Earth, Wind & Fire – Now, Then & Forever

Forty years on the excitement continues with Earth, Wind & Fire. This week saw the release of their latest studio recording, Now, Then & Forever. (September 10th)

Earth, Wind & Fire have a proud history with CBS Sony and Legacy Recordings. I have hung tough with Earth, Wind & Fire the past decade as they attempted to strike flint and make fire with two previous studio recordings on the Sanctuary Records label, The Promise  (2003) and Illumination (2005). I liked both recordings for the collaborative inventiveness exhibited.

Now, Then & Forever on Sony Legacy is the 21st studio album from this prolific group. This is the first album produced without musical input from founder Maurice White.

Earth, Wind & Fire used a sales formula that a couple of their musical peers (The Beach Boys, Rod Stewart) have been effective masterminding. They staged a product launch and musical concert with The Home Shopping Network and HSN Live The HSN marketing machine has tremendous reach with cable shoppers and InterWeb fans. The live television event helped Earth, Wind & Fire sell 10,000 albums in 90 minutes.

Welcome Back Earth, Wind & Fire your perseverance is awe-inspiring.

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The O’Jays Love Train at Mohegan Sun Casino Arena

We are invited to a private show featuring the O’Jays at the Mohegan Sun Casino Arena later this month. We are excited to witness live the Philadelphia Soul sounds classically forged by the O’Jays and Gamble and Huff, an American songwriting and record production team who have written and produced over 170 gold and platinum records!

Can’t wait to join hands and board the Love Train.

Uncle Charlie Wilson – BET Lifetime Achievement Award

I have loved the adulation shown to Uncle Charlie Wilson at last night’s BET Awards at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Uncle Charlie Wilson received the Lifetime Achievement Award and rocked the house.

He was joined by Pharrell, Snoop Dog/Lion, and Justin Timberlake in a rousing medley that you must see to believe. It is one of the most exciting and riveting performances I have seen in some time. The audience is so into it. You’ll love and respect Uncle Charlie even more when you see this segment.

http://www.charliewilsonmusic.com/us/news/charlie-dominates-bet-awards

As Snoop said during the performance, “Knock Em Out The Box, Unc!”. Which he did to the happiness of everyone in attendance and watching the awards broadcast.

New Earth, Wind & Fire Album – Now, Then & Forever

Earth, Wind & Fire are energetically back with a new album, Now, Then & Forever  It marks the return of the band’s signature sound. The album drops on September 10th and includes 10 brand new, vibrant songs. You can preview the newest single, “My Promise,” exclusively at EarthWindandFire.com!

Sly & The Family Stone Deluxe 4CD Box Set ‘Higher!’

On August 27th, Epic/Legacy, a division of Sony Music will release the Sly & The Family Stone 4CD box set, Higher

Featuring 17 previously unreleased track this deluxe edition box set offers the chance to experience the songs you know and love but often in alternate versions, including mono singles, demos, instrumental tracks, live concert and television recordings, and more.

Housed in a colorful slipcase with a lavishly-illustrated 104-page book, the box set will feature 77 tracks, 17 of them previously unreleased.

Three major elements are central to the 104-page book. There is the authoritative liner notes essay written by Jeff Kaliss, author of I Want To Take You Higher: The Life And Times Of Sly & The Family Stone, the group’s only authorized biography. The booklet also contains a comprehensive, lavishly-illustrated timeline compiled by Dutch authorities Edwin & Arno Konings. Nearly 100 entries span from March 15, 1943 (“Sylvester Stewart is born in Denton, Texas. Six months later, the family moves to Vallejo, California”) to a final update in late-2012. The Koningses have also contributed track-by-track annotations for all 77 cuts in Higher! The notes contain excerpts from Thank You, the Koningses’ own forthcoming biography of Sly & The Family Stone. (Go to www.slystonebook.com).

Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul

I miss Isaac Hayes. He made outstanding contributions to soul music. He first achieved success as songwriting partner with David Porter and as record producer of several of Sam & Dave’s big hits, “Hold On I’m Comin“, “Soul Man”, and “I Thank You” on Stax Records. He is well-known for his musical score for the film Shaft (1971). For the “Theme from Shaft“, he was awarded the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1972.

My favorite solo album by Isaac Hayes is Hot Buttered Soul. This album is straight ahead soul delivery. What I love about the album is that it is complementary . By this I mean that Isaac Hayes a great songwriter in his own right pays tribute to the songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and Hal David with the extended “Walk On By”. Then he ends the recording with an 18+ minute rendition of Jimmy Webb‘s “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”. We so love Jimmy Webb’s songs.

Check out the superb groove that Isaac Hayes on piano establishes with The Bar-Kays on “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic”. Tasty Wah-Wah playing going on. You will not be able to sit still for that one trust me. 😉

Hot Buttered Soul is a landmark soul gem that you must listen to in its entirety to gain the full appreciation.

God bless you Isaac Hayes you make the music of our heart soulfully complete 🙂

Track Listing

Side One
  1. Walk On By” (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) – 12:03
  2. “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic” (Isaac Hayes, Alvertis Isbell) – 9:38
Side Two
  1. “One Woman” (Charles Chalmers, Sandra Rhodes) – 5:10
  2. By the Time I Get to Phoenix” (Jimmy Webb) – 18:42

Jessie Ware Is Everywhere

Jessie Ware is everywhere. The word ingenue comes to mind when I hear her sing. Her début album Devotion a top seller in 2012 is being re-released on April 15th with the addition of four bonus tracks including two previously unheard cuts – ‘Imagine It Was Us’ and ‘Wildest Moments – Feat. A$AP Rocky’.

Is there a track on the album you’re proudest of?

I think maybe “Running“. It came right at the end of the album, and maybe that was when I was at my most relaxed and content and confident, so it became I easier to write. I feel so proud of that song: it sounds like everything that I wanted to achieve, with the references to old soul and dance, and the groove and electronic feel.

Expect more hype to follow when Jessie Ware invades America next month for concert dates in the New York Area and two appearances at Coachella.

Thinking About Buddy Miles

I saw a video of Buddy Miles on my Web page side bar and clicked on the YouTube video to watch the performance.

This is how I remember Buddy Miles best. Giving off that great soul vibe, singing his heart out for his fans. Notice he is wearing a Fillmore East staff shirt 😉

 

The band shown in this video was who I saw him play with in December of 1970. I loved that he was playing with Charlie Karp and David Hull from Westport, Ct. The word of mouth on these local musicians was that they were stellar and that proved to be true.  They are featured in this Helsinki 1971 broadcast television video.

We will miss you, Don Cornelius

I was very sorry to learn that Don Cornelius died. He was so instrumental to soul music, popular dance, and cultural achievement.

So many great artists graced his Soul Train center stage. Here he is introducing the Jackson 5 in a classic moment of music history.

“Wishing you love, peace and soul”

Rest in Peace, Don Cornelius.