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Tag: Soul (71-80 of 80)

Extended Play: Galactic's 'YA-KA-MAY'

Welcome to Extended Play, an occasional feature where we review CDs we couldn’t squeeze into the magazine—even though many of us really are quite excellent squeezers. This week: the newie from NOLA outfit Galactic.

Galactic
YA-KA-MAY
Funk (ANTI-)

Can we describe this collection from the New Orleans quintet without using the word “gumbo”? Probably not. The funkateers have infused YA-KA-MAY with an abundance of varied flavors as they skillfully back a wide range of NOLA musicians, from legendary artists such as singer Irma Thomas and producer-composer Allen Toussaint, to young rappers Katey Red and Sissy Nobby, who both feature on the energetic, clattering, “Katey vs. Nobby.” The result is an often very tasty musical, uh, stew. B+ —Clark Collis
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The Rebirth Brass Band-assisted “Boe Money” and the slinky Irma Thomas showcase “Heart of Steel”

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Photo credit: Taylor Crothers

'How to Make It in America,' step one: Get a fantastic theme song from Aloe Blacc

When my friends and I watched the series premiere of HBO’s How to Make It in America this weekend, we rewound as soon as the opening credits were over so we could listen again to the new show’s awesome theme song, “I Need a Dollar.” It sounded like the type of thing you might discover deep in someone’s collection of old soul records on vinyl — maybe an obscure Bill Withers B-side we weren’t familiar with?

Nope! A quick Google check revealed that we were enjoying a brand new tune from 2010, not 1970. “I Need a Dollar” is the first single from singer Aloe Blacc‘s album Good Things, coming soon on left-field rap haven Stones Throw Records. His backing band on this track is retro-soul outfit El Michels Affair, whose work I’ve praised in this space.

Stones Throw is generously offering up “I Need a Dollar” as a free MP3 download, so go and grab it now, or watch a promo featuring How to Make It in America‘s title sequence below. (Frankly, those opening credits are the only part of the show that I’d say is worth your time — but hey, maybe it’ll improve in the next few episodes.) Then let us know if you’re digging How to Make It in America‘s theme song as much as I do.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Vh1's 'Soul Train' documentary: don't miss it

I am not usually one to shill for Vh1 programming on this blog, unless it’s for the music Tom Sizemore hears in his head on Celebrity Rehab, but the channel’s Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America, which airs Saturday night at 9:30pm ET/PT, should not be missed.

Terrence Howard narrates the documentary, Roots drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson scores it, and countless icons spanning the show’s 40-year run, including Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Sly Stone, Smokey Robinson and Snoop Dogg, appear as talking heads.

But the real star of Hippest Trip is the show itself: Archival clips from its early beginnings as a local program in Chicago in 1970 and on through its move—both geographical and cultural—to Los Angeles, where its social impact reached far beyond hair styles and hot-minute singles.

Soul Train‘s producer and host, Don Cornelius, is still the man with the best baritone this side of James Earl Jones (and his snazzy outfits leave Darth Jones in the dust). The guests, from Ike & Tina to Public Enemy, are amazing—not to mention some of the first musicians to appear live on TV in a time when lip-synching was considered de rigueur. And the dancers, future stars Rosie Perez and Jody Watley among them, are insanely fun to watch. If you can toot your caboose half as well this crew on the infamous Soul Train Line, while looking one-tenth as fashion bananas, you are a champion.

Or, you could just make love to a red rose, rock the bejesus out of a pair of yellow poly pants and a brown silk arm sling, and be Al Green:

Seriously, tune in tomorrow night. If you have ever loved R&B, soul, hip hop, music, television, or joy, it is worth your time.

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Patti LaBelle remembers Teddy Pendergrass: "We were like sister and brother"

Teddy Pendergrass clearly made an emotional connection with a lot of performers during his life. Foremost among them was singer Patti LaBelle, who earlier today told EW about her relationship with the now sadly late soul legend.

“I knew him very,” she said. “We were like sister and brother. We were just always together. He lived not far from me and he would come to all of my shows and sit in the front row. I’d see him and I’d get chills. He was just a wonderful person that we lost, but his spirit will always be around.”

The singer also recalled the first time that she heard Pendergrass sing. “We were on the same label and I heard him sing and his voice floored me,” she said. “There’ll never be another Teddy.”

More on Teddy Pendergrass:
Teddy Pendergrass: Songwriter Leon Huff recalls his friend
Teddy Pendergrass: Remember the voice
Teddy Pendergrass dies at 59
Teddy Pendergrass: Stars pay their respects

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Photo credit: LaBelle: Sayre Berman/PR Photos, Pendergrass: Lennox Smillie/Camera Press/Retna Ltd.

Teddy Pendergrass: Songwriter and producer Leon Huff remembers his long friendship with the late Philly soul star

Leon Huff, together with his songwriting partner Kenny Gamble, played a crucial role in the career of Teddy Pendergrass, who died yesterday. The pair signed Pendergrass to their Philadelphia International record label when he was still the drummer with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. But it wasn’t long before they recognized his vocal talents and the pair began to write tracks for Pendergrass. Gamble and Huff would also oversee his hugely successful transition into a solo star. EW spoke with Leon Huff earlier today and you can read his recollections of the late soul legend after the break, where you will also find a clip of Pendergrass’s emotional performance at Live Aid.

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Teddy Pendergrass: Stars pay their respects to the late soul legend

Musicians have been paying their respects via Twitter to soul legend Teddy Pendergrass, who died yesterday.

“Celebrate our legends while they’re still with us,” wrote R&B singer Tyrese, “I spent many weeks with him. Teddy I HONOR you and Thank You for making R&B Raspy Sexy!!” Roots drummer ?uestlove, who, like Pendergrass, hails from Philadelphia, noted that, “soul will never be the same.” Jazzy Jeff, another Philadelphian, recalled how “Teddy gave me advice when I 1st started…very sad day.” Finally, Keri Hilson wrote simply, “RIP Teddy Pendergrass.”

More on Teddy Pendergrass:
Teddy Pendergrass: Remember the voice
Teddy Pendergrass dies at 59

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Ke$ha dethrones Susan Boyle on the albums chart

Photo credit: Lennox Smillie/Camera Press/Retna Ltd.

Legendary producer Willie Mitchell dies at age 81

Producer, musician, songwriter, trumpeter, and record label chief Willie Mitchell passed away this morning in Memphis at the age of 81. Mitchell was best known for being one of the principal architects of the so-called “Memphis sound,” and for his collaborations with soul legend Al Green.

Mitchell was born in Ashland, Miss., and in the ’50s and ’60s had a successful career as a soul band leader. In 1970 he took charge of the Memphis-based Hi Records label and signed Al Green.

For the next six years Mitchell produced a string of hits for the singer including “Let’s Stay Together,” “Tired of Being Alone,” and “I’m Still In Love With You.” He also oversaw albums for Ann Peebles and Syl Johnson and, more recently, collaborated with John Mayer.

Mitchell was a tireless booster of Memphis musicians. “The players here can do anything,” he declared in 2007. “I don’t give a damn if it’s opera or R&B, pop or country. They do it all.” Hear Green work his Mitchell-helmed magic on a true classic, below:

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Photo credit: GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty Images

Soundgarden's 'Jesus Christ Pose'... as a gospel song? Only on EW.com!

Although it’s easy to assume Seattle’s music history started with grunge, the truth is — like most things — far deeper. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, in fact, Seattle was home to one of the country’s most vibrant funk and soul scenes, an extension of the community that birthed Jimi Hendrix and Quincy Jones, and gave Ray Charles an early home.

In 2004, Light in the Attic released Wheedle’s Groove: Seattle’s Finest in Funk & Soul 1965-1975, a compilation of the best from the mostly-forgotten artists of that time. A live reunion show to celebrate that release has inspired a film and a followup project, featuring new tracks by the original artists recorded by the man known as “the George Martin of the Northwest Sound,” 80 year old Kearney Barton. The album is named for him, too.

Kearney Barton is full of must-hear stuff, but none more so than the cover that bridges the gap between Seattle’s two histories: Pastor Pat Wright (formerly known as Patrinell Staten) and her Total Experience Gospel Choir, covering Soundgarden’s “Jesus Christ Pose.” It’s streaming below for one week only as a glorious example of the power of interpretation. As a grunge lifer who never imagined this song without Chris Cornell’s hairy, strafing wail, I personally think this is pretty cool. Give a listen, and let us know what you think in the comments.

[Due to the magic of publishing rights issues, this mp3 no longer exists on this site. Hopefully, you can find it elsewhere. Or buy the record!]

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Living Legends You Need to Know: Swamp Dogg

Swampdoggwilliams_lToday sees the publication of Ben Greenman’s excellent new novel, Please Step Back, which chronicles the rise and fall of a (very) Sly Stone-ish rock/soul pioneer named Rock Foxx. It’s gotten raves from the likes of Walter Mosley, Dave Eggers, and George Pelecanos, but even more thrillingly, it’s also resulted in a collaboration with a real-life rock/soul pioneer, Jerry “Swamp Dogg” Williams, who “covered” one of the Rock Foxx songs. (You can hear that here.)

Swamp Dogg is — I’ll just say it — a one-of-a-kind musical genius. Last month, even as I wondered aloud if Bobby Womack was “the world’s most underrated r&b artist,” I was hedging my bets. It’s not a knock against Womack, it’s just that he’s hardly an unknown. Swamp Dogg, on the other hand, is a too-well-kept secret, although he’s written and produced hit records over a five-decade span. As he wrote on liner notes 35 years ago, "Where else but in America could a person own a Rolls-Royce, an Eldorado Mark IV, a Mercedes limousine, an estate in Long Island, an apartment in Hollywood and still be considered a failure?"

So what’s the big deal with Swamp Dogg? Oh, I’m so glad you asked. After the jump, a look at what makes him so great.

addCredit(“Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images”)

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Essence Music Festival announces its 2009 lineup

Beyonce_lThe Essence Music Festival celebrates its 15th anniversary this year with a fabulous all-star lineup featuring everyone from Beyonce, Ne-Yo, and Maxwell to Keri Hilson, Salt N Pepa, and Al Green. The three-day R&B, soul, and hip-hop extravaganza kicks off on July 3 in New Orleans. Tickets go on sale today, with prices ranging from $51-$200 and weekend packages running $153-$545. Check out the full day-by-day roster of performers after the jump and let me know what you think. If you ask me, it looks like this event is going to be hotter than July. Road trip, anyone?

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