December 13, 2006 |
Be thankful, this holiday season, that the new, agreeable Sam Cooke: Forever Mr. Soul is so much smarter than recently opened jukebox musicals. It has a fluid narrative, without hammering you over the head about its subject. It never throbs with phony tension, an embarrassing hallmark of one-man explorations. In this show - conceived, written and directed by Kevin Ramsey - you learn a lot about Sam Cooke, the father of soul and a pioneer for black music artists, without always hearing that he was a legend, a marvel, a hero, a god. The downside: You also get a modest production, far too modest to work at the level Forever Mr. Soul demands and deserves.
September 18, 1992 |
1. Former home of Douglass "Jocko" Henderson, Emlen Street near Lincoln Drive, Germantown. One night in 1957, the legendary disc jockey was awakened by the doorbell. It was Sam Cooke, a 22-year-old gospel singer, and his manager, Bumps Blackwell, pushing Cooke's new single, "You Send Me. " As a result of the encounter, Henderson played the record and put Cooke on a show at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Cooke soon had his first secular hit. 2. Lincoln Drive near Rittenhouse Street, Germantown.
April 3, 1991 |
A graveside ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. today for Benjamin Alten, former owner of the legendary Club Harlem in Atlantic City. Alten, 82, who died Monday, was a lifelong resident of Atlantic City. "My father was a blue-collar guy, a white Jewish businessman running a black nightclub who was totally colorblind. He could talk to people of all races and persuasions, all on an equal level" recalled his son, Steven. Alten, with his black partner, Pop Williams, operated the club patrons called "the Times Square of Atlantic City" for 36 years, booking almost exclusively black acts, even though its audience always was racially balanced betweeen ebony and ivory.
July 19, 2004 |
Throwback soul stylist Van Hunt took his time getting started Thursday at North by Northwest. But once Hunt and his four-piece band finally crowded onto the small stage (about 45 minutes late), the Atlanta-based artist wasted no time tapping into musical roots that went deeper than the requisite Stevie-Marvin-Prince course work taught at soul's new school. He did so while drawing heavily from his superb eponymous debut, and peppering his 75-minute set with covers and quotations that suggest a record collection of serious depth.
April 6, 1988 |
Last night at the Tower Theater, the audience was treated to the spectacle of a man-child on the threshhold of pop's promised land. Terence Trent D'Arby, widely hailed as the next big thing, was making his first area appearance. With his baby dreadlocks flying, the doe-eyed soul singer provided ample confirmation of why he is one of the most celebrated vocalists to come along this decade. Supple and moving, the voice of this American expatriate is the genuine article, directly on the narrowing continuum from Sam Cooke to Stevie Wonder to Michael Jackson.
March 10, 2003 |
Hall and Oates threw a festive stone soul picnic at the Tower Theater on Saturday night. And they provisioned it with the most surprising ingredients. The opening number was "Family Man," an obscure song from 1982's H2O LP. It was a clear indication that this performance wasn't going to be a standard salvo of the Philly-bred duo's greatest hits. Instead, they hopscotched through their legacy, setting out a garage sale of B-sides and forgotten tunes. If nothing else, the unusual set showcased the enormous range and variety of their catalog, from the Mink DeVille-like tango of "How Does It Feel to Be Back" from 1980's Voices to the Stylistics' soul of "Starting All Over Again" from 1990's Change of Season.
November 27, 1994 |
Old rythym-and-blues is a hot new commodity. Many major pop and country acts have been acknowledged with elaborate compact-disc box sets, but it has taken longer for some important R&B performers to get their due. That's changing, and now you can easily find a remarkable range of long-unavailable material by '50s and '60s R&B artists. The sound of those senior singers seeps through in the blend of smooth harmonies and sweet lyrics from contemporary groups such as Philadelphia's Boyz II Men. Also recalling the golden days of R&B, when black music was a major factor on the pop charts, is All 4 One, which went to No. 1 last year with "So Much in Love," an update of the Tymes' classic 1963 hit. While the newcomers mine that deep and varied musical vein, it's easier than ever to find the real thing.
June 13, 2008 |
With his white suit, untied bow tie, and sliding dance moves, Jamie Lidell played the part of a blue-eyed soul singer at a late show - made later by a delayed start and an incongruous opening set by the Liz Phair-like Jennifer O'Connor - at World Cafe Live on Wednesday night (and into Thursday morning). He sang the part, too, starting with the hand-clapping, toe-tapping, sax-honking burst of joy that is "Another Day. " The tall, thin Lidell slid his appealing tenor voice around the beat, adding judicious interjections and slurs, reveling in the melody's piano-driven gospel thump.
November 17, 2008 |
At Center City's Pinnacle Lounge on Friday night, six-time Grammy nominee Anthony Hamilton took fans to church in traditional Southern style on the sixth stop of his "Playin' It Cool" tour. Hitting the small stage more than an hour late with his five-piece band in tow, along with two background singers, the North Carolina native jumped right into his 14-song set with "I Feel like Fallin' in Love," a new track from his soon-to-be-released third collection, The Point of It All. Throughout the evening, Hamilton sandwiched gospel-tinged performances among both old and new songs and styles.
July 9, 1994
For once, Rolling Stone got something right. Marion Williams was the greatest singer of all. And Rolling Stone said exactly that. It was her deep religious faith that kept her in gospel music throughout her long musical career. She sang praise to the Lord and that was quite enough. She was never tempted to go into more lucrative secular music and be a star like, say, Sam Cooke. That was a blessing to all lovers of gospel, this country's greatest music for real people.