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THIS IS ME ... KELLY EREZ

Friday, 21 January 2011 11:55 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

Kelly_Erez_0293_FINAL_1272218363East Londoner, KELLY EREZ is the latest soul artist to break out via the internet. For the last 2 months KELLY has had her music high on the Reverbnation R&B/Soul chart – a position achieved largely via her growing online fanbase. That fanbase has helped fund her first "proper" release. The fan-funded site, www.pledgemusic.com has provided the cash for her to continue writing and recording with STEVE BUSH and AUBREY NUNN and together they've laid down a new five track EP – 'This Is Me' - which will be easily available via Defintion Music/i-tunes from February 14th.

Lead track is a great pop/soul ballad called 'Letters' while 'Come To Me' shows an altogether chillier side to the young Londoner. Listen up too to a great stripped down version of BURT BACHARACH'S 'Close To You'. Wisley KELLY and her team let the warmth and clarity in her voice do all the work. It's a great version of a familar song and comes across like meeting up with an old friend. For more info go to www.kellyerez.com

 

SOUTHPORT ON THE MOVE....

Friday, 21 January 2011 11:51 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

southport_300x300The Southport Weekender is one of the UK's most cherished soul festivals... and it has been for the past 24 years. For the last 21 years it's all taken place at the Pontins Holiday camp up there on the magnificent North West Coast. However, for this year the whole event is to move lock stock and proverbial to the other end of the country – to the Butlin's Holiday Resort at Minehead – to be precise! No reason has been given, but it's no secret that the Pontins Company is currently undergoing some business difficulties.

ALEX LOWES – the creator and Godfather of the Southport Weekender says, "This will be our 5th different location for the Weekenders since we began way back in October 1987. Most of our events have been held at the Southport Pontins Site and we will forever cherish the memories, the many magical moments that have taken place there, along with the thousands of lifelong friendships made. However, there is always a time to move forward and grow, so to be given the opportunity to host The Weekender at the fantastic Minehead, Butlins site is very exciting and a move we look forward to embracing. I have absolutely no doubts that the wonderful crowd who have supported us over 24 years and the many new people who will be joining us will absolutely love it. We cannot wait!"

The event takes place on MAY 6th, 7th and 8th and though Initial tickets for Southport Weekender's May 2011 festival sold out in just 2 weeks of going on general sale - now with the event moving to Butlins, which sports a larger capacity now sleeping 6000 party people on site, the festival will be putting up a further 1500 tickets on sale! There is a vast range of accommodation on offer, from 2-berth upwards to 8-berth, with a choice of self catering and room only.

TICKETS GO ON SALE AS OF FRIDAY 28TH JANUARY 2011 AT 1PM GMT.... AVAILABLE FROM www.southportweekender.co.uk  or 0844 879 7210 or +44 1207 549 223 (from overseas)

Last Updated on Friday, 21 January 2011 12:08

 

ETTA JAMES FIGHTS LEUKAEMIA

Saturday, 15 January 2011 16:54 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

etta-james-456-011211Press reports from the USA have confirmed that legendary soul vocalist ETTA JAMES is battling leukaemia. Covering the story, ASSOCIATED PRESS adds that her husband, ARTIS MILLS, is seeking to control ETTA'S finances as the 72-year-old singer is also suffering from dementia.

In the '50s and '60s, ETTA JAMES – working chiefly for the iconic Chess label - became one of the first soul superstars, though her work also encompassed jazz and blues. Her biggest hits included 'All I Could Do Was Cry' ,'Tell Mama', 'Something's Got A Hold On Me' and the luscious 'At Last'.

Over the course of her career, Ms JAMES won four Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Sadly her career has had as many downs as ups and she's never been shy of controversy, most notably - in recent years - when she publicly criticised BEYONCE'S version of "her" song 'At Last'. ETTA JAMES has recorded 27 studio albums, issued an impressive 58 singles and her work has long been a mainstay of the Chess catalogue.

Last Updated on Saturday, 15 January 2011 17:00

 

FROM CORINNE WITH LOVE

Saturday, 15 January 2011 16:52 Bill Bucklet E-mailPrintPDF

EPThe ever-lovely CORINNE BAILEY RAE is set to release a five track EP on the great love fest that is Valentine's Day. Her label, Good Groove/Virgin, have announced that on that momentous day they'll issue her 'The Love EP' – a digital only release made up of five of the Leeds' lady's favourite songs which were recorded during her 2010 world tour. 

The set kicks off with a cover of PRINCE'S 'I Wanna Be Your Lover', followed by a rocky take on BELLY'S 'Low Moon Red'. The three other tracks are a soul-inflected reading of BOB MARLEY'S 'Is This Love', a sparse look at PAUL McCARTNEY'S 'My Love' and a lengthy interpretation of DORIS DAY'S 'Que Sera Sera'... so different to that familiar original. 

The mix of styles and influences is matched by the manner in which the recordings were made. CORINNE told us, "I recorded this EP as we travelled - taping a gig in Washington DC, snatching a few hours in an Amsterdam studio, recording backing vocals under a duvet in freezing New York, sweltering in Las Vegas as we couldn't record with the noisy air-con turned on, editing in the back of a tour bus in Korea and channelling vivid memories of racing around Coachella trying to catch A SLY STONE performance. Not only is this EP an homage to some of my favourite musicians and a conversation between some of my musical influences, but these tracks are snapshots of my year around the world."

 

Teena Marie – A Tribute: The Journey From Hitsville to Soulville

Wednesday, 12 January 2011 19:52 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

teena_ripWhen Berry Gordy first signed Teena Marie to Motown back in 1976, it's true to say that he didn't know what to do with her. Sure, he knew that she was a precociously-talented singer/songwriter who had been a child actress in 'The Beverley Hillbillies' TV show but how was he going to market a 20-year-old green-eyed, flame-haired white girl from California as an R&B singer? She certainly didn't fit the traditional soul diva archetype. In fact, it took three long years of hard and often fruitless graft in the studio with a host of different producers before Gordy and his protégé found the sonic answer to their prayers – Rick James. In James, Marie – born Mary Christine Brockert in Santa Monica – found a kindred spirit and their instant musical chemistry proved explosive, yielding the debut hit 'I'm A Sucker For Your Love' in 1979. Due to her gutsy, authentic-sounding R&B style, many American record buyers thought Marie was black, an illusion that Motown fuelled by omitting her picture from her debut album, 'Wild & Peaceful' (interestingly, in the UK, where racial origin was less of an issue, the album had a picture of Teena on the back).

After an acrimonious break up with James – the two were romantically entangled for a while - Marie, who was nicknamed 'Lady Tee' by soul fans, gradually began to have more creative control of her music and experienced massive Stateside R&B smashes in the early-'80s with songs like 'Behind The Groove,' 'I Need Your Lovin',' 'Square Biz,' and 'Portuguese Love.' But her dream deal with Motown turned sour in 1982 and after she triumphed in a legal battle with Berry Gordy's company over the details of her contract, she signed a lucrative deal with Epic Records that would eventually yield her only US chart topper, 1988's 'Ooo La La La.'

Teena left Epic in '91 and released the album 'Passion Play' in 1994 on her own independent label, Sarai. After that, recording-wise, Teena kept a low profile until 2004, when – in what many observers deemed an unusual move – she pacted with the hip-hop label, Cash Money, and released 'La Dona.' The album proved a big commercial hit in the States and the lead-off track, 'I'm Still In Love,' was Grammy-nominated. More importantly, it provided convincing evidence that Teena was far from spent as a creative force and could hold her own against R&B's younger generation of singers. A second Cash Money long player, 2006's 'Sapphire,' was a similarly strong set, featuring cameos from Smokey Robinson and George Duke.

What turned out to be Teena Marie's final album was arguably her strongest for many moons. Called 'Congo Square,' it was her debut for the resurrected Stax label and in promoting it, Teena travelled to the UK, where she performed a sold-out show at IndigO2 last January. During her rare sojourn to England (her previous visit had been in 1991), I had the good fortune of meeting her face-to-face for an interview alongside Soul Walking's affable and deeply knowledgeable proprietor, Toby Walker. Quietly spoken and diminutive, Teena gave the impression of being a warm, sincere person who was deeply passionate about her music-making. Not only that, she was modest and humble too and her responses to our questions offered a lot of insight into her life, career and personality.

She was due for a return visit to the UK in the early part of this year but sadly, Teena – who had suffered a seizure a few weeks earlier - died in her sleep on 26th December 2010. She was only 54 years old and judging from her recent records, had a lot more music inside her that she was ready to share with the world.

Though, sadly, she's no longer with us, Teena Marie's music will undoubtedly live on. The musical legacy she leaves behind is both rich and varied. As a vanilla-hued girl from California who loved Sarah Vaughan and cited Smokey Robinson and John Lennon as influences, she brought a unique perspective and indeed, sound, to R&B music. She had a deep affinity with African-Americans – she grew up in a mostly black area in the Venice Beach area, which was dubbed 'Venice Harlem' – and because of that, black Americans regarded her as one of their own – a rare feat for a white girl who sang at comedian Jerry Lewis' wedding when she was ten years old.

Teena Marie also leaves a daughter behind, Alia Rose, who performs under the name Rose LeBeau and who made an impressive cameo appearance on Teena's 'Congo Square' album. If she's half as good as her mother, she'll be a force to be reckoned with.

(CW)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 March 2015 10:36

 

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