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RON DUNBAR DIES....

Thursday, 05 April 2018 19:23 Bill b E-mailPrintPDF

altUS sources are reporting the death at age 77 of one of soul's great "backroom people".... RONALD "RON" DUNBAR.

Born in Detroit in 1939, Ron will be best remembered for the writing credits on Freda Payne's 'Band Of Gold', the Chairmen of the Board's 'Give Me Just A Little More Time' and the Chairmen of the Board/Clarence Carter's 'Patches' for which Ron won a Grammy.

Ron's first forays in the music biz were with Motown. Perhaps his best know Motown song is 'Greetings This Is Uncle Sam'. At Motown he worked with the Holland-Dozier-Holland team and when they quit, setting up Invictus, Dunbar went with them and he was named as A&R Director for the new set-up. Dunbar's name appeared on the writing credits for many of the early Invictus/Hot Wax records. He was credited alongside "Edith Wayne" – now known to be a pseudonym used by Holland, Dozier and Holland, who were unable to use their own names because of legal issues with Motown. In interviews Lamont Dozier has always asserted that even Dunbar's input to the songs was non-existent, though Ron once asserted: "At Invctus, I was given certain projects to write."Band of Gold" was one of those projects and I came up with the title "Band of Gold" first. My partner, Edith Wayne, and I wrote the lyrics according to how the track was and used the melody structure that we got listening to the track. I was part of the "in-house" team that was being developed at the time."

After Invictus, Dunbar went on to work with George Clinton and the Funkadelic collective. By the 1990s Dunbar became an independent producer and he also worked with the Holland brothers.

Interestingly his 'Patches' Grammy award was the subject of a 2011 episode of the US TV series 'Pawn Stars'

 

YOUNG AT HEART!

Wednesday, 04 April 2018 13:18 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altL YOUNG is a very modern kind of soul/R&B star... what, I guess, is called an "internet sensation"! Stateside, he's a big YOUTUBE and FACEBOOK star since his 2015 appearance on 'Good Morning America' when he sang an acapella version of 'Uptown Funk'... the videos "went viral".

However, research reveals that Mr Y is no newcomer.... in fact he has four solo albums under his belt and one of his songs 'Love Is A Verb' (from his 2013 'Reverb' album) was a top 20 Billboard hit.

Right now Louisiana-born, LA-residing Young is promoting a brand new album, his fifth .... 'Wrinkles In Time' and that odd title gives a little clue as to what to expect, See, despite all this internet malarkey and his savvy use of social media, L is an old-fashioned soul man at heart and this manageable 9 tracker is stuffed with lovely old school soul.

Key pick is a delicious 'Can't Get You Off My Mind' which absolutely nails the classic Delfonics sound. If you were told that Thom Bell was at the controls, you'd believe it... a top, top tune!

Elsewhere, 'Cry In The Car' channels the mid 60s Brill Building sound while 'I Ain't Got Nobody' sounds like a homage to Sam Cooke. The lead single, however, is 'Ms Supa Thick'. The song is all about how the singer is fixated by a certain lady's rear quarters and isn't backward in coming forward and telling her. OK – yes a kind of modern behaviour pattern but the sound is straight from soul's Golden Age... another great tune on a lovely, honest, unprepossessing album.

L Young – 'Wrinkles In Time' – is out now on 4everyoung Entertainment

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 April 2018 14:24

 

OUT OF THE BOX...

Wednesday, 04 April 2018 13:15 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

alt'Jazz Outside The Box' is the latest album from keyboardist DAVID GARFIELD. Garfield started in the business almost 50 years ago working with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard but since then he's worked on numerous projects that took him deep into other musical genres. For the 15 tracker that is 'Jazz Outside The Box', Garfield says he's coming home... home to jazz and to help him deliver he's brought together a stellar cast of side men. They include Poncho Sanchez, Steve Jordan, Randy Brecker, Tom Scott, Michael McDonald, Eric Marienthal, Brain Auger, Airto Moreira and, poignantly, Chuck Loeb and Larry Coryell ... their contributions are thought to be their last recordings before their sad passings.

The LP's repertoire is a mix of Garfield originals and carefully chosen covers. Of the originals, the most interesting is 'East Lou Brew' – a homage to both Miles Davis and St Louis (Garfield and Davis were both born there). The players on this track include drummer Vince Wilburn, trumpeter Wallace Roney and sax man Bernie Maupin who all played with Davis while the actual tune uses several classic Miles Davis themes.

The covers include two Sting songs – 'Fragile' and 'Roxanne' but jazz enthusiasts will find more to treasure in the treatments of tunes by people like Duke Ellington, Joe Sample, Oliver Nelson and Joe Zawinul.

Focus track though is a moving version of Horace Silver's 'Song For My Father'. Silver was an early mentor to David Garfield and in his seven minute version David includes the oft-neglected lyrics that Silver wrote. It's also well known that Steely Dan used a riff from 'Father' for the intro of their 'Rikki Don't Lose That Number' and here Garfield incorporates the Steely Dan figure and (a lovely touch) has Steely Dan alumnus Denny Dias play it. Horace Silver would, I'm sure, approve.

DAVID GARFIELD: 'Jazz Outside The Box' is out now on Creatchy Records.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 April 2018 14:24

 

VAN MORISON: EVEN MORE MUSIC....

Wednesday, 04 April 2018 13:12 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altSeems like VAN MORRISON is making a real effort to enter the Guinness Book Of Records as the most prolific recording artist of recent years as he reveals that at the end of April he'll be releasing another brand new album – his third in less than seven months!

Sir Van's newie, 'You're Driving Me Crazy' comes hot on the heels of last year's 'Roll With The Punches' and the newer 'Versatile'. Like both those albums the new collection is a mix of re-readings of Morrison originals (like 'All Saints Day' and 'Have I Told You lately') alongside a smattering of covers of blues classics and standards from the Great American Songbook (stuff like 'Sticks And Stones' and 'Miss Otis Regrets').

However, unlike the last two albums, the new album is billed as double header.... a collaboration with jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco. The Hammond maestro has worked with people like Miles Davis, John McLaughlin and Grover Washington and it's his band that plays throughout the recording.

A 7" vinyl single from the album -  Van's own 'Close Enough For Jazz' b/w a rendition of Guitar Slim's 'The Things I Used To Do' will be available for Record Store Day 2018 (celebrated at independent record stores nationwide on Saturday, April 21).

The announcement of the new album coincides with the Celtic troubadour's announcement of his divorce from Michelle Rocca. (the couple are pictured below) After protracted proceedings the couple were granted a divorce by a Dublin court. Morrison tweeted; : "At my age, I have found it to be a hugely wearying, protracted experience and I'm relieved that it has finally reached a conclusion."

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 April 2018 14:25

 

DEEP RUNNINGS....

Friday, 30 March 2018 17:49 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altWe were first introduced to new soulstress DEVA MAHAL at the back end of last year when she released an intriguing three track EP – 'Run Deep'.

Research revealed that Ms Mahal had a wonderful musical pedigree. She's the daughter of legendary blues man Taj Mahal and Inshirah Mahal, an influential dancer, artist and educator. Mentored by Maxwell's former manager, Deva broke out in 2008, when 'Never Let You Go' co-written with her father, gained acclaim on the Grammy-nominated album 'Maestro'. She's also collaborated with a wide-ranging array of artists, including Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Fat Freddy's Drop. She's performed at such renowned festivals as Sonar, Womad, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival and Montreux Jazz Festival.

The lady's profile is now set to soar as she releases a full album.... a 12 tracker called, like the previous EP, 'Run Deep' and, oddly – some may think – featuring the three cuts from that EP. Of those the most interesting is Deva's cover of the Goffin/King song 'Take A Giant Step'. The song was originally recorded way back by the Rising Suns but is perhaps better know in the version by Deva's dad, Taj. The daughter has recorded it as a tribute to both Carole King (one of her cited musical heroes) and her father. If you know the song, you'll know it's a mystical ramble encourages to "Take a giant step outside your mind".

And that, gives us the flavour of the whole album. 'Run Deep' is a soulful album, but not "traditional" soul. Indeed put it up in i-tunes and it's classed as "alternative". That "conflict" (if that's the right word) can be heard in the catchy 'Snakes' – a danceable, old school soul rumble but with deep lyrics. Deva describes it as a "warning letter to her younger self and a reminder to hold on to your inner light".

There's depth too on the album's best ballad' 'Shards'. This one's about broken hearts and the shards that remain.... each shard, Deva opines, has someone's name on it. It's a powerful song matched by the performance. And there's plenty more power, passion, intrigue, questioning and emotion throughout the whole of 'Run Deep' (an apposite title) which is out now on Motema Music.

By the way Deva insists that "Deva" is pronounced "diva" – prophetic or what?

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Last Updated on Friday, 30 March 2018 17:57

 

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