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Reply #30 posted 08/08/18 7:56am


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African Queens cover (Scorpio Music, 1977)

Original Ritchie Family members Cassandra Wooten, Cheryl Mason-Dorman, and Gwendolyn Wesley, plus Philly soul songwriter Phil Hurtt, reflect onAfrican Queens (1977), the trio's chart-topping homage to Nefertiti, Cleopatra, and the Queen of Sheba.

The month of August has always been good to the Ritchie Family. It was during August 1975, 1976, and 1977 that the trio scored three number one disco hits, fueling the most commercially successful period in the group's history. Perhaps it's because the Ritchie Family's music captured the carefree spirit of summer, a time of blazing sunsets and whispering surf, of joyous, all-night dancing. Even the titles of their number one dance hits — "Brazil" (1975), "The Best Disco in Town" (1976), "Quiet Village" (1977) — were passports to adventures in paradise. While original group members Cassandra Wooten, Cheryl Mason-Dorman, and Gwendolyn Wesley emerged as regal songbirds who made the Ritchie Family synonymous with class and glamour, it was only a matter of time before they portrayed actual royalty. In this exclusive interview with PopMatters, the trio shares the story behind their celebrated disco classic, African Queens (Marlin/TK, 1977).

Named after arranger/producer Richie Rome, the Ritchie Family was masterminded by French producer Jacques Morali via Can't Stop Productions. Largely influenced by Rome, whose lush arrangements fashioned hit productions for the Three Degrees and Jackie Moore, Brazil (1975) featured the cream of Philadelphia-based Sigma Sound Studio session players. Barbara Ingram, Carla Benson, and Evette Benton (aka "the Sweethearts of Sigma") sang vocals on the title track and helped send "Brazil" to the disco singles chart. From August through September 1975, the Ritchie Family's cover of Ary Barroso's bewitching standard completed a seven-week stint at number one.

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Building on the success of "Brazil", Morali decided to make the Ritchie Family more than a faceless, one-off studio project. He hired three vocalists who could morph his musical ideas into a legitimate recording and touring act. Two of the singers, Wooten and Wesley (at the time, Gwendolyn Oliver), had sung together since they were 11-years-old and subsequently enjoyed success as members of the local Philadelphia quartet, Honey & the Bees. "We lived in the same neighborhood," Wooten explains. "We were best friends. Everything she thought was funny, I thought was funny. Everything that she hated, I hated. We were in lockstep."

The third singer, Cheryl Mason-Dorman (formerly Cheryl Mason-Jacks), originally hailed from Columbus, Ohio. "When Cheryl came along, it was a little hard for her because her whole outlook was different," says Wooten. "Gwendolyn and I were from the 'hood so to speak. Cheryl already had a Masters degree. She was very down-to-earth, very friendly, and very sweet. It was fun and it was funny, but we all came together very quickly."

(RCA/Victor 1976)

Arabian Nights (1976) unveiled the newly invigorated Ritchie Family. Once again, Morali recorded the tracks at Sigma Sound, but shifted the group's US label home from 20th Century Records to Marlin Records, a subsidiary of Henry Stone's T.K. Productions. He also added Phil Hurtt to the group's creative team. Hurtt arrived with a number of illustrious credits to his name. He'd produced acts like Sister Sledge, Jackie Moore, Bunny Sigler, and the Persuaders, and penned tunes for the O'Jays, Billy Paul, and Joe Simon. Most notably, he collaborated with producer Thom Bell on the Spinners' million-selling "I'll Be Around".

Upon recommendations from Richie Rome and Sigma Sound GM Harry Chipetz, Hurtt met with Morali and his partner at Can't Stop Productions, Henri Belolo. Hurtt recalls, "The very first thing we did was 'The Best Disco in Town'. Jacques gave me tracks that were recorded by some friends of mine — I didn't know it was them at the time — Gypsy Lane. I took the tracks home after Jacques gave me what he thought was the melody for this whole thing. To make up the tune, I had to pull together all these little pieces that he had. I brought two sets of lyrics back for him to listen to. I sang the first set. He loved it so he never heard the second set!"

With lyrics by Hurtt, "The Best Disco in Town" was a clever compendium of various disco flavors, from Philly soul ("TSOP") to Eurodisco ("Fly Robin Fly"), to hits by Labelle ("Lady Marmalade"), Donna Summer ("Love to Love You Baby"), and a sly nod to the Ritchie Family's own "Brazil" and "Romantic Love". "We were performing a little of everybody," notes Mason-Dorman. "It was like you were going to a disco. You were standing outside and you opened the door and you heard this music being played. You closed the door. You opened the door again and somebody else is playing." Grouped with original songs "Baby, I'm On Fire" and "Romantic Love", Morali gave "The Best Disco in Town" the opening slot on Arabian Nights.

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Side Two featured a side-long medley centered around the theme of the title track. The trio recorded their vocals in keys that were already set, a process that was dramatically different from what Wooten and Wesley had experienced in Honey & the Bees. "We were used to someone writing a song," begins Wesley. "We'd listen to it with our manager. We'd figure if we liked the song and then we rehearsed it in our key. They'd go in and lay down the rhythm tracks. We'd come in and record and then they'd go back and put in the strings or horns. Jacques' way of doing things was unique. He had a concept and then he would go in and record the whole track. The only thing that was needed was our voices. We had no say-so about it because it was really his thing. Of course being professionals, we did what we needed to do whether we liked it or not."

Morali's process worked: Arabian Nights was one of the hottest disco sets of 1976 while "The Best Disco in Town" became a worldwide smash. In August 1976, the song topped the national disco chart and ascended the Top 20 on both the pop and R&B singles charts. It also made the Top Five in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Australia, soared to number ten in the UK, and climbed the Top 20 in Germany and Sweden.

"It was phenomenal," Wooten exclaims. "Coming from Philadelphia, you hope for a national hit. The international success of 'The Best Disco in Town' blew our minds. We had no idea that when we'd go to Australia, South America, France, Belgium, that they'd know all our music. That was one of the most remarkable things that we'd ever experienced! They'd collected pictures and newspaper articles. I remember in the Philippines, they gave us this huge book full of all this stuff they'd collected about the group." Wesley continues, "I cannot remember one time that we weren't treated royally. They absolutely adored us. They were extremely nice to us. I have nothing but great memories about that."

(Marlin, 1977)

The Ritchie Family quickly returned with Life is Music (1977), an album that further honed the group's identity while highlighting the respective talents of each vocalist. Hurtt was granted more time to work closely with the group on vocal arrangements. Having co-produced Honey & the Bees with Bunny Sigler, he had a very keen sense about what qualities each vocalist brought to the group. "Their voices are similar and yet they're different," he says. "Gwendolyn has a sweet tone to her voice and her demeanor is the same way — very sweet — but underneath all that is some fire. Wooten is a more earthy singer. She's a very soulful singer. Cheryl's voice probably embodies the two qualities that the other girls have, but her voice is a little bit stronger. When you put those three together, they have a really good blend, harmonically, and a good blend in their chemistry."

Wooten continues, "We usually got with Phil and he'd play the music for us. We'd work out the harmonies. From the time that we got in, whether it was six hours, more or less, we got the job done in that allotted time. It would be in one session, generally. We didn't do seven or eight hours and have to come back the next day to do it some more."

Occasionally, Morali interrupted the proceedings with his own set of demands. "If the group was not smiling, Jacques did not think they were performing," Hurtt chuckles. "He'd tell them, 'Do it again. You are not smiling.' I'm looking at him like, 'What are you talking about? They sound great!' I would tell the engineer, 'Keep that track. Don't erase that!'" Morali's idiosyncrasies notwithstanding, Life is Music featured an appealing set of six tracks molded in a distinctive pop-disco style with traces of Philly soul.

However, the album marked Rome's swan song with the group. "Richie Rome quit," says Hurtt. "I felt bad about it because Richie was the one who put the whole thing together, musically, for Jacques in the beginning." The group itself was left with more questions than answers about Rome's departure. "At the time, we didn't really understand what the issues were," says Wooten. "We weren't privy to the details and the parameters of what that relationship between Jacques and Henri and Richie was, but we were prepared to continue moving." Legendary arranger Horace Ott replaced Rome and wrote arrangements for the group's subsequent albums.

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Within months of Life Is Music, Morali hatched African Queens, the fourth Ritchie Family album and arguably the group's most ambitious set. "Jacques had his concept for Nefertiti, Cleopatra, and the Queen of Sheba," Hurtt recalls. "It was the first time that I'd seen a producer like Jacques reach out to the African concept using three African queens. I think he had a respect for all women, but in this particular instance, African women."

The trio welcomed the idea. "I thought it was a great idea because nobody ever illustrated it in that way," says Wesley. "I thought it was about time. I really enjoyed that idea." Mason-Dorman continues, "Since all of us are African American, it was fabulous to be able to portray three of the most famous African queens who existed. We were excited about it and I think he picked the right ones for each of us. Cassandra had that flair that you would expect from the Queen of Sheba and Gwendolyn had that regal Cleopatra look. I kind of looked like Nefertiti when I put on her outfit. I did some research about my queen and I knew the things she stood for, which were similar to some of the things that I stood for."

Writing the lyrics, Hurtt fleshed out a narrative for each of the queens and created an overarching theme: "three different shades of love who gave the world a shove". He was inspired by what each queen represented plus the strong personas within the Ritchie Family. The lyrics also had to complement Morali's flamboyant production style. "I was listening to the music and understanding that it couldn't be serious," says Hurtt. "It had to be campy. It had to be fun. That's the way I had to approach it, unlike a lot of the R&B and pop things that I've done. It was more pop-disco than it was soulful, but it still worked."

Morali still sought to relay some sense of authenticity and hired one of the most revered percussionists in the world. "I walked into the studio and I saw this drum section with these huge drums," Hurtt continues. "I saw Olatunji with the people that were attending to him. They called him 'Baba'. It was exciting for us. I think that Jacques thought adding authentic African drums would make it grittier." Nearly 13-minutes long, "African Queens" was made of many elements: anthemic melodies, romantic flourishes, and dramatic musical interludes. Like a short Hollywood film set to a 4/4 beat, it introduced three characters whose stories left indelible impressions on listeners.

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Side Two was bookended by two collaborations between Morali, Belolo, and Hurtt, "Summer Dance" and "Voodoo". Both songs gave the group some solo turns. "We wanted the people to know we sing," says Wooten. "One of the things that we wanted to do more of was sing songs that had lead vocals and backgrounds. There was a little more of that with 'Summer Dance' and 'Voodoo'. I felt like we were being heard at last."

The trio's vocals wafted above an incessant beat and intricately orchestrated strings. Both songs typified Morali's way of working, which meant sparing no expense on the production. "He hired the best people he could find in the city," says Hurtt. "He knew who to cast. He would sit with Gypsy Lane and say, 'Give me a groove.' Gypsy Lane would find the groove and Jacques would do his interpretation of a melody, what he wanted to hear. By the time he got the tracks laid, then it was time to have somebody like myself come in, take his idea of a song, and write the song. I would give him a set of lyrics and make sure that the singers knew what I was doing. He would ask me to go in and work with them in the studio."

Rounding out a trio of songs thematically linked by warm climates, Morali brought Les Baxter's "Quiet Village" onto the project. Eighteen years after Martin Denny scored a Top Ten hit with the song, Morali brilliantly recast it for clubs. The group was only required to learn four separate lines of lyrics. "There was so much music," says Wooten. "I knew that it would be a difficult song to do live because when you have that much music you're sashaying around on the stage for long periods of time. How do you keep the audience engaged? I guess I thought about that more after it was done. When I listen to it, it's beautiful music. I loved the music. You were transported."

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Just looking at the African Queens album was enough to transport listeners, even before the needle dropped on the record. All three members were adorned with custom gowns designed by Eve's Costume in New York. "They had done the costumes for Roots (1977)," notes Wooten. "We went there and we were just fascinated by the fabrics. There were people from Broadway shows that we recognized who were there for fittings. That was just an amazing experience. Those costumes were heavy! I had this big headdress on and a huge jewel-like collar."

Scaled-down versions of the outfits doubled as stage wear. "The costumes were gorgeous," Mason-Dorman continues. "They were made for us, that's why they fit us so well. Because we were traveling, we couldn't wear those all the time, so we had another one made for regular shows. The gowns were less elaborate and less heavy so we could pack them and carry them around." Whether gracing the set of American Bandstand or charming television audiences in France and Italy, the group promoted African Queens in full regalia.

Choreographer Richard Moten blocked movements that accentuated the flow of the trio's gowns. He'd known Wesley and Wooten even before the Ritchie Family. "When Cassandra and I were in the Honey & the Bees, we took dance lessons," says Wesley. "Richard was our dance instructor. When we got with Jacques, and after things started rolling, he wanted to know if we knew anyone who could choreograph our pieces. We asked if Richard wanted to do it and he said he did. That's how he got the job." Moten occasionally accompanied the group onstage during dance sequences. He'd later work with Village People and create the iconic moves to "Y.M.C.A.".

By August 1977, "Quiet Village", "African Queens", and "Summer Dance" collectively held the number one spot on the disco chart for three weeks. The popularity of Morali's style continued to dominate the chart when his production of Village People's self-titled Casablanca debut supplanted the Ritchie Family from the top for seven weeks. However, African Queens struggled on the albums chart, stalling at #164 on the Billboard 200 and peaking at #57 R&B.

Though T.K. Productions was one of the most prolific disco-oriented labels, the company's success with the Ritchie Family in the pop and R&B arenas had dimmed somewhat since Arabian Nights. Perhaps it's because the Ritchie Family had less direct contact with the label than other artists on the roster. "We didn't really go to the record company and hang out or mix in and blend in," says Wooten. "I don't remember meeting (T.K. founder) Henry Stone. Most of our interactions were with the people in New York at Can't Stop Productions. We had people out of Florida that ended up going on the road and working with us. We worked with (T.K. artists) KC & the Sunshine Band, Dorothy Moore, and George McCrae."

Of course, the US represented only one market. Internationally, the Ritchie Family stood among the world's top disco acts. "Jacques and Henri came with a global perspective about where they wanted us to be," notes Mason-Dorman. "We are very grateful to them for that. We got to see the world when we were young. We got to enjoy a lifestyle that opened up our vista about what life could be about and what performing could be about."

However, recording three consecutive albums with Morali exacted a toll on the group. "It was work on our part just to have a relationship with him because he was very demanding," says Wesley. "He didn't mean to, but he tried to dictate our lives. There were times when, if we were going to have an interview, he would tell me, 'Gwendolyn, youtalk!' It's like, 'No, we're a group. We're going to all talk.' He would try to single somebody out, like Diana Ross & the Supremes. We weren't going to do that. There was just so much that I could take."

Wooten adds, "It just got to be a contentious thing. After getting over the initial excitement, we realized that, creatively, we weren't going to have a lot of input. We felt like glorified robots. Jacques felt like, 'Look at how much I'm doing for you. You had nothing until you met me.' We felt that his ideas weren't the only ones in town. We had ideas. We stillhave ideas."

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To the trio's shock, they were dismissed from their own group. "One day we were there and the next day we weren't," says Mason-Dorman. "There were some other people there that were being called the Ritchie Family." Hurtt was equally surprised by the switch. "I didn't know what had happened," he says. "When I went to the studio for the sessions that followed that, there were three new girls in front of me. Where'd they come from?" The founding members of the Ritchie Family had no forewarning that Ednah Holt, Jacqui Smith-Lee, and Theodosia Draher would soon replace them and resume recording with Morali.

"I did not realize until much later that what Jacques had actually planned to do was not renew our contract," Wooten confides. "He was probably already out there shopping for other girls. We didn't know that. It was hurtful and it was insulting. I felt like my career had been aborted. We did not have a chance to fulfill what we wanted to do because of somebody else's ability to cut us off. We didn't own the name so we couldn't do anything with the name."

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While Wesley retreated from performing, Wooten and Mason-Dorman tried to salvage their singing careers. They formed CasMiJac with Michelle Simpson and sang background on John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Double Fantasy (1980). Following Lennon's murder, both Mason-Dorman and Wooten stepped away from singing, seldom disclosing their past to others. "I convinced myself that I didn't want to sing anymore and that was just a phase of my life," says Wooten. "That wasn't true. It was that I suppressed my true feelings. I adjusted and I went on. I was happy, but deep in my heart I never got a job that I enjoyed more."

Decades passed before the original Ritchie Family members realized that listeners had not forgotten about them, especially when Ritchie Family archivist, Hans de Vries, contacted Wooten from the Netherlands. Mason-Dorman recalls, "Hans contacted Cassandra and said, 'I'm looking for Cassandra Wooten of the Ritchie Family. Are you her?' She wrote back, 'Yes, I am.' We had no idea that anybody anywhere remembered us. We thought that nobody cared what happened to us, because we never got totell anybody what happened to us. We just thought that time in our lives was over."

With the advent of social media, Wooten and Mason-Dorman realized just how much they were still adored around the world. In 2011, after trademarking the group's name, they relaunched the Ritchie Family with new member Renée Guillory-Wearing. Since reuniting, they've been booked at first-class casinos in the US, made promo appearances in New York for the book First Ladies of Disco (James Arena, 2013), performed at the prestigious DuPont Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware for the 2013 Golden Mic Awards, and recently co-headlined the 2018 Disco Diva Festival in Gabicce Mare, Italy. Most impressive of all, their voices graced the Billboard dance charts for the first time in nearly 40 years when their comeback song "Ice" (2016) peaked at #40 in November 2016.

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In reclaiming their legacy, the Ritchie Family seeks to maintain the glamorous, sophisticated image they projected in the '70s. "If you're the Ritchie Family and this image of yourself is a classy disco group, then you come out and give people that," says Wooten. "You don't come out and give the people a watered-down, cheapened version. One thing that you can say about Jacques and Henri, they wanted to do everything first class. They took us to the best places, whether it was restaurants or clubs. They always used the very best musicians and the best studios. The guys who took photographs for Vogue and high fashion magazines, these were the people who took our photos for our album covers. It wasn't just Joe up the block! They never skimped. They were willing to spend the money. They set a certain standard and it's a standard that we've come to expect."

Reflecting on African Queens, the group appreciates their decades-long friendship with Phil Hurtt. "He's a great songwriter," says Mason-Dorman. "He was a good teacher of music. He was there to hear how we sounded, so he could apply that knowledge to whatever he was writing for us. He's so personable. He was fun to work with." Wooten concurs, adding, "Phil was just a delight, very warm and bubbly, always encouraging and very supportive. When we did something well, he'd be our cheerleader: 'Yes, yes! That's that sound.' He was just a cool guy."

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Hurtt has equal affection and admiration for the group. "I really enjoyed working with them because we had a really great time," he says." African Queens was a culmination of a relationship with some great women and the time that we spent together. They were receptive to the ideas that I would give them vocally. They listened. They worked hard. All of them were comedians. We laughed the whole time. We had a great run together. Hopefully, we can do more." African Queens not only remains a highlight of Hurtt's history with the Ritchie Family, but part of the gateway for a whole new legion of fans discovering the group's legacy.

Among the albums the trio recorded in the mid-'70s, African Queensalso holds a special place for the original members of the Ritchie Family, if only because it was their last album with Morali. "The albums are all so different in their own way, but when I listen to African Queens, there's a little sadness," says Wooten. "It's different when you're doing something for the last time and you know it, but it was the last album that we did and we didn't know it. It was the end of an era. We're very proud of African Queens because 'three different shades of love' was us. Each of us was very satisfied with the historical person that we were matched to be. We were very happy with that whole concept."

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As much as Cheryl Mason-Dorman, Cassandra Wooten, and Gwendolyn Wesley are music icons to audiences across the globe, they are also survivors. "We remained who we were before we went in," Wesley says. "We didn't have any drama at all. We still have a very good relationship." That sentiment is shared among all three original members. "All along we were building a family," Mason-Dorman concludes. "They called us the Ritchie Family. We weren't really family in terms of blood, but webecame a family." Indeed, the bond between these three regal queens lives beyond the grooves.

Just Music-No Categories-Enjoy It!
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Reply #31 posted 08/08/18 8:19am


Bomba Estéreo Drop New Video for ‘Amar Así,’ Announce Headlining U.S. Tour

Colombian dance-pop duo’s romantic new release doubles as a political message


Colombian dance-pop duo Bomba Estéreo's romantic new video doubles as a political message.

Orly Anan

Following their electrifying appearance at this year’s Lollapalooza, Grammy-nominated Colombian duo Bomba Estéreo has detailed their biggest U.S. headline tour to date. The band celebrated the news with a new video for “Amar Así,” the latest single from their 2017 album Ayo; it is the band’s first release since the viral remix of “To My Love,” crafted by reggaeton kingpin Tainy.

Whereas most Bomba Estéreo videos see frontwoman Li Saumet (or her child alter ego) strutting across the screen in bright colors, “Amar Así” depicts a budding romance between two soldiers stationed on a remote island off the coast of Colombia. Tension builds as the men are drawn closer, culminating in an ephemeral glimmer of vulnerability. “This song speaks about love,” says director Ivan Wild of the video. “When I was planning the concept for this video, I was researching the depiction of men, especially soldiers, as well as the stories of intimacy between men displayed in art and across history — all the way back to Ancient Greece and Rome. I wanted to break down the idea of a man in a uniform, a man at war — the classic ideas of great adventures and travails across grand oceans. I wanted to show their more intimate moments. The power of nostalgia for a kiss and warm embraces. Memories of a love that puts you in a spell, ‘un amor así.'”


According to Bomba Estéreo’s Simón Mejía, however, the video is also a statement of resistance: The band strategically chose to release it during the inauguration of the new Colombian president elect, right-wing populist Iván Duque. “The world is passing through a crazy time,” Mejía tells Rolling Stone. “Not only in Colombia, but all around it seems like extreme conservative policies are taking over and it is pretty scary. As artists our only weapon is to keep on pushing the opposite way. We are trying to remind everyone that the world should be a place where there [is] no prejudice for sexual orientation, race or religion. Maybe then, we will be a better society.”


Now touring the Southeast, the band has tacked on additional dates in their headlining run following several dates in Latin America. The group’s 2008 song, “Fuego,” was recently named one of Rolling Stone‘s 50 Greatest Latin Pop Songs.


Bomba Estéreo Tour Dates

August 7 – Nashville, TN @ The Cowan
August 9 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
August 10 – Orlando, FL @ The Plaza Live
August 11 – Miami, FL @ The Fillmore
August 18 – Guayaquil, EC @ Parque Samanes
October 6 – Guadalajara, MX
October 9 – Mexico City, MX @ Pepsi Center
October 10 – Monterrey, MX @ Auditorio Rio 70
October 13 – Tijuana, MX @ Black Box
October 20 – Morelos, MX
November 24 – Buenos Aires, AR @ Ciudad Cultural Konex
November 26 – Montevideo, UY @ La Trastienda
November 28 – Santiago, CL @ Teatro Caupolican
November 30 – Sao Paulo, BR @ Audio
December 5 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SoDo
December 7 – Oakland, CA @ The Fox Theatre
December 8 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Novo
December 11 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
December 12 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
December 13 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore
December 15 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall

Win Camila Cabello - Reinvention DVDs


Ends: 23 August 2018
Camila Cabello - Reinvention

Camila Cabello has evolved into a force to reckon with!

As a member of Fifth Harmony, her unique voice has allowed her to stand out as a solo artist. With hits including Bad Things with Machine Gun Kelly, Crying in the Club and the UK #1 smash hit Havana, she's become a household name. Her album Camila reached #2 in the UK charts when it was released in January this year. However, Camila's success is no coincidence.

This is the story of how a young girl born in Havana Cuba turned her dream into reality.

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

Just send an email with WIN 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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Is Brian Johnson reuniting with AC/DC to record a new album?

Nick Reilly | Aug 8, 2018 8:23 am
  • acdc-920x584.jpg
AC/DC's Brian Johnson and Angus Young
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He's been spotted with drummer Phil Rudd in Vancouver...

AC/DC are rumoured to be working on new music with former frontman Brian Johnson and ex-drummer Phil Rudd, after the pair were spotted together in Vancouver.

Johnson was forced to leave the band in 2016 after suffering hearing loss, before being replaced by Axl Rose. Rudd, meanwhile, departed in 2015 after a string of publicised legal problems.

But it seems that the classic line-up could be getting together once more after the pair were spotted in the Canadian city, where the rock icons have recorded all their albums over the last two decades.

A photo posted on Twitter shows Johnson and Rudd relaxing outside the city’s Warehouse Studios – and it’s claimed that the rest of the band are in tow too.

The rumors are no more: Brian Johnson and Phil Rudd are back in AC/DC (in some sort of capacity). What. A. World. #ACDC …

Vancouver website The Straight claims to have been contacted by a local who spoke to Stevie Young – the nephew of guitarist Angus Young.

“The guy tells me that he had a quick chat with a couple of members of AC/DC in downtown Vancouver this morning”, The Straight’s Steve Newton claimed.

“One of the rockers that he talked to was Stevie Young, Angus Young’s nephew, who took over the rhythm-guitar spot in AC/DC from Angus’s brother Malcolm in 2014 when Mal started suffering from the health problems, including dementia, that he would succumb to last November.

“…the other rocker my source talked to was none other than, get this: Phil Rudd! Yes, Phil Rudd, the longtime AC/DC drummer who was himself replaced behind the kit by Chris “Thunderstruck” Slade in 2015 for the band’s Rock or Bust World Tour.”

The only stumbling block in the story so far seems to be the apparent absence of guitarist Angus Young.

NME has contacted AC/DC’s management for comment.

Carrie Underwood Announces ‘Cry Pretty 360’ Tour Dates – and Pregnancy

Variety Staff

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Seven-time Grammy winner Carrie Underwood announced dates for her “Cry Pretty Tour 360,” which launches in the Spring of 2019. Sponsored by Calia, the tour will kick off on May 1 in Greensboro, NC, and play 55 arenas across the U.S. and Canada and be promoted by AEG Presents. She will be joined on tour by special guests Maddie & Tae and Runaway June.

Underwood made the announcement this morning in a video to her fans, full dates appear below:

As for the tour’s distant launch date, Underwood also revealed that she is pregnant with her and husband Mike Fisher’s second child. “You might be wondering or asking, ‘Carrie, why is your tour starting in May?’ Well…yay! Mike and Isaiah and I are absolutely over the moon and excited to be adding a little fish to our pond,” Underwood said after the camera pulled away to reveal balloons spelling out the world “BABY.” “This has been a dream come true with the album and baby news and all that stuff.”

Tickets for the concerts go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, August 17 at 10 a.m. local time. For more information including the Cry Pretty album/ticket bundle, go to Also beginning Monday, August 13, a limited number of exclusive VIP Packages will be available.

Citi is the official presale credit card for the tour, and cardmembers will have access to purchase presale tickets beginning on Monday, August 13 at 12pm.

Underwood will release her new album, “Cry Pretty” — her first on Capitol Records Nashville — on September 14. She appears to have recovered fully from injuries suffered during ...n November, which she described as “gruesome.”

Following her “Storyteller Tour – Stories in the Round,” the new production will feature a brand-new stage in the middle of the arena floor, creating a 360-degree setting to allow fans on all sides of the arena an view. Barry Lather (Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson) is the tour’s Creative Director, and Nick Whitehouse/Fireplay (Justin Timberlake, Beyonce) is Production Designer.

“I love performing in the round,” says Underwood. “It’s so much fun for me and the band to play in every direction and creates a much more intimate and immersive experience for the audience, even in a larger arena setting. It’s been exciting to introduce audiences to Cry Pretty and I can’t wait to bring the new album to life on this tour, along with all of the songs we love to play live. I’m thrilled to be going out with an amazing line-up – Maddie & Tae and Runaway June are incredible artists that are going to bring even more electricity to our shows.”

Underwood has arranged for a donation of $1 from each ticket sold for The Cry Pretty Tour 360 to be contributed to Danita’s Children, which aids children in Haiti, while encouraging families to stay together through their education and nutrition programs.


Date City Venue May 1, 2019 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum May 3, 2019 Birmingham, AL Legacy Arena at the BJCC May 4, 2019 N. Little Rock, AR Verizon Arena May 6, 2019 San Antonio, TX AT&T Center May 9, 2019 Phoenix, AZ Talking Stick Resort Arena May 11, 2019 Las Vegas, NV MGM Grand Garden Arena May 12, 2019 Fresno, CA Save Mart Center May 14, 2019 Sacramento, CA Golden1 Center May 16, 2019 Oakland, CA Oracle Arena May 18, 2019 Bakersfield, CA Rabobank Arena May 21, 2019 Portland, OR MODA Center at Rose Garden May 22, 2019 Spokane, WA Spokane Arena May 24, 2019 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome May 25, 2019 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena May 28, 2019 Edmonton, AB Rogers Place May 31, 2019 Saskatoon, SK SaskTel Centre June 2, 2019 Winnipeg, MB Bell MTS Place June 9, 2019 Toronto, ON Scotiabank Arena June 10, 2019 Ottawa, ON Canadian Tire Centre June 13, 2019 Hershey, PA GIANT Center June 15, 2019 Cincinnati, OH U.S. Bank Arena June 16, 2019 Indianapolis, IN Bankers Life Fieldhouse June 18, 2019 St. Louis, MO Enterprise Center June 20, 2019 Milwaukee, WI Fiserv Forum June 21, 2019 Minneapolis, MN Target Center June 23, 2019 Lincoln, NE Pinnacle Bank Arena Sept 10, 2019 San Diego, CA Valley View Casino Center Sept 12, 2019 Los Angeles, CA STAPLES Center Sept 14, 2019 Salt Lake City, UT Vivint Smart Home Arena Sept 16, 2019 Denver, CO Pepsi Center Sept 18, 2019 Wichita, KS INTRUST Bank Arena Sept 19, 2019 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center Sept 21, 2019 Houston, TX Toyota Center Sept 22, 2019 Lafayette, LA Cajundome Sept 24, 2019 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center Sept 25, 2019 Oklahoma City, OK Chesapeake Energy Arena Sept 27, 2019 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena Sept 29, 2019 Columbia, SC Colonial Life Arena Sept 30, 2019 Raleigh, NC PNC Arena Oct 2, 2019 New York City, NY Madison Square Garden Oct 4, 2019 Washington, D.C. Capital One Arena Oct 5, 2019 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center Oct 10, 2019 Boston, MA TD Garden Oct 12, 2019 Pittsburgh, PA PPG Paints Arena Oct 13, 2019 Buffalo, NY KeyBank Center Oct 16, 2019 Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena Oct 17, 2019 Louisville, KY KFC Yum! Center Oct 19, 2019 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena Oct 20, 2019 Jacksonville, FL Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena Oct 23, 2019 Memphis, TN FedExForum Oct 24, 2019 Tulsa, OK BOK Center Oct 26, 2019 Des Moines, IA Wells Fargo Arena Oct 27, 2019 Sioux Falls, SD Denny Sanford PREMIER Center Oct 29, 2019 Chicago, IL United Center Oct 31, 2019 Detroit, MI Little Caesars Arena

*Tickets on sale Friday, Aug 24th in Wichita, Kansas City and Sioux Falls

Lady Gaga Announces Dates for Two Different Las Vegas Residency Shows


Lady Gaga has announced dates and details for her residency at Park Theater at the new Park MGM resort in Las Vegas, which launches on Friday, Dec. 28.

The residency will feature two unique shows in the venue: “Lady Gaga Enigma” is “a brand-new odyssey of her pop hits built as an experience unlike any other,” while “Lady Gaga Jazz & Piano” will feature stripped-down versions of her hits as well as music from the Great American Songbook.

“I can’t wait to share ‘Enigma’ with all of my fans and with Las Vegas,” the singer said. “We’re creating a show unlike anything I’ve done before. It will be a celebration of all that is unique and different within us. The challenges of bravery can be overcome with creativity and courage that is grown out of adversity, love and music.”

Bill Hornbuckle, President of MGM Resorts International, said, “Working with Lady Gaga and her team has been a career highlight for me. What she is planning for Las Vegas audiences is nothing short of spectacular. Welcoming her into our family will firmly position Park MGM as the city’s most exciting new destination.”

Citi is the official credit card of the residency, presented in partnership by Live Nation and MGM Resorts International.

Members of Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters fan community will receive access to an exclusive pre-sale beginning Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. PT to Sunday, Aug. 12 at 10 p.m. PT. For more information, visit

Tickets starting at $77.90 (not including applicable service charges or fees) go on sale Monday, Aug. 13 at 10 a.m. PT. A limited number of VIP packages including meet and greets also will be available. Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets or online at or Tickets also can be purchased through the MGM Resorts International Call Center.

2018 Performance Dates: LADY GAGA ENIGMA Shows

December 28; 30 – 31

2019 Performance Dates: LADY GAGA ENIGMA Shows

January 17; 19; 24; 26; 31

February 2

May 30

June 1; 6; 8; 12; 14

October 17; 19; 23; 25; 31

November 2; 6; 8

2019 Performance Dates: LADY GAGA JAZZ & PIANO Shows
January 20

February 3

June 2; 9

Hear Elvis, Lisa Marie Presley Duet on Revamped Gospel Song

“Where No One Stands Alone” features on new compilation of Elvis’ gospel songs


Elvis Presley duets with his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, on a newly revamped version of gospel song "Where No One Stands Alone."

Elvis Presley Enterprises, Jim Smeal/BEI/REX Shutterstock

Elvis Presley duets with his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, on a newly revamped version of “Where No One Stands Alone,” the title track from the late singer’s upcoming posthumous compi...spel songs.

The two singers alternate and harmonize over piano and pedal-steel on the ballad, which, in its original form, appeared on Elvis Presley’s 1967 LP How Great Thou Art. “Once I stood in the night/With my head bowed low/In the darkness as black as could be,” the elder Presley sings. “And my heart felt alone and I cried oh Lord/Don’t hide your face from me.”

RCA/Legacy Recordings, which will release Where No One Stands Alone on Friday, paired the song with a lyric video featuring family photos and in-studio footage of Lisa Marie Presley in the vocal booth. The footage was shot in studios in Nashville, Hollywood and New York, including two sites where Elvis himself had sang.

“It was a very powerful and moving experience to sing with my father,” Lisa Marie Presley wrote in the project’s liner notes. “The lyrics speak to me and touch my soul. I’m certain that the lyrics spoke to my father in much the same way.”

“Recording with all that history, in rooms that Elvis recorded his most memorable tracks, with the singers that backed Elvis in his most powerful performances, and with the raw emotion of his daughter Lisa Marie singing ‘with’ her father in the same room her father sang in a memory that we will cherish for the rest of our lives, and beyond,” Joel Weinshanker, one of the project’s producers, told Rolling Stone in a statement.

The 14-track album also features newly recorded instrumentation and backing vocals from many other Elvis collaborators, including Darlene Love; Dr. Cissy Houston; Terry Blackwood, Armond Morales and Jim Murray (of the Imperials); and Donnie Sumner, Bill Baize, Ed Hill and Larry Strickland (of the Stamps).

“This was his favorite genre — no question about it,” Presley wrote in the liner notes of her father’s taste. “He seemed to be at his most passionate, and at peace while singing gospel. He would truly come alive — whether he was singing just for himself and me at home, or on stage in front of thousands of fans.”


[Edited 8/8/18 10:21am]

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ABBA En Español? A Look At The Group's Mega-Successful Latin Career

ABBA photographed in 1974.

ABBA is firmly in our minds thanks to the new Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again film and news of Cher’s upcoming ABBA covers album. They’re also firmly on our mind because in the midst of this explosion of interest for Latin beats and Spanish-language music, it’s important to honor ABBA as one of the original Latin music believers.

Nearly two decades before the 1990s “Latin explosion,” or even the rise of Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine, ABBA realized the potential of the Latin music market and in 1980, releasing an all-Spanish album, Gracias Por La Música(Thank You For The Music).

The album wasn’t a whim. ABBA had tested Latin waters earlier with a Spanish language version of “Chiquitita” that was a huge hit throughout Latin America, and later, a Spanish version of “I Have a Dream” titled “Estoy Soñando.”

For Gracias, the group included songs that already came with Latin flair – namely “Hasta mañana” and “Fernando” – as well as hits like “Mamma Mia” and “Conociéndote, Conociéndome” (Knowing Me, Knowing You). The group enlisted the help of a Spanish journalist to coach in pronunciation, and there are multiple videos that show Björn Ulvaeus being interviewed in excellent Spanish and defending his project for Spanish-speaking fans.

In other words, ABBA did that reverse crossover all the way, from inception, to execution to promotion, respecting the language and attempting to understand the culture as opposed to simply capitalizing on a current trend. On subsequent albums, ABBA included one or two songs in Spanish versions for their Latin fans, the same formula that would be applied years later by the likes of Ricky Martin and Shakira when they recorded English albums.

In 1993, the group’s Spanish language songs were released under the compilation Oro, which reached No. 37 on the Top Latin Albums chart (dated Dec. 25, 1993) and No. 15 on Latin Pop Albums (also chart dated Dec. 25, 1993). And of course, there’s the Spanish language version of the musical.

As for those of us who grew up in Latin America listening to ABBA in Spanish, many of us thought given their titles that “Chiquitita” and “Fernando,” had been written, in Spanish, for us. Heck, I still think the Spanish versions are better.

Aerosmith’s old tour van discovered in Massachusetts forest

Aerosmith tickets

If you go down to the woods today...

A dilapidated van used by rock legends Aerosmith has been found during the filming of a US antiques programme, American Pickers.

Hosts Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe stumbled upon the 1964 American Harvester Metro van for a recent episode of the History Channel reality show.

According to, the van’s authenticity was confirmed by former Aerosmith member, Ray Tabano.

Tabano was the band’s original rhythm guitarist, who left the group after one year.

The rusty vehicle was found behind a farm in Chesterfield, Massachusetts. The town is located just over a 100 miles west of Aerosmith’s home base of Boston.

Tabano, who was in the band from 1970 to 1972 before working for the group in later years, said the van was like a “rolling hotel”.

“I’m afraid to say how long it is, but it’s been, like, 40 years since we’ve been in this thing,” he told the programme.

“We’d drive from Boston up to New Hampshire for $125 [per gig]. Then after the gas, the tolls, and the food and back, we’d all make like $3 apiece.”

In the episode, which aired on July 30, Wolfe reached out to a friend, The Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach, who then sent photos of the van to Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry.

It’s not known how the van ended up abandoned in the forest but the owner of the property where it was located said the vehicle was there when he bought the land from someone who was supposedly connected with Aerosmith.

American Pickers paid Phil, the property owner, $25,000 for the van, with Wolfe calling it “one of the biggest and most iconic pieces of rock and roll history.”

Aerosmith to Play Las Vegas Residency in 2019

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Aerosmith in 2016, via their Facebook page

Aerosmith will begin celebrating their 50th anniversary with a Las Vegas residency in 2019. Joe Perry revealed the news last night (Aug. 8) during a live interview on SiriusXM. The musician had just finished a lengthy discussion with legendary disc jockey Dennis Elsas on his appreciation of the Beatles. That’s when the co-host of the weekly “Fab Fourum” program on the Beatles Channel asked if the band would be making an announcement during their upcoming appearance on NBC’s The Today Show. Perry shared the news about the residency, adding: “What we’re talking about is having an experience that you wouldn’t be able to see on a regular Aerosmith tour.”

In Best Classic Bands’ exclusive interview with Perry, published last January, the musician indicated that the band would kick off a farewell tour later this year to begin an extended 50th anniversary celebration. That run now looks like it will begin in 2019.

As the SiriusXM discussion with Perry on the Beatles was concluding, Elsas asked him: “I would be totally remiss – and all the Aerosmith fans that are listening have the same question that I have – we see that you are booked on The Today Show… Can you give us a hint as to what might be coming?”

Perry replied: “Well… only so much [laughs]… We’re going to be doing a residency in Vegas starting next spring. What we want to do is something that I haven’t seen before… just downsizing our live show, just playing in a smaller place. We want to do something different. We’re in the middle of the production now. What we’re talking about is having an experience that you wouldn’t be able to see on a regular Aerosmith tour.

“I feel like we’ve been out of the wind for a while and it seems like it would be a really cool thing to bring some of the history back, so the production is gonna look like that. But without losing what we are: a hardcore rock and roll band.

“We’re having almost weekly conversations about the production and how we’re gonna keep it true and honest to the heartbeat of the rock and roll that we play but still add an element that people will want to see. I haven’t been this excited about a project with Aerosmith in quite a while.”

The classic rock legends will be performing on The Today Show next Wednesday, August 15, when details of the Vegas residency are expected to be revealed.

Though tickets for the band’s The Today Show appearance aren’t being distributed yet, they will be free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. As the program notes: “to get the best spot, fans should try to arrive by 5 a.m. Generally, concerts happen rain or shine.” More details are here.

It will only be Aerosmith’s second live appearance in 2018, following their 17-song set at Jazz Fest in New Orleans on May 5. Both Perry and Steven Tyler have focused on outside projects in 2018.

Tyler has been touring in support of his 2016 country album, We’re All Somebody From Somewhere. Perry has been busy with his two other musical endeavors. He’s done dates to support his solo album, Sweetzerland Manifesto (released Jan. 19 on Roman Records). Perry has also toured this year with Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp for his other band, the Hollywood Vampires.

“Nineteen-seventy, to me, is where my heart is as far as when the band started,” Perry told Best Classic Bands last January, “and the 50th anniversary, so that’s what we’ll be celebrating. That’s what we’ll be gearing up for.”

Stretch of 5 Freeway in San Fernando Valley Named for Ritchie Valens

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Ritchie Valens (Richard Steven Valenzuela) poses for his famous album cover session in July 1958 in Los Angeles.

" La Bamba" screening and Valens tribute band set for sign-unveiling celebration

The Ritchie Valens Memorial Highway is to be inaugurated on Aug. 25 with a screening of the movie La Bamba and a family-friendly festival featuring performances by a Valens tribute band led by Ernie Valens, Ritchie's cousin.

The stretch of the 5 Freeway to be named for the rock-n-roller runs through Pacoima in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, which was Valens’ home town. Born Richard Steven Valenzuela, the Chicano rock pioneer had a 1958 hit with “La Bamba,” the song that transcended the singer and guitarist’s short life and career. Valens was just 17 years-old when he died in a plane crash along with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) after a concert in 1959.

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“Ritchie Valens exemplifies the talent and greatness that exists in this community,” Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez said in an announcement about the Valens highway naming ceremony. “Breaking barriers as one of the first Latino musicians to crossover to mainstream rock-and-roll. His music was the soundtrack for generations of Angelenos and his legacy is a source of pride for our Pacoima community.”

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The festival and movie screening will be held at Ritchie Valens Park in Pacoima (10731 Laurel Canyon Blvd.) on August 25th from 3-10 p.m. to celebrate the official unveiling of the Ritchie Valens Memorial Highway signs. Confirmed performers include DJ Rhythm Donor (Bobby Arias), the Backyard Blues Band and the Ernie Valens Band.

Ace of Cups, ’60s Female Band, Finally Releasing Debut

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Ace of Cups (Photo: Lisa Law; used with permission)

More than four decades after they disbanded, Ace of Cups, an all-female rock group from the 1960s San Francisco scene, will release their self-titled debut studio album on Nov. 9 via High Moon Records. Produced by Dan Shea, the record’s 21 tracks span 50 years of brilliant songwriting.

The album features guest appearances by Bob Weir (Grateful Dead, Dead & Company), Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna), Taj Mahal, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Peter Coyote and more.

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From 1967 to 1972, Ace of Cups—Mary Gannon (bass), Marla Hunt (organ, piano), Denise Kaufman (guitar, harmonica), Mary Ellen Simpson (lead guitar) and Diane Vitalich (drums)—”were at the epicenter of the ‘60s cultural and social revolution,” according to a press release. “From the Acid Tests to the protests, from the free concerts in Golden Gate Park to the ballrooms of San Francisco, they shared stages with everyone from the Band to the Grateful Dead. Michael Bloomfield, Jerry Garcia and Buddy Miles were their fans and the Ace of Cups were chosen to open for Jimi Hendrix the week after his groundbreaking performance at the Monterey Pop Festival.

Opening for The Band

Hendrix was quoted in England’s Melody Maker as saying, “I heard some groovy sounds last time in the States, like this girl group, Ace of Cups, who write their own songs and the lead guitarist is hell, really great.”

“Despite eliciting some music industry interest for their exceptional songs, sublime harmonies and exuberant live performances, the Ace Of Cups never got the chance to make a record of their own,” says the press release.

Ace of Cups today (Photo from their Facebook page)

The release continues: “As the decades passed, the band members pursued other personal and creative endeavors, playing music both individually and collectively when opportunities arose. While performing at Wavy Gravy’s 75th birthday party and SEVA Foundation benefit, the Ace met with High Moon Records’ founder George Baer Wallace, who was there to talk to the band about releasing archival concert recordings. After hearing them play live, Wallace was so moved by their spirit and spark that he hatched a new plan on the spot, offering the Ace of Cups the opportunity to record their first ever studio album.

Pre-order the album here.

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“With the enthusiastic support of their new record label, and the guidance of celebrated producer Dan Shea, four of the band’s original members began exploring their back catalog and writing new material. Right from the start the Ace understood the art of the song, and the band has kept that spirit true and close to everything they do. Ace of Cups blends pure rock, folk, blues and gospel influences with a pop sensibility and a garage band rush; all tinted by an intoxicating psychedelic sheen.”

Other guests contributing to the album are David Grisman, Pete Sears (Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Moonalice), Steve Kimock (Zero/RatDog) and Charlie Musselwhite.

A second volume, coming in 2019, includes 16 more songs from the band, as well as contributions from Jackson Browne, Wavy Gravy, Sheila E and the Escovedo family, Bakithi Kumalo (Paul Simon) and more.

Learn more about the Ace of Cups in this KQED piece.

Ace Of Cups Track List
Introduction: There’s a Record Being Made
Feel Good
Pretty Boy
Fantasy 1&4
We Can’t Go Back Again
The Well (feat. Bob Weir)
Taste of One
Mama’s Love
Feel It in the Air
Interlude: Transistor
Interlude: Baby from the Forest of Knolls
Life in Your Hands (feat. Taj Mahal)
As the Rain (feat. Peter Coyote)
Daydreamin’ (feat. Taj Mahal)
On the Road
Pepper in the Pot (feat. Buffy Sainte-Marie)
Interlude: Breath
Indian Summer
Grandma’s Hands
Medley (The Hermit / The Flame Still Burns / Gold & Green / Living In The Country)
Outroduction: It’s Always Safe…

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Amara La Negra Was Born to Be a Star

After breaking through on ‘Love & Hip Hop: Miami,’ the Latin pop singer is ready to free your mind

amara la negra

Erik Tanner for Rolling Stone

artist you need to know ayntk

To anyone who watched the first season of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Miami this year, Amara La Negra – bold, mahogany-skinned and Afro’d – is a newly minted icon. To Spanish-language TV viewers, she’s been a star for years: as a child, she made regular appearances on Univision’s Sábado Gigante. And now, with hits like the reggae-tinged “What a Bam Bam” soaring into the millions of views on YouTube, La Negra is relishing her biggest spotlight yet. “I’ve always known my purpose in life,” says the 27-year-old singer. Raised in Miami by Dominican parents, she has a knack for dramatic pronouncements. “I knew at an early age that I wasn’t afraid of a crowd,” she continues. “I was born to be an entertainer.”

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She’s holding court on Park Avenue as she says this, sipping cognac inside the swanky Mondrian hotel. It’s a rare moment of peace for someone who’s getting used to the blessings and curses of 21st-century fame. From time to time, she says, she’ll beckon her waiter for the bill only to learn her meal is on the house. On the other side of the coin is the anti-black rhetoric that floods her social media timelines on a daily basis: “This Amara La Negra hoe looks like she has on black face & trying too hard. Yuck,” one user tweeted in January. “I don’t know what it is about Amara La Negra, but for some reason she looks like a white person in blackface to me,” observed another.

Since her rise in the English-speaking world in the past year, La Negra says she’s met with a flurry of similar comments, rooted in misconceptions about what the African diaspora looks like beyond North America and the age-old fallacy of Latin America as a monolith. Some of these semi-anonymous critics suggest that she uses melanin shots or tans herself to achieve the shade of her skin; others speculate about whether she’s Latina at all. “Too black to be Latina, too Latina to be black,” notes the singer.

As one of very few Latina celebrities of recognizable African ancestry, La Negra – like Celia Cruz, the late queen of salsa, before her – is challenging a mainstream that has excluded people like her for too long. “There is still a lot of ignorance surrounding the Afro-Latino community, and it has given me all the reason to want to keep fighting for it,” says La Negra, who was born Diana de los Santos. “Somewhere along the way, I started to feel this energy in my body – this need to empower other women, this need to liberate people. This need to talk. Why isn’t anybody saying anything?”

Image result for Amara La Negra

In her recording career, La Negra delights in retrofitting male-centric urban Latin music with her own feminine energy, spanning dembow, favela funk, reggaeton, hip-hop and R&B. Whereas day-one fans love her for songs like the twerk-ready “Ayy” and “Asi,” her newer listeners shuffle syncopated hips to “What a Bam Bam” and sing the blues to her hit “Insecure.” Since breaking through on Love & Hip Hop, she’s begun working on new music with production duo Rock City, whose past collaborators include Beyoncé, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.

Image result for Amara La Negra

Her ascent has been particularly complicated in the Dominican Republic, which has its own history of institutional racism. Earlier this year, La Negra jokingly questioned on social media why she became famous in the U.S. before the country of her family’s origin. “I said that for years people didn’t support me, but now that I’m on the cover of People magazine and whatnot, all of sudden, I’m the Dominican Republic’s biggest pride,” she recounts, flailing her arms for effect. “And now they’re eating me up alive for saying it. There are headlines that read, ‘Amara is against the Dominican Republic, against la patria.’ Like, WTF? I’m always proud, I’m always waving the flag, and I’m forever grateful to those who did support me.”

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The evening draws to a close, and La Negra has to get ready for her flight back to Miami. Within weeks, she will have rocked the stage of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, bringing the house down at the Soulfrito urban Latin music festival alongside such contemporaries as Bad Bunny, Jaden Smith, La Insuperable and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. With season two of Love & Hip Hop: Miami coming down the pipeline, a new EP on the way, a new partnership with workout app Apptive, a black doll collection due out this Christmas and a bedazzled loafers line in the works, she’s just getting started putting her mark on 2018’s cultural map. “I am my own competition,” she says, “y La Negra, de verdad, tienes tumbao.”


First Listen: Ready for the World feels "So Much Life"

Ariana Grande Details Intimate ‘Sweetener Sessions’ Concerts

Singer will perform at small venues in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago

Ariana Grande performs at Wango Tango at Banc of California Stadium, in Los Angeles2018 Wango Tango - Show, Los Angeles, USA - 02 Jun 2018

Ariana Grande has announced a series of intimate 'Sweetener Sessions' concerts.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Ariana Grande has announced she will be performing a series of intimate concerts following the release of Sweetener, which drops on August 17th.

“Surprise. I’m doing a lil thing called the sweetener sessions to celebrate the release week with @americanexpress,” she unveiled on Twitter Wednesday.

The Sweetener Sessions sets will be held in small venues. The first concert takes place on August 20th at New York, New York’s Irving Plaza. Her New York City event directly follows her appearance at the MTV...sic Awards, where she is scheduled to perform Sweetener single, “God Is a Woman.” Grande then heads to Chicago, Illinois where she will play at the Vic Theatre on August 22nd. The short run culminates in Los Angeles, California at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on August 25th. Tickets will be available exclusively to American Express Card members beginning on Thursday.

In the lead-up to the release of Sweetener, the singer also revealed that she is slated to appear in a “... segment for The Late Late Show With James Corden on August 15th.

Review: H.E.R.’s Brutally Honest ‘I Used to Know H.E.R.: The Prelude’

Gabi Wilson’s latest is a biting portrayal of young black womanhood

her album review

Timothy Saccenti

Over the last two years, this former Artist You Need to Know has been slowly emerging from the shadows while offering up brutally honest snapshots of young black womanhood in the 21st century. Her new EP – the first release since she revealed herself at June’s BET Awards – opens with a bit of a gauntlet-throw: “Lost Souls,” a broadside against celebrity’s illusions, borrows from Lauryn Hill’s “Lost Ones” and features H.E.R. (a.k.a. Gabi Wilson) rapping in a no-nonsense manner that adds heat to her biting cultural critique. She shows off a more laid-back flow on the gently blooming “Against Me,” while the regret-filled duet with Bryson Tiller “Could’ve Been” and the dreamy “As I Am” show her talent for bridging the lush instrumentals and matter-of-factly gorgeous vocals of the Quiet Storm era with the more restrained aesthetics of recent R&B. H.E.R.’s early disguising of herself was, she once claimed, a way for listeners to focus on her music; this sterling EP shows that even after unmasking herself, her own focus has only become sharper over time.

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How Indie Songwriter Dawn Landes Revived Lush ‘Nashville Sound’ on New Album


Landes wooed Music City legend Fred Foster to produce ‘Meet Me at the River’


Dawn Landes will release her new album 'Meet Me at the River' on August 10th.

Shervin Lainez

Dawn Landes made a deliberate choice about what kind of music she hoped to make when she approached Monument Records founder Fred Foster about producing her new album. Even so, Landes still had to prove her artistic worth to the 86-year-old Country Music Hall of Fame member, who had mostly retired from recording 10 years earlier.

“He didn’t even Google me or anything. He never heard of me, so therefore I didn’t really exist,” says the Kentucky native, who relocated from New York to Nashville with her husband during the recording process. “I think I had to convince him I was a writer. At first he thought, ‘I like your voice.’ I came and I sang some songs and I think he thought, ‘OK, we’ll find you some good songs to sing.'”


Landes eventually sold him on her writing with a song called “What Will I Do,” a plaintive, sadness-tinged waltz about uncertainty. Her partnership with Foster confirmed, the two began an intensive period of listening, learning and singing myriad songs, both well-known and obscure (“He called it ‘woodshedding,'” she says) that would inform the choices on her new album Meet Me at the River, out Friday. With contributions from some of Nashville’s A-team studio musicians, the album comes steeped in the lushly orchestrated productions of the classic Nashville Sound era, when Foster was making a mark as producer of Dolly Parton’s early work and Roy Orbison’s classic period.

On her previous albums, Landes explored a wide variety of styles, from approachable indie pop and folk to the French-language album Mal Habilleé, also collaborating with Sufjan Stevens, Will Oldham and Norah Jones. There was always a noticeable country lilt in her bell-clear voice, but occasions where she leaned fully into it were the exception — as with 2008’s Straight Lines, when she cut a lively two-stepping rendition of Peter, Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks” with some veteran bluegrass musicians she met on the street in Austin.


“I thought, ‘I would love to make a whole album with this band. I would love to make a whole album like this,'” she says. That experience in Austin also turned out to be the first time she ever heard Jimmy Driftwood’s “The Battle of New Orleans,” which was perhaps prophetic: Landes recorded the Driftwood songs “My Church” and “What Is the Color of the Soul of Man” for Meet Me at the River.

Along with Driftwood’s relevant-as-ever plea for racial equality, Landes contributes her own timely message about protest in turbulent times with the stirring “Keep on Moving,” paying tribute to those who march in support of a cause. Inspired by activist Peace Pilgrim and her decades-long marches across the United States, the song has numerous parallels to the present.


“I just feel the urgency of the moment to get out there and have your voice be heard,” she says. “Also, I started to think about it, ‘Why do people do that? Why do people get up and walk?’ Because they’re upset about something or they’re moved by something.”

Elsewhere, Landes seizes upon different aspects of classic country songcraft. The title track on Meet Me at the River is a delicate, wistful number about reuniting with an old friend. She follows that with “Traveling,” a jangling anthem about the open road that evokes Car Wheels-era Lucinda Williams.

Also in the classic country tradition, Landes balances humorous, winking gestures like “Why They Name Whiskey After Men” against the sweetness and uncertainty of “How to Say ‘I Love You.'” Later, she yucks it up with Bobby Bare on the album-closing number “I Don’t Dance,” the result of a nerve-wracking visit to Bare’s home to ask about collaborating. “He was like, ‘Welcome to my house, play this song on Shel Silverstein’s guitar,'” she says. “That’s not intimidating or anything.”

Ultimately, it was Foster’s expertise in this area that helped Landes — who’s produced and engineered much of her previous work — choose the right songs and sequence the album. When necessary, he sent her back to the drawing board to find the simple kernel of truth and plainspoken language in those classic country songs.


“I was like, ‘Can you help me streamline this, whatever it is?'” she says. “I think really it was choosing the songs, and he did that. I brought him tons of songs and he said, ‘This one, this one, this one,’ [or] ‘This one doesn’t work.’ A lot of times I got, ‘It’s too poetic. We need conversational.'”

It was a nice reminder from one of country’s architects to stick with the basics — the way she had when she originally won him over.

“Simple is best in a country song,” she says. “Elementally that works with all music, but it’s just so obvious in country music. Say it plainly. Say something tongue-in-cheek. Find a new spin.”


Mandy Gonzalez of ‘Hamilton’ to Bring Her Songs to the Schimmel

By Peter Libbey

  • Aug. 7, 2018

Mandy Gonzalez will perform a solo show built around songs from her new EP at the Schimmel Center in lower Manhattan on Sept. 29.CreditNathan Johnson

Mandy Gonzalez spends most nights on the Broadway stage of “Hamilton,” where she stars as Angelica Schuyler, but she’ll move downtown on Sept. 29 to help the Schimmel Center in Lower Manhattan open its new season with a solo show built around songs from her new EP, “Fearless: B Sides.”


The EP is a follow-up to her debut album from 2017, “Fearless,” whose title track, inspired by Ms. Gonzalez’s family history, was written by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The coming season at the Schimmel, a performing arts center operated by Pace University, will feature a range of performers, including Caroline Rhea and Wilco’s percussionist Glenn Kotche.

Ms. Rhea, known for her roles in “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch” and as a host of “The Biggest Loser,” will kick off the season on Sept. 28 with a solo comedy show. Hari Kondabolu, featured in the documentary “The Problem with Apu,” and Yakov Smirnoff, the Soviet-born comedian, will also provide laughs throughout the season.


Fans of the New York Yankees and Latin jazz will be happy to see that the former center fielder Bernie Williams is set to perform with his band on Oct. 12. Mr. Kotche’s collaboration with the Ate9 dance company will follow on Nov. 10. The interdisciplinary piece, “calling glenn,” will tackle “contemporary human experiences and desires,” according to the release.

Battery Dance will bring a bit of Poland to Manhattan with its Krakow-inspired dance “Secrets of the Paving Stones” on Feb. 28, 2019. “On Foot,” a piece from 2017, and a world premiere rounds out the company’s program.

The Schimmel will also host family events next season, including a performance by the New Shanghai Circus on Feb. 24, 2019 and a singalong screening of “Mary Poppins” on Feb. 10, 2019.

Ximena Sariñana is worth what they think of her

The Mexican singer launches her new single today: '¿Qué tiene?', Which is a song to have fun no matter what you come to think


Of this new production, which will go on sale in 2019, Ximena today launches the letter of presentation of what has been preparing.



For just over a year the life of Ximena Sariñana at 32 changed forever. Although her place in music is important, for four months Franca, her daughter, is the center of her universe.

The gestation and birth of the singer's first-born has given her the opportunity to get in touch with her femininity and discover the woman she wants to be without feeling prey to the canons that are dictated for the genre.


"It definitely puts you much more in touch with your femininity and with your description of what it is to be female or female. It's been really nice to suddenly discover that you can rewrite that and not necessarily be what women were before or what you're expected to be like 'you've already become a mom and you have to be a certain way', it's very nice to go discovering for yourself, without so much noise, how you are going to be like a mom or a woman.

It is a key moment in which we are now seeing the resurgence of so many movements in favor of women, of liberation and of re-defining what gender is, and it is something that I really like to support, in saying 'women can be what we want to be and and we are the owners of writing our own history 'and we must be accepted whatever the story you want to tell about yourself ... that is something very important that we are living in this country and in the world ", Saariñana said in an interview with Excelsior .

Ximena has found in motherhood a vehicle for creativity and this is what has been projected in her new record material, in which the singer reflects the moment she is currently living and the way in which she now takes things.


"It totally reflects the moment in which I am, I think that each album is impossible to separate from what you live and it's nice because when I listen to my past records it reflects me very much the moment I was, that same and you do not even remember, but is father, almost like a photograph, a portrait of who you were at that moment. Each disc is like that and this is the same.

This moment for me is very peaceful, very bright, I feel very full in all these stages that I am going through and as very permissive with myself, to say 'it is amazing what you are doing on a personal and professional level', it is good father, you have to enjoy it and you have to get there without noise, let the music flow, let things pass and know this new time, "he added.

Of this new production, which will go on sale in 2019, Ximena today launches the letter of presentation of what has been preparing.

With what do you have? , the first single that comes out today on digital platforms, the singer ventures to show herself as she is, accepting herself as she is, without caring about the opinion of others and even mocking a bit of those moments in which she has been criticized.


"It's my new single, I'm very happy to share it with everyone and it's a song that I had a lot of fun doing, I think that's what it reflects that is a song to have fun, to accept without thinking about what they think of you , to dance and enjoy it.

For me it was just having fun and being very personal in that aspect, saying: 'Yes, you can make me think that I dance badly or maybe I do not do something right', because you are always in the eye of criticism and in that sense I think it's very healthy sometimes to say 'I'm worth mother what they think of me or what they say', even if it seems good to make music or not, in one genre or another, the message I wanted to send was that, you have to have fun doing what you want ", concluded the singer.



Glen Roven, Emmy-Winning Composer and Conductor, Dies at 60


Glen Roven in 2016. A composer, conductor and record producer, he was equally at home in the worlds of classical and Broadway music.CreditArthur Elgort

  • Aug. 8, 2018

Glen Roven, a prodigiously versatile musician who conducted on Broadway when he was 19 and went on to become a prolific composer and an Emmy-winning music director, died on July 25 in Manhattan. He was 60.

The cause was Legionnaires’ disease, his sister, Janice Roven, said.

An exuberant virtuoso whose only formal training was the piano lessons he took while growing up in Brooklyn, Mr. Roven began his career while in high school as a rehearsal pianist for “Pippin,” which opened on Broadway in 1972. While still a teenager, he became musical director of “Sugar Babies,” the tribute to burlesque starring Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller, which opened at the Mark Hellinger Theater in 1979.


Mr. Roven dropped out of Columbia College and remained with the show for all 1,208 performances over its nearly three-year run. Afterward, he often dined with Ms. Miller and her celebrity circle, some of whom also became his friends and colleagues.

Mr. Roven was often described as Broadway’s youngest conductor. His few competitors for the title included Alfred Newman, born in 1900, who became a music director at 17 and started conducting Gershwin musicals at 19. But Mr. Roven was equally at home in classical music.

He conducted two inaugural concerts for President Bill Clinton and two for President George W. Bush; the last television performances by Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.; and concerts by the Israel Philharmonic, the National Symphony in Washington, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic, among others.


A partial alphabetical list of singers for whom he conducted illustrates his comfort in different musical worlds: Julie Andrews, Kathleen Battle, Bono, Ray Charles, Plácido Domingo, Melissa Etheridge, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Dick Hyman, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Patti LaBelle, Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Kermit the Frog.

He composed the scores for John Guare’s plays “Lydie Breeze” and “Gardenia,” Christopher Isherwood’s “A Meeting by the River” and Larry Gelbart’s “Mastergate.” He wrote the violin concerto “The Runaway Bunny” and made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the American Symphony Orchestra in a performance of it in 2008.


Mr. Roven also wrote an aria titled “Goodnight Moon” — based, like “The Runaway Bunny,” on a beloved children’s book by Margaret Wise Brown. He co-produced the album “An AIDS Quilt Songbook: Sing for Hope.” And for his own label, Roven Records, he produced “Hopes and Dreams” for the Lullaby Project, which provides support for new mothers and their infants.

In 2017, as an alternative presidential inaugural, he composed “The Hillary Speeches,” a group of songs whose texts were drawn from Hillary Clinton’s own words and performed by two dozen opera and Broadway singers in a streamed video recital.

Mr. Roven shared an Emmy Award for outstanding achievement in music direction in 1986 for the 40th annual Tony Awards and won in the same category in 1996 for “Sinatra: 80 Years My Way.”

Glen Paul Roven was born on July 13, 1958, in Flatbush, Brooklyn, to Dr. Milton D. Roven, a prominent podiatrist, and Ruth (Katz) Roven, an accountant. He graduated from Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn.


“His real love was setting some of the world’s greatest poetry to his own harmonically complex, fantastically atmospheric music,” Tom Lutz and Laurie Winer wrote in a tribute in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

While he was circumspect about his academic credentials, Mr. Roven taught at universities and wrote music and literary criticism.

“He was, as a friend once said, a cultured, educated sophisticate disguised as a little Brooklyn boy with stains on his shirt,” Mr. Lutz and Ms. Winer wrote. “Or vice versa.”

In addition to his sister, he is survived by his mother. His husband, Robin Addison, died in 2011.

Some of Mr. Roven’s fondest memories were of working with Mickey Rooney on “Sugar Babies.” He recalled being summoned to Rooney’s dressing room during an intermission, only to find the actor prancing around in his underwear.


“ ‘Glen, I just thought of this great movie. I want to do it for you,’ ” Mr. Roven quoted Rooney as saying in The New York Times shortly after Rooney died in 2014. “And Mickey Rooney then proceeded to act out this entire movie musical in his dressing room — all the parts, all the songs, all the choreography.

“I was 19 and there was Mickey, performing just for me in his underwear.”


[Edited 8/10/18 11:40am]

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Maggie Rogers - Give A Little


Kiesza - Phantom Of The Dance Floor (Ft. Philippe Sly)


Doja Cat - "Mooo!" (Official Video)


Cat Power - Woman (feat. Lana Del Rey) (Official Video)


Sabrina Claudio Shares New 'No Rain, No Flowers' Project

Trace William Cowen is a writer based in Los Angeles. He tweets with dramatic irregularity here.

AUG 15, 2018
Image via Publicist

Sabrina Claudio has eschewed the traditional Friday release date game with her new project No Rain, No Flowers. The eight-track release, out Wednesday, follows last year's Confidently Lost tape and features the recently dropped single "Messages From Her."

"I wrote this in a time where my vulnerability was at an all time high & i've never felt more free spilling my heart out on paper," Claudio said on Twitter Wednesday. "This was created in a month & 1/2 w/ my musical soulmate @sadmoneymusic along with a few other incredible musicians & producers. I hope you love."

Stream No Rain, No Flowers below via Apple Music:

The release of Claudio's Khalid-featuring "Don't Let Me Down" in April was followed quickly by the resurfacing of old offensive tweets allegedly originating from both the official @SabrinaClaudio account and the @ohdamnyoureugly handle. In a subsequent statement, Claudio apologized for making "insensitive comments" in the past. "Some of the things you are seeing are true while others aren't," she said. "I realize my past ignorance is affecting people I care so much about and I am so sorry. I've made mistakes and while I cannot take them back, I will learn from them."

The new No Rain project, Claudio said in a statement Wednesday, gives fans a look inside her self-described "journey of healing and growth." The rain in the album's title, she said, "symbolizes darkness but also represents an essential part of rebirth." A tour is expected to be announced soon.

First Spin: Gretta Ray glows once again on the gorgeous 'Radio Silence'

Monday 6 August 2018 4:58pm

Emma McEvoy

Another wise and wonderful song from the 19 year old Unearthed High alum.

Just as we're ready to induct the 2018 UE High finalists, 2016 winner Gretta Ray has released another taste of her second EP, Here and Now, which is dropping this Friday. Following a year out of the limelight to just enjoy being a teen, travelling for herself after a whirlwind of professional touring, writing and recording, Gretta released 'Time' earlier this year.

Now she's backed it up with 'Radio Silence', a gorgeous song that sweeps you up in its mix of apology and personal advice; it would make for the perfectsoundtrack to a climactic break-up scene in a high school TV series (Riverdale producers, take note).


FireFox NVDA users - To access the following content, press 'M' to enter the iFrame.

Speaking to Richard Kingsmill on 2018 for the track's world premiere, Gretta says 'Radio Silence' acts as a companion piece to 'Time'. (Hear the full interview on the 2018 podcast.)

"I have this obsession with this sister song concept," she says. "I love writing about the same scenario but from a totally different angle or using a completely different emotion to tell the same story. So, I would say that ‘Time’ is quite hopeful and optimistic in comparison to ‘Radio Silence’, yet it's about a very similar scenario."

"It's basically about... not communicating with someone reaching out and not getting anything back, knowing that's your fault but feeling all of the pain that comes with that."

RELATED: 'Gretta Ray is back with '...een up to'

'Radio Silence' was actually a last-minute addition to the seven-track Here And Now EP, which was essentially complete until Gretta came up with the song druing a musical getaway with some mates.

"We were playing what we call 'The Ten Song Game'." She explains it's an ideas marathon where a group of songwriters split off into separate rooms and attempt to write ten song in six hours as a way of shutting off perfectionist tendencies and overthinking.

"It was me, Angie McMahon, Ainslie Wills, Laurence [Folvig, Ainslie's guitarist], and my guitar player Connor [Black-Harry].... We all played the songs to each other and ‘Radio Silence’ was one of my songs that I guess the others hung onto a little bit. So I was and encouraged to finish it by a lot of people."

Here And Now comes out Friday 10 August. You can catch Gretta on her first big headline tour this month, dates below and more info at Gretta Ray's website.

  • Thursday 16 August - The Corner Hotel, Melbourne (sold out)
    with special guests Al Parkinson and Nancie Schipper
  • Friday 17 August - Jive Bar, Adelaide
    with special guests Ollie English and Connor Black-Harry
  • Saturday 18 August - Jack Rabbit Slims, Perth
    with special guests Jacob Diamond and Al Parkinson
  • Thursday 23 August - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
    with FEELDS and Connor Black-Harry
  • Friday 24 August - Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane
    with Al Parkinson and Asha Jeffries


[Edited 8/16/18 15:37pm]

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Aretha Franklin Tribute Concert Set for November

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Aretha Franklin via her Facebook page in 2014

As stories regarding the declining health of Aretha Franklin continue to surface in the news, news of a tribute concert dedicated to the Queen of Soul has been confirmed. The single-date event, titled Clive Davis Presents: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin, will take place Nov. 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The concert has been in the works since June, before word in recent days that Franklin is “gravely ill” and has now been placed in hospice care. Various reports on Monday noted that “death was imminent.”

As of now, the only announced participant in the event is singer Jennifer Hudson, who is set to play Franklin in a biopic for Sony/Tri-Star. However, Franklin’s signature songs have been covered by many prominent singers.

Franklin canceled all planned concerts earlier this year due to doctors’ orders. She had undergone surgery for an undisclosed illness in 2010, denying rumors at that time that she was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Even if Franklin’s health situation does improve, it is unlikely that she would be able to attend this or any other future public functions.

In recent days, the Queen of Soul was visited by numerous friends, including Stevie Wonder, Reverend Jesse Jackson and even ex-husband Glynn Turman.

R&B power couple Beyonce and Jay-Z dedicated a show Monday night in Detroit, Franklin’s hometown, to the ailing star.

News on Franklin’s personal web page has not been updated since late March.

Roger Friedman of Showbiz 411 was the first to report the news of Franklin’s deteriorating condition, when he wrote that Franklin “is gravely ill in Detroit. The family is asking for prayers and privacy. Aretha is surrounded by family and people close to her.”

Franklin’s place in music history will be assured. Since she first placed a single on the Billboard chart in 1961 (“Won’t Be Long,” on Columbia Records), she’s racked up an amazing 88 chart singles, including, of course, such timeless hits as “Respect,” “Chain of Fools” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” with legendary producer Jerry Wexler for Atlantic Records in the ’60s.

Twenty of her singles topped the R&B chart. The first: 1967’s “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Loved You”; the last: 1985’s “Freeway of Love.”

Franklin scored 17 Top 10 pop hits, including nine for Atlantic from 1967-1968. She’s also had 46 chart albums and has won every conceivable award and honor possible, playing for presidents, winning an armload of Grammys, early induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Kennedy Center Honors, National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Lynyrd Skynyrd Documentary Premiering Aug. 18

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Photo courtesy of Showtime

Showtime will premiere the documentary Lynyrd Skynyrd: If I Leave Here Tomorrowon Aug. 18 at 9 p.m. ET and PT. Directed by Stephen Kijak and featuring interviews and never-before-seen footage, the film “takes viewers on a trip through the history, myth and legend of one of the most iconic American rock bands,” said Showtime in a press release. “Rising from the swamps of the Deep South, these good ol’ boys from Jacksonville, Florida came to define an era with their hard-rocking boogie-woogie sound, soulful lyrics, drunken and dangerous antics and their controversial use of the rebel flag.”

The film also serves as a portrait of band leader Ronnie Van Zant, who died in a 1977 plane crash when he was 29. Also killed in the crash were band members Steve and Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray Jr.

If I Leave Here Tomorrow is primarily narrated by Gary Rossington, a founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. The film includes commentary from drummer Artimus Pyle, songwriter Ed King, producer Al Kooper, the late drummer Bob Burns and backup singer JoJo Billingsley. Among the archival material in the film is recently discovered radio interviews with Van Zant, guitarist Allen Collins and bassist Leon Wilkeson.

Related: The story behind the Skynyrd crash

The film premiered at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin in March.

The trailer for the film includes Rossington and Pyle sharing their memories of the crash, footage of Lynyrd Skynyrd performing “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Freebird,” Rossington discussing the group’s use of the Confederate flag, and a recording of Van Zant talking about the band’s success.

Related: 11 great Southern Rock albums

The current lineup of Lynyrd Skynyrd is on their farewell tour. (Tickets for the remaining 2018 dates are available here and here)

Aug 11 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage (with .38 Special)
Aug 17 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center (with Hank Williams Jr., .38 Special)
Aug 18 – St. Louis, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre (with Hank Williams Jr., .38 Special)
Aug 24 – Syracuse, NY – Lakeview Amphitheatre (with Hank Williams, Jr., Marshall Tucker Band, .38 Special)
Aug 25 – Burgettstown, PA – KeyBank Pavilion (with Hank Williams, Jr., Marshall Tucker Band, .38 Special)
Aug 31 – Pelham, AL – Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
Sep 01 – Atlanta, GA – Cellairis Amphitheatre (with Hank Williams Jr., Marshall Tucker Band, Blackberry Smoke)
Sep 02 – Jacksonville, FL – TIAA Bank Field (with Charlie Daniels Band, Marshall Tucker Band, Kid Rock, Blackberry Smoke)*
Sep 22 – Las Vegas, NV – IHeartRadio Music Festival*
Sep 28 – Rogers, AR – Walmart Amp (with Marshall Tucker Band)*
Sep 29 – Wichita, KS – Intrust Bank Arena (with Marshall Tucker Band)*
Oct 05 – Saint Paul, MN – XCEL Energy Center (with Jamey Johnson)*
Oct 06 – Lincoln, NE – Pinnacle Bank Arena (with Jamey Johnson)*
Oct 12 – Sioux Falls, SD – Denny Sanford Premier Center (with Marshall Tucker Band)*
Oct 13 – Cedar Rapids, IA – US Cellular Center (with Marshall Tucker Band)*
Oct 19 – Green Bay, WI – Resch Center (with Marshall Tucker Band)*
Oct 20 – Toledo, OH – Huntington Center (with Marshall Tucker Band)*
Oct 26 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena (with Bad Company*
Oct 27 – Evansville, IN – Ford Center (with Marshall Tucker Band)*
Nov 02 – Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center (with Marshall Tucker Band, Jamey Johnson)*
Nov 03 – Peoria, IL – Peoria Civic Center (with Marshall Tucker Band)*
Nov 09 – Grand Rapids, MI – Van Andel Arena (with Jamey Johnson)*
Nov 10 – Louisville, KY – KFC YUM! Center (with Marshall Tucker Band, Jamey Johnson)*
Nov 16 – Baltimore, MD – Royal Farms Arena (with Marshall Tucker Band)*
Nov 17 – Huntington, WV – Big Sandy Superstore Arena (with Marshall Tucker Band)*
Nov 30 – Wilkes-Barre Township, PA – Mohegan Sun Arena (with Marshall Tucker Band)*
Dec 01 – Atlantic City, NJ – Boardwalk Hall (with Marshall Tucker Band)*
Dec 07 – Baton Rouge, LA – Raising Cane’s River Center*
Dec 08 – Biloxi, MS – Mississippi Coast Coliseum*

Lindsey Buckingham to issue a new Solo Anthology on 3CD and 6LP vinyl

Lindsey Buckingham / Solo Anthology: The Best of Lindsey Buckingham

First studio compilation • Remastered • Some alternates + two new songs

This October, Rhino will release a Lindsey Buckingham Solo Anthology which will be available in three physical formats.

Solo Anthology – The Best of Lindsey Buckingham to give the package its full (and rather prosaic) title, spans Buckingham’s six solo studio albums, from 1981’s Law and Order to 2011’s Seeds We Sow. It also includes oddities like contributions to soundtracks such as National Lampoon’s Vacation (‘Holiday Road’ and ‘Dancin’ Across The USA’) and Back To The Future (‘Time Bomb Town’).

Fans of the sublime 1992 album Out Of The Cradle have reason to rejoice, since putting aside the spoken word elements/instrumentals, nine of the 12 songs from that album are remastered and included in the three-CD edition of Solo Anthology. In fact a tenth (‘All My Sorrows’) is also featured on CD 3, but that disc is made up of solely of live performances.

Countdown was a single from 1992’s Out Of The Cradle

The official line from the label about this set is that it includes includes “album, live and alternate versions”. Obviously, ‘alternate’ immediately provokes a raise of the eyebrow, but there’s no confirmation as yet which tracks are not the standard studio cuts.

Law and Order is the poor relation with just one song, ‘Trouble’, including in this new Solo Anthology. A slightly strange decision when songs from his VERY recent collaborative album with Christine McVie do feature here.

Finally, Solo Anthology comes with two previously unreleased tracks. By a process of elimination we can deduce these are Hunger and Ride This Road.

In terms of formats, the 52-track version is available on the 3CD set and the 6LP vinyl box. There is a 21-track single disc edition, although it doesn’t include either of the previously unreleased tracks.

Solo Anthology: The Best of Lindsey Buckingham is released on CD formats on 5 October, two days before the start of a North American tour. The 6LP vinyl edition will follow on 23 November.







Disc 1

1 Don’t Look Down (Remastered) – from Out Of The Cradle (1992)
2 Go Insane (Remastered) – from Go Insane (1984)
3 Surrender The Rain (Remastered) – from Out Of The Cradle (1992)
4 Rock Away Blind (Remastered) – from Seeds We Sow (2011)
5 Holiday Road (Remastered) from the National Lampoon’s Vacation Original Motion Picture Sound Track
6 Doing What I Can (Remastered) – from Out Of The Cradle (1992)
7 Trouble (Remastered) – from Law and Order (1981)
8 I Must Go (Remastered) – from Go Insane (1984)
9 Street Of Dreams (Remastered) – from Out Of The Cradle (1992)
10 Soul Drifter (Remastered) – from Out Of The Cradle (1992)
11 Show You How (Remastered) – from Under The Skin (2006)
12 Shut Us Down (Live At The Bass Performance Hall 2008) [Remastered]
13 Slow Dancing (Remastered) – from Go Insane (1984)
14 Countdown (Remastered) – from Out Of The Cradle (1992)
15 Someone’s Gotta Change Your Mind (Remastered) – from Under The Skin(2006)
16 In Our Own Time (Remastered) – from Seeds We Sow (2011)
17 Illumination (Remastered) – from Seeds We Sow (2011)
18 Gift Of Screws (Remastered) – from Gift Of Screws (2008)
19 Did You Miss Me (Remastered) – from Gift Of Screws (2008)
20 Down On Rodeo (Remastered) – from Under The Skin (2006)
21 Treason (Remastered) – from Gift Of Screws (2008)

Disc 2

1 Hunger
2 Not Too Late (Remastered) – from Under The Skin (2006)
3 Sleeping Around The Corner – from Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie
4 I Want You (Remastered) – from Go Insane (1984)
5 Time Precious Time (Remastered) – from Gift Of Screws (2008)
6 Stars Are Crazy (Remastered) – from Seeds We Sow (2011)
7 Love Runs Deeper (Remastered) – from Gift Of Screws (2008)
8 You Do Or You Don’t (Remastered) – from Out Of The Cradle (1992)
9 I Am Waiting (Remastered) – from Under The Skin (2006)
10 Time Bomb Town – from Back to the Future Soundtrack
11 Turn It On (Remastered) – from Out Of The Cradle (1992)
12 Seeds We Sow (Remastered) – from Seeds We Sow (2011)
13 Underground (Remastered) – from Gift Of Screws (2008)
14 Dancin’ Across The USA (Remastered) – from the National Lampoon’s Vacation Original Motion Picture Sound Track
15 Gone Too Far (Remastered) – from Seeds We Sow (2011)
16 End Of Time (Remastered) – from Seeds We Sow (2011)
17 D.W. Suite (Remastered) – from Go Insane (1984)
18 Ride This Road [Remastered]
19 Say We’ll Meet Again (Remastered) – from Out Of The Cradle (1992)

Disc 3

1 Trouble (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)
2 Go Insane (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)
3 Bleed To Love Her (Live At Hoyt Sherman Palace, Des Moines, IA 2012) [Remastered]
4 Stephanie (Live At Hoyt Sherman Palace, Des Moines, IA 2012) [Remastered]
5 Never Going Back Again (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)
6 Big Love (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)
7 Under The Skin (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)
8 All My Sorrows (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)
9 Cast Away Dreams (Live At The Bass Performance Hall 2008) [Remastered]
10 Holiday Road (Live At The Bass Performance Hall 2008) [Remastered]
11 Tusk (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)
12 I’m So Afraid (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)
13 Go Your Own Way (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)

Solo Anthology: The Best of Lindsey Buckingham – 6LP vinyl box

Side 1
1. Don’t Look Down (Remastered)
2. Go Insane (Remastered)
3. Surrender The Rain (Remastered)
4. Rock Away Blind (Remastered)
5. Holiday Road (Remastered)
6. Doing What I Can (Remastered)

Side 2
1. Trouble (Remastered)
2. I Must Go (Remastered)
3. Street Of Dreams (Remastered)
4. Soul Drifter (Remastered)
5. Show You How (Remastered)

Side 3
1. Shut Us Down (Live At The Bass Performance Hall 2008) [Remastered]
2. Slow Dancing (Remastered)
3. Countdown (Remastered)
4. Someone’s Gotta Change Your Mind (Remastered)
5. In Our Own Time (Remastered)

Side 4
1. Illumination (Remastered)
2. Gift Of Screws (Remastered)
3. Did You Miss Me (Remastered)
4. Down On Rodeo (Remastered)
5. Treason (Remastered)

Side 5
1. Hunger
2. Not Too Late (Remastered)
3. Sleeping Around The Corner – Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie
4. I Want You (Remastered)
5. Time Precious Time (Remastered)

Side 6
1. Stars Are Crazy (Remastered)
2. Love Runs Deeper (Remastered)
3. You Do Or You Don’t (Remastered)
4. I Am Waiting (Remastered)

Side 7
1. Time Bomb Town
2. Turn It On (Remastered)
3. Seeds We Sow (Remastered)
4. Underground (Remastered)
5. Dancin’ Across The USA (Remastered)
6. Gone Too Far (Remastered)

Side 8
1. End Of Time (Remastered)
2. D.W. Suite (Remastered)
3. Ride This Road
4. Say We’ll Meet Again (Remastered)

Side 9
1. Trouble (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)
2. Go Insane (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)
3. Bleed To Love Her (Live At Hoyt Sherman Palace, Des Moines, IA 2012) [Remastered]

Side 10
1. Stephanie (Live At Hoyt Sherman Palace, Des Moines, IA 2012) [Remastered]
2. Never Going Back Again (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)
3. Big Love (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)
4. Under The Skin (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)

Side 11
1. All My Sorrows (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)
2. Cast Away Dreams (Live At The Bass Performance Hall 2008) [Remastered]
3. Holiday Road (Live At The Bass Performance Hall 2008) [Remastered]
4. Tusk (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)

Disc: 12
1. I’m So Afraid (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)
2. Go Your Own Way (Live At Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA 2011)

Solo Anthology: The Best of Lindsey Buckingham – single CD edition

1. Don’t Look Down (Remastered)
2. Go Insane (Remastered)
3. Surrender The Rain (Remastered)
4. Rock Away Blind (Remastered)
5. Holiday Road (Remastered)
6. Doing What I Can (Remastered)
7. Trouble (Remastered)
8. I Must Go (Remastered)
9. Street Of Dreams (Remastered)
10. Soul Drifter (Remastered)
11. Show You How (Remastered)
12. Shut Us Down (Live At The Bass Performance Hall 2008) [Remastered]
13. Slow Dancing (Remastered)
14. Countdown (Remastered)
15. Someone’s Gotta Change Your Mind (Remastered)
16. In Our Own Time (Remastered)
17. Illumination (Remastered)
18. Gift Of Screws (Remastered)
19. Did You Miss Me (Remastered)
20. Down On Rodeo (Remastered)
21. Treason (Remastered)

John Lennon + Yoko Ono’s Restored ‘Imagine’ to Theaters

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Imagine, the ground-breaking 1972 music film from John Lennon & Yoko Ono is coming to movie theaters in September. The announcement, on Aug. 14, notes that the film, restored and remastered frame-by-frame, will also include 15 minutes of previously unreleased bonus material, remixed and restored footage, with an immersive Dolby Atmos soundtrack mix.

The music film features a different visual treatment for every song, and follows Lennon and Ono during the recording sessions for Imagine in the U.K. and New York, as they co-produced the record with Phil Spector. Cinema showings begin Sept. 17. Watch the trailer below.

Imagine has been restored frame-by-frame, from the original reels with the audio remix by 3x Grammy® Award-winning engineer, Paul Hicks. It is accompanied by 15 minutes of never-before-seen extras including studio footage of Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band (including George Harrison, Nicky Hopkins, Alan White and Klaus Voormann) performing “How Do You Sleep?” and “Oh My Love” from the album in a specially created Dolby Atmos surround sound “raw studio” mix that, the announcement says, “puts you in the center of the recording studio while the band play live.” The album also includes “Jealous Guy.”

A scene from the film

In the announcement, Ono said: “The people who all worked on Imaginewere Peace People and it was so enlightening and exciting all the way through to be one of them. Remember, each one of us has the power to change the world.”

Related: USPS to dedicate Lennon “Forever” stamp on Sept. 7

The film is produced and directed by John and Yoko, and includes guest appearances by Fred Astaire, Andy Warhol, Dick Cavett, Jack Palance and Jack Nicholson.

For details of cinemas participating in the special event screening, visit

A new 320-page hardcover book, titled Imagine, will be published Oct. 9—which would have been Lennon’s 78th birthday—by Grand Central Publishing in the United States and Thames & Hudson in the U.K. Credited simply to John and Yoko, the book explores the making of the acclaimed 1971 album. Pre-order in the U.S. here; in the U.K. here.

Fans can expect the newly restored film to be released on DVD and Blu-ray, perhaps as early as later this year.

Steve Perry ‘Traces’ Solo Album: Listen

by Best Classic Bands Staff

(Photo of Steve Perry by Myriam Santos; used with permission)

Full details have finally emerged on the upcoming solo album from Steve Perry. Following a burst of activity on social media platforms on Monday (August 13), in which the former Journey lead vocalist and songwriter began to tease the long-rumored album, its title, artwork and track listing – and music video for the first track (see below) – were formally revealed today (August 15).

Traces is scheduled to be released October 5 via Concord Records. The album is available for pre-order here.

Image result for Steve Perry âTracesâ

The leadoff track, “No Erasin’,” with a terrific vocal by Perry, was also released on August 15. Watch the music video below.

In the August 15 announcement, Perry said: “Putting 30 years into 10 songs has certainly been an emotional experience for me. I started writing and recording these songs with the creative freedom that I was the only one who would ever hear them. Along the way, I rediscovered my love for music. Each track represents traces of my past, but is also a hopeful look into the future. I invite you to listen with an open heart.”

On August 13, Perry launched a website –, naturally – and established a Facebook page and Twitter account. Each featured the handwritten words “I know it’s Been a long Time Comin’…”

This message appeared on Perry’s social media platforms Aug. 13. “Long Time” = 24 years

Those words had a double meaning: It’s been 24 years since his most recent solo album, For The Love of Strange Medicine, was released in 1994; and they’re the first lyrics in “No Erasin’.”

Watch the music video for “No Erasin’,” released on August 15

At the time of Journey’s 2017 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Perry had announced that he would release a new solo album later that year. He described the process to ABC Radio, calling it a “cathartic” experience. “I met someone and I fell in love with this person,” he told the radio network. “And I lost this person to breast cancer four years ago. In the midst of that, I had written some songs, and before I met her I had sketched some. And so about a year ago, I started recording.

Image result for Steve Perry âTracesâ

“Basically, the record is an emotional expression, and a reason to make one,” he continued. “It’s been a real cathartic experience going back to that emotional place that I thought I would never go back to. And we really have been doing our very best to capture what I think are some timeless songs.”

The album’s 10 tracks include nine originals, plus a cover of the Beatles’ “I Need You.”

Traces Track Listing
No Erasin’
We’re Still Here
Most of All
No More Cryin’
In the Rain
Sun Shines Gray
You Belong to Me
Easy to Love
I Need You
We Fly

Steve Perry of Journey speaks onstage at the Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center on April 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Used with permission)

At the induction ceremony, Perry used his time at the microphone to thank all of the other members, including Arnel Pineda, the band’s current singer. The band, sans Perry, performed the Journey hits “Separate Ways (World’s Apart),” “Lights” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

Related: Journey’s 2017 Rock Hall induction

Journey founder Neal Schon – and, with bass player Ross Valory, one of only two remaining original members – has been paying tribute to Perry with a nightly dedication of the band’s 1978 hit single, “Lights,” while on Journey’s current tour with Def Leppard. The song, co-written by Schon and Perry, was featured on the band’s fourth full length album, Infinity, and has become one of their most popular and easily recognizable songs.

Perry has also written, or co-written, such classic rock songs as “Oh, Sherrie,” “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'” and “Any Way You Want It.”

Before the Rock Hall induction, Perry last appeared with Journey at their Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony on January 24, 2005.


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Reply #37 posted 08/16/18 7:35am


The Queen

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Ain't No Way

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Reply #38 posted 08/17/18 7:39am


Lisa Stansfield - Never Ever (Official Video)

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Hayleau’s “Lonely” Is Anything But Your Average Breakup Song

You’re better off anyway

Hayleau&#8217;s &#8220;Lonely&#8221; Is Anything But Your Average Breakup Song


You may know her as Riverdale's Valerie Brown, but you should get to know rising musician Hayley Law aka Hayleau for her incredible singing and songwriting ability, as well. Unsurprisingly, the person behind the former Pussycat (and Archie's ex) is a formidable talent in her own right, and we're happy to premiere her brazen, barefaced breakup song, "Lonely," out now via Stem.

Actually, calling it a "breakup song" is probably unfair, as "Lonely" is anything but a morose reflection on a failed relationship. Instead, it's defiant in the face of emotional wreckage—a song that asks listeners to acknowledge the power of being alone. Think of it as an anthem for anyone who needs some motivation to finally delete a number (or five) off their phones.

"Even if you're sad, you don't need to let someone, like, give you pity and sympathy because they broke up with you or they cut you off or whatever," Hayleau explains, making it clear that she has no time for the invalidating bullshit.

"I want people to hear it together and be like, 'Yeah, fuck that guy,' or 'Fuck that girl,'" she continued. "'I'm gonna be fucking fine,' is really the message."

Listen to the song in full, below.

Hayleau's debut album Touch is out this September.

Avonlea’s “Cars And Boys” Is An Anthem For Adolescent Outcasts

We’ve got goosebumps

Avonlea&#8217;s &#8220;Cars And Boys&#8221; Is An Anthem For Adolescent Outcasts


If you don't know Avonlea's name yet, take note, because she's a one-woman band whose soulful, self-produced songs are headed for some serious radio play. As such, we're excited to premiere the Edgar Esteves-directed visual for her brand-new single "Cars and Boys," which feels all too relatable with its prom night-gone-wrong story line.

Taken from her forthcoming 10 2 17 project, "Cars and Boys" is armed with a sweeping chorus that's almost Lana Del Rey-esque in its dramaticism. Grounded by the kind of melancholic naïveté unique to angsty adolescence, "Cars and Boys" is moody yet wistful, and an oddly familiar listen for anyone still reckoning with their adolescent existence.

Image result for Avonlea âCars And Boys

From "Sweet sixteen don't feel quite like the films" to Time of my life/ Don't feel like much fun," "Cars and Boys" is filled with poignant lines that are beautifully morose in their simplicity. Relatable for anyone who's ever felt "too old to cry/ too young to run," it shouldn't come as a surprise that the song was born from Avonlea's own experience of feeling like a misfit.

"'Cars and Boys' is very personal to me," Avonlea tells NYLON. "I didn't go to high school, so I wasn't involved with a lot of people my age. I spent a lot of time writing. That's where the song stemmed from. Life isn't like what you see in the films."

How were you first introduced to song writing and singing?

My family is really musical. My mom sings, my dad sings and song writes, my siblings dance and act. We ended up moving to a new place in 2010. My parents at the last second decided to put a piano they couldn’t store into my new (already very small) bedroom, to my dismay – although it ended up changing my life. I started tinkering around, teaching myself chords. Eventually I began to write my own songs. This was when I was 10. I haven’t stopped since.

READ ALSO: Karrueche was once so actress

What has been a stand out moment in your career thus far?

Getting signed was amazing. I also opened for Jhené Aiko on her European tour. I remember getting the crowd of 2,000 people in Paris to sing along to my melodies. That was a highlight.

What has been your biggest challenge you’ve had to personally overcome?

Oh god, there’s a list I’m working on everyday. In music and performance, though, striving for perfection. I’m so over it. I’m tired. I don’t want to batter myself anymore!

What would your advice be to anyone struggling with insecurities?

Everyone feels exactly what you’re feeling. Everyone is depressed and hates their body. You’re not special. It’s not meant to be invalidating, it just quickly puts things into perspective – at least for me. It also gives me more empathy for the other humans struggling.

You recently released a new single “It Sucks.” What does this song mean to you?

I wrote it about a friend that deals with a lot of sickos. She gives her all to people and in return they vomit on her – figuratively and literally. We’ve all been in a place I think where we wish we didn’t have feelings for someone that isn’t good for us. It sucks.

Where do you derive most of your inspiration from lyrically?

My life – which is honestly really painful because my emotions don’t lie. Whatever I’m going through, I end up writing about. I feel like I have no privacy. But I’m really proud of what I create.

READ ALSO: Singer Ellise wrote the p... great guy

If you weren’t an artist what do you think you’d be doing right now?

Probably taking psych classes at a junior college, having a midlife crisis.

Who are your style icons?

Rihanna and Steven Tyler.

What is your ideal date?

I don’t care where, just be a fucking good person. But also, I really like all nighters with great food.

Pros vs. Cons to social media in your opinion?

Pros are that you make connections and discover people. Cons are that we hate ourselves and what we look like because our reality is Facetuned. We think there’s something wrong with us, but perfectionism and insincerities is the issue.

Who is your favorite artist?

Freddie Mercury and Carole King are my top two. Nowadays, I LIVE for Aminé and Isiah Rishad.

Watch the video for "Cars and Boys," below.


Tom Petty’s Florida Hometown to Honor its Native Son

by Best Classic Bands Staff

On Oct. 2, 2017, the residents of Gainesville, Fla., lost a hometown hero, Tom Petty. In the months since his passing, residents have requested that the city find a way to publicly honor Petty in a lasting and meaningful way. To fulfill this request, said the city in a press release posted on its website on March 15, “We are seeking feedback from the community.

“The Strategic Initiatives and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs (PRCA) Departments have taken initial feedback and reviewed the options for memorializing Petty,” the announcement said.

A free, two-day birthday bash has been organized for Oct. 19-20 at the city’s Depot Park, that will feature “a musical festival celebrating the life and legacy of Tom Petty through diverse musical performances, art and community engagement.” The area was memorialized in a 1975 single, “Depot Street,” by Heartbreakers precursor Mudcrutch.

“18+” bands are scheduled to perform across the event’s two days, including Heavy Petty and Mudpies, two of the city’s own Petty tribute bands.

In the original March 15 announcement, city officials had identified several alternatives to honor its native son:

renaming a city street;

renaming a city park or facility;

adding a statue to a city park or facility;

hosting an annual concert or music festival;

proclaiming his birthday, Oct. 20, as Tom Petty Day or

dedicating the month of October to his musical legacy and celebrating the local music culture.

“The response to Tom Petty’s passing has been very strong, which is understandable given the great love this community has for him. He has made a lasting impact on our culture, and the city wishes to help remember his legacy in a meaningful way,” said Steve Phillips, director for PRCA.

Nearly 2,000 Gainesville residents voted for their choice, with the majority saying that an annual concert, statue or park would be the most appropriate way to honor Petty beyond this year’s birthday bash. As the Gainesville Sun reported, city commissioners will make their decision, at an upcoming meeting.

Related: The story behind Petty’s “American Girl”

The survey results will provide guidance for the city to move forward with planning and budgets. The proposed timeline is to have the selected project ready or in progress by October, to commemorate the anniversary of Petty’s passing.

Petty died Oct. 2, 2017, one week to the day after completing a 40th anniversary concert tour with the Heartbreakers.

Elvis Presley: What They Said About the King

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Image result for jackie wilson and elvis

The influence of Elvis Presley on his fellow singers and musicians is incalculable, and many of them have gone on the record to say so. So, too, have many who had little to do with rock ‘n’ roll. Here’s a collection of quotes, spanning decades, from just some those who were impacted by him, both fellow rockers and some whose names you might be surprised to see.

August 16 marks the anniversary of Elvis’ death at Graceland, his Memphis home.

“Nothing really affected me until I heard Elvis. If there hadn’t been an Elvis, there wouldn’t have been a Beatles”—John Lennon

“When we were kids growing up in Liverpool, all we ever wanted to be was Elvis Presley.”—Paul McCartney

“There have been a lotta tough guys. There have been pretenders. And there have been contenders. But there is only one king.”—Bruce Springsteen

“When I first heard Elvis’ voice, I just knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody; and nobody was going to be my boss…Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.”—Bob Dylan

“Elvis is the best ever, the most original. He started the ball rolling for us all. He deserves the recognition.”—Jim Morrison

“Describe Elvis Presley? He was the greatest who ever was, is or ever will be.”—Chuck Berry

Elvis with B.B. King

“I remember Elvis as a young man hanging around the Sun Studios. Even then, I knew this kid had a tremendous talent. He was a dynamic young boy. His phraseology, his way of looking at a song, was as unique as Sinatra’s. I was a tremendous fan, and had Elvis lived, there would have been no end to his inventiveness.”—B.B. King

“Elvis was a major hero of mine. I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something.—David Bowie

“A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man’s music, when in fact, almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis.”—Jackie Wilson

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“I learned music listening to Elvis’ records. His measurable effect on culture and music was even greater in England than in the States.”—Mick Fleetwood

“Ask anyone. If it hadn’t been for Elvis, I don’t know where popular music would be. He was the one that started it all off, and he was definitely the start of it for me.”—Elton John

“He was just amazing and spectacular. He really opened the door to my whole love of music. Because of him, and because of the choice of his material, I found Smiley Lewis [and] all those great singers.”—Robert Plant

“You have no idea how great he is, really you don’t. You have no comprehension—it’s absolutely impossible. I can’t tell you why he’s so great, but he is. He’s sensational.”—Phil Spector

“Elvis is iconic; a lot of performers today look to that for inspiration.”—Beyonce

“I identified a lot with Elvis, yeah. I love his style of singing, he was a very loyal guy – he was a little misled, but in the big picture he was a good guy.”—Jon Bon Jovi

“I wasn’t just a fan, I was his brother. He said I was good and I said he was good; we never argued about that. Elvis was a hard worker, dedicated, and God loved him. Last time I saw him was at Graceland. We sang ‘Old Blind Barnabus’ together, a gospel song. I love him and hope to see him in heaven. There’ll never be another like that soul brother.”—James Brown

“He was the firstest with the mostest.”—Roy Orbison

The Million Dollar Quartet: Elvis at the piano, with Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash behind him (l. to r.)

“This boy had everything. He had the looks, the moves, the manager and the talent. And he didn’t look like Mr. Ed like a lot of the rest of us did. In the way he looked, way he talked, way he acted—he really was different.”—Carl Perkins

“None of us could have made it without Elvis.”—Buddy Holly

“Elvis was God-given, there’s no other explanation. A Messiah comes around every few thousand years, and Elvis was it this time.”—Little Richard

“I had always wanted to be like Elvis, to be a rock ‘n’ roll star, but I couldn’t sing, so I joined a mod band instead.”—Roger Daltrey

“Elvis was a giant and influenced everyone in the business.”—Isaac Hayes

“Elvis was the king. No doubt about it. People like myself, Mick Jagger and all the others only followed in his footsteps.”—Rod Stewart

“He was a unique artist, an original in an area of imitators.”—Mick Jagger

“Before Elvis, everything was in black and white. Then came Elvis. Zoom, glorious Technicolor.”—Keith Richards

“The first time I heard his music, back in ’54 or ’55, I was in a car and I heard the announcer say, ‘Here’s a guy who, when he appears on stage in the South, the girls scream and rush the stage.’ Then he played ‘That’s All Right, Mama.’ I thought his name was about the weirdest I’d ever heard. I thought for sure he was a black guy. Later on I grew my hair like him, imitated his stage act. Once I went all over New York looking for a lavender shirt like the one he wore on one of his albums. I felt wonderful when he sang ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ even though it was a touch on the dramatic side, but so was the song. When I first heard Elvis perform ‘Bridge Over Trouble Water’ it was unbelievable, and I thought to myself, how the hell can I compete with that?”—Paul Simon

“Elvis was the only man from Northeast Mississippi who could shake his hips and still be loved by rednecks, cops, and hippies.”—Jimmy Buffett

“Elvis had an influence on everybody with his musical approach. He broke the ice for all of us.”—Al Green

Related: The 1968 comeback special brought Elvis back into the good graces of rock’s elite

“Elvis touched the life of every ear that heard him, and you couldn’t help but listen when he sang.”—Merle Haggard

“Without Elvis you’re nothing.”—Madonna

“I think Elvis is the sexiest man to ever walk the earth, I love him.”—Britney Spears

“Elvis Presley is like the ‘Big Bang’ of rock ’n’ roll. It all came from there and what you had in Elvis Presley is a very interesting moment because, really, to be pretentious about it for a minute, you had two cultures colliding there. You had a kind of white, European culture and an African culture coming together—the rhythm, OK,, of black music and the melody chord progressions of white music, just all came together in that kind of spastic dance of his. That was the moment. That’s really it. Out of all that came the Beatles and the Stones, but you can’t underestimate what happened. It does get back to Elvis.”—Bono

“No one will ever touch Elvis.”—Garth Brooks

“I don’t think there’s a musician today who hasn’t been affected by Elvis.”—Brian Setzer

“A lot has been written and said about why he was so great, but I think the best way to appreciate his greatness is just to go back and play some of the old records… Time has a way of being very unkind to old records, but Elvis’ keep getting better and better.”—Huey Lewis

“There was something just bordering on rudeness about Elvis. He never actually did anything rude, but he always seemed as if he was just going to. On a scale of one to 10, I would rate him 11.”—Sammy Davis Jr.

Elvis and Sinatra

“There have been many accolades uttered about Elvis’ talent and performances through the years, all of which I agree with wholeheartedly. I shall miss him dearly as a friend. He was a warm, considerate and generous man.”—Frank Sinatra

“Elvis is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century. He introduced the beat to everything, music, language, clothes, it’s a whole new social revolution – the ’60s comes from it.”—Leonard Bernstein

“Elvis Presley was the sweetest, most humble and nicest man you’d ever want to know.”—Muhammad Ali
Image result for sammy davis jr and elvis
“He epitomized America, and for that we shall be eternally grateful. There will never be anyone else like him. Let’s all rejoice in his music.”—President Ronald Reagan

“Elvis Presley was the first and the best. He is my favorite of all time.”—President Bill Clinton

Image result for rare elvis photos

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Reply #39 posted 08/17/18 9:51am


Bobby Darin at Motown

Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

A new compilation has unearthed experiments in soul music made by pop legend Bobby Darin at his final recording home. Charles Donovan talks to its compilers/producers, Joe Marchese and Andrew Skurow.


The Second Disc/Real Gone Records

13 July 2018

The reissue industry doesn't just present us with new ways of appreciating old works, whether via straight-up CD/download remasterings (although the nature of any particular remastering is almost always a source of controversy and contention among audiophiles), sprawling deluxe and super-deluxe editions and, sometimes, all-analogue vinyl reissues (the industry standard has become digitally-sourced vinyl – not necessarily the optimal method when it comes to albums that were recorded to analogue tape). It also excavates entire albums that were canceled just before release (e.g., Dusty Springfield's Longing originally intended as a 1974 ABC Dunhill release, which eventually saw the light of day in 2001), and songs that were bumped from the final running order of classic albums (e.g. "Who Can I Be Now", which lost its place on David Bowie's Young Americans to accommodate an inferior Beatles cover).

Now, a new release from Second Disc Records (an imprint of Real Gone Records) gives us the opportunity to see one particular artist in a brand new light. Go Ahead & Back Up: T...wn Masters, a 24-track Bobby Darin collection, is the companion piece to Another Song on My Mind: The Motown Years, the two-disc collection which preceded it a couple of years ago. The difference is that while the earlier compilation focussed on the Motown material released in or shortly after Darin's lifetime, the new collection is full to burst with previously unreleased recordings the existence of which had been completely forgotten. It represents the final phase of Bobby Darin's recording career, just before a life-long heart condition felled him, and – worlds away from "Mack the Knife" – it includes recordings overseen by Motown's top writing and production talents, including Ashford & Simpson and Smokey Robinson. This is particularly significant because while Motown did issue a full album while Darin was with the label (1972's Bobby Darin), it did not have the typical Motown sound but was instead populated by singer/songwriter material, like Randy Newman's "Sail Away" and – written by British singer/songwriter Richard Kerr in tandem with Scott English – "Who Turned the World Around".

Not only does the new compilation unveil numerous experiments that Darin undertook while with the company, but it also exhumes the remainder of a whole album – Go Ahead – some of which appeared on the prior compilation and which was just at the point of being prepared for release in 1971 when it got shelved.

Go Ahead & Back Up is a release very close the affections of its two co-compilers and producers, Joe Marchese of the Second Disc (not only a label but also the internet's most authoritative reissue website) and Motown historian Andrew Skurow. The former wrote the absorbing and formidably well-researched liner notes, while the latter supplied scrupulously detailed track-by-track annotations. In the week that the collection hit the shelves, I spoke to them about it.

You mentioned to me that this release is particularly close to your heart. Could you tell me a bit more about why that's the case?

Joe: Throughout my life, two musical constants have always been the great standard songbook and the music of Motown. When I discovered that Bobby Darin, an artist in the classic tradition I'd long admired, had ended his career at Motown, I was immediately fascinated. The possibilities seemed endless. Of course, they weren't; a relatively small amount of material was released by Bobby on the label, and most of it didn't have that Motown "sound". His time there was largely overlooked even by his biographers. (I attempted to rectify that with the 2015 collection Another Song on My Mind: The Motown Years.) To discover that, yes, Bobby did record quintessential Motown music was a thrill. I took my responsibility very seriously to present the 24 tracks on Go Ahead & Back Up in the context of an incredible career, and in a way which would honor his memory. I was very lucky to be able to work alongside the best team in the business. Gordon Anderson and Gabby Castellana at Real Gone Music were with this project every step of the way. My co-producer Andrew Skurow brought his incredible passion and knowledge. John Sellards, our designer, brought his unerring eye as an artist. Kevin Reeves, our engineer, and sonic wizard, made these recordings sound better than we thought possible. Harry Weinger at Universal…the list goes on. Everybody was so supportive and contributed to make this producer's dream a reality.

How long does a project like this take to come to fruition?

Andrew: A project can happen in as few as three months, but it generally takes about four to six. There needs to be time to compile the project, to decide what should go on it. There's also a lot of musical exploration, determining what was recorded for a project, what fits, both musically, and within the confines of the 79 available minutes on a CD. Sometimes we determine that a song might be better for another project. Then there's the writing of liner notes, setting up interviews, selecting photos, working on the layout, and then going through the revision process. Some projects drag on for years, and during that time, we just keep refining the project.

Joe: I had the first notion of this project in 2015 while producing Another Song on My Mind: The Motown Years, the two-disc collection of Bobby's released Motown recordings. All credit for that notion goes to two remarkable gentlemen: Jerry Marcellino and Smokey Robinson. Jerry was my first interview for Another Song, and he mentioned to me that Bobby had recorded a song of his called "Child of Tears" which had never been released despite what Jerry felt was clear hit potential. "Hmmm," I thought. I knew I was onto something for sure, however, when Smokey brought up two more unreleased songs during our chat: "The Devil Must Be Beating His Wife" and "Cindy". I knew "Cindy" from the Temptations' recording, but what was this "Devil"? Nobody else had ever recorded it, and I knew that, coming from a quintessential wordsmith like Smokey, that the song must have been something special. Smokey clearly remembered rehearsing with Bobby. He doubted that Bobby had ever recorded lead vocals for either track. I wanted to find out. The seeds of Go Ahead & Back Up were planted. Research began in earnest in the middle of 2016, and here we are!

Am I right in thinking that although the existence of the canceled album was known about, some of the tracks on the new collection were genuinely 'lost', i.e., had been completely forgotten about and were not even known by Darin completists?

Andrew: Absolutely! We had never even heard of this album floating around. In the case of Bobby's album, it was likely completely forgotten. You have to remember that none of the employees who worked at Motown from 1970-1973 work there anymore. That means that anyone who knew about it isn't necessarily bringing us that information.

Joe: Along with "Child of Tears" and the two Smokey Robinson songs (for which we still weren't sure vocals were recorded), we knew of two more Motown outtakes. A version of "Go Ahead and Back Up" had circulated for years among the Darin fan community, and Tim Rice had played "I Don't Know How to Love Her" on a UK radio broadcast. A handful of other song titles had been mentioned by fans, and in various books, so we had enough evidence to begin the search. (Some of these titles proved accurate, and others not at all.) Little did we know how much we would find – including an entire album which not one of Darin's biographers or any Motown historians ever mentioned. The discovery of the original Go Ahead album, sequenced by Bobby and ready for release (there were even vinyl cutting notes!), was thrilling in every way. Once we heard it, we were in disbelief that it had been shelved. That proved to be just the tip of the iceberg!

If so, can you tell me how they all came to light?

Joe: We drew upon session logs, tape cards, and tapes themselves to put this puzzle together. Each source revealed a new, different part of the story of Bobby Darin at Motown. Every new discovery was a "pinch me" moment. I still can't believe that we unearthed productions by the Corporation and Ashford and Simpson. Who knew?

Does this collection represent the complete wrapping up of Bobby Darin's story as a recording artist or could there be more?

Andrew: One thing we've learned is that there can always be more. You can exhaust every tape, every tape card and log reference, every single option, and then play a tape by another artist and find a vocal by someone like Bobby, not listed anywhere. We were incredibly fortunate to discover magic in nearly every tape.

Joe: When it comes to Motown, I've learned never to say never!

Why do you think it was that Bobby went in so many directions at Motown – did he and the company not have a clear, confident vision of where they wanted to go in terms of his recording career?

Andrew: At Motown, it was always "competition breeds champions", So everyone was trying to outdo everyone else to be the very best. If a producer wanted to work with an artist, and if the artist wasn't locked in with another producer, they could. It doesn't necessarily mean the marriage would work, but sometimes it absolutely did. I think Bobby was just working with everyone, looking for the right sound. The true treasures of this collection are Bobby working with Smokey Robinson, the Corporation, and Ashford & Simpson.

Joe: Throughout his career, Bobby was racing against the clock. He never knew how much time he had left, but he knew the value of time and how precious it is. He skipped from genre to genre but was no mere dilettante. He brought 110% of himself to every style in which he recorded: rock-and-roll, standards, country, folk, and finally, R&B and soul – just to name a few! Bobby was at a personal crossroads when he signed at Motown. He wanted to be his authentic self and to saysomething, but he also realized that the "entertainer" persona was indeed valuable and brought fans so much joy. It was also a great vehicle to get those important thoughts across. I think Motown was trying to accommodate Bobby by allowing him the freedom to explore his varied muses. I believe the song "Go Ahead and Back Up" is the story of his own realization. "We're Getting There" is an example of how he channeled his social conscience into R&B.

Do you think that some people have preconceptions about Bobby Darin (and if so, what might those be?) and will be surprised and enlightened by some of the soulful performances on this collection and by the fact that he worked with people like Ashford & Simpson?

Andrew: I think if you only know "Dream Lover", or "Mack the Knife", then you might be surprised. But for anyone who knows Bobby through his music, knows that he didn't want to be pigeon-holed into one genre. He could sing anything, and I think he welcomed the challenge of singing anything. Motown was just another musical space to play in.

The discovery of the three standards was a surprise. Musically, they sound great! And vocally, Bobby's nailing it! We were blown away by "Rags to Riches", "Mona Lisa", and "Smile". Plus Kevin Reeves knows how to bring out the best in these tracks. He's the best engineer I've ever worked with. After listening to the individual tracks, hearing him live in the room with the musicians, I think the shots of him we know from the 1972 self-titled LP are from these sessions. [Photographer] Jim Britt may know for certain, but on the tape, he's singing with the same microphone, and he's calling the shots in the studio!

Joe: Finding the vocals on "Cindy" and "The Devil" was a huge surprise. The session legends [sheets breaking down which vocal and instrumental parts are on which tracks of the multi-track tape) didn't indicate that vocals existed. Smokey Robinson didn't remember vocals existing. We put the tapes up, hit play, took a deep breath, and…there was Bobby Darin, singing silky soul written and produced by Smokey Robinson. Two of the greatest artists of all time, working together. You can hear their mutual appreciation and admiration on the duet of "Cindy". Pure magic. It gives me goosebumps every single time. The same went for the two Ashford and Simpson productions, "Oh Lord, Where Is My Baby" and "I'm Glad About It". We had no proof that Bobby had ever recorded these songs, but we played a hunch (and played the tape)… and boy, did it pay off! We were honored to present the recordings to Valerie Simpson, who was gracious enough to give us her blessing for their release.

Could you tell me what some of your favorites are from among the tracks on the new compilation and why?

Andrew: My favorite song on the collection is the extended mix of "Melodie". I've always loved the song, not just Bobby's, but Michael Jackson covered it, as did the Supremes and Four Tops. Joe and I heard the multi-track while listening to another song. We realized it already sounded better than the mix from 1970. Kevin Reeves and I went into the studio and began remixing it. When we heard how good the individual pieces were, we realized the song was begging for a breakdown. As soon as we started doing that, we each got goosebumps. It was like Bobby was right there in the room with us. The piano was isolated, and I realized it was basically playing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough!" we went crazy. Then Bobby scatting! You couldn't have asked for a more perfect ending to an already magical collection.

Joe: Can I choose more than one? "Smile" is Bobby Darin at the height of his artistry, singing a classic standard as only he could. The sophisticated soul of "I'm Glad About It" bowls me over every time; it's the one track that really points me in the direction of where I think Bobby would have gone musically, had he lived longer. "Oh Lord Where Is My Baby" may be the most exciting, impassioned vocal on the set. "Go Ahead and Back Up" seems the purest statement of Darin as an artist and a person, and "Melodie", well, I think the new, extended mix deserves a spot on every Northern Soul playlist. It's pure electricity and is ready for the dancefloor!

Go Ahead & Back Up: The Lost Motown Masters is out now on Second Disc Records/Real Gone Records.

Ariana Grande's 'Sweetener' Is Here: Stream It Now

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How sweet it is: Ariana Grande’s Sweetener has arrived in full.

The pop superstar’s fourth studio features the previously released tracks “God Is A Woman,” "No Tears Left to Cry" and "The Light Is Coming," featuring Nicki Minaj and produced by Pharrell, and Grande's favorite five: "R.E.M.," "Borderline," "Pete Davidson," "Better Off," and "Goodnight n Go."

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With "No Tears Left to Cry" bowing at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, Grande earned her sixth top 10 debut, tied with Lady Gaga and Rihanna for sixth place among all acts for the most such starts in the survey’s history. The track also hit No. 1 in Australia and No. 2 in the U.K.

Sweetener is the followup to 2016’s Dangerous Woman, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Stream the new album below.

Will Aretha Franklin's Long-Delayed 'Amazing Grace' Documentary Finally Come Out?

Roger Bamber/Associated Newspapers/Shutterstock
Aretha Franklin photographed on May 11, 1968.

Franklin prevented the release of the 1972 concert film for years.

In January 1972, Aretha Franklin performed two now-legendary gospel concerts at Los Angeles’ New Temple Missionary Baptist Church. Six months later, Atlantic Records released Amazing Grace, a double live album culled from the shows that went on to be certified double-platinum by the RIAA and is one of the top-selling gospel albums of all time, as well as one of the most critically acclaimed.

Director Sydney Pollack made a companion documentary of the concerts, but the movie has never come out, and for the past three years, it's been tied up in litigation with Franklin preventing the film’s release.

Following the iconic singer’s death on Thursday (Aug. 16), will Amazing Gracefinally surface? Alan Elliott, who acquired the rights from Warner Bros. in 2007, remains optimistic, telling Billboard, “I hope we will have more news soon.”

Aretha Franklin

Warner Bros. shelved the film in 1972 allegedly over issues synchronizing the sound to the picture, according to a 2016 profile on Franklin in The New Yorker. After acquiring the footage, Elliott planned to work with Pollack on the film, but the director died the next year. Elliott subsequently solved the sound issues, but Franklin has never signed off on allowing the film’s release.

Elliott came close to showing the film at the Telluride Film Festival in 2015 before Franklin successfully sued at the last minute to halt a public screening. She similarly stopped a private showing of the film to potential investors several days later at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

Aretha Franklin photographed in London in 1972, the same year she recorded 'Amazing Grace'

But the story doesn’t end there: In 2016, Elliott enlisted the aid of Concord Music, who endeavored to assist in untangling any remaining legal issues. “Concord was helping Alan sort out some consent issues with [Franklin] in the aftermath of her getting an injunction against the release of the film,” says Concord Music CEO Scott Pascucci. “We put up what we thought was a pretty substantial amount of money as a payment to her. We went through a couple of different representatives.” He declined to say how much the label offered.

Elliott and Pascucci went to the 2016 Telluride Festival with the film in hand in case they got Franklin’s permission to show it, but the clearance never came. After the 2016 festival, talks continued with paperwork being sent to Franklin’s attorneys, but after some back-and-forth, Franklin’s team quit responding, Pascucci says. Concord quit trying in 2017.

A few hours after Franklin’s death, Elliott told Billboard in an email that despite Franklin stopping its release, “Ms. Franklin said ‘I love the film.’ Unfortunately for all of us, she passed before we could share that love,” he said. “Amazing Grace is a testament to the timelessness of Ms. Franklin’s devotion to music and God. Her artistry, her genius and her spirit are present in every note and every frame of the film. We look forward to sharing the film with the world soon.”

When asked if there was a deal in place or if he would start anew with Franklin’s estate after an appropriate time, Elliott declined to comment further.

The release would be welcomed by fans who have waited decades to the view the film, which features Franklin performing spine-tingling versions of "Mary, Don't You Weep," "Amazing Grace," and "You'll Never Walk Alone," among others. The rare few who have seen it say it is transcendent. “Watching that film in my mind confirms beyond any doubt that she’s the greatest female American singer of all time,” Pascucci says. “That’s why we wanted the film out. You watch it and your jaw drops. We thought it was an extraordinary piece of film.”

Jampol Artist Management’s Jeff Jampol, whose firm handles the estates of such clients as The Ramones, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin, agrees, adding that it serves as an important element in the Queen of Soul’s legacy.

“I’ve seen cuts of that documentary, and it is brilliant,” Jampol says. “It shows her in all her glory and combines the best of secular and gospel. It’s hair-raising. Presuming all of [Franklin’s] concerns can be addressed and that everybody feels it’s a great film and it’s authentic to her legacy, it’s critical that it see the light of day.”

Franklin’s representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Morgana King, Jazz Singer and ‘Godfather’ Actor, Is Dead at 87

Morgana King on the ABC variety series “The Hollywood Palace” in 1965. “I am an experience,” she once said of her singing style. “Very individual.”CreditABC Photo Archives/ABC, via Getty Images
  • Aug. 15, 2018

Before March 1972, Morgana King was known as a jazz singer with an impressive vocal range and an ability to put a distinctive spin on an eclectic selection of songs. But by late that month, although she remained an accomplished singer, millions of moviegoers thought of her as Vito Corleone’s wife.

Ms. King had never been in a feature film before playing Mama Corleone in “The Godfather,” which after its release that month became one of the most acclaimed movies of all time.

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She was in “Godfather II” as well and had a smattering of other television and film credits, but music was always her passion. She had been singing since she was a teenager and had a breakthrough in 1964 with her much-admired version of “A Taste of Honey,” the title track of an album she released that year. It brought her a Grammy nomination for best new artist; the award went to the Beatles.

“She has, she says, a four-octave range,” John S. Wilson wrote of her in The New York Times in 1970, “and she draws on all its resources as the basis for a vocal style that is an astounding mélange of humming, singing and vocalizing, creating tapestries of supple sounds that float in the air, that slither sinuously around a melody, that dip down to some visceral foundation or soar softly off into the stratosphere as an ethereal mutter.”

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Ms. King knew she made a distinctive impression, especially on the younger fans she began noticing in her audiences after “The Godfather.”

“I am an experience,” she told The Chicago Tribune in 1990. “Very individual. Kids like that.”

Ms. King died on March 22 in Palm Springs, Calif., where she lived, having stopped performing in 2000 and receded from the public eye. She was 87. The cause was non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the Riverside County Coroner’s Office said. Her death had not drawn wide public notice until The Washington Post reported it this week.

Maria Grazia Morgana Messina was born on June 4, 1930, in Pleasantville, N.Y., and grew up in Upper Manhattan. Her parents, Ignatius and Isadora Messina, had emigrated from Catania, on Sicily. Her father was an ice and coal merchant who played classical guitar and gave her a grounding in opera and symphonic music. Her mother imparted traditional Sicilian songs.

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She began singing in hospitals and U.S.O. clubs as a teenager and by 16 had graduated to nightclubs, some less reputable than others, adopting the name Morgana King because her mother did not want her to use the family name for performing. At 17 she married Tony Fruscella, a jazz trumpeter with a drug problem; she often found herself supporting their daughter, Graysan.

“I took care of my kid when my husband was stoned out of his bird,” she told JazzTimes in 2016.

She and Mr. Fruscella, who died in 1969, divorced in 1956, just as Ms. King’s career was beginning to ascend. She had begun recording albums — her 1950s releases included “For You, for Me, for Evermore” and “Morgana King Sings the Blues” — and she had started to get better bookings. By 1959 she was the featured vocalist at Carnegie Hall in front of “eight feminine jazz instrumentalists” (as The New York Times put it) for a concert called “Jazz Female.”

In the early 1960s she married the trombonist Willie Dennis. They toured Brazil with Buddy Rich’s band, an experience that opened new musical worlds for her.

Ms. King, next to the bride, in “The Godfather” (1972). She had never been in a feature film before being cast in “The Godfather” as Marlon Brando’s wife.CreditParamount Pictures/Photofest

“I’m Sicilian,” she told The Times in 1970, “and I suddenly realized that all my life I’d been hearing bossa nova, because it’s very Moorish, very Arabic, like the music my mother sang around the house. I feel that music.”

Her “A Taste of Honey” album led to television appearances on “The Andy Williams Show” and others, but she did not have much time to enjoy the success: In 1965 Mr. Dennis was killed in a car crash in Central Park. She reduced her musical activities considerably for three years, and when she did work, her music had a new layer to it.

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“Since Willie’s death, there’s a new dimension whenever I sing,” she said in 1970. “There are heavy spiritual feelings now.”

In 1969 she was severely injured in a car crash of her own — “broken ribs, torn stomach, crushed left side, reconstructed mouth,” she told The Washington Post in 1981. She moved to Palm Springs, hoping the climate would aid in her lengthy rehabilitation.

In an audio commentary with a DVD release of “The Godfather,” Francis Ford Coppola, the film’s director, said of the casting of Ms. King, “She just made me think of the kind of handsome, authentically Sicilian woman that would be his wife” — referring to Vito Corleone, who was played by Marlon Brando.

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The role of Mama Corleone is relatively small. But Ms. King found that the three weeks she initially was told she would be needed for filming stretched longer, as she was sought out on all matters Sicilian because of her heritage.

“I knew the culture, the psychology,” she once said. “I felt more like a technical adviser on the film, the way everyone kept turning to me with questions.”

In the second “Godfather” movie, her character dies, but the scene of the viewing of the body exceeded the limits of what she was willing to do.

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“I wouldn’t go in the casket,” she told The Boston Globe in 1977. “ ‘What lines can I speak from a casket?’ I asked them. So the person you saw in the coffin was the mother of the director, Francis Ford Coppola.”

Ms. King’s daughter died in 2008. She is survived by a grandson.

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Her albums ranged across the musical landscape. William Buchanan of The Boston Globe called “It’s a Quiet Thing,” released in 1966, “a mood piece album all the way, with Miss King really digging deeply into the heart of the song and the meaning of the lyrics.” The next year, “I Know How It Feels to Be Lonely” delved into pop hits of the day like Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman” and the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.”

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Her later albums included “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” (1991) and “This Is Always” (1994).

In her 1981 interview with The Post, Ms. King summed up her approach to musical choices, and life in general.

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“I am my own captain and this is my ship,” she said. “I don’t want anybody messing with my steering wheel or my navigation.”

Ariana Grande and The Roots Perform "Natural Woman" in Tribute to Aretha Franklin

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Queen Radio: Alicia Keys tribute to Aretha Franklin

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Just Music-No Categories-Enjoy It!
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Eric Clapton Records First Holiday Album, ‘Happy Xmas’

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Eric Clapton is gifting his fans with an early holiday present. The classic rock legend announced on August 17 the release of his first full-length holiday album, Happy Xmas, coming Oct. 12, via the Bushbranch/Surfdog label. The collection of 14 songs includes covers of many holiday standards including “Merry Christmas Baby” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” His first studio release since 2016’s I Still Do will also feature Slowhand’s take on such favorites as “Jingle Bells” and “White Christmas.”

Happy Xmas includes one original, “For Love on Christmas Day.” (See the complete track listing below.) The album also features a cover art illustration by Claptonhimself. Pre-order is available in the U.S. here and the U.K. here.

“I had in my head that these holiday songs could be done with a slight blues tinge, and I started to figure out how to play the blues lines in between the vocals,” Clapton, told Billboard. “I got it down and one of the most identifiable songs on the album, the one that became the foundational style, is ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’”

Clapton co-produced the album with longtime music producer Simon Climie.

Happy Xmas Track Listing

White Christmas
Away in a Manger (Once in Royal David’s City)
For Love on Christmas Day
Everyday Will Be Live a Holiday
Christmas Tears
Home For the Holidays
Jingle Bells
Christmas in My Hometown
It’s Christmas
Sentimental Moments
Lonesome Christmas
Silent Night
Merry Christmas Baby
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Though he’s said he’s no longer going to be touring, Clapton hasn’t eliminated live performances. He’s done six shows this year, although only three were truly accessible to the public, including his headlining concert in London on July 8 as part of the British Summer Time series in Hyde Park. The only dates currently on his public schedule are two October appearances at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Eric Clapton 2018 Concerts (Tickets are available here and here)

Oct 06 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Oct 07 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden

Robert Plant Opens 2018 Tour with Old & New: Look Back

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Opening with a song from his latest album and sending the audience home with an all-time rock classic, Robert Plant and his band the Sensational Space Shifters launched their 2018 U.S. tour on Feb. 9 at the Raleigh Memorial Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C. The 15-song set was heavy at first with Plant’s more recent solo material, but before long the singer was dipping into the Led Zeppelin catalog. Overall, the show offered a cross-section of the types of music Plant has visited throughout his career—including several surprising deep catalog tracks.

Backed by the musicians he’s used since 2012—guitarists Liam “Skin” Tyson and Justin Adams, bassist Billy Fuller, keyboardist John Baggott and drummer Dave Smith—Plant dipped into his two latest albums, 2014’s Lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roarand last year’s Carry Fire, before unveiling the first Zep song of the evening, “That’s the Way,” from 1970’s Led Zeppelin III album. “Please Read the Letter,” from Plant’s 1998 album with ex-Zep mate Jimmy Page, Walking Into Clarksdale, came next but then it was back to Led Zeppelin III for “Gallows Pole,” a traditional number arranged by Plant and Page.

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“Carry Fire,” the new album’s title track, led to “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You,” the folky second track on Zeppelin’s 1969 debut.

“Little Maggie,” the opening track from Lullaby, was next. “Fixin’ to Die,” a traditional blues number penned by Bukka White—titled “Funny in My Mind (I Believe I’m Fixin’ to Die)” on Plant’s 2002 Dreamland set)—was followed by Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop,” before Plant returned for his encore. A John Lee Hooker song, “I’m in the Mood,” which Plant performed often in the early 2000s, preceded the show closer, “Whole Lotta Love,” a tune that presumably every member of the Raleigh audience was able to identify within five seconds, even though Plant was careful to rearrange all of the Led Zeppelin material to suit the Sensational Space Shifters’ more world-music-oriented approach.

Plant turned 70 on August 20, 2018.

Related: Dennis Elsas’ interview with Robert Plant

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters

Plant’s 2018 tour continues through October. (Tickets are available here and here.)

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters Raleigh, N.C., Set List
New World…
Turn It Up
The May Queen
That’s the Way
All the King’s Horses
Please Read the Letter
Gallows Pole
Carry Fire
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Fixin’ to Die
Misty Mountain Hop

I’m in the Mood
Whole Lotta Love

Rod Stewart, 73, and Bonnie Tyler, 67, 'to combine their husky voices for the first time to release an album of duets'

Rod Stewart and Bonnie Tyler are reportedly set to collaborate for the first time to release an album of duets.

A source told The Sun that the two legendary singers have been fans of each other for years, and it was Bonnie who dared the Maggie May singer to release an album of songs with her.

Both Rod, 73, and Bonnie, 67, have catalogues of successful music spanning from the 1970s to the present day, with both continuing to draw audiences of thousands with worldwide performances.

Legendary: Rod Stewart, 73, and Bonnie Tyler, 67, are reportedly set to collaborate for the first time to release an album of duets, according to The Sun
Legendary: Rod Stewart, 73, and Bonnie Tyler, 67, are reportedly set to collaborate for the first time to release an album of duets, according to The Sun

Legendary: Rod Stewart, 73, and Bonnie Tyler, 67, are reportedly set to collaborate for the first time to release an album of duets, according to The Sun

A source told the publication: 'Rod and Bonnie have massive fans of each other for donkey’s years, but due to their crazy schedules have never had a chance to record together.

'The story goes that Rod called Bonnie up out of the blue and said he wanted to see what their voices sounded like together in the studio.

'But Bonnie told him that she wanted to go even further, that it was ‘all or nothing’ and dared him to record a whole album worth full of songs.'

MailOnline has contacted representatives for Rod Stewart and Bonnie Tyler for comment.

Iconic: As source told the publication that Rod and Bonnie had been fans of each other for years, as both boast a catalogue of work spanning more than 40 years (Rod above in 1985)

Iconic: As source told the publication that Rod and Bonnie had been fans of each other for years, as both boast a catalogue of work spanning more than 40 years (Rod above in 1985)

Amazing: Bonnie was reportedly the one who suggested the collaboration, which could be a mixture of some old classics and some covers of other artist's work (Bonnie above in 1984)

Amazing: Bonnie was reportedly the one who suggested the collaboration, which could be a mixture of some old classics and some covers of other artist's work (Bonnie above in 1984)

The insider also hinted that the pair's album could be a mixture of the old classics and some unexpected collaborations.

Starting out with hits such as Stay With Me and Total Eclipse of the Heart, it is also reported that the pair will tackle covers from artists such as Elton John, Queen and even The Beatles.

Rod also reportedly suggested that the pair could duet on a 'cheesy' Christmas classic such as Bing Crosby's White Christmas.

Amazing: Some of Rod's most successful hits including Maggie May and Baby Jane, and the rock star continues to tour after wrapping up a seven year Las Vegas residency in June

Amazing: Some of Rod's most successful hits including Maggie May and Baby Jane, and the rock star continues to tour after wrapping up a seven year Las Vegas residency in June

Big hair: Bonnie released the 80s classics Total Eclipse Of The Heart and Holding Out For A Hero, and recently headed out on a 22-date tour of Germany and Austria

Big hair: Bonnie released the 80s classics Total Eclipse Of The Heart and Holding Out For A Hero, and recently headed out on a 22-date tour of Germany and Austria

Of course both stars have over 40 years of music to choose from, and both continue to pack stadium and sell albums in the present day, so a collaboration could be a welcome surprise for fans.

Rod's biggest hits include 1971's Maggie May, 1984's Some Men Have All The Luck and 1983's Baby Jane, with next album Blood Red Roses to be released later this year.

The rock star recently embarked on his second summer tour with 80s legend Cyndi Lauper, after wrapping up a seven year Las Vegas residency in June.

Meanwhile Bonnie's most successful tracks include the 1983 balled Total Eclipse Of The Heart and Holding Out For A Hero the following year, which famously featured on the soundtrack for the cinema classic Footloose.

The Welsh star has also continued to tour, and embarked on a 22-date tour of Germany and Austria to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her song It's A Heartache in March of this year.

Still busy: Rods latest album Blood Red Roses is set to be released later this year

Still busy: Rods latest album Blood Red Roses is set to be released later this year

Working hard: Meanwhile Wales-born Bonnie continues to tour with her greatest hits

Working hard: Meanwhile Wales-born Bonnie continues to tour with her greatest hits

Huntress frontwoman Jill Janus has died. Former Huntress manager Jackie Kajzer, better known as Full Metal Jackie, confirmed the news with Loudwire. A Facebook post from former bandmate Casey Wood reads, "I'm in shock and can't stop crying. My X best friend, singer has left the world. She was the biggest sweetheart and I hope that her Legacy lives on as it should!"

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He continued, "You were supposed to be on your way back here Jill Janus. I love you I miss you, and my door is still open for you always. Rest in peace my sister." Janus and Casey performed together in the band Vexy Strut from 2003 to 2006.

The band has now issued a statement, which reads,

It is with crushed hearts that we announce that Jill Janus—frontwoman for the California heavy metal band Huntress—passed away on Tuesday, August 14. A long-time sufferer of mental illness, she took her own life outside of Portland, Oregon. Janus spoke publicly about these challenges in hopes of guiding others to address and overcome their mental illness.

Janus was a truly special creative involved with numerous musical projects including her role as vocalist for female metal/hard rock cover bands TheStarbreakers and Chelsea Girls. In addition, Janus was co-composer and creator of an upcoming rock opera with Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Angus Clark and had a decade-long career as NYC DJ Penelope Tuesdae. Her musical career began in childhood.

Beyond her accomplishments in the music world and her advocacy for mental health issues, she was a beautiful person passionate about her family, animal rescue and the world of natural medicine. She will be missed more than she could have ever known.

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Reply #41 posted 08/20/18 8:33am


Prince Estate and Sony Release 23 Long-Unavailable Albums Digitally

UPDATED: As part of an agreement struck in June, the Prince Estate and Sony’s Legacy Recordings today launched their first round of catalog digital releases with a set of 23 albums originally issued between 1995 and 2010.

The recordings, which include such popular albums as “The Gold Experience,” “3121” and “Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic” as well as a new 37-track compilation called “PrinceAnthology 1995-2010,” had been largely unavailable for many years. All are now available across all major streaming services and digital service providers. Many of these albums are available for the first time for streaming and download, adding more than 300 songs to the artist’s online in-print catalogue.

The recordings date from the latter half of Prince career, in which the intensely prolific artist released as many as four albums a year, either through his own labels or via one-off deals with indies or major labels.

Curiously, the artist’s biggest hit from that period — “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April of 1994 — is not included, although it was part of the original tracklist for “The Gold Experience.” Reps for the estate and Sony declined comment, but a source close to the situation tells Variety that the song is “on legal hold as a result of existing litigation.” (The song was originally issued on the indie Delmark Records after Prince’s label at the time, Warner Bros., with whom h...y sparring, reportedly declined to release it; after its chart success, the song was included on Prince’s next album for Warner, “The Gold Experience.”)

Assembled and curated under the auspices of The Prince Estate, “Prince Anthology: 1995-2010” opens with the title track from 1996’s “Emancipation” (“This is my most important record,” Prince said of his first album released after he’d left his original label, Warner Bros. Records) and closing with the anthemic “We March” (from 1995’s The Gold Experience).

Starting in 2021, Sony/Legacy’s distribution rights will be expanded to include 12 Pr...log albums, featuring music recorded by the artist from the 1978-1996 era for distribution in the United States. Music from this period covered under the agreement includes the albums “Prince” (1979), “Dirty Mind” (1980), “Controversy” (1981), “1999” (1982), “Around the World in a Day” (1985), “Sign ‘O’ The Times” (1987), “Lovesexy” (1988), “Diamonds and Pearls” (1991) and “[Love Symbol]” (1992). Prince’s soundtrack albums, including “Purple Rain,” “Parade” and “Batman,” will remains with Warner.

The announcement includes no mention of physical product, but it seems likely that many of the albums will be released on vinyl at some point in the future.

Prince catalogue titles newly available digitally via SME/Legacy are:

  1. The Gold Experience (1995) (“The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” greyed out, partial album streaming only; album unavailable for download)
  2. Chaos and Disorder (1996)
  3. Emancipation (1996)
  4. Crystal Ball (1998)
  5. The Truth (1998)
  6. Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic (1999)
  7. Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic (2001)
  8. The Rainbow Children (2001)
  9. One Nite Alone… (2002)
  10. One Nite Alone…Live! (2002)
  11. One Nite Alone…Live – The Aftershow: It Ain’t Over (Up Late with Prince & The NPG) (2002)
  12. Xpectation (2003)
  13. N.E.W.S. (2003)
  14. C-Note (2004)
  15. Musicology (2004)
  16. The Chocolate Invasion (Trax from the NPG Music Club: Volume 1) (2004)
  17. The Slaughterhouse (Trax from the NPG Music Club: Volume 2) (2004)
  18. 3121 (2006)
  19. Planet Earth (2007)
  20. Indigo Nights (2008)
  21. LOtUSFLOW3R (2009)
  22. MPLSoUND (2009)
  23. 20Ten (2010)
  24. Prince Anthology: 1995-2010

Prince Anthology: 1995-2010

  1. Emancipation (from Emancipation, 1996)
  2. Black Sweat (from 3121, 2006)
  3. P. Control (from The Gold Experience, 1995)
  4. Crucial (from Crystal Ball, 1998)
  5. The Love We Make (from Emancipation, 1996)
  6. Eye Hate U (from The Gold Experience, 1995)
  7. The Greatest Romance Ever Sold (from Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, 1999)
  8. Eye Love U, But Eye Don’t Trust U (from Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, 1999)
  9. Gold (from The Gold Experience, 1995)
  10. Guitar (from Planet Earth, 2007)
  11. Dream Factory (from Crystal Ball, 1998)
  12. The Work Part 1 (from The Rainbow Children, 2001)
  13. Call My Name (from Musicology, 2004)
  14. Strays of The World (from Crystal Ball, 1998)
  15. Shhh (from The Gold Experience, 1995)
  16. Dreamer (from LOtUSFLOW3R, 2009)
  17. Chaos and Disorder (from Chaos and Disorder, 1996)
  18. Endorphinmachine (from The Gold Experience, 1995)
  19. Musicology (from Musicology, 2004)
  20. Northside (from The Slaughterhouse, 2004)
  21. When Eye Lay My Hands on U (from The Chocolate Invasion, 2004)
  22. Beautiful Strange (from Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic, 2001)
  23. Future Soul Song (from 20Ten, 2010)
  24. Empty Room (from C-Note, 2004)
  25. 3rd Eye (from The Truth, 1998)
  26. U’re Gonna C Me (from One Nite Alone…, 2002)
  27. Dinner With Delores (from Chaos and Disorder, 1996)
  28. Ol’ Skool Company (from MPLSoUND, 2009)
  29. 4ever (from LOtUSFLOW3R, 2009)
  30. West (from N.E.W.S., 2003)
  31. Xpedition (from Xpectation, 2003)
  32. Muse 2 The Pharaoh (from The Rainbow Children, 2001)
  33. Somewhere Here On Earth (from Planet Earth, 2007)
  34. U Make My Sun Shine (from The Chocolate Invasion, 2004)
  35. 1+1+1 Is 3 (from The Rainbow Children, 2001)
  36. Chelsea Rodgers (from Planet Earth, 2007)
  37. We March (from The Gold Experience, 1995)

Album Review: Lola Kirke – "Heart Head West"

Album Review: Lola Kirke – "Heart Head West"
EM Review Rating:
Artist Name:
Lola Kirke
Album Name:
Heart Head West
Release Type:
Release Date:
August 10, 2018
Record Label: Label Location:
New York, Los Angeles
Review Author: Review Date:
August 11, 2018

Lola Kirke has packed her bags, filled up the tank, and started off down the road. The actress and singer-songwriter released her debut LP r August 8, marking her next step in what will surely be an adventurous musical career. Heart Head West is the New Yorker’s at all times solemn, energetic, passionate, and vulnerable expedition into music. Kirke goes full throttle, exposing her heart and her mind to listeners through ten unique tracks.

Recognized for roles on screen including Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle and blockbuster film Gone Girl, the Downtown Records artist continues her crusade into the music industry, and a successful one at that. Following her 2016 EP release Lola Kirke – EP, the freshly cut LP was produced in Los Angeles by Wyndham Garnett. It paints a portrait of a pilgrimage through heartache, longing and relationships, and all the excitement and frustration that binds them together.

Image result for Lola Kirke: Heart Head West

The curtain rises with “Monster”, arguably the most self-reflective song on the album. Kirke’s soft voice accompanies a sole guitar in the beginning. This quickly grows to include a drumming backdrop to accompany her high soaring voice in the chorus. Kirke relates to all of us in this track, writing about what we silently want to convince others of after mishaps or mistakes. “I’m not a monster just someone who wants to belong”. In fact, the entire album is strikingly relatable. The common emotions of desperation, frustration, and expectations that accompany any relationship are ones that Kirke touches on throughout. As examples, “Sexy Song” is the sultry sound of begging at the bedside not to be alone. “Supposed To”, the up-tempo single, is a response to not fitting the frames others have defined for us.

The most unique piece in my mind is the title track “Heart Head West”. It took me several repeats to interpret; only because it has multiple emotions and possible meanings attached to it. The track is seemingly two talking voices in nature, moving in and out of deep and high tones. The words speak of an almost psychedelic experience of nervousness to excitement, wariness to intrigue. The one minute, twenty-three second track is an adventure in itself. The heart and the mind moves from one emotion to another, illustrated by colours and natural elements. This short moment in the album undoubtedly displays the creativity that Kirke flexes in her art.

Related image

The entire album feels like a journey. Each song sort of melts together into one train of thought, slowly chugging along, heading to the western frontier, if you will. Kirke allows the country and folk-style instrumentals of “Bad News” to help narrate this pilgrimage. Further still, “Turn Away Your Heart” uses the classic fiddle that has sewn together such genres for generations. Kirke’s velvety voice sings in “Out Yonder”, that “though my head was strong, my heart headed west”. This eternal struggle between what our head is thinking versus what are heart is feeling is chronicled in Kirke’s lyrics. The ache in her voice and the poignant tales of love and life are maximized by the raw and the honest words that lace each tune. It’s clear that Kirke is ambitious to tell her story and communicate her soul. This is her opening herself to what I predict will be a following of passionate listeners.

Image result for Lola Kirke playing guitar

The journey ends with “Point of No Return”. The Alanis Morissette vibes which come off this track carry us to a conclusion. All of the aggravating experiences outlined in the album have all crashed together at the end of the road. Reaching that point, Kirke foreshadows taking a different step, and allowing her heart to head in a different direction.

Image result for Lola Kirke playing guitar

01 – Monster
02 – Born to Die
03 – Supposed To
04 – Simon Says
05 – Turn Away Your Heart
06 – Sexy Song
07 – Bad News
08 – Heart Head West
09 – Out Yonder
10 – Point of No Return



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Reply #42 posted 08/20/18 9:16am


Overlooked No More: Sissieretta Jones, a Soprano Who Shattered Racial Barriers

She was the first African-American woman to headline a concert at Carnegie Hall, but she didn’t care for her stage name, “the Black Patti,” which compared her to a white diva.

Sissieretta Jones in a photograph by Addison N. Scurlock, about 1911. She was perhaps the most famous of an early generation of African-American singers.CreditH. Lawrence Freeman Collection, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

Aug. 15, 2018

Since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. With Overlooked, we’re adding the stories of remarkable people whose deaths went unreported in The Times.

By Michael Cooper

Sissieretta Jones forged an unconventional path to singing opera, becoming the first African-American woman to headline a concert on the main stage of Carnegie Hall, in 1893.

She sang at the White House, toured the nation and the world, and, in a performances at Madison Square Garden, was conducted by the composer Antonin Dvorak.

But there were color lines she never managed to break, like the one that kept the nation’s major opera companies segregated, denying her the chance to perform in fully staged operas.

“They tell me my color is against me,” she once lamented to a reporter from The Detroit Tribune.

When another interviewer suggested that she transform herself with makeup and wigs, she dismissed the idea.

“Try to hide my race and deny my own people?” she responded in the interview, which was published by The San Francisco Call in 1896. “Oh, I would never do that.” She added: “I am proud of belonging to them and would not hide what I am even for an evening.”

Jones was perhaps the most famous of an early generation of African-American singers who shattered racial barriers in classical music, more than a half-century before Marian Anderson became the first black artist to sing a leading role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

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“Thirty years out of slavery for African-Americans in this country, here she was on the stage of Carnegie Hall,” Jessye Norman, a great African-American diva of the late 20th century, said in an interview.

Nicknamed “the Black Patti” for publicity purposes — a comparison to the white diva Adelina Patti — she became the star of a touring company called the Black Patti Troubadours. All the performers were black, but the managers were white.

Performances would open with skits that had roots in minstrel shows, including songs in dialect called “coon songs.” But they would close in another key entirely: with Jones as the star of an “Operatic Kaleidoscope.” An early show that began with a skit called “At Jolly Coon-ey Island” ended with Jones singing arias by Verdi and Offenbach — in costume, backed by a chorus.

“She took no other part in the show, but was the great drawing card,” James Weldon Johnson, the author, civil rights activist and songwriter wrote in his 1930 book, “Black Manhattan.” He added that she “had most of the qualities essential in a great singer: the natural voice, the physical figure, the grand air, and the engaging personality.”

The Troubadours began touring in 1896, and she held the stage with them and a successor company for nearly two decades.

Matilda Sissieretta Joyner was born in Portsmouth, Va., in either 1868 or 1869 (records disagree); her father was a carpenter and pastor who was born into slavery, and her mother sang in the choir at the nearby Ebenezer Baptist Church. The family moved to Providence, R.I., where a young Sissieretta sang in church and began her vocal training. Her marriage to David Jones ended in divorce; their daughter, Mabel, died at the age of 2.

After studying singing in Providence and Boston, she began appearing in concerts in New York, New England and Philadelphia, and in 1888 went on her first tour, of the Caribbean and South America. On a tour of England, she performed for the Prince of Wales. She sang at the White House in 1892 for President Benjamin Harrison, her first of several appearances there.

But Jones attributed her success to an engagement months later at Madison Square Garden billed as a “Grand Negro Jubilee.” After several instrumentals played by the band, some songs by the Jubilee Chorus and a fight scene, Jones took to the stage of the Garden.

“Wearing long white gloves, a pearl gray gown, and a chestful of medals, Sissieretta smiled broadly as she walked confidently up the steps to the platform in the center of the huge amphitheater,” her biographer, Maureen D. Lee, wrote in “Sissieretta Jones: ‘The Greatest Singer of Her Race,’ 1868-1933” (2012). “If she was nervous, she did not let her audience see any evidence of it.”

Jones was a hit. In its review of her performances there, The New York Dramatic Mirror wrote that she had “one of the most pleasing soprano voices ever heard in this city,” and added that she had a “purity of tone, an accuracy of phrasing, and a richness and a power.”

Jones later said: “I woke up famous after singing at the Garden and didn’t know it.”

She followed in the footsteps of earlier African-American concert singers who upended racial stereotypes, including Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, who began her singing career before the Civil War, Flora Batson and Marie Selika Williams, the first black singer to perform at the White House, in 1878.


Jones performed in gowns that were adorned with a large collection of medals given to her by admirers around the world.CreditLibrary of Congress

Jones became one of the most successful, though, amassing a large collection of medals from international admirers that she often wore at concerts, and becoming one of the best-paid African-American performers of her day, according to modern scholars.

But she frequently had to endure racism, and all manner of indignities.

Segregated hotels turned her away, and not only in the South. The same year the Troubadours were founded, 1896, the United States Supreme Court allowed racial segregation in its Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which held that “separate but equal” facilities were constitutional. That fall, when Jones’s young company tried to tour Hartford, every hotel refused them, according to The New York Times.

She eventually got a private rail car to live in while on the road.

When a contract dispute with her powerful white manager, Maj. James B. Pond, landed in court, the judge chided her for ingratitude. And singing for black and white audiences was not always easy in a segregated era.

After an 1893 concert in Louisville, where black patrons were restricted to the packed upper gallery while some of the best seats, reserved for whites, sat empty, Jones spoke out.

“I think people of my race ought not to be shut out in this way,” she told The Louisville Commercial.

She retired from the stage in 1915 to look after her mother in Providence, slipped from view and ran through her savings. When she died on June 24, 1933, relatively few took notice.

But since then, people have worked to keep her memory alive. In 1944, W.C. Handy, sometimes called the father of the blues, edited a songbook, “Unsung Americans Sung,” that included a song about her. Langston Hughes and Milton Meltzer wrote of her as a “stunning woman with a beautiful voice” in their 1967 book “Black Magic.”

In recent years her story has become more widely known. She appears in Tyehimba Jess’s “Olio,” an exploration of the lives of African-American performers that won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. In June her unmarked grave in Providence finally received a headstone to mark the 150th anniversary of her birth, with money provided by a GoFundMe campaign spearheaded by Lee, her biographer, and Stages of Freedom, a Providence nonprofit that held three days of events about her life. (Lee cites Jones’s birth year as 1868.)

And Norman, the soprano, is developing a project exploring Jones’s life that will be presented at National Sawdust, the performance space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She hopes that projects like hers will spread Jones’s fame wider.

But she has one overarching wish: finding a recording of her voice.

There are no known recordings of Jones. The Library of Congress notes that black artists rarely performed on early recordings. Gino Francesconi, the director of Carnegie Hall’s archives and Rose Museum, said he was still searching for such a track.

“I just wish we had recordings,” Norman said,” so we could actually listen to the sounds she made.”

Maxwell To Perform National Anthem At 2018 US Open Opening Night Ceremony

By Singersroom|August 15th, 2018|Categories: News, R&B News|Tags: maxwell|0 Comments

Today (August 15), the US Tennis Association (USTA) announced that Soul/R&B singer Maxwell will perform the National Anthem at the Opening Night ceremony of the 2018 US Open.

The performance will take place in Arthur Ashe Stadium prior to the evening session on Monday, August 27th. This announcement follows the news that Kelly Clarkson will headline the Opening Night Ceremony.

This year’s ceremony will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the US Open and will include former US Open champions, USTA Chairman of the Board and President Katrina Adams and other special guests.

Maxwell recently announced his “50 Intimate Nights Live” Tour where the singer will be performing some of his hit tracks as well as yet-to-be-released music in many of North America’s top theatres, including New York’s Beacon Theatre, LA’s Microsoft Theater and Chicago’s Chicago Theatre. In addition, the Brooklyn-born soul singer will be releasing a 20th anniversary reissue of his 1998 album Embrya later this fall.

Might be the best band I've heard in a while. music <img src=" /> music

The New Respects Head for Rarefied Air as Rising Group Born to Rock the Ride Festival

The New Respects (from left): brother Darius Fitzgerald, twin sisters Lexi and Zandy and cousin Jasmine Mullen. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Four family members born and raised in Nashville who never had any intention of performing together while growing up could become one of the hottest acts of the summer with their brand of pop, soul and rock 'n' roll.

Growing up in Nashville doesn't automatically mean you're destined to inherit an acoustic guitar and one day play country tunes at the Ryman or Grand Ole Opry. In fact, for Alexandria "Zandy" Fitzgerald of the New Respects, the opposite was quite true.

"We kind of fell into being a band. We saw everybody really striving to become the Next Big Thing," Fitzgerald recalled as an imaginative child of the Music City who shared a Christian upbringing with her twin sister Alexis "Lexi" Fitzgerald, older brother Darius and cousin Jasmine Mullen. "And we were just kind of like, 'Nah. I don't want to be a part of the music industry, really.' "

Exposed primarily to gospel and Motown music in their youth, the Fitzgeralds were given the freedom to explore other genres as teenagers. Zandy took full advantage of YouTube to check out rock bands like Led Zeppelin and the Beatles, and electric guitarists from Muddy Waters, B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton and John Mayer.

"Before we knew it, we were in rehearsals once a week trying to craft some really great songs and we started a band when we were in high school," said Zandy, who co-wrote her first song with Mullen called "While We're Young" (about boyfriends neither had) when they were 15 and 16, respectively.

Eight years later, the promising quartet that plays what Zandy called "pop, soul and rock 'n' roll" will make their Ryman debut on July 25 during a sweltering summer that kicks off with an an introduction to Telluride's famed Town Park stage at the Ride Festival on July 15. Nothing should keep them from soaring, including the southwestern Colorado town's 8,750-foot elevation.

On a June 19 phone call from their hometown before another rehearsal, Zandy (lead guitar) and her cousin Jasmine (lead vocals, guitar) discussed their upcoming full-length album debut, the pleasure and pain of being women in this business and how that mountainous climb to the top began for a gifted family band that includes Lexi (bass) and Darius (drums).

Photo courtesy of the artist

Starting out

"We call ourselves a DIY band because none of us took lessons, really," Zandy said, mentioning their early days as the John Hancock Band that they changed for legal reasons en route to getting a record deal. "I took, I think, a year of guitar lessons but I would never practice and I would, like, cheat my way through all those."

While her father Daryl performed in his college days, the Fitzgerald children didn't inherit their musical abilities from their elders. "My mom (Stephanie) is a terrible singer, awful …," said a candid Zandy, who initially wanted to be an interior designer. "As far as us playing instruments, I think it was something more of like a gift from the Lord. But as far as the heart behind what we do, it was from my parents."

For homeschooling Darius and the twins, Zandy praised her mom, who stressed to the children that, "You can do anything you want. You just have to work for it."

Jasmine's parents (David and Nicole C. Mullen) were in the Christian music industry, so while artists such as Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith were playlist regulars, her dad ("one of the most imaginative people I know," she said) was "obsessed" with U2.

"So I went through tons of U2 and Coldplay and stuff like that," Jasmine said. "Now my mom, she introduced me to [Mayer's] Continuum record, which I think we all [in the band] liked. That was kind of something that united the four of us musically. … John Mayer and then later on Alabama Shakes, music we discovered for ourselves. So that was … it was cool for me to grow up in a house full of music even though I think initially it made me not want to do it. I just kind of couldn't get away from it … it was in my blood, and here I am today."

As the daughter of singer-songwriters, Jasmine attended "a tiny private school" and started creating tunes when she was little, going to the studio with her dad during writing or recording sessions and thinking that unusual existence was normal. It wasn't. Her parents — who are "really good storytellers," she said — even critiqued her songwriting.

"I would bring them songs when I was really young and I'd be like, 'What do you think of this?' " Jasmine said. "And [even as] a little kid, they'd be like, 'The metaphor doesn't match here and the lines A and B don't rhyme, but other than that, it's a good concept. Go back upstairs and write it. And I'd be like, 'Cool!' So I would go back upstairs and write it and then bring them my second draft. And I think that just kind of like stuck with me."

Yet it took a push from Zandy to get them to start performing, after another cousin suggested they start a band. Jasmine doesn't recall how it eventually came together, other than saying, "Zandy was like, 'We're gonna start this band. We're gonna do it. So she kind of made us rehearse. I'm glad she did. It's been said within the band, not by me, that she was a tyrant. (Zandy can be heard laughing in the background)

"At the end of the day, I'm glad she was because here we are today. And we practiced and worked hard and a lot of that is because of Zandy being a tyrant."

Work to do

Just walking around Nashville and witnessing the musical talent was discouraging at first to Zandy, though. "You're around the best of the best," she said. "Even people who are just busking on the side of the road can outplay me."

Supportive parents fueled the band's competitive nature ("We're either gonna make it or we're gonna die trying," they would say), but Zandy would hear someone in town like Vince Gill playing and think, "OK, I have lots of work to do."

That included researching America's musical past and proudly discovering that pioneers such as Big Mama Thornton and Sister Rosetta Tharpe made it OK for women to sing and play the blues and rock 'n' roll, too.

Zandy checked out She Shreds and other online sites to find out about other black female guitarists. After hearing Tharpe, she said, 'Oh, no way. Like, that's me.' And I didn't know … I just wasn't aware that that long ago there were women playing like that. … But it's cool because it almost feels like carrying the torch in some ways."

With three strong women becoming more of the norm in a business once regarded as "a man's world" (and specifically, Zandy pointed out, associating rock 'n' roll with the white male), the New Respects embrace the changes they see on the horizon as word gets out.

"Because I feel the temperature of those conversations are a little bit more calm now and we're able to talk about it, you hear the stories of women who have been doing it just as long as men are," Zandy said. "It's not the first thing people think of just due to history, but it's not looked down upon anymore. If anything, it's celebrated."

On the rise

That celebratory feeling is another reason why the New Respects expect to enjoy performing at the Ride Festival, which is heralding "Women Who Rock" as its theme in 2018.

"I'm honestly very, very honored," said Zandy, who believes the rock genre fits comfortably into what she and the New Respects are bringing to their diverse audience. "Like me, personally, looking up to such legends like, as a guitar player, I'm compared to … I've gotten Lenny Kravitz and Jimi Hendrix a lot. I think part of it is because of the way I wear my hair, like an Afro, and I'm black. So it's a physical kind of comparison as well. But for people to hear the people we look up to in our music is crazy. So we can't really ask for much more than that. We want to be considered classic music makers and people who make music that will last a lifetime. And rock 'n' roll is one of those genres where you can do that. So it's been cool to be associated with that type of audience and those type of players."

The New Respects, who last year played Red Rocks — first to scratch off a list of dream places they want to perform that also includes Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and Madison Square Garden — will return to open for O.A.R. in August, but will first have to take on Telluride's thin air. Confident and up for the challenge, they may have some pre-show jitters over the altitude adjustment, especially after hearing about some singers at that venue who have had oxygen tanks waiting backstage.

"Those shows always make me nervous," admitted Jasmine, one of the fine female voices of the festival that will include Grace Potter, Sheryl Crow, ZZ Ward and Larkin Poe's sister act of Rebecca and Megan Lovell.

Jasmine, who appreciates what the Ride Festival is doing with its theme, added, "I think it's just exciting to be a woman right now. Like just because there's so much more opportunity than there used to be and we get to use our gentleness and our strength to tell our stories and tell other people's stories. … I think we don't think about being women, not much, until somebody is like, 'Oh, it's so cool, y'all are women and rocking.' … Like we've had little girls come to our show … and be super-pumped because they can see what they could be one day. That's just awesome."

'How do I get out?'

Still, not everyone is getting the message being conveyed in the past year by the MeToo and Time's Up movements. Members of the New Respects have been sexually harassed by concertgoers, usually when "alcohol is involved and men see you onstage, they have the tendency to just take it too far," Zandy said. "That was actually something that I was really hurt by at the beginning of the career because it felt demeaning."

She also discussed a harrowing incident that happened recently. After finishing loading out her gear, Zandy was approached by a seemingly friendly guy who "ended up putting his hands around my neck. And I was just thinking, 'How do I get out? Like how do I just not make a scene, get out safe and forget about it?' "

Fortunately, there hasn't been another physical encounter, but after initially trying to laugh it off, Zandy did confide afterward with some family friends. They assured her that such mistreatment is not acceptable, and recommended steps she can take if it happens again, saying, "Do something because you're worth more than that."

Zandy, who was pleased to report that "we've encountered way more good men than bad," has decided to heed her friends' advice. "Especially because I babysit so much, like little girls, there's no way I can't say something. Because I don't want the world that they grow up in to look a lot like the one I'm having to live in now. I don't have an exact kind of plan. Because I do have to take into account that it can get dangerous for me if I'm not careful."

Jasmine just hopes the public can follow the sentiments in feel-good songs such as "Come As You Are" and "What Makes the World" on the New Respects' 13-track album Before the Sun Goes Down (Credential Recordings) that will be released later this summer, with Theron Feemster and Jeremy Lutito handling most of the producing duties:

Love is so much more than just a feeling / It's comfort and it's healing / For our souls

Of course, Jasmine accepts that universal feeling, but sends a pointed message to the random miscreant.

"Love is for everyone, except for all you crazy people who put your hands all over and are saying terrible things," she offered. "… I hope that when we sing, something hits them in their spirit that they're like, 'I can't live with the way that I am anymore.' … I don't think that these people are truly out to court evil as much as they do evil things because they're broken."

Stand and deliver

For the more well-adjusted, inspired listeners who will feel empowered by exhilarating group-written numbers such as "Freedom", "Hands Up", and "Something to Believe In", which fortify the three songs previously included on their 2017 EP Here Comes Trouble, Jasmine said, "I'm super-excited to share this record with people and I hope they see a little bit of themselves in the songs and that they can identify with it, and that they can meet people who are different than them because of songs like these."

With no limits regarding how far they can go, the New Respects expanded their musical boundaries, too, delivering the "pop, soul and rock 'n' roll" sound buoyed by luscious harmonies that surely will reverberate across the country this summer.

"Sonically, this record gave us an opportunity to explore a lot more spaces than the EP did," Zandy said. "And so with this record, we feel like we had the room to put all of those things in it more so than we did when we just had the EP out. And so it's gonna be fun seeing who responds to it. … It's fun because we don't feel limited by the lack of one defined genre. It gives us room to talk to a ton of people. Different ages, different races, whatever it may be. We just kind of want to start a conversation."

Expect the New Respects to take a deep breath — especially in Telluride — before pumping up the volume as they become the talk of the towns on their touring schedule.

First in a series previewing artists scheduled to play at the Ride Festival.




LP Announces New Album, Shares New Single 'Girls Go Wild': Watch

LP photographed on June 12th at Neuehouse in Los Angeles.

After the long-overdue success that followed Laura Pergolizzi — better known as LP — after the release of her fourth album, Lost on You, the Los Angeles singer-songwriter has announced a new, as-of-now untitled album, and shared new single “Girls Go Wild.”

This is the first we’ve heard from LP since Lost on You, which was released stateside May last year. Details on the upcoming album are sparse. But “Girls Go Wild,” a live favorite that Pergolizzi’s been slotting into sets since February, should tide fans over for the time being.

Produced by frequent collaborator Mike Del Rio (X Ambassadors, Kylie Minogue), "Girls Go Wild" soundtracks a westward-bound trip between two partners in a relationship standing on its last legs. “Sunshine brighter than blind love/ it's all in the name of the Wild, Wild West,” she sings over a bed of easygoing, southern-fried funk-rock riffs.

“‘Girls Go Wild’ was born out of a Joshua Tree excursion with some close friends after coming home from a long bit of touring,” she writes to Billboard. It was the first song I wrote for the album when my thoughts and ideas were swirling around like a storm. It feels like I channeled my past ,present and future as told through a desert dream.”

In the psychedelic video directed by Darren Craig, LP finds herself alone — clad in a glittering peak-lapel suit — in a warehouse jungle tinted with shades of dreamy Day-Glo in the video. A vision of a kaleidoscopic woman is interspersed throughout, perhaps the partner who left LP behind.

Watch the trippy video for “Girls Go Wild” below.


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Largest Celia Cruz Exhibition Set for Miami Run in October: Exclusive

Frans Schellekens/Redferns
Celia Cruz performs at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague, Netherlands on July 11, 1999.

“Forever CELIA” will encompass six decades of the Cuban musical icon’s life, featuring previously un-seen artefacts from her life and career

“Forever CELIA,” a new exhibition about Celia Cruz, is set to open at Miami’s American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora in October, Billboard has learned.

“This is the first time the public will be able to see all of Celia’s things in one place,” says Omer Pardillo-Cid, the executor of The Celia Cruz Estate. A previous large-scale Cruz exhibit was curated by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History with Pardillo’s participation.)

Celia Cruz performs at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, Netherlands on July 25, 1987.

When Cruz passed away in 2003, Pardillo, who became Cruz’s manager when he was in his 20s, took custody of her 200-plus dresses and her shoes and wigs, dozens of awards, photos going back to her childhood in Cuba, and personal items including her first passport and the plane ticket that took her to Kinshasa, in what was then Zaire, to perform with the Fania All Stars in 1974. The collection also, of course, includes copies of the albums she recorded throughout her career, as well as personal mementos she amassed on her world travels.

Courtesy of The Celia Cruz Estate

The show is set to open Oct. 18 at the recently-opened Miami museum, known as The Cuban, which is dedicated to documenting the culture of Cuban exile. “Forever Celia” will be the museum’s first major exhibition.

The installation will cover six decades of Cruz’s career, from her early days with the Sonora Matancera in Cuba to her later years as the world’s unchallenged Salsa Queen. In addition to never-before-seen costumes and a celebration of her music through the years, a section of the exhibition will recreate her 1990 visit to Guantánamo Bay, where she performed at the U.S. Naval Base. It was the only time she returned to Cuba after going into exile in 1960.

Complementing the celebration of Celia in Miami, “Celia,” a new Celia Cruz musical starring the Cuban singer Lucrecia, directed by Gonzalo Rodriguez and produced by Pardillo, will be performed at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center on Nov. 16 and 17. Tickets are on sale.

Pardillo notes that the timing of both the exhibition and the musical honor the music icon in the year of the 15th anniversary of her death.

Vicente Fernandez Is Back to Restore Your Faith in Love With New Album 'Mas Romantico Que Nunca': Listen Now

Rocky Widner/FilmMagic
Vicente Fernandez performs in concert at the HP Pavilion on April 14, 2013 in San Jose, Calif.

Vicente Fernandez’s last concert ever was in September 2016 at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico. More than 80 million people bid farewell to “El Rey de la Musica Ranchera,” singing along to 50-plus of his greatest hits.

Although his retirement from the stage was a sad moment for fans, Fernandez promised to continue making music so we would never forget him. Nearly two years later, Chente has kept his word, and he’s back with a new project.

Más Romántico Que Nunca (More Romantic Than Ever), released Friday (Aug. 10) through Sony Music, is home to 12 new romantic songs -- nine boleros and three rancheras -- that will restore your faith in love.

Vicente Fernandez performs at HP Pavilion on Nov. 24, 2006.

“The 12 songs were made to serenade your girlfriend or mother and are very beautiful songs that don’t talk about sex or anything degrading,” Fernandez said in a video on his YouTube channel. He also expressed his excitement on Instagram: “I’m very happy today because I finally premiered my album.”

With this new production, which also includes nine different music videos filmed in his Los Tres Potrillos ranch, the 78-year-old Mexican singer pays homage to his friend and musical director Pedro Ramirez, who recently died.

Watch the music video for "Hablame" and listen to the full album below:

Native R&B singer Danny Pearson dies after bout with liver cancer

Anthony Mcdougle, Mississippi Clarion LedgerPublished 4:09 p.m. CT Aug. 18, 2018

Various artists sing 'Respect,' the song written by Otis Redding and popularized by Aretha Franklin, who died Thursday at age 76. (Aug. 16) AP


STONEWALL — Stonewall native and notable rhythm and blues singer Danny Pearson died Friday night after a three-year battle with liver cancer. He was 65.

Pearson's career began to flourish in the late 1970s, when he became the sole artist to sign to the late Barry White's record label, Unlimited Gold Records. He was well-known for his 1978 solo album, "Barry White Presents Mr. Danny Pearson." The album's lead single, "What's Your Sign Girl," peaked at No. 16 on the U.S. R&B charts and No. 108 on the Billboard 200.

Pearson also made appearances on "Soul Train," traveled the world with White and other acts, and collaborated with the likes of Sly Stone and Ray Parker Jr.

Image result for singer Danny Pearson

Pearson's musical aspirations started long before that, though. In the early 1970s, he led a band, Danny & Company, in which his brother, Jonas Pearson, was the guitarist. Jonas Pearson also accompanied his brother as a guitarist later in his career.

Jonas Pearson called his brother a bighearted, caring person who loved his family. He was also a ham radio operator and high-tech fan who was always up to date on the latest gear and recording innovations, Jonas Pearson said.

"Through the years as musicians or artists go, he was always true to the art and the industry," Jonas Pearson said. "He never sought gainful employment anywhere else other than writing or music."

Though Danny Pearson spent much of his younger life in Racine, Wisconsin, Jonas Pearson said his elder brother was revered as a hometown hero in Stonewall who was able to get away and make something of himself.

The cover of Danny Pearson's 1978 album "Barry White Presents Mr. Danny Pearson".

The cover of Danny Pearson's 1978 album "Barry White Presents Mr. Danny Pearson". (Photo: Courtesy of Terry O'Neal)

"I think he'd want to be remembered as a grown man with a childlike heart. I'd often say to him, 'You never got older than 14' because he always had that childlike spirit and optimism," Jonas Pearson said. "He'd want to be remembered as someone who loves his family dearly and wanted them all to be together and happy."

Before he died, Pearson was working on a new album titled "We the People." It was being produced under his independent label and scheduled for release later this year.

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Carrie Underwood Reveals 'Cry Pretty' Track List

8/20/2018 by Sofia Mele

Debby Wong/REX/Shutterstock
Carrie Underwood performs during the CMA Music Festival on June 8, 2018 in Nashville, Tenn.

Carrie Underwood unveiled the track listing for her upcoming album Cry Pretty on Monday (Aug. 20). The record will be a 13-song collection featuring previously released singles "Cry Pretty" and "The Champion."

Due for release on Sept. 14, Cry Pretty marks Underwood's sixth album and the follow-up to 2015's Storyteller. The country superstar announced the song titles in a post on social media, writing, "Can’t wait to share these songs with you on September 14th!!!"

Cry Pretty marks Underwood's sixth album but her first time in the producer's chair, co-producing the LP with David Garcia (who also co-wrote six of the tracks). Underwood's frequent collaborator, Hillary Lindsey -- who wrote 11 of the country star's 14 Country Airplay No. 1s -- penned seven of the Cry Pretty tracks.

Underwood will hit the road for the Cry Pretty Tour in May, with support from Maddie & Tae and Runaway June. Before then, she and husband Mike Fisher will be welcoming their second child, as Underwood announced along with the tour on Aug. 8.

Check out the Cry Pretty track listing below.

1. “Cry Pretty”
2. “Ghosts on the Stereo”
3. “Low”
4. “Backsliding”
5. “That Song That We Used to Make Love To”
6. “The Bullet”
7. “Southbound”
8. “Drinking Alone”
9. “Spinning Bottles”
10. “Love Wins”
11. “End Up With You”
12. “Kingdom”

Bonus Track: “The Champion” (Feat. Ludacris)


Written by Eva Barragan

Photography by Ramsey Cheng


When we say farewell to our lovers, the affair doesn't end with one single phone call. Love lingers. It takes days, weeks, months, often years, to cleanse oneself entirely of the residue a broken romantic relationship leaves behind. No one understands this quite as well as singer-songwriter Rozzi.

“I wrote Never Over You when I was in a fight with my boyfriend at the time,” Rozzi tells me as we talk over the phone discussing love lost, love found and the strength it takes to walk away from a relationship that is no longer serving you, romantic or not.“I remember thinking about all our issues and all of the things that weren’t working but what I kept coming back to was, despite all the things I was ‘over,’ I still wasn’t over him.”

In Never Over You she sings “Am I keeping you or are you keeping me?” to describe the feeling you have when a relationship is over before you even declare it is. I tell her that for me, that lyric reminds of being with someone you’re so comfortable with that the thought of not having them in your life seems absurd, no matter how bad things get. But for Rozzi, both this song and this lyric continue to change meaning for her as she enters each new stage of her life. “I think when I was writing it; however, I just wanted answers. I didn’t understand, “how are we having all these shitty experiences and you’re still making me stay? How real was what we were feeling? How much of the ‘keeping each other’ was out of fear? and how much of it was out of love?’”

Fear of letting go or fear of the unknown is undoubtedly the number one driving force behind avoiding change even when you know it needs to happen. Fear cripples you, it stunts your growth. While Rozzi may not be immune to fear, she sure as hell knows how to move past it. Perhaps the reason why she was able to combat it in her romantic relationship, is because she’s done it professionally once before. When Rozzi was only 19 years old, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine heard a recording of Rozzi singing and approached her with a simple offer, “I don’t have a record label, but if you’ll sign with me, I’ll create one.”

Rozzi accepted Levine’s proposal and for the next couple of years, she embarked on a journey any new artist could only dream of. “ I went on a bunch of incredible tours with Maroon 5, opened up for Kelly Clarkson and had so many wonderful experiences with them, but unfortunately that wasn't the environment that most encouraged the artist in me,” she tells me looking back. “Being on tour did not necessarily lead me to find out who I was or what I wanted to say or even what I wanted to sound like. I could be playing at the Hollywood Bowl or Madison Square Garden, but there was always a little voice inside my head that kept telling me something wasn’t 100% right.” Rozzi tells me although she knew it was the right move, the moment she and Levine finally parted ways, she was devastated. “I didn’t want that to be how it happened. I was leaving a really incredible opportunity, I was really good friends with everybody, I loved the community I was in, and it was also just so disappointing to have gotten so close to everything I always wanted and then have it not pan out the way I planned. It was really heartbreaking.”

I confide in Rozzi that there are circumstances in my own life that have ended abruptly, and left me feeling distraught because like she explains, although these circumstances may seem close to “perfect,” I know deep down that “this isn't it.”

“That’s where the feeling of heartbreak comes in,” she tells me. “We’re not so much heartbroken because it's over, but more so your heart is breaking because you are finally acknowledging that this dynamic, romantic or professional, needs to come to an end in order for you to grow and move forward.”


Before Levine, Rozzi was attending classes at USC and working as a backup singer for Sergio Mendes. She didn’t leave Levine’s label with opportunities lined up for her, she left knowing she had nothing to fall back on. “I had no clue what was going to happen next or what I was going to do, but then I met my manager Ben Singer who’s also the president of Small/Giant records and he just got me very quickly and understood what I needed,” she tells me. Singer sent Rozzi on a path of writing and self-discovery and told her what she needed was not to be in the studio, but instead, she needed to find her voice, find herself. “I spent the next couple of years experiencing things I’ve never experienced before and feeling emotions I didn’t even know I could feel. Leaving Levine’s label was just one of those things in life where you’re terrified of allowing it to happen but in the end, it ends up being this incredible blessing that changes your life in the best way.”

She tells me even during the time she feared starting all over, there was never a moment when she considered giving up. “I mean, there have definitely been times where I’ve been incredibly exhausted from writing. I was feeling frustrated that I might not write “good enough” songs. That was a terrifying place to be, thinking about possibly never creating a song that people would relate to or enjoy listening to. Fortunately, I have a lot of wonderful people around me who can kind of remind me of why I’m doing this.”

Rozzi’s journey is the perfect example of how different artist define success. To the outside looking in, she had everything a girl could dream of. Money, connections, a platform. But for Rozzi, success has always meant being faithful to the creator within her. Producing music that’s authentic, real, raw and personal.

She tells me the best advice she’s received on her artistic journey, and advice she’d give to others is that, “as an artist, there’s so much you can't control, there's so little that's in your hands. You can’t control the speed of the journey, how long it'll take you to get where you want to be, the opinions of others, none of it. The only thing you can control is what you make, so make something you love, there's no point in making anything else.”

Eddie Willis, One of Motown’s Original Funk Brothers, Dead at 82

by Best Classic Bands Staff


Eddie Willis, a guitarist and an original member of Motown’s in-house, though largely anonymous, band known as the Funk Brothers, died today (August 20), at his home in Gore Springs, Miss.


According to the Detroit Free Press, Willis had been suffering complications stemming from a childhood bout with polio. He was 82. Among his countless recordings in which he performed, Willis played the electric sitar on Stevie Wonder’s 1967 smash, “I Was Made to Love Her.”


Willis was born in Grenada, Miss. on June 3, 1936. He joined Motown in 1959 in his early 20s and continued with them in Detroit until 1972. Though he continued as part of the label operations’ move to Los Angeles, he ultimately returned to Detroit to perform with the Four Tops for several decades.


While other musicians accompanied them from time to time, the Funk Brothers band was a 13-member group of Richard “Pistol” Allen, Jack Ashford, Bob Babbitt, William “Benny” Benjamin, Eddie “Bongo” Brown, Johnny Griffith, Joe Hunter, James Jamerson, Uriel Jones, Joe Messina, Earl Van Dyke, Robert White and Willis.


The Funk Brothers were uncredited until 1971 and, as a result, not widely known. (Their peers included the Stax Records Memphis house band Booker T. and the M.G.’s and the Los Angeles musicians known as the Wrecking Crew who performed on hundreds of hit singles.)

Related: Our interview with the producer-director of The Wrecking Crew film


It wasn’t until Marvin Gaye’s 1971 landmark R&B concept album, What’s Going On, that the Funk Brothers received their first official credit on an album jacket. Still, it would be decades before the collective received significant attention, thanks in part to the 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown, based on the book of the same name.


Among the scores of legendary recordings for Hitsville, USA, as Motown was known, in which Willis performed on were the Marvelettes’ 1961 #1 single, “Please Mr. Postman,” the Temptations 1964 single “The Way You Do the Things You Do” and that electric sitar on Wonder’s “I Was Made to Love Her.”


Phil Collins, a huge Motown fan, featured Willis extensively on his 2010 album, Going Back, a collection of Motown covers and soul standards.


In 2013, Willis was among those in attendance when the Funk Brothers received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Among the speakers? Stevie Wonder.


His daughter, Terez Willis, told the Detroit paper that her father “knew that he was loved. He knew that a lot of people in the industry loved him. That’s what he talked about when I saw him two weeks ago.”


[Edited 8/21/18 9:14am]

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MTV VMAs 2018 winners! Camila Cabello takes home top Artist Of The Year and Best Video honors while Cardi B earns Moonman for Best New Artist

The MTV Video Music Awards are always full of wild moments and 2018's ceremony was no different.

Camila Cabello earned two of the show's top honors, winning both the Video Of The Year and Artist Of The Year award.

Cardi B was another big winner. The rapper brought home the Best New Artist moon man and won Best Collaboration for her song Dinero with Jennifer Lopez and DJ Khalid.

Solo artist! Camila Cabello earned two of the show's top honors, winning both the Video Of The Year and Artist Of The Year award

Solo artist! Camila Cabello earned two of the show's top honors, winning both the Video Of The Year and Artist Of The Year award

Speaking after her win for Video of the Year presented by superstar Madonna Camila said: 'My hands are literally shaking. I am never going to forget this moment ever in my life.

'Madonna, I love you so so much, I’ve seen every single music video of yours, I’ve seen every single documentary of yours, you’ve inspired me so much. For that reason, this is a surreal moment and I love you, seriously. I can’t believe it.'

'Video of the Year, wow. Thank you so much all of my fans for voting. I want to thank Dave Myers for being an incredible director and collaborator, and for putting up with me blowing up his phone every time we make a music video.

'I wanna thank the amazing choreographers on this music video, I wanna thank all the amazing actors in the video, I wanna thank my family who inspired this music video, I wanna thank my fans again, and honestly I dedicate this to Madonna. Thank you!'

In it to win it: Cardi B was another big winner. The rapper brought home the Best New Artist moon man and won Best Collaboration for her song Dinero with Jennifer Lopez and DJ Khalid, above

In it to win it: Cardi B was another big winner. The rapper brought home the Best New Artist moon man and won Best Collaboration for her song Dinero with Jennifer Lopez and DJ Khalid, above

Unforgettable: Speaking after her win for Video of the Year presented by superstar Madonna Camila said: 'My hands are literally shaking. I am never going to forget this moment ever in my life'

Unforgettable: Speaking after her win for Video of the Year presented by superstar Madonna Camila said: 'My hands are literally shaking. I am never going to forget this moment ever in my life

True fan: Camila was thrilled to get her honor from Madge, telling her 'Madonna, I love you so so much, I’ve seen every single music video of yours, I’ve seen every single documentary of yours, you’ve inspired me so much'

True fan: Camila was thrilled to get her honor from Madge, telling her 'Madonna, I love you so so much, I’ve seen every single music video of yours, I’ve seen every single documentary of yours, you’ve inspired me so much'

One of the strangest moments of the evening came ahead of that final award presented by Madonna.

What started as an off-hand tribute to the late, great Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin ended up as a long-winded personal anecdote from the Material Girl, who went on a tangent about her early days.

Trying to explain how her career wouldn't exist without the Respect singer, the Like A Prayer songstress went into a detailed account of her early days coming up in the industry.

Off topic: While presenting the Video Of The Year honor during the MTV VMAs on Monday, Madonna went into a longwinded tangent about her early days which she said was in tribute to late singer Aretha Franklin

Off topic: While presenting the Video Of The Year honor during the MTV VMAs on Monday, Madonna went into a longwinded tangent about her early days which she said was in tribute to late singer Aretha Franklin

What's the story? While the anecdote went on for minutes, there was little mention of the Queen Of Soul up until the very end

What's the story? While the anecdote went on for minutes, there was little mention of the Queen Of Soul up until the very end

While the anecdote went on for minutes, there was little mention of the Queen Of Soul up until the very end.

She then presented the Video Of The Year honor, which went to Camila Cabello.

Earlier on in the show, Best Pop song went to Ariana Grande, who was sure to thank her love Pete Davidson in her acceptance speech.

Big thanks: Ariana Grande gave a sweet shout out to fiance Pete Davidson after winning the Best Pop song honor at the MTV VMAs Monday

Big thanks: Ariana Grande gave a sweet shout out to fiance Pete Davidson after winning the Best Pop song honor at the MTV VMAs Monday

Sweet: After thanking her fans, friends and creative team she was sure to send her fiance love, telling him: 'Pete Davidson, thank you for existing,' before skipping off stage

Sweet: After thanking her fans, friends and creative team she was sure to send her fiance love, telling him: 'Pete Davidson, thank you for existing,' before skipping off stage

After thanking her fans, friends and creative team she was sure to send her fiance love, telling him: 'Pete Davidson, thank you for existing,' before skipping off stage.

Cardi B started things off with a laugh as she brought a pink bundle of blankets onto the stage to welcome the audience.

Though fans and fellow celebs hoped the I Like It singer was introducing the world to her newborn daughter Kulture, they were surprised with something a little less lively.

Meet the baby! Cardi B started  the MTV VMAs with a laugh, bringing up a pink bundle that looked like it could have been newborn daughter Kulture

Meet the baby! Cardi B started the MTV VMAs with a laugh, bringing up a pink bundle that looked like it could have been newborn daughter Kulture

Feeling spacey: Instead of her pride and joy, the New Yorker revealed one of the VMA's coveted Moon Man awards

Feeling spacey: Instead of her pride and joy, the New Yorker revealed one of the VMA's coveted Moon Man awards

The awards show was the I Like It rappers first return to the stage since giving birth to Kulture besides husband Offset in late July.

'What's poppin' everybody? Welcome to New York!' the rapper told the crowd while donning a glamorous red gown.

'I got a little surprise for you, you know what I'm saying,' sassed the star before unwrapping her blanketed bundle.

Instead of her pride and joy, the New Yorker revealed one of the VMA's coveted Moon Man awards.

Collector's edition: The starlet was one of the evening's top contenders with with 10 nominations

Collector's edition: The starlet was one of the evening's top contenders with with 10 nominations

Runner up: Later Cardi would beat out the talented Hayley Kiyoko, above, for the Best New Artist honor. She did take home the Push Artist Of The Year honor, however

Runner up: Later Cardi would beat out the talented Hayley Kiyoko, above, for the Best New Artist honor. She did take home the Push Artist Of The Year honor, however

The starlet was one of the evening's top contenders with with 10 nominations.

The rapper is up for video of the year with Finesse, her collaboration with Bruno Mars.

The song's video, inspired by the 1990s sketch comedy series In Living Color, is also nominated for four other honors.

For the top prize, Cardi B and Mars will compete with Childish Gambino's This Is America, Drake's God's Plan, Beyonce and Jay-Z's Apes**t, Camila Cabello's Havana and Ariana Grande's No Tears Left to Cry.

Laugh out: Comedy duo Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish were the next to take the stage

Laugh out: Comedy duo Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish were the next to take the stage

Comedy duo Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish were the next to take the stage.

They took the opportunity to make fun of face tattoos, celeb engagements and four-fifths of the girl group Fifth Harmony.

Then they presented the first honor, which went to Nicki Minaj for her track Chun Li.

Street fighter: Then they presented the first honor, which went to Nicki Minaj for her track Chun Li

Street fighter: Then they presented the first honor, which went to Nicki Minaj for her track Chun Li

Unanchored: Monday night's show will air without a proper host, a representative for MTV confirmed last week. Early winners Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande are seen above together

Unanchored: Monday night's show will air without a proper host, a representative for MTV confirmed last week. Early winners Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande are seen above together

Taking the stage for her speech, the Ganja Burn rapper gave a shout out to Ariana, who is one of her favorite collaborators.

The Pink Print artist also gave a shout-out to Normani Kordei, formerly of Fifth Harmony, telling jokesters Kevin and Tiffany: 'Don't come for Fifth Harmony because Normani is that b****.'

She ended her speech on an ominous note, telling crowds to 'Tune into Queen Radio so you can know who the f*** up of the day award is going to.'

Though she didn't name names, earlier in the day Kylie Jenner and boyfriend Travis Scott were the target of Nicki's outrage.

Popping off Blake Lively and her A Simple Favor co-star Anna Kendrick presented Ariana's Best Pop award along with a team of Radio City Rockette dancers

Popping off Blake Lively and her A Simple Favor co-star Anna Kendrick presented Ariana's Best Pop award along with a team of Radio City Rockette dancers

Next artist Bazzi, who is nominated for Best New Artist, performed his track Beautiful.

Blake Lively and her A Simple Favor co-star Anna Kendrick presented Ariana's Best Pop award along with a team of Radio City Rockette dancers.

The Best Pop honor, which went to Ariana, was followed up by a performance by rapper Logic and his One Day track-mate Ryan Tedder.

Logic-al decision: The Best Pop honor, which went to Ariana, was followed up by a performance by rapper Logic and his One Day track-mate Ryan Tedder

Logic-al decision: The Best Pop honor, which went to Ariana, was followed up by a performance by rapper Logic and his One Day track-mate Ryan Tedder

Words for the wise: While Logic sent a message with a black shirt that read 'F*** the wall', he was joined on stage by teams of teens wearing tops with the words 'We are all human beings' upon them.

Words for the wise: While Logic sent a message with a black shirt that read 'F*** the wall', he was joined on stage by teams of teens wearing tops with the words 'We are all human beings' upon them.

While Logic sent a message with a black shirt that read 'F*** the wall', he was joined on stage by teams of teens wearing tops with the words 'We are all human beings' upon them.

Jimmy Fallon introduced Panic At The Disco! who performed a rousing rendition of High Hopes.

The Backstreet Boys took the stage to present Song Of The Year, a topic the early 2000s hitmakers were surely familiar with.

Here's hoping! Jimmy Fallon introduced Panic At The Disco! who performed a rousing rendition of High Hopes

Here's hoping! Jimmy Fallon introduced Panic At The Disco! who performed a rousing rendition of High Hopes

Boys will be boys: The Backstreet Boys took the stage to present Song Of The Year, a topic the early 2000s hitmakers were surely familiar with

Boys will be boys: The Backstreet Boys took the stage to present Song Of The Year, a topic the early 2000s hitmakers were surely familiar with

Sing-a-long: Song Of The Year went to Post Malone for his track Rockstar, which also features 21 Savage

Sing-a-long: Song Of The Year went to Post Malone for his track Rockstar, which also features 21 Savage

The award went to Post-Malone, who was greeted by rappers Gucci Mane, Quavo, and track-mate 21 Savage, proving his rhymes were respected by the best of the industry.

After winning Best Hip Hop earlier in the evening, Nicki Minaj took the stage for a fierce performance.

The Barbie Tingz songstress sauntered around a regal gold set piece while dancers twerked around her.

Taking the stage: After winning Best Hip Hop earlier in the evening, Nicki Minaj took the stage for a fierce performance

Taking the stage: After winning Best Hip Hop earlier in the evening, Nicki Minaj took the stage for a fierce performance

Gold standard: The Barbie Tingz songstress sauntered around a regal gold set piece while dancers twerked around her

Gold standard: The Barbie Tingz songstress sauntered around a regal gold set piece while dancers twerked around her

Her short blonde bob was a serious change from the flowing raven locks she wore on the red carpet earlier.

She donned a wild pink robe on top of a solid metal bodysuit, later ditching her fuchsia layer as she broke into her track Barbie Dreamz.

During the song she jokingly dissed Karrueche, Fetty Wap, Drake and more.

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Reply #46 posted 08/21/18 7:32am


Took you long enough! Liam Payne and model Shanina Shaik presented the first ever Best Latin honor

Took you long enough! Liam Payne and model Shanina Shaik presented the first ever Best Latin honor

Liam Payne and model Shanina Shaik presented the first ever Best Latin honor, which went to J Balvin and Willy William's Mi Gente.

Then it was time for one of the evening's main events: the Video Vanguard Award.

Jennifer Lopez performed a rousing medley of her hits.

Giving the audiences a taste of the early 2000s, rapper Ja Rule popped out of the crowd to help her with a rendition of I'm Real and Ain't That Funny.

Top talent: Chart-topper Jennifer Lopez performed a rousing medley of her hits

Top talent: Chart-topper Jennifer Lopez performed a rousing medley of her hits

Throwback: Giving the audiences a taste of the early 2000s, rapper Ja Rule popped out of the crowd to help her with a rendition of I'm Real and Ain't That Funny

Throwback: Giving the audiences a taste of the early 2000s, rapper Ja Rule popped out of the crowd to help her with a rendition of I'm Real and Ain't That Funny

Brand ambition: Jenny From The Block wowed in fur and gold Versace

Brand ambition: Jenny From The Block wowed in fur and gold Versace

After breaking through a wall emblazoned with 'Jenny From The Block' in graffiti, she twerked in a shimmering gold look that came with a matching New York Yankees caps.

It served as a shout out to her hometown and her boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, who played for the Yanks.

Taking the stage to accept the grand honor, Jennifer gave a heartfelt speech.

'I grew up on MTV. This is really like, a tremendous honor for me. It has been an incredible journey of dreaming my wildest dreams, and then kind of watching them come true.

'Music, acting, performing, this career has always been kind of an obsession for me. When people have said, you know "You're doing too much. You can only do one thing."

Thankful: Taking the stage to accept the grand honor, Jennifer gave a heartfelt speech

Thankful: Taking the stage to accept the grand honor, Jennifer gave a heartfelt speech

 Dream come true:  'I grew up on MTV. This is really like, a tremendous honor for me,' said the Bronx-raised beauty

Dream come true: 'I grew up on MTV. This is really like, a tremendous honor for me,' said the Bronx-raised beauty

'I always had it in my mind, I was always a person who was like, 'Why not? Why not?' So, I kind of had to to force my own path, make my own rules. And I was obsessed like that I liked it that way for a while. Just working and working and working.

She also credited her eight-year-old twins Max and Emme, who were in the crowd, with making her a 'stronger and better' person 'than ever.'

'It wasn’t until I had two little angels come into my life that everything changed,' said the superstar.

Her pride and joy: 'It wasn’t until I had two little angels come into my life that everything changed,' said the superstar

Her pride and joy: 'It wasn’t until I had two little angels come into my life that everything changed,' said the superstar

Presenting the best: Shawn Mendes handed the Video Vanguard moon man off to the superstar triple-threat

Presenting the best: Shawn Mendes handed the Video Vanguard moon man off to the superstar triple-threat

'I knew I had to be better, I knew I had to go higher, I knew I had to be stronger than I had been before. It was through that unconditional love that my career and my whole life became clearer in every way. And now, today, I stand here stronger and better than ever. So thank you Max and Emme, there’s so much more to do and I know in my heart that the future is even brighter than anything I could’ve accomplished now because of you.'

Some of her most touching words were for partner Alex Rodriguez, who she told: 'You are like my twin soul. We are like mirror images of each other.

'My life is sweeter and better with you in it because you make me realize that every day, the sky is not the limit. The universe is infinite, and so is what we can accomplish together, with love and trust and understanding.

Two of a kind: Some of her most touching words were for partner Alex Rodriguez, who she told: 'You are like my twin soul. We are like mirror images of each other'

Two of a kind: Some of her most touching words were for partner Alex Rodriguez, who she told: 'You are like my twin soul. We are like mirror images of each other'

'There so much more to do and to experience, and there is nobody I would rather do it with, baby. You are my macho, and I love you.

Ariana Grande was the next person to stun on stage during a performance of her track God Is A Woman.

It looked like the songstress was part of a Last Supper style tableau, slinking around stage in front of a set of Corinthian columns.

She simply smoldered in a gold gladiator-inspired frock while surrounding dancers rocked cross earrings and crowns wearing slinky interpretations of ancient-world togas and robes.

Good lord: Ariana Grande was the next person to stun on stage during a performance of her track God Is A Woman

Good lord: Ariana Grande was the next person to stun on stage during a performance of her track God Is A Woman

Holy days: It looked like the songstress was part of a Last Supper style tableau, slinking around stage in front of a set of Corinthian columns

Holy days: It looked like the songstress was part of a Last Supper style tableau, slinking around stage in front of a set of Corinthian columns

Michael Keenan Key and Olivia Munn presented Artist Of The Year Award, which went to Camila Cabello, who beat out Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Drake, Post Malone, and Ariana Grande for the honor.

'I'm so honored to be in category with such incredible nominees,' said the former Fifth Harmonizer.

Up-and-coming boyband Pretty Much performed their song Summer Of You.

Hollywood newcomer Millie Bobby Brown presented the award for Best New Artist, which was voted on by the public.

Red hot! The VMA for Best New Artist went to crowd favorite Cardi B, who needed help getting to the stage because of the flowing train of her crimson gown

Red hot! The VMA for Best New Artist went to crowd favorite Cardi B, who needed help getting to the stage because of the flowing train of her crimson gown

At the top of her game: She hit back at people who 'mom-shamed' her, saying: 'You know, I had a baby, I carried the baby and now I’m still winning awards!'

At the top of her game: She hit back at people who 'mom-shamed' her, saying: 'You know, I had a baby, I carried the baby and now I’m still winning awards!'

The VMA went to crowd favorite Cardi B, who needed help getting to the stage because of the flowing train of her crimson gown.

She hit back at people who 'mom-shamed' her, telling audiences 'A couple of months ago, a lot of people were saying, "You’re gambling your career, you’re about to have a baby, what are you doing?"

'You know, I had a baby, I carried the baby and now I’m still winning awards!' she said, 'I want to thank all my fans, my family that supported me. All the love. All the love that my fans, that my friend, that everybody shows me is genuine, it’s beautiful – and that’s something God gave me that you can’t buy, b****.'

DJ Khalid introduced Travis Scott, who just released his chart-topping album Astro World. His performance included a brief duet with English talent James Blake.

Out of this world: DJ Khalid introduced Travis Scott, who just released his chart-topping album Astro World

Out of this world: DJ Khalid introduced Travis Scott, who just released his chart-topping album Astro World

Space cadet: The Astroworld artist looked far out in a pair of galactic overalls and a yellow hoodie

Space cadet: The Astroworld artist looked far out in a pair of galactic overalls and a yellow hoodie

Big names: Kylie Jenner had a quick conversation with fellow Snapchat favorite DJ Khalid and his wife Nicole Tuck

Big names: Kylie Jenner had a quick conversation with fellow Snapchat favorite DJ Khalid and his wife Nicole Tuck

Fan club: Girlfriend Kylie Jenner was seen rocking out from the audience as he performed a hyped up version of his track Sicko Mode

Fan club: Girlfriend Kylie Jenner was seen rocking out from the audience as he performed a hyped up version of his track Sicko Mode

Girlfriend Kylie Jenner was seen rocking out from the audience as he performed a hyped up version of his track Sicko Mode.

They didn't interact with Nicki Minaj, who earlier on Twitter claimed that Travis only had the number one album because of his very famous girlfriend.

Gucci Mane presented Best Collaboration, which went to J. Lo, Cardi B and DJ Khalid for their track Dinero.

The ladies had time to change from their earlier outfits.

New mom Cardi rocked a ruffling black look while the Video Vanguard winner dazzled in a metallic high-low creation.

Changing things up! New mom Cardi rocked a ruffling black look while the Video Vanguard winner dazzled in a metallic high-low creation

Changing things up! New mom Cardi rocked a ruffling black look while the Video Vanguard winner dazzled in a metallic high-low creation

Her favorite ladies! Jennifer was thrilled to have her mom Lupe (far right) and daughter Emme (far left) there with her and beau Alex Rodriguez. Son Max was also along for the awards ceremony

Her favorite ladies! Jennifer was thrilled to have her mom Lupe (far right) and daughter Emme (far left) there with her and beau Alex Rodriguez. Son Max was also along for the awards ceremony

Sweet boy: The singer-dancer-actress planted a sweet smooch on her little boy after getting her Video Vanguard honor

Sweet boy: The singer-dancer-actress planted a sweet smooch on her little boy after getting her Video Vanguard honor

Hometown girls: Speaking on behalf of Jenny From The Block, the I Like It rapper told the crowd: 'I just wanna say Bronx b*****s is poppin'

Hometown girls: Speaking on behalf of Jenny From The Block, the I Like It rapper told the crowd: 'I just wanna say Bronx b*****s is poppin'

Speaking on behalf of Jenny From The Block, the I Like It rapper told the crowd: 'I just wanna say Bronx b*****s is poppin'.'

The next award was for Video With A Message, which went to Childish Gambino's This Is America.

Choreographer Sherrie Silver took the stage to accept the award for the video, which also won best direction and choreography moon-men.

After Madonna demanded attention ahead of giving out the Video Of The Year Award to Camila Cabello, Post Malone took the stage for a performance.

Winning out: Video Of The Year award went to Camila Cabello, who thanked her fans, friends and creative team

Winning out: Video Of The Year award went to Camila Cabello, who thanked her fans, friends and creative team

American dream: This Is America Choreographer Sherrie Silver took the stage to accept the Video With A Message award for the track, which also won best direction and choreography moon-men

American dream: This Is America Choreographer Sherrie Silver took the stage to accept the Video With A Message award for the track, which also won best direction and choreography moon-men

No time like the present! Michael Keenan Key and Olivia Munn presented Artist Of The Year Award

No time like the present! Michael Keenan Key and Olivia Munn presented Artist Of The Year Award

Hard to believe: Camila said it was 'surreal' to get the coveted award from one of her pop heros

Hard to believe: Camila said it was 'surreal' to get the coveted award from one of her pop heros

The rapper, real name Austin Richard Post, wandered through the backstage area in a happy-face emblazoned suit before getting on stage.

Things turned up to 11 when Aerosmith chimed in, performing their classic Dream On with the rapper joining in.

Frontman Steven Tyler crooned while Post Malone played guitar behind Aerosmith's six-string star Joe Perry as the show came to a close.

Smile! Post Malone wore an airbrushed smiley face suit while performing. He also added a silver guitar later

Smile! Post Malone wore an airbrushed smiley face suit while performing. He also added a silver guitar later

Rocker: Lenny Kravitz introduced Post Malone as the evening's final performance but didn't mention the surprise guests

Rocker: Lenny Kravitz introduced Post Malone as the evening's final performance but didn't mention the surprise guests

Dream team: Things turned up to 11 when Aerosmith chimed in, performing their classic Dream On with the rapper joining in

Dream team: Things turned up to 11 when Aerosmith chimed in, performing their classic Dream On with the rapper joining in

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Reply #47 posted 08/21/18 7:54am


Dolenz, Nesmith Reschedule Concerts Following Surgery

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Dolenz and Nesmith, June 3, 2018

Less than two months after the final four dates of “The Mike and Micky Show” tour were postponed due to what was described last June as a “minor health issue” affecting Michael Nesmith, he and fellow Monkees member Micky Dolenz have formally announced some of the rescheduled dates for March 2019.

Of course, we now know that Nesmith’s condition was far from “minor”: the musician revealed that he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery shortly thereafter.

Pre-sales for several of the dates begin this week here. It’s not yet known whether the tour will be expanded beyond the rescheduled dates. (See the schedule below.)

At the time of the cancellations, the band’s tour manager, Andrew Sandoval, posted on Facebook that they would take place in January 2019. “Michael Nesmith has not been feeling well and will be recuperating in the meantime. We will return to the good clean fun as soon as possible.”

Just before the spring tour’s final performance on June 20, Nesmith revealed “I couldn’t breathe. So I sat down until I got my breath and then I realized the breath wasn’t gettable. That marked the end. People knew I couldn’t keep on like this. It was a road to hell.”

Watch them perform “I’m a Believer” on June 3, 2018

The Mike and Micky Show 2019 Dates

Mar 08 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount (orig. June 23)
Mar 09 – New York, NY – Beacon Theatre (orig. June 22)
TBA – Philadelphia, PA – Keswick Theatre (orig. June 21)
TBA – Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie Theatre (orig. June 25)

When the dates were postponed last June, ticket-holders were asked to retain their tickets for the rescheduled dates. The Beacon Theatre notes: “refunds at point of purchase only.”


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Reply #48 posted 08/22/18 7:14am


Steve Perry Talks About New Music And Much More

Image result for Steve Perry Talks About New Music And Much More

Erykah Badu: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

Image result for Erykah Badu: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

The Chainsmokers - Side Effects (Official Video) ft. Emily Warren

Image result for The Chainsmokers - Side Effects (Official Video) ft. Emily Warren

Ally Venable Band: Puppet Show Review

The next taxi off the rank in the blues/rock genre is 19-year-old Texan Ally Venable. This is the second release by this three-piece, Ally on guitar/vocals, Elijah Owings drums and bassist Bobby Wallace, along with some choice guests. Featuring eight originals and two covers, given the intense competition in the female blues/rock world, this album shines like a beacon.

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The powerful opener, “Devil’s Son”, with Gary Hoey guesting on guitar, is proof, if needed, that this lady plays a mean guitar and a voice to match. It is said that Ally is a protege of fellow Texan, Lance Lopez. He joins her on “Bridges To Burn”, the guitars emphasizing the intensity of the song, good stuff. Overcoming adversity is the subject on “Cast Their Stones”, continuing the hard rocking theme. Bessie Smith’s “Back Water Blues” lulls the listener into a false sense of calm with its cool vocals, harmonica reminiscent of old style back porch blues, but don’t be fooled, after a minute or so, Texas blues kicks in, guest Steve Krase letting rip on harp. Krase helps out again on the powerful cover of Taj Mahal’s “He Caught The Katy (And Left Me a Mule To Ride),” which is one of my favorite tracks just because she does such a delightful job with her powerhouse vocals.Related image

The instrumentation’s not bad either with Eric Steckel sitting in on keyboards. Steckel stays onboard for the title track, showcasing Venable’s writing skills, as does “Comfort In My Sorrows”, about searching for help. Stekel adds his great organ sound on “Survive”, inviting the whole band to join in the groove, at the same time Ally’s given something to play off.

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No blues cd would be complete without a dig at no-good men, “Waste It On You” takes the honor here. The album closes with the bouncy blues boogie of “Sleeping Through The Storm”, excellent guitar work on this one. All in all, this is an exceptional album in a competitive market. It would not be a surprise if a certain Mr. Ruf came calling.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Devil’s Son
– Bridges To Burn
– He Caught The Katy
– Sleeping Through The Storm
– Backwater Blues

The Big Hit

– Backwater Blues


Don Cherry, Singer by Night and Golfer by Day, Is Dead at 94

Don Cherry in 1953 at his first Masters Tournament, at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. “I could always play golf, and I could always sing,” he said in 2002. “I loved them both.”CreditAugusta National/Getty Images

  • Aug. 21, 2018

Don Cherry, a leading pop singer of the 1950s who performed at clubs and hotels by night while becoming one of America’s top amateur golfers by day, died on April 4 at a hospice in Las Vegas. He was 94.

Image result for don cherry singer band of gold

His death, which was not widely reported at the time, was confirmed by his son Shawn.

Growing up in his native Wichita Falls, Tex., Mr. Cherry was immersed in both music and golf.

At age 6 or so, he took part in hymn singing at church services. While in high school, he crooned “Happy Birthday” delivering singing telegrams for Western Union.

Image result for don cherry singer dean martin

His mother bought him a set of golf clubs for his eighth birthday, knowing that his older brother, Paul, enjoyed playing at local courses. He was soon caddying and, playing on caddie-only days, developed a smooth golf swing.

Image result for don cherry singer band of gold

Mr. Cherry embarked on his show business career in his early 20s as a big-band singer, then turned to the recording studio. His biggest hit was “Band of Gold” (no connection to the later Freda Payne hit of the same name), recorded in 1955 with an arrangement by Ray Conniff, which reached the Top 10.

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More than a half-century later, the recording provided the soundtrack for the opening scene of the first episode of the television series “Mad Men,” in which the advertising executive Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) is smoking at a Manhattan restaurant table. His mind is on cigarette branding as he finds that his waiter prefers Old Gold while Draper touts Lucky Strike, a client of his ad agency.

Mr. Cherry’s rendition had a different type of “gold” in mind:

I’ve never wanted wealth untold

My life has one design

A simple little band of gold

To prove that you are mine.

Mr. Cherry recorded for the Decca, Columbia and Monument labels, appeared on radio and TV variety shows (notably Dean Martin’s, on which he was a frequent guest) and played many of the big rooms in Las Vegas.

Image result for don cherry singer dean martin

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Reply #49 posted 08/23/18 6:59am


Belinda Carlisle: ‘After three decades of cocaine use, I can’t believe I’m not dead’

The Go-Go’s singer, 58, on wanting to be the bad girl, discovering Buddhism and how her marriage survived her addictions

‘The American Dream always felt possible to me’: Belinda Carlisle.

‘The American Dream always felt possible to me’: Belinda Carlisle. Photograph: Patrick Fraser/Corbis via Getty Images

Being famous for fame’s sake wasn’t the goal when I co-founded the Go-Go’s. I just wanted to sing and have a laugh. But social media and reality shows like American Idol have created a malignant narcissism. I thought it was the end of music when they started.

After three decades of cocaine addiction I can’t believe I’m not dead. I should actually look like the Phantom of the Opera with just two holes in the front of my face. I’m contrary by nature and think my addiction owed a lot to that. I always wanted to be a bad girl. I loved all the edgy drug films that made me want to go out and do drugs. I was just born that way.

When I started to make money I went a bit crazy. Once I went to the race track and woke up the next morning owning a horse. I’d been drinking, doing drugs and betting and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Discovering Buddhism and chanting a few years before I got sober at 47 was so powerful. It was like holding a mirror up and realising I was in serious trouble. My new album is Buddhist chants in pop form and it’s really personal. Some people won’t like it, but I’m not going to just crank stuff out for the sake of it.

My absence as a mother when my son James was growing up is my biggest regret. After I got sober he told me that when he was three he thought I lived at the airport. That really hurt.

After I got sober my son told me that when he was three he thought I lived at the airport

I always felt like an imposter until I got sober. I once saw people queuing to see me outside an arena and all I thought was: “Why are they here to see me?”

I’m a little bit wary of people. It freaked me out when a fan connected with me on social media then had plastic surgery to look like me, dyed his hair the same colour and got a pug dog like mine. He was also a hacker so I had to change all my passwords. It was disturbing, but I think that sort of thing happens to well-known people all the time, especially now.

Marriage isn’t easy. I’ve been married to Morgan [Mason] for 31 years, but we’ve always given each other space. We actually like each other and he still makes me laugh. I put him through the wringer with my addiction and when I asked him once why he stuck with me he just said he always saw the person underneath. My husband is much evolved.

My son has made me more politically active when it comes to LGBTQ rights. When he came out, I worried about what the world was going to be like for him. He’s so smart and he’s been an activist since he was 17, but with the way the way the world’s going, I did worry about him.

The American Dream always felt possible to me. Against all odds – the tough upbringing, the addiction, the pop life, all my experiences – I think that attitude is why I’m still sitting here, soon to be 60.

Heaven on Earth, the 30th anniversary box set and Belinda’s new album Wilder Shores are released on 29 September. Her UK tour starts on 1 October (

Belinda Carlisle / Heaven On Earth: 30th anniversary box set – SIGNED edition

New 4LP+CD box set of the 1987 album

Demon Music will issue a five-disc, 30th anniversary vinyl box set of Belinda Carlisle‘s 1987 album Heaven on Earth, with 500 copies available with a SIGNED PRINT, for those quick off the mark.

Heaven On Earth was Belinda’s second solo album after leaving The Go-Gos and features her transatlantic number one single Heaven Is A Place On Earth and other hits, such as I Get Weak and Circle In The Sand.

This new anniversary edition is a four-LP + CD set and comes packaged in a lift-off lid box. The four records come in individual LP sleeves and inner bags. The first features the original album, the second presents seven-inch versions of the singles, plus five 45s performed live on Belinda’s 1988 tour. LPs three and four feature various 12-inch single remixes.

Image result for Belindaâs new album Wilder Shores

The CD repeats the original album, but adds three brand new recordings, one of which is an acoustic rendition of Heaven Is A Place On Earth (which will also feature on Belinda’s new album, Wilder Shores). The other news songs are Why (co-written with fellow Go-Go Charlotte Caffey) and a version of Leon Russell’s Superstar (best known from The Carpenters 1971 rendition).

This set includes a booklet with notes, lyrics and photos from Belinda’s own collection. There are two versions up for pre-order on Amazon UK, an exclusive edition with the SIGNED PRINT (limited to just 500 sets), and the standard non-limited edition. There is no premium, if you opt for the signed version!

Image result for Belindaâs new album Wilder Shores

Heaven On Earth 30th anniversary 4LP+CD box set is now out.
Update: In less than a day, the 500 with a signed print have sold out. The standard edition (without the print) is now the only option available.



LP 1



  • 1. Heaven Is A Place On Earth
  • 2. Circle In The Sand
  • 3. I Feel Free
  • 4. Should I Let You In?
  • 5. World Without You


  • 1. I Get Weak
  • 2. We Can Change
  • 3. Fool For Love
  • 4. Nobody Owns Me
  • 5. Love Never Dies

LP 2



  • 1. Heaven Is A Place On Earth [promo 7” edit]
  • 2. I Get Weak [7”]
  • 3. Circle In The Sand [7”]
  • 4. World Without You [7” remix]
  • 5. I Feel Free [7”]
  • 6. Love Never Dies [7”]



  • 1. I Feel Free
  • 2. I Get Weak
  • 3. Circle In The Sand
  • 4. World Without You
  • 5. Heaven Is A Place On Earth

LP 3



  • 1. Heaven Is A Place On Earth [Heavenly Version]
  • 2. I Feel Free [Extended Version]
  • 3. Circle In The Sand [Beach Party Mix]


  • 1. World Without You [Extended Worldwide Mix]
  • 2. I Get Weak [12” Version]
  • 3. Heaven Is A Place On Earth [Down To Earth Dub]

LP 4


  • 1. Circle In The Sand [Seaside Mood Groove Mix]
  • 2. World Without You [Panavision Mix]
  • 3. Circle In The Sand [Sandblast Multi-Mix]


  • 1. I Get Weak [Romantic Mix]
  • 2. I Feel Free [Dub Version]
  • 3. Heaven Is A Place On Earth [Acappella]



  • 1. Heaven Is A Place On Earth
  • 2. Circle In The Sand
  • 3. I Feel Free
  • 4. Should I Let You In?
  • 5. World Without You
  • 6. I Get Weak
  • 7. We Can Change
  • 8. Fool For Love
  • 9. Nobody Owns Me
  • 10. Love Never Dies


  • 11. Heaven Is A Place On Earth [acoustic version]
  • 12. Why
  • 13. Superstar

Music Review: Wilder Shores

by Belinda CarlisleSpirit Voyage
reviewed by John Malkin
Wilder Shores album cover

Belinda Carlisle’s new album, Wilder Shores, has the former Go-Go’s singer blending pop with Kundalini mantra chants, a surprising and wonderful addition to her string of hit solo albums. “Every album I’ve done has made sense in reflecting where I’ve been at that time,” she told S&H.

Before she cofounded The Go-Go’s in 1978, Carlisle was drummer for the Los Angeles punk band The Germs. “My musical beginnings came out of garage punk and that early music was always a real expression of where I was at inside,” she told S&H. “It wasn’t necessarily angry, but it was a complete anything-goes form of self-expression. And mantra is pretty much the same thing. Both are forms of self-expression.”

Image result for Belindaâs new album Wilder Shores

Wilder Shores features vocalist Simrit Kaur on three tracks as well as sister Go-Go Charlotte Caffey adding backup vocals. Most of the songs are Sikh chants sung in Gurmukhi, like “Adi Shaki” and “Har Gobinday.” There’s also a new acoustic version of Carlisle’s 1987 hit song, “Heaven Is a Place on Earth.” Carlisle explained, “The lyrics on that song are very yogic and they make a lot of sense on this album.”

Belinda Carlisle2

Carlisle’s plan to combine pop and mantras wasn’t immediately embraced. “To be honest, almost everybody didn’t want to know about it,” she said. “In the spiritual community they didn’t understand it. And my record company also didn’t get it. So, I just thought, If nobody responds to it, then at least I liked it! That’s been my attitude anyway with my last albums like Voilá [2007], which was all in French.”

Image result for Belindaâs new album Wilder Shores

Carlisle began practicing Kundalini yoga 26 years ago when pregnant with her son. “During that time I was battling my own addiction demons,” she told S&H. “When I got sober, almost 13 years ago, I started a consistent practice. So I know its power.”

Panic! At The Disco announce 2019 UK arena tour

Panic! At The Disco have announced details of a huge UK and Europe arena tour for 2019. Full dates and ticket details are below.

Currently touring in support of his acclaimed 2018 album ‘P...The Wicked‘, this weekend sees Brendon Urie co-headline Reading & Leeds Festival alongside Kendrick Lamar.

The band will then return to these shores in the new year for shows in Glasgow, Cardiff, Birmingham, London and Manchester. £1 from every ticket sold will be donated to the Highest Hopes Foundation.

A full list of upcoming dates is below. Tickets are on sale from ...lable here.

Thursday March 14 2019 – OFFENBACH Stadhalle (Germany)
Friday March 15 2019 – BERLIN Columbiahalle (Germany)
Saturday March 16 2019 – DUSSELDORF Mitsubishi Electric Halle (Germany)
Monday March 18 2019 – AMSTERDAM AFAS Live (Netherlands)
Tuesday March 19 2019 – PARIS – Zenith (France)
Thursday March 21 2019 – ANTWERP Lotto Arena (Belgium)
Sunday March 24 2019 – GLASGOW SSE Hydro (United Kingdom)
Monday March 25 2019 – CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena (United Kingdom)
Tuesday March 26 2019 – BIRMINGHAM Arena Birmingham (United Kingdom)
Thursday March 28 2019 – LONDON O2 Arena (United Kingdom)
Saturday March 30 2019 – MANCHESTER Arena (United Kingdom)

Carly Simon & Mick Jagger—2nd Duet Discovered

by Best Classic Bands Staff

One of the biggest hits of 1973 was “You’re So Vain,” the Carly Simon classic that featured a cameo harmony vocal from none other than Mick Jagger. The single entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart in late 1972, reached the top spot in January and stayed there for three weeks. For decades, fans wondered who the song was about, only to be met by sealed lips from Simon. “I don’t see why I ever would. What would it advance? I wrote that song in the days when people kept confidences to themselves,” she said when asked (one of many times) to reveal who had inflamed her so. (In 2015 she finally revealed that part, but not all, of the song was about actor Warren Beatty.)

Now, it turns out, Simon and Jagger didn’t leave the studio after completing the one hit record. According to an article published by the Associated Press, a second duet—which has never been heard by the public—was cut that day. A tape recording of the performance, believed to be titled “Fragile,” has been discovered by a Rolling Stones collector named Matt Lee. It’s described as a slow ballad that features the two singers sitting together at a piano.

Unfortunately, the music has not been posted online or otherwise circulated, so other than Lee and the pair that recorded the tune, few have heard it. The article says that a snippet of the song can be heard in the underground 1972 Stones film Cocksucker Blues.

The AP article notes that Simon confirmed the existence of the song in a 2016 interview: “We had this little back and forth at the piano for about an hour,” she said. She also recalled part of the lyrics: “Funny, funny, funny, funny, funny, How love can make you cry.” (The article says that Jagger sings the word change, not cry.)

Related: The story behind “You’re So Vain”

Lee, described in the article as an entrepreneur from London, did not reveal how he came upon the tape. He said that he’s sent the recording to Rolling Stone magazine, which has promised to forward it to Simon.

Belinda Carlisle coloured vinyl

Belinda Carlisle’s four Virgin Records-era albums – Heaven On Earth (1987), Runaway Horses (1989), Live Your Life Be Free (1991) and Real (1993) – will be available individually as coloured vinyl pressings, next month.

These were previously available together in the ‘Amazon Exclusive’ edition of the Vinyl Collection 1987-1993 box set, although where before the colours were (respectively) blue, silver, red and white, this time we get translucent blue, translucent green, translucent red and clear vinyl pressings.

The coloured vinyl box did actually sell out very quickly, so at least here is an opportunity for the vinyl Belinda Carlisle fan to cherry-pick some titles with the bonus of the coloured pressings.

These are released on 21 September 2018.









HEAVEN ON EARTH (blue vinyl)

Side A

  • A1: Heaven Is A Place On Earth
  • A2: Circle In The Sand
  • A3: Feel Free
  • A4: Should I Let You In?
  • A5: World Without You

Side B

  • B1: I Get Weak
  • B2: We Can Change
  • B3: Fool For Love
  • B4: Nobody Owns Me
  • B5: Love Never Dies…

RUNAWAY HORSES (green vinyl)

Side A

  • A1: Leave A Light On
  • A2: Runaway Horses
  • A3: Vision Of You
  • A4: Summer Rain
  • A5: La Luna

Side B

  • B1: (We Want) The Same Thing
  • B2: Deep Deep Ocean
  • B3: Valentine
  • B4: Whatever It Takes
  • B5: Shades Of Michelangelo


Side A

  • A1: Live Your Life Be Free
  • A2: Do You Feel Like I Feel?
  • A3: Half The World
  • A4: You Came Out Of Nowhere
  • A5: You’re Nothing Without Me

Side B

  • B1: I Plead Insanity
  • B2: Emotional Highway
  • B3: Little Black Book
  • B4: Love Revolution
  • B5: World Of Love
  • B6: Loneliness Game

REAL (clear vinyl)

Side A

  • A1: Goodbye Day
  • A2: Big Scary Animal
  • A3: Too Much Water
  • A4: Lay Down Your Arms
  • A5: Where Love Hides

Side B

  • B1: One With You
  • B2: Wrap My Arms
  • B3: Tell Me
  • B4: Windows Of The World
  • B5: Here Comes My Baby

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Reply #50 posted 08/23/18 8:06am


Empress Of Announces New Album, Shares Bilingual Single 'When I'm With Him': Watch

Fabian Guerrero
Empress Of

Empress Of has announced her sophomore album Us will release Oct. 19, and she dropped a conflicted bilingual pop single called "When I'm With Him," along with its music video.

Image result for Empress Of

Following 2015's Me, the upcoming album was recorded all over Southern California in Topanga Canyon, Ojai and her home in Highland Park. Empress Of, aka Lorely Rodriguez, says she's produced about 70 percent of the album, alongside collaborators Blood Orange's Dev Hynes and Spanish electronic producer Pional.

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The bright visuals for "When I'm With Him" blend solemnly with thematic turbulence in lyrics about a ruptured relationship.

Watch the new video and see the track list for Us below.

1. Everything to Me
2. Just the Same
3. Trust Me Baby
4. Love for Me
5. I Don't Even Smoke Weed
6. Timberlands
7. I've Got Love
8. All For Nothing
9. When I'm With Him
10. Again

Daddy Yankee Joined Janet Jackson on Her First Subway Ride in New York: Exclusive Video

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Image result for Daddy Yankee Joined Janet Jackson on Her First Subway Ride in New York

Daddy Yankee and Jackson took the train to attend the Harlem Week Festival. “He is teaching me,” Jackson said of her first subway ride ever.

Image result for Daddy Yankee Joined Janet Jackson on Her First Subway Ride in New York

Last week, Jackson and Yankee were in New York promoting their new song and video “Made for Now.” Check out the subway riders when they saw Daddy Yankee and Janet Jackson taking the subway.

Ringo Starr Tells Dan Rather 'I'm a Band Guy': Watch Clip From Rather's 100th Show

Amanda Taraska/AXS TV
Dan Rather and Ringo Starr

Willie Nelson, Shania Twain, Keith Urban, Robert Plant, Meat Loaf, Patti LaBelle, Neil Young, Roger Waters, Gene Simmons, Carlos Santana, and Dolly Parton are among the performers who have all sat down with Dan Rather for his AXS TV show, The Big Interview With Dan Rather, since its launch in 2013. Now it’s Ringo Starr’s turn.

The Beatles drummer will appear on the 100th episode of Rather’s series on Oct. 2. In this exclusive preview, Starr has a confession to make: Growing up he didn’t pay attention to drummers. “I never listened to the drummer, I listened for the whole thing… I listened for the whole feel of the record.”

For years now, Starr has toured with his All-Starr Band. Even though he’s the centerpiece, he says he’s happiest surrounded by other musicians. “I’m a band guy…I play with all these other guys,” he says. “When the band first started, I was so insecure, though I’d said yes, there were three drummers. I was in the middle, Jim Keltner, my hero from L.A., drummer, was on this side and Levon Helm was on this side and we were all boogieing away. Life is good.”

Starr also addresses the “risk” he took in leaving The Hurricanes to join the lesser known Beatles. It obviously worked out okay for Starr.

Other musical guests coming up in season 6 of Rather’s show are Rod Stewart (Oct. 9), Toby Keith (Oct. 16), Lynyrd Skynyrd (Oct. 23), Kansas (Oct. 30), Joan Baez (Nov. 6), Buddy Guy (Nov. 20), Kenny Loggins (Nov. 27), Ricky Skaggs (Dec. 4), Brian Setzer (Dec. 11) and Dickey Betts (Dec. 18).

Khaira Arby, Outspoken Malian Singer With Global Reach, Dies at 58

Khaira Arby performing at the Bell House in Brooklyn in 2011. The New York Times music critic Jon Pareles called that show one of the concert highlights of the year.CreditBrian Harkin for The New York Times

By Clair MacDougall

  • Aug. 22, 2018

BAMAKO, Mali — Khaira Arby, a Malian singer and songwriter with an international presence who remained outspoken at a time of civil war and harsh oppression by Islamist militants, died on Sunday in Bamako, Mali’s capital. She was 58.

Her son confirmed her death, at Le Luxembourg Hospital, saying she had been treated for heart problems. She lived in Bamako.

Known as the “Nightingale of Timbuktu” and the “Diva of the Desert,” Ms. Arby was a celebrated singer and recording artist from a nation that has produced a number of musicians with global reach, among them the guitarist and songwriter Ali Farka Touré, with whom Ms. Arby performed in concert. Her most popular album was “Timbuktu Tarab, released in 2010.

She frequently performed at the annual Festival au Désert in Mali, which attracted tourists from all over the world as well as Western rock stars like Bono, of U2, and Robert Plant, of Led Zeppelin, before being suspended in recent years because of continuing violent unrest.

And she toured internationally, drawing fans with genre-crossing music that mixed Malian rhythms from multiple traditions with funk, psychedelia, reggae and electric blues. In 2011, the Times music critic Jon Pareles cited a performance by Ms. Arby and her band as one of the concert highlights of the year, calling it “hortatory, hypnotic and thoroughly funky.” The next year she took her band to the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Tennessee.

Ms. Arby found success in music despite the constraints imposed on women in Mali’s male-dominated, largely Islamic society, where traditional gender roles still shape the country’s culture.

Few female musicians, for example, play the djembe hand drum, which is traditionally reserved for men. Ms. Arby would instead often use a West African calabash drum for percussion.

She was revered in Mali for her courage in criticizing the government, calling out corruption and singing about taboo subjects like female genital cutting, which is common there. She also spoke openly about her divorce from her first husband, saying the marriage had gotten in the way of her singing.

the Timbuktu diva Khaira Arby : desert bluesCreditVideo by afropopstar

Ms. Arby’s rise to fame seemed improbable from the start. Born on Sept. 21, 1959, to parents of the predominantly Muslim Tuareg and Songhai ethnic groups, she grew up in a traditional community in the village of Agoni, where public singing by women was frowned upon.

But she resisted her father’s orders to stop singing and joined Malian musical troupes in the northern cities of Timbuktu and Gao. Even after her father married her off at 16, again forbidding her to sing, she continued to do so.

She performed around Mali, singing in the language of multiple ethnic groups there, and beginning in the early 2000s visitors heard her at international events like the Festival au Désert, spreading her reputation further.

Ms. Arby played a calabash drum with her band in Brooklyn in 2011. She used the instrument because under Malian tradition another hand drum, the djembe, is reserved for men.CreditBrian Harkin for The New York Times

Ms. Arby was in Bamako in 2012 when a democratically elected government was toppled in a coup by military officers, who had complained of a lack of government support in fighting Tuareg rebels backed by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a regional terrorist organization with roots in Algeria. The rebels had invaded the cities of Gao and ancient Timbuktu and would occupy them for 10 months.

Imposing a severe version of Islamic law, the militants flogged women for being out on the street or for not being covered up enough. They cut off the hands of those accused of theft. And they banned the airing or playing of Mali’s rich traditional music, which they described as “satanic.” Musicians fled.

Ms. Arby had remained in Bamako, but she spoke out against the militants.

“If you ban music in Mali, or in the whole world, it’s like cutting people’s oxygen off,” Ms. Arby said in “They Will Have to Kill Us First,” a documentary film about the impact of the occupation on Malian musicians and their life in exile.

In 2013 a French military intervention pushed the Islamic militants back, and Ms. Arby led an effort to hold the first concert in Timbuktu, her home city, which was still shellshocked from the rebel invasion and a bloody intervention by the Malian military.

“She just got out on the street and started singing with a few local musicians, and everyone just came out of their houses and just started floating towards the sound — it was extraordinary,” said Johanna Schwartz, the director of “They Will Have to Kill Us First.”

Ms. Arby performed in Timbuktu this year at the first of a series of monthly concerts sponsored by Timbuktu Renaissance, an organization devoted to restoring the city as the center of arts and scholarship that it had been for centuries.

Mali remains in turmoil, a scene of terrorist suicide bombings and attacks on United Nations peacekeeping forces. Violence recently spilled over into a tumultuous presidential election.

Ms. Arby was buried near her family home in Bamako. She is survived by a daughter, five sons and 14 grandchildren. Her second husband died before her.

Ms. Arby was known for taking in and mentoring younger musicians. “I feel like I have lost my mother,” said Mahalmadane Traoré, 34, a drummer in her band.

Mr. Traoré said he had grown up singing along with recordings of Ms. Arby’s songs, which spanned most of Mali’s ethnic languages and traditions. With her death, he said, “It’s like a whole library has been burned.”

The singer and recording artist Djeneba Seck, in an interview after the funeral in Bamako, described Ms. Arby as a grand tree whose branches extended over a vast and divided country.

“She was like a big baobab,” she said. “She performed everywhere, and everybody listened to her music in Mali. In her songs she gave advice, and she sang about everyone.”

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Reply #51 posted 08/24/18 7:34am


John Lennon’s Imagine reissued as comprehensive six-disc box set

August 23, 2018 by Paul Sinclairtags: 1970s, John Lennon, The Beatles, yoko ono


4CD+2x blu-ray box set • 135-tracks • New 5.1 surround • Vintage Quad mix • track-by-track ‘audio montages’Raw Studio Mixes

In October, Universal Music will reissue John Lennon‘s 1971 Imagine album across a number of physical formats as Imagine – The Ultimate Collection. The most exciting of these is a new six-disc (four CDs and two blu-ray audio discs) super deluxe edition box set that is ‘remixed and remastered’ and contains all manner of outtakes, sessions, demos, alternate takes, surround mixes, and more. 135 tracks in total.

Fully authorised by Yoko Ono Lennon (who oversaw the production and creative direction), this set offers a variety of “immersive and intimate” listening experiences including what are being called the ‘Ultimate Mixes‘ of the album which promise amazing definition and clarity to ‘Raw Studio Mixes‘ which allow fans to her original stripped back performances to new 5.1 surround mixes and the old Quad Mix which is available for the first time in over 45 years.

imagine_ultimate_collection3.jpgImagine – The Ultimate Edition features four CDs, two blu-ray audios and a book

Of particular interest is ‘The Evolution Documentary’, which is describe as a ‘track-by-track audio montage’ that takes you through the development of each song from demo to master recording via “instructions, rehearsals, recordings, multitrack exploration and studio chatter.”

Fans might observe from the detailed track listings below, the fact that a remastered version of the original album mix is not present anywhere and neither is the ten-track album ‘alone’ on a disc at any point (CD 1 appends some bonus single A-sides and B-sides). The good news is that the two blu-ray discs appear to include EVERYTHING on the four CDs AND MORE. For example, there are only four ‘Elements’ mixes of tracks from Imagine on CD 2 of this box set, but six more (i.e. all the other album tracks) make an appearance on the second blu-ray disc. Likewise, what promises to be very interesting ‘Evolution’ mixes go beyond the just the album on blu-ray with bonus extra evolution mixes, including ‘Power To The People’, ‘Do The Oz’, ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ and one called ‘Tittenhurst Park’.

The original Quad tape boxes

The blu-ray discs contain a hi-res stereo and 5.1 surround sound version of the new remix of Imagine, and the 10 album tracks in the original Quad Mix. The press release talks of 35 tracks in 5.1 surround sound, which means 25 of the singles, outtakes and remixes are also available in surround sound, although the track listing contradicts that slightly and suggests nearly all the content on the blu-rays has been remixed for 5.1. I’d suggest at this point that that may not be accurate and the 35 figure is more likely.

All audio has been remixed by engineer Paul Hicks at Abbey Road Studios under the supervision of Yoko Ono Lennon. He used high-definition 24-96 audio transfers of the original first generation multi-track recordings.

Talking about the remixes Hicks had the following to say:

“Phil Spector generally tended to record instruments directly onto the tape with all the reverb effects included (as was the case with George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album). For the Imagine recordings, John & Yoko deliberately had all the tracks recorded dry. This made the album easier to remix with greater sonic clarity, because we had so much more individual control over each track. ‘Soldier’ has a big soup-y reverb all over it, but ‘Crippled Inside’ is really dry and raw. And that’s the beauty of John & Yoko’s collaboration with Phil Spector.

In 1971, before they recorded the strings in New York, John, Yoko and Phil did a stereo mix at Ascot Sound Studios, and having that original mix without strings helped in matching the new mixes to the originals. Using that as a starting point, we expanded it out as far as it felt it needed to go – in most cases, it was vocal work.

On the original Imagine album, the strings were all mixed down to mono.

In the new Ultimate Remixes, the strings are mixed in surround sound or in stereo – which also helps retain the focus on John. When you add the strings, it really takes the overall sound up to a whole new level. In the 5.1 Surround Sound mixes, John’s voice mainly comes straight out of the centre speaker, so you really connect with him, especially on the ballads.”

The super deluxe edition of Imagine surely exceeds the expectations of the majority of Lennon fans and will, by some margin, be the deepest exploration of an ex-Beatle’s solo work to date. A two-CD deluxe edition, a 2LP black vinyl (and limited clear vinyl) and a single CD remaster will also be available. The double vinyl has a selection of 12 outtakes on the second record.

Don’t forget, that the Imagine and Gimme Some Truth films have been hand-restored frame-by-frame from the original film reels into HD, and their soundtracks have been remixed in 5.1 surround sound, and remastered. They will also be released (together) on blu-ray and DVD in October. The Imagine film is also being shown theatrically.

In terms of the box set pricing, for USA fans (or anyone outside the EU) the price comes down to £67 with VAT deducted, with only £3 for tracked shipping to the US! That’s something like $90 all in!

Imagine will reissued on 5 October 2018.










SHOPPRICE GBPSTOCK HMV uk 14.99 ORDER Amazon ca 15.04 PRE-ORDER Amazon uk 16.99 PRE-ORDER Amazon usa 17.10 PRE-ORDER


















Paul Hicks’ insight into The Ultimate Mixes Outtakes:

The Ultimate Mixes Out-takes are mixed with a balance and EQ more akin to the original album mixes, with a little bit of additional effects – in the style of a ‘rough listening mix’ that John & Yoko and Phil Spector would have used to play them back at Ascot Sound Studios.

Imagine (demo)
Recorded four days before the master take on 23 May 1971, it’s a bit looser and covered in reverb, but it’s fully formed and beautifully raw with a little bluesy ending.

Imagine (take 1)
With the addition of John Tout on vibes, John Barham on harmonium and Nicky Hopkins on electric piano, and without the orchestral strings. John’s piano and vocal are both fully formed.

Crippled Inside (take 6 alt guitar solo)
The same take as the album master, with a different Dobro solo by George Harrison.

Jealous Guy (take 9)
Halfway to the final version (which was take 29) comes this beauty with Joey Molland and Tom Evans from Badfinger on acoustic guitars.

It’s So Hard (take 6)
Before the overdubs with John’s piano and King Curtis’ saxophones, this raw and rocking version has John on electric guitar and vocals, Jim Gordon on drums and Klaus Voormann on bass, much less reverb, and includes a little guitar solo from John.

I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 11)
Away from the deep soup-y reverb of the album version, this much earlier recording from 16 February 1971 features Bobby Keys on saxophone with a looser, more reggae feel.

Gimme Some Truth (take 4)
An earlier incarnation of take 4 before the overdubs – the guide vocal is less swamped in reverb, there’s no guitar solo, no electric harpsichord and no bass overdubs yet, but the song still has plenty of bite.

Oh My Love (take 6)
In this charming early and ‘un-produced’ take, the musicians are still perfecting the technical accuracy within the simplicity of their playing and John’s vocal has a palpable vulnerability.

How Do You Sleep? (takes 1 & 2)
A little funkier and with more improvisation from Nicky Hopkins on electric piano and George Harrison on electric guitar, this early combination of the two takes has a wonderful ‘live’ feel.

How? (take 31)
Three-quarters of the way to the final take 40, this was the last take to use John Tout’s vibes, which were eventually replaced by strings, and acoustic guitars played by Rod Lynton and Andy Davis.

Oh Yoko! (Bahamas 1969)
Discovered within the footage from John & Yoko’s Bed Peace movie, this is from the day they spent in the Bahamas on the way to Toronto and ultimately Montreal for their famous Bed-In for Peace. John & Yoko are playing the song to an obviously delighted Derek Taylor, their friend and publicist.

Power To The People (take 7)
This version relies heavily on John’s repetitive piano riff (eventually covered over by the choir) with strong vocals from John and sax by Bobby Keys.

God Save Us (demo)
John sent this demo to the Oz office so they could learn and write the words.

Do The Oz (take 3)
Michael Ramsden apes John’s guide vocal, with fantastic screams and vocal gymnastics from a duetting Yoko.

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (Alt Mix)
John & Yoko duet in a stripped-back acoustic singalong mix of the master take, this time without the orchestra, choir and other Phil Spector production flourishes.



Imagine – The Ultimate Edition: 6-disc Super Deluxe Edition

Disc: 1

Remixed Stereo Album

1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

Remixed Singles and Extras

11. Power To The People
12. Well… (Baby Please Don’t Go)
13. God Save Us
14. Do The Oz
15. God Save Oz
16. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Disc: 2

Elements Mixes

1. Imagine (strings only)
2. Jealous Guy (piano, bass & drums)
3. Oh My Love (vocals only)
4. How? (strings only)

Album Outtakes

5. Imagine (demo)
6. Imagine (take 1)
7. Crippled Inside (take 3)
8. Crippled Inside (take 6 – alt guitar solo)
9. Jealous Guy (take 9)
10. It’s So Hard (take 6)
11. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 11)
12. Gimme Some Truth (take 4)
13. Oh My Love (take 6)
14. How Do You Sleep? (takes 1 & 2)
15. How? (take 31)
16. Oh Yoko! (Bahamas 1969)

Singles Outtakes

17. Power To The People (take 7)
18. God Save Us (demo)
19. Do The Oz (take 3)
20. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (alt mix)

Disc: 3

Extended Album Tracks and Raw

1. Imagine (take 10)
2. Crippled Inside (take 6)
3. Jealous Guy (take 29)
4. It’s So Hard (take 11)
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth (take 4 – extended)
7. Oh My Love (take 20)
8. How Do You Sleep? (take 11 – extended)
9. How? (take 40)
10. Oh Yoko! (take 1 extended)

Outtakes Live

11. Imagine (take 1)
12. Jealous Guy (take 11)
13. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 21)
14. How Do You Sleep? (take 1)
15. How Do You Sleep? (takes 5 & 6)

Disc: 4

Evolution (from demo to final mix)

1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

Disc 5 – Blu-ray audio #1:

Remixed Stereo Album, Singles, Extras, 5.1., Quadrasonic & Outtakes

1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!
11. Power To The People
12. Well… (Baby Please Don’t Go)
13. God Save Us
14. Do The Oz
15. God Save Oz
16. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
17. Imagine (Quadrasonic Mix)
18. Crippled Inside (Quadrasonic Mix)
19. Jealous Guy (Quadrasonic Mix)
20. It’s So Hard (Quadrasonic Mix)
21. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (Quadrasonic Mix)
22. Gimme Some Truth (Quadrasonic Mix)
23. Oh My Love (Quadrasonic Mix)
24. How Do You Sleep? (Quadrasonic Mix)
25. How? (Quadrasonic Mix)
26. Oh Yoko! (Quadrasonic Mix)
27. Imagine (demo)
28. Imagine (take 1)
29. Crippled Inside (take 3)
30. Crippled Inside (take 6 alt guitar solo)
31. Jealous Guy (take 9)
32. It’s So Hard (take 6)
33. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 11)
34. Gimme Some Truth (take 4)
35. Oh My Love (take 6)
36. How Do You Sleep? (takes 1 & 2)
37. How? (take 31)
38. Oh Yoko! (Bahamas 1969)
39. Power To The People (take 7)
40. God Save Us (demo)
41. Do The Oz (take 3)
42. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (alt mix)

Blu-ray Disc 1 – Imagine – The Ultimate Mixes
Remixed Stereo Album, Singles, Extras & Outtakes

Imagine – The Album
Remix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

Singles & Extras
Remix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
1. Power To The People
2. Well… (Baby Please Don’t Go)
3. God Save Us (Bill Elliot vocal)
4. Do The Oz
5. God Save Oz (John Lennon vocal)
6. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

The Out-takes
New Mix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96

1. Imagine (demo)
2. Imagine (take 1)
3. Crippled Inside (take 3)
4. Crippled Inside (take 6 alt guitar solo)
5. Jealous Guy (take 9)
6. It’s So Hard (take 6)
7. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 11)
8. Gimme Some Truth (take 4)
9. Oh My Love (take 6)
10. How Do You Sleep? (takes 1 & 2)
11. How? (take 31)
12. Oh Yoko! (Bahamas 1969)
13. Power To The People (take 7)
14. God Save Us (demo)
15. Do The Oz (take 3)
16. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (alt mix)

The Quadrasonic Mixes
Remastered in Quad 4.0 24-96
Original 1971 Quadsonic Album Remastered

1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

Blu-ray Disc 2 – In The Studio and Deeper Listening

The Raw Studio Mixes – Extended Album Versions – Live
New Mix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
Experience, in immersive Surround Sound, the moment John and The Plastic Ono Band record each song live, from a sonic soundstage at the center of Ascot Sound Studios at John & Yoko’s home in Tittenhurst

1. Imagine (take 10)
2. Crippled Inside (take 6)
3. Jealous Guy (take 29)
4. It’s So Hard (take 11)
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 4 – extended)
6. Gimme Some Truth (take 4 – extended)
7. Oh My Love (take 20)
8. How Do You Sleep? (take 11 – extended)
9. How? (take 40)
10. Oh Yoko! (take 1 – extended)

The Raw Studio Mixes – Out-takes – Live
New Mix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
1. Imagine (take 1)
2. Crippled Inside (take 2)
3. Crippled Inside (take 6 alt guitar solo)
4. Jealous Guy (take 11)
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 21)
6. How Do You Sleep? (take 1)
7. How Do You Sleep? (takes 5 & 6)
8. How? (takes 7-10)
9. How? (take 40 alt vocal)
10. Oh Yoko! (take 1 tracking vocal)

The Elements Mixes
From the Master Multitracks

New Mix in 5.1 & Stereo 24-96
Mixes from elements of the original multitracks that demonstrate some of the instrumentations from ‘behind the scenes’

1. Imagine (strings)
2. Crippled Inside (upright bass & drums)
3. Jealous Guy (piano, bass & drums)
4. It’s So Hard (strings)
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (guitar, bass & drums)
6. Gimme Some Truth (electric piano & guitar)
7. Oh My Love (vocals)
8. How Do You Sleep? (strings)
9. How? (strings)
10. Oh Yoko! (acoustic)

The Evolution Documentary
New Mix in Mono 24-96
The story of the songs from demo to master in rehearsals, studio chat and mixed multitrack elements

1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!
11. Power To The People
12. Well… (Baby Please Don’t Go)
13. God Save Us/God Save Oz
14. Do The Oz
15. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
16. Tittenhurst Park

Imagine John & Yoko – The Elliot Mintz Interviews
New Mix in Mono 24-96
Tribute by DJ and family friend Elliot Mintz featuring revealing, philosophical, honest and humorous interviews with John & Yoko.

Imagine – 2LP vinyl

LP 1 – Imagine 2018 remix

1 Imagine
2 Crippled Inside
3 Jealous Guy
4 It’s So Hard
5 I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6 Gimme Some Truth
7 Oh My Love
8 How Do You Sleep?
9 How?
10 Oh Yoko!

LP 2 – Outtakes

1 Imagine (Original demo recorded at Ascot)
2 Imagine (Take 1)
3 Crippled Inside (Take 3)
4 Crippled Inside (Take 6 alternate guitar solo)
5 Jealous Guy (Take 9)
6 It’s So Hard (Take 6)
7 I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier (Take 25)
8 Gimme Some Truth (Take 4)
9 Oh My Love (Take 6)
10 How Do You Sleep? (Takes 1 & 2)
11 How? (Take 31)
12 Oh Yoko! (from Bed Peace footage – Sheraton Hotel, Bahamas 1969)


Imagine – The Ultimate Edition: 2CD Deluxe Edition

Disc: 1

Remixed Stereo Album

1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!

Remixed Singles and Extras

11. Power To The People
12. Well… (Baby Please Don’t Go)
13. God Save Us
14. Do The Oz
15. God Save Oz
16. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Disc: 2

Elements Mixes

1. Imagine (strings only)
2. Jealous Guy (piano, bass & drums)
3. Oh My Love (vocals only)
4. How? (strings only)

Album Outtakes

5. Imagine (demo)
6. Imagine (take 1)
7. Crippled Inside (take 3)
8. Crippled Inside (take 6 – alt guitar solo)
9. Jealous Guy (take 9)
10. It’s So Hard (take 6)
11. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (take 11)
12. Gimme Some Truth (take 4)
13. Oh My Love (take 6)
14. How Do You Sleep? (takes 1 & 2)
15. How? (take 31)
16. Oh Yoko! (Bahamas 1969)

Singles Outtakes

17. Power To The People (take 7)
18. God Save Us (demo)
19. Do The Oz (take 3)
20. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (alt mix)


Imagine – The Ultimate Edition: single CD

Remixed Stereo Album

1. Imagine
2. Crippled Inside
3. Jealous Guy
4. It’s So Hard
5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die
6. Gimme Some Truth
7. Oh My Love
8. How Do You Sleep?
9. How?
10. Oh Yoko!


In the Room: Gallant – Doesn’t Matter (feat. A$AP Ferg and VanJess)


Dua Lipa x Gallant // In The Room // Episode 6


Joss Stone - Internationale Jazzwoche Burghausen 2017

((22.03.2017)) 01 - (For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People 00:45 02 - Love Me 05:08 03 - Big Ol' Game 09:45 04 - Super Duper Love 17:24 05 - Drive All Nigh 19:45 06 - Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye 26:22 07 - Music 30:34 08 - Stuck On You 36:34 09 - Harry's Symphony 41:43 10 - Put Your Hands On Me / I Got The Feeling / Baby, Baby, Baby 46:22 11 - Super Duper Love 51:57 12 - Free Me 01:00:13 13 - I Put A Spell On You 01:04:44 14 - Right To Be Wrong 01:12:19 The End - 01:21:15 Joss Stone - Vocal Steve Down - Guitar Pete Iannacone - Bass Ricky Jordan - Drums Christian Lohr - Keyboard Ben Edwards - Trumpet James Gardiner Batema - Sax Janet Ramus - Backing vocal Brian Chambers - Backing vocal


[Edited 8/24/18 9:33am]

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Temptations Musical ‘Ain’t Too Proud’ Headed for Broadway

From left, Christian Thompson, Ephraim Sykes, Jawan M. Jackson, Derrick Baskin, Jeremy Pope and James Harkness in the Kennedy Center production of “Ain’t Too Proud.”CreditDoug Hamilton

By Michael Paulson

  • Aug. 23, 2018

A new musical about the Temptations will open on Broadway next spring, the latest in a series of shows using familiar pop songs to tell stories and lure audiences.

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“Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations” will run at Broadway’s Imperial Theater, the show’s producers said Thursday; they did not announce a cast or an opening date. The musical will have had four developmental productions before coming to Broadway, starting last year at Berkeley Repertory Theater in California and earlier this year at the Kennedy Center in Washington; it is now playing at the Center Theater Group in Los Angeles, and is scheduled to run in Toronto this fall.

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“Ain’t Too Proud” is directed by Des McAnuff, who directed the long-running Tony-winning hit “Jersey Boys,” which closed last year, and “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” which opened this year. There are two other jukebox musicals now running on Broadway — “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” and “Head Over Heels,” featuring songs by the Go-Go’s. Bruce Springsteen is performing a concert show, “Springsteen on Broadway”; “The Cher Show” opens in December; and there are several more jukebox musicals circling Broadway, including “Jagged Little Pill,” featuring songs by Alanis Morissette, and “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical,” as well as multiple others in development.

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“Ain’t Too Proud” features a book by the playwright Dominique Morisseau (“Skeleton Crew,” “Pipeline”). Ms. Morisseau, like the Temptations, is from Detroit; the show is about the R&B group’s formation, successes and challenges. The lead producers are Ira Pittelman and Tom Hulce, who previously produced the Tony-winning “Spring Awakening”; the pair have told the Securities and Exchange Commission that they will seek to raise $16.75 million to capitalize the new musical.

There's a Side A and Side B quality to Lucie Silvas' new E.G.O. album. One half finds the British expatriate as wildly free as a spring tornado, brazenly striking where and when she decides. With bold, beautiful strokes she introduces a fiercely independent gypsy who will only settle down on her terms.

The second half of Silvas' new album (Aug. 24) finds her heavy with guilt, regret and vulnerability. A trio of melancholy ballads drills deep into heartache and remorse before she finds compromise with the title track and then "Change My Mind."

So, which is the real Lucie Silvas? Predictably, the answer is both. She's an artist who has weathered the storm personally and professionally without being spat out jaded or jilted. Now happily married and pleasantly independent after nearly two decades making music for record labels large and small, Silvas knows a thing or two about priorities and independence.

Seated comfortably in an East Nashville coffee shop one August morning Silvas spoke with color, candor and tremendous enthusiasm about her current project and future. Later she'd add glam for an industry event downtown, but for now the tools of pretense are out of sight — how she likes it at this point in her life.

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"I used to wear lots of jewelry ... bangles, necklaces," she says, "and I started to take them all off because I realized I was wearing them to feel dressed up in some way. I was like, 'This makes me interesting.' And then I just decided I'm not doing any of that."

"Girls from California," the most arresting arrangement on E.G.O., wraps this idea up in a strange kind of dissident disappointment. "He only wants girls from California / Beach blanket dolls that will carry his heart away," Silvas sings at the chorus.

"It is that thing of like, I don't need to have a certain color hair, I don't need to have certain clothes, I don't need to keep up with that trend. I'm just not interested. You're either interested in me or you're not," she says. "I'm not going to chase you down the street."

People can be very patronizing, and they decide what success is. This is my way of going, "I decide what my success is because I decide what makes me happy, not you.

Have you always been the woman we hear during the first half of the album?
It’s been me and it has not been me. I feel like in some situations in my life I’ve become ... I know I’ve always been quite fiercely independent. But that has been sometimes shattered by trying to please some situation I’m in, whether I’ve been in the wrong relationship and I've suddenly gone, 'Well in order to make this work, I can't be as independent as I want to be.' I've struggled. Then fortunately later on I found the right relationship ... and it didn't threaten the person. (Silvas is married to Brothers Osborne guitarist John Osborne.)

It’s still a compromise though, even if you’re in the right relationship.
It is. Everything. You can’t go into a healthy relationship thinking there won’t be compromises. I think the album is eclectic like that because I’m like that. Sometimes I feel strong in my own instincts and other times I’m struggling between what’s most important to me.

The personal and professional are always intertwined. From a professional standpoint, though, have you always felt that confidence?
I did start feeling independent as soon as I came out of a record deal in England. I didn’t do well with a big label. I just felt ... it felt alien to me. It didn’t coincide with all the thoughts I had about being an artist — some people are very good at cross pollinating being a business and being a creative artist. It’s taken me a long time to figure that out. I never felt better then when I started doing music on my own terms. And that was when I had no cheerleaders around me. Weirdly enough, as soon as all those people went away I felt stronger, which is strange.

As a culture and as media, we celebrate that shiny thing, be it a No. 1 or a record deal. And we forget that’s not as important as the journey and the process.
And I don’t think it’s bad to celebrate those things. I think it’s good to celebrate your achievements in any way that they come, but I think it’s good to remember to keep your eye on whatever it is that you actually want. You can get enraptured by this idea. I say it in one of my songs, you drink your own Kool Aid too much ("E.G.O.") and you start to believe something that isn’t real. It isn’t about being celebrated it’s about why did you pick up a microphone, why did you start playing an instrument in the first place? Because you love it.

Sonya Jasinski

"People Can Change," "My Old Habits" and "Just for the Record" all deal with self-inflicted grief. Are these apologies?
They’re apologies in a way, justifications. They’re also standing up for yourself a little bit. And expressing, "Well I never said I was perfect. I never said I wasn’t going to do dumb things." Especially in “My Old Habits,” just admitting you’re gonna turn a corner and be better about it and all of a sudden one night it all goes to s--t.

“Just for the Record,” to be honest, was really liberating. It’s a little bit of an apology, but it’s saying that it doesn’t matter what happens, people love each other when they hurt each other. It’s pointing the finger a little bit at the other person saying, "You know this goes both ways?" It’s a bit of, "Say what you want, and now I’m moving on."

“Black Jeans” feels like a response to something personal or professional.
Very much professional. JD (McPherson) had the title “Black Jeans,” and JD usually writes on his own. He’s only collaborated a few times and he said "I got this title, ‘Black Jeans’ and I really don’t know what it means.” The weird thing was we wrote a little bit of it and I had to finish the lyrics in the vocal booth because we were trying to record and I didn’t have all the lyrics. And as it progressed I made it about a persona that I felt — it’s not even a persona that I felt I had to put on, but maybe it was a bit of a pissed off song. I’m not a really overzealously bold person. I’m not shy, but I don’t walk into a room like "Here I am!” I’m not that type of personality, but I hate it when people mistake quiet for lack of ambition.

It’s saying, “I’m going to actually do things, I’m not gonna care what anyone thinks about it.” I don’t like it when people look at something you do and say "Oh well done. That’s great for you. That small little thing is great for you.”

People can be very patronizing, and they decide what success is. This is my way of going, "I decide what my success is because I decide what makes me happy, not you."

Album Review: The Band’s ‘Music From Big Pink: 50th Anniversary Edition’

The new remix of this vastly influential album is so brilliant it makes your teeth hurt.

Some albums become life companions. The Band’s “Music From Big Pink,” which celebrated the 50th anniversary of its release on July 1 and gets a deluxe-reissue next Friday, is such a record.

I haven’t been without a copy of “Big Pink” since the day I purchased it — good lord — a half a century ago. From the first, it was a work that demanded deep listening, and more than one copy got severely gored from repeated plays over the years. In 2017, I got reacquainted the album as I wrote the script for the Wild Honey Foundation’s benefit concert performance of “Big Pink” and its self-titled 1969 successor, a show that featured The Band’s brilliant keyboardist Garth Hudson as its special guest.

The lavish golden-anniversary reissue of “Big Pink,” which comes from Universal Music Group’s catalog division, features a new remix created by Bob Clearmountain, along with a CD version of the remix, a Blu-ray disc featuring a 5.1 mix, a two-LP 45 rpm rendering of the stereo mix, and a remixed 45 rpm single of “The Weight” (CD and vinyl versions will also be available separately). This variant edition of a much-prized classic is by its nature a risky venture, but one deemed worth taking in what are presumably the waning days of CD boxed sets. To quote the lyrics to Robbie Robertson’s song “Kingdom Come”: “Just be careful what you do, it all comes back on you.”

Weighing “Big Pink Redux” necessitates some recapitulation of the album’s unusual origins.

Even if you knew back in ’68 that the Band (then known as the Hawks) had backed Bob Dylan on his first electric tour of 1965-66 — in fact, even if you’d seen the group in action — the genesis of the sound of “Music From Big Pink” would have been elusive.

The Hawks — guitarist Robertson, organist Hudson, pianist Richard Manuel, bassist Rick Danko and the lone American among the Canadian group, drummer Levon Helm — specialized in a raucous fusion of rockabilly, R&B and blues, which they first banged out behind Arkansas-bred rocker Ronnie Hawkins. They developed a more extravagant, high-volume variety of that sound behind Dylan; the singer-songwriter’s rigid folkie fans loathed it, to the point that their booing drove Helm, the group’s founder, from the tour.

Two months after the conclusion of that world jaunt, Dylan was involved in a serious motorcycle accident, and both he and the Hawks went off the grid for two years. For much of that hiatus, Dylan and his sidemen (minus Helm) hunkered down in the secluded artist colony near Woodstock in Upstate New York, where they woodshedded at Dylan’s home and a pink ranch house occupied by three of the musicians.

They recorded dozens of songs that ranged from old folk, blues and country standards to cryptic new material penned by Dylan or co-written with the band members. The experience mutated the musicians into something rich and strange. With a recording contract pending, Helm returned to the fold in late 1967.

When “Music From Big Pink” arrived in mid-1968, bearing the most minimal of credits and wrapped in a cover bearing a Chagall-like watercolor by Dylan, it baffled even the cognoscenti. The music made by the group now simply known as the Band bore little resemblance to the loud, abrasive hard rock the Hawks had played.

Its sound was muffled, subdued, almost private, brewed from a broad range of influences but resembling no one style in particular. (Today you’d call it Americana, although that genre would not exist without “Big Pink.”) Its songs — two of them co-written with Dylan during those “basement tapes” sessions of ’67 — were lyrically gnomic, suggestive, hard to pin down. (Only after bootleg recordings of those tapes began to emerge in 1969 did the provenance of the Band’s sound start to go public.) In Elliott Landy’s evocative jacket photographs, the musicians looked as if they’d materialized from the previous century.

Nearly everything about “Music From Big Pink” ran against the flamboyant grain of contemporaneous psychedelia. The album, which eschewed histrionic soloing, vocal emoting and trippy studio flash, was a sui generis feat. In his 1975 book “Mystery Train,” Greil Marcus rightly compared its affect to that of Robert Altman’s revisionist 1971 Western “McCabe and Mrs. Miller,” with the film’s hazy visuals and half-buried dialog akin to the confounding murmur of The Band’s music, which wafted in on a cloud of mystery. It simply didn’t sound like anything else.

Thus, formulating a 21st-century remix of an album as singular, cherished and influential as “Big Pink” would be a daunting chore for any production hand. The job fell to Clearmountain, who has served the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams and Hall & Oates, among others, as a mixing engineer.

Clearmountain, who has always been most comfortable in a hard rock or pop context, was destined to be challenged by the distinctive aesthetic of the album’s original producer John Simon, who also helmed The Band’s sophomore album and served as a sort of sixth member of the group.

Simon envisioned “Music From Big Pink” as an ensemble work. In his 2016 memoir “Testimony,” Robbie Robertson offers a detailed account of the album recording sessions at New York’s A&R Studio and Hollywood’s Capitol Tower, during which the standard studio baffles were removed so the musicians could see and interact with one another face-to-face, and the songs were mainly recorded live to three tracks, with a fourth track left for horns. No one singer took the lead — Manuel, Danko, Helm and even the usually vocally reticent Robertson were all featured up front — and the stacked harmonies and call-and-response vocals were a distinctive feature of the album.

In 1968 the members of the Band sounded as if they were nestled comfortably against one another; in the 2018 rendering — most especially in the noisy, infernally busy mix of Dylan and Danko’s “This Wheel’s On Fire” — they sound as if they’re warring for attention. Helm’s drums and Robertson’s guitar fills have been juiced (while, strangely, Danko’s formidable, funky bass is usually played down). Even the sparse, doomy “The Weight” and the spare, aching album-closer “I Shall Be Released” sound newly cluttered. (And speaking of clutter, the studio slates added to a couple of tracks are a pointless nuisance.)

For the new edition of an album originally distinguished by neither brightness nor definition, Clearmountain ignores Simon’s original intent and offers a mix so brilliant it makes your teeth hurt; in every instance where Simon, always subtractive in approach and ever attentive to subtlety and balance, mixed down certain instruments and pared the music to its essence, Clearmountain responds by pushing all the faders up, as if intent to give all the players some space whether they deserve it or not.

Strangely, while the remix is keen to add volume and jarring sonic elements to goose the proceedings for millennial ears, it eliminates certain resonant facets of the original recording. Clearmountain seems especially leery of the sonorous horn work of Hudson and producer Simon, which lofted two of Richard Manuel’s most potent vocals, “Tears of Rage” and “Lonesome Susie”; their saxophones, which contributed so deeply to the songs’ emotional pull, have been reduced to a whisper. I found myself wondering why Hudson’s tour de force Bach-inflected organ overture to “Chest Fever” sounded so bombastic, until I realized that Clearmountain had removed the delay that added an eccentric echo effect; now the introduction resembles the work of Keith Emerson.

It’s hard to agree with Robertson’s assertion, in the book that accompanies the boxed set edition of “Music From Big Pink,” that Clearmountain “has been very loyal to the music.” One wonders what John Simon, now 76 and still very much with us, makes of that statement. There isn’t a single track on the 2018 remix that will not sound decidedly weird to anyone who has spent significant time with the original record. This new set creates an unnerving disturbance in the third ear of memory.

Few records in the history of rock music have left as indelible an imprint as “Music From Big Pink,” and few were created with such a carefully calibrated approach in the studio. Unlike last year’s Giles Martin remix of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which truly revealed new aspects of that rock monolith while remaining true to its essence, the new “Big Pink” betrays nearly everything that was exciting and original about the album when it first appeared.

Album Review: The Band's 'Music From Big Pink: 50th Anniversary Edition'

Joss Stone- Understand(From her 2nd album. Rarely done). From a 2018 show.

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Lucie Silvas – E.G.O. album review

PIP ELLWOOD-HUGHES1 DAY AGO0 0Image result for Lucie Silvas 2018Furthest Point / Thirty Tigers

Ed King, Early Lynyrd Skynyrd Guitarist, Dies at 68

by Best Classic Bands Staff

One of the original members of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s three-guitar front line, Ed King, died yesterday (Aug. 22) in Nashville. The cause of death was not revealed, although King had been diagnosed with cancer. He was 68.

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Born Edward C. King in Glendale, Calif., on Sept. 14, 1949, the guitarist first became known as the co-author and guitarist of Strawberry Alarm Clock’s “Incense and Peppermints,” a #1 psychedelic-pop hit in 1967. King met the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd when the latter band, still unknown outside of its home base of Jacksonville, Fla., opened for the Strawberry Alarm Clock in 1968. It wasn’t until 1972 that King joined the Southern Rock band, however. At first he replaced Leon Wilkeson on bass when that co-founding member temporarily quit, but when Wilkeson rejoined, King moved over to guitar, completing the trademark lineup that also included Allen Collins and Gary Rossington.

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Related: The story of “Incense and Peppermints”

King appeared on three of Skynyrd’s early albums: Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd, Second Helping and Nuthin’ Fancy. He co-wrote one of the band’s signature songs, “Sweet Home Alabama,” and provided both the “1-2-3” count-off and the familiar opening guitar lick in the classic recording.

By coincidence, a documentary on Skynyrd, If I Leave Here Tomorrow, premiered on Showtime on August 18.

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Strawberry Alarm Clock’s George Bunnell and Ed King with comedian Jonathan Winters.

King also wrote several other songs for the early Skynyrd band, but he decided to leave in 1975 and was replaced by Steve Gaines, who was one of the band members killed in a 1977 plane crash.

Rossington wrote on the band’s Facebook page: “I’ve just found out about Ed’s passing and I’m shocked and saddened. Ed was our brother, and a great songwriter and guitar player. I know he will be reunited with the rest of the boys in Rock and Roll Heaven. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sharon and his family.”

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Artimus Pyle, a former Skynyrd drummer, posted today on his Facebook page, “Friends it is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of Ed King. Ed was an amazing guitarist with an ability to create parts like few others. His kick off to Sweet Home Alabama is possibly the most recognized opening riff ever written. Ed was an extremely generous man always willing to help someone in need and always willing to spend time with fellow guitarist including Scott and Jerry from APB. Ed we are heartbroken yet forever grateful for you and your contributions to the music world and to society as a whole. RIP friend.”

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Related: The plane crash that devastated Lynyrd Skynyrd

King joined the reunited Skynyrd in 1987 but left again in 1996 due to congestive heart failure. He underwent a heart transplant in 2011.

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King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 along with the other pre-crash members. The latest lineup of the band announced this year that they would disband after a final tour.

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Just Music-No Categories-Enjoy It!
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^^Great classy cover. Thanks ID

Phil Collins announced on August 22 his Not Dead Yet, Live! tour is coming to Australia and New Zealand in 2019. Tickets go on sale September 5.

On May 7, he revealed that the tour is coming to North America for the first time in 12 years, this October for 15 shows. The limited engagement by the classic rock legend runs from Oct. 5-28. (See dates below.) Tickets are available here and here.

Collins has had back surgery as well as hip issues in recent years and now drums only sparingly. (The 67-year-old now sits throughout most of these performances.) His band includes his son, Nicolas, on drums, veteran bassist Leland Sklar, longtime guitarist Daryl Stuermer, keyboardist Brad Cole, and percussionist Luis Conte, along with a horn section and backup singers.

After testing the waters in 2016 with a couple of brief live performances, Phil Collinsannounced in October 2016, his Not Dead Yet tour of the U.K. plus five nights each in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany, his first extended time on the road as a solo act since 2004-2005. (The tour name is derived from Collins’ 2016 autobiography, Not Dead Yet.)

The veteran musician began his comeback on June 2, 2017 in Liverpool but after just four dates, he suffered a serious fall in his London hotel room, causing him to postpone several dates at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Last Nov. 27, Collins announced the first dates of his 2018 tour, with stadium concerts in South America, Mexico and Puerto Rico earlier this year.

Watch Collins sing a Genesis favorite in Mexico City on March 9

Phil Collins Not Dead Yet, Live

North American 2018 Dates

Oct 05 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – BB&T Center
Oct 07 – Washington, DC – Capital One Arena
Oct 08 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
Oct 09 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
Oct 11 – Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
Oct 13 – Newark, NJ – Prudential Center
Oct 14 – Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center
Oct 16 – Montreal, QC – Centre Bell
Oct 18 – Cleveland, OH – Quicken Loans Arena
Oct 19 – Columbus, OH – Nationwide Arena
Oct 21 – Minneapolis, MN – Target Center
Oct 22 – Chicago, IL – United Center
Oct 25 – Oakland, CA – Oracle Arena
Oct 27 – Las Vegas, NV – MGM Grand Garden Arena
Oct 28 – Los Angeles, CA – The Forum

Australia, New Zealand 2019 Dates

Jan 19 – Brisbane – Suncorp Stadium
Jan 21 – Sydney – Qudos Bank Arena
Jan 25 – Adelaide – Adelaide Oval
Jan 28 – Perth – RAC Arena
Feb 01 – Melbourne – Aami Park
Feb 04 – Christchurch – Christchurch Stadium
Feb 06 – Napier – Mission Estate Winery

The musician’s solo catalog received a significant overhaul from Rhino in 2016. An 8-CD set was released on November 24, 2017.

Stream Savannah Conley’s New Dave Cobb-Produced EP

Singer-songwriter Savannah Conley has released her sophomore EP, titled “Twenty-Twenty.”

The new batch of songs from the Nashville native was produced by Dave Cobb and is being released on his label Low Country Sound. “She really reminds me of a southern Mazzy Star and I was blown away with her lyrics,” Cobb said of the young artist.

Image result for Savannah Conley - All I Wanted [Official Video]





David Crosby Plans New Album, Fall Tour

by Best Classic Bands Staff

David Crosby

With Here If You Listen, his fourth new album in five years, due for release this fall, David Crosby has announced a new tour in support of the project. Crosby will be backed on the tour by his Lighthouse Band—Becca Stevens, Michael League of Snarky Puppy and Michelle Willis. The five-week, coast-to-coast tour kicks off Nov. 2 at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle, Wash., and ends Dec. 8 at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y. Tickets are now on sale here and here.

Crosby, who turned 77 this month, “has experienced a late career resurgence unlike almost any other in the history of rock ’n’ roll,” says a press release announcing the tour. Last year, Crosby released Sky Trails (BMG), his third solo album in four years.

Stevens, League and Willis backed Crosby on his tour in support of 2016’s Lighthousealbum.

Related: A CSNY reunion? Crosby’s willing

A documentary about Crosby, produced by Cameron Crowe and directed by A.J. Eaton, is also in the works.

Fall 2018 Tour Dates
Nov 2 – Neptune Theatre – Seattle, WA
Nov 4 – Aladdin Theatre – Portland, OR
Nov 6 – Castro Theatre – San Francisco, CA
Nov 8 – Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA
Nov 9 – Golden State Theatre – Monterey, CA
Nov 10 – Fred Kavli Theatre – Thousand Oaks, CA
Nov 12 – Balboa Theatre – San Diego, CA
Nov 13 – City National Grove – Anaheim, CA
Nov 15 – National Hispanic Cultural Centre – Albuquerque, NM
Nov 17 – Liberty Hall – Lawrence, KS
Nov 19 – North Shore Centre for the Performing Arts – Skokie, IL
Nov 20 – Capitol Theatre – Madison, WI
Nov 24 – The Paramount Theatre – Cedar Rapids, IA
Nov 25 – Kalamazoo State Theatre – Kalamazoo, MI
Nov 28 – The Kent Stage – Kent, OH
Nov 29 – Weinberg Center for the Arts – Frederick, MD
Dec 1 – The Egg Performing Arts Centre – Albany, NY
Dec 2 – Whitaker Centre for Science and the Arts – Sunoco Performance Theatre – Harrisburg, PA
Dec 4 – Tupelo Music Hall – Derry, NH
Dec 5 – Bergen Performing Arts Centre – Englewood, NJ
Dec 7 – Zeiterion Performing Arts Centre – New Bedford, MA
Dec 8 – Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY

Here If You Listen Track List
1. Glory
2. Vagrants of Venice
3. 1974
4. Your Own Ride
5. Buddha on a Hill
6. I Am No Artist
7. 1967
8. Balanced on a Pin
9. Other Half Rule
10. Janet
11. Woodstock

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Swamp Blues Figurehead Lazy Lester Dies At 85

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The influential musician was a key name in blues music from the 1950s onwards.

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Lazy Lester

Lazy Lester, the Louisiana bluesman who became one of the prime forces in the establishment of the swamp blues style, died on Wednesday (22) at the age of 85. The multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter had been fighting stomach cancer in recent months.

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Born Leslie Johnson in Torras, Louisiana on 20 June 1933, he began to catch the eye and the ear of blues fans in his home state in the mid-1950s. The musician caught a break when the non-appearance of a session harmonica player for a Lightnin’ Slim session led to him fulfilling the date and then to command recording dates in his own right with producer Jay Miller. He was the man that coined Lester’s stage name in recognition of his relaxed playing style.

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He recorded for Excello, King Snake and other labels, returning to action in later years for such labels as Alligator. They released his Harp & Soul album in 1988, and Lester went on to further albums with companies such as Antone’s and Telarc.

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His first single for Excello in his own name was the mid-1950s cut ‘I’m Gonna Leave You Baby,’ and further trademarks followed such as 1958’s ‘I’m A Lover, Not A Fighter’ and ‘Sugar Coated Love.’ Here and throughout, Lester proved himself to be an authoritative singer, writer, guitarist and harmonica player, with shades of country, zydeco and Cajun music informing his blues style. He was also an in-demand session player for such notables as Slim Harpo and Johnny Winter, playing on the latter’s early sessions in 1961.

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Frustrated, from the 1960s onwards, by the segregation that limited his crossover potential, Lester spent the better part of two decades working outside the music business, in a number of manual jobs. It was the respectful attention of labels such as King Snake and Alligator, and covers of his work by bands including the Kinks (who cut ‘I’m A Lover, Not A Fighter’) and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, that encouraged Lester back to work.

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He was featured in the Radio City Music Hall concert in New York in 2003 that resulted in the documentary Lightning in a Bottle, alongside contemporaries such as B.B. King and Buddy Guy and admirers like Bonnie Raitt and Mos Def. Lazy Lester continued performing until earlier this year, and won new admiration for his appearance in a GEICO Insurance commercial.

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Reply #55 posted 08/27/18 8:56am


Neil Simon


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Reply #56 posted 08/27/18 10:00am


Niia – Sideline [Live With Jazmine Sullivan]

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Lenny Kravitz’s First Five Albums Set For Vinyl Reissue

The first four titles are available on 21 September, with the ‘Let Love Rule’ reissue following on 30 November.

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Lenny Kravitz Vinyl Reissues

Lenny Kravitz’s first five albums – 1989’s Let Love Rule, 1991’s Mama Said, 1993’s Are You Gonna Go My Way, 1995’s Circus, and 1998’s 5– are set for vinyl reissues through Virgin/UMe. The first four titles will be issued on 21 September, while Let Love Rule will be released on 30 November.

Each title will be appearing on 2-LP 180-g black vinyl in addition to individualized limited-edition, color variants. Four of the five double-LP reissues also feature exceptional non-album B-sides, many of them appearing on vinyl for the very first time. No two color-variants are the same, as Let Love Rule is 50/50 semi-transparent brown and yellow, Mama Said is marbled white and gray, Are You Gonna Go My Way is transparent red and transparent purple, Circus is solid white and transparent clear, and 5 is solid orange and solid white.

Each album in this series exhibits the ongoing evolution of Lenny Kravitz’s considerable talents as a multifaceted singer, songwriter, producer, and guitar player. Let Love Rule established the template for Kravitz’s exploratory nature as an artist, as evidenced by the elegiac title track and the poignant social commentary of ‘Mr. Cab Driver,’ a song as relevant today as it was when it was released 30 years ago. The complete 13-track album will be issued on vinyl for the first time.

Mama Said continued the thread, with the mid-tempo ballad ‘It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over’ (a No. 2 hit single featuring the Phoenix Horns, of Earth, Wind & Fire fame) and the soul-drenched ‘Always On The Run’ (with a guest guitar turn from Slash) leading the charge. It appears on vinyl for the first time in the U.S. Are You Gonna Go My Way sealed Kravitz’s wide-ranging appeal, thanks to the abject ferocity of the title track and the international chart hit ‘Heaven Help.’ On its 25th anniversary, the main album will be available on commercial vinyl for the first time and includes eight bonus tracks on vinyl for the first time.

Meanwhile, Circus, now on vinyl for the first time in the U.S., continued the man’s climb with the undeniable punch of ‘Rock And Roll Is Dead,’ while 5 took Kravitz to newer heights with the universal yearning of ‘Fly Away,’ which topped the Singles charts in the United Kingdom as well as reaching No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks charts in the United States. ‘Fly Away’ also earned Lenny Kravitz a Grammy Award in 1999 for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the album will be on vinyl for the first time ever.

Many of the key songs from these five albums will be featured during Kravitz’s current Raise Vibration Tour 2018, which comes to the United States this fall following a highly successful spring and summer run in Europe and abroad. The iconic rocker’s new studio album Raise Vibration, is also set for release on 7 September.

Buy the 180-g vinyl reissues of Mama Said, Are You Going To Go My Way, Circus and 5, which are all released on 21 September.

Watch The Video For Kandace Springs’ New Track ‘6 8’

‘6 8′ is a highly individual cover of Gabriel Garzón-Montano’s smoky ballad and it also features on Springs’ new album ‘Indigo’.

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Kandace Springs has released ‘6 8’, a highly individual cover of Gabriel Garzón-Montano’s smoky ballad. Throughout the track, Springs’ sensual vocals and chiming piano intertwine with Elena Pinderhughes’ ethereal flute and float above Burniss Travis II’s bass and Karriem Riggins’ drums. You can watch the video above here.

The song follows the single ‘Don’t Need The Real Thing’ both of which appear on the singer and pianist’s second album Indigo: a 13-track LP of originals and choice covers that will be released on 7 September on Blue Note Records. All but two of the record’s tracks are produced by Riggins (Common, Erykah Badu) with additional production by Jamie Hartman (Rag’n’Bone Man), Jimmy Hogarth (Amy Winehouse, Corinne Bailey Rae), Jimmy Harry (Madonna, P!nk), and Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken (Rihanna).

Given the diverse palette, Karriem Riggins was exactly the right person to work with Springs to catalyze the best parts of various interests into something new. “I love crossing genres and the direction on Indigo was to marry all the different things to tell her story,” says Riggins, who tracked his drums at various studios while on the road with Diana Krall, and chopped and reassembled his and Springs’ recordings into what you hear. “It sounds organic because everything was built around the songwriting. She says so much on the piano, and her voice is amazing—it’s the focal point of the whole sound.”

Kandace Springs will embark on a U.S. headline tour beginning September 28 that includes album release shows in Los Angeles (Troubadour, 1 October), New York (Sony Hall, 28 October), and a hometown Nashville show (City Winery, 4 November 4), followed by performances in Europe and Asia. See below for a full list of tour dates and visit the artist’s website for ticket info.

Kandace Springs plays the following US shows:

September 28 – Musical Instrument Museum – Phoenix, AZ
September 29 – Voodoo Room @ House of Blues – San Diego, CA
September 30 – The Parish @ House of Blues – Anaheim, CA
October 1 – The Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA
October 2 – Swedish American Hall – San Francisco, CA
October 4 – The Jack London Revue – Portland, OR
October 5 – Benaroya Hall – Seattle, WA
October 7 – Vancouver International Jazz Festival – Vancouver, BC
October 24 – City Winery – Boston, MA
October 25 – Daryl’s House Club – Pawling, NY
October 27 – Iron Horse Music Hall – Northampton, MA
October 28 – Sony Hall – New York, NY
October 29 – World Café Live – Philadelphia, PA
October 30 – The Hamilton – Washington, DC
November 2 – Stage Door Theater – Charlotte, NC
November 3 – City Winery – Atlanta, GA
November 4 – City Winery – Nashville, TN
November 13 – Forum Leverkusen – Leverkusen, Germany **with WDR Big Band**
November 16 – New Morning – Paris, France
November 17 – Queen Elizabeth Hall – London, England
November 19 – Paradiso – Amsterdam, Netherlands
November 20 – Quasimodo – Berlin, Germany
November 27 – Tokyo International Forum – Tokyo, Japan
November 28 – Sankei Hall Breeze – Osaka, Japan
December 1 – Blue Note Beijing – Beijing, China
December 2 – Blue Note Beijing – Beijing, China.


Graffiti Artist Shepard Fairey Unveils Johnny Cash Mural

Shepard Fairey has unveiled a 15-story mural of Johnny Cash in Sacramento to honour the 50th anniversary of Cash’s ‘Live at Folsom Prison’.

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Shepard Fairey - Johnny Cash
Photo: Jonathan Furlong

The artist behind the iconic Hope print used in Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Shepard Fairey has unveiled his most ambitious work yet, a 15-story mural of Johnny Cash in Sacramento to honour the 50th anniversary of Cash’s Live at Folsom Prison.

As part of the Wide Open Walls festival, Fairey along with his assistants completed the impressive piece on the side of the Residence Inn by Marriott over the span of a week, for 11 hours each day.

The fire red, orange and yellow graphic was based on a photo by famed music photographer Jim Marshall that Fairey originally used in his American Civics series.

The mural not only serves as a tribute to the country legend, but also to one of Cash’s most personal causes, prison reform. Fairey shared in a statement:

“I’m grateful to be able to create this image on such a large scale as a tribute for the 50th anniversary of Cash’s Live at Folsom Prisonalbum, and I hope that this art will ignite a conversation around the need for incarceration reform. According to a recent in-depth study by the Prison Policy Initiative, America has the highest incarceration rate in the world with a shocking 2.3 million people currently imprisoned.”

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The street artist also shared that he will be selling prints of the mural through Toyroom Gallery in Sacramento and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the prison reform non-profit Cut 50, whose aim is to get bipartisan support to “reduce America’s prison population by 50 percent”.

During his career, Johnny Cash played almost 30 prison concerts over a 20-year period, resulting in his iconic albums: Live at Folsom Prisonand Live at San Quentin.

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He also testified before Congress in 1972, about prison conditions he observed during his performances. Cash stated in his testimony before the Subcommittee on National Penitentiaries saying, “I have seen and heard of things at some of the concerts that would chill the blood of the average citizen. But I think possibly the blood of the average citizen needs to be chilled in order for change to come about”.

Explore our Johnny Cash Artist Page and read Fairey’s full statement here.

Vivian Green Releases New Music Video for “Vibes”

By Singersroom|August 24th, 2018|Categories: R&B Music Videos, R&B Videos|

Vivian Green returns with a visual for her latest single, “Vibes,” a record from her sixth studio album, ‘VGVI,’ released last October (2017). The clip was shot in Townsend Georgia and was directed by famed photographer/director Derek Blanks. It spotlights Vivian setting the vibes for paying customers at her day job while she continues to hustle hard for her music career.

On ‘VGVI,’ Vivian treads new territory with the help of multi-platinum producer Kwamé (Mary J. Blige, Keyshia Cole, Christina Aguilera, Fantasia).

“I hope people can feel the emotion. When they hear it, I want them to be able to live with it,” she says about the project. “It’s a little different for me. You can work out to it, cook to it, clean to it, and do all of those things we do. I want this to be one of those records that becomes a part of your life.”

Outside of music, Vivian appeared in the Golden Globe- and GRAMMY Award-nominated film De-Lovely as well as the TV show American Dreams. She also appeared in the stage play “Two Can Play That Game,” an adaptation of the original film featuring Vivica Fox, Gary Dourdan, Columbus Short, Porsha Williams and Carl Payne. Vivian starred as Vivica Fox’s best friend and performed some of her classic hits.

Vivian also remains a staunch advocate for the rights of children with special needs spearheading the #IamDifferentIamHuman PSA campaign. Her organization “I am different, I am Human” brings awareness to the 57 million people in the United States with a special need, particularly children.


Astrud Gilberto

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I transcended space and time and reality and my problems and cares, and got ejector-seat launched straight into a place no drug or God or pleasure of the flesh has ever delivered me. I was alive.” – Joey Sweeney, writing in The Philadelphia Enquirer about hearing Astrud Gilberto for the first time.

Astrud-GilbertoFrom Bahia, north eastern Brazil, one of three sisters born to a German father and a Brazilian mother, Astrud was born in 1940; Gilberto’s family moved to Rio de Janeiro when she was only 2 years old. Before going to New York in 1963 with her husband, João, the twenty three year old Astrud had never sung professionally, but in a recording session with Stan Getz, everything was to change. Verve was keen to build on Getz’s success with bossa nova and so teamed him with the best Brazil could offer – Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto. Producer Creed Taylor needed some of the vocals on ‘Getz/Gilberto’ to appeal to the American market, and Astrud was the only Brazilian who could speak enough English. After João recorded the first verse of ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ in Brazilian, he had co-written the song with Jobim, Astrud delivered her breathy second verse in English. It is a song that everyone knows and one made all the more perfect by her untrained, faltering, delicate vocal.

Astrud-Gilberto-2The album became a massive selling jazz album when it was released in the summer of 1964. It went to No.2 on the best sellers list and with Gilberto’s distinctive uber cool vocal it made her into a star. Verve released a version of ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ shortened to ensure that radio would play it and that made No.5 on the Billboard singles chart and became a hit around the world.

Verve eager to exploit Astrud’s success followed up quickly with Getz Au Go Go by the end of 1964 and while this was nothing like the success of its predecessor it still spent close to a year on the album chart, almost unheard of for a jazz album. It was not all it seemed, as this was a Stan Getz live date recorded in the club in Greenwich Village to which Gilberto added vocals to some of the tracks in the studio, later.

There was no more collaboration after João found out that his wife and Getz were having an affair. Verve did not miss a beat and recorded The Astrud Gilberto Album in early 1965 and it made No.41 on the charts. The follow-up, The Shadow of Your Smile also charted, but that was it as far as chart success was concerned for Gilberto.


She worked with arranger Gil Evans on ‘Look to the Rainbow‘ (1966), her fellow countryman, the arranger and organist Walter Wanderley on A Certain Smile, a Certain Sadness (1966), and arranger Albert Gorgoni on I Haven’t Got Anything Better To Do (1968). Gilberto gradually went out of favour in America, but remained a huge star in Brazil for a decade or so, until her easy-going style, was eclipsed by the higher-octane jazz-fusion and Brazilian pop of a new-breed of stars including Flora Purim, Elis Regina and Gal Costa.

Astrud Gilberto remains a moment in time, a moment when Brazilian music took to the world stage and never left it – largely thanks to Verve and Astrud Gilberto in particular.

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Reply #57 posted 08/27/18 10:01am


Jack Costanzo, Musician Known as Mr. Bongo, Dies at 98

Jack Costanzo, left, with Marlon Brando on the CBS program “Person to Person” in 1955.CreditCreditBettmann/Getty Images

  • Aug. 26, 2018

Jack Costanzo, a Chicagoan of Italian descent who taught himself to play the bongos and, somewhat improbably, became a ubiquitous figure in Afro-Cuban jazz, accompanying singers like Nat King Cole and mingling with Marlon Brando and other Hollywood stars, died on Aug. 18 in Lakeside, Calif., near San Diego. He was 98.

The cause was a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, his wife, Maureen Wilson, said.

Mr. Costanzo, after stints with Stan Kenton, Cole and other prominent artists, became a bandleader himself, recording albums across a half-century, some of them employing his nickname, Mr. Bongo, in the title. He was also a session player on numerous other albums and accompanied performers in television appearances, including Ann Miller during a spunky rendition of “I’m Gonna Live ’Til I Die” on a 1957 episode of “The Dinah Shore Chevy Show.”

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Perhaps his starriest celebrity pairing was with Brando, a drumming aficionado. He was sometimes mistakenly credited with teaching Brando the bongos and conga drums, a claim he was careful to correct whenever he got the chance.

“Everybody thinks I taught Marlon Brando,” he told the music site Herencia Latina. “I never taught Marlon how to play. He knew how to play before I met him.”

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That initial meeting, he said, had occurred when he was appearing with Cole at Carnegie Hall in 1953; Brando, who admired his playing, came to the stage door and asked to meet him. They became friends, jamming “hundreds of times,” Mr. Costanzo said, often at Brando’s house in the Hollywood Hills. There Brando filmed a segment for Edward R. Murrow’s CBS television program “Person to Person,” giving a tour of the home and showing off the Oscar he had won days before for “On the Waterfront.” Two-thirds of the way through the interview, drumming is heard.

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“That’s Jack, I guess,” Brando says, leading the camera into another room where Mr. Costanzo is pounding on conga drums, a set standing idle for Brando.

“I guess we’re now ready to audition a new act: Brando and Costanzo,” Murrow says. “That even rhymes.”

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The two proceed to play together for more than a minute.

Marlon Brando - April 1, 1955CreditCreditVideo by AlainSky

Brando, Mr. Costanzo told The San Diego Union-Tribune 60 years later, “played very well as a nonprofessional musician.”

Jack James Costanzo was born on Sept. 24, 1919, in Chicago to Matteo and Virginia Sances Costanzo, both immigrants from Italy. He grew up in Chicago at a time when dancing — the kind done in hotel ballrooms — was studied and practiced by young people who envisioned making a career out of it. Mr. Costanzo, at 13 or 14, would go to places like the Merry Garden Ballroom, which had a main ballroom and an annex, to work on his steps.

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“The girls came down in long, gorgeous gowns, spaghetti straps,” he recalled in an interview with Whittier College’s “Inside Latin Jazz” series several years ago. “Everybody that was dancing in the annex wanted to be a dancer, and I was one of those persons. And I was dancing with people that were eight, nine years older than I. I was just a young kid. In fact, that’s what they used to call me: ‘the Kid.’ ‘I want to dance with the Kid.’ But nobody kidnapped me.”

During one visit, a band from Puerto Rico was playing.

“The drummer on one song came out in front and played the bongos, and that was the first time I saw a pair of bongos,” he said. “And I went crazy.”

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He wanted to learn the instrument, but there was a problem.

“There was nowhere to buy them,” he said. “You couldn’t buy bongos anywhere in Chicago.”

So he made a set out of butter tubs. Mr. Costanzo, though, had not yet abandoned his aspiration to be a dancer; for a time he and his first wife, Mary Margaret Myers, whom he married in 1940, were a professional dance team known as Costanzo & Marda. (They divorced in 1959.)

Mr. Costanzo on bongos with the pianist and singer Nat King Cole in about 1950. The guitarist is Irving Ashby and the bassist is Joe Comfort.CreditMichael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Mr. Costanzo joined the Navy in 1942 and was discharged in 1945 on the West Coast, so he stayed there, teaching dance for three months at the Beverly Hills Hotel before the bandleader Bobby Ramos, who had heard him play at a jam session, offered him a job in 1946. As Mr. Costanzo described it, it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time: Mr. Ramos wanted a bongo player for an engagement at the Trocadero nightclub, and there were no others around.

“It was either me or not having bongos,” Mr. Costanzo said.

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In 1947 he joined Stan Kenton’s orchestra, raising his profile considerably, and by 1949 he was playing with Cole, who, after adding him, changed the name of his act from the Nat King Cole Trio to Nat King Cole and His Trio to reflect the fourth member. He stayed with Cole for more than four years.

Mr. Costanzo, his nickname notwithstanding, was also adept on the larger conga drums. “Bongos are the salt and pepper of the rhythm section,” he once explained, whereas congas were more substantive.

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Mr. Costanzo acknowledged that he was sometimes snubbed by Latin percussionists who resented that he was playing “their” music.

“They were not happy that Kenton hired me,” he said. “They were not happy that Nat King Cole hired me.”

They wouldn’t teach him beats or otherwise help him learn.

“If I would have not been a natural drummer,” he said, “it would have been impossible.”

Mr. Costanzo was popular in Hollywood, giving lessons to actors like Gary Cooper and Rita Moreno, sometimes so that they could pass as bongo players in movies. He was in movies himself, including the 1965 Elvis Presley vehicle “Harum Scarum.”

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His albums in the 1950s included “Mr. Bongo Plays Hi-Fi Cha Cha” and “Latin Fever.” He often performed and recorded with his third wife, the vocalist Gerrie Woo. (They divorced in 1977.)

In his 80s he enjoyed something of a comeback, releasing “Back From Havana” in 2001 and “Scorching the Skins” in 2002, as well as touring. He was still playing in his 90s.

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“He put the bongos on the map and is the bridge between Latin jazz and jazz,” the trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos told The Union-Tribune in 2015, when Mr. Costanzo was preparing to play at a local club. “The fact that he’s 96 and still doing it is unbelievable.”

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Mr. Costanzo’s second marriage, to Jodi DeMelikoff, ended in divorce in 1966. In addition to his wife, whom he married in 2009 after many years together, he is survived by three daughters, Jill Costanzo, Valerie Woo Costanzo and CeCe Costanzo; a son, Jack James Costanzo Jr.; a stepdaughter, Stacy Coulter; a stepson, Tod Wilson; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

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Mr. Costanzo once told the story of being hired by the director Frank Capra to teach the bongos to Carolyn Jones, an actress later known as Morticia in the television series “The Addams Family,” for a part she was playing in the 1959 Frank Sinatra film “A Hole in the Head.”

“I gave her eight lessons, and the talk circuit in Hollywood was that Frank Capra, everywhere he went, said, ‘I’m paying this Italian bongo player a thousand dollars to give Carolyn Jones eight lessons!’ He couldn’t stand it.”

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“I saw the movie, by the way,” Mr. Costanzo added. “She did about three seconds on the bongos.”

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Reply #58 posted 08/31/18 6:57am


Aretha Franklin Fans Pay Their Last Respects; Memorial to Stream Live on Bounce TV

By Singersroom|August 29th, 2018|Categories: News, R&B News|Tags: aretha franklin, featured|0 Comments

On Tuesday, a four-day celebration for the life and career of Queen of Soul Aretha Franklinkicked off in Detroit, Michigan.

Fans from near and far lined the sidewalks surrounding the Charles H. Wright African American Museum, where Aretha’s body will lie in repose for two days, ahead of a memorial and funeral in the city she called home.

Visitors paid their final respects to Aretha, who laid in a gold-plated coffin, dressed in a ruby red gown with matching shoes.

Officials at the local Swanson Funeral Home helped to organize Aretha’s farewell services, and the company’s executive vice president, Linda Swanson, reveals they have worked closely with the singer’s family for years as the generous musician would often cover the burial costs for families in need without any publicity.

“(It was) usually in full without being asked or prompted to do so,” Swanson told The Associated Press.

Franklin’s body will be moved to the New Bethel Baptist Church, where her father was once the pastor, for a private visitation on Thursday, ahead of an all-star memorial concert at Chene Park Amphitheater, featuring her friend Gladys Knight, The Four Tops, and Angie Stone.

Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Chaka Khan, Ronald Isley, Yolanda Adams, Shirley Caesar, The Clark Sisters and Marvin Sapp are among the 19 artists scheduled to perform at the family-and-friends-only service. Smokey Robinson, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Former President Bill Clinton will be among the high-profile speakers.

The Bounce television network and the Brown Sugar streaming service have teamed up to carry Franklin’s farewell memorial service live on Friday, Aug. 31. Bounce and Brown Sugar will partner with Bounce’s local Detroit affiliate, WXYZ-TV, for the special event, airing and streaming WXYZ’s hometown coverage and commentary nationwide.

“Celebrating the Queen of Soul” will begin at 9:00 a.m. ET. WXYZ news anchors and longtime friends of Franklin, Carolyn Clifford and Glenda Lewis, will host the hour-long event. The special will include highlights and remembrances of the legendary singer’s career interspersed with live reports from outside Greater Grace Temple as celebrities, politicians, friends and loved ones arrive to pay their respects. The memorial service is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Aretha’s funeral will take place on Friday at the Greater Grace Temple.

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Reply #59 posted 08/31/18 8:23am


Unreleased Jazz Treasures Are Arriving: Here’s a Guide

A previously “lost” 1963 recording featuring McCoy Tyner and John Coltrane was released this year.CreditCreditJoe Alper

  • Aug. 29, 2018

There’s never a shortage of old jazz albums being repackaged, or previously unknown recordings finding the light of day. But this year, a particularly impressive trickle of unreleased music from jazz’s halcyon midcentury has emerged for the first time. We already took a look at notable reissues. Here’s a guide to the historic recordings that have arrived so far.

‘The Savory Collection 1935-1940’

(6 CDs) (Mosaic)


Here is a kind of swing-era Holy Grail — perhaps the most exciting single collection jazz fans have ever seen. William Savory would eventually become a groundbreaking audio engineer, but first he was a teenage music fanatic, using new technology to bootleg radio broadcasts of his favorite jazz musicians straight to shellac disks. It was not until after his death in 2004 that the extent of this collection became known, when the National Jazz Museum in Harlem bought the nearly 1,000 discs he had amassed in the 1930s and into 1940, featuring Coleman Hawkins, Count Basie, Mildred Bailey and Benny Goodman. The museum has been releasing material from it periodically on Apple Music in digital-only albums. But now we have a complete boxed set, with more than 100 songs across six CDs.

Sitting with “The Savory Collection,” you start to feel the hum and seduction of listening to jazz radio in the days before you could choose to put on a record or queue up a streaming service. And what comes bursting from the speakers will grab you: a lengthy, live version of Hawkins’s classic “Body and Soul,” performed at the Fiesta Danceteria in Manhattan; the prattling, overpowering drumming of Chick Webb, electrifying the CBS studios as if they were a dance hall; and two full discs of Count Basie’s orchestra in its prime, including a showstopping appearance at the Carnival of Swing in 1938.

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Miles Davis and John Coltrane, ‘The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6’

(4 CDs) (Columbia/Legacy)


This is the first time that Columbia has released any official recordings from Miles Davis’s 1960 European tour, though there have been recordings floating around for decades. This tour was an epochal moment in jazz, seeming to indicate two separate paths for the music’s future. Davis had established a tight-knit band, and was enjoying the warm reception to “Kind of Blue,” which would go on to become the best-selling album in jazz history. But Coltrane was shoving off in a different direction, ripping his technique apart and seeking a new kind of transcendence. On these tapes, as he splits tones and repeats gusty, arrhythmic phrases, you hear the audiences in Paris and Stockholm react with bemusement — and sometimes shouts, whistles and boos.

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Grant Green, ‘Funk in France: From Paris to Antibes (1969-1970)’ and ‘Slick! — Live at Oil Can Harry’s’

(2 CDs and 3 LPs; 1 CD and 2 LPs) (Resonance)


Grant Green was not the most innovative jazz guitarist of the 20th century, but he might be the most heavily sampled. His chunky, caustic sound was never far removed from the blues of his St. Louis upbringing, and when jazz-funk fusion became the order of the day in the early 1970s, he was ready for it. Two new releases from Resonance Records throw light on his transition into the style. The best moments come on Disc 2 of “Funk in France,” with Green leading an organ quartet at the Antibes Jazz Festival. The combo hadn’t sunk into the kind of swaggering rapport that would define his best live recordings from this period (“Alive!” from 1970, and “Live at the Lighthouse,” from 1972, both released on Blue Note), but these new albums are charged with fresh energy and a sense of rooted exploration.

John Coltrane, ‘Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album’

(1 CD and 1 LP; or a deluxe edition, 2 CDs and 2 LPs) (Impulse!)


Coltrane’s career was soaring by March 1963 — so much so that studio sessions with his quartet were often dominated by new concepts and collaborations. But on this session, recorded in the midst of a run at Birdland in New York, the band was working in its own lingua franca, basically playing a version of its live set. Even more than on the album “Coltrane” from a year before, we can feel how closely connected these musicians (McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones) had become, and how combustive those live moments must have been. This album features seven different tunes, including three Coltrane never again recorded in the studio, and the deluxe edition includes seven alternate takes.

Dexter Gordon, ‘Tokyo 1975’
Woody Shaw, ‘Tokyo 1981’


(1 CD each) (Elemental Music)


These live recordings, released simultaneously this summer, provide glimpses of two modern masters leading longstanding groups. By 1975 the bebop tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon had spent a dozen years in Europe and was leading the house quartet at Copenhagen’s Jazzhus Montmartre. His band there included the American pianist Kenny Drew and the Danish bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen; on “Tokyo 1975” he pulls them into a surging, swinging flow that sometimes calls to mind the funneled energy of his classic 1963 recording, “Our Man in Paris.”

Woody Shaw, a close friend of Gordon’s, was an uncommonly crisp and shapely trumpet player, as well as an underrated composer. He’s caught in this 1981 concert playing standards and originals — including a 10-plus-minute take on “Rosewood,” his magnum opus — with a fabulous quintet that features the trombonist Steve Turre and the pianist Mulgrew Miller, both of whom were soon to become jazz A-listers.

Queeneth Ndaba, Champion of South African Jazz, Dies at 81

Queeneth Ndaba in an undated photo. In the face of apartheid, she worked to keep Johannesburg’s most influential home of art and culture alive.CreditCreditLucky Nxumalo

  • Aug. 27, 2018

Queeneth Ndaba, a South African jazz advocate who managed Johannesburg’s most influential home of art and culture during the darkest days of apartheid, died on Aug. 15 at a hospital in Boksburg. She was 81.

The journalist Bongani Mahlangu, a friend of Ms. Ndaba’s family, confirmed the death but did not give a cause.

Ms. Ndaba began her career as a singer, but after illness forced her to give that up she found that she had a particular talent for organizing. In the early 1970s she began to help with booking bands and handling logistics at the arts center, called Dorkay House, and she eventually became its chief proprietor and defender.

By that time, the South African government had expelled black Africans from their homes in the Johannesburg city center, forcing them into townships outside the city. Dorkay House, on the outskirts of downtown, was struggling to survive.

“She was the only person with the vision and grit to try and get it going again after years of local government neglect,” Gwen Ansell, a South African jazz critic and historian, said in an email.

In addition to helping manage the arts center’s operations, Ms. Ndaba invested heavily in the music that she staged. In 1982 she helped form the African Jazz Pioneers, a group of elder musicians who covered a wide range of midcentury music, mostly marabi and kwela, which had been popular styles fusing Zulu tradition with influences from around South Africa and North America.

The Pioneers — led by the saxophonist Ntemi Piliso and also featuring Ms. Ndaba’s husband, the saxophonist Timothy Ndaba — developed an international reputation thanks in part to Ms. Ndaba’s work as a booking agent and promoter. The band became inactive after Mr. Piliso’s death in 2000.

“I would like to keep the legacy of those who influenced our legends,” Ms. Ndaba told the South African journalist Lucille Davie of The Heritage Portal in 2006. “This is my wish.”

She first worked at Dorkay House in 1967, serving as a costume designer and seamstress for a play being presented there. (She later ran her own fashion design business, with a focus on traditional clothing.) Its four-story building was then the nucleus of the city’s artistic world, hosting lessons, rehearsals and performances.

Dorkay House was founded in the mid-1950s by the Union of South African Artists, a group dedicated to supporting black performers. It was where the pianist Todd Matshikiza composed “King Kong,” the wildly successful South African musical that toured globally. Some of the jam sessions and performances that gave rise to South African jazz took place there, with figures like the trumpeter Hugh Masekela and the trombonist Jonas Gwangwa treating it as a home away from home.

Mr. Masekela wrote in his autobiography, “Still Grazing” (2004), that Dorkay House “was the only creative enclave at that time for African musicians, artists, poets, actors and singers.”

For Ms. Ndaba, keeping the venue open in the face of financial struggles required pluck and ambitious thinking. In the 1970s she lured Dolly Rathebe, South Africa’s first black international pop star, out of retirement to play a benefit show. She also organized a variety of other ensembles, including the New Manhattan Brothers, dedicated to the repertoire of a famous vocal group that disbanded in the 1950s. In 1989 she founded the Dorkay House Trust, dedicated to preserving the building’s history.

Queeneth Maria Nkosi, one of eight children, was born on Dec. 5, 1936, in Orlando East, a township outside Johannesburg. Her parents were both amateur singers, and she took to singing at a young age, starting a vocal group called the Hometown Kids while in grade school.

Throat cancer forced her to give up singing early in life. She later took up the saxophone but rarely played professionally.

Ms. Ndaba is survived by two daughters, Matlakala and Mpande; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Another daughter, Gay, died before her. Her husband died in 2001.

Inge Borkh, Opera Diva of Passionate Portrayals, Dies at 97

The German soprano Inge Borkh made her debut at the Royal Opera House in London in 1959 as the title character of Strauss’s “Salome,” one of her signature roles.CreditCreditV. Wright/Central Press/Hulton Archive, via Getty Images

  • Aug. 28, 2018

Inge Borkh, a soprano who inhabited with thrilling intensity some of the most hair-raising and daunting roles in the operatic repertoire, died on Sunday at her home in Stuttgart, Germany. She was 97.

Her death was confirmed by Thomas Voigt, a friend and her collaborator on a 2006 book of interviews, “Not Only Salome and Elektra.”

Image result for Inge Borkh

Those two fiendishly difficult characters, in operas of the same names by Richard Strauss, were the ones for which Ms. Borkh was most renowned. “I can honestly say that I have never been so shaken by an individual performance in my entire operatic life,” Ken Benson, a longtime manager of singers, wrote on Facebook of her star turn in “Elektra” at the Metropolitan Opera in 1961.

Her passionate portrayals emerged through solid technique and secure, if fiery, tone. Howard Taubman, reviewing her in concert as Elektra at Carnegie Hall in 1958, wrote in The New York Times that she sang “with unremitting authority,” adding, “The word ‘sang’ is not used by courtesy, as it often has to be with Elektras.” (The role is so arduous that many sopranos practically scream through much of it.)

Image result for Inge Borkh

Ingeborg Simon was born on May 26, 1921, in Mannheim, Germany. Her father was Jewish, and the family fled Germany in 1935, after the rise of the Nazis, settling first in Geneva and then in Vienna.

Though her mother’s side of the family was dotted with singers, she began her education as an actress. After the Anschluss, in 1938, she returned to Switzerland, where she encountered the bass Fritz Ollendorff, who recommended she develop her singing voice. She studied in Milan, and made her debut in 1940 in Lucerne, Switzerland, adopting Inge Borkh as her stage name.

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Spending the 1940s in Switzerland, she swiftly moved from lighter lyrical roles to heavier ones in operas by Wagner (Senta in “Der Fliegende Holländer”), Puccini (Tosca and Turandot) and Verdi (Leonora in “Il Trovatore” and “La Forza del Destino”), as well as the formidable Strauss antiheroines who became her calling cards.

In 1951, Ms. Borkh caused a sensation when she appeared in Berlin as Magda Sorel in Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera “The Consul,” just a year after its debut. She “not only emerged with top honors for a brilliant performance,” Kathleen McLaughlin wrote in The Times, “but also experienced that rarest of tributes for an actress by ‘stopping the show.’”

Image result for Inge Borkh

“The reaction of the audience,” Ms. McLaughlin added, “was an ovation of shouts, stamping and hand-clapping that lasted for several minutes.”

That success put Ms. Borkh on the international map, leading to debuts as far afield as London, New York and San Francisco, though her career remained focused on Continental Europe. She made few commercial recordings, but when her live performances were captured on disc they frequently became cult favorites — none more so than a delirious 1957 “Elektra” at the Salzburg Festival in Austria led by Dimitri Mitropoulos, who also conducted her Met debut, as Salome, the next year. She went on to appear at the Met as Sieglinde in Wagner’s “Die Walküre,” the Dyer’s Wife in Strauss’s “Die Frau ohne Schatten” and Leonore in Beethoven’s “Fidelio.”

Ms. Borkh was married to the bass-baritone Alexander Welitsch, who died in 1991. According to Mr. Voigt, she is survived by a stepson.

Image result for Inge Borkh

She retired from opera after a run of “Elektra” in Palermo, Italy, in 1973, but continued to appear onstage as a monologuist and as a suave, witty cabaret artist; a memorable recording was made of her cabaret show, “Inge Borkh Sings Her Memoirs.”

In 1996, she published an autobiography, “Ich Komm’ vom Theater Nicht Los … ” (“I Can’t Shake the Theater … ”). Mr. Voigt said that her final trip, earlier this month, was to the Salzburg Festival — to see a much-discussednew production of “Salome.”


DJ Ready Red (Twitter)

DJ Ready Red (Twitter)

*The Geto Boys are mourning the loss of an original family member. DJ Ready Red, an early DJ and producer for the Houston-based rap trio, has died after suffering an apparent heart attack. He was 53.

Red (born Collins Leysath) passed away Friday (Aug. 24), according to the Geto Boys’ Willie D, who shared the sad news via Instagram.

“He gave us our sound,” Willie D said of Red, whom he called “the Musical Enforcer” and said was “responsible for most of the production of our early stuff and all of the sound on my first album, Controversy.”

“To say that he was a pioneer would be an understatement. Red was before his time,” added Willie D.

Image result for We Canât Be Stopped

In 1986, Red became the first DJ and producer for the the Geto Boys, then know as the Ghetto Boys. He left the group in 1991 when they were recording their breakout album “We Can’t Be Stopped.” As Willie D pointed out, he also produced the rapper’s first solo album, released in 1989.

View image on Twitter

#RIP Collins Leysath pka DJ Ready Red (1965-2018). Red, who was the Geto Boys’ first DJ and producer, died of an apparent heart attack on Friday. Funeral arrangements are pending.

The Geto Boys’ Twitter account says funeral arrangements are pending.

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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > New Musica Releases, Sales + News/Tours Info 2018 Parte 3