Tuesday, 28 July 2015 18:45 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

Earl_Young_Trammps_Darryl_GrantLovers of the sounds of Motown and Philly could do worse than check out a brand new record by two veritable soul veterans.... EARL YOUNG and DARRYL GRANT. Earl, of course, was the leader of/ the drummer in The Trammps while Darryl fronted smooth soul vocal group, Spectrum.

The two have just crafted a new single called '(Don't Underestimate) The Power Of Love '. The song was written by Mervin and Melvin Seals ("Mystro and Lyric") – best known, of course, for the Spinners' 'Could It Be I'm Falling In Love' and the producer credits go to McKinley Jackson. The trio call the sound they've conjured up on the tune 'MoPhilly'... and a quick listen let's you know that that's a good description.

'(Don't Underestimate) The Power Of Love' is a steady mid-tempo groove with a passionate, soulful feeling created from the start by Young's semi-spoken, Barry White-flavoured intro and maintained by Grant's sweet lead. Their vocals are complemented by a track featuring an A list of Philly and Detroit musicians – amongst them bassist Jimmie Williams ('Ain't No Stopping Us Now'), keyboardist Alfie Pollitt (one time MD for Teddy Pendergrass) and the Detroit Horns. MoPhilly? You bet!

Earl Young and Darryl Grant – '(Don't Underestimate) - The Power of Love' - is out now via all the usual download platforms

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 July 2015 18:52



Monday, 27 July 2015 11:03 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

bobThe sad saga of BOBBI KRISTINA BROWN ended yesterday (Sunday, 26th July) when the 22 year old daughter of the late Whitney Houston died. Family spokesperson, Kirsten Foster said; "Bobbi passed away on Sunday surrounded by her family. She was finally at peace in the arms of God".

In January Bobbi was found unresponsive in a bath and placed in a medically induced coma from which she never regained consciousness.

Ms Brown, of course, was the daughter of Whitney (who herself was found dead in a hotel bath in 2102) and Bobby Brown. (The critically acclaimed Cissy Houston was her grandmother).

The Houston family posted a poignant photo of mother and daughter (which we have reproduced). The accompanying text read; "It is hard to say goodbye. On Sunday, July 26, Bobbi Kristina Brown made her transition peacefully. The family thanks everyone for their loving thoughts and prayers. As Bobbi Kristina would say: 'The wind is behind me and the sun is in my face."

Whitney's cousin Dionne Warwick posted: "She will be missed, that's for sure. She was a good girl. She was a good little girl. She really was."

Last Updated on Monday, 27 July 2015 11:08



Sunday, 26 July 2015 19:14 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

Mad_LadsWILLIAM BROWN a founding member of Stax vocal group, the MAD LADS died on Friday 24th July. Brown was 69 and he passed away at Quince Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre in East Memphis,. His health had been poor since he suffered a stroke.

Brown was born in Memphis and he founded his first group, the Emeralds in 1964 with school friends John Gary Williams, Julius Green and Robert Philips. He also worked in the Satellite Record store owned by Stax founder Estelle Axton and after convincing her to come and see his group perform she signed them to Stax's subsidiary, Volt. Ms Axton, it appears, wanted a harmony group on her roster to rival those scoring the hits on the big East coast labels. However, because there was already a group called the Emeralds, Brown's boys adopted a new name, The Mad Lads... either (depending on who you believe) because they were known as studio pranksters or in deference to local DJ, Reuben "Mad Lad" Washington.

Soon the group enjoyed local success with 'Don't Have To Shop Around' and 'I Want A Girl' but in '66 Brown and Williams were drafted into the army and sent to Vietnam. When they returned two years later the two other original members refused to take them back. They, it seemed, preferred working with their replacements – Quincy Blips and Sam Nelson (both later of the Nightingales). The Stax execs though insisted that Brown and Williams re-join. Dissent in the band's ranks was increased when Williams was arrested or ambushing a policeman in 1969, followed the next year by Green being imprisoned for fraud.

With the Mad Lads disintegrating around him, Brown began a career as an engineer and by 1973 the most successful group in Memphis were no longer. In the mid 1990s they reformed but like many of their contemporaries they were assigned to the oldies circuit.

Stax histories also reveal that William Brown's engineering side line brought him plenty of work as a Stax studio engineer – most notably working on the Isaac Hayes' 'Shaft' soundtrack. His engineering skills also took him to the Ardent and Royal studios. Indeed he composed several songs with Willie Mitchell. Brown also contributed backing vocals to dozens of other Stax recordings. He is survived by wife, Martha, three children, two adopted children, and a stepdaughter. John Gary Williams is now the sole remaining original Mad Lad.


Last Updated on Sunday, 26 July 2015 19:19



Friday, 24 July 2015 13:15 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

viv2VIVIENNE MCKONE is a soul veteran who's yet to make the major leagues but her latest single might soon change that. Viv's re-vitalised 'Everything's Gonna Be Alright' is currently wining favour on the modern soul scene where the connoisseurs are wrapt by the tune's chugging beats, sweet melody, great sax work and a so, so soulful vocal.

Viv's committed vocal is the result of long hours working with some of the best dance producers and soul bands (most notably Joey Negro's Sunburst Band). Indeed back in the 90s she enjoyed the release of her own solo album..... 'Vivienne McKone'. The set was produced by Stewart Levine and the single 'Sing Ooh Ee Ooh' reached #47 on the UK charts.

Domestic commitments meant a career break... then a 2011 comeback and the recording of 'Everything's Gonna Be Alright' which is now available again in a tasty "Sax Mix", and, courtesy of DSG records, there are more mixes on the way.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 July 2015 13:22



Friday, 24 July 2015 13:09 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

tlAugust sees two new albums from Concord Records that will especially interest smooth jazz connoisseurs and fans of quality of modern soul.

First up there's an exciting 12 tracker from celebrated drummer/composer/producer TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON. Entitled 'Mosaic Project: Love And Soul' the album features a galaxy of top soul and jazz divas..... Oleta Adams, Natalie Cole, Lalah Hathaway, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Chante Moore, Valerie Simpson, Jaguar Wright, Liz Wright and veteran Nancy Wilson!

The songs are a mix of covers and originals and amongst them there's a wonderful version of Frank Sinatra's 1951 standard 'I'm A Fool To Want You' with Ms Khan on steamy vocals. Luther Vandross fans will be intrigued to know that the album also contains one of his lesser known songs. It's his 1988 ballad 'For You To Love' and with Oleta Adams on vocals it's quite transformed.

NE-NathanEastCDcover_final_hiThe second Concord special comes from Fourplay bassist NATHAN EAST. Simply titled 'Nathan East' this is another album with a stellar guest line up. Helping the genre-crossing bassist deliver his mix of tunes are Eric Clapton, Michael McDonald, Ray Parker Jr, Bob James and someone called Stevie Wonder. The man adds his irresistible harmonica to his own 'Overjoyed while another highlight is Sara Bareilles take on Michael McDonald's 'I Can Let Go Now'

Full reviews of both albums @ SJF very soon

Last Updated on Friday, 24 July 2015 13:23


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