A Little Bit of Soul

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A Little Bit of Soul

Postby Seppuku on Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:51 pm

I've got The Four Tops playing at the moment, and they got me to thinking: Where the Soul at in The Zone?

(Warning: from this point onwards I will be speaking/typing in a faux-seventies preacher-man prose; I know there are those of you out there with heart problems and other such isshas you're dealing with, and this is the last thing you want to read- I'm just given ya a head's up).

THE PREACHER-MAN SPEAKS
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I know there are some of y'all out there who slump down on your computer desks when you get back from work/higher education/unemployed-enlightenment and roll some Metallica on your stereo. Metallica or Minor Threat or The Misfits...I ain't sho what it is you kids are catching tinitus too nowadays. Well I'm here to tell you there's somethin' else out there for yo' ears, somethin wit' Soul.

I know there are some of you folks who think that they gon' impress the sistas with the sleek sounds of Alicia Keyes, R Kelly or Seal (sorry Bluebottle). Damn, if the girl's worth her weight in salt you know that she's gonna melt like butter the moment that the silky slip-side sounds of Marvin Gaye drift into that fox's ears. The thing that unites the brethren Gaye, Al Green, Smokey Robinson, and the sistas Martha Reeves, Shirelles and Minnie Riperton, is Soul.

I know that some of y'all think that by blarin' the hippity hop through yo' 'lac's stereo you're gon' impress the casual passer-bys with your bass and your drums and your what have yous. Well my brothers, there's somethin else you can spin on that ol' portable record playa thingamajig in the car of yours, somethin' wit' Soul. Instead'a yo' Notorious H.U.G.Es and your BIG BEARS and your Sixpacs and what-nots, stray the way of those musical mainstays, those cats who will neva die; I'm talkin' Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, The Platters, The Temptations and The Ink-Spots.

So, Brothas and Sistas, I know ya got it in you, just show me, show us all that it's there. Do YOU got Soul?
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:02 pm

Can I get a the "Amen" from a the goddamn choir, eh??
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Postby havocSchultz on Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:22 pm

DinoDeLaurentiis wrote:Can I get a the "Amen" from a the goddamn choir, eh??


amenilash...
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Postby The Garbage Man on Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:19 pm

Lord-a-mercy, I BUH-lieve!
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Postby Seppuku on Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:30 pm

Well we have three young convertees, all the way from Canada to Wowtown to obscure Greek Islands, but that ain't good enough, we need more.

Tell me what soul singers have touched you...have you ever successfully managed to sway a young woman by playing Marvin Gaye's Let's Get it On or I Want You in the background? Do you think that R&B is on its last legs, can you suggest any ways of kick-starting it back into action? What do you think of all these come-back records that we've been getting recently from the likes of Aretha, Smokey and Al Green? Speak to me brothers and sisters.
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Postby Bob Samonkey on Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:08 pm

First date we listened to Al green and now she is my wife. I belive.

Oh and Otis and Ray Charles rocks.
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Postby The Garbage Man on Tue Jan 17, 2006 1:19 am

Personally I'm a big fan of Smokey Robinson, Barry White, Billie Holiday, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and Sam Cooke. Nat King Cole has long been my all-time favorite singer.

While quality R&B seems to have waned a bit lately, with new talent like Joss Stone and John Legend I think it still has a future.
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Postby St. Alphonzo on Tue Jan 17, 2006 1:51 am

There are two great collections of music, without which I would be miserable:

The Atlantic Rhythm & Blues Box set (featuring Sam & Dave, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Joe Tex, Solomon Burke, etc.).

And Hitsville U.S.A., The Motown Singles collection.

Soul and R&B from the '50s, '60s and early '70s is the greatest music ever produced.

In answer to whether quality R&B is dead: In 2002, Solomon Burke, one of the greatest soul talents of all time, put out one of the best albums of the last ten years "Don't Give Up On Me". The title song alone is worth your ten bucks.

Can you imagine where music would be now if Sam Cooke and Otis Redding had lived to a ripe old age?
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Postby DrillerKiller on Tue Jan 17, 2006 6:32 am

Yeah, amongst my prog, rock, jazz, blues, punk and metal collection there's more than a smattering of some classy soul, my favourite of which is the triple cd Blaxploitation collection, which has all the best tunes from Coffy, Shaft, They call me Mr. Tibbs, Superfly, Badaaaaaassss, Black Caesar etc. It's funkalicious. Got exposed to alot of stuff I wouldn't have heard otherwise, like Herbie Hancock (Wiggle Waggle kicks ass) and Roy Ayers.

My favourite soul singer is Al Green, probably because 'Can't get next to you babe' was the first song I ever got anywhere to (love the way soul turns women into butter), but his back catalogue is deadly, we do 'Take me to the river' in our band (albeit in more of a Commitments style). Other than that, I listen to Otis Redding ('sitting on the dock of the bay' is one of the best songs of all time), Curtis Mayfield, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye and James Brown (would Van the Man Morrison fall into this category?) whenever the mood takes me.

In the end I'm more of a funkhead though, Parliament, Funkadelic, Joe Tex, Sly and the Family Stone etc. I was raised on that stuff (thanks to my 3 sisters), which is pretty strange for an Irish household, but I'm fucking grateful I wasn't stuck with that sciddley-i-de-i stuff like my friends.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:13 pm

how 'bout some forgotten ones...

    the Barkays

    Booker T. and the MG's

    Isaac Hayes

    James fuckin' Brown

    Rufus Thomas

    "Wicked" Wilson Pickett (R.I.P.)

    Odetta

    Bill Withers


You want a good soul compilation, pick up DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist's Brain Freeze Breaks. You'll hear many a slept on, shoulda been classic soul/R&B artists.

edit: AMEN!!
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Postby Vegeta on Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:23 pm

AMEN, brothers!!!!

Gotta show my love for:

Rev. Al Green
Marvin Gaye
Smokey Robinson
Sam and Dave
The Coasters
The Delfonics

Lordy, Lordy, Lord!
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Postby Seppuku on Tue Jan 17, 2006 4:57 pm

All great suggestions. Where would music be without Isaac Hayes' revolutionary Hot Buttered Soul? Some people would say his takes on Walk on By and By The Time I Get to Phoenix were a little long-winded...I am not one of these people. You've just got to be in just the right mood. My personal fave from Black Moses is Good Love, though there are tons more classics to pick from in his back-catalogue: Rolling Down a Mountainside, The Look of Love, Joy and the one that Public Enemy later sampled in Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos (I think the title goes something like hyperbolicsyllabicesque-).

And damn what about Mr. Clinton, Booty Collins and their crazy cacophany! They gave Hendrix a run for his money for best guitar solo ever in the beautiful cut Maggot Brain, and have made some of the tightest, loosest tracks ever. And if you don't think there was a difference between Funkadelic and Parliament you just dont think. Funkadelic were the in-the-club (on the UFO) partyers, and Parliament were the gettin' high with the aliens afterwards band. Tracks like One Nation Under a Groove, Mothership Connection and Not Just Knee Deep (which De La Soul sampled, stole and shoplifted for their track Me, Myself and I). I think we should all hail George Clinton for going to the places that we're all afraid to visit.

Sly and the Family Stone were one hell of a band. If you haven't heard the albums Stand, There's a Riot Goin' On and Fresh, you really should. They contain some of the low-down dirtiest sounds you'll ever hear this side of a Sepultura album. Sly liked to mix his sounds up, he even went so far as to throw in some yodelling in Spaced Cowboy. My all-time favourite song of theirs though has to be Don't Call Me Nig-er Whitey (Don't Call me Whitey, Nig-er), not only does it peg the meaninglessness of race hate with just its title, but it's the funkiest song you'll ever hear. Pity someone introduced Mr Stone to the white stuff, but if they hadn't we wouldn't have had Riot and Fresh, so I guess there have been worse tragedies in the world.

Solomon Burke was one hell of a soul singer. He could belt those numbers out as if the lord was camping out in his voicebox. Cry to Me, Send me Some Lovin' and the speaker-busting Home in Your Heart are some of my favourites.

Special props must go out to Curtis Mayfield for his first two luscious lps, Curtis Mayfield and Superfly; Bloodstone (for some amazing songs like Natural High, Wasted Time and Outside Love), Delfonics (La La Means I Love You, Think it Over and Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time), the whole Motown and Stax back-catalogue, Wilson Picket, The Coasters and The Drifters AND, lest we all forget, the still-kickin it Isley Brothers, (Shout, Twist and Shout, Summer Breeze, Harvest For the World and Work to Do- love this band).
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Postby Vegeta on Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:07 pm

Damn Sep, show some patience, most of us zoners are painfully white and lack soul... :lol:

Therefore... slim pickings!
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Postby Seppuku on Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:19 pm

Yeah I guess I've got to pace myself, there is such a thing as a soul-overload. Let's look at Rick James as a good example of that... :roll: :evil:
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Postby Vegeta on Tue Jan 17, 2006 6:02 pm

seppukudkurosawa wrote:Yeah I guess I've got to pace myself, there is such a thing as a soul-overload. Let's look at Rick James as a good example of that... :roll: :evil:


LOL

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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Tue Jan 17, 2006 6:09 pm

I love you guys.

Smokey Robinson and Bill Withers are probably my two favourite singers of all time. I also like some of the later stuff from the 70s like Milton Wright's "Keep it Up", which I am listening to rigth now, as it happens.

Going back much, much further, I have a love of Paul Robeson which has been passed down to me from my dad, who got into it through his dad. Paul Robeson is the closest thing we've got to a family heirloom. It pisses me off that he isn't very well known in America, which I presume is due to residual bad feelings about commie sympathisers. My dad and I are going to write a book about him one day.
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Postby Vegeta on Tue Jan 17, 2006 6:17 pm

Yeah, we in the States weren't real big on commie sympathizers back in the day, like it or not....

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Postby St. Alphonzo on Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:10 pm

seppukudkurosawa wrote:Solomon Burke was one hell of a soul singer. He could belt those numbers out as if the lord was camping out in his voicebox.


That is probably the best description of Solomon's voice I have ever read. Very nice.
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Postby Seppuku on Wed Jan 18, 2006 5:38 am

Thanks for the compliment; I always thought soul music was like an aphrodesiac for art, it just makes you want to go out there and create something.

Seeing as how we're getting more obscure with TITG's references to people like Milton Wright (I really dig that song by the way), I figure I also oughtta throw my two cents in about Terry Callier. He's probably just as much folk and jazz as he is Soul, but he does all three brilliantly. What Colour is Love is up there with What's Going On and Innervisions as one of the best albums of the early 70s. I once caught Terry Callier at a concert and had a little conversation with him afterwards, he seemed like a really down to Earth guy, and he told me about some of the times he was just slogging it on the pub-gig market. Safe guy.
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Postby DrillerKiller on Wed Jan 18, 2006 7:13 am

Fuck, annoyed now that I forgot Bill Withers and Wilson Pickett.

Call me Mr. Pitiful. (Bayyyyyyyby that's my name. Otis still got the best lyrics!)
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Postby Seppuku on Wed Jan 18, 2006 7:26 am

Every time I try to listen to Bill Withers I get an image of Dr. Evil with his pinkie to his mouth, singing just the two of us. Then I forget all that and just enjoy the music. My personal fave of his is Grandma's Hands.

Speaking of Bill, nobody's mentioned Bobby Womack yet (who did that duet with Withers, It's All Over Now- later covered by the Rolling Stones). 110th Street still makes me shiver, "Tryna catch a trick on the street".
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Postby DrillerKiller on Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:17 am

Ahhh YEAH! I think Jackie Brown was the first time I heard that song...beeeeaudiful! Dunno what the other Womack was like, all I know is my folks have a Womack and Womack cassette that I'm suddenly tempted to try. That 'didn't I blow your mind this time' song was an amazing piece of music too, pure sweetness, perfect just before going to sleep.

I dunno if you'd call them soul (probably more prog/jazz/pop/blah), but Steely Dan really do it for me, especially the Aja album. They've nothing to top that.

Anyone know who does that song..."the way you smell so sweet, y'know you could've been some perfume...the way you sweep me off my feet, y'know you could've been a broo-oom..."? Not sure if that's exactly how the lyrics go but I love that song.

How about rock bands with soul? 3 Words.

CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL. Fogerty is pure class, as is their whole back catalogue.
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Postby DrillerKiller on Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:22 am

*dares to venture forth on Seppuku's beloved Englande*

Aaaah, so that's what known civilisation smells like. Turnip.
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Postby Seppuku on Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:38 am

Rock bands with soul? I guess I can think of a few, Love definitely had soul, and Arthur Lee rocked.

The Rolling Stones definitely went the way of soul a few times, especially with their track Fool to Cry ("Daddy you're a fool to cry").

Nobody's ever gonna tell me that Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin wasn't a Soul singer, he had just as much heart and soul as anyone I mentioned above. And I also got to meet him once while I was working in a clothes shop!!!

Austin's own Thirteenth Floor Elevators were like a very rowdy R&B band let loose on Rick James' medicine cabinet (sorry Rick, you're just an easy target).

Glad to see you mentioned Steely Dan, Aja's a great album/song.

I think, more than anyone I mentioned above, Van the Man is THE greatest white soul singer of all time. Van grew up listening to Ray Charles, but when he started singing himself he probably showed-off an even better voice. Caravan, Madame Joy and Moondance are my faves of his, but I could listen to that voice all day.

I'd say that Ye Olde Englande has more of a garlicy smell than turnipy, but I've probably just gotten used to it by now and just don't notice it anymore.
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:58 am

seppukudkurosawa wrote:Every time I try to listen to Bill Withers I get an image of Dr. Evil with his pinkie to his mouth, singing just the two of us. Then I forget all that and just enjoy the music. My personal fave of his is Grandma's Hands.


Yeah. It annoys me a bit that Just the 2 of us has become a kind of in-joke. But I blame all the rappers who appropriated it, rather than Dr Evil!

Dunno what my fave Withers song is - Grandma's hands is great, but these days I'm more into stuff like Harlem, Use Me, and Who Is He? (also used very briefly in Jackie Brown).

That live version of Hope She'll be Happier with Him makes me weep like a baby, and Lean on Me is still a beautiful song that I can listen to anywhere, anytime.
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Postby Seppuku on Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:07 am

Have you noticed how, regardless of sex, Tracy Chapman has the exact same voice as Bill Withers. It's spooky.
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Postby St. Alphonzo on Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:36 pm

DrillerKiller wrote:Anyone know who does that song..."the way you smell so sweet, y'know you could've been some perfume...the way you sweep me off my feet, y'know you could've been a broo-oom..."? Not sure if that's exactly how the lyrics go but I love that song.


That'd be the incomparable Temptations singing "The Way You Do The Things You Do"

I actually just finished listening to the Temps "Ball Of Confusion". What a great song, and still relevent today.
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Postby Seppuku on Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:41 pm

Damn, I can't believe I let that slip by me.

Fave Temptations song is still Papa Was a Rolling Stone (wherever he laid his hat was his home, and when he diiiiied all he ever left us was alone)... I don't know how they managed to do that flip like that, they went from managable boy group, with classic cuts like Get Ready, and then went onto making Motown's first psychedelic track, [I'm doing time on] Cloud Nine. I guess it wasn't them who actually wrote the tracks, that honour goes to Barrett Strong, Smokey Robinson and Norman Whitfield (plus more), but they sure knew how to interpret them.
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Postby St. Alphonzo on Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:55 pm

Anyone who loves soul music owes it to themselves to read "Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm & Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom" by Peter Guralnick. It's one of the most entertaining books on music history I've ever read (and I've read quite a lot of 'em).
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Postby John-Locke on Wed Jan 18, 2006 1:08 pm

I love Soul, I also dig the Motown sound too, I'm not going to ramble on about names, I like's what I like's and I like's Soul.

In the words of James Brown

"I've got Soul, HEY, and I'm Superbad"

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Postby DrillerKiller on Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:56 am

St. Alphonzo wrote:
DrillerKiller wrote:Anyone know who does that song..."the way you smell so sweet, y'know you could've been some perfume...the way you sweep me off my feet, y'know you could've been a broo-oom..."? Not sure if that's exactly how the lyrics go but I love that song.


That'd be the incomparable Temptations singing "The Way You Do The Things You Do"

I actually just finished listening to the Temps "Ball Of Confusion". What a great song, and still relevent today.


Sound for clearing that up for me! Oh, and have you ever heard Anthrax' cover of 'Ball of Confusion'? Pretty damn good for a metal band I gotta say!

Seppukudkurosawa, I lost my acute sense of smell when I started smoking. Everything smells like turnip, and I don't even touch the stuff. The garlic aroma may be attributed to ye olde English skepticism about ye old forces of darkness, which I have to say is endearing. Endearing and kerayyyzay! I'd best move, the banshee's moaning her tits off again.

P.S - Don't mind me, I've been in a lucid state since I gave up the stick. Probably due to graduating to the pipe of the doobtacular.
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Postby DrillerKiller on Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:58 am

Odd that you can't say fa.gs innit? Would you prefer I said cigs you pc canting rulers? Nevir!
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Postby Seppuku on Thu Jan 19, 2006 11:17 am

Anyone who knows anything about SOUL knows that THE single best SOUL song of all time, barring none, is at the beginning of that Red Dwarf episode where the Cat starts singing his Motown riff, You Make Me Tongue Tied...see if you can look up the video, featuring the rest of the Dwarf crew, it'll give you neon blue nightmares!!!

Just checked out that Anthrax cover based on your advice, and I gotta say it's at least three steps up from The Red Hot Chilli Peppers' cover of Higher Ground.

As far as your Herb Happenin' goes, just remember nobody but a chronic smoker is actually interested in the crystals that show up in the bud (chronic smokers will know what I mean)...Typical conversation with basehead buddies of mine: "Heeey, look at the crystals shining in the light". Me: "What crystals?" Basehead:"The crystals man! The crystals!"

Dried turnip powder, roll that up in a rizla, burn the thing and THEN you really do have yourself a night!
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Postby DrillerKiller on Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:46 am

seppukudkurosawa wrote:
Dried turnip powder, roll that up in a rizla, burn the thing and THEN you really do have yourself a night!


Come morning I'd probably turnip in a ditch somewhere. (aaah I do love the badness)

Yeah, I know there's nothing interesting about talking about smoking...that said I am a great admirer of THC crystals given the right light. Lately I've been partaking in Salvia and freaking the shit out of myself...maybe it was just my mindframe but that shit gave me a better out of body experience than acid ever did.

Good to see you enjoyed the Anthrax cover, you have to hand it to them, you wouldn't expect it from a band such as they. It sure is a shitload better than the Chili's rigid version of Higher Ground. If you enjoy heavy covers of funk/soulful songs, try Infectious Grooves' cover of Bowie's 'Fame'. Mike Muir can't sing all that well but man can they play.

Thinking about it now, I think one of my favourite soul songs (or is it motown? dunno really) is 'Uptight Alright' by Stevie Wonder.

Plus, if you want something REALLY soulful and musically intricate (I'd go so far as to say it's a perfect song), download 'Village of the Sun' by Frank Zappa and the Mothers (or City of Tiny Lites). It's the song that got me zapp'd in the first place.
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Postby Seppuku on Fri Jan 20, 2006 7:01 am

You're Zapp'd too? Who'dve thunked it. I've got much love for Zappa and his Mothers of Invention, and I'm still annoyed that his King Kong (and Prelude to King Kong) weren't included on the soundtrack. Sure it would fit in about as much as that Monkey Ice-Skating Scene (as in it wouldn't fit in at all), but he's Frank Zappa damnit!

And yup, Motown is soul...Uptight especially. You know, he'll always be Little Stevie in my eyes anyway.
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Postby DrillerKiller on Fri Jan 20, 2006 7:25 am

...and you'll always be pitch black in his eyes.

I sorry! Yeah, King Kong would have been instantly cooler had it included some Zappa, maybe have something like 'Keep it Greasey' playing while Lumpy's having his head gobbled. mmmm...goes down easayyy.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 am

Oliver whips out his Wang and schools fools on "retro soul".

joints by The Queen of retro soul, Sharon Jones & her Dap Kings, plus Amy Wine-O House (with Sharon's Dap Kings), The Poets of Rhythm (you might know 'em from that killer Lyrics Born track "I Changed My Mind"), Lee Fields, Alice Russel, Nellie McKay, Breakestra and the awesome Nicole Willis and the Soul Investigators...seriously, if you can find Keep Reachin' Up, gimme a holla, I've heard four songs off it and they're all great.

Not a bad track in the bunch, with some legitimate standouts.

ETA: and HOLY MOTHERFRACKER, check out that Lee Fields track "Honey Dove"! "buttery" doesn't even do it justice!
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Postby Maui on Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:10 pm

Me and Mrs. Jones! We got a thing goin' on.
We both know that it's wrong, but it's much too strong to let it go now....

Oh he's leaving, on the midnight train to Georgia....

Tell all the folks in Russia, and China, too don't you know that it's time to get on board and let this train keep on riding, riding on through....

How's that for some Soul? :wink:
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Postby Zarles on Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:14 pm

Bill Withers had my white ass moving today. I'm down.
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Postby St. Alphonzo on Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:47 pm

I've been groovin' on The Dynamites lately. This is old-school, Stax/Volt-era soundin' soul & funk. I picked up their new album "Kaboom" on eMusic, and have had it on constant rotation ever since. These guys are the real deal. I wish to hell they'd come tour the West Coast!

The Dynamites MySpace Page

In particular, check out "Can You Feel It", and the YouTube video towards the bottom of the page
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Postby DennisMM on Thu Aug 02, 2007 8:05 pm

Sometimes I like to pull out a wonderful compilation disc called "Sweet Soul Music: Voices From the Shadows." It was not-quite a companion to the book of the same title and it has some wonderful obscure southern soul on it. Check it out:

True Love Travels on a Gravel Road - Percy Sledge
Nickel and a Nail - O.V. Wright
My Song - Aretha Franklin
Crying in the Streets - George Perkins & the Silver Stars
Separation Line - Laura Lee
Some Kind of Wonderful - Soul Brothers Six
Rainbow Road - Arthur Alexander
She's About a Mover - Otis Clay
Heart Full of Love - Invincibles
Hold On (To What We've Got) - James Carr
Losing Boy - Eddie Giles
I Paid for the Party - Enchanters
I Stayed Away Too Long - Solomon Burke
The Greatest Love - Judy Clay
It's in the Wind - Don Covay & the Goodtimers

I hadn't heard of most of these people when I got the disc, but I'm glad I know who they are now. If you've only heard Percy Sledge try to bust a nut on "When a Man Loves a Woman," "True Love Travels on a Gravel Road" is a lesson. Yes, he's still wailing, but it's a wholly different feel.
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Postby Seppuku on Thu Aug 02, 2007 8:15 pm

Playing The Honeydrippers' Impeach the President right now in honour of this thread being bumped back into the top 15.

After Funky Drummer, this is one of the most sampled songs ever. Doesn't make it any less fresh though.
Dale Tremont Presents...

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Postby Fievel on Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:10 pm

"Amen, Brother" by The Winstons has the beat that EVERYONE knows though...


Didn't know that there was an earlier group called The Honey Drippers.
I only knew of the Robert Plant band.

And now I know!
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:17 pm

Fievel wrote:"Amen, Brother" by The Winstons has the beat that EVERYONE knows though...


we know.
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Re: A Little Bit of FUNK with Bootsy Collins

Postby TheButcher on Mon May 02, 2011 6:58 am

io9 Exclusive:
Bootsy Collins tells us how to get a seat on the Mothership
Charlie Jane Anders wrote: Bootsy Collins tells us how to get a seat on the MothershipFew musicians have been as science fictional, for as long, as William "Bootsy" Collins. He's been the cartoon character at the heart of George Clinton's UFO-inspired Mothership. He's helped Buckethead construct a giant robot. He's kept it weird for decades.

And now Bootsy is back with a new album, Tha Funk Capital of the World. We were lucky enough to talk to him by phone this morning about the robot uprising, the aliens who created human beings as a halfway-failed experiment, and why it's more important than ever to get off this planet.

In case you don't know who Bootsy Collins is, here's a quick rundown:

In 1970, James Brown had a labor dispute with his then-band and decided to fire them right before a concert. He flew in a new band: a raw, untested group of teenagers. That band's bass player was a young Bootsy Collins, who added a nervous energy to Brown's already-staccato basslines. Collins only played with Brown for about a year, but played on many of his most famous jams, including "Superbad," "Sex Machine" and "Soul Power." Check out the video to see Collins in action.

After leaving James Brown, Collins joined up with George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic, co-writing most of P-Funk's great anthems. And in 1976, Collins was launched as a solo artist, with a slew of albums that featured him doing the voices of various cartoon characters and weird space-monsters. Collins half-sang, half-talked, but usually also featured other singers, but the star was frequently Collins' insane fuzztone bass playing and hyperactive arrangements. His solo hits included "Stretching Out," "Bootzilla," "Body Slam" and "I'd Rather Be With You."

Collins has kept recording as a solo artist ever since, including one album under the name Zillatron that featured a song that appears to be named after William Gibson's novel Count Zero. He's also worked with tons of other artists, from Bill Laswell's stable of ambient-dub-metal-funk musicians to Dee-Lite. He's also been at the core of several science-fiction-inspired supergroups, including Praxis and Science Faxtion.
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Re: A Little Bit of FUNK with Bernie Worrell

Postby TheButcher on Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:42 am

From NPR August 18, 2011:
Bernie Worrell: The Wizard Of Woo Plays Standards


Bernie Worrell Orchestra (of Original Parliament-Funkadelic / Talking Heads) comes to River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains, PA Friday, October 26 2012, 10:00pm
Rock and Funk legend, BERNIE WORRELL, recently digitally released two songs, “BWO is Landing” and “Get Your Hands Off.” Combing elements of everything from jazz to salsa to funk and soul, these two tracks have something to offer every music lover. Both tracks are beautifully arranged and very danceable, full of energy and are true works of musical genius from a master of many styles. These are the first tracks by Bernie's current band,Bernie Worrell Orchestra, which he co-produced with Evan Taylor.

How many artists can say they were in on the ground floor of an honest-to-Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame supergroup, while inventing a completely original and uncanny sound and, in the ensuing years, built a legendary reputation as one of the most versatile hired guns in the music business? True funkateers know the history. From the studly Minimoog bass lines of “Flash Light” and “One Nation Under A Groove” to the percussive piano runs of “Chocolate City” and “Give Up the Funk,” Bernie Worrell is synonymous with the legacy of Parliament-Funkadelic; in fact, he’s one of the originators of the psychedelic funk sound, having written and co-produced the lion’s share of the music going back to Funkadelic’s formative years, with an eclectic ear for everything from Chopin to the Chi-Lites.

These days the terms “living legend” or “funk icon” really don’t come close to doing Worrell justice. “Funk iconoclast” is probably more apt, considering the breadth of his contributions to seminal albums outside the P-Funk canon, including Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense and Public Image Ltd’s Album, to name two of the more monolithic examples. Keith Richards, Yoko Ono, Bootsy Collins, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Mos Def, Sly & Robbie, Deee-Lite, Bill Laswell and many more have recruited Bernie into the studio and on tour—all for his versatility, vision and feverish creativity whenever he gets his hands on a keyboard.

For interviews or more information on this event, please contact Melissa Zeigler: melissa(at)powderfingerpromo(dot)com or 1 800 356 1155 X4233

David Avery
Powderfinger Promotions
800-356-1155
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Re: A Little Bit of FUNK with The Mothership

Postby TheButcher on Fri May 03, 2013 4:11 pm

io9:
Minister Faust explains the meaning of George Clinton's Mothership
George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic made an indelible mark on both music and science fiction, with their afro-futurist space voyages. But what the funk does it all mean? The Alchemists of Kush author Minister Faust explains, in a new excerpt from the Adventure Rocketship anthology.

The Adventure Rocketship anthology is the first volume of a new series that mixes fiction, interviews and essays. The first book has fiction by Lavie Tidhar, Liz Williams, Tim Maughan, Martin Millar and Nir Yaniv, essays by Jon Courtenay Grimwood, David Quantick, Sam Jordison, NK Jemisin and Jason Heller, and interviews with China Mieville and others. You can pre-order it here, and attend events for the book in London on May 16 or in Bristol on May 18.

George Clinton, as everyone knows, is the singer and composer, the founding Funkitecht, the speaker of Parliament, the jester, the judge of doomed America, the Afrofuturist Neo to Sun Ra’s Morpheus, the prophet of humanity coming together (and coming together), the Star Child, and the revealer of the great vehicle of soular salvation, the Mothership. Just as accurately, you can say he’s the rainbow-dreadlocker who propelled the evolution of hundreds of hip-hop acts while partying eternally in the slap-bass depths of sex, drugs and penisoid spaceship album covers.

What George Clinton is not – and could never, ever pass for – is a bow tie-wearing, bean pie-slinging, Supreme Wisdom-quoting member of the Nation of Islam. Which is contradictory when you consider he’s the same man who has configured a Mother Plane/Mothership connection in his musical mania.

To explain for those who don’t keep up with NOI scripture, it’s prophesised that the Mother Plane will one day destroy the Euro-American Empire in an Afro-Asiatic Ragnafunk. So was Clinton merely mocking the hyperdestructive, apocalyptic starship from Elijah Muhammad’s religion when he came up with the Mothership? Or was he reverse-engineering the vehicle so that humanity – of all colours – could be elevated from the misery and the madness of the Empire and united into One Nation Under A Groove?

Yes, George Clinton’s Mothership was a metaphor, and maybe a parody, and definitely a remix. But it was also a literal thing, a gigantic prop-vehicle descending onto the stage of Parliament Funkadelic concerts so that Clinton could pop out in his alter-ego of the Starchild, a name invoking Arthur C Clarke’s and Stanley Kubrick’s psychedelic masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, and its celestially evolved astronaut, Dave Bowman. Clinton’s Starchild emerging from his starship also summoned up peace-messenger Klaatu (rather than galactic executioner Gort), disembarking his own cosmodisc in Edmund North’s and Robert Wise’s The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951), and the Christ-like, slender alien (and interstellar orchestra conductor) from Steven Spielberg’s Mothership in 1977’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.

What’s unspoken and all-too-often unnoticed in the above is just how completely white a universe those stories projected. The only Africans in 2001 are literal animals; most of the film’s sets gleam as white as the movie’s final scene in the Astro-Hilton. CE3K depicts a 1970s USA that would be a Republican racial utopia, and its hyperevolved aliens (like its own Star-Christ) are actually albinos (even whiter than almost all of Star Trek’s super-intelligent xenomorphs, because in Trek, the darker the aliens, the more primitive and usually the more violent). Klaatu, of course, was as white as everyone else the day that Euro-America stood still (although it’s remotely possible, however unlikely, that inside that robot suit, Gort was actually a brother).

So in the ancient days when hard SF still ruled the genre but the New Wave was crashing upon its shores, why would George Clinton (with bassist Bootsy Collins, horn-men Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley, keyboardist Bernie Worrell and vocalist Philippé Wynne), or any other African (or Asian, or Latin-American) give even a demi-damn for a genre that screamed nothing but silence about their mere existence? When even a masterpiece such as Phil Dick’s The Man In The High Castle reduced the absolute, planetary genocide of Africans to a single sentence?

What is the meaning of George Clinton’s Mothership when connected to a literary form that made all Africans into (not in HG Wells’ sense, but in Ralph Ellison’s) invisible men and women?

SF fans – and people who caricature them with the familiar catalogue of clichés – know that SF has strong appeal for the alienated, not the least for its depiction of aliens. And SF wouldn’t be the first venue of the excluded to exclude yet somebody else. But because the very nature of SF is yearning for the unknown (even inside ourselves) and deliverance from the mundane or the world of pain, SF, despite its long history of pure whiteness, has ensnared many of those whom the White Empire attempted to banish to the Phantom (or maybe Spook) Zone.

As science fiction scholar Lisa Yaszek recounts in Afrofuturism, Science Fiction, And The History Of The Future, Afrofuturism is as old as SF itself. Not only was intellectual giant WEB Du Bois creating Afrofuturist fiction in the early 20th century, the subgenre goes back to the 19th century. Key texts include Blake, Or The Huts Of America (1857), by liberationist Martin Delany, in which West Africans in the USA and Cuba mount a triumphant revolution; and Edward A Johnson’s Light Ahead For The Negro (1904), the story of a time-travelling African-American propelled into a future “racially egalitarian socialist America.”

Between 1936 and 1938, conservative journalist George Schuyler wrote a serialised SF novel, Black Empire, that while being a satirical attack on early pan-Africanism (perhaps most of all on Marcus Garvey’s spectacular, two million-strong Universal Negro Improvement Association), it was also damn near the Star Wars of African-American culture, whose members embraced, without the intended irony, Schuyler’s story of a pan-African global revolution led by a super-scientist mastermind, Dr Henry Belsidus.

Nor was Afrofuturism restricted to literature. The brilliant painter Aaron Douglas repeatedly invoked ancient African civilisations while depicting Africans not merely dwelling in but constructing their own futures, as in 1944’s Building More Stately Mansions.many of Douglas’s paintings vibrate with dancing figures who could easily be moving to Scott Joplin, Ellington, Fela, or to P-Funk itself.

Perhaps no Afrofuturist artist is more famous than Sun Ra, the jazz artist in permanent self-delusion (or kayfabe?) whose costumes and presentation fused ancient Egypt with ancient aliens. Sun Ra claimed he himself descended from the “angel race” of Saturn, years before Erich von Däniken published Chariots Of The Gods?

If the ultimate source of all epic fantasy is religion, certainly epic SF owes a great debt to it too. So it should be no surprise to find Afrofuturism at the heart of the Nation of Islam, which like many US-grown religious movements such as Mormonism and Scientology contains a cosmology far more developed (and cherished) than anything in SFF: a fusion of Ancient Egyptian, mystical Islamic, Freemasonic and other esoteric philosophies, producing visions of a technotopian Afroasiatic past destroyed by white villains and a black future ensured by millenarian vengeance. The NOI’s eschatology references the Book of Ezekiel’s wheel-within-a-wheel (often cited by ‘ufologists’ as the one of the earliest attestations of extraterrestrial vehicular visitation). That wheel alternates, in NOI beliefs, between a massive orbital disk (the Mother Ship) and a gigantic bomber (the Mother Plane). The NOI scripture called Supreme Wisdom Department: Our Mother Plane explains the apocalyptic role of the Mother Plane/Ship: specifically, to destroy “America, the Great Mystery Babylon”:

[The Mother Plane’s] position is 40 miles out from the Earth’s sphere… At the dropping of the bombs, the flames will reach 12 miles, in all directions… Allah will even cause the air which we breathe to ignite along with the atmosphere. Every atom will burn in and over America from a height of 12 miles down.

Afrofuturism – in fiction, in art, in music, in religion – offered everything from deliverance and utopianism to apocalyptic vengeance. Since SF is so frequently escapist, why wouldn’t it appeal to people living under the dictatorship of Jim Crow and his mutant sons, whose ancestors had been ripped from their home civilisations to toil in the savagery of a continent-wide gulag and rape-camp? The 19th-century liberationist Harriet Tubman famously observed that she freed a thousand Africans, but could have freed more if they’d understood they were not already free. So the question should never be, “Why Afrofuturism?” so much as “Why not Afrofuturism?”

Enter George Clinton.

The liner notes to the retrospective album Tear The Roof Off: 1974-1980 read in part:

Funk upon a time, in the daze of the Funkapus, the earth was on the One. Funk flowed freely and freedom was free from the need to be free. Even Cro-Nasal Sapiens and the Thumpasorus Peoples lived side by side in P(eace).

But soon there arose bumpnoxious empires led by unfunky dictators. These priests, pimps, and politicians would spank whole nations of unsuspecting peoples – punishing them for their feelings and desires, constipating their notions and pimping their instincts until they were studly, horny and strung-out…

The descendants of the Thumpasorus Peoples knew Funk was its own reward. They tried to remain true to the pure, uncut Funk. But it became impossible in a world wooed by power and greed. So they locked away the secret of Clone Funk with kings and pharaohs deep in the Egyptian pyramids, and fled to outer speace [sic] to party on the Mothership and await the time they could safely return to refunkatize the planet.

Combine liner notes such as those with a series of outlandish, spacey, silly-sexual album covers by artist Pedro Bell (and no, they don’t rival the Afrofuturist art of Douglas or the Dillons, but they delivered the effective dose of fun and funk), the stunning psychedelic guitar work of Eddie Hazel (mute the sound during Dave Bowman’s hyperspace plummet at the climax of 2001 and play the guitar solo in Maggot Brain at full blast), costumes that could make KISS blush and the Starchild emerging from his own UFO, and you have an unforgettable Afrofuturistic spectacle that has influenced artists for generations to come, including more than 440 songs (and counting) energised by P-Funk samples, as itemised by whosampled.com.

The Africentric/Egyptian-focused 1990s hip-hop crew X Clan would never have existed without P-Funk supplying the swagger and the samples at the base of its songs. Public Enemy’s video for Do You Wanna Go Our Way? leaps from the P-Funk mould of Afrofuturist struggle against the Empire (although with more aggression). Kelis’s Flesh Tone and Janelle Monáe’s ArchAndroid descend from P-Funk’s Afrofuturist concept albums.

Reginald Hudlin, producer of Django: Unchained and writer/resurrectionist of Marvel Comics’ Black Panther and BP animated series, told me: “George Clinton is the number one influence on me as an artist. His motto. ‘Nothing is good unless you play with it,’ and the aesthetic that extends from that, shapes my own take on Afrofuturism. He is a genius.”

And as Afrofuturist commentator Greg Tate wrote to me, seating Clinton and his fellow Afronauts inside the same spacecraft: “The cool thing about George, Sun Ra, [and authors Samuel] Delany [and Octavia] Butler, is they were science fiction fans who all decided to put blackfolk and black mythology in the frame. Afrofuturism is of course just the trendy-going name for what they were all just doing to satisfy and explore their own imaginations – beauty of which is you get to listen to Cosmic Slop, Mothership Connection, Clones Of Dr Funkenstein, Motor Booty Affair and make the links to Afrofuturism via [their references to] space operas, Marvel comics, Egyptian mythology, [and] Atlantis.”

But does Clinton really care about any of this Afrofuturism stuff, or has it all just been showjizz? Check out YouTube footage of Clinton interviewing himself on a Martian-looking landscape, and it’s hard to think he wants anyone analysing him too deeply:

George Clinton: I know you’ve heard it a lot of times, but I’m going to ask anyway: what is the question you hate most from journalists?

George Clinton: That question.

George Clinton: Last thing. Fuck’s up with your hair? What’s that shit for? Like, is there some kind of a “I lost my virginity braid?”

George Clinton: Man, fuck you.

So which is it? Parody, homage, sampling, remixing, or just plain riffing? P-Funk’s lexicon includes terms such as funkintelechy (funk + intellect + technology), reminiscent of the NOI term ‘tricknology’. The song Mothership Connection announces: “We have returned to claim the pyramids, partying on the Mothership,” reflecting Pan-Africanism’s larger intellectual project of reclaiming Ancient Egypt as an African civilisation.

Still, as P-Funk scholar Ted Friedman explains, Clinton’s Mothership mission wasn’t NOI radioactive vengeance, but radio-active dance. Parliament’s late 1970s concept albums include the war between the Starchild and his nemesis, Sir Nose d’Voidoffunk. “Starchild’s goal,” writes Friedman, “is never to kill Sir Nose, but to make him dance – to catch The Funk, the way unwilling victims catch Jes Grew in Mumbo Jumbo… Starchild ‘funkatises’ Sir Nose by shooting him with his weapon, the ‘Bop Gun.’”

Indeed, the Mothership looks way too much party to serve The Party, but it wouldn’t be the first time something ultra-Africentric got denatured on the way to market. When Bob Marley sang One Love, he wasn’t anthemising pan-racial harmony, he was singing Garvey’s slogan for African unity and self-determination. Dreadlocks used to be the marker of devotion to Haile Selassie I, the incarnation of God who was soon to destroy the global White Empire, rather than the marker of white hipsterism, marijuana ‘non-addiction’, bad hygiene and total absence of African friends they are today.

Then again (again), how serious does Clinton have to be about the Mothership or anything else for Africentrists to take him Africentrically? So what if P-Funk is 99 per cent style, spectacle, and sex? It’s pop music, goddammit. Did Clinton create a coherent Afrofuturist übernarrative to convey personal and planetary evolution? Fuck no. Did Boston’s UFO album covers emulate HG Wells’ anti-imperialist novel War Of The Worlds? Outside of rock operas, how much pop music ever aims at telling coherent übernarratives? Neither U2’s No Line On The Horizon nor Lady Gaga’s Born This Way is exactly Der Ring Des Nibelungen. Nobody expects them to be, and nobody should demand more of Clinton than the gigantic alms he offered into galactic palms.

So where’s the Mothership now? Not with Clinton, who’s still planet-hopping with his latest P-Funk incarnation, the P-Funk All-Stars. Instead it’s on its final mission, keeping the original model of the USS Enterprise company at the Smithsonian Institution. Is that sad? Clinton’s frequently misquoted slogan, “Free your mind and your ass will follow,” clarifies that no matter how funky the beat, the intellect should be in command. Doesn’t matter that the physical Mothership is mothballed. The real Mothership is in your mind.

Minister Faust is the author of the critically acclaimed The Coyote Kings, Book One: Space-Age Bachelor Pad, and the Kindred Award-winning Shrinking the Heroes. His latest is The Alchemists of Kush, which writers and readers alike have already hailed as superb; novelist Sparkle Hayter calls the book "brilliant." A radio broadcaster since 1989, he hosts Africentric Radio (formerly The Terrordome), for which he's interviewed luminaries such as Tariq Ali, Molefi Kete Asante, Martin Bernal, Noam Chomsky, Chuck D., Austin Clarke, Angela Davis, Karl Evanzz, Tom Fontana, Glen Ford, Nalo Hopkinson, Reginald Hudlin, Ice-T, Janine Jackson, Michael Parenti, Ishmael Reed, Gil Scott-Heron, Vandana Shiva, David Simon, Scott Taylor, and many more.
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Re: A Little Bit of FUNK with The Mothership

Postby TheButcher on Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:07 pm

George Clinton Can't Prevent Sound Recordings From Being Sold
Record labels might also have reason to cheer an opinion delivered on Monday by a federal appeals court.
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Re: A Little Bit of FUNK with Bootsy's Rubber Band

Postby TheButcher on Sun May 14, 2017 9:24 am

The New York Times APRIL 3, 1978
Rock: Bootsy and the Rubber Band
ROBERT PALMER wrote:BOOTSY and the Rubber Band, which was at the Felt Forum on Saturday night, is a roadseasoned funk band, and what It does it does very well indeed. The band's rhythm section, which features Bootsy Collins on bass, has been playing together since 1968, and the experience shows in the effortless way it lays down an entire set of danceable grooves. Like the rhythm section, several of the horn players used to be with James Brown. One, Maceo Parker, the saxophonist, is a gritty and imaginative soloist, and the horn section is as crisp and biting as one could wish.

Bootsy Collins is succeeding with young audience partly because of his band's performing savvy and partly because of the persona he has developed. With a visual style that is equal parts Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix and Marvel Comics and a funny, insinuating line of jive talk, he is an engaging presence. But to an extent, his show suffered from the same fault that afflicts his albums—lack of variety.



This is not to say that the show was dull; far from it. The audience was standing on chairs most of the way through it. But one longed for something besides the unrelenting diet of funk and more funk. Maceo Parker and Phelps Collins, the guitarist, provided momentary breathers with delightful solo improvisations, but the group's music never really seemed to shift gears.



Perhaps this listener's expectations were unduly affected by the opening group, Raydio, which offered, impeccable funk and something more. Ray Parker Jr., Raydio's leader, has wide experience as a studio guitarist on countless funk sessions. but he seems to have plunged wholeheartedly into leading a touring band. He combines a great deal of visual flash with very exciting guitar playing, some of which uses synthesizer attachments in an original and interesting manner, and a blend of voices that is mellow but not bland.
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Mary J. Blige the Queen of Hip Hop Soul

Postby TheButcher on Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:10 am

Saddam Hussein Was Apparently Quite the Mary J. Blige Fan
We've heard weirder things.
Devon Ivie wrote:No hateration or holleration here. According to the new book The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid written by former Army infantry officer Will Bardenwerper — who interviewed numerous members of the squad who were tasked with guarding and protecting Hussein — one of Hussein’s greatest pleasures in the weeks leading up his execution was listening to the catchy, soulful tunes of none other than R&B goddess Mary J. Blige. “He’d always stop tuning if he stumbled across a Mary J. Blige song” on the radio, the book claims, and he also loved to frequently ride an exercise bike that he coined “Pony.” Additionally, Hussein’s fondness for treats was well-documented among the guards. “He supposed it made Saddam less intimidating,” Bardenwerper wrote, “that he could yield to the siren call of a sugary muffin the way anyone else might.”
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