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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.

Related image

“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.

Related image
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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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Reply #69 posted 06/15/18 7:54am


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

Image result for Kandace Springs Black Orchid EP

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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Reply #70 posted 06/15/18 8:47am


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.

Image result for Kate Vargas

"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."

Image result for Kate Vargas

"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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Reply #71 posted 06/15/18 9:24am


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

Gilles Petard/Redferns
(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.”

Image result for Yvette Horner young

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Reply #76 posted 06/20/18 12:48pm


Julio and friends

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Reply #77 posted 06/21/18 9:08am


Published: 2018/06/20

Paul McCartney Announces New Album Egypt Station

Paul McCartney has announced he will release his newest studio album, Egypt Station, on September 7 via Capitol Records. The record, McCartney’s 17th solo studio release, will mark the first collection of new music from the legendary Beatle since his 2013 effort NEW.

Egypt Station, also the title of one of McCartney’s paintings, includes 14 tracks and begins and ends with instrumentals titled “Station I” and “Station II.”

“I liked the words ‘Egypt Station.’ It reminded me of the ‘album’ albums we used to make,” McCartney says in a release. “Egypt Station starts off at the station on the first song and then each song is like a different station. So it gave us some idea to base all the songs around that. I think of it as a dream location that the music emanates from.”

McCartney has also shared two tracks from the new album, “I Don’t Know” and “Come On To Me,” the latter of which was debuted at a surprise show in the Philharmonic Pub in McCartney’s hometown of Liverpool, England, earlier this month.

Listen to the two new tracks below, and pre-order Egypt Station here.


Britney Spears Is Releasing A Collaboration With Pitbull & Marc Anthony

Mike Wass | June 18, 2018 2:34 pm

While “Apple Pie” has been debunked as a myth, it looks like we will still be getting new music from Britney Spears via a collaboration with Pitbull and Marc Anthony. Mr. Worldwide broke the news during a radio interview on the weekend. He started out by revealing that the pop princess is a big fan of his 2014 smash “Fireball” and expressed his admiration for her red latex bodysuit — a reference to Britney’s iconic “Oops!… I Did It Again” video. Then came the bombshell.

“Actually we have a record coming with, I know this is going to sound crazy, I don’t know if y’all going to be able to put this together,” the rapper revealed. “We got a record coming with Marc Anthony, Britney Spears and this guy named Pitbull. I don’t know how it worked out.” Of course, the pair are touring together this summer (he’s supporting the “Slumber Party” diva on her Piece Of Me Tour), so hopefully they will perform it live. Interestingly, they almost worked together in the past. Britney also recorded a demo of “Hey Ma,” but the label went with Camila Cabello’s version instead.

Paul McCartney confirms The Beatles’ White Album 50th anniversary release

Reissue confirmed • Demos will form part of the content

In an interview with DIY Magazine about his new album Egypt Station (published yesterday), Paul McCartney confirmed what was rumoured to be happening – a 50th anniversary reissue of The Beatles’ ‘White Album’.

Paul was asked if he had “finished preparing the 50th anniversary package” of the 1968 double album and responded by saying “It’s all in place, I’ve just got a couple of essays [to approve]. It’s all lined up and it’s really good.”

He went on to say that “The album itself is very cool and it sounds like you’re in the room; that’s the great thing about doing remasters. But we’ve also got some demos of the songs, so you get things stripped right back to just John’s voice and a guitar. You just think, how fucking good was John?! Amazing. We were just doing it; it was amazing. We were having a good time.”

The reissue is likely to be scheduled for November this year, to tie in with the 50th anniversary of the original release, so an official announcement from Apple Corps/ Universal Music could come as early as next month, although August/September is probably more likely.

How excited are you about the forthcoming reissue and what content would you expect or love to see as part of a super deluxe edition box set. Leave a comment!

Read the full interview o...Y Magazine

First Listen: Glenn Jones & Regina Belle find “Love By Design”


Solange Links Up With IKEA For Contemporary Art Venture


Solange’s “A Seat At The Table” is more than the name of her last album – she may be designing literal seats for your living room soon!

The music artist is taking her artistic talents into interior design with the announcement of a merger between her company Saint Heron and IKEA.

According to a press statement, Knowles and IKEA’s co-curator Armina Mussa are joining forces to create original multimedia installations that creatively reflect on intersectional art and culture themes, foster thoughtful fellowship, and push the conversations of our communities to the forefront.

“Contemporary art is a huge part of people’s life today,” says Marcus Engman, Head of Design at IKEA Range & Supply. “At IKEA we are curious about the creative space in between architecture, design, art and music and how that could come alive in the homes of the many people. This is what we want to explore together with Saint Heron.”

<p>Janet Jackson July 2018</p>
Warwick Saint for ESSENCE
Jun, 20, 2018

We first fell in love with Janet Jackson’s infectious smile more than four decades ago when she played young Penny on Good Times. She’s since evolved from a shy child actor into a record-breaking music icon. However, what has remained the same is the "Control" singer’s innate ability to radiate happiness and joy.

That’s why it only makes sense that Janet —“Miss Jackson if you’re nasty”— is covering the July/August edition dubbed “The Happiness issue” of ESSENCE, and opening up about finding her joy through the years.

Janet Jackson Reveals The Secret To Her Happiness In ESSENCE's July/August Issue

“When it comes to happiness, I’m no expert,” Jackson writes in the feature story. “I have only my life experience as a guide. I’ve known great happiness and great sadness. But I guess the key question is, What do I really know about happiness?”

Janet Jackson July 2018

In a heartfelt letter to readers, the ESSENCE Festival headliner answers that question with a level of candidness she has rarely shown before.

“In my forties: Like millions of women in the world, I still heard voices inside my head berating me, voices questioning my value,” Jackson shares. “Happiness was elusive. A reunion with old friends might make me happy. A call from a colleague might make me happy. But because sometimes I saw my failed relationships as my fault, I easily fell into despair.”

Janet Jackson July 2018

Despite the valleys, the 52-year-old entertainer has managed to navigate life with an enthusiasm and work ethic that’s difficult to match. Now she finds pieces of paradise in her relationship with God, the inspirational people she surrounds herself with, and in the presence of her 1-year-old son Eissa.

“The height of happiness is holding my baby son in my arms and hearing him coo, or when I look into his smiling eyes and watch him respond to my tenderness,” Jackson shares. “When I kiss him. When I sing him softly to sleep. During those sacred times, happiness is everywhere. Happiness is in gratitude to God. Happiness is saying, ‘Thank you, God, for my life, my energy and my capacity to grow in love.’ ”

Read more of Janet Jackson's heartfelt letter in the July/August issue of ESSENCE, on newsstands everywhere on June 22!

Lowrell Simon, famed Chicago soul singer-songwriter, dies at 75

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Chicago R&B singer Lowrell Simon. (Courtesy of Fred and Diana Simon)
Aaron CohenChicago Tribune

Lowrell Simon, one of Chicago soul music’s foremost singer-songwriters, died Tuesday of multiple health complications in Mississippi at 75. He may be most recognized for leading the late-1960s/early-’70s vocal group the Lost Generation, but Simon’s compositions also included doo-wop, gospel, a film score, funk and disco.

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“In music, he was the great unknown,” said his brother Fred Simon, who sang with the Lost Generation. “He never got the recognition he was supposed to get, but he was able to make a lasting impression on the world.”

For Lowrell Simon, that musical life began when he was a teenager in the Chicago’s Stateway Gardens public housing development at 35th Street and Federal Avenue. In a 2015 interview, he recalled singing in church and at neighborhood talent shows before joining the Vondells and composing the group’s “Lenora.” The upbeat single gained some local traction in 1964 shortly before the group dissolved.

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Simon formed the Lost Generation a few years later, and promoter Gus Redmond brought the group to the attention of Brunswick Records. While that company was home to such stars as the Chi-Lites, Simon’s work stood out. In an era of sloganeering, his songs detailing changing times emphasized conversational tones. His direct lead vocals complemented his ensemble’s wide-ranging vocal effects and Thomas “Tom Tom” Washington’s sophisticated string arrangements. All of these qualities shaped the 1970 bestseller “The Sly, Slick and the Wicked.”

“I looked at the film title ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ and wondered what can I write that sounds smooth like that,” Lowrell Simon said. “I figured that movie was a hit, so all I had to do was come up with something that slick. I never wrote or read music, so I just sung it to my guitar player, Larry Brownlee. Whatever I hear, I just did.”

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That song sold 600,000 copies, according to the British magazine Blues & Soul. But along with that success, the Brunswick staff became equally impressed with Simon’s alacrity. Saxophonist Willie Henderson — who directed the Lost Generation’s albums “The Sly, Slick and the Wicked” and “Young, Tough and Terrible” — said Simon’s talent seemed natural and spontaneous.

“Lowrell could write on any subject fast and efficiently,” Henderson said. “If I said, ‘OK, write about that tree over there,’ he’d complete a story about the tree and have a melody.”

While the Lost Generation split up around the mid-1970s, Simon began writing for Curtis Mayfield’s company, Curtom. He co-authored songs for the Impressions that made up the soundtrack to the 1974 film “Three the Hard Way.” When the movie premiered at the Chicago Theatre, Simon’s grandmother accompanied him to the gala reception (since she paid for his childhood voice lessons).

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At the end of the 1970s, Simon recorded the album “Lowrell” (AVI), which featured “Mellow Mellow Right On.” Released during the disco era, the track’s beats balanced relaxed and insistent vibes. Hip-hop and trip hop producers seized on that combination in the 1990s, and this sample carries Common’s “Reminding Me (Of Sef)” and Massive Attack’s “Lately.” Daryl “Captain Sky” Cameron, who also recorded for AVI, said DJs value its versatility.

Lost Generation

“The song creates a contrast,” Cameron said. “Vocalists can have it on the bottom and go assertive lyrically, or they can use it when trying to be smooth. It has the same kind of vibe.”

Despite Simon’s impact across a host of styles, he rarely performed during the past two decades. But he was hardly forgotten. Fred Simon is currently a member of the Chi-Lites but said that when the group toured overseas, many fans wanted to talk about his brother.

“I was in the U.K. and all of these people were asking me about Lowrell,” Fred Simon said. “They were handing me the Lost Generation albums to sign and when I called him about it, he would be blown away. Everywhere I went, it was about him.”

The Impressions

Other survivors include three daughters, Rae Simon Brown, Kellan Simon Taylor and Shondrae; a son, Tony Baird; two grandchildren; and two great grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Aaron Cohen is a freelance writer.

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Reply #78 posted 06/21/18 9:51am


Roger Miller Tribute Album 'King of the Road' to Feature Eric Church, Kacey Musgraves

Ringo Starr, Dolly Parton and Merle Haggard are also included on the wide-ranging two-disc collection, out August 31st

'King of the Road,' a two-disc tribute LP to Roger Miller will feature Dolly arton, Ringo Starr, Kacey Musgraves, Brad Paisley and Cake, among others. ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Roger Miller was part Hank Williams, part Will Rogers, yet a wholly original talent with a densely populated mind from which sprang some of the most noteworthy and enduring songs of the 1960s. Amid the yeah-yeah-yeahs of the British Invasion and the protests that "The Times They Are a-Changin'," Miller was a poet of the uncommon (or sometimes just plain weird) man whose quirky hobo anthem, "King of the Road," was positively average compared to many of his other oddball compositions, including "Dang Me," "Chug-a-Lug" and "You Can't Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd."

Grammy darling's 1979 'Muppet Show' appearance includes harmonizing chickens

Influential for his extraordinary songcraft and revered for his offbeat humor, Roger Miller's artistry will be the subject of a genre-hopping two-disc tribute LP, out August 31st. In the works since 2015 but beset by repeated delays, which is hardly surprising given the array of artists involved, King of the Road was co-produced by the legendary artist's son, singer-songwriter Dean Miller, with Colby Barnum Wright of Wright of Center Music, and features a dazzling lineup that includes Dolly Parton, Ringo Starr, Brad Paisley, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard (in one of his last recordings), Kacey Musgraves and Eric Church. Also featured are contributions from Loretta Lynn, Asleep at the Wheel, Rodney Crowell and actor John Goodman, who originated the role of Pap Finn in the Eighties Broadway musical Big River, which featured Miller's Tony Award-winning original songs, based on Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Owing to Miller's influence outside of mainstream country music are offerings from alt-rock bands Toad the Wet Sprocket and Cake, and Americana, folk and bluegrass artists including Daphne and the Mystery Machines, the Dead South and Earls of Leicester featuring Shawn Camp, among others.

While Miller's dizzying wordplay was legendary, he could also pen heart-rending ballads such as "The Last Word in Lonesome Is Me." Originally featured on his third LP, released in 1965, the song later became a Number Two hit for Eddy Arnold and was also recorded in 1976 by NFL great Terry Bradshaw. For King of the Road, the song is placed in the capable hands of Dolly Parton and Alison Krauss. The stone-country tune is distinguished not only by the two angelic voices but also by the presence of fiddle, yet another tribute to Miller, who played that instrument in Grand Ole Opry comic legend Minnie Pearl's band before his own career took off in the early Sixties, with an unprecedented 11 Grammys won in a two-year period.

Roger Miller succumbed to cancer in 1992 at age 56. In 1995, the year Miller was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Alan Jackson had a Number One country hit with the songwriter's "Tall, Tall Trees." Brooks & Dunn topped the chart in 1998 with his 1966 hit, "Husbands and Wives."

King of the Road track listing:

1. "Chug-a-Lug," Asleep at the Wheel featuring Huey Lewis
2. "Dang Me," Brad Paisley
3. "Leaving's Not the Only Way to Go," The Stellas and Lennon & Maisy
4. "Kansas City Star," Kacey Musgraves
5. "World So Full of Love," Rodney Crowell
6. "Old Friends," Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard
7. "Lock, Stock and Teardrops," Mandy Barnett
8. "You Oughta Be Here With Me," Alison Krauss featuring the Cox Family
9. "The Crossing," Ronnie Dunn and the Blind Boys of Alabama
10. "In the Summertime," The Earls of Leicester featuring Shawn Camp
11. "England Swings," Lyle Lovett
12. "You Can't Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd," Various Artists
13. "Half a Mind," Loretta Lynn
14. "Invitation to the Blues," Shooter Jennings and Jessi Colter
15. "It Only Hurts Me When I Cry" (Live), Dwight Yoakam
16. "Hey, Would You Hold It Down?" Ringo Starr
17. "Engine, Engine #9," Emerson Hart featuring Jon Randall
18. "When Two Worlds Collide," Flatt Lonesome
19. "Oo De Lolly," Eric Church
20. "Reincarnation," Cake
21. "You Can't Do Me This Way," Dean Miller featuring the McCrary Sisters
22. "Nothing Can Stop Me," Toad the Wet Sprocket
23. "Husbands and Wives," Jamey Johnson featuring Emmylou Harris
24. "Pick Up My Heart," Lily Meola
25. "I Believe in the Sunshine," Daphne and the Mystery Machines
26. "Guv'ment," John Goodman
27. "The Last Word in Lonesome Is Me," Dolly Parton featuring Alison Krauss
28. "I'd Come Back to Me," Radney Foster featuring Tawnya Reynolds
29. "One Dying and a Burying," The Dead South
30. "Do Wacka Do," Robert Earl Keen, Jr.
31. "King of the Road," Various Artists

Nina Simone’s Childhood Home Gets ‘National Treasure’ Designation

The childhood home of Nina Simone has been designated a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.CreditTravis Dove for The New York Times
  • June 18, 2018

The house where the singer Nina Simone was born is in bad shape. The ceiling is crumbling, the walls chipping, the floorboards sagging; stray wooden planks are strewn against the walls. Last year, it seemed inevitable that the house would succumb to time.

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But, thanks to the teamwork of four artists and a nonprofit, the site has a new lease on life. On Tuesday, the house in Tryon, N.C., was named a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The organization will devise a plan to rehabilitate the house so that it might be used by future artists.

The house, where Simone was born in 1933 as Eunice Kathleen Waymon, has been the subject of failed restoration attempts over the years. Kevin McIntyre, a former economic development director for Polk County, bought the house in 2005 and invested more than $100,000 of his own money before losing the property to money troubles. When the house went on the market in 2016, many assumed it would be knocked down.

Instead, four African-American artists — the conceptualist Adam Pendleton, the sculptor and painter Rashid Johnson, the collagist and filmmaker Ellen Gallagher and the abstract painter Julie Mehretubought the house together in order to preserve Simone’s legacy. The purchase caught the interest of the National Trust, which had recently started a $25 million campaign to preserve historical sites related to African-American history. Simone died at age 70 in 2003 after a long career that made her a soul legend and civil rights icon.

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“African-American women in jazz and in civil rights: their legacy is often undervalued, and there’s an ongoing struggle for recognition,” Brent Leggs, the director of that campaign — called the African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund — said in a phone interview.

So, the organization decided to mark the house a National Treasure, a label that has been bestowed fewer than 100 times across the country. The team will begin an 18-month campaign with a $100,000 internal budget, working with the local community, local organizations and the World Monuments Fund to devise a long-term plan for how to preserve the space. Mr. Leggs estimates the full restoration will cost around $250,000.

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Mr. Pendleton and the other three artists will be actively involved in shaping the house’s future. One idea is to turn the space into a home for an arts residency program, with hopes that future artists might be inspired by the same surroundings that sparked a young Simone.

“I’m not interested in turning the house into a museum,” Mr. Pendleton said in a phone interview. “I’m much more interested in restoring it so that it reflects what it was like when the Waymons lived there. I think it’s important to note that it looks like a very humble dwelling.”

And while the crumbling house is very much of a different time, Mr. Pendleton says it has strong symbolic power in a fraught modern era. “Nina’s politics challenged what America was at the moment she was alive — and challenged what America could be and what it would become,” he said. “I think those are questions that don’t die.”


Kamasi Washington, Still in an Epic Mind-Set on ‘Heaven and Earth’

Kamasi Washington’s new double album, “Heaven and Earth,” picks up on the ambitious ideas he introduced on his breakout 2015 LP, “The Epic.”CreditDurimel
  • June 20, 2018

“The Epic,” the tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington’s big debut on the national stage three years ago, worked partly because it functioned as a provocation — an act of extravagant ambition. Jazz loses a lot of young people with its fixation on history and esoterica. “The Epic,” though historically rooted, provided the opportunity for another kind of buy-in. It was reaching up, not back, soaring toward some other galaxy, suggesting that late-Obama progressivism could use a strong hit of transcendental thinking to make its optimism real.

What Mr. Washington captured was music that seemed like it should have been unrecordable: It had an orchestra; a choir; not one jazz combo but effectively two (double bass, double drums, keyboard and organ as well as piano, plus a line of horns). Listening to all those textures and harmonies crushed against each other and compressed into a studio mix, you thought, This would be immeasurably cool live. (You weren’t wrong.)

But “The Epic” let a listener understand all that, then tried to deliver something stupendous anyway. And you inevitably adopted its ambition, agreed to dream big along with it. It worked.

This week Mr. Washington releases his follow-up, a double album titled “Heaven and Earth.” Like its predecessor (and last year’s “Harmony of Difference” EP, composed for a commission at the Whitney Biennial), it’s about a big concept — this time, the interplay between human consciousness and collective action — and it’s got the full orchestra and choir. Mr. Washington and the band started working on it in 2016, during a manic year of touring, playing the “Epic” material onstage almost every night. One mammoth album became another.

[Never miss a pop music story: Sign up for our weekly newsletter, Louder.]

It’s a bit surprising that he would recommit to this same formula. It needs to overwhelm you in order to work; how long can one stubborn approach do that? I’d thought I would soon be finding out what Mr. Washington sounded like on record in a more modest configuration, putting his scorching tenor saxophone out front.

“Heaven and Earth” is about a big concept: the interplay between human consciousness and collective action.Credit

But he has reason to stick to what’s suited him — and in some small ways, he does expand on it. “Heaven and Earth” starts with a cover of the theme song from the Bruce Lee film “Fist of Fury”; Mr. Washington retitles it in the plural — “Fists of Fury” — and bestows a plain-spoken chorus on it, more directly militant than anything on “The Epic.” The vocalists Patrice Quinn and Dwight Trible intone: “Our time as victims is over/We will no longer ask for justice/Instead we will take our retribution.” This album dreams boldly; it also makes demands.

On “Street Fighter Mas,” he pulls back into a trademark blend of G-funk and fat-pulse drumming, but the firmly holstered groove has more swagger than anything on “The Epic.” The trumpeter Dontae Winslow, who was not on the previous album, caps the track with a subtly affecting solo.

Yet there are also moments of almost direct overlap with “The Epic.” On “Testify,” a jouncing and catchy vehicle for Ms. Quinn (whose singing offers rewards at every turn), Mr. Washington clearly recycles the pacing and even the harmonic design of “The Rhythm Changes” from “The Epic.” And on “Show Us the Way,” the pianist Cameron Graves pounds a pattern distinctly reminiscent of his old part in “Change of the Guard.”

As a soloist, Mr. Washington still tends to start off in a low, rapped babble, and end in dry, rafters-level screams. He uses little patterns to make big proclamations, often landing on the ninth note of a scale (the classic, inquisitive, top-of-the-jazz-chord tone).

Mr. Washington still suffers gentle disdain from some in New York, where the international jazz scene is unofficially headquartered. It’s a town he’s never felt obligated to join — or to beat. A common criticism is that his music isn’t doing anything new — it’s a classic old complaint, and it doesn’t stick here. Yes, there are precedents for using lots of voices or strings to a high-tide effect (McCoy Tyner’s “Song of the New World,” Bobby Hutcherson’s “Now,” Max Roach’s choral works). But Mr. Washington plants his music in somewhat different soil, pulling rhythms from the Caribbean and Los Angeles’s fusion-driven jazz scene of the 1970s and ’80s, as well as the city’s more Afrocentric exponents. And as he corrals dozens of carefully tracked instruments — both electric and acoustic — he also thinks and operates like a contemporary producer. He wrote almost every tune on “Heaven and Earth,” as well as “The Epic,” and he arranged and produced both albums. He belongs in conversations about production and sound design, alongside Flying Lotus (who put out “The Epic”) and Thundercat (who’s featured on both albums).

On “Heaven and Earth” there’s a balance between big-stroke conceptualism — the first CD, “Earth,” is meant to represent worldly preoccupations; the second, “Heaven,” explores utopian thought — and the workmanlike reality of collaboration. The two collections don’t vary significantly in terms of sound; instead, they’re a testament to the sturdy rapport of Mr. Washington’s ensemble, made up of Los Angeles musicians who have been playing together for years — in some cases, since high school.

The best way to experience the cleanse and burn of Kamasi Washington’s music is live; with just the core members of the group, his songs become airborne vehicles with plenty of room for you to climb inside. Soloists like Mr. Washington and the trombonist Ryan Porter don’t have to fight for space. Still, his growing body of orchestral recordings is making big statements of its own, confronting an earthly reality that continues to grow darker with an earnest and open vision.

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Reply #79 posted 06/21/18 9:52am


The Cramps Drummer Nick Knox Dead at 60

Psychobilly pioneers' longest-tenured drummer played on four studio albums and debut EP 'Gravest Hits'

Nick Knox, longtime drummer for the influential psychobilly band the Cramps, died Friday at the age of 60. Redferns

Nick Knox, longtime drummer for the influential psychobilly band the Cramps, died Friday at the age of 60.

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A quick primer on the beloved cult band Lorde's supporting in our new issue

Fellow former members of the Cramps, including the band's second drummer Miriam Linna and guitarist Kid Congo Powers confirmed Knox's death on social media. No cause of death was provided.

Born Nicholas Stephanoff, Knox served as drummer in the short-lived Cleveland protopunk band the Electric Eels before joining Lux Interior and Poison Ivy in the Cramps in 1977, replacing Linna behind the drums.

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"I last saw Nicky – Nick Knox – who most you know as the drummer of note for 70’s bands the electric eels and the Cramps, last weekend, in intensive care at the Cleveland Clinic. It was heartbreaking, as I had spent a few great days with him at the end of April," Linna wrote in a lengthy Facebook tribute; prior to reconnecting in 2017, Linna and Knox hadn't seen each other in 40 years.

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Powers, who played alongside Knox on the Cramps' Psychedelic Jungle, tweeted, "Nick Knox Coolest of the cool. R.I.P. Glad to have played to your boss Beat. Meet you on the mystery plane."

Knox was the longest-tenured drummer of the Cramps, which disbanded in 2009 following the death of frontman Interior. The drummer played on four studio albums – 1980's Alex Chilton-produced Songs the Lord Taught Us, 1981's Psychedelic Jungle, 1986's A Date With Elvis and 1990's Stay Sick!– as well as the punkabilly progenitors' 1979 debut EP Gravest Hits.

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Knox left the Cramps in 1991 and largely retreated from the music scene, collaborating with a handful of Ohio-area bands and DJing over the ensuing decades, Linna wrote.

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"Many people will have great memories of Nicky," Linna added. "I thank God that Nicky was a friend of mine. He was one of the kindest, funniest, most amazing human beings ever and I was very lucky to have been in his orbit."

XXXTentacion, Rapper Accused of Violent Crimes, Shot Dead at 20

XXXTentacion, the 20-year-old rapper who climbed the charts as he faced charges for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, was shot dead in Florida on Monday.CreditJack McKain

  • June 18, 2018

Jahseh Onfroy, the rapper and singer known as XXXTentacion, whose surge in popularity in the last year and a half — including a No. 1 album — came as he was facing accusations of violent crimes against a woman, was shot and killed outside a motor sports store in Deerfield Beach, Fla., on Monday afternoon. He was 20.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office confirmed the victim was Mr. Onfroy. Videos taken at the scene on Monday and shared on social media showed the rapper’s slumped body in the driver’s seat of a black BMW sports car as a bystander attempted to take his pulse. TMZ first reported the news of the shooting.

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Mr. Onfroy had been approached by two armed suspects shortly before 4 p.m., in what appeared to be a robbery, the sheriff’s office said. At least one of the suspects fired a gun and struck the rapper before fleeing in a dark-colored S.U.V. Mr. Onfroy was transported to a local hospital. Just after 5:30 p.m., the authorities said that he had been pronounced dead.

[A suspect has been arrested in the killing of XXXTentacion: read more here.]

In the last 18 months, XXXTentacion quickly became one of popular music’s most controversial and, in some circles, reviled figures. In early 2017, “Look at Me!” — a bratty, caustic, distorted song — became the first breakthrough hit of the SoundCloud rap movement. But at the time it was soaring in popularity, XXXTentacion was in jail following his arrest on charges including aggravated battery of a pregnant victim and false imprisonment. By the time he was released from jail in March of last year, “Look at Me!” was climbing the Billboard Hot 100; a month later, it would peak at No. 34, cementing the rapper’s place as a disrupter whose serious personal issues only led to more attention and, for some, shored up his outlaw mystique.

Mr. Onfroy was born on Jan. 23, 1998, in Plantation, Fla. He was raised primarily by his grandmother, and had multiple scuffles with the law. In 2013, he began recording and releasing music in earnest following a stint in a juvenile detention center. Over the next two years, he self-released several projects, both as a solo artist and also as a member of the Members Only collective.

[Hero or villain? The death of XXXTentacion divides the internet.]

Sonically, his music was foundational to the rowdy, genre-crashing approach that’s become popular on the music streaming service SoundCloud over the past three years. Of the artists who got their start in that scene, he was one of the most commercially successful. His debut album, “17,” was released last August, and has been certified gold. In March, he released his second album, “?,” which made its debut at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart.

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At the time of his death, Mr. Onfroy was awaiting trial on charges of battery, false imprisonment and witness tampering. He pleaded not guilty.

In a deposition ahead of the trial, as well as an interview earlier this month, Mr. Onfroy’s onetime girlfriend said she was a victim of frequent domestic abuse from him. “His favorite thing was to just backhand my mouth,” she told the Miami New Times. “That always left welts inside my lips.”

She said the violence culminated in an attack in October 2016, while she was pregnant, during which Mr. Onfroy punched, strangled, kicked and head-butted her. She said Mr. Onfroy then took her cellphone and moved her to an associate’s home for two days before she escaped.

Mr. Onfroy was arrested the next morning and ultimately charged with aggravated battery of a pregnant victim, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment and witness tampering.

Roger Gengo, the proprietor of the website Masked Gorilla, which chronicles the SoundCloud scene, said that XXXTentacion was both an early beacon for this burgeoning brand of underground hip-hop, and its most polarizing figure.

[Read more about SoundCloud rap.]

“It was always this internal struggle for me — he’s so popular and shedding light on this scene, but he’s been accused of these terrible things,” Mr. Gengo said. “Taking into account what he’d been accused of doing, his music was still incredibly authentic. His true self bleeds through into his lyrics and his music.”

Mr. Gengo added, “Wanting somebody to be held accountable for their actions doesn’t mean you want them to be killed in the street.”

rest in peace 🙏🙏🙏 I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here thank you for existing

The divisive terms of XXXTentacion’s rise only seemed to embolden his devoted followers. “Kids just represented for him so strongly,” Mr. Gengo said. “They wanted to defend him and to believe that the allegations aren’t true. That builds the strongest fan base.”

XXXTentacion rarely gave interviews, but he often used social media to communicate directly to his fans. In a video posted to Instagram’s live feature, he spoke about what he hoped his impact would be: “If I’m going to die or ever be a sacrifice, I want to make sure that my life made at least five million kids happy, or they found some sort of answers or resolve in my life, regardless of the negative around my name, regardless of the bad things people say to me.”

XXXTentacion was also at the center of an industry uproar last month when Spotify, the leading music streaming service, said it would stop promoting artists whose real-life conduct it found to be “hateful.” Along with R. Kelly, who has faced decades of allegations regarding sexual abuse, Spotify cited XXXTentacion as someone whose songs would be removed from the company’s influential playlists.

But following a backlash that included Kendrick Lamar’s label TDE, which called censorship a “super sensitive topic,” Spotify rescinded the policy three weeks later and restored XXXTentacion’s hit “Sad!” to its prominent placement on the playlists. “Sad!”, with its deceptively bouncy chorus about suicide, has been streamed more than 270 million times on the service (and another 174 million on YouTube) and currently sits at No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 after peaking in the Top 10 earlier this year.

Mr. Lamar was one of many older, establishment artists who expressed admiration for XXXTentacion’s music despite his charges. “listen to this album if you feel anything,” Mr. Lamar wrote on Twitter last year. “raw thoughts.”

Following news of XXXTentacion’s death, the rapper J. Cole wrote on Twitter: “Enormous talent and limitless potential and a strong desire to be a better person. God bless his family, friends and fans.”

Matt Murphy, Master of Blues Guitar, Is Dead at 88


Matt (Guitar) Murphy at the Rialto Theater in Joliet, Ill., in 2012. In his long career he played with Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry and many others.CreditDaniel Boczarski/Getty Images

  • June 19, 2018

Matt (Guitar) Murphy, a master bluesman who played with Howlin’ Wolf, Etta James, Chuck Berry and Memphis Slim but was best known as a member of the Blues Brothers band, died on Friday in Miami. He was 88.

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The cause was a heart attack, his wife, Kathy Hemrick, said.

Mr. Murphy began his career in Memphis before moving in the 1950s to Chicago, which was then at the epicenter of a new kind of hard-driving, heavily electrified blues. His harmonically sophisticated, jazz-inflected guitar playing established him as a mainstay of the Chicago scene, and a true original.

Reviewing a 1982 performance in which Mr. Murphy played mostly other musicians’ songs, Rafael Alvarez of The Baltimore Sun wrote, “The blunt affection for the wide, wide range of musical styles Murphy offers will make you forget the original discs.”

Mr. Murphy’s talent came to the attention of John Belushi and the keyboardist Paul Shaffer in 1978 as they searched to recruit musicians for the band that Mr. Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, both stars of “Saturday Night Live” at the time, planned to take on tour as the Blues Brothers.

They had asked the songwriter Doc Pomus for help. “He was known as a guru figure,” Mr. Shaffer said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Shaffer and Mr. Belushi had paid a visit to Mr. Pomus at Kenny’s Castaways, a music club in Greenwich Village.

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“We explained our project and he said, ‘You need Matt Murphy,’ ” Mr. Shaffer said. “I didn’t know his history and asked Doc, ‘Is he legit? Is he one of the real Chicago guys?’ He said, ‘Yes,’ and based on that we hired him.”

(Mr. Murphy told a different story: that he was spotted by Mr. Belushi and Mr. Aykroyd while playing at another Manhattan club.)

The band — whose other members included Mr. Shaffer, Lou Marini on tenor saxophone, Steve Jordan on drums, Duck Dunn on bass and Steve Cropper on guitar — recorded an album, “Briefcase Full of Blues,” at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles in 1978. They subsequently appeared on “S.N.L.,” went on tour and made a movie.

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The hit 1980 film “The Blues Brothers,” directed by John Landis, told the fictionalized story of Jake and Elwood Blues’s quest to get their band back together. In the film, Mr. Murphy’s character — also named Matt Murphy — owns a soul food restaurant with his wife, played by Aretha Franklin. At one point she angrily warns him not to leave for the road by singing her 1968 hit “Think.” But Mr. Murphy removes his apron, picks up his guitar and tells the brothers, “Let’s boogie.”

Mr. Murphy continued to perform with the band and appeared in “Blues Brothers 2000,” Mr. Landis’s 1998 sequel.


Mr. Murphy flanked by the Blues Brothers — Dan Aykroyd on harmonica, John Belushi at the microphone — at the Winterland Arena in San Francisco in 1978.CreditEd Perlstein/Redferns, via Getty Images

Although Mr. Murphy had been performing since the late 1940s, Mr. Belushi and Mr. Aykroyd “definitely put me in business,” he told the guitarist Tom Guerra in an interview on the website of his band, Mambo Sons.

Matthew Tyler Murphy was born on Dec. 28, 1929, in Sunflower, Miss., to Daniel and Lizzie Murphy. His mother died when he was a youngster, and he and his siblings moved to Memphis, where his father was a porter at the famed Peabody Hotel.

Mr. Murphy nurtured his love of guitar playing by listening to records by T-Bone Walker, Blind Boy Fuller and others. But his musical influences also included the jazz saxophonists Stan Getz and John Coltrane.

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In Memphis, he played with Howlin’ Wolf, the blues pianist and singer Memphis Slim and the bandleader Tuff Green. Memphis “was one of these hot spots where cats could come from everywhere else and get the surprise of their life because there were so many good musicians there,” Mr. Murphy told Mr. Guerra.

Nonetheless, he soon left for the even more fertile musical turf of Chicago. He became a staff guitarist at Chess Records with the help of the bassist Willie Dixon, which led to many years of session work. Mr. Murphy recorded with Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Sonny Boy Williamson.

In 1963, he electrified European audiences with his performance of “Matt’s Guitar Boogie,” backed by Mr. Dixon, Memphis Slim and the drummer Billy Stepney, on the American Folk Blues Festival tour.

"Matt's Guitar Boogie," live in 1963.CreditVideo by

In the early 1970s, Mr. Murphy joined the harmonica player James Cotton’s band. The group’s 1974 album, “100% Cotton,” included two songs written by Mr. Murphy.

Mr. Murphy formed his own band in the 1980s and recorded three albums as a leader between 1990 and 2000. One of his sidemen on the 1990 album “Way Down South” was his brother Floyd Sr., an accomplished guitarist in his own right who played with Little Junior Parker, Big Mama Thornton and Rufus Thomas.

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Baron Raymonde, a saxophonist in Mr. Murphy’s band, said that Mr. Murphy was always looking to improve his playing. “He would sleep with his guitar,” Mr. Raymonde said in a telephone interview. “He’d practice before he went to sleep and sometimes wake me up at 4 a.m. and say, ‘Listen to this.’ ”

Mr. Murphy had a small stroke during a performance around 2001 — he was treated by paramedics but did not go to the hospital — and a more severe one a year or so later. He underwent extensive physical therapy and retired, but he resumed performing at the 2010 Chicago Blues Festival with Mr. Cotton (who died last year).

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In its review of that show, the Chicago Blues Guide wrote, “Although both men have suffered major health problems in the past, both were back in virtuoso form that night, storming though lively numbers like ‘Rocket 88,’ danceable jump blues, Chicago blues and some Wolf songs.”

Mr. Murphy continued to perform, making one appearance at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival at Madison Square Garden in 2013. His wife said he had been planning a new recording.

In addition to her, his survivors include two sons, Melvin and Christopher.

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Reply #80 posted 06/22/18 8:00am


Wynton Marsalis Septet
United We Swing: Best of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas

In the early 2000s, Wynton Marsalis often found himself staring at a telephone, full of dread, as he prepared to call fellow musicians – some of them strangers – to ask if they’d be willing to join his septet in benefit concerts for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Education Program.

“It was worse than being 13 and asking a girl to dance,” the trumpeter said. “Sometimes, I would stall for weeks just getting up the nerve to do it.”

Thankfully, Marsalis made the calls. Also thankfully, artists spanning a wide gap of musical styles accepted his invitations.

The result of these sometimes-unimaginable collaborations is United We Swing: Best of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas, a 16-track, various-artists compilation featuring performances recorded between 2003 and ‘07 and released here for the first time.

The LP is a glorious mashup that finds artists from across American music – from bluesman Ray Charles in one of his last performances to former 10,000 Maniacs frontwoman Natalie Merchant – playing a variety of original and cover songs over a bed of big-band jazz courtesy of Marsalis and his mates.

As is often the case with such hodgepodges, some things work better than others. But only John Legend, who sings a hoaky, bosa nova rendition of “Please Baby Don’t,” and Lenny Kravitz, who turns in a languid and ill-conceived version of “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” fall flat.

More typical – and much more enjoyable – are huge surprises such as Eric Clapton playing acoustic guitar and singing a Dixieland take of “I’m Not Rough;” John Mayer singing eerily like Stevie Ray Vaughan on “I’m Gonna Find Another You;” Jimmy Buffett lamenting a life of booze and leisure on a steel drum-laden “Fool’s Paradise;” and Audra McDonald doing a wordless and ethereal duet with Marsalis’ muted trombone on “Creole Love Call.”

Elsewhere, Bob Dylan makes a jazzy shuffle of “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” (a highlight); Lyle Lovett kills on his own “My Baby Don’t Tolerate” (another highlight); and Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks take a tack unlike any of their album mates – with Trucks’ slide guitar dominating the septet behind them – making yet another highlight of Nina Simone’s “I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free.”

The Blind Boys of Alabama, Willie Nelson, James Taylor and Carrie Smith also contribute tasty morsels to this wide-ranging collection, which proves, as Marsalis says in the liner notes, “When it worked, it was exhilarating.”

Published: 2018/06/20

Wilco Announce Dates for 2019 Solid Sound Festival

Stephen Bloch

Wilco have announced they will once again host their own Solid Sound Festival next year after the 2018 hiatus that is currently underway, as the band last took the stage this past fall.

Solid Sound 2019 will return to MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA, June 28–30. Stay tuned to the festival’s website for more information.

Last year, Wilco hosted Solid Sound and kicked the weekend off wi...bum encore of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot after already playing the fan-selected Being There in full during the set proper.

Published: 2018/06/20

Brooklyn Comes Alive Sets 2018 Lineup

Brooklyn Comes Alive will once again bring a multi-venue, collaboration-filled musical celebration to the New York City borough this fall, and this year’s lineup of various tributes and one-off superjams has been confirmed today.

First up in this year’s BCA offerings will be a few tributes, including the Purple Party Prince tribute that first took place at this year’s Jazz Fest in New Orleans and will feature bassist MonoNeon and members of Snarky Puppy, The Motet, Turkuaz and more. A performance in memory of “Col. Bruce Hampton, Butch Trucks, Gregg Allman and Those We’ve Lost…” will feature George Porter Jr, Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, Lettuce guitarist Adam Smirnoff, Jeff Sipe, Peter Levin and vocalist Elise Testone, while a Steely Dan tribute will be lead by The Motet’s Joey Porter with members of his band plus musicians from The Nth Power, Turkuaz, Kung Fu, Snarky Puppy and Primates vocalist Hayley Jane.

Lettuce drummer Adam Deitch will also lead his own Quartet, and The Disco Biscuits’ Marc Brownstein will team up with his Breaking Biscuits partner Borahm Lee of Break Science, along with Dumpstaphunk’s Alvin Ford Jr. and Rebelution’s Khris Royal. Iconic New Orleans drummer Johnny Vidacovich will lead a trio featuring keyboardist Robert Walter and Lettuce trumpeter Eric Bloom; drummer Nikki Glaspie will join Scott Metzger, MonoNeon, Skerik and Cory Henry; Lettuce’s Eric “Jesus” Coomes will host the Baby Jesus Peasant Party; bassist Karina Rykman will bring her newly formed Experiment to BCA; a trio of Dopapod founders, Eli Winderman, Rob Compa and Michelangelo Carubba (now with Turkuaz), will reunite; Turkuaz vocalist Shira Elias will lead a Soul Tracks throwback performance with members of The Nth Power, The Motet and more; and Katharsis will feature The Motet’s Dave Watts, keyboardist Todd Stoops, Dopapod’s Chuck Jones and Digital Tape Machine’s Marcus Rezak.

Among other musical groups, this year’s BCA will also include a lineup of comedians performing “Wokes with Jokes: Stand-Up Comedy About The Jamband Scene.”

See the full lineup and poster detailing all the group configurations below. Brooklyn Comes Alive is set for September 29 and will take place at Brooklyn Bowl, Music Hall of Williamsburg and Rough Trade. Tickets are on sale now. All information can be found here.

Brooklyn Comes Alive Artist Lineup

George Porter Jr. (The Meters)
Cory Henry (Snarky Puppy)
Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits)
Adam Deitch (Lettuce)
Scott Metzger (Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, WOLF!)
Robert Walter (Greyboy All-Stars, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Mike Gordon)
Nikki Glaspie (The Nth Power)
Skerik (Garage A Trois)
Jeff Sipe (Aquarium Rescue Unit)
Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff (Lettuce)
Borahm Lee (Break Science)
Eric “Benny” Bloom (Lettuce)
Robert “Sput” Searight (Snarky Puppy, Ghost Note)
Ryan Zoidis (Lettuce)
Michelangelo Carubba (Turkuaz)
Nigel Hall (Lettuce)
Shira Elias (Turkuaz)
Nate Werth (Snarky Puppy)
Nick Cassarino (The Nth Power)
Erick “Jesus” Coomes (Lettuce)
Wil Blades
Joey Porter (The Motet)
Todd Stoops (RAQ, Electric Beethoven)
Brandon “Taz” Niederauer
Johnny Vidacovich
Lyle Divinsky (The Motet)
Karina Rykman (Marco Benevento Band)
Rob Compa (Dopapod)
James Casey (Trey Anastasio Band)
Dave Watts (The Motet)
Alvin Ford Jr. (Pretty Lights Live Band, Dumpstaphunk)
Eli Winderman (Dopapod)
Tim Palmieri (Kung Fu)
Peter Levin (Gregg Allman Band)
Nate Edgar (The Nth Power)
Khris Royal (Rebelution)
Steve Swatkins (Allen Stone)
Ryan Jalbert (The Motet)
Dave Harrington (Darkside, Dave Harrington’s Merry Pranksters)
Sammi Garett (Turkuaz)
Chuck Jones (Dopapod)
Mike “Maz” Maher (Snarky Puppy)
Hayley Jane (Hayley Jane & The Primates)
Chris Bullock (Snarky Puppy)
Casey Russell (The Magic Beans)
Tyler Coomes
Adam November (Karina Rykman Experiment)
Megan Letts (Mama Magnolia)
Chris Corsico (Karina Rykman Experiment)
Joel Gonzaléz
Aron Magner (The Disco Biscuits)

Brett Siddell (SiriusXM, Wokes With Jokes)
Walker Berry (Wokes With Jokes)
Ariella Wallen (Wokes With Jokes)
Pamela Mahler (Wokes With Jokes)
Richie Alfson (Wokes With Jokes)

Ari Fink (SiriusXM)

Elvis Costello & The Imposters Announce November Tour

Iconic singer-songwriter Elvis Costello will hit the road with his Imposters this fall for a newly announced batch of 20 November and early December tour dates.

The North American tour will kick off November 2 in Bethlehem, PA, and will take the group through Washington, DC, Boston, Detroit, St. Louis, Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver and more.

Costello, newly signed to Concord Records, will also release a new album with The Imposters, with more information forthcoming. See their tour schedule below, and get ticking information here.

Elvis Costello & The Imposters Tour Dates

November 2 Bethlehem, PA—The Sands Bethlehem Event Center
November 4 Washington, DC—DAR Constitution Hall
November 6 Asbury Park, NJ—Paramount Theatre
November 7 Verona, NY—Turning Stone Resort Casino
November 9 Wallingford, CT—Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre
November 10 Boston, MA—Boch Center Wang Theatre
November 11 Buffalo, NY—Shea’s Performing Arts Center
November 13 Detroit, MI—The Fillmore Detroit
November 15 Minneapolis, MN—Northrop Auditorium
November 17 Grand Rapids, MI—20 Monroe Live
November 19 Memphis, TN—Orpheum Theatre
November 21 St. Louis, MO—Peabody Opera House
November 23 Thackerville, OK—WinStar World Casino
November 25 Denver, CO—Fillmore Auditorium
November 27 Phoenix, AZ—Comerica Theatre
November 28 Anaheim, CA—House of Blues Anaheim
November 29 Los Angeles, CA—The Wiltern
December 1 San Francisco, CA—The Masonic
December 3 Seattle, WA—Paramount Theatre
December 4 Vancouver, BC—Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Review: Chaouche confronts past traumas, turning them into something hopeful & positive on Safe

The key to its beauty is how restrained the music is on Safe. For all of the gorgeous and lush arrangements, the songs remain focused and uncluttered.

Jeremy Monroe14 Jun, 2018
Review: Chaouche confronts past traumas, turning them into something hopeful & positive on Safe

It's a given that we spend much of our youth lost behind music for any number of reasons: be it out of boredom or a desire to fit in with our peers, or because some of us are looking from an escape from the world around us. It was no different for Aisha Chaouche, who turned to music early in her life to cope with a traumatic childhood.

Describing her father as being "very aggressive" and not "a good character", her parents eventually divorced, but not before the experience left an impression on Chaouche. She was taken out of school and was living in virtual isolation in the mountains in Wales. The sense of disconnect only added to the confusion of coming to terms with her youth and family life and she sought refuge behind her mother's piano.

Having found a natural gift for creating music, she decided to make a career out of it and eventually moved to Bristol where she briefly studied at BIMM music college. She soon dropped out to focus on writing and recording her own music and eventually decided to record an album. Having her childhood experiences as a source of inspiration, she released a couple of singles and quickly followed that with her debut, Safe.

Related image

It's a self referential title but also a very fitting one. "The overarching theme of my songs is "healing" she writes about Safe. "Collectively my songs contribute to a greater understanding of particular issues I found overbearing and traumatizing as a child and young adult. Each song is dedicated to a memory or experience that has come from a negative source that’s ultimately been turned into a strength."

For an album that deals with topics as serious as abandonment and trust, mental illness, letting go and trust, Safe is a surprisingly uplifting experience. Though it was likely difficult for Chaouche reliving those experiences while challenging them into her music, it was obviously a cathartic experience. She never allows the tension or heartbreak to be the focus, instead working through those emotions towards closure and acceptance.

Despite only studying for a year, her natural gift as a composer and writer are more than evident. Safe was recorded using a limitation of equipment, but the whole "less is more" approach works to her advantage and allows her natural abilities to come gleaming through. The plucked strings, minimal percussion, and layered harmonies on 'I'll Lose My Head' (inspired by mental illness) gives it an almost gospel feel with its layered harmonies providing a haunting choir effect while the title-track is stripped even further with the unsettling sound of wailing police sirens piercing the eerie stillness given off by Chaouche's otherworldly voice and gloomy piano.

Both of these songs put emphasis on how gifted of a singer she is. It's no surprise that Bjork is one of her influences but rather than pushing her vocals into far out places, she instead focuses on her power and range, having the ability to simultaniously break your heart and lift your spirits.

The key to its beauty is how restrained the music is on Safe. For all of the gorgeous and lush arrangements, the songs remain focused and uncluttered. 'So What' for example is sparsely arranged with a minimal amount of drum pads and percussion fluttering behind the warmth of her chords and soaring harmonies.

'What's Next?' builds from a fairly gentle composition to something a little more chaotic where the pianos rise and tumble with urgency and bursts of erratic percussion disrupts the otherwise serene nature and nudges everything towards a thrilling climax with Chaouche repeating the refrain "I don't need your love" that makes for an especially intense release of emotions.

Music as catharsis is nothing new and plenty of artists have documented some of the most painful (and private) experiences of their lives through music as both a means of processing them but also as a way of reaching others who are likely experiencing the same struggles as a way of letting them know they aren't alone. Chaouche takes the most heartbreaking moments of a her life one memory at a time and walks us through them to a place where resolution feels possible and hope feels within reach.

Rating: 7.5/10


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Reply #81 posted 06/22/18 8:47am


Destiny's Child in talks to record Charlie's Angels soundtrack

31 min

Destiny's Child has reportedly been approached to record a song for the new Charlie's Angels movie.

The legendary girl group topped charts around the world when they released Independent Women in 2000, which was first featured on the soundtrack to the Charlie's Angels film starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu.

A new reboot being helmed by Elizabeth Banks is now in the works with Lupita Nyong'o and Kristen Stewart both rumoured to be starring in the project, and a source has claimed that the studio is keen for Destiny's Child to repeat history and create a new track for the feature.

"Sony Pictures credits the group’s smash hit, Independent Women, for much of the last movie’s success and is actively courting the group with hopes they will reunite to record another song for the forthcoming reboot," the insider told

And though the source alluded that the trio - which consists of Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams - are interested in the gig, the Survivor singers wish to open negotiations that will ensure they have autonomy over the project.

"The group is open to a reunion but the delay has been caused by the fact that they would like complete ownership of their name and music as both are still owned by Beyonce’s father Mathew Knowles (who managed Destiny's Child)," the source explained. "If they can come to an agreement that works for everyone the group will then begin talks with Sony about the soundtrack."
The three-piece are said to be "especially excited" about their potential involvement due to the possible inclusion of Lupita, who was first rumoured to be up for an Angel role last September (17).

Review: ‘The King’ Chases the American Dream and Elvis


Eugene Jarecki’s documentary “The King” tells two stories — one about Elvis Presley, the poor boy who became a king, and the other about the United States. Here, the king is in the Army.CreditOscilloscope Laboratories

The King NYT Critic's PickDirected by Eugene JareckiDocumentaryR1h 47m
  • June 21, 2018

Wildly ambitious, thoroughly entertaining and embellished with some snaky moves, Eugene Jarecki’s documentary “The King” is a lot like its nominal subject, Elvis Presley. In part, it tells the familiar story of the poor little boy who became a king. But Mr. Jarecki has a second, larger and more complicated story he wants to address, too: that of the United States. Tying one man’s body to the body politic, he seeks to turn Presley’s life — from ravishing, thrilling youth to ravaging, putrefying fame — into the story of the country, an arc that takes the documentary from Graceland to Trumpland.

Why Elvis? For Mr. Jarecki, the answer seems to be, why not? Mostly, though, there is the 1963 Rolls-Royce Phantom V, which came into Mr. Jarecki’s sights a few years back and serves as both the documentary’s roving stage and silent co-star. It’s a silver beast: huge, cumbersome-looking and temperamental. (It breaks down.) Rigged with cameras, it has to be among the more expensive picture cars in the history of cinema, having been bought by the movie’s production company in 2014 for almost $400,000.

Mike Coykendall and M. Ward in the Rolls-Royce that serves as both the documentary’s roving stage and silent co-star.CreditDavid Kuhn/Oscilloscope Laboratories

Mr. Jarecki, who is regularly seen and heard throughout the movie, never goes into how he got behind the wheel of this pricey collector’s item (now resold), which is too bad because it provokes your curiosity. (I had to ask the publicist.) He just invites you to hop in while he steers you cross-country, following ribbons of road and a time line that shifts from the past to the present and back again. The details of some of that history are as familiar as a fairy tale, like the shotgun shack in Tupelo, Miss., where Presley was born on Jan. 8, 1935.

He was the only surviving child of his beloved mother, Gladys, and his father, Vernon, who three years later was in prison for check forgery, just one of the many milestones that Mr. Jarecki passes as he quickly begins complicating his story. Working with a team of editors, he introduces Presley, the man and the myth, using an onslaught of archival images and sounds. In interviews and in early television appearances (hello, Ed Sullivan), the young Elvis rises to a mesmerizing, cacophonous chorus: “We want Elvis, we want Elvis!”

Mr. Jarecki complies, delivering Presley with the help of a large group of revolving guests that includes James Carville, who soon after slipping into the Rolls invokes Mike Tyson, another fallen god. Mr. Jarecki likes to visually embroider the dialogue, and as Mr. Carville speaks, the movie cuts to Mr. Tyson delivering a devastating blow in the ring. “Mike Tyson,” Mr. Carville says, “hit you so hard he changes the way you taste.” Then it’s back to Mr. Carville opining on Elvis in the Rolls: “America never tasted the same after he hit.”

This show-and-tell strategy is diverting — as are guests like Ethan Hawke — but “The King” is at its strongest when Mr. Jarecki uses his material to build an actual argument. That’s what happens when he enters a juicy virtual discussion about Presley, white supremacy, black heritage and cultural appropriation that features Van Jones, Chuck D and the TV auteur David Simon (“The Wire”), who are united through the editing. “It’s important to recognize,” Mr. Jones says, “that Elvis as hero does not rest comfortably in the mouths of all Americans.” Mr. Jarecki seems to let Chuck D and Mr. Simon do the talking for him. “Listen,” Mr. Simon says, “the entire American experience is cultural appropriation.”

Every documentary is also a chronicle of its own moment, and so it’s no surprise that throughout “The King” Mr. Jarecki restlessly looks at contemporary America as he tracks Presley’s path from Tupelo to Memphis, Nashville and beyond, and simultaneously heads toward Donald J. Trump, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and beyond. Mr. Jarecki’s weaving of past and present makes seamless sense — even if images of Tupelo today say more than his brief, rather opportunistic visit with a few residents — but at other times his searching feels like reaching. One of the most attractive things about Mr. Jarecki as a filmmaker, though, is that he’s comfortable letting you see him struggle.

“What do you think I’m doing with this movie,” Mr. Jarecki asks as “The King” nears its midpoint. He’s riding shotgun, and Wayne Gerster, a crew member, is behind the wheel. “I don’t know what the hell you’re doing with this movie,” Mr. Gerster gruffly replies. “I’m not sure you know what you’re doing, that’s what’s scary.” He ventures a reasonable guess, offering that Mr. Jarecki is after “some comparison between — I hate to say ‘fall’ — but the rise and decline of Elvis with the rise and decline of America.” Mr. Gerster volunteers his own take on the country (he believes it’s stagnant), even as Mr. Jarecki listens and continues on his search.

He finds a great deal throughout “The King,” which finally proves more seductive than persuasive, particularly as Presley and Mr. Jarecki approach the finish and the screen turns into an imagistic, intellectual blur: Elvis falling, the twin towers burning, candidates rallying and Barney the purple dinosaur waving. It’s a chaotic end, but the journey is the destination in a movie that gives you plenty to think about and argue with, as it racks up the miles and people clamber in and out of both the Rolls and the movie. While most of the Presley experts Mr. Jarecki confers with are men (an unfortunate lapse), this otherwise generous, perceptive director, more than anything, clearly yearns to fit not only Elvis but also the whole wide world into his sweet ride.

The King

NYT Critic's Pick
DirectorEugene Jarecki
WriterEugene Jarecki
StarsAlec Baldwin, Tony Brown, James Carville, Chuck D, Maggie Clifford

Hall & Oates, Train

Xfinity Center - Mansfield, Massachusetts, USA


07 June 2018 (gig)
10 June 2018

One of the best package tours of 2017 was the keen pairing of Philly-soul icons, Daryl Hall & John Oates (Hall & Oates) with another exceptional duo, Tears for Fears, which turned out to be both a critical and commercial success.

Changing things up for 2018, the current Hall & Oates outing pairs them on a co-bill with the pop-rock ensemble, Train, which performed at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts on June 7, 2018.

Fronted by tenor vocalist Patrick Monahan, Train opened their set nicely with 2009s, "Parachute." Nicely however, quickly became frantic, as a blistering take of "50 Ways to Say Goodbye," Trains tongue-in-cheek tune, which has Monahan lamenting that a lover, who gave him his walking papers, has falsely died (and gives several over-the-top and different versions concerning her demise), rather than admit he was actually just dumped. An infectious number, which was given added tang due to accentuated mariachi band flavored licks, which the band incorporated live.

A new song, "Call Me Sir," also employed some humorous overtones of a once ignored man, now gathering respect and being called "Sir," all due to his apparently attractive new beau, was followed up with an unanticipated, yet exquisite, cover of Led Zeppelins "Black Dog" - where Monahan clearly showed his vocal chops remain as remarkable as ever.

While Train has been covering "Free Fallin" this tour, as a tribute to Tom Petty; they substituted that with a rendition of Aerosmiths "Dream On"- which was an appropriate (and geographically appretiated) nod to the "Bad Boys From Boston."

Not wasting any time getting to their hits, Hall & Oates appeared onstage and quickly started off with their biggest smash of their career, "Maneater" ("Maneater" spent a quartet of weeks at the number 1 spot on Billboards Hot 100 chart in 1982) - and so began the inaugurate of the duos non-stop jukebox of hits. 1984's "Out of Touch" (which was the only track performed from the album, "Big Bam Boom," this night) is now less synthesizer laden than the original, now being more electric guitar driven, as was 1983's gem, "Say It Isn't So."

Harking back to their initial hit single successes, "She's Gone," and "Sara Smile," were performed simultaneously. "She's Gone," which is a genuine duet between the two partners, with Oates recreating his booming, yet very emotionally pained, delivery of feelings ones age after a split, while Hall effortlessly recreated his iconic falsetto on “Sara Smile” (both songs were Top 10 hits in 1976).

Not just staying with the obvious smashes, the lesser known, and very cool, "Is It a Star," was once again pulled out for diehards of the band, before an extended take on "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)," regained the crowds full attention. Long-time saxophonist, Charles DeChant, who has been with Hall & Oates since 1976, (and easily the most popular onstage member - besides Hall & Oates), charismatically recreated his iconic saxophone solo on "I Can't Go for That," and stole the spotlight for a few minutes.

At this point, Monahan was called back to perform "Philly Forget Me Not," a joint collaboration between Hall & Oates (and is actually their first new song in 15 years) and Monahan. Nodding to their roots influences from Philadelphia, "Philly Forget Me Not," is a most welcome return to new music from the most popular duo ever. Monahan stayed on to duet with Hall on, "Wait For Me," before crooning out a polished delivery of Trians, "Calling All Angels." After Monahan absented himself, the set was closed perfectly with a pair of early 80's paragons, "Kiss On My List" and 1981's "Private Eyes," before returning for a heavier than usual "Rich Girl," which transitioned into "You Make My Dreams Come True," and sent the crowd away as ecstatic as if they had just witnessed the show at Daryl Halls actual house.

The generational mix in the crowd was similar to last year, but there appeared to be even more younger faces this time. As the legend and talent of Hall & Oates continues to expand, their sometimes unfair "80s" affiliation (which was never justified or even accurate, as the duos debut album was released in 1972), has now been re-branded with a "timeless" label.

Led Zeppelin / The Song Remains The Same reissued across many formats

June 21, 2018 by Paul Sinclairtags: 1970s, Blu-ray Audio, hi-res, Led Zeppelin


9-disc super deluxe edition • Blu-ray audio • Full album 5.1 mix

Led Zeppelin‘s soundtrack to their concert film The Song Remains The Same has been remastered and will be reissued across multiple formats in September.

The band’s performances in July 1973, at New York’s Madison Square Garden, were recorded for the concert film, The Song Remains The Same. The soundtrack to the film, produced by Jimmy Page, was originally released in 1976.

This reissue is similar to the recent reissue of their live album How The West Was Won, since the formats on offer include an expansive super deluxe edition box set that includes the remastered audio on two CDs and four vinyl LPs and a two-DVD set of The Song Remains The Same featuring the full theatrical version of the film plus bonus content including four performance outtakes that were not part of the original film: Celebration Day, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, and The Ocean. The box also includes a DVD of the entire album in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and PCM Stereo, a download card of all stereo audio content at 96kHz/24 bit, a 28-page book (with photos and an essay by Cameron Crowe), a replica of the Japanese program from 1977, and a print of the original album cover (as usual, the first 30,000 will be individually numbered).


As well as the big box, there’s a 4LP vinyl set, a blu-ray audio with the 5.1 mix (96kHz/24 bit) and stereo mix and a humble remastered two-CD package.

It’s worth noting that for the 4-LP set, Page made a change to the track sequence, allowing the 29-minute version of Dazed And Confused to be featured in its entirety on one side of vinyl for the first time.

The Song Remains The Same will be reissued on 7 September 2018.


Jazz's William Parker Creates an Album of a Lifetime... Again with 'Voices Fall from the Sky'


In a career full of lofty goals and incredible highs, William Parker has once again sculpted an album that will stand apart from the pack through beauty alone.


AUM Fidelity

15 June 2018

When bassist and composer William Parker released the triple album For Those Who Are, Still, I incorrectly assumed that any future ambitions the modern jazz icon would have wouldn't be on such a large scale. Voices Fall from the Sky demonstrates that, even as a sexagenarian, Parker can still deliver the goods in large packages. This is a triple album comprised entirely of vocal pieces, some old, some new, some jazz, some wildly not, and some arranged in wholly original ensembles. There are 17 different vocalists lending their expertise over 34 tracks lasting three hours and 15 minutes. Even if some of this material is recycled (in the most technical sense of the word), it's still an achievement suitable for everyone's gawking. To call it a jazz album is akin to assuming that a fancy buffet is out to focus on only one dish. It may not be one of jazz's best albums of the year, but it's still one of the best albums of the year.

The three discs that comprise Voices Fall from the Sky follow their own loose themes. The first one, named after the album, is all new material and features an enormous cast of musicians. The featured vocalists are Omar Payano, Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez, Andrea Wolper, Bernardo Palombo, Jean Carla Rodea, Kyoko Kitamura, Fay Victor, Amirtha Kidambi, Timna Comedi, and Morley Shanti Kamen. To name every instrumentalist would take up even more room, though it's worth mentioning that some of jazz's most valuable hired hands, as well as Parker's mainstays, are helping out -- pianist Cooper-Moore, trombonist Steve Swell, drummer Gerald Cleaver, and pianist Eri Yamamoto, just to name four.

If we're going to talk about genres, things start to sway from the jazz path as early as track four, "City of Flowers", which sounds like Andrea Wolper was suddenly possessed by the ghost of Schoenberg and a case of the hiccups while Karen Borca's bassoon and Masahiko Kono's electronics try to exorcise the demon within. "Despues de la Guerra" switches gears to a Latino-meets-12-tone-scale attack for two guitars. Parker may steer things back to the jazz idiom eventually, but that doesn't make it traditional sounding in any sense.

"We Often Danced" combines soulful saxophone and muted trumpet and a modern string section for over 14 minutes so that Fay Victor could give a mostly spoken-word performance outlining the story of African-Americans trying to find something to live for during times of slavery. The disc wraps up with "A Tree Called Poem" where Morley Shanti Kamen and William Parker keep the song a duet for over eight minutes. "Light dances off sparkling buildings" she sings with all feeling and no effort.

The second disc is simply named "Songs". Here, Parker arranges songs from earlier in his career to suit the core vocalists of Lisa Sokolov, Ellen Christ, and Leena Conquest, with Ernie Odoom and Mola Sylla singing just one apiece. "Songs" is split into recording sessions from the 1990s and songs taken from the 21st century William Parker albums Wood Flute Songs, Corn Meal Dance, Stan's Hat Flapping in the Wind, and For Those Who Are, Still. The instrumentation has been boiled down to just Parker and a rotating bench of pianists including Yuko Fujiyama, Eri Yamamoto, and Cooper-Moore (the exception is the AMR Ensemble, who give Odoom a New Orleans dirge to sing over top of on "All I Want").

As one would expect, these songs are skeletal and vulnerable. Just a few standouts are Lisa Sokolov singing the fragile "Aborigine Song" and Leena Conquest letting is loose on "Prayer". Worth noting is the fact that Parker also penned a haunting piece in memory of Julius Eastman for the "Songs" disc: "Can you bring those who have died / Back to life to live again / To feel the rain and wind again?" Fujiyama's piano and Sokolov's voice are a deadly perfect combination.

The third and final disc is probably the most ambitious one of the three (and that's really saying something). On "Essence", Parker throws the human voice in front of a series of large ensembles like the William Parker Orchestra, and AMR Ensemble, the Kitchen House Blend Ensemble, and Parker's own Double Quartet. If you remember the bassist's 2012 double album Essence of Ellington, you have a decent idea of how well Parker handles the big band homage trick without sounding like some Duke cover act retread.

Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay gives a delightfully wordless performance to the cinematic throwback tune "Lights of Lake George" from Double Sunrise over Neptune while Leena Conquest gets the final word on "Natasha's Theme" from Alphaville Suite: "They have killed all the poets / Who have cried for the world / And the children who wore numbers." The centerpiece of "Essence" is the poetically-titled "The Blinking of the Ear", a four-part suite featuring just Yamamoto on piano, Leonid Galaganov on drums and AnnMarie Sandy stretching her operatic range to sing notes of freedom, healing, and peace.

In a career full of lofty goals and incredible highs, William Parker has once again sculpted an album that will stand apart from the pack through beauty alone. Once you take into account Parker's ambitiousness and his strong sense of social obligation, Voices Fall from the Sky rests on even sturdier ground. This is an album to take with you into the next lifetime.


[Edited 6/22/18 10:44am]

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Reply #82 posted 06/22/18 8:53am


Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj’s Ominous “The Light Is Coming” Video

Mike Wass | June 21, 2018 1:34 pm

While there are a couple of striking moments, notably when the hitmaker cradles an orb and the moment a red light illuminates the trees, this is a murky, shadowy affair that plays more like an arty Reebok commercial. Nicki is largely an afterthought and she disappears as soon as her verse is over. Hopefully the duo’s “Bed” video (they have two collaborations out at the moment) is more fun and watchable. The previewalready suggests that it will be. Watch the gloomy visual below and click through our gallery of screengrabs up top.


BET to present Anita Baker with Lifetime Achievement Award

Jamie Bell in Talks to Play Bernie Taupin in Elton John Biopic ‘Rocketman’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Jamie Bell is in negotiations to play Bernie Taupin, the famed songwriter who collaborated on 30 albums with Elton John, in Paramount’s biopic “Rocketman” starring Taron Egerton as John.

Dexter Fletcher is attached to helm the project. Lee Hall penned the script. Paramount Pictures will finance and distribute the pic.

Taupin began collaborating on songs with John back in 1967, when the two both answered an advertisement for talent placed in the New Musical Express by Liberty Records A&R man Ray Williams. Though both were rejected for that job, John would stumble across Taupin’s poetry, leading to one of the greatest music collaborations ever.

The two worked together on hits including “Crocodile Rock,” “Honky Cat,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Candle in the Wind,” “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” “Bennie and the Jets,” and the title of the project, “Rocket Man.”

Matthew Vaughn and his Marv Films will produce, along with John and his Rocket Pictures partner David Furnish.

Bell is coming off his AMC Revolutionary War series “Turn,” where he starred as American spy Abraham Woodhull and which recently ended its four-year run on the network. Bell was also recently seen opposite Annette Bening in “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.”

He is repped by UTA and Artist Independent Management.

New Elvis Gospel Compilation Features Lisa Marie Presley, Darlene Love

'Where No One Stands Alone' pairs classic Presley performances with new instrumentals, backing vocals

A new Elvis gospel compilation, 'Where No One Stands Alone,' will feature contributions from Lisa Marie Presley and Darlene Love. Rob Latour/REX Shutterstock, Kobal/REX Shutterstock, Greg Allen/Invision/AP/REX Shutterstock

A new Elvis compilation, Where No One Stands Alone, will highlight the rock legend's love of gospel music and feature contributions from Lisa Marie Presley, Darlene Love and more. The record arrives August 10th via RCA/Legacy.

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Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki compares state of our nation to rock icon's demise – and asks where we all went wrong

The 14-track album will combine classic Elvis vocal performances with newly-recorded instrumentation, as well as new backing vocals from singers Presley performed with on stage and in the studio. Lisa Marie Presley will sing a reimagined duet with her father on the album's title track, "Where No One Stands Alone,"

Lisa Marie Presley duets with father Elvis on new posthumous album

"It was a very powerful and moving experience to sing with my father," Lisa Marie wrote in her notes for the album. "The lyrics speak to me and touch my soul. I'm certain that the lyrics spoke to my father in much the same way."

Along with Lisa Marie Presley and Love, Where No One Stands Alone will also feature vocals from Cissy Houston – who began singing with Elvis in 1969 as a member of the Inspirations – Terry Blackwood, Armond Morales and Jim Murray. The members of Elvis' longtime backup group the Stamps – Donnie Sumner, Bill Baize, Ed Hill and Larry Strickland – also contributed to the record.

Where No One Stands Alone is available to pre-order. The record will be released digitally as well as on CD and vinyl. On August 11th, Lisa Marie Presley will join producers Joel Weinshanker and Andy Childs for a special "Where No One Stands Alone" event at Graceland Soundstage.

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Where No One Stands Alone Track List
1. "I've Got Confidence"
2. "Where No One Stands Alone" (with Lisa Marie Presley)
3. "Saved"
4. "Crying In The Chapel"
5. "So High"
6. "Stand By Me"
7. "Bosom Of Abraham"
8. "How Great Thou Art"
9. "I, John"
10. "You'll Never Walk Alone"
11. "He Touched Me"
12. "In The Garden"
13. "He Is My Everything"
14. "Amazing Grace"

Frances Walker-Slocum, 94, Pioneering Pianist and Teacher, Dies

Frances Walker-Slocum in an undated photo. She championed the works of black composers and was the first black women granted tenure at Oberlin College and Conservatory.CreditOberlin College Archives

  • June 19, 2018

Frances Walker-Slocum, who overcame childhood burns that left her arm impaired to become a pioneering classical pianist and the first black female tenured professor at Oberlin College and Conservatory, died on June 9 in Oberlin, Ohio. She was 94.

Her death was announced by Oberlin, where she had taught from 1976 until she retired in 1991 and was named a professor emerita.

“Miss Walker’s playing has sweep and impetuosity,” John Briggs wrote in The New York Times in a review of her debut concert at Carnegie Recital Hall in Manhattan in 1959, which included works by Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Chopin. She was known professionally as Frances Walker at the time.

“She proved well able to do justice to the big virtuoso pieces on her program,” Mr. Briggs added. “It was an impressive first appearance by a young pianist of considerable talent.”

"Still Defiant — Frances Walker at 90" (2 min. Trailer)CreditVideo by LongfellowChorus

Her performance at a bicentennial concert at Oberlin in 1976 was so impressive that she was immediately hired to teach there. She became an champion of black composers, including Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Scott Joplin and William Grant Still, and waged a continuing campaign for gender pay equality among the faculty.

Peter Takacs, a music professor at Oberlin, said in a statement that Professor Walker-Slocum’s “deep, noble, unhurried” interpretations of all music, but especially Brahms and Liszt, imbued the works she played with even deeper profundity.

The younger sister of George Walker, who in 1996 became the first black classical composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for music, Professor Walker-Slocum was not only an accomplished pianist but also a popular teacher, at Tougaloo College in Mississippi, the Third Street Settlement School in Manhattan, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, Rutgers University in New Jersey and Oberlin, where she rose to chairwoman of the piano department.

“Ms. Walker was a tough teacher, but one who knew how to tap into every student’s motivation,” said Lee Koonce, a senior adviser to the dean of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and a former student.

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Frances Walker was born on March 6, 1924, in Washington, the granddaughter of a slave and the daughter of Dr. George Walker, an immigrant from Jamaica, and Rosa (King) Walker, who worked for the Government Printing Office. Dr. Walker had studied at Temple University; when the couple moved to Washington, their first major purchase was a piano.

When Frances was 5, about the time she grudgingly began piano lessons, her dress caught fire as she was playing with matches.

She was taken to the emergency room of Freedmen’s Hospital, Washington’s only hospital for blacks at the time. She was in a coma, and her right arm was severely burned. Hospitalized for a year, Frances underwent several operations, but her right arm remained shorter and weaker than her left, its movement impaired. That meant that later on she struggled to perform more challenging works, she said.


Professor Walker-Slocum with a student, Kevin Sharpe, in about 1980.CreditOberlin College Archives

“I felt sorry for myself and at the same time guilty for all the trouble I had caused,” Professor Walker-Slocum wrote in her memoir, “A Miraculous Journey” (2006). “I was constantly in fear of dying.”

But while attending Dunbar High School, she began private piano lessons and also studied piano at the junior division of Howard University’s music department.

“The arts build moral strength and all kinds of inner strength,” she said.

She enrolled in Oberlin, which she described as “a vanguard in those days” as the only institution where a black woman could earn an undergraduate degree in music. She graduated in 1945.

She met Henry Chester Slocum Jr., a white Oberlin alumnus, in Mississippi. They got married in New York City because interracial marriage was banned in Mississippi. But even living in Astoria, Queens, she said, they were subjected to bigotry.

Mr. Slocum died in 1980. Professor Walker-Slocum is survived by their son, Jeffrey Slocum; her brother; a granddaughter; and two great-granddaughters.

She received a master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a professional diploma for completing the credits for a doctorate.

Her career soared after she expanded her classical repertoire in 1975 with a performance at Carnegie Recital Hall, “Bicentennial Program: The Music of Black American Composers.”

“I did it in ’75 because all these people were coming out with firsts,” Professor Walker-Slocum recalled in a 1992 interview. “ I didn’t want anybody to come out with music of black composers for piano and do it before I did.”

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In reviewing that concert for The Times, Donal Henahan called her “a solid technician and an artist of invariable restraint.”

“We hear a lot nowadays about ‘black music,’ ” he observed, “and there certainly are works that legitimately qualify as such. But there is, and has been for several centuries, music by black composers that need not be put into any racial pigeonhole. Black-influenced, yes; but black in a narrow sense, no.”

She was subsequently invited to play at Oberlin, where, after her concert, she was recruited on the spot to teach the next semester.

She later performed at Lincoln Center, Town Hall and the Brooklyn Museum in New York; at the National Gallery and the Kennedy Center in Washington; in radio recitals on WNYC and WQXR in New York; and on tours of Europe.

Ms. Walker-Slocum stopped playing about 20 years ago, her son said, after she developed rheumatoid arthritis in her hands.

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As Paul Simon launches farewell tour, new biography celebrates a musical prophet

Matt Damsker, Special to USA TODAYPublished 12:05 p.m. ET May 7, 2018 | Updated 6:59 p.m. ET May 7, 2018

When Paul Simon wrote — in Simon & Garfunkel’s 1965 breakthrough hit The Sound of Silence — that “the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls/And tenement halls,” he made a call to our collective conscience that resonates just as powerfully today as it did during its long moment on the pop charts.

Among ‘60s folk-rock bards who matured and endure as global singer/songwriters, Simon stands in the front rank, setting as high a bar for musical quality and poetic vision as any. His ongoing success has been flecked with failure, youthful doubt and adult disappointment, and now we have a worthy portrait of the artist to put it all in perspective.

Paul Simon: The Life (Simon & Schuster, 448 pp., ★★★★ out of four) is a straight-shooting tour de force by Robert Hilburn, the former pop critic for the Los Angeles Times and author of an acclaimed 2013 Johnny Cash biography. Famously private, Simon reportedly resisted countless offers for his story until he read the Cash book, after which he gave Hilburn access and full editorial control.

It makes sense that Simon would trust Hilburn, a writer who doesn’t go for lurid detail, over-analyze or indulge in critical preening and preciosity. Like Simon, Hilburn’s passion is music, and he makes clear that Simon’s is very much a life in and of music — a drive for aesthetic achievement, deeply serious in the studio and onstage.

Singer Paul Simon performs on stage at the Bilbao Exhibition

Singer Paul Simon performs on stage at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre in the Spanish Basque city of Barakaldo on Nov. 17, 2016. (Photo: Ander Gillenea/AFP/Getty Images)

As Hilburn tells it, Simon inherited his rigor from his musician father, Lou, who was stingy in his praise of Paul’s early songwriting efforts, just as Paul is a candidly tough judge of the musical aspirants he encounters.

Hilburn’s nuanced attention to the dynamics and the substance of Simon’s artistry is evident throughout. We learn where memoir turns to message in his lyrics (“When you’re weary, feeling small“ is, for example, the confessional nudge that sends Simon’s great hymn, Bridge Over Troubled Water toward its affirmation) and we learn countless, often surprising details of his music-making: how he wed the melody line of a Bach chorale to the words of American Tune, or the obsessive studio wizardry that made such folk-pop anthems as The Boxer rival the ambitiousness and sweep of The Beatles.

Hilburn’s reportorial skill takes us on a complex journey, starting with Simon’s birth in 1941 and his middle-class rooting in Queens, N.Y., where he and a childhood friend, Art Garfunkel, inspired by the Everly Brothers, harmonized well enough to catch the ears of Manhattan producers. They enjoyed a modest hit record, Hey Schoolgirl, in 1957, as Tom and Jerry.

It would take another decade, though, for the multi-million-selling triumphs of Simon & Garfunkel’s heyday, followed by the Simon solo albums that yielded such hits as Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover, Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, and the pioneering, pop-expanding world music of Graceland, for which Simon journeyed to South Africa in the 1980s to collaborate with local musicians.

Author Robert Hilburn.

Author Robert Hilburn. (Photo: Christopher Morris)

In doing so, he sparked controversy among anti-apartheid activists, while bringing great African musicians such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo to the wider world. Simon’s high-profile failures — from his star turn in the film One-Trick Pony to the Broadway debacle of his musical, The Capeman — are just as fully delineated.

Hilburn weaves together the turbulent decades and quiet personal drama of Simon’s story — how his self-consciousness about his short stature (he’s 5-foot-3) prompts him to tower above the pop competition, while his relationships and three marriages have often coexisted uneasily with his dedication to his art.

And though he will launch his lengthy Homeward Bound: The Farewell Tour on May 16 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, in part to raise money for a number of worthy, Earth-conserving causes, Hilburn makes clear there’s nothing forcing Simon, now 76, into retirement.

Ultimately, he’s a man at peace with his complicated past, his honored present, and Hilburn does thorough justice to this American prophet and pop star.

News Updated June 22, 2018

Max Weinberg remembers his hero and friend, Elvis Presley's drummer

Jay Weinberg, D.J. Fontana, and Max Weinberg, November 28, 2015 - courtesy of Max Weinberg

R.I.P. D.J. FONTANTA (March 15, 1938 - June 13, 2018)
Max Weinberg remembers his hero and friend, Elvis Presley's drummer

D.J. Fontana was the drummer I saw that made me want to be a drummer. Before Ringo. When I first saw D.J., I was five. I had older sisters, and I'm so grateful they were aware of Elvis Presley before The Ed Sullivan show. He was on The Milton Berle Show and The Dorsey Brothers [Stage Show] way before Ed Sullivan. There was only one camera, and they had to get everybody in one shot. I actually have a kinescope of that. So it looked like four guys: Elvis, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana. It wasn't just Elvis, it wasn't just the singer — it was four guys playing.

Bruce has said that the snare shot in "Like a Rolling Stone" was like an explosion that kicked open the door to his mind. As a five-year-old, D.J.'s drumroll in "Hound Dog" was an explosion for me. That drum roll, that triple roll, was shocking. So D.J. Fontana is someone who I was aware of as a little boy, and that's what got me started playing the drums. D.J. Fontana was my hero. And of course this is still kind of a surprise; it's a shock to have D.J. gone, the last member of that quartet.

Scotty Moore, Max Weinberg, and D.J. Fontana on the set of Late Night With Conan O'Brien, 1998 - photo courtesy of - thanks to Shawn Poole

I don't think that it's an understatement to say that he created and made famous rock 'n' roll drumming. What Elvis was to rock 'n' roll music — D.J. was the first guy. The archetypical rock 'n' roll drummer.

First, he was a Big Band drummer. Big Band drumming became rock drumming, and D.J. was the personification of everything that had gone on in drumming before. He absorbed all of that. In the '30s, Gene Krupa was the guy who drew attention to the drums. D.J. would speak about Don Lamond, who was about 15 years older and an amazing Big Band drummer — he played on all the Bobby Darin records, like "Mack the Knife" and "Beyond the Sea." Don Lamond, Buddy Rich… D.J. brought all that to rock 'n' roll music. He was an original.

D.J. was also very strong — a physically strong guy — so he had the big beat. As Levon Helm has said, D.J. added some architecture. D.J. had chops, he had power, he had taste... when he played the drums, no matter what he played on, it sounded like an Elvis Presley tune. It really did.

One of the greatest things I've ever seen was at that show in Red Bank that Garry [Tallent] put together [Alliance of Neigbors benefit, October 2001]. Garry was the musical director, and he had the Sun rhythm section come to play with Sonny Burgess. So Bruce came up to play a song with them, and they went into "Tiger Rose." As soon as D.J. hit the beat, the biggest smile came across Bruce's face — it sounded exactly like Elvis's rhythm. Nobody played that kind of music like D.J. Fontana.

October 2001, Red Bank, NJ [L-R]: Kern Kennedy (of Sonny Burgess's band The Pacers), Burgess, Bruce Springsteen, D.J. Fontana - photo courtesy of - thanks to Shawn Poole

Being a great drummer... he would have been a great drummer under any circumstances. But D.J. was a great drummer, and he played with Elvis Presley. It's so important to have the right platform, to have great songs to play. Otherwise, you can be a great drummer, but no one will know about it! I myself was so fortunate to connect with Bruce and the band, and to have that platform; I've had a number of great platforms during my career. So D.J. had it all — the chops, the passion, and the platform.

My son Jay and I went to see him, not too long ago, in Nashville. More than just my biggest influence and hero, D.J. became an extremely close friend of the family. In his kitchen, he has all these pictures — polaroid camera, old '50s pictures — that you've never seen before, of Elvis and the band, traveling around together. They've never been in a book. It just makes you realize… I mean, the lead singer of that group of musicians was Elvis Presley. Arguably the greatest singer in the history of rock 'n' roll. What a position to be in — to know Elvis Presley. To be in those close quarters with Elvis before he was successful… there are only three other guys in history who knew what that was like, and we just lost the last one.

And this is really crucial, a lot of people may not realize: they were a band. It was Elvis, sure, but it wasn't like Elvis was "Elvis Presley" yet. On a daily basis, it was the four of them in car, driving 400 or 500 miles, with only each other to count on. Taking turns driving, playing all these little honky tonks and small places — those guys were dependent on each other. Plus, D.J. was four years older than Elvis. Elvis was only 19 or 20, and D.J. promised Gladys, Elvis's mother, that he'd look out for him. And he always did.

One of my favorite stories of D.J.'s is in my book [The Big Beat: Conversations with Rock's Greatest Drummers]. I asked him about his drum tuning, about the snare tuning on "Jailhouse Rock" and how he got that sound. Elvis bought him that drum set. They were driving through Houston, and there was a big music store, kind of like Manny's [Music] in New York, and it was called Brochsteins. They go there, and he sees this copper-colored set, and it had the animal skin on it that you'll see in the old pictures. And DJ told me, "That's how it sounded when I got it from Brochsteins!" The greatest drum sound ever, and he didn't do anything: "That's the way I got it from Brochsteins!"

"That's the way I got it from Brochsteins!" Max and Jay Weinberg at the Fontana house, November 28, 2015 - courtesy of Max Weinberg

I think they made about $100 a week when they were playing. A lot of people don't know this, but the band broke up when Elvis went into the Army. Basically, Scotty and Bill quit when Elvis went into the Army, because they weren't making any money. Which is understandable. But D.J. said, you know, I'm here. He did something — even if it was just tambourine — on just about every Elvis project until Elvis died.

In my book, he tells the story of the last time he saw Elvis. Elvis was standing by a horse rail fence, and he was in jeans. He never wore jeans in public; he wore a track suit or slacks. He never really dressed down. But here in private, he was in jeans and T-shirt. And he said, "D.J., sometimes I get so tired of being Elvis Presley."

But D.J. was a very successful session drummer for many years, and he did all the Elvis conventions. D.J. was softspoken, but he loved to talk about all those years, and he loved to sign autographs. For 45 years of his life, every day of his life, Elvis Presley. Always that guy, always happy to share his stories of the band, and fans loved him. He was a true gentleman.

D.J. Fontana with Garry Tallent, June 1996

It wasn't that long ago that D.J. wasn't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Scotty Moore was, in the Sidemen category [2000], but D.J. was not. So I talked to Ringo, Charlie Watts, and Levon Helm — they were already in the Hall of Fame — and I said, "How about if I write a letter, and you'll all sign it? My signature might not mean much, but you all, as Hall of Fame members...." All three of them had a lot of weight. So I wrote this letter, and we all signed it. And I got a form letter back. "Gentlemen: We thank you for your interest in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At this time, we have no plans to continue the Sidemen category...." It was a form letter.

But everyone I ever talked to about it thought the same thing: D.J. should be in! Even if he'd only played on "Jailhouse Rock," he should be in. Llong story short, we finally got him in, in 2009. D.J. was still healthy — quite vigorous, actually — and it was the greatest honor to be asked to induct him. I really labored over the induction speech. And the first minute-and-a-half of the induction speech was just a list of the songs he played on.

Garry inducted Bill Black that night; he wasn't in either. One of best parts of the night was as the crowd was mingling before the event, we were standing near the stage, away from everyone else — D.J. Fontana, Scotty Moore, Garry, me. And suddenly, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck come running over to Scotty Moore and genuflect. I mean, like 12-year-olds. I don't know if they'd ever met him. It was so cool to see Jimmy Page, with all that guy has done, and Jeff Beck, too, suddenly become 12 years old again and listening to Elvis Presley. And of course Scotty was a gentleman, too. They were gentlemen.

D.J. had a bit of multiple sclerosis, which would come and go kind of like shingles. But about a year ago, he got laid up — he was in bed. He never got out. I was playing Nashville, and I called Karen, his wife, and we had a friend on our crew pick him up — and this guy's big and strong, so I mean literally pick him up. He had a big truck, so we went over to D.J.'s house and picked him up out of bed, put him in the truck, and they both came to the whole show. D.J. hadn't been out of the house in a year. I made a very impromptu speech about him, and he got a huge standing ovation from the crowd. We played "Jailhouse Rock" in his honor — Garry was there too, and he came up and played bass. But D.J. was not doing well. He was 87 years old, and still the sweetest guy, but it was not a fight he was going to win.

- D.J., Max, and Garry in Nashville, October 2017 - photograph by Michael Bodayle

He had a wonderful life, and a wonderful wife in Karen. And he had a card: "D.J. Fontana, Hall of Famer." It took years to get him in, but to have him recognized... that was certainly one of the highlights of my personal and professional life, to be up there for the guy who made me want to be a drummer when I didn't even know what it meant. He moved me. He transmitted that thing to me, and it stuck. So here we are 62 years later, and I'm proud and privileged to call him my good friend. And I miss him.
- June 22, 2018 - Max Weinberg, as told to Christopher Phillips

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Reply #84 posted 06/26/18 6:51am


Hear Candi Staton's Funky New Song 'Confidence'

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Southern soul pioneer to release new album 'Unstoppable' on August 24th

Soul legend Candi Staton will release her new album 'Unstoppable' on August 24th.

Southern soul pioneer Candi Staton will be releasing her 30th album, Unstoppable, on August 24th. The album, which follows the 2016 gospel-dance collection It's Time to Be Free, returns Staton to her roots with a mix of original material and covers steeped in her trademark blend of funk, disco, dance-based r&b and classic southern soul.

Including Dierks Bentley, Ashley Monroe, Kacey Musgraves, Mike and the Moonpies, and more

To coincide with the album announcement, Staton also released the album lead single, "Confidence," a funky r&b strut that finds Staton preaching resilience and self-determination.

Unstoppable marks the 78-year-old singer's first release since the death of Rick Hall, the legendary Muscle Shoals producer who produced Staton's indelible run of country-soul singles at FAME studios in the late Sixties and early Seventies. Recorded with longtime producer Mark Nevers, the album will feature a mix of upbeat dance-based tracks and socially aware statements of uplift, plus Staton's takes on Patti Smith's "People Have the Power" and Nick Lowe's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding."

Staton most recently reunited with Hall for 2014's Life Happens. That album's lead single, "I Ain't Easy to Love," which featured Jason Isbell and John Paul White, was named one of Rolling Stone Country's greatest songs of the year in 2014.

Unstoppable marks the latest milestone for Staton, who first began performing more than 60 years ago as a teenage member of the Jewel Gospel trio in the mid-Fifties.

"I'm in awe every day," Staton says in a release. "There are so many of my peers that are not here to see something like this happen to them."

To celebrate the album's release, Staton, who remains more popular in Europe than she is in America, will be embarking on her first U.S. tour in many years, including a showcase performance at this year's AmericanaFest in September.

Unstoppable will be released on August 24th via Beracah/Thirty Tigers.


Review: Guns N' Roses' Epic, Excessive 'Appetite for Destruction: Super Deluxe Edition'

An expanded deluxe edition of Guns N' Roses world-changing debut dives deep into their golden age

New, multi-disc 'Appetite for Destruction ' box set provides a nearly comprehensive look at Guns N' Roses. Paul Natkin/Getty Images

When Guns N' Roses exploded from the Sunset Strip with lyrics like, "West Coast struttin', one bad mutha, got a rattlesnake suitcase under my arm," they were a vision of piss n' vinegar at a time when Steve Winwood was topping the charts. Apart from Axl Rose's mile-high coiffure, Appetite for Destruction was the opposite of everything going on in the mainstream: it sounded raw, nasty and dangerous. They were a fully formed statement, capped off with an exclamation point. And a little over a year after it came out, "Sweet Child O' Mine" would be the Number One song in the U.S.

Where Do Guns N' Roses Go From Here?

Will they record a new album? Finally reunite with Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler? Break up? We speculate on rock giants' next move after U.S. tour

A new, multi-disc box set, which comes either as a $179 super deluxe edition or a for-fans-only, $999 "Locked N' Loaded" mega box, provides a new, nearly comprehensive look at the group Rolling Stone declared "the world's most exciting hard-rock band" right out of the gate in 1988. In addition to the original album – which is remastered here and remains a document of rock & roll perfection – the collection contains EP tracks, B Sides, rarities and a heap of previously unreleased demo recordings that chronicle Appetite for Destruction's evolution.

The first bonus disc sports material that should be familiar to casual fans, since more than half of it comes off the Lies EP, home to the whistle-ballad "Patience." The only song they've omitted is the cringe-worthy hate rocker "One in a Million," which smears African-Americans, Middle Easterners and homosexuals over the course of six minutes; you could say they've grown up, though it's still readily available to stream on Lies. The rest of the volume contains live versions of the ripping "It's So Easy" B Side "Shadow of Your Love" (a tune that really should have made it onto Appetite) and covers of AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie" and Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door." The Dylan cover is impressive because it shows how the quintet had worked out the song's arrangement years before they recorded it for Use Your Illusion II.

The rest of the set contains selections from the band's 1986 demo session at Sound City Studios with former Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton producing, along with other outtakes. Although it doesn't contain the complete Sound City session – Charlton asked them to record every song they were playing live at the time, amounting to nearly 30 tracks including some double takes – the tunes included here are enough to show where the group's headspace at the time. Rose was parsing which words to emphasize in "Welcome to the Jungle" ("You're a very sexy girl"). Slash was finding his smooth, bluesy tone on an early version of "Back Off Bitch" (later recorded for Use Your Illusion I). And the band was generally having fun in ways that could never have foreshadowed the acrimony that surrounded its Chinese Democracy era, as Rose name-checks Slash and Izzy Stradlin in "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and they all sing a goofy intro to an acoustic version of "Move to the City" in unison.

It also shows the band at it most naked. For as raw as Appetite sounds, the group was even rougher early on. There's no synthesizer, coach whistle or extra false endings on the Sound City version of "Paradise City"; it's simply a pure guitar rocker. "Rocket Queen" originally had a janky transition into its girl-group–inspired coda ("whoa-oa-oa-oa") before Stradlin and Slash worked out the monolithic, heavy-metal riffs that fans fist-bang to at concerts these days. And even though Rose had been toying around with "November Rain" since before Guns N' Roses formed, the two versions here (one with a piano accompaniment and another with acoustic guitar) show the crude emotion he was channeling for the tune years before the band recorded it.

The most revealing songs here are the ones that didn't make the cut on any GN'R release: an instrumental take of the rocker "Ain't Goin' Down," which has a groove like "Anything Goes"; a one-minute blues ditty called "The Plague" that's equal parts Stephen Sondheim and Alice Cooper; and "New Work Tune," a joyous, instrumental acoustic jam that ends with one of the guys saying, "Yeah, we should work on that." They never did finish it, and with the 10th anniversary of their last album, Chinese Democracy, approaching, you can't help but wonder what else they have in the vaults.

The rest of the box set contains a Blu-ray with a 5.1 surround mix of the original album, a few bonus tracks and music videos for the hit singles and a never-completed clip for "It's So Easy" (which is hard to imagine would ever have made it onto MTV anyway since the song contains bon mots like "Turn around, bitch, I've got a use for you" and "Why don't you just fuck off?") And there's a 96-page book of photos from Rose's archive and memorabilia.

The cheaper, super deluxe edition contains a smattering of photos, replica concert tickets and posters, temporary tattoos and a lithograph of the record's original cover – a Robert Williams painting that depicts the aftermath of a rape (a curious inclusion considering they left off "One in a Million"), while the "Locked N' Loaded" edition comes in an LP-sized wooden cabinet and contains everything in the super deluxe edition along with vinyl, posters for every song on the album, skull rings, pins and guitar picks, among other items, and, of course, a certificate of authenticity.

Do you need any of this? No. But that's not the point. As with everything Guns N' Roses from the period, it's not so much all access as it is all excess. And that's exactly what you want from a reissue like this. It'll bring you to your sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-knees.

Mabel announces massive UK tour

Gunnersbury Park
The Garage
O2 Institute
Cardiff University Students Union
O2 Academy Bristol
O2 Academy Bournemouth
O2 Academy Brixton

The singer will tour the UK and Ireland this winter

Singer Mabel has today announced a full UK and Ireland tour this winter.

Beginning in Dublin in November, the hotly-tipped star will play dates across the UK before returning for a homecoming gig at London’s Brixton Academy on December 12.

Performing earlier this year with Not3 for ‘Fine Line’, the singer first emerged in 2015 with her debut ‘Know Me Better’.

IT’S TOUR TIME🔥 So excited to announce my UK/IRE headline tour! Enter your details here: to get access to pre-sale tickets from 9am on Wednesday 27th June ⛽️

Just two years later, her song ‘Finders Keepers’ bro...gles Chart and she supported Harry Styles earlier this year.

Speaking about the gigs to NME, the singer said she wanted to headline venues like this herself one day.

“I want to be playing those places one day. I’m figuring out how to gas 20,000 people when they’re not there for you…It makes me think, ‘One day when they are here for you, it’ll be a hell of a lot easier!’”

Mabel has an esteemed musical heritage; the daughter of singer Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack and Portishead producer Cameron McVey. Her godfather is R.E.M’s Michael Stipe.

Speaking to the NME about her family, the rising RnB star said she was keen to carve out her own musical path: “I’m not embarrassed to say I’m their daughter. I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished.”

She added: “I feel like people always assume things, but that’s just life. I work hard and I’m very separate from what my parents do.

Earlier this year, Mabel was nominated for a BRITs Critics Choice awardalongside Jorja Smith and Stefflon Don.

Rebecca Parris, Jazz Singer, Is Dead at 66

Rebecca Parris performing in 2007 at Birdland in New York with the bassist Dean Johnson.CreditRichard Termine for The New York Times

  • June 22, 2018

Rebecca Parris, a husky-voiced jazz singer known for both her blistering scat runs and her deeply affecting interpretations of ballads, died on June 17 in South Yarmouth, Mass. She was 66.

Her death was confirmed by her daughter, Marla Kleman, who said Ms. Parris had collapsed after a performance and was taken to Cape Cod Hospital, where she died. No cause was given, but Ms. Kleman said Ms. Parris’s health had been declining since 2004, when she had a heart attack and developed severe osteoporosis.

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Ms. Parris was hailed by local journalists as “Boston’s first lady of jazz,” but over a four-decade career she also earned the respect of the jazz world at large, playing with luminaries like Dizzy Gillespie, Gary Burton and Buddy Rich. She performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Blue Note in Greenwich Village, the Apollo Theater in Harlem and Tanglewood. She recorded 10 albums and was praised by some of her vocal heroes, including Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae.

“Her voice, a rich contralto with a baritone resonance, is so commanding that when a song’s attitude is combative, she can scare you,” Stephen Holden wrote in The New York Times in 2007, reviewing her performance at Birdland. “But when the mood is playful, she can also enfold you in a musical bear hug.”

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It took Ms. Parris many years to find her footing as a jazz singer. She attended the Boston Conservatory to study opera, but dropped out and went to New York to pursue a career in musical theater. When she failed to land any significant parts, she went back to Boston and sang in a Top 40 cover band for a decade.

She saw a new path forward after sitting in on a few jazz gigs in Boston.

“It was like manna from heaven for me: lyrics and chord changes and sensible whole thoughts and beautiful ideas,” she said in 2008 when she appeared on the NPR show “Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz.”

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Rebecca Parris Sings "Since I Fell For You" at the Apollo Theater in New YorkCreditVideo by Marla Kleman

Her wrenching ballad performances and suave renditions of bossa nova standards earned her glowing reviews, increasingly prestigious bookings and the admiration of her colleagues. Her performance at the 1992 Floating Jazz Festival, a cruise across the Caribbean, caught the eye of Mr. Burton, the acclaimed vibraphonist. They recorded an album together, “It’s Another Day,” in 1993.

“She was very musical and had excellent taste in songs,” Mr. Burton said in a telephone interview. “She was underappreciated and underacknowledged.”

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Rebecca Parris was born Ruth Blair MacCloskey on Dec. 28, 1951, in Needham, Mass., the youngest of three sisters. Her parents, Shirley Robinson and Ned MacCloskey, were both accomplished pianists; her father also taught English at Boston University. She grew up in Newton, Mass., and went to Newton South High School.

After switching from rock to jazz, Ms. Parris performed with and drew praise from the best in the business.

She took the stage name Rebecca Parris in the 1980s (the last name was inspired by the Cole Porter standard “I Love Paris”). She met the pianist Paul McWilliams in 1984 at a gig in Massachusetts, and the two remained partners until her death. Ms. Parris also adopted Ms. Kleman in 1997. In addition to Mr. McWilliams and Ms. Kleman, she is survived by her sister, Susan MacCloskey. Her marriage to Robert DeGrassie ended in divorce.

Ms. Parris settled down with Mr. McWilliams and Ms. Kleman in Duxbury, Mass., a suburb of Boston, and regularly packed local haunts like Regattabar and Scullers. She also taught private lessons and master classes.

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Her osteoporosis caused her to lose six inches off her commanding height of six feet and required her to use crutches. But she never stopped performing.

She gave her last performance on a recent Sunday, sitting in with a trio that included Mr. McWilliams at the Riverway Lobster House in South Yarmouth. She sang two songs, “Old Devil Moon” and “There Will Never Be Another You,” on which she took an a cappella chorus.

“She sounded excellent,” Mr. McWilliams said of the performance. “When the band came back in, she was in perfect tune.”

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Reply #85 posted 06/26/18 7:29am


The Doors / Waiting For The Sun: 50th anniversary deluxe edition

2CD+LP • Newly remastered • 14 previously unreleased tracks

In September, Rhino will issue a 50th anniversary deluxe edition of The Doors‘ third album Waiting For The Sun.

The 1968 long-player features the band’s second US number one, Hello, I Love You (its B-side Love Street is the second track on Waiting For The Sun) and it reached the summit on the American album charts too, the only Doors album to achieve this feat.

This 50th anniversary reissue is a three-disc set – two CDs and a vinyl record – and features a newly remastered version of the stereo mix of the album (by Bruce Botnick) on both CD and the vinyl.

The second CD offers 14 previously unreleased tracks: Rough mixes of nine songs from the album, as well as five tracks performed live in Copenhagen in September 1968. Of the ‘recently discovered’ rough mixes Botnick has this to say: “I prefer some of these rough mixes to the finals, as they represent all of the elements and additional background vocals, different sensibilities on balances, and some intangible roughness, all of which are quite attractive and refreshing.” The bonus tracks on the 40th anniversary reissue haven’t been repeated here.

Audiophiles might be interested to know that the CDs in this new release have been encoded with the MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) process. These are fully compatible with standard CD players, but when connected to an MQA-enabled device, it can play the same disc back in hi-res 176 kHz /24 bit. I’ve never tried this myself – any good?

This Waiting For The Sun 50th anniversary reissue will be released on 14 September 2018.

An anniversary seven-inch single of Hello, I Love You and Love Street will also be issued on 3 August 2018. This single will features the rare mono radio mixes of the songs. This version of Hello, I Love You was issued on the CD version of last year’s The Singles, but Love Street wasn’t, so this mix is being released commercially for the first time on this seven-inch vinyl (which also features a recreation of the unique black and white promotional label and is housed in its original Elektra records paper sleeve).



Amazon uk 36.48



Disc One (CD)

Hello, I Love You
Love Street
Not To Touch The Earth
Summer’s Almost Gone
Wintertime Love
The Unknown Soldier
Spanish Caravan
My Wild Love
We Could Be So Good Together
Yes, The River Knows
Five To One

Disc Two (CD) (All Tracks Previously Unreleased)

Rough Mixes

Hello, I Love You
Summer’s Almost Gone
Yes, The River Knows
Spanish Caravan
Love Street
Wintertime Love
Not To Touch The Earth
Five To One
My Wild Love
Live In Copenhagen

The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)
Hello, I Love You
Back Door Man
Five To One
The Unknown Soldier

Disc Three: 180g LP (Remastered Original Stereo Mix)

Side One

Hello, I Love You
Love Street
Not To Touch The Earth
Summer’s Almost Gone
Wintertime Love
The Unknown Soldier
Side Two

Spanish Caravan
My Wild Love
We Could Be So Good Together
Yes, The River Knows
Five To One

New Paul McCartney songs reviewed + Egypt Station physical formats clarified

SDE verdict on the two new Macca songs

For a song off an album that has a self-styled ‘travelogue’ vibe, there is irony in the fact that the main failing of the otherwise perky Come On To Me is that it doesn’t go anywhere. Macca seems to have lapsed into laziness and convinced himself that the song doesn’t need a middle eight, when really it does. It commits the cardinal sin of the pop song and becomes a bit boring towards the end.

On the positive, Greg Kurstin’s production works well. It sounds stripped back, but a close listen reveals layers and atmosphere and it doesn’t leave Paul’s voice too exposed. We should really mention the v-word. You could argue that McCartney is effectively working with one arm tied behind his back because he no longer has access to his previous range, which must be hard for a man with his melodic gifts. So the vocal melody in Come On To Me is quite simple and almost nursery rhyme like. The days of the ex-Beatle writing a song that others would find a real challenge to sing are over.

Lyrically Come On To Me is decent enough – it’s basically about ‘pulling’ – and I like the intimacy and wit of the words. Paul’s at his best with small stories – and least charming when he’s trying to make a big statement (Hope For The Future) or a political point (Freedom, Give Ireland Back To The Irish). Also, much as I love The Beatles, I think I’m done with Paul songs that go on about ‘the early days’ and I-remember-when-me-and-John-were-on-the-bus-in-1961 references.

We will wait for confirmation, but it sounds to me like Paul is playing the drums and he could very well have given the band the day off and be playing everything on this track.

The second song on this ‘double A-side single’ (by the way, I am hearing that a seven-inch vinyl will happen at some point), I Don’t Know, on the face of it has a more ‘classic’ McCartney vibe. It’s a ballad and has a beautiful intro which leads into Hey Jude/Let It Be style piano chords and its all sounding very good, but unlike Come On To Me, all this production and lushness rather highlights how the McCartney voice has changed – for the worse – over the years. The man is 76 so no real shame in that, but let’s not pretend it hasn’t happened. As far as I can recall, Macca has made no public reference to his deteriorating voice (even in jokey self-deprecating style) and he apparently insists on singing songs live in the original key, which is crazy, really. You wonder if he is more open with producers in the studio?

This limitation doesn’t remove some delightful melodic twists and turns, such as the chord change at “…I can’t take any more” 55 seconds in. Unlike Come On To Me, I Don’t Know does have a quality break section, the gorgeous “But it’s all right, sleep tight… I will take the strain” bit, about a minute and a half in. In fact, Paul has clearly worked harder on I Don’t Know because there’s another section (“What’s the matter with me… “) at about 2.10, although it’s a little bit more plodding.

The lyric of self-doubt (“…I don’t think I can take anymore / what am I doing wrong, I don’t know”) reminds me a little of the brilliant Mark Ronson produced Alligator from 2013’s New, which featured the refrain “Everybody else is busy doing better than me“.

I Don’t Know is solid enough, but doesn’t really have a proper chorus which is a little disappointing. On the verses, Paul can sometimes sound like he’s standing there in the studio reading the lines from a piece of paper, which serves to make things sound a little constricted

In some ways, it seems a bit churlish to criticise a man who has given so much and written so many wonderful songs, but it’s his choice to keep going, and so we have to process what we think of the new material. I’m not going to write off the new album before it has been released – because I really liked much of New – but neither Come On To Me and I Don’t Know are any kind of a thrill to listen to. If I had to pick one, I’d opt for Come On To Me – it plays to Macca’s strengths in 2018 and has a slightly more ‘fun’ lyric.

Neither song is an embarrassment, in a why-don’t-you-retire way, but similarly neither are rescued from of a pit of averageness by the rope ladder of melodic delight.

Let’s talk about the confusing array of Egypt Station album formats. Here’s a summary of the physical editions:

Standard CD
‘concertina softpak’ with booklet. 16 tracks (including two interludes).

HMV / Target exclusive CD
two bonus songs, so 18-track (with two interludes)

Standard vinyl LP
16 tracks (including two interludes). Seems to be some confusion as to whether this is one vinyl record or two. Either way, it’s a 140g pressing (unlike the deluxe) and comes in a single jacket.

Standard coloured vinyl LP
16 tracks (including two interludes). Packaging same as standard black. Colour hasn’t been confirmed.

Deluxe vinyl 2LP
16 tracks (including 2 interludes) / 2 x 180g vinyl. tri-gatefold packaging. No bonus songs on the deluxe vinyl, not even the songs on the HMV/Target CDs.

Deluxe coloured vinyl 2LP
16 tracks (including 2 interludes) / 2 x 180g vinyl. tri-gatefold packaging. Colour hasn’t been confirmed. No bonus songs on the deluxe vinyl, not even the songs on the HMV/Target CDs.

Super Deluxe Edition box set
No details at all on this yet, but it is happening.

Adele Is Planning To Release A New Album In 2019

Mike Wass | June 25, 2018 2:56 pm

Well, here’s some good news! According to British tabloid The Sun, Adele has started working on the followup to 25. “She’s back in the UK and intends to write here,” a source told the newspaper. “A number of studio musicians have been approached to work with her and she’s already penned some of the songs.” The Brit is apparently aiming to release the album just before Christmas, 2019. Given that all of the diva’s previous albums have been named after her age at the start of the recording process, it could well be called 30.

Needless to say, expectations for Adele’s next album will be sky high. After all, 21 and 25 have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide between them. And that’s without streaming figures taken into consideration. Not only that, but both albums have been rewarded with Grammys for Album Of The Year. Given her incredible success and status in the industry, the “Hello” hitmaker could literally work with whoever she likes. It will be interesting to see if she goes with established producers or fresh blood. We’ll know more in about 18 months.

Victoria Vox : Colorful Heart

Free Download:

All songs written by Victoria Vox (except "Daytime Moon" by Victoria Vox & Casey MacGill, and "Tugboat" by Victoria Vox, Manny Sanchez, and Corinne Lee).

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"While filled out with grooving bass and drums, electric guitar, and even mouth-trumpet backing vocals, Victoria Vox's voice and catchy, ukulele-driven songs are the central framework for this album of pop songs (available on vinyl, CD, or digital download). Gorgeously applied vocal harmonies are layered over the California-based singer's sparse and effective ukulele chords and melodies, and with her inspirational and warm lyrics, you're bound to find yourself humming them long after listening.

But what really stands out is how potent the ukulele is for pop accompaniment, adding brightness and bounce, without cloying sweetness." - GO / Ukulele Magazine

Album Review: Teyana Taylor Breaks All The Rules On K.T.S.E.

Teyana Taylor
Teyana Taylor’s latest album, released slightly belatedly on Saturday, June 23, after some last minute tinkering, tops off a big month for G.O.O.D. Music, in which the Kanye West-helmed label dropped five albums in five weeks, each executive produced by West himself. K.T.S.E. (Keep that Same Energy) is completely different from the others, in that it’s an R&B album. It’s also a return to Kanye’s days of deep-crate digging to find samples from the catalog of Black excellence in music.
Taylor’s performance on every song is emotional, her voice filled with cracks reminiscent of Mary J. Blige, if not quite executing the same range. The album feels intimate, like Taylor is whispering stories from her life and how she lives it into the ear of the listener. A sample of her daughter Junie at the end of “Never Would Have Made It” is especially poignant. Her voice is lush at times and full of raw edges at others, but it defies the typical expectations of female R&B voices. Much like Beyoncé on her most recent release, the 23-minute long album is full of hashtag-able lyrics, continuing the run of short albums by G.O.O.D. Taylor explores multiple facets of womanhood, from the sexual on “3Way” to courtship and relationships on “Issues/Hold On” and “Hurry,” to navigating success on “Rose in Harlem” and “Never Would Have Made It.” She’s created a straight-up anthem with “WTP,” which uses callouts from an old-school ball announcer to create an infectious summer jam.
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Most interestingly, West uses K.T.S.E. to blow up the R&B template. Hip-hop has been, historically, crafted on the back of samples from soul and R&B songs. To take that idea and flip it, crafting an R&B record where the melodies are sampled, recalls how the actual Pablo Picasso treated the work of the old masters. West notably uses Ben E. King’s “Spanish Rose” to build the lyrical backbone on “A Rose in Harlem” while the music is crafted from a sample of the Stylistics’ track “Because I Love You Girl.” Ye goes deep across the album, pulling out samples from Sly & the Family Stone to Sisqo. All the elements of a classically beautiful work of art are there, but chopped up and rearranged in a Cubist framework until they are unrecognizable and became a new form of art. That’s the trip West is on with Taylor. It’s a smart move for an artist like Taylor, who is as much a brand and reality star as she is a singer and dancer.

Vinnie Paul, Pantera Drummer and Heavy Metal Innovator, Is Dead at 54


Vinnie Paul, a founder of the heavy metal band Pantera. He began playing the drums when he was 14, and often performed with his brother.CreditOwen Sweeney/Invision, via Associated Press

By Mihir Zaveri

  • June 23, 2018

Vinnie Paul, a drummer and a founder of the heavy metal band Pantera, which helped transform the genre in the 1990s, died on Friday at his home in Las Vegas. He was 54.

Kimberly Zide Davis, the band’s manager, confirmed the death. She did not specify the cause.

Pantera was founded in 1981 and rose to prominence in the 1990s, embracing sharper, deeper grooves and harder-edged sounds that pushed heavy metal into an even heavier direction.

The music achieved widespread popularity at a time, after the 1980s, when metal was declining, said Ian Christe, the host of a weekly show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio about the history of heavy metal and the author of “Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal” (2003).

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“As a drummer in a larger-than-life band, he was totally capable of hitting hard and rumbling thunder, and hitting every single drum at once,” Mr. Christe said of Mr. Paul. “He was a veteran — he was a rock-and-roller from the old school.”

Pantera drew a large following by being “down to earth,” Mr. Christe said.

“They had that kind of connection to their fans, by releasing home videos that just showed them horsing around, pouring beer on each others’ heads and partying and being wild,” he said.

Ms. Davis said Mr. Paul would invite fans to his home and cook large dinners of lobster, shrimp and steak. Food was Mr. Paul’s second passion after music, she said.

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After its first album with the new sound, “Cowboys From Hell,” in 1990, Pantera found popularity with “Vulgar Display of Power” in 1992, an album widely considered its masterwork. In 1994, the group entered the Billboard chart at No. 1 with the album “Far Beyond Driven,” which sold 1.4 million copies in the United States.

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Pantera disbanded after releasing the album “Reinventing the Steel” in 2000, and the lead singer, Phil Anselmo, formed a new band called Superjoint Ritual. In 2003, Mr. Paul, whose real name was Vincent P. Abbott, and his brother Darrell, known as Dimebag Darrell, started a group called Damageplan.

Damageplan released its debut album in February 2004; at a show promoting it in Columbus, Ohio, that December, Darrell Abbott was fatally shot onstage. A gunman, who was identified as Nathan M. Gale, a former Marine, stormed the stage just minutes into the band’s performance in front of a crowd of about 250 people. Three other people were also killed.

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Damageplan dissolved shortly after the shooting, and Mr. Paul went on to play with a metal supergroup, Hellyeah, made up of metal stars from other groups. The band released five albums between 2007 and 2016. In an interview in October, Mr. Paul said the group was making plans to record a new LP.

At his death, Mr. Paul was in Las Vegas recording Hellyeah’s forthcoming album, said Karissa Vassallo, a publicist with the band’s record label, Eleven Seven Music.

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Vincent Paul Abbott was born in Abilene, Tex. His father, Jerry Abbott, was a country songwriter and survives him. Mr. Paul is also survived by his girlfriend, Chelsey Yeager, Ms. Vassallo said.

In a 2016 interview with Metal Hammer magazine, Mr. Paul said he started playing drums when he was 14. His brother opted for a guitar, and the two of them continued to make music together until Darrell Abbott’s death in 2004.

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Mr. Paul said in the interview that music was “always around the house,” and after hearing 1970s metal records like Kiss’s “Alive!” and Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever,” he was hooked.

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Reply #86 posted 06/26/18 7:59am


A SoulTracks Tribute to The Spinners

Cuban Singer Xiomara Alfaro Dies at 88

Courtesy Photo
Xiomara Alfaro

The soprano, known for 'Siboney' and other classic Cuban songs, was a star of Havana stages and movies in the 1950s.

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Cuban singer Xiomara Alfaro passed away in Cape Coral, Fla. on June 24 at the age of 88 from respiratory failure, as Miami’s Nuevo Herald newspaper reports.

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Alfaro​’s career took her from Havana’s Tropicana to New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Moulin Rouge in Paris. She toured with the avant-garde choreographer Katherine Dunham, with whom she appeared, along with stars Sylvana Mangano, Vittorio Gassman and Shelly Winters in the 1954 film Mambo, shot in Italy. Alfaro also starred in Olé...Cuba!, a 1957 movie that also featured Celia Cruz.

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​A coloratura soprano, Alfaro was known for her signature interpretation of Ernesto Lecuona’s “Siboney” and of other Cuban classics. She is featured on 28 albums recorded for RCA Victor and other labels over the course of her career. Alfaro left Cuba in 1960.

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The popular singer is survived by Panamanian pianist Rafael Benitez, to whom she was married for five decades.

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Reply #87 posted 06/27/18 7:10am


The jukebox musical, which feature songs from Cher's back catalogue, chronicles her life from her childhood in Los Angeles to her reinvention as a pop icon and movie star, following her days in pop duo Sonny & Cher and the end of her turbulent marriage to Sonny Bono.

The production, which features three actresses playing Cher over different time periods, opened for previews early in June (18) in Chicago, Illinois ahead of a transfer to Broadway in New York later this year, and the Believe singer admitted on The Graham Norton Show that it was hard to watch some of the personal elements in the show.

"I have seen a piece of it and will see it all in Chicago," she explained. "It was a bit nerve-wracking to see so many personal things portrayed that you thought was a good idea to talk about once but, to see it on stage, you just want to stick needles in your eyes."

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The 72-year-old's career is still going strong, with an album currently in the works and an appearance in movie musical Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again about to hit cinemas, and the singer shared that she never expected to be working at her age, and doesn't know when she'll stop.

In the movie, a sequel to 2008's Mamma Mia!, Cher plays the mother of Meryl Streep's character Donna, but she insisted she wasn't offended to be offered the role, despite being only four years older than the Oscar winner.

"I am older than her - by four years! When they asked I said, 'That's absolutely fine, that's cool,'" she said, before adding that she didn't have much say about her casting in the film.

"My agent called me and said, 'You're in the new Mamma Mia film' and then hung up. I didn't have much choice!" she joked.

The interview airs in the U.K. on Friday (22Jun18).

Laura Pausini Announces First-Ever Show in Cuba: It's 'Something I Knew I Had to Achieve'

Europa Press via Getty Images
Laura Pausini attends 'Factor X' Tv show presentation at Mediaset on April 9, 2018 in Madrid, Spain.

Laura Pausini's Cuban fans, rejoice! The Italian artist is confirmed to perform for the first time in La Havana.

For 25 years, Pausini dreamed of being able to travel to Cuba to sing. That wish came true after duo Gente de Zona invited her to perform at their free concert, taking place at Palacio de Deportes where they will perform “Hazte Sentir,” their collaboration.

The Italian singer shared the news on social media June 18, writing: “When I started my career, the first letters from Latin fans came from Cuba. From that moment, my desire to reach and sing to them became something I knew I had to achieve”.

Pausini's participation at Gente de Zona's concert took place on June 26.


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Reply #88 posted 06/28/18 7:12am



Ariana Grande Selects “God Is A Woman” As Her Next ‘Sweetener’ Single

Mike Nied @mikeynied | June 28, 2018 8:54 am

Ariana Grande promised to deliver something special for her fans on the 20th of every month leading up to the release of her album, Sweetener. This month she unveiled her Nicki Minaj-assisted “The Light Is Coming,” which many assumed was the LP’s second single. However, it appears that the anthem has been relegated to the status of a buzz track. Yesterday (June 27), the 25-year-old took to social media to announce that her “official second single” is coming on July 20. She went on to confirm she had selected “God Is A Woman” for the honor.

In a series of interviews, the track has been heavily plugged. A profile in TIME described it as a “sultry banger” with a layered vocal performance. The FADER added that it boasted a “beat you could probably get excommunicated for dancing the right way to.” On Twitter, Ari explained that the theme was about “sexual female empowerment & how women are literally everything & the universe is inside of us.” Basically, what we have heard is enough to make me very excited for the track to drop next month.

June has been a bountiful month for the big-voiced diva. Ari teamed up with Nicki for her previously mentioned buzz track and its ominous, Reebok-sponsored video. But the “Side To Side” collaborators also dropped the breezy “Bed” off the rapper’s Queen. The “Into You” siren hopped on Troye Sivan’s sensual “Dance To This.” She capped off the month by teasing “Raindrops,” the album’s Max Martin-produced opener on her birthday. Meanwhile, “No Tears Left To Cry” remains comfortably within the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Check out her latest announcement below!

so are we getting raindrops july 20th? since we aren’t getting any more snippets other then raindrops until the album but-

no u already have raindrops now ! my bad. this was confusing. i decided to give u raindrops last minute for my bday. jul 20 you’ll be getting my official second single.

Destiny’s Child alum LeToya Luckett to play Dionne Warwick in biopic


Destiny’s Child alum LeToya Luckett to play Dionne Warwick in biopic

(June 28, 2018) The Hollywood Reporter today that former Destiny’s Child singer LeToya Luckett has signed on to play legendary singer Dionne Warwick in an upcoming biopic covering the early years of Warwick's career. Dionne Warwick reportedly announced the casting at the Cannes Film Festival.


Also reportedly to be part of the cast is actress Olympia Dukakis and noted actor Danny Glover. Also, director Mario Van Peebles is reportedly in discussions to direct the film. The movie would be based on Dionne Warwick’s 2010 autobiography, My Life As I See It. No date was set for the filming or release of the film.

Gwen Stefani Brings No Doubt and Solo Hits to Life at Energizing Las Vegas Debut

6/28/2018 by Steven J. Horowitz

Gabriel Olsen/WireImage
Gwen Stefani arrives for the 2015 UCLA Neurosurgery Visionary Ball at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on Oct. 29, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

“I’m just a girl in Vegas!” exclaimed Gwen Stefani near the end of her Las Vegas debut on Wednesday (June 27), on a tear of classic No Doubt and solo hits of her own.

Joining the ranks of Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and Jennifer Lopez in settling in for residencies at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, the Anaheim, Calif. pop star made her Sin City debut at Zappos Theater, marking the first of her 25-date Just a Girl spectacular with shows that run through March 2019.

It was a relatively simple yet fully formed affair, with minor and forgivable kinks. Stefani spent the near two-hour runtime reviving songs from her past with a fresh twist, energy on tilt and focus lasered. Unlike her Vegas peers, bells and whistles were few, save for the bananas brandished by her fleet of backup dancers for opener “Hollaback Girl” and her giant cake throne for “Wind It Up.” Instead, the 48-year-old let the songs do the work, with minimal stage banter and footwork, leaving the heavy lifting to her backup dancers.


What separated Stefani from the pack, though, was the fact that she breathlessly sang live. Many Vegas performers opt out of actually keeping their mics on as they hit choreography, and it was a compelling choice. She sounded fresh, on-key and connected with her music, making for a show that felt less like an automation and aligning with her brand: a talented girl in the world, uncompromising, giving it her all with little artifice.

The show began after her boyfriend Blake Shelton stepped in the sold-out house around 9:15pm, grinning and interacting with the crowd, with Stefani taking the stage five minutes later. As the curtains opened and horn fanfare erupted, she emerged with a trail of dancers behind her, clad in thigh-high glitter boots and a glitter cape over a glitter jacket. Sparkle was a theme throughout the night—near the end, she came out in a chic farm-ready ensemble care of designer Jeremy Scott, who watched from the crowd as she shouted him and Shelton out.


During the performance, Stefani kept it trim, doing an almost anti-Vegas change of costume, clocking out around five. (Cher, for example, has upwards of 14.) The smash singles were plenty —“Bathwater, “Spiderwebs,” “Hella Good,” “Rich Girl,” “Luxurious,” “Cool,” a cover of Rihanna's "Umbrella"— and the presentation was smooth. Save, for except, a few moments where a backup dancer tried to secure a cape on her for “Don’t Speak” to disappointment, or when another dancer tried to disconnect a corset from her frame. To her credit, she adlibbed wonderfully, bringing two girls and then their other sister on stage to help her out of the latter.


“Someone get up here and take this shit off me right now, this little girl. I want you and you to come undress me right now, please,” she said, pulling them into the spotlight. “See, this is basically our dress rehearsal, and that’s why I said tonight was one of the most memorable of the entire tour. This is the very first time this has ever happened to me. Actually, I crapped my pants one time in the crotch.”

The more unguarded moments held notable weight. As one fan in the sea of standing room fans in the pit waved a rainbow flag, perhaps coincidentally coinciding with Pride month, Stefani brought up a lesbian couple on stage after spotting them in the crowd. “I want to talk to these weirdoes,” she said, referencing the audience at large. She settled on the pair, noting the hats branded with messages they were wearing just before sliding into “Underneath It All.” “So ‘I’m her Gwen,’ and ‘I’m her Blake.’ Congratulations, I know it feels good.”


In fact, she made a point to let the audience know that she could see them and encouraged them to give back. “So this is super exciting for me because sometimes, I say, I can see everybody! I can actually see everybody. So if you’re misbehaving, not reacting, being lazy, I will get you, and I will embarrass you.”


There were several video vignettes as she changed costumes, reflecting on her upbringing and replete with home videos of her as a child. One felt particularly important to Stefani: In a camo jacket, she spoke to the camera about her love of fashion as magazine covers she’s graced moved across the screen.

“Fashion has always inspired me. I mean, culture has always inspired me,” she said. “My mom made my clothes, and her mom her clothes and my great grandma made her clothes. It’s just in me, it’s my DNA. And I love anything old Hollywood, vintage. I love seeing images of my mom in the ‘60s and there’s not a decade in fashion that doesn’t draw my attention and there’s not a culture that I’m not fascinated by. I just love the art fashion and how fashion is such an extension of your personality and mood.”


By the end, she was composed and happy, genuinely enjoying the moment, and above all, grateful for the opportunity. “Thank you guys so much for coming out tonight. This is insanity! I can’t believe I’m in Vegas right now! Thank you for all the love we’ve experienced all the years, thank you for all the cheers, thank you for letting me share my life story with you.”


[Edited 6/28/18 7:38am]

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Reply #89 posted 06/28/18 7:15am


Jun, 27, 2018

Grammy Award-winning super producer, rapper and singer,Teddy Riley, is officially joining the ranks of Hollywood’s elite.

ESSENCE Festival 2018 tickets are on sale now! For more info and the latest news, visit our Festival page HERE.

In recognition of his timeless contributions to music over the last 30 years, the 2018 Essence Festival performer is among the handful of entertainers recently chosen to receive a star on the coveted Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The creator of the revolutionary New Jack Swing sound that forever changed the Hip Hop, Pop and R&B genres, Riley’s influence on music across multiple generations is undeniable. In addition to the accolades he received as a member of R&B groups Blackstreet and Guy, he was also contributed production to help craft the sound for over a dozen award-winning projects from some of the biggest names in music including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, N'Sync, Usher and Britney Spears, to name just a few.

Riley joins a 2018 inductees list that includes entertainment industry heavyweights from across film, television and music, including Lupita Nyong'O, Robert DeNiro, Pink, Tyler Perry and Terrence Howard, among others.

Be sure to grab your tickets to see Teddy Riley bring an all-star lineup of Hip Hop & R&B trailblazers to the stage for a performance you won’t want to miss at the 2018 Essence Festival in New Orleans this July.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Jun, 27, 2018

Joseph "Joe" Jackson, the father of the late Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, has died at the age of 89 following a grueling battle with pancreatic cancer. As music fans, today, honor Jackson as the man behind one of the most iconic American musical dynasties, we’re remembering Jackson’s legacy and contributions as a husband and father to his 10 children (one child, Brandon, died shortly after birth) with wife Katherine. Here’s what members of the Jackson family have said about the famous patriarch over the years.

In an interview with ABC News in 2009, Katherine Jackson recalled how she felt when she met Joe the first time.

"I just had a feeling that he would be my husband," she said. "The first time I saw him, I fell in love with him — he doesn't know this…really, he was so nice. He tries to be tough now."

When accepting the 2018 Impact Award at the Radio Disney Awards on Friday, June 22, Janet Jackson took the time to thank her mother and father.

"My mother nourished me with the most extravagant love imaginable, my father, my incredible father, drove me to be the best that I can," Janet said. "My siblings set an incredibly high standard for artistic excellence…"

Jermaine Jackson, the fourth child of the Jackson siblings, spoke about his father in a 2011 interview with ABC News.

"We wouldn't want to be raised any other way, with the way he raised us," Jermaine said. "It's hard raising nine kids, bringing them from Indiana out here...that was his whole thing, to wanting to keep his family together. And if he didn't do anything else, he brought us out, he taught us everything we knew about becoming what we became."

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Tito Jackson also applauded his father as “one of the greatest men that ever lived” in a 2011 interview with The Guardian.

"To pull off what he pulled off, how he pulled it off, where he comes from, where his family was born from, I think my father is one of the greatest men that ever lived," Tito said. "I'm pretty sure that everybody at some time in their life has a few words with their pop, but the difference between the Jackson family and other families is that it gets written about. The relationship we've got with our father is not different at all."

During an Access Hollywood interview with the remaining Jackson 5 members and siblings, Marlon Jackson also commended their father.

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"I look at it this way: You’ve got six boys in Gary, Indiana, and so I can say that he got those six boys out of Gary, Indiana, and the rest of the family out of Gary and now our name is internationally known throughout the world," Marlon said.

Though it’s no secret that Joe’s disciplining methods have been questioned by the public and even by his own family, his grandson Taj Jackson tweeted this message to critics this morning, following the news of his grandfather’s death.

"Disgusted by some of the comments I’m reading about my grandpa Joe by those who didn’t even know him," Taj wrote. "Please don't just regurgitate what you were spoon fed by the press. Joe was loved by our ENTIRE family and our hearts are in pain. Let us grieve without the nastiness.#ripthehawk"

Joe’s grandson Randy Jackson also tweeted, "RIP to the king that made everything possible!!! I love you."

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RIP to the king that made everything possible!!! I love you grandpa 🖤🖤

Joe Jackson is survived by his wife, Katherine, and their children Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Randy, and Janet. Michael Jackson died at the age of 50 on June 25, 2009.

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