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Archive for the ‘Soul music’ Category

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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547_sugarpie_03Sugar Pie DeSanto (born Umpeylia Marsema Balinton, October 16, 1935, Brooklyn, New York, United States) is a Filipino-American rhythm and blues singer of the 1950s and 1960s.

Career
In 1955, DeSanto did some touring with The Johnny Otis Revue. Otis gave her her stage name. From 1959 to 1960, she toured with The James Brown Revue.

In 1960, DeSanto rose to national prominence when her single "I Want to Know" reached number four on Billboard’s Hot R&B chart. She recorded the song with her husband Pee Wee Kingsley. Soon thereafter her marriage to Kingsley fell apart, and DeSanto moved to Chicago and signed with Chess Records in 1962 as a recording artist and writer. Among her recordings at Chess were "Slip-In Mules", "Use What You 547_sugarpie_01Got", "Soulful Dress" (her biggest hit at Chess), and "I Don’t Wanna Fuss". DeSanto participated in the American Folk Blues Festival tour of Europe in 1964, and her lively performances, including wild dancing and standing back flips, were widely appreciated.

In 1965 DeSanto, under the name Peylia Parham, began a writing collaboration with Shena DeMell. They produced the song "Do I Make Myself Clear", which DeSanto sang as a duet with Etta James, which reached the top 10. It was followed up by a 1966 DeSanto-James duet, "In the Basement". DeSanto’s next song, "Go Go Power", did not chart, and DeSanto and Chess parted ways.

Sugar Pie DeSanto kept on writing songs and recorded for a few more labels without much success; she eventually moved back to the Bay Area, settling in Oakland.

Though it had often been said that her stage performances far surpassed her studio recordings, a full length live recording, Classic Sugar Pie, was not released until 1997.

DeSanto was given a Bay Area Music Award in 1999 for best female blues singer. In September 2008, she was given a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. DeSanto received a lifetime achievement award from the Goldie Awards in November 2009.

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Soulful Dress
Sugar Pie DeSanto
 
Down In The Basement (The Chess Years)
1964
1997
Rhythm ‘n blues
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Use What You Got
Sugar Pie DeSanto
 
Down In The Basement (The Chess Years)
1964
1997
Rhythm ‘n blues
Go Go Power (kent 317) Title:
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Go Go Power
Sugar Pie DeSanto
 
Go Go Power (Kent)
1966 
2008
Rhythm ‘n blues
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I’ve been on a Sam Cooke high all week, and hardly played anything else on the turntables or the mp3-player. I’ve got twelve solo records with the man and four he did with The Soul Stirrers. 387 cuts. Some doublets, even triples, sure, but who cares. Anything the man did is worth listening to both two and three times – Ted

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Another Saturday Night
Sam Cooke
Portrait Of A Legend – 1951 – 1964
February 28, 1963
June 17, 2003
Soul, Rhythm ‘n’ blues

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Twisting The Night Away
Sam Cooke
Portrait Of A Legend – 1951 – 1964
January 9, 1962
June 17, 2003
Soul, Rhythm ‘n’ blues

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A Change Is Gonna Come
Sam Cooke
Portrait Of A Legend – 1951 – 1964
January 30, 1964
June 17, 2003
Soul, Rhythm ‘n’ blues

On December 11, 1964, Cooke was fatally shot by the manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 33. At the time, the courts ruled that Cooke was drunk and distressed, and that the manager had killed Cooke in what was later ruled a justifiable homicide. Since that time, the circumstances of his death have been widely questioned.

This is 50 years ago now, and still Sam Cooke’s music is vibrant, alive and able to fill at least my mind with a deep respect and my heart with joy – Ted

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Tittle: Let Me Down Easy
Album: Bluesoul Belles: The Complete Calla, Port & Roulette Recordings
Artist: Bettye LaVette – Released: 2005
Genre: Rhythm N’ Blues, Soul

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Tittle: 40 Cups Of Coffee
Album: Barrelhouse, Boogie & Blues
Artist: Ella Mae Morse
Released: 1954
Genre: Jazz/Blues vocal

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Tittle: In The Basement, Part One
Album: Down In The Basement (The Chess Years)
Artist: Sugar Pie DeSanto
Released: 1997
Genre:
Rhythm N’ Blues/Blues vocal

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Tittle: I’ve Got To Get Away From It All (Version 1)
Album: Shades of Mitty Collier – The Chess Singles (1961-1968)
Artist: Mitty Collier – Released: 2008
Genre:
Rhythm N’ Blues vocal

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Tittle: What Happened To The Real Me 
Album: Only For The Lonely
Artist: Mavis Staples 
Released: 1970
Genre: Soul vocal

WordPress has a simple shortcode that places a music player right into your posts and thanks to some friendly e-mail coaching from Russ at Russ & Gary’s "The Best Years of Music" I am now able to use this code as you can see. If you are in any way interested in music from the days they knew how to make it their blog is a goldmine of sweet sound – Ted

From now on I’ll give you a little taste of my 3500+ records every now and then. Suggestions might be accepted if I should happen to have the track you want to hear – Ted

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348_mary wells_01Mary Esther Wells (May 13, 1943 – July 26, 1992) was an American singer who helped to define the emerging sound of Motown in the early 1960s. Along with the Supremes, the Miracles, the Temptations, and the Four Tops, Wells was said to have been part of the charge in black music onto radio stations and record shelves of mainstream America, "bridging the color lines in music at the time."

With a string of hit singles composed mainly by Smokey Robinson, including "Two Lovers" (1962), the Grammy-nominated "You Beat Me to the Punch" (1962) and her signature hit, "My Guy" (1964), she became recognized as "The Queen of Motown" until her departure from the company in 1964, at the height of her popularity. She was one of Motown’s first singing superstars.

Early life and initial recordings
Mary Esther Wells was born near Detroit’s Wayne State University on May 13, 1943, to a mother who worked as a domestic, and an absentee father. One of three children, she contracted spinal meningitis at the age of two and struggled with partial blindness, deafness in one ear and temporary paralysis. During her early years, Wells lived in a poor residential Detroit district. By age 12, she was helping her mother with house cleaning work. She described the ordeal years later:

"Daywork they called it, and it was damn cold on hallway linoleum. Misery is Detroit linoleum in January—with a half-froze bucket of Spic-and-Span."—Mary Wells

348_mary wells_02Wells used singing as her comfort from her pain and by age 10 had graduated from church choirs to performing at local nightclubs in the Detroit area. Wells graduated from Detroit’s Northwestern High School at the age of 17 and set her sights on becoming a scientist, but after hearing about the success of Detroit musicians such as Jackie Wilson and the Miracles, she decided to try her hand at music as a singer-songwriter.

In 1960, 17-year-old Wells approached Tamla Records founder Berry Gordy at Detroit’s Twenty Grand club with a song she had intended for Jackie Wilson to record, since Wells knew of Gordy’s collaboration with Wilson. However, a tired Gordy insisted Wells sing the song in front of him. Impressed, Gordy had Wells enter Detroit’s United Sound Studios to record the single, titled "Bye Bye Baby". After a reported 22 takes, Gordy signed Wells to the Motown subsidiary of his expanding record label and released the song as a single in September 1960; it peaked at No 8 on the R&B chart in 1961, and later crossed over to the pop singles chart, where it peaked at number 45.

Wells’ early Motown recordings reflected a rougher R&B sound than the smoother style of her biggest hits. Wells became the first Motown female artist to have a Top 40 pop single after the Mickey Stevenson-penned doo-wop song, "I Don’t Want to Take a Chance", hit No. 33 in June,1961. In the fall of that year, Motown issued her first album and released a third single, the bluesy ballad "Strange Love". When that record bombed, Gordy set Wells up with the Miracles’ lead singer Smokey Robinson. Though she was hailed as "the first lady of Motown", Wells was technically Motown’s third female signed act: Claudette Rogers, of Motown’s first star group the Miracles, has been referred to by Berry Gordy as "the first lady of Motown Records" due to her being signed as a member of the group, and in late 1959 Detroit blues-gospel singer Mable John had signed to the then-fledging label a year prior to Wells’ arrival. Nevertheless, Wells’ early hits as one of the label’s few female solo acts did make her the label’s first female star and its first fully successful solo artist.

Success
Wells’ teaming with Robinson led to a succession of hit singles over the following two years. Their first collaboration, 1962’s "The One Who Really Loves You", was Wells’ first smash hit, peaking at No. 2 on the R&B chart and No. 8 on the Hot 100. The song featured a calypso-styled soul production that defined Wells’ early hits. Motown released the similar-sounding "You Beat Me to the Punch" a few months later. The song became her first R&B No. 1 single and peaked at No. 9 on the pop chart. The success of "You Beat Me to the Punch" helped to make Wells the first Motown star to be nominated for a Grammy Award when the song received a nod in the Best Rhythm & Blues Recording category.

In late 1962, "Two Lovers" became Wells’ third consecutive single to hit the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100, peaking at No. 7 and becoming her second No. 1 hit on the R&B charts. This helped to make Wells the first female solo artist to have three consecutive Top 10 singles on the pop chart. The track sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Wells’ second album, also titled The One Who Really Loves You, was released in 1962 and peaked at No. 8 on the pop albums chart, making the teenage singer a breakthrough star and giving her clout at Motown. Wells’ success at the label was recognized when she became a headliner during the first string of Motortown Revue concerts, starting in the fall of 1962. The singer showcased a rawer stage presence that contrasted with her softer R&B recordings.

Wells’ success continued in 1963 when she hit the Top 20 with the doo-wop ballad "Laughing Boy" and scored three additional Top 40 singles, "Your Old Standby", "You Lost the Sweetest Boy", and its B-side, "What’s Easy for Two Is So Hard for One". "You Lost the Sweetest Boy" was one of the first hit singles composed by the successful Motown songwriting and producing trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland, though Robinson remained Wells’ primary producer.

Also in 1963, Wells recorded a session of successful B-sides that arguably became as well known as her hits, including "Operator", "What Love Has Joined Together", "Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right" and "Old Love (Let’s Try It Again)". Wells and Robinson also recorded a duet titled "I Want You ‘Round", which would be re-recorded by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston.

348_mary wells_03In 1964, Wells recorded "My Guy". The Smokey Robinson song became her trademark single, reaching No. 1 on the Cashbox R&B chart for seven weeks and becoming the No. 1 R&B single of the year. The song successfully crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100, where it eventually replaced Louis Armstrong’s "Hello, Dolly!" at No. 1, remaining there for two weeks. The song became Wells’ second million-selling single.

To build on the song’s success, Motown released a duet album recorded with fellow Motown singing star Marvin Gaye, Together. The album peaked at No. 1 on the R&B album chart and No. 42 on the pop album chart, and yielded the double-sided hits "Once Upon a Time" and "What’s the Matter With You Baby".

"My Guy" was one of the first Motown songs to break on the other side of the Atlantic, eventually peaking at No. 5 on the UK chart and making Wells an international star. Around this time, the Beatles stated that Wells was their favorite American singer, and soon she was given an invitation to open for the group during their tour of the United Kingdom, thus making her the first Motown star to perform in the UK. Wells was only one of three female singers to open for the Beatles, the others being Brenda Holloway and Jackie DeShannon. Wells made friends with all four Beatles and later released a tribute album, Love Songs to the Beatles, in mid-decade.

Former Motown sales chief Barney Ales described Wells’ landmark success in 1964: "In 1964, Mary Wells was our big, big artist, I don’t think there’s any audience with an age of 30 through 50 that doesn’t know the words to My Guy."

Text from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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intro_illIn one sense, the term ‘soul’ has simply been a convenient label for the record industry to attach to the music that sells to young Afro Americans, replacing earlier tags like ‘race music’ and ‘rhythm & blues’. It has been used in the seventies to refer to an increasingly broad and diverse range of styles. But its entry into widespread usage around 1964 did coincide with a distinct shift of emphasis in the dominant stylistic approach in the Afro Americans field.

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