wagner to Ray Charles to Mozart to Elvis. Dad was also an incredible whistler. I can still see him now — face covered in shaving cream, transistor radio next to the bathroom sink, whistling along with the coda from ‘Hey Jude,’ which had just been released.

“To this day, when people ask me what my favorite songs are, I say it’s anything I can whistle.”

Next up, Stegall honored Alan Jackson his hit “Don’t Rock the Jukebox,” with the house band accompanied by two cowboy-hatted acoustic guitarists, a pedal steel and a fiddler. “At the beginning we were like a couple of rats on the same log, lookin’ for a place to land,” he recalled, “and somehow we made it together: He and I and Roger Morrow wrote together in a little upstairs office on Music Row,” he recalled, choking up a bit. “And whether Alan was singing to millions or one person, the only thing he wanted to do was be a country singer. Alan, you are here tonight because you’ve written some of the greatest country songs ever written.”

Jackson returned the sentiment, saying “There’s no one I’d rather have induct me. I don’t know if I’d be standing here without your belief in me. I never took the songwriting that serious, I just wanted to sing, but someone told me I’d better write my own material. So I just tried to write songs about things that affected me in real life — and not try to write about, uh, some of the other things in the world — I think music is a relief from that sometimes.

He mentioned seeing Clive Davis backstage, whom he thanked for helping to launch his career on the Arista Nashville label. He remembered a conversation from decades earlier in which he said, “‘Clive, I wrote a song for a woman to sing’ — I’ve got four older sisters and a wife and three daughters now so … I’ve got a lot of … uh … experience — and I said to Clive, ‘I think I’ve got a song for ol’ Whitney.’ Well, the song had a line about a washing machine in it, and he went and listened to the song and said that he liked it very much but, ‘I’ll be honest with you Alan, I don’t think she’d sing about a washing machine in 50 years.’ What I’m trying to say is, I guess I’ll always be writing about washing machines.”

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Jackson then changed the mood by singing his post-9/11 tribute, “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” his deep and powerful voice as resonant and precisely delivered as ever.

Fantasia then took the evening to church with a rousing version of Steve Dorff’s “I Just Fall in Love,” soaring and belting and, after asking “Can I play with it a little bit?,” vamping at the end, showing off her chops with some Aretha-style gymnastics, finishing by saying “Thank you — that is a hard song to sing.”

Dorff’s son Stephen took the stage to induct his father. He remembered the early years when his dad struggled, and then the breakthrough that came when producer Snuff Garrett lined up the title song for the 1979 Clint Eastwood film “Every Which Way but Loose,” which was performed by Eddie Rabbit, “and then life changed” as Dorff reached success after success.

“A songwriter like my dad is very much in the background, yet his songs change people’s lives. Looking back, I was lucky because I got to see him instead of him being out on the road.” He then touchingly remembered his younger brother Andrew, who passed away at just 40, tearing up as he said, “Life can be unforgiving and brutal at times — but a great melody can get us through anything.”

Dorff himself recalled the great singers who performed his songs — Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Ann Murray, Karen Carpenter, even Ringo — and wept as remembered loved ones who have passed, including his parents, a sister and “most of all Andrew, who told me very often that I was his favorite songwriter, and that one day I would be standing here accepting this honor. Other than raising my children, this truly is the greatest honor of my life. It’s beyond a dream come true. I’ve loved the life of being a songwriter and I am profoundly grateful and humbled to be here among all of you.”

There weren’t many dry eyes in the house by the time he’d finished.

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Dorff then sang “Through the Years,” in his (as he’d promised) “songwriter’s voice,” accompanying himself beautifully on the piano.

In a reflection of his notorious swagger, Jermaine Dupri — who has penned hits for Mariah Carey, Usher, Kris Kross and dozens of others — had not one but three people induct him. First up was Usher, who spoke of all Dupri has done to put Atlanta’s music on the map and how their generation is “young enough to be with the youngsters but old enough to realize the giants we’re standing on the shoulder of” and introduced an interesting if puzzling concept: “When suffering becomes beauty, that’s music.” He finished by telling Dupri: “You’re like the big brother I never had and also the motivator that pushed me when I was at my lowest.

Carey then took the stage to a roaring reception. “I’m winging this, although I did write down some things,” she began, and recalled the first time she and Dupri wrote together — they came up with her 1995 hit “Always Be My Baby” — and noted that they’ve worked together on nine different albums.

“I could tell some of the stories behind these songs, but I would say they’re classified!,” she quipped, using air quotes. “And I could rattle off statistics — and it seems like these things don’t matter to people who don’t actually write songs and put all their heart and soul into every moment, but Jermaine does this out of an actual love of music. We just got out of the studio the other morning at 7 a.m. — while being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, still working until 7 a.m. with me. He hasn’t changed since that first time we were in the studio together.

“I’m not gonna say that I’m favorite, but I should be his favorite,” she laughed. “And if I’m not I should definitely be top three!”

Carey concluded with a dash of her legendary shade: “Although (sigh) I am not being inducted this evening — I’ll shed a tear and move on!,” she joked, “honestly there is no one I’d rather see getting this accolade than Mr. Jermaine Dupri. I love him with all my heart.”

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The unlucky task of following Mariah fell to Dupri’s collaborator and friend of 34 years Chad Elliott, who inducted him as “an ambassador of hiphop culture.” Dupri himself talked about the influence that the months he spent in Brooklyn early in his career shaped his music, and thanked the former EMI Music Publishing trio — who now run the three largest publishers in the U.S. (most quarters, anyway) — of Marty Bandier, Jody Gerson and Jon Platt, who “believed in what I was doing” in the early days. He then showed off those skills by performing a medley that capped with the song that truly launched his career, Kris Kross 1992 hit “Jump.”

Steve Wariner performed a gentle version of Bill Anderson’s “The Tips of My Fingers” before inducting his friend. Anderson thanked the people who “helped this old turtle climb to the top of the post,” he laughed. “I’ll tell you, the view from up here is beautiful.” He then performed “Still.”

Bareilles was presented the Hal David Starlight Award (for young-ish songwriters) by her friend Jason Mraz, who said, “For more than a decade, I have fan-girled to Sara’s responses to our ever changing world – earthquakes, female issues, equality,” adding that “Providing entertainment that makes you laugh makes you stronger, makes you brave.” Bareilles then performed a song from her musical “Waitress” — about which she said, “Had I known how much f—ing work it was [to write and star in a musical], I would absolutely have said no,” but said she was grateful for the experience and how much she’d learned from it. She then brought the house down with a soaring performance of a song from the musical, “She Used to Be Mine.”

Leon Bridges performed a lively rendition of “Get Down on It” before inducting Kool & the Gang members Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown and James “JT” Taylor. While their acceptance speeches ran a little long as the show approached the four-hour mark, the group — with those members reunited onstage for the first time in 25 years — brought the crowd to its feet with a version of their 1981 hit “Celebration” that even included a verse in Spanish.

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The evening came to a close when co-chairmen Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff invited Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons onstage to award Neil Diamond with the highest honor bestowed by the, the Johnny Mercer Award. Gaudio, who worked with Diamond extensively early in his career, called his “the most recognizable voice on the radio” and said, “It’s pretty easy producing his first album: The truth is, when you produce Neil, you just have to capture the magic.”

Diamond, clad in a black and gold jacket and with an air of “Let’s bring this baby home,” skipped a speech and led the band straight into “Sweet Caroline,” his voice a little gravelly on the low notes but powerful on the high ones, and even delivered a reprise of the chorus. It’s hard to imagine anyone walked out of the room without the song running through their heads, and that’s exactly the point.

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Alicia Keys Announces Music Initiative for Female Advancement

She Is the Music will "reshape the industry that we all love by creating real opportunities and a pipeline for other women," singer says

Alicia Keys has announced the formation of She Is the Music, a women-led music industry initiative for female advancement. Madison McGaw/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

Alicia Keys has announced She Is the Music, a women-led music industry initiative for female advancement, Variety reports. The singer announced the organization's formation during her speech at the National Music Publishers Association's annual meeting on Wednesday, where she was being honored as Icon Songwriter.

Roc Nation exec and Voices in Entertainment co-founder Meg Harkins talks sexism, mentorship and why it's time for change

"I've joined forces with a group of really powerful female executives, songwriters, artists, engineers, producers and publishers to help reshape the industry that we all love by creating real opportunities and a pipeline of talent for other women," she said. "We're calling our initiative She Is the Music. We want to create a model for change that affects women across all industries.

"We deserve the utmost respect, and so many of these women across industries are telling our culture that time is up on double standards," she continued, "and it is over for pay inequity and colleagues who are at best disrespectful and at the worst unsafe – so it's over for that."

While Keys didn't detail the specifics regarding the initiative, she did stress why the timing is crucial. "We have to do something because the statistics are brutal," she said during her speech, providing statistics backed by a University of Southern California's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative study, which was released earlier this year. The study found that women have been vastly underrepresented in the music industry.

"Of almost 3,000 pop songwriters credited last year, only 12 percent were female. Only 3 percent of the engineers were female, and one of them is [Keys' engineer] Ann [Mincieli]. Only 2 percent of producers are female and one of them is me," she remarked. "Our world is 50-50 and it's time for our industry to reflect that."

Keys also emphasized the importance of diversity and encouraged people to hire women, particulary women of color. "Songwriters tell our stories, they sing who we are as people – don't we all want to hear from all of us?," she added, before citing artists whose protest songs continue to fuel "today's battle for civil rights," including Joan Baez, Nina Simone, Buffy St. Marie, Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Aretha Franklin. Keys tied their contributions to the newer generation who carry their message forward, including Mary J. Blige, Sia, SZA, Kacey Musgraves, Solange, Janelle Monáe and H.E.R., all of whom are "female writers who are running with that torch today and lifting all of us up."

Keys' She Is the Music is among other music-oriented initiatives that have formed following Hollywood's Time's Up and #MeToo movements. In February, music industry executives Meg Harkins and Karen Rait founded Voices in Entertainment, a grassroots music industry analog to Hollywood's anti-sexual harassment movement, which encouraged supporters to wear white roses at the Grammys to support "equal representation in the workplace, for leadership that reflects the diversity of our society, workplaces free of sexual harassment and a heightened awareness of accountability."

Buck Owens' Final Album for Capitol 'Country Singer's Prayer' Set for Release

Recorded in November 1975, LP was intended to serve as Owens' last album for Capitol, but was ultimately shelved

Buck Owens' final album for Capitol will be released in August. Mark Humphrey/AP/REX/Shutterstock

This August, Country Singer's Prayer, Buck Owens' final album for Capitol Records, will be released for the first time in its original, intended form.

Buck Owens' Late-Sixties Work Assembled on 'Complete Capitol Singles'

Second volume of Owens and the Buckaroos' A- and B-sides collects 14 Top Ten hits and more

Recorded in November 1975, Country Singer's Prayer was intended to serve as Owens' final album for Capitol, but was ultimately shelved after a lack of commercial interest in the singer following Owens' fall off the charts earlier in 1975.

Although Owens would soon re-record several of the songs originally recorded for his final Capitol LP, the album has until now remained unreleased in this form for 43 years.

The release will include two of Owens' final Capitol B-sides, in addition to new liner notes featuring interviews with his former piano player Jim Shaw and legendary songwriter Robert John Jones.

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Here's the tracklisting for Country Singer's Prayer:

1. "John Law"
2. "Love Don't Make the Bars"
3. "He Ain’t Been Out Bowling With the Boys"
4. "Drifting Away"
5. "The Battle of New Orleans"
6. "Country Singer's Prayer"
7. "California Okie"
8. "A Different Kind of Sad"
9. "It's Been a Long, Long Time"
10. "How's Everything"
11. "Run Him to the Round House Nellie (You Might Corner Him There)" [Bonus Track]
12. "Meanwhile Back at the Ranch" [Bonus Track]

Country Singer's Prayer will be in stores August 17th on Omnivore Recordings.

Alessia Cara Talks 'Growing Pains,' Self-Care and New Music

The pop singer tells us how she got the confidence to write her upcoming second LP entirely by herself

Brick Howze

In the three years since Alessia Cara released her Isaac Hayes-sampling anti-party anthem "Here," the Canadian singer-songwriter has released a debut album; appeared on two Top 10 hits in collaboration with other stars (Zedd's "Stay" and Logic's "1-800-273-8255"); sung the pop radio version of a the latest Disney princess classic ("How Far I'll Go," from Moana); and won the Best New Artist trophy at the 2018 Grammys. It's been a nonstop ride, and Cara is already starting to feel the pressures, as heard on "Growing Pains," the lead single off her forthcoming, as-yet-untitled sophomore album.

The trio enlisted suicide survivors for poignant version of hit single

"The growing pains, growing pains/They're keeping me up at night," she sings on the reflective song. Like the rest of her new material, "Growing Pains" was written solely by her without any co-writers or features. (Pop & Oak, the same team she worked with on much of her first LP, returned to produce the single.)

Cara, who had just flown into NYC after performing at Washington D.C.'s Pride Fest, spoke with Rolling Stone about her new material and the life changes she's encountered along the way.

Beyond fame, what are some of the growing pains you've been dealing with lately?

It's hard to pinpoint them all, because they feel so scattered. I'm still, in a way, in the thick of it. I'm still adjusting to adulthood and the responsibility that I've been faced with, along with the circumstance that I've been thrust into–which is a very unusual one, and an amazing but scary one.

Figuring out exactly who I am, among all of this, has been a huge growing pain for me. Of course, there are a bunch of other things, like just being sad for no reason and having to understand what every feeling means. Figuring out the dynamic of different relationships, whether they're romantic ones or family ones. It's just a lot that comes with what I do, and a lot that comes with being my age in general. When you put those together, there's bound to be some sort of dissonance there emotionally.

There's a line that I loved in "Growing Pains": "It's starting to look like "Mrs. Know-It-All can't take her own advice," a reference to your debut album, Know-It-All. What kind of advice from yourself did you find hard to take?

Over time, people who listened to me branded me as the girl who speaks on positivity and self-love. Which is an amazing box to be put into, if I do have to be put in a box. At the same time, I found during certain moments where I had to talk to other people about why they should love themselves, I was still struggling with loving myself and for a long time I didn't want to talk about it. It's not even like I didn't love my self, because I do. I feel like I'm a pretty confident person. I think it's so important to talk about self-love, but at the same time, it's also important to remind people that it's not going to be every day. I'm getting a lot better at it now, but just for a while there was a period where I didn't like anything about myself, or anything about anything.

Was there a specific moment that prompted you to write "Growing Pains" or was it just these emotions that were built up over time?

Definitely built up over time. I'm the type of person who always suppresses everything, especially because everything was going so well for me in my career. I thought I had to suppress it, it because if I didn't then I would be ungrateful. Of course that's not the case, but when you're in it and you have people telling you how lucky you are and how many people would kill to be in your position, you just think, "Okay, I'm not allowed to be feeling this right now. I need to suppress it."

And so I did for a very long time until I just couldn't anymore. [With "Growing Pains"], I realized like it's not just about writing songs for an album anymore, I am writing because I have to. It turned into the album, which I think is a way better way to create a piece of work, when it just happens. Every song that I wrote on this thing, I wrote because I felt like I needed to.

At what point did you decide or realize that this was going to be an album that would feature you as the sole writer?

Before it even started. I almost knew what this album was going to be, because I was going through so much in those three years. It's very difficult to sit in a room with someone else, or with other people, and have to tell them about that and be that person with them so that they can write something with you.

I just thought, there's no better person to write this than me. It was so personal to me. It was a really sacred thing; I didn't want anyone to know exactly what I was going through. When you have full control, you can give away as much as you want to give away, and be as honest as you want and you know what it means and no one understands you better than you.

Also, I really thought it'd be cool to have a nice challenge to see if I can write something, like a whole project, on my own. It's something that I wanted to see if I could do.

You also mentioned the way your relationships shifted over the last few years. Were these mostly family, friends or romantic relationships?

It was all of those. I'm having conversations with my parents that I wouldn't have necessarily had when I was younger. That dynamic is starting to shift, and I'm having this urge to take care of them now, the older I get. Which is a really scary thought, because I see them getting older.

Alessia Cara on 'Moana,' Meeting Taylor Swift, Recapturing 'Here' Sound

The "alternative pop" singer-songwriter talks imitating Lorde, worshipping Amy Winehouse and the "complete terror" that comes along with stardom

With friendships, this lifestyle seems very glamorous and it makes people want to be involved in it. I think have become very paranoid like who I let in. I found myself not being too optimistic about making friends and being guarded, because I'm not sure if people really like me for me, or if they want to be in my life for the benefits that they think they're going to get out of it.

Of course, romantic relationships too…throughout this album process I was in a relationship, and that relationship ended. There were a lot of emotions that came with that, and the grieving process of that. I know that sounds dramatic, but it really is a grieving process!

What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself while writing and recording this album?

I'm a lot more capable of things than I thought I was. Even just with writing an album, I never thought in a million years that I'd be able to do that all on my own, you know? When I was younger I would say, "Oh, I don't think that I could ever write music." Let alone the whole thing. Of course, the things I've accomplished are due to great luck and amazing blessings, but it's also, I think, due to things I didn't know I was capable of, that I actually amcapable of. That's been really great for my self-esteem and as a reminder that I'm good enough.

I also [learned] that I am apparently very emotional and very dramatic. [Laughs] But that's just who I am.

How do you practice self-care and self-love in your spare time?

Well, for a while I really didn't, and that's probably why things caught up to me. Now I realize how important it is. I try to meditate a lot more, even if it's just breathing. Walking away from things, even if it's from social media or from people.

I just started getting really into skincare. It's probably a placebo thing, but I feel like if I can see physical positive change then in a weird way I feel like I'm taking care of my soul too. It's just nice to like to have, like, 10 minutes where I'm in the bathroom putting on cream. Something as simple as putting moisturizer on makes me feel better about the day.

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Jon Hiseman, 73, Drummer Who Melded Rock, Jazz and Blues

Jon Hiseman performing with his band Tempest at the Marquee club in London in 1973.CreditFin Costello/Redferns, via Getty Images

  • June 12, 2018

Jon Hiseman, the British drummer, composer and progressive-rock innovator who led the bands Colosseum and Tempest and played in many other groups, died early Tuesday in Sutton, England. He was 73.

His son, Marcus, said the cause was complications of surgery that Mr. Hiseman underwent in May to remove a brain tumor. He had lived in Sutton, a suburb of London, before entering hospice care there.

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Mr. Hiseman was a nimble, hard-hitting player who tuned his drums melodically and kept an improvisational spirit through complex pieces. His music held elements of the classical music he grew up on, the modern jazz and free jazz he played early in his career, and the blues and rock that built his career in 1960s London.

The original Colosseum lasted barely three years, from 1968 to 1971. But the band reunited in the 1990s and continued to perform and record for two decades.

Mr. Hiseman also worked extensively with the musical theater composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. He recorded prolifically with his wife, the saxophonist and composer Barbara Thompson, and established a recording studio and a music publishing company, Temple Music.

He explained his philosophy of drumming in a 2004 interview: “Don’t play the drums, play the band. If you play the band, the drums will play themselves.”

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Philip John Hiseman was born on June 21, 1944, in London. He played piano and violin as a child and turned to drums at 12. In his teens, he worked with jazz and R&B groups around London. He also studied accounting.

Mr. Hiseman became a full-time musician in 1966, when he replaced Ginger Baker in a blues band, the Graham Bond Organisation. (Mr. Baker went on to form Cream with Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton.) Mr. Hiseman later worked with the English singer and keyboardist Georgie Fame and with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, appearing on the group’s album “Bare Wires.”

As a studio musician, he performed on Mr. Bruce’s first solo albums, “Things We Like” (1968) and “Songs for a Tailor” (1969).

Mr. Hiseman married Ms. Thompson in 1967; she survives him. Besides her and his son, he is survived by a daughter, the singer Ana Gracey; a sister, Jill Hiseman; and four grandchildren.

Mr. Hiseman left the Bluesbreakers to start the jazz-rock fusion band Colosseum in 1968, with an initial lineup that included two other former Bluesbreakers, Tony Reeves on bass and Dick Heckstall-Smith on saxophone.


Colosseum in concert in 1970. From left, Dave Greenslade, Tony Reeves, Mr. Hiseman, James Litherland and Dick Heckstall-Smith.CreditMichael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

While Colosseum often touched down in the blues, its two 1969 albums, “Those Who Are About to Die Salute You” and “Valentyne Suite,” and its 1970 album “Daughter of Time” also drew on big-band jazz, Bach, Japanese music and contemporary chamber music. Its albums reached the Top 10 in Britain, although they received less notice in the United States. After recording “Colosseum Live” in 1971, the group disbanded.

Mr. Hiseman went on to form the progressive-rock band Tempest. Over two years and two albums, it featured the guitarists Allan Holdsworth and Ollie Halsall, who became known as musicians’ musicians.

Mr. Hiseman’s next band featured the guitarist and singer Gary Moore, who had been in (and would return to) Thin Lizzy. Although Mr. Hiseman initially called the band Ghosts, he was persuaded to use the name Colosseum II instead.

Colosseum II made three albums, releasing them in 1976 and 1977 — difficult times for progressive rock with the punk era dawning — before breaking up. Its members, joined by Ms. Thompson, became the core of the studio band for Mr. Lloyd Webber and his brother, the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, on the 1978 classical-rock fusion album “Variations,” which became a crossover hit and supplied the theme for “The South Bank Show,” an arts series on British television.

Mr. Hiseman continued to work with Mr. Lloyd Webber well into the 1980s, in original productions and on the recordings of the musicals “Cats” and “Starlight Express” as well as Mr. Lloyd Webber’s classical work “Requiem.”

Mr. Hiseman joined his wife’s group, Paraphernalia, in 1979, and the couple recorded her jazz and classical compositions and toured through the next decades. They built a recording studio, provided music for films and advertisements, and signed other musicians to their publishing company, Temple Music.

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From 1974 to 2002, Mr. Hiseman and Ms. Thompson were also part of the United Jazz + Rock Ensemble, a collective of avant-gardist German and British jazz musicians that recorded 14 albums.

In 1994, Mr. Hiseman picked up where he had left off with Colosseum’s members from 1971. Their reunion lasted until a farewell concert in 2015; Ms. Thompson took over on saxophone after the death of Mr. Heckstall-Smith in 2004.

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Mr. Hiseman and Ms. Thompson both worked on albums by their daughter, Ms. Gracey, who made an appearance on Colosseum’s final album, “Time Is on Our Side.”

In April, Mr. Hiseman formed JCM, a trio with the Colosseum members Clem Clempson, on guitar, and Mark Clarke, on bass. The group made an album, “Heroes,” that contained music written by former collaborators Mr. Hiseman had outlived, among them Mr. Bruce, Mr. Holdsworth, Mr. Heckstall-Smith, Mr. Bond and Mr. Halsall.

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JCM began a tour in April, but canceled it as Mr. Hiseman’s brain tumor advanced.

In his long career, Mr. Hiseman released only two albums under his own name as a leader: “A Night in the Sun,” a 1982 collaboration with Brazilian musicians, and “About Time Too!,” a 1986 collection of drum solos recorded live.

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“My album is very good for parties,” Mr. Hiseman said with a laugh of “About Time Too!” in 2004, “when you want people to go.”

Daniel E. Slotnik contributed reporting.

Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, ‘Grandfather of Rap,’ Is Dead at 73

Jalal Mansur Nuriddin of the Last Poets in London in 1984. He delivered some of the group’s most urgent and incisive verses.CreditDavid Corio/Redferns, via Getty Images
  • June 13, 2018

Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, who helped establish the foundation for hip-hop as a member of the Last Poets and in his own solo work, died on June 4 at a hospital in Atlanta. He was 73.

The cause was lung cancer, said Umar Bin Hassan, a fellow member of the Last Poets.

The Last Poets emerged in Harlem at the end of the 1960s, reciting rhythmic verses over conga drumming and speaking directly to the disenfranchised youth of New York City’s black community. The group’s poetry pushed revolution and self-determination, while admonishing listeners about survival in an environment defined by racialized poverty.

With his high, declamatory voice and his way of milking words for their sonic potential as well as their meaning, Mr. Nuriddin (pronounced noo-ruh-DEEN) stood out. He delivered some of the group’s most urgent and incisive verses, and although the Last Poets’ lineup rotated over time, he performed with the group well into his later years.

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By then he had come to be widely known as the “grandfather of rap,” a laurel he proudly accepted.

With the release of their debut album, “The Last Poets,” in 1970, the group became an underground sensation, reaching No. 29 on the Billboard album chart and staying on the chart for 30 weeks despite being rarely played on radio. Mr. Nuriddin was fond of saying that the record “sold over a million copies by word of mouth,” though he never had the documentation — or the income — to prove it.

As the civil rights movement lost steam and gave way to the separatism of Black Power, the group spoke from a standpoint of disillusionment, although with vigorous attitude. In “On the Subway,” Mr. Nuriddin rapped:

Me knowing me

Black proud and determined to be free

Could plainly see my enemy yes

Yes, yes, I know him

I once slaved for him body and soul

And made him a pile of black gold

Off the sweat of my labor he stole

But his game his game is old

We’ve broken the mental hold

Things must change

There’s no limit to our range

Mr. Nuriddin may have made his greatest contribution to the future of popular music as a solo artist. In 1973, using the pseudonym Lightnin’ Rod, he released “Hustlers Convention,” an album that unified the black tradition of toasts — rhymed stories about the heroic exploits of renegades and rebels, and the battles between them — with the contemporary sound of streetwise funk.

Rapping in a crackling growl, Mr. Nuriddin told an extended story of two young men surviving on the New York streets, with lush backbeats provided by Kool and the Gang and A-list session musicians.

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On “Sport,” the album’s opening track, he wove a boasting first-person narrative about street hustling, cool and deliberate but adamantly paced. Aside from the improvising horn and guitar lines that swept across the album, this represented almost the exact sonic and lyrical blueprint that rappers like Melle Mel and Eazy-E would pick up on a decade later, when they released some of the first major hip-hop singles, using D.J.s instead of live bands.

The Last Poets in their early years. From left, Mr. Nuriddin, Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan.CreditMichael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Mr. Nuriddin arrived at the idea to put a funk band behind his verses with the producer Alan Douglas, who had recorded the Last Poets’ first few albums. Mr. Nuriddin said he had meant the album’s contents as a cautionary tale.

“I wrote the album so people would sit up, take notice and not become one of the hustlers, card cheats, prostitutes, pimps and hijackers I rapped about,” he said in a 2015 documentary about “Hustlers Convention.”

In the documentary, the rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy called the album a “verbal bible” for understanding the culture of the New York streets.

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Mr. Nuriddin was born Lawrence Padilla on July 24, 1944, in Brooklyn and grew up in a housing project in the Fort Greene neighborhood. Information on survivors was not immediately available.

“I had this need to express myself,” Mr. Nuriddin said of his childhood. “Everything was bottled up — not just within myself, but in the African-American people in general. So I began to write poetry.”

By his mid-20s, having briefly changed his name to Alafia Pudim, he was becoming known for his facility with words, and for speaking in spontaneous rhyme. (He began going by Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin in 1973.) He soon befriended members of the Last Poets, a group with a loose membership that had started in 1968 on Malcolm X’s birthday. He eventually became a core member.

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Mr. Douglas got wind of the Last Poets and released their first album on his label, Douglas Records. But radio and television avoided the group, partly because of its unflinching attacks on institutional racism, and partly because it often used one particular word.

On pieces like Mr. Nuriddin’s feverish “Wake Up Niggers,” the Last Poets spoke directly to the street communities that they sought to help liberate, using an African-American lexicon that had rarely been caught on commercial recordings and alienating many listeners in the process. Record sellers often slapped cautionary stickers onto the “Last Poets” album (“Recommended for Mature Adults Only”) in yet another moment that presaged the conflicted relationship that hip-hop would have with the mainstream.

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Despite tensions with Abiodun Oyewole, an original member of the Last Poets, Mr. Nuriddin continued performing under the Last Poets name for many years, typically alongside Suliaman El-Hadi. Mr. Nuriddin is featured on Last Poets recordings including the influential “This Is Madness” (1971), the sonically experimental “Chastisement” (1973) and “Scatterap/Home” (1993).

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Elvis Presley Drummer D.J. Fontana Dead at 87

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer played on countless Presley classics including "Blue Suede Shoes," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog"

Image result for D.J. FontanaD.J. Fontana, the longtime drummer for Elvis Presley, died at the age of 87. Frank Carroll/Gary

Dominic Joseph "D.J." Fontana, the longtime drummer for Elvis Presley who helped pioneer the backbeat swing of rock and roll, died Wednesday, The Tennessean reports. He was 87.

From rock thunder machines to punk powerhouses, we count down the kings and queens of slam

Fontana's son David announced the drummer's death on Facebook, writing, "My Dad passed away in his sleep at 9:33 tonight. He was very comfortable with no pain. I will post more tomorrow when I have more information. We ask for privacy at this time. Thank you for your love and prayers."

Fontana played with Presley for 14 years, accompanying him on over 460 cuts for RCA including rock and roll standards like "Blue Suede Shoes," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock." Fontana was with Elvis during his landmark appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, as well as his legendary "'68 Comeback Special." In 2009, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Known for his no-nonsense style of drumming, Fontana injected early rockabilly with the swing of big band music. At a time when many country and bluegrass groups were shunning drums altogether, Fontana's mere presence behind the kit was revolutionary in its own right. Still, Fontana aimed to keep things simple in a way that complemented not just Elvis, but also his other bandmates, bassist Bill Black and guitarist Scotty Moore (Black and Moore died in 1965 and 2016, respectively). "I just learned how to stay out of their way and let them do what they had to," he said in 1987. "It sounded better to me that way."

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Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Fontana began playing drums in high school and was eventually hired as the in-house drummer on the long-running radio and television show, Louisiana Hayride. He backed an array of famed country artists, including Webb Pierce and Faron Young, on the show and met Elvis there in 1954.

At the time, Sun Records impresario Sam Philips had already paired Presley with Moore and Black, and the trio had already cut Elvis' debut single, "That's All Right, Mama." In a 1984 interview with The Tennessean, Fontana recalled hearing Elvis' early songs, saying, "They sent Elvis' records from Memphis. I thought the sound was really incredible. It was really different… When Elvis, Scotty Moore and Bill Black came down as a trio, Scotty approached me about drumming with them. We ran through about two or three songs backstage, including 'That's All Right, Mama.'"

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist performed on "Hound Dog," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Blue Suede Shoes" and dozens more Presley classics

Over the next 14 years, Fontana would accompany Elvis in the studio, on the road and in several films as well, such Jailhouse Rock and G.I. Blues. During the Sixties, however, he settled in Nashville and became an in-demand session musician just as Elvis' career was hitting its first lull. After reviving his career with the '"68 Comeback Special," Presley invited Fontana to play with him in Las Vegas, but the drummer chose to remain in Nashville instead.

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Speaking to Rolling Stone last year, Fontana noted the spontaneity of the comeback special. "We didn't really rehearse," he admitted. "Just go out and wing it and do the best we could. Me and Scotty and Elvis, and that's all we really needed."

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Fontana would play with an array of rock and country legends over the next several decades, including Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Charley Pride, Jerry Lee Lewis, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton and Roy Orbison. In 1997, Fontana reunited with Moore for an all-star record, All the King's Men , which featured guest appearances from Keith Richards, Levon Helm, Steve Earle, Cheap Trick, Ron Wood and Jeff Beck.

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In an interview with Massachusetts television station WGBH, Fontana recalled the first night he, Elvis, Moore and Black played together as the quartet that would go on to launch and define rock and roll. "Well, the first night people were polite, just kind of like the Grand Ol' Opry," he said. "But it was a country, older crowd, and I think what they did, they went home and told their kids, 'There's a boy down at the Louisiana Hayride you got to go see.' The next couple weekends we had nothing but kids, so that was the breaking point actually.

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The kids would scream and holler, crying and all that stuff. And I think that's what really got it started."

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Reply #73 posted 06/15/18 10:06am



The bewitching songstress about to hit the big time.

Bra LES GIRLS LES BOYS, earrings EZAH IKUY and vintage coat THE PATTERN

Sometimes you hear a voice and you just have that instant feeling that you’re witnessing something special. Such is the case with Joyce Wrice. The California born singer delicately weaves delicious R&B sounds with her delicate vocals to create utterly spellbinding numbers that saw her past EPs – debut “Stay Around” and last year’s “Good Morning” – hailed as the start of something exciting.

Now with new music to – hopefully! – share soon, her 90s R&B stylings are destined to wow the world. We caught up with her to find out just how she’s getting ready for her place in the spotlight.

(LEFT) Tracksuit top ELLISS
(RIGHT) Hairband & boa ZIZI DONOHOE, jumper ARIES and earrings stylist’s own

Where did you grow up and how, if at all, did that place inspire your music?

I grew up in Chula Vista, California which is a town in San Diego. Well, I met a friend in high school who would bring his ukulele to school everyday and during lunch he’d ask me to sing and once he got me to do it he realized: “She can sing! And we like the same songs!” So we started to meet up after school and on weekends to cover hip-hop and R&B artists that we liked and post them on youtube. Fortunately they did well and because of those experiences I decided to keep creating music!

What was the first song you remember hearing?

“Only You” by 112 ft Biggie!

When did you first start making music?

I think it was during my early years of college. I had my first recording session with Polyester the Saint.

At that point, did you have a sound in mind you wanted to own?

I wasn’t sure yet. I knew that I liked 90s R&B and early 2000s sounds for sure but I was still unsure and figuring it out with producers and writers in LA.

You can hear the 90s influence in your songs – who from that decade inspires you most? And what topics do you like to write about?

Brandy definitely inspires me the most. My EP “Stay Around” has like a more classic R&B sound that is inspired by Brandy for sure. I like to write about anything really but most of the time it’s about relationships and love…

How much of an impact can music have on the world?

A huge one for sure. Music is undeniable! People from different backgrounds, whether it’s political views and/or religious views, will still be in the same venue for the love of music. Music is powerful.

Bra LES GIRLS LES BOYS, earrings EZAH IKUY and vintage coat THE PATTERN

The COLORS sessions are almost becoming a right of passage for new artists passing through Europe – how has that helped you?

It has definitely introduced my music to so many more people from all over the world. It’s incredible. People watch that channel religiously and I can see why! You can learn about new music and it’s so organic and raw. I’m so grateful for the opportunity.

How much do you value the live performance against recording tracks?

Live performance is such a whole different piece to music. I’m really learning this! I’ve been so blessed to travel and go on tour internationally and domestically. And it’s so fun to sing my songs differently, engage with the audience and almost remix my records in a way. That’s when you can really explore and experiment, versus when you record, you have to keep it structured a certain way. But recording is fun too because you can add so many layers and ad-libs to the record as opposed to when you’re live you can only sing so much!

What’s been the high point of your career so far?

Touring for sure. I have gained fans in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, and Europe and it’s amazing how I’ve been able to perform there and share moments with my supporters. It’s still so surreal to me and I have so much appreciation.

What’d be the ultimate achievement?

I just really want to keep making music, performing all over the world and making people happy with my voice and keep developing my self as an artist!

What plans do you have for 2018?

I like to keep those things a secret! But just know I’ve been working on a lot of new things and I cannot wait to share!

(LEFT) Cashmere socks ARELA, slippers & boa ZIZI DONOHOE, jumper ARIES, skirt DE LA VALI and earrings stylist’s own
(RIGHT) Hairband & boa ZIZI DONOHOE, jumper ARIES, skirt DE LA VALI and earrings stylist’s own

Erika Bowes
Ella Lucia
Sam Higgins


Alma Cook – On The Line (Live Original)

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Jorja Smith: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

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Reply #74 posted 06/18/18 9:17am



Tony Hadley 'Talking To The Moon' first new studio album in a decade

02 May 2018

Tony Hadley is set to release his highly anticipated new solo album, Talking To The Moon. His first new studio album in a decade, Talking To The Moon signals a new chapter for the artist who defined a decade and much more. Tickets.

Millions know him as the former front man of Spandau Ballet, which earned him the accolade of one of pop’s great vocalists. Thirty years on, the unmistakable voice of Hadley still brims with passion and urgency as it first did all those years ago.

The album was co-written by Tony, with a raft of other talented songwriters. The first single Tonight Belongs To Us and How I Feel About You were both written by Toby Gad (credits include John Legend’s All Of Me and Beyonce’s If I Was A Boy.

Hadley, reflecting on the album’s title, says “Haven't we all, at some point in our lives, gazed up into the night sky, stared at the moon and the stars, and wondered what it was all about? Maybe talked to the moon and asked for a little help, maybe looked for answers, or just been amazed at its beauty?”

Fellow 80s alumni Peter Cox and Richard Drummie of Go West contribute on Skin Deep, whilst other album highlights include the operatic Killer Blow (co-written with Blair Mackichan whose work includes Sia, Paloma Faith), and What Am I? – a deeply personal track about leaving Spandau Ballet – co-written with Mick Lister.

At the helm of production duties were Gary Stevenson (credits include last year’s critically acclaimed The Lexicon Of Love II by ABC) and Mick Lister, with the album being recorded between Banbury, Aylesbury Vale and Carmarthenshire over the last two years.

Track listing:

Take Back Everything
“We all make mistakes in relationships and this is about a guy who knows that he's made many. He wants to make it up to the woman he truly loves and be the man she always wanted”.

Tonight Belongs To Us
“It's about a couple who have re-ignited the spark between them. They’ve been getting closer again and tonight is their night”.

Skin Deep
“This song reminds me of a couple who still love each other as deeply as when they first met. We live in a very transient world and it's good to think that for some people love isn't just about the way you look, but what's inside”.

How I Feel About You
“When you're in a business that takes you away from home for long periods of time it can be very hard on your partner. They might think it's party central, especially when it’s hard to keep in touch, but it's not always as glamorous as people might think”.

“This is a song about the moment you think you've met the one! The person who takes over all of your thoughts and makes you feel hopelessly in love”.

“We wanted to create a visual landscape with this song. Lyrically it's very sad, two people who once loved each other very much but, for whatever reason, have come to the end of the road. it's a very direct lyric”.

Accident Waiting To Happen
“This is a bit of a 'Mr Bean' song! No matter what this person does they never seem to be able to get it quite right. Is it about me? I think it's a little about everyone!”

Killer Blow
“There are some real obvious musical influences in this song - Queen, Muse, The Police. It's about the final throws of a relationship in which someone can't bear to be alone, but inevitably he or she has no choice”.

“The drinking culture in the UK has expanded so much and this song is about taking alcohol consumption to the extreme where it starts to take over your life”.

Every Time
“Everyone hopes that at some point they'll meet someone they can share their life with. Unfortunately, the love doesn't always last”.

What Am I?
“This is a really heartfelt lyric about being true to yourself. Be the person you want to be and follow your own dreams. Do it with dignity and hold your head up high”.



Free Download:

A joyride that pulls from folk rock, 70s and 80s pop experimentation, and muscly funk, Delivery manages to be both daring and comfortable, full of not just risks, but hooks. This debut album from indie rock harpist, Mikaela Davis delivers messages of resilience and the idea of embracing what makes you unique. Produced by Grammy winner John Congleton (St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, David Byrne, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) and with guest appearances by The Staves, Delivery features 10 original songs that pulse, swell, dance, and bewitch.

First Listen: Chaka Khan is back with "Sugar"


(June 15, 2018) We never hesitate to jump for joy when we hear something new from the legendary Chaka Khan. It has been a decade since she last graced us with the album, Funk This, and she has been rumored to be releasing new music constantly over the past few years.

Well today, the divine Ms. K released a brand new single that is the preface to an album coming later this year. “Like Sugar” is a funky, beat-filled number that has Chaka moving through her upper register and working it beautifully.

The song is a great sound for her, and now we can’t wait for more. Check out “Like Sugar” below and welcome back Chaka Khan!

Chaka Khan - "Like Sugar "


The Jackson 5 Receive Keys to the City in Detroit: 'Coming Back to Detroit is Like Coming Home'

6/16/2018 by Gary Graff

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(L-R) Tito, Marlon (front), Jermaine, Michael and Jackie Jackson

A street naming in Detroit will have to wait, but the surviving members of the Jackson 5 can now open whatever doors the key to the city fits.

The four Jacksons -- Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon -- accepted plaques bearing the city keys during a high-ticket private party on Friday night (June 15) that launched the second Detroit Music Weekend festival. Detroit police chief James Craig, who presented the honors, declared the iconic Motown group "truly Detroiters." Jermaine Jackson told the crowd that "coming back to Detroit is like coming home," and Marlon Jackson told Billboard that though it was Motown that made the Jackson 5 famous, the brothers already had a special relationship with the city before they signed to the label.

"We used to come play the Fox Theatre amateur nights, trying to make a name for ourselves," he recalled. "So the Jackson 5 and Motown goes back many years... There's some synergy there with the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons and Detroit.”

A city key was also awarded posthumously to the late Michael Jackson, who Jermaine said "we miss dearly."

Prior to Friday's presentation the group and the city were mired in controversy over the naming of a street in downtown Detroit. In May it was announced that a Michael Jackson Ave. would be dedicated during the festival, much to the surprise and displeasure of the other brothers. A Detroit city ordinance requires streets to be named only after individuals, and no compromise was reached during the four weeks following the announcement, scuttling the plan entirely.

But the Jacksons' management said Friday that the street naming would be revisited next year as part of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Jackson 5's first recordings for Motown, which will also include a world tour and other projects. "I can understand hiccups and things of that nature," Marlon said. "It's all going to be rectified and done and we're going to celebrate it and come back and unveil the street and do a 50th year celebration here."

He did, however, view the city key as more than just a consolation prize. "I'm staying over 'til Monday morning, and the first thing I'm gonna do is go right to the bank to see if (the key) will open a vault," Marlon cracked.

The four Jacksons -- who will headline Detroit Music Weekend on Saturday (June 16) -- also sat through a 90-minute tribute concert featuring Jackson 5, Jacksons, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and even Rebbie Jackson hits, with guest appearances by Blue Note saxophonist David McMurray and Herschel Boone for Kid Rock's Twisted Brown Trucker Band. The show culminated with an extended version of Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" that featured keyboardist Greg Phillingames, a Detroit native who worked with the Jacksons as a session player and tour musical director.

Detroit Music Weekend will also feature performances by actor/singer-songwriter Jeff Daniels, Grand Funk Railroad co-founder Mark Farner and the Craig Brown Band.

[Edited 6/18/18 10:15am]

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Reply #75 posted 06/18/18 10:13am


New Jenni Rivera Songs to Be Released Soon, Family Confirms

John Parra/Getty Images
Jenni Rivera performs during Billboard Latin Music Awards 2012 at Bank United Center on April 26, 2012 in Miami.

The tracks were discovered by the late singer's brother Juan, Chiquis Rivera announced on Mexican television June 11.

Jenni Rivera tracks never heard publicly will be released soon, according to Chiquis Rivera, who made the announcement during an appearance on a Mexican talk show.

One of those discovered tracks by the late regional Mexican star is "Quisieran Tener Mi Lugar" (You Wish You Had My Place), which was included in the March release of Chiquis' Entre Botellas album. The track includes vocals for both mother and daughter.

"She left it recorded," Chiquis said during the Hoy interview. "My uncle Juan found it among others songs that my mom recorded. I think they’ll be released soon, but I don't know when."

Recording "Quisieran Tener Mi Lugar" as a duet with her mom was a labor of love for Chiquis, who conceded that she did not tear up in the studio while recording it, but "when I heard our voices together -- that's when I cried."

Jenni Rivera performs onstage at the 11th Annual Latin Grammy Awards held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Nov. 11, 2010 in Las Vegas.

Rivera died in a plane crash in late 2012, while she was working in Mexico. Billboard reached out to Rivera's longtime label, Fonovisa, about upcoming projects, but confirmation was not immediately available.

Rivera said that she also contributed a verse for the song with her mother because it wasn't finished. During her media visits in Mexico City, Rivera also said that there will also likely be a fourth season of the NBC Universo reality series The Riveras in addition to also confirming that she's planning to marry Lorenzo Mendez, the lead singer of La Original Banda el Limón de Salvador Lizárraga, who also appeared mid-interview on the talk show to sit next to his fiancé.

How the Rolling Stones' Massive New Vinyl Box Came Together

"Imagine the original version of each album turned up to 11," engineer Miles Showell says of remastering 15 of the band's LPs for a new collection

Abbey Road engineer Miles Showell walks us through how the Rolling Stones' massive new 15-album vinyl box set came together. Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

"You've gotta hand it to the Rolling Stones," says Abbey Road mastering engineer Miles Showell with a laugh. "They've been at the top of their game for, oh, about 55 years now. Nobody's ever going to do that again, are they?"

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Showell spent much of last summer and fall literally up to his ears in more than four decades' worth of Stones recordings, resulting in The Rolling Stones Studio Albums Vinyl Collection 1971-2016, a hefty new limited-edition box set that contains special 180-gram vinyl pressings of every Stones studio album from 1971's Sticky Fingers through 2016's Blue & Lonesome. Each album in the set (out Friday) comes housed in a heavyweight replica of its original packaging – Sticky Fingers has a working zipper, Exile on Main St. contains reprints of its original postcards – but it's the sound of the LPs that will be the real treat for Stones fans. Lovingly remastered by Showell from analog transfers using a painstaking process known as half-speed mastering, the albums boast a richer, more detailed aural picture with a sparkling top end, all while keeping the punch and groove of the original recordings intact.

"If you imagine the original version of each album turned up to 11, to kind of quote Spinal Tap, it's that – it's just one better," Showell explains. "That's what I was going for, without disrespecting the feel and the atmosphere of what's there."

Unless you're a diehard audiophile or vinyl collector, it's likely that you've never heard of Showell. But he's been Abbey Road's go-to guy for half-speed mastering since 2013, trusted with the delicate task of cutting vinyl reissues of albums by the Beatles, the Who, Queen, the Police, Marvin Gaye, ABBA, Amy Winehouse and many others. So devoted is Showell to the half-speed mastering process – in which a recording played back at half its normal speed is cut to an acetate revolving at 16 2/3 RPMs (instead of 33 1/3), thus allowing more recorded information to make it into the grooves of the vinyl pressing – that he now cuts the acetates for each project on his very own Neumann VMS 80 lathe. He spent over 18 months (and a considerable sum of his own money) restoring the vintage lathe, which he keeps at Abbey Road since it would take up far too much space in his home.

"This lathe works significantly better than a new one would have done 35 years ago, and is far and away the best lathe I have ever cut on," he raves. "I spent a lot more on the restoration and modifications than most studios would, but I wanted a secret weapon."

Inspired by the audiophile-oriented work of Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, which began releasing limited half-speed master editions of classic albums in the 1970s, Showell – who has been working as a mastering engineer since 1984 – says he began experimenting with half-speed mastering about 15 years ago. "It's actually pretty soul-destroyingly awful to listen to, as an engineer, while I'm cutting it," he says, mimicking the sepulchral growl of a record spinning at half its normal speed. "But when you put the record on after you're done, you're thinking, 'My God, this just sounds incredible!' That's why you do it, really. That's my OCD, just to kind of noodle away at stuff and get it as good as you possibly can."

Showell spoke to Rolling Stone about how the big box set came together.

When did you start work on the Stones vinyl box, and how long did it take?
They contacted me about this time last year, and I started probably about mid-August. I didn't work on it solidly the whole time; it was on and off. I do very long days, three days a week here [at Abbey Road], because I work on a rotation system with another engineer; we share the room. So I'd say probably two of the three days a week that I spent in the building were spent on the Stones. And I did that for eight weeks ... so about 16, 18 very long days, about 14, 15 hours apiece. And some of the work I was also doing at home, because there was some preparation work I needed to do, just to get rid of any extraneous noises, or fix any drop-outs, or do any "de-essing," which I can do on a workstation at home.

Were there any difficulties in tracking down the original master tapes for this project?
I didn't have any original master tapes for this. The management of the band archived everything digitally a few years back, and I was loaned a hard drive – they said, "You can have this for 24 hours; take anything you need off of it, and then it has to come back." They had several high-resolution transfers of each album, or at least high-resolution where the source was analog tape, which was most of it. They just said, "Take your pick, and work with whichever transfer you feel is better with you."

I'd have liked to have got hold of the tape, but old analog tape is starting to get quite fragile, especially the stuff from the late Seventies and early Eighties, because the tape was not great. Tape from the Sixties is fine, that's holding up really well, but the Seventies- and Eighties-era tape is getting very fragile. It's considered nowadays kind of bad practice to continually keep trying to play these old tapes, because you're just going to wear 'em out. I don't want to be the person who destroyed the master for Black and Blue, you know? [Laughs] I don't want that on my conscience! If they'd given me a hard drive full of rotten transfers, I'd have said, "Look, if you want to do a high-quality box, then we have to try and get the tapes out, and see if I can get anything better." But what I had was good – and in most cases, it was very good – so I was happy to work with what they gave me.

Are you a big Stones fan?
Yeah! I wouldn't say I lived and breathed the Rolling Stones, and some of these albums were new to me. But I knew a lot of them, and I knew Some Girls pretty well. That one, when it was new, was probably when I first woke up to them. But now, being so close to this library, I have to say I really like Goats Head Soup and Black and Blue – just the songs and the atmosphere, and you can really hear them getting together in a room, just people having fun and enjoying themselves.

I already knew Exile on Main St., because I worked on [a half-speed mastered version of] that about five years ago. And that one is what it is – just, like, chuck some mics in the air, and away you go. Some people will kind of rehearse and rehearse and rehearse stuff and make it so note-perfect that it's a bit devoid of atmosphere and vibe, whereas this is all about vibe and getting the right feel, and hang the rest of it. And I kind of like that attitude, really. And even the later albums, A Bigger Bang and Voodoo Lounge, they're great!

Vibe has been such an integral part of the Stones' magic since their very first recordings. Is it difficult to avoid tampering with that element when you're remastering their records?
I really try not to do that. I'm a vibe person more than I am a sound person, if I'm honest with you. I mean, I like it to sound good, but it's no use having a fabulous-sounding record if the atmosphere is dead, you know? The whole point of having a record, and having a hi-fi, is to get moved by the music, as far as I'm concerned. So that's gotta come first. The last thing I wanted to do was to try and stamp my sound all over these records, because that's not what I'm about. I'm about doing as faithful a transfer as I can.

When I was working on this set, not only did I have the digital archive which they loaned me, but I was also given, for the duration of the sessions, a whole box of original [vinyl] pressings from the Stones' archives. So I would do my thing first, and then put the original record on and see how close I was, with the aim of being a bit better. Now, that's not actually as easy as it sounds, because I've got the advantage of a much cleaner signal path than any of the mastering guys would have had originally; but then, I'm also dealing with much more worn tape, so I've already got one arm behind my back before I start. But I'm happy with what I got, and it definitely feels better to me than what I was hearing from the original pressings.

Abbey Road engineer Miles Showell Abbey Road Studios

Did any of the albums present major challenges to you, in terms of remastering?
To be honest with you, there weren't any major challenges. The hardest things to deal with were fixing drop-outs, where there were little holes in the oxide that had been transferred to the digital files. That may be a drop-out that's always been there, or it might just be wear and tear on the tape, or a point where somebody'd crunched the tape when they re-wound it; but with digital restoration software, I can repair those fairly well.

Obviously, in this box, the first three or four albums [Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main St., Goats Head Soup and It's Only Rock 'n Roll] are kind of fairly deliberately lo-fi. It was almost as if, when they went to record Black and Blue, they'd discovered FM radio, and thought, "We'd better make our record sound nice on the FM!" Because suddenly, from Black and Blueonwards, they sound really quite nice – it's a much cleaner sound. But I wasn't going to try and zing up the lo-fi albums, because people know and love them as they are, so it's not for me to try and rewrite history. And it would be wrong; if I was to try and screw in tons of EQ and make it sound really big and bright and smash you in the face, that wouldn't be what people are expecting, because that's not how those records sound. So I tried to be respectful of what was there. I'm quite happy to apply some EQ to a tape that's a bit worn or whatever; but just because I've got seven EQs in the desk, it doesn't mean I have to use all of them. It's like touching up the Mona Lisa – you've got to be careful, and not go too crazy with it.

Were there any big surprises that you encountered?
The only really tricky track was "Fingerprint File," which is on It's OnlyRock 'n Roll – it's the last track on Side Two. When I was comparing what I had [on the digital file] to the original record, I thought, "Hmmm, got the wrong speed here!" So I did a load of research, and learned that most versions of the song out there actually are the wrong speed. I went back to the management and I said, "What's going on here?" And they said, "Nope, that's the master; they must have changed the speed at the original session." So I said, "Well, seeing as we're trying to recreate the original album, let's get the speed the same."

In other words, the Stones' original studio recording of the track had been sped up during the mastering of It's Only Rock 'n Roll?
Yes, it must have just been a decision that was taken at the original mastering session. But when I got the digital track [of the original recording] to match the speed of the version on the album, it was all out of phase; it was horrible. Basically, you can't cut out-of-phase music; when the information in one speaker is slightly out of time with the other speaker, it just doesn't work. The original mastering engineer would have had to have basically made it largely mono – or a fairly narrow stereo – to get it onto the record, otherwise it just wouldn't have cut properly. So with a bit of clever digital filtering, I was able to correct that far more elegantly than would have been possible 40 years ago. So that was the biggest challenge, I guess, and that's because I was comparing it to the original LP. If I had been sent one of the later represses [that included the track at its original speed], I might not have spotted it. So I'm lucky that they gave me that, really!

How much input did the Stones have into the project while you were working on it?
Thankfully, for this, they gave me a real free hand; I couldn't believe it, actually. They said, "Here's the music, here are the original records. Go and do your thing!" And that was it. No input from anybody. They didn't get involved until towards the end, when the test pressings were back from the pressing plant, towards the end of last year.

And they were pleased with those?
Yeah, thank God! [Laughs] The management had heard them all first, and they then sent them on to Mick, and he played them all, and the feedback was all positive. It's really good, because if somebody'd said, "No, I don't like this," then that would have been the end of that, and I would have had a lot of egg on my face, and you wouldn't have a box in your collection!

Coming off this major LP box, what's your take on the future of vinyl?
Whoa, that's a good question, and I wish I knew the answer! If you'd asked me this question 10 years ago, I wouldn't have said that we'd be where we're at now, so it's very hard to be sure. But it would appear that vinyl is becoming the format of choice for the audiophiles – who never really gave up on it, anyway – and the true fans of an artist. Quite often a huge fan of an artist will buy their new LP, the vinyl version, and actually not be able to play it; they'll stream it so they can hear it, but they want to express the fact that they're such a fan of this artist that they've bought this physical thing: "Maybe one day I'll get a record player, but I love them so I bought this."

It's never going to be as mass-market as it was 40 years ago, because there aren't enough cutting lathes and pressing plants left; every pressing plant in the world has huge lead times now. But I don't see any reason, if we're all careful and we all work hard – it's not just me, there are other people as well working hard to create nice-sounding records – that it can't carry on as it is. And the good news, I've noticed, is that all of the pressing plants in Europe, and also in America, have really upped their game, and they're all turning out really nice-sounding stuff. But who knows? Maybe somebody will make an amazing disc-cutting lathe, and maybe the pressing plants will get even better, and it will become the format of the future. I struggle to see that, but I certainly don't see it going away. We may well have reached peak vinyl, but that doesn't mean it's going to drop from here.

The ‘Bobby Brown Story’ Gets Air Date on BET


The success of the New Edition biopic (which aired in early 2017) spawned more demand for BET-produced biopics, and the idea for a Bobby Brown biopic was born.

Now the idea is a reality, with the network announcing the official premiere dates for the two-night premiere of the two-part film: ‘The Bobby Brown Story” set to air on Sept 4th and 5th.

Reprising his role from the New Edition biopic, Woody McClain will once again portray the embattled R&B star who rose to fame in the late 80s as a solo star after leaving New Edition.

McClain will appear alongside the likes of Gabrielle Dennis (who’ll play Whitney Houston), Mekhi Phifer (who’ll play his brother Tommy Brown), Laz Alonso (who’ll play Louil Silas, JR, founder of MCA Records), and Lance Gross (who will play Steven Sealy, a childhood friend).

Marsha Ambrosius Drops Video For New Single, ‘Old Times’


Recently, Marsha Ambrosius released the emotional visual for her new single, “Old Times.”

Produced by DJ Camper, the single features Marsha’s signature melodic vocals as she reminds her lover of their longtime love as he navigates the streets to get home to their family.

The video was shot and directed in Atlanta by The RiskTakerz (of Gucci Mane, Future, and 2Chainz video fame), and replicates the same feeling, adding symbolic imagery that has made headline news of violence against African-American people by authorities in the U.S. She sits and waits at home with her real-life daughter Nyla for her partner a to arrive. Will he make it home safely?

Marsha is also gearing up to release her third album NYLA on September 14 via Entertainment One (eOne), which is the follow up to her 2014 release Friends & Lovers. The album will feature production by Focus, Stereotypes, Harmony Samuels as well as a heartfelt collaboration with PJ Morton. “Old Times” is currently available on all digital platforms (click here).

Regarding the process of the album, Marsha states “I had a lot of pent-up energy, and channeling all of the energy into the music is what helped save my sanity. Poems turned into melodies and then a bunch of songs, which was like my personal therapy in a sense.” She goes on, “From beginning to end, it’s me letting go of everything I wanted to let go of in my life and experiencing things all over again through Nyla’s eyes.”

In addition, Ambrosius will be serenading fans in New Orleans at the 2018 ESSENCE Festival on Saturday, July 7 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (click here for the schedule). She will be performing chart-topping hits spanning across almost 2 decades including “Far Away,” “Say Yes” “Butterflies” “Hope She Cheats…,” “Late Nights & Early Mornings” and introducing new songs from the incredible upcoming album “NYLA.”


An evening of Prince music
performed by the legendary backing group
that played, toured, wrote & recorded with Prince.


Prince drafted a press release in his own handwriting
introducing NPG as “The best band ever”

CELEBRATING PRINCE and the reunion of the most original members of the New Power Generation (NPG) was born out of the exhilarating feedback from the fans after the official Prince Tribute concert in Minnesota 2016. The longest-running member of the NPG, keyboardist Morris Hayes, who also served as Prince's Musical Director for many years, was asked to do the same job for the official tribute concert held in honour of the legendary artist. Hayes brought the original band members back together to serve as the house band (where they were joined by many other musicians throughout the night) for the epic musical celebration. The response was overwhelming in favour of bringing a scaled down version of the musical tribute to other cities around the world. Soon after that historic event, the band reunited and joined forces with other world class musicians, singers and artists to present their own tribute to their legendary mentor and brother, Prince.

NPG band members introducing Lead vocals: MacKenzie (newest member of the band joined in 2018) // Guest co-lead vocals: Kip Blackshire // MD, keyboards: Morris Hayes (longest serving member)// Keyboards: Tommy Barbarella (1990)// Drums: Kirk Johnson (1990) // Bass: Sonny T (1990) // Guitar: Homer O’Dell (Grammy nominated Mint Condition) // Rap/Guitar/Dance: Tony M (1990)// Percussion/Dance: Damon D (1990).

Years of touring, recording, rehearsing, playing and performing with Prince helped to shape New Power Generation. Few other artists are known to have the work ethic that was a defining characteristic of Prince. Respecting the music is the philosophical approach that continues to guide the NPG today. Prince was a consummate live performer and his concerts with the NPG were legendary for the tight arrangements, stellar sound and electrifying pace. And the NPG continue to play as if their infamous boss was front and centre. Celebrating Prince is a non-stop musical kaleidoscope of the most iconic chart-topping hits from all eras of Prince's career. Classic NPG songs like "DIAMONDS and PEARLS," "GETT OFF," "CREAM," "7," and "SEXY MF," are intermingled with songs from throughout Prince's illustrious 4-decade-long career like "1999," "LET'S GO CRAZY," "POP LIFE," "SIGN O’ THE TIMES," "PURPLE RAIN," "U GOT THE LOOK," and "KISS." All Prince music performed by the very musicians who played, toured, recorded and wrote with him for years.

To enter let us know what tickets are on sale on our ticket partner page.

Just send an email with NEW POWER GENERATION in the subject line to please list your name, EMAIL, ADDRESS, TWITTER HANDLE (if available) AND what tickets are on sale here.

It's that simple! Best of luck!

You can double your chances by liking & retweeting the competition on our new Competitions Club page @competitionsC. Good luck & tag friends for extra entries.

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Yvette Horner, France’s Star Accordionist, Is Dead at 95


The accordionist Yvette Horner performing on the French Riviera in 1977.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

  • June 15, 2018

When George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward were writing “Summertime,” the evocative “Porgy and Bess” aria, they probably never imagined that it would one day be performed by a British pop singer known for androgynous outfits and a 71-year-old Frenchwoman with red-orange hair playing an accordion.

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Yet for that woman, Yvette Horner, accompanying Boy George on “Summertime” in 1994 on the French television program “Taratata” was just one moment in a deliciously eclectic career. She played at high-end Paris fashion shows. She appeared in Maurice Béjart’s reimagining of “The Nutcracker.” She recorded with the Nashville harmonica player Charlie McCoy.

Yvette Horner et Boy George "Summertime" 1994CreditVideo by Alain Withier

But her considerable legend was rooted in the years she spent as a distinctive part of the grand caravan that accompanies the Tour de France, the sprawling French bicycle race. For more than a decade in the 1950s and ’60s she played for the crowds from atop one vehicle or another as the caravan made its way along the tour route ahead of the cyclists.

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Ms. Horner died on Monday, her agent, Jean-Pierre Brun, announced. He did not say where she died. She was 95.

After establishing herself on the tour caravan, Ms. Horner recorded scores of albums and played in countless nightclubs and concert halls. In the 1980s her career took on a new life when the fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier essentially gave her a makeover.

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Her dark hair became vivid red-orange, and Mr. Gaultier decked her out in elaborate gowns and costumes. The effect was a kitschy sort of cool.

Ms. Horner was still recording into this decade.

“I cannot do without music,” she said while promoting her album “Yvette Hors Norme” in 2012. “The bellows of my accordion is like a beating of my heart.”

Yvette Hornère was born on Sept. 22, 1922, in Tarbes, in southwestern France. Her family owned a theater, and she was exposed to music and performing from infancy.

“I was born during a rehearsal,” she told Paris Match in 1989. “If I did not have my bottle with a ballad, I did not drink it.”


Ms. Horner performing in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris in 1989. Next to her are the singer Linda de Suza and the French culture minister, Jack Lang.CreditJean-Pierre Muller/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

By age 4 she was taking piano lessons. She first encountered the accordion when the family took a trip to Argelès-sur-Mer, in the South of France; an accordionist in a casino there showed her how to play the instrument.

In 1948, in Switzerland, she won the top prize at an international accordion competition, and in 1952, at the suggestion of her husband, René Droesch, she made her first of 11 rides in the caravan — a raucous event that, for many spectators, was more interesting than the bicycle race.

“It includes publicity vans, trick motor scooter acts and trucks blaring commercials,” a 1959 article in The New York Times explained, noting that the caravan that year was more than 30 miles long. “With something like 15,000,000 fans lining the roads, the publicity caravan has an audience greater than any national magazine or television broadcast.”

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The caravan was certainly good for the young accordionist, who had adopted the name Horner in her early 20s, thinking it might be more commercial. But the hours under the sun took a toll on her skin: She said she was constantly sunburned. One year, someone advised her to smear fat on her face and lips.

“I noticed that everyone was pointing at me and laughing,” she told the newspaper La Dépêche in 2015. “I then looked in the rearview mirror of a car and I understood. I had plenty of mosquitoes stuck on my face.”

Good accordion playing, she once said, was a matter not of reading sheet music but of having “a palette of colors, sounds.” Her musical palette was expansive. Her numerous albums — more than 150, by some counts — delved into Spanish music, pop, rock, rap, jazz, American country and more.

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A few years after her husband’s death in the mid-1980s, Ms. Horner found a renewed sense of adventurousness. Mr. Gaultier, who designed outfits for many celebrities, created some attention-getting ones for her. He also featured her music at runway shows.

In 1998, when Mr. Béjart, the choreographer, created a version of “The Nutcracker,” Ms. Horner turned up as an accordion-playing fairy godmother. One critic, Patricia Boccadoro, sounded dubious as to whether Ms. Horner enhanced the efforts of the orchestra musicians.

“As the evening wore on,” she wrote on of a 2000 performance in Paris, “they were joined by an aging music hall accordionist, Yvette Horner, bedecked in Jean Paul Gaultier, whose additions to Tchaikovsky’s music were worthy of a cheery public house in the north of England.”

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Information on Ms. Horner’s survivors was not immediately available.

Ms. Horner seemed to embrace her unusual celebrity, but she said she did not set out to make a career of playing the accordion; rather, the career found her.

“I played with love,” she said, “and the rest followed.”

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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > New Musica Releases + News/Tours Info 2018 Parte 2