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Archive for the ‘Rythm and blues’ Category

a1160_joe cocker

John Robert "Joe" Cocker OBE
(20 May 1944 – 22 December 2014)

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995_mable john_01Mable John (born November 3, 1930) is an American blues vocalist and was the first female signed by Berry Gordy to Motown’s Tamla label.

Biography

John was born in Bastrop, Louisiana. At a very young age, she and her parents moved to north across the state-line into Arkansas where her father got a job in a paper mill near the community of Cullendale. There four brothers (including R&B singer Little Willie John) and two sisters were born. In 1941, after her father was able to secure a better job, the family moved to Detroit, where two additional brothers were born. The family lived in a new housing development at Six Mile and Dequindre Road. She attended Cleveland Intermediate School, and then Pershing High School, which is at Seven Mile and Ryan Road. After graduating from Pershing High School, she took a job as an insurance representative at Friendship Mutual Insurance Agency, a company run by Berry Gordy‘s mother, Bertha. Later, she left the company and spent two years at Lewis Business College. She subsequently ran 995_mable john_02into Mrs. Gordy again, who told Mable that her son Berry was writing songs and was looking for people to record them. Gordy began coaching her and would accompany John on piano at local engagements. This continued until 1959, when John performed at the Flame Show bar on John R Street at the last show that Billie Holiday did in Detroit, just weeks before Holiday’s death.

The same year, John began recording for Gordy. First she was signed to United Artists, but nothing was released there. Eventually, she became one of the first artists signed to Tamla, Gordy’s own label. In 1960, she released her first Tamla single, "Who Wouldn’t Love a Man Like That?," a romantic blues number, to no success. John followed with "No Love" in June of that year and then with "Actions Speak Louder Than Words" by year’s end. While Motown was beginning to have success with acts like The Miracles and The Marvelettes (and later The Supremes, who had sung background vocals for John) that appealed to teenagers and young adults, it failed to make an impact in the established blues market. As a result, Gordy soon thinned out his roster of early blues artists. While John continued to be used as a background singer, Gordy dissolved her contract in 1962.

After leaving Motown, John spent several years as a Raelette, backing many Ray Charles hits. In 1966 she attempted a solo career again, signing with Stax Records. Her first single with the label was "Your Good Thing Is About To End." The song peaked at #6 on the R&B chart, and even managed to cross over onto pop radio, peaking at #95 there. She released six more singles for the label, none of which captured her first single’s success. After leaving Stax Records in 1968, John rejoinedThe Raelettes for several years. She left secular music in 1973, and began managing Christian gospel acts, occasionally returning to the studio as a singer.

John received a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1994. She appeared in John Sayles‘ 2007 movie Honeydripper.


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I have always enjoyed song lyrics with double meanings and 40s and 50s doo-wop and rhythm ‘n blues are crammed full of lyrics like that. I guess most of the cuts on the records below has never seen radio air. Dangerous Doo-Wop came in 4 volumes but Risqué Rhythm was produced in just the one. I’ve got all these records and I never tire of listening to them – Ted

864_Dangerous Doo-WopOne of the most enjoyable of R&B vocal collections, this first volume of the Dangerous Doo Wop series not only offers a first-rate entrée into the music, but should intrigue collectors as well. The familiar sounds of the Chords‘ "Sh-Boom" and the Robins‘ rendition of "White Cliffs of Dover" are included along with such marginalia as the Blisters‘ "Shortnin Bread" and the Poets‘ "Vowels of Love." Full of hits or not, the 20 numbers here are high quality, spanning the range of straight a cappella to combo R&B. The rich vocal tradition born in black churches is given secular wings throughout, informing both the Velvet Angels‘ utterly transcendent "I’m in Love" and King Odom 4’s sublimely terrestrial "All of Me." And adding to the fun are the LarksInk Spots-inspired "Lucy Brown," the Monograms’ malt shop bit of innocence "My Baby Dearest Darling," and Flamingos‘ rock & roll jumpin’ "Let’s Make Up." A record that never gets old.
Review by Stephen Cook

864_Risque Rhythm- Nasty 50s R&bThe blue blues compiled on Columbia’s Raunchy Business and reprised on Bluesville’s Bawdy Blues are novelty material. Voicing r&b’s revolt of the body against the cerebral demands of bebop, this stuff is sexy. Even the novelties–the original "My Ding-a-Ling," say–are carnal, and though the oft-collected "Work With Me Annie" and "Sixty-Minute Man" may be mild as poetry, they’re plenty physical as music. The Sultans’ "It Ain’t the Meat" and Connie Allen’s "Rocket 69" are plenty physical as poetry. And Wynonie Harris and Dinah Washington will make you want to fuck. The gift that keeps on giving for any music-lover whose genitalia you cherish.

You can listen to the Risqué Rhythm HERE
Review by Robert Christgau

Also highly recommended
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Teresa James, Long's Park on June 19Originally from Houston, Texas, Teresa is based in Los Angeles where she has assembled a group of some of the top LA based touring and session musicians in her band, The Rhythm Tramps. They have been working in the LA area and at blues festivals and clubs throughout the US and Europe for many years. For the last 12 years, the band has also been a favourite on Delbert McClinton’s Sandy Beaches Blues Cruise.

She has released 8 CDs  – her most recent, COME ON HOME, was released in August, 2012 and has been getting regular airplay on stations around the world and charting for weeks at a time on the Roots Radio Charts (topping off at the #3 spot). It has been listed on many ‘best of’ lists for 2012 and has been receiving raves reviews from writers and DJs everywhere.

Her 2008 release, THE BOTTOM LINE, garnered her a nomination by the Blues Foundation for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year and her 2010 CD, YOU KNOW YOU LOVE IT,was a finalist for an Independent Music Award (IMA).

She has performed live with such legendary artists as Levon Helm, Delbert McClinton, Eric Burdon, Marcia Ball, Tommy Castro, Big Al Anderson, Kirk Whalum, and many others. Her voice is featured on albums by Randy Newman, Eric Burdon, Tommy Castro, Bill Medley, and Walter Trout, among others. She has also sung for television and movie soundtracks; She and her band were featured in the Disney movie and soundtrack for “HOLES“.

Teresa’s band is an eclectic mix of Los Angeles based musicians who have worked with a wide range of artists including: Jimmy Reed, Eric Burdon, Jackson Browne, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Jennifer Warnes, Was Not Was, Johnny Nash and many, many others.

Text from teresajames.com

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Delores LaVern Baker (November 11, 1929 – March 10, 1997) was an American rhythm and blues singer, who had several hit records on the pop chart in the 1950s and early 1960s. Her most successful records were "Tweedlee Dee" (1955), "Jim Dandy" (1956), and "I Cried a Tear" (1958).

Career

791_lavere_baker_02She began singing in Chicago clubs such as the Club DeLisa around 1946, often billed as Little Miss Sharecropper, and first recorded under that name in 1949. She changed her name briefly to Bea Baker when recording for Okeh Records in 1951, and then became LaVern Baker when singing with Todd Rhodes and his band in 1952.

In 1953 she signed for Atlantic Records as a solo artist, her first release being "Soul on Fire". Her first hit came in early 1955, with the Latin-tempo "Tweedlee Dee" reaching #4 on the R&B chart and #14 on the national US pop charts.Georgia Gibbs‘ note-for-note cover of Baker’s "Tweedle Dee" reached #1; subsequently Baker made an unsuccessful attempt to sue her and petitioned Congress to consider such covers copyright violations.

791_lavere_baker_03Baker had a succession of hits on the R&B charts over the next couple of years with her backing group The Gliders, including "Bop-Ting-A-Ling" (#3 R&B), "Play It Fair" (#2 R&B), and "Still" (#4 R&B). At the end of 1956 she had another smash hit with "Jim Dandy" (#1 R&B, #17 pop). It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Further hits followed for Atlantic, including the follow-up "Jim Dandy Got Married" (#7 R&B), "I Cried a Tear" (#2 R&B, #6 pop in 1959), "I Waited Too Long" (#5 R&B, #3 pop, written by Neil Sedaka), "Saved" (#17 R&B, written by Leiber and Stoller), and "See See Rider" (#9 R&B in 1963).

In addition to singing, Baker also did some work with Ed Sullivan and Alan Freed on TV and in films, including Rock, Rock, Rock and Mr. Rock & Roll. In 1964, she recorded a Bessie Smith tribute album, before leaving Atlantic and joining Brunswick Records, where she recorded the album "Let Me Belong to You".

In 1966, Baker recorded a duet single with Jackie Wilson. The controversial song, "Think Twice", featured raunchy lyrics that were not considered appropriate for airplay at that time or even today. Three versions were recorded, one of which is the X-rated version with the raunchy lyrics.

In the late 1960s, Baker became seriously ill after a trip to Vietnam to entertain American soldiers. While recovering at the US Subic Bay Naval Base in the Philippines, her husband, Slappy White filed for a divorce. A friend recommended that she stay on as the entertainment director at the Marine Corps Staff NCO club there, and she remained there for 22 years.

In 1988 she returned to perform at Madison Square Garden for Atlantic Records’ 40th anniversary. She then worked on the soundtracks to films such as Shag, (1989), Dick Tracy, (1990) and A Rage in Harlem (1991), which were all issued on CD. She also performed a song on Alan Parker‘s film Angel Heart (1987), which appeared on the original vinyl soundtrack album, but was not included on the later CD issue "for contractual reasons".

In 1990, she made her Broadway debut replacing Ruth Brown as star of the hit musical Black and Blue. In 1991, Rhino Records released a new album Live in Hollywood recorded at the Hollywood Roosevelt Cinegrill, as well as a compilation of her greatest Atlantic hits entitled Soul on Fire. In 1992, she recorded a well-received studio album, Woke Up This Morning, for DRG Records. She continued performing after having both legs amputated from diabetes complications in 1994 and made her last recording, "Jump Into the Fire," for the 1995 Harry Nilsson tribute CD, For the Love of Harry on the Music Masters label.

She received the 1990 Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. In 1991, Baker became the second female solo artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, following Aretha Franklin in 1987. Her song "Jim Dandy" was named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll and was ranked #343 on the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Text from Wikipedia

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I’ve been listening to Afro-American music for nearly 50 years. And worst, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it – Ted

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BLACK HISTORY IN IMAGES: New Orleans in 1960 was sharply divided over the practice of segregation, and the “Citizens’ Council of Greater New Orleans” advocated some pretty silly stuff, including a protest against black musicians. Please share so we may never forget! Image and text from BlackPast.org

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696_irmaIrma Thomas (born February 18, 1941, Ponchatoula, Louisiana, United States) is an American singer from New Orleans. She is known as the “Soul Queen of New Orleans”.

Thomas is a contemporary of Aretha Franklin and Etta James, but never experienced their level of commercial success. In 2007, she won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album for After the Rain, her first Grammy in a career spanning over 50 years.

Life and career

Born Irma Lee, as a teen she sang with a Baptist church choir, auditioning for Specialty Records as a 13-year old. By the age of 19 she had been married twice and had four children. Keeping her second ex-husband’s surname, she worked as a waitress in New Orleans, occasionally singing with bandleader Tommy Ridgley, who helped her land a record deal with the local Ron label. Her first single, “(You Can Have My Husband but) Don’t Mess with My Man,” was released in spring 1960, and reached number 22 on the Billboard R&B chart.

She then began recording on the Minit label, working with songwriter and producer Allen Toussaint on songs including “It’s Raining” and “Ruler of my Heart”, which was later reinterpreted by Otis Redding as “Pain In My Heart”. Imperial Records acquired Minit in 1963, and a string of successful releases followed. These included “Wish Someone Would Care” (her biggest national hit), its B-side “Breakaway“, written by Jackie DeShannon and Sharon Sheely, (later covered by Tracey Ullman among others), “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is” (co-written by the young Randy Newman and future country star Jeannie Seely, among others), and “Time Is on My Side” (a song previously recorded by Kai Winding, and later by the Rolling Stones).

Although her first four Imperial singles all charted on Billboard’s pop chart, later releases were less successful, and, unlike her contemporaries Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick, she never managed to cross over into mainstream commercial success. She recorded for Chess Records in 1967/68 with some success, the Otis Redding song “Good To Me” reaching the R&B chart. She then relocated to California, releasing records on various small labels, before returning to Louisiana, and in the early 1980s opened her own club, the Lion’s Den.

Down By Law, the 1986 independent film by Jim Jarmusch features “It’s Raining” in the soundtrack. The film’s actors Roberto Benigni and Nicoletta Braschi, whose characters fall in love in the movie, dance to this song.

After several years’ break from recording, she was signed by Rounder Records, and in 1991 earned her first-ever Grammy Award nomination for Live! Simply the Best, recorded in San Francisco. She subsequently released a number of traditional gospel albums, together with more secular recordings. The album Sing It! was nominated for a Grammy in 1999.

Thomas is still active as a performer, appearing annually at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. She reigned as Queen of the Krewe du Vieux for the 1998 New Orleans Mardi Gras season. She often headlined at her own club, which is now out of business due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Thomas relocated to Gonzales, Louisiana, 60 miles (97 km) from New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina. According to her web site she is now back in her home in New Orleans.

Thomas and her husband owned the Lion’s Den Club near the French Quarter of New Orleans.

In April 2007, Thomas was honored for her contributions to Louisiana music with induction into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Also in 2007, Thomas accepted an invitation to participate in Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino where, singing withMarcia Ball, she contributed “I Just Can’t Get New Orleans Off My Mind”.

In August 2009, a compilation album with three new songs titled The Soul Queen of New Orleans: 50th Anniversary Celebrationwas released from Rounder Records to commemorate Thomas’ 50th year as a recording artist.

Thomas was the subject of the 2008 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival poster. She was chosen as the subject before the painting was chosen for the poster. Artist Douglas Bourgeois painted the singer in 2006. In 2010, Thomas rode in the New Orleans parade “Grela”. In April that year, Thomas performed at the Corner Hotel, Richmond.

During Easter 2011, Thomas performed twice at the Bluesfest music festival in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia. On April 24, she performed on the Crossroads stage, coming on after Mavis Staples; then on April 25, she headlined the Crossroads stage, coming on after Jethro Tull and Osibisa.

In December 2011, Thomas’ track “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)” was featured in Charlie Brooker‘s Black Mirror in the second instalment entitled “15 Million Merits”.

In 2013, Thomas was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the ‘Soul Blues Female Artist’ category, which she duly won.

Text from Wikipedia

My Irma Thomas CDs and LPs are still in the all to large stack of record still not ripped to mp3 so you’ll have ti maake do with videos for now – Red

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