June 19, 2016
It's Too Late to Stop Now . . . Volumes II, III, IV & DVD (Legacy ***1/2) Like snowflakes, or the free-wheelin' jazz horn players he vocally emulates, no two Van Morrison concert performances are exactly alike. Reason this newly unearthed, four-disc collection of 1973 shows at the Troubadour in L.A., the Santa Monica Civic Center, and London's Rainbow Theatre - all with the roaring lion bouncing off the walloping 11-piece, horn- and string-rich Caledonia Soul Orchestra - are such a joy. Even multiple renderings of "Brown Eyed Girl," "Caravan," "Domino," and "Cypress Avenue" don't wear out their welcome.
July 1, 2016
Mack Rice, 82, the composer of '60s hit "Mustang Sally" and cowriter of the Staple Singers' landmark "Respect Yourself," died Monday of complications from Alzheimer's disease at his home in Detroit. "Sir" Mack Rice was best known for writing "Mustang Sally," which he initially recorded but singer Wilson Pickett popularized. They had been in a group together called the Falcons, which recorded in Detroit. "When he wrote 'Mustang Sally' and he saw that royalty check, he started writing," his wife, Laura Rice, said.
May 13, 2011
Ben Sollee Ben Sollee has a quietly tuneful voice similar to Paul Simon's conversational pitter-patter. (Sollee and Simon also share a love for the complexity of interpersonal, character-driven, relationship-challenged lyrics.) The Lexington, Ky., native is a studio-session cellist with solid classical leanings who has toured with the worldly folkies of Sparrow Quartet (Abigail Washburn and Béla Fleck). And since 2008's Learning to Bend, his solo efforts have grown more richly burnished, varied, and delightful.
August 12, 2008
Isaac Hayes, who died Sunday at age 65, was a pivotal figure in American popular music, film, fashion and TV. Composer, singer, multi-instrumentalist, he helped spawn soul, funk, hip-hop and rap. His life and career are studies in homemade American art. Born in Covington, Tenn., Hayes picked cotton as a boy, was raised on his grandparents' sharecropping farm, and learned to play keyboards, trumpet and woodwinds. He also largely taught himself to read music, leading to his career (not enough credited)
February 26, 2013
Cleotha Staples, 78, the eldest sibling in the influential gospel group the Staple Singers, died Thursday at her Chicago home after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for a decade, said family friend and music publicist Bill Carpenter. The family's music career had its roots with Roebuck "Pops" Staples, a manual laborer who strummed a $10 guitar while teaching his children gospel songs to keep them entertained. They sang in church one Sunday morning in 1948, and the response convinced Pops that music was in the family's future.
August 14, 2005 |
You're so cool, in an old-school kind of way. - "You Make Me Dig," sung by Bobby Purify Shemekia Copeland has had it with bland, corporate radio. "I want passion, I want feeling," the 26-year-old powerhouse demands in "Who Stole My Radio?," one of the many standout tracks on her scorching new album. Copeland may be too raw for big airplay herself. But she and the other artists here offer undeniable proof that old-school deep soul can be as vital as ever, and it's out there for anyone who's put off by what passes for "R&B" these days.
August 1, 2015 |
When she was growing up, Amy Black spent a lot of time in the Muscle Shoals, Ala., area. "I went to visit my grandparents there constantly," the Missouri native recalls from her new home in Nashville. "I just have a ton of memories, really good memories, from my times down there. " Despite all those visits to northern Alabama - she also lived there for two years before her family moved to Boston when she was 15 - Black had little knowledge of Muscle Shoals' rich musical history. Now, as a late-blooming singer-songwriter with an appealing Bonnie-Raitt-meets-Mary-Chapin-Carpenter style, the 43-year-old Black is extending the legacy with her new album, The Muscle Shoals Sessions . Recorded at the FAME studios and featuring keyboardist Spooner Oldham, a longtime stalwart of the scene, the album finds Black offering terrific versions of some of the vintage soul and R&B numbers recorded in Muscle Shoals, such as Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On" and Mel and Tim's "Starting All Over Again," as well as Bob Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody," the Black Keys' "Tighten Up," and the old spiritual "You Gotta Move," inspired by the Rolling Stones version on Sticky Fingers . "It's so amazing to me that the Rolling Stones came to Sheffield, Alabama, and recorded music right across from where my whole family is buried," Black says.
December 14, 2007 |
More than a decade after her first recordings, 51-year-old soul queen Sharon Jones is enjoying a long-overdue moment in the sun. The Augusta, Ga., native and avowed James Brown disciple celebrated the October release of her new album, 100 Days, 100 Nights, with her own live at the Apollo gig, jammed with Booker T. & the MG's, and backed up Lou Reed's live replication of his legendary album, Berlin. Still to come is a role in Denzel Washington's The Great Debaters, as a 1930s juke-joint singer belting out Bessie Smith songs.
October 17, 2008 |
In 2001, years before Amy Winehouse and Duffy marched out their versions of blue-eyed soul, Nikka Costa did it harder, louder and with the spirit of psychedelic funk masters from Sly Stone to Teena Marie. No stranger to the limelight, the daughter of the late arranger Don Costa had a long and successful singing career doing grand pop ballads in Europe. But when Costa found the funk, she found it fast and made it freaky. Everybody Got Their Something (2001) and can'tneverdidnothin' (2005)
June 27, 2002 |
Local avant-jazz group Sonic Liberation Front leaves its usual home at Tritone for North By Northwest (10 p.m. tomorrow, 7165 Germantown Ave., 215-248-1000). Sitting in will be Sun Ra Arkestra's Tyrone Hill and Noel Scott, as well as bassist Jymie Merritt (John Coltrane, B.B. King, Art Blakey). All-ages-all-the-time R5 Productions hosts a punk/hardcore show featuring From Autumn to Ashes, Trial by Fire, Glasseater, the Minor Times (7 p.m. tomorrow, 3914 Spruce St., 215-629-0614, www.r5productions.