Monday, December 27, 2010

Soul Fixin'

...and may I never die

In this day and age, social networking sites such as Twitter have become something like personal diaries. Glancing at Teena Marie's Twitter page you can't help but notice one tweet in particular. Lady T, tweeted on Christmas day a line from a Sarah Vaughn song, "may you never grow old, and may I never die." The following day, Teena Marie passed away at the seasoned age of 54, 31 years after mesmerizing millions with her Motown Records debut. Teena's body was discovered by her daughter who celebrated her birth date the prior day. I couldn't image the days of speaking of Lady T in past tense would arrive so suddenly.

Teena entered the lives of many through her unforgettable music. The world became familiar with Lady T thanks to her '79 debut, Wild and Peaceful and the accompanying hit single "I'm A Sucker For Your Love." No one could imagine that the voice behind the music belonged to a white woman. When Teena's true identity was discovered it didn't matter, Teena Marie could sing SANG! and that's all that mattered. Teena Marie has remained a constant in our lives and musical soundtracks not because she was a white woman who was capable of "talkin' our talk' and walkin' our walk" but because she possessed raw natural talent as a multi-talented producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. and she held a God-given gift, a voice full of soul that touched countless individuals in more ways than one. She verbalized through song our trials and tribulations, joy and sadness, heartache and pain, and losses and gains. And she sang the greatest duet of all time.

My introduction to Mary Christine Brockert came courtesy of the aforementioned duet and The Quiet Storm. 'Fire and Desire' is a staple of the Quiet Storm radio format. It was far more than just a song, it was a song, testimony, pleading confession, and love letter wrapped in pure musical perfection. 'Fire and Desire,'a song like no other, pain, heartache, pleasure, and deep sadness were on display not only for the world to hear but to also feel. Teena Marie and Rick James were a match made in heaven. Six years after Rick's death Teena Marie has joined her lover/best friend/musical collaborator/partner-in-crime in heaven.

In a recent interview, Teena was asked “When you get to heaven, what is the DJ playing?” and she responded, "I’m sure it’s Aretha Franklin. I’m sure it’s something off the Amazing Grace album. Probably, Aretha Franklin “Wholy Holy.” I hope when Rick James went to heaven they played Aretha Franklin “Wholy Holy” too. He loved her as much as I did. I have a lot of beautiful moments riding around with him in his Rolls, me and him just playing Aretha all day."

The clip below is from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation 2008 Pioneer Awards Ceremony. Teena Marie was one of the honorees.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Soul Heaven

a life full of fire & desire.

Trusted news source CNN has confirmed the untimely death of R&B icon Teena Marie. Words can't begin to describe the loss of Lady Tee. I'll have much more to say tomorrow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Soul Fixin'

tammi terrell unsung.

Fans of TV One's wildly popular doc series, Unsung, are in for a special treat on 9.20. Famed Motown vocalist Tammi Terrell's life story becomes the series latest focal point. Adored and admired for her timeless duets with Marvin Gaye, Tammi's life ended at the tender age of 24 but she left behind a great body of music and a story that has yet to be told. Producers of Unsung came across a delightful acapella version of 'If This World Were Mine' featured in the video above. Check it out and tune in to TV One on September 20th.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Soul Fixin'

maxwell + winter = new album.
While Maxwell promised to drop the second installment of BLACKsummers'night this summer, you'll have to wait a handful of months before it hits a record store near you. Disappointed? Don't fret, I find it much easier to believe Maxwell than D'Angelo. A few days ago Maxwell hit up Twitter while mixing songs in the studio and informed his followers that a new album is set to drop this winter. Maxwell described the album's aura as only he could, "tried to bottle the summer and save it for winter... pray she feels like late june when its cold this december..." Sounds like its' well worth the wait.

Soul Fixin'

welcome to monica's atlanta.
Watch Atlanta native and Public Soul Announcement fave Monica as she gives us a guided tour through Atlanta for VEVO’s “Area Codes” series. The tour kicks off at Dallas Austin's DARP studio, the place where Monica got her start alongside the likes of Atlanta transplants TLC and Usher. Next stop up, Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park, a fave spot for Monica's boys. A trip to Atlanta is complete without a stop to one of Atlanta's many soul food spots. Monica's soul food joint of choice is no other than the Busy Bee Cafe. Monica sums up Atlanta's mass appeal, "real Southern hospitality, some good food, some nice people, and a lot of talent. We got it all here in Atlanta.”

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Soul Tracks

Aretha's 1976 collaboration with Curtis Mayfield, Sparkle, marked somewhat of a triumphant return to the music charts for the preacher's daughter from Detroit. Prior releases, With Everything I Feel In Me and You, marked the start of declining record sales for Aretha. The combination of Aretha, a chick from Detroit, and Curtis, a cat from Chicago, proved to be magic. The 8 track album is sexy, groovy, passionate, sensual and eye-opening, one of ReRe's finest and sexiest releases. Aretha wrapped her voice around the lyrics of Curtis Mayfield and her seasoned instrument rose to familiar heights, bone chilling wails, spectacular leaps and down-right painful cries. Aretha was back! Surprisingly, adult contemporary radio has yet to embrace Sparkle, 'Something You Can Feel' hits the airwaves once in a while. The title track is rarely heard on radio stations, so here it is for your listening pleasure. Peep Aretha serenade Canada back in '78 with 'Sparkle.'

Soul Fixin'

prince's new album cover.
The artwork for Prince's upcoming release, 20Ten, has surfaced. No, your eyes aren't fooling you. The album cover looks familiar because it was depicted on the blouse Prince donned at the 20Ten BET Awards. Brazen self promotion? No, just Prince being Prince. Peep the tracklisting below.

1. Compassion
2. Endlessly Beginning
3. Future Soul Song
4. Sticky Like Glue
5. Lavaux
6. Act Of God
7. Walk In Sand
8. Sea Of Everything
9. Everybody Loves Me
10. Untitled Bonus Track

Sounds interesting. Let's keep our fingers crossed in hopes the album is released stateside.

Soul Fixin'

he speaks, finally!
It's been 10 years since D'Angelo released an album of new material. It's been 9 years since he granted the press an interview. Nine years later, the reclusive artist who has been making headlines for criminal activity and so-called comebacks decided to speak with The Urban Daily. I wouldn't file this particular interview under 'the one interview we've all been waiting for' but it is worthy of a read. D'Angelo touches on a few things including his discovery of the 70's black rock band Black Merda, his affinity for Rick James & The Bar-Keys, and the musical and cultural movement known as Afro-Punk. D'Angelo ends the interview by stating, " I just want them to know that I’m coming. That’s all. I’m in the kitchen and I’m cooking up something real nice." My side-eye is in full effect. My faith in D'Angelo has come to a painful demise, I'll believe his colorful tales of "cooking up" new music when it comes in the form of a compact disc on store shelves with a $9.99 price tag affixed to it. Click here for the complete interview.

Soul Events

hello brooklyn.
It's that time of the year, the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival is days away. Kicking off on July 5, the five day festival is a celebration of hip hop, culture, education, family and of course, Brooklyn. Check out the official Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival website for all the fun details.

A Conscious Mind

georgia on my mind.
This tends to happen seldom, I come across an article that touches my spirit, forcefully pulling at my soul as I read each and every word. A very recent New York Times article, Displaced Black Landowners Fight to Reclaim Georgia Home, is one such article as it chronicles the story of Harris Neck, Georgia. In the United States and throughout the world, the words 'black' and 'displaced' have become synonymous. The bitter story of Harris Neck, Georgia and it's natives are a clear example. Harris Neck, situated 50 miles south of Savannah and seated in McIntosh County, is one of nature's jewels, a bastion of pristine and untouched salt marshes and tidal waterways. Now, a federal wildlife refuge managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Harris Neck was once home to a vibrant self-sufficient African-American community of 75 families.Some local whites were in a rage over the relatively successful independence that grew in Harris Neck. As a result, white county politicians led federal officials in search of Air Force base site to Harris Neck, bypassing countless acres of uninhabited land. In 1942, the U.S government took possession of Harris Neck and ordered the families to leave. The U.S government provided no provisions regarding new land or future living arrangements. 63 years later, descendants of Harris Neck started a new movement to regain Harris Neck. The movement is ongoing. They need our support, go to the official website of The Harris Neck Land Trust and make a donation.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Artful Thinking

50 years and counting.
After checking out Smokey Robinson's twitter page, I came across these amazing prints. Yes, Smokey Robinson is on Twitter but back to the subject at hand. The legendary singer/songwriter/producer/music executive contacted Shepard Fairey to create a portrait to celebrate 50 years in the music biz. (Fairey is the artist, graphic designer, and illustrator behind the well-known Barack Obama 'HOPE' posters.) Fairey created two illustrations for 'America's Greatest Living Poet', one reflects a 1970's Smokey with a Black Power centered fashion sense and the other one showcases an early 90's Smokey. Prints can be purchased on eBay.

Soul Fixin'

bittersweet memories.

Fantasia's latest video came across my desk a few days ago. Initially, I hesitated to watch. Days later, I have finally given in. I'm not much of a 'Tasia fan. Let me explain, Fantasia is a talented vocalist, head & shoulders above most of her contemporaries, but she has yet to find her stride. The material presented to her fails to match her extraordinary vocals. 'When I See U' was her last great effort, the video was as equally impressive as the song. 'Bittersweet' is a bit different. The song is everything but a hit song but the video is surprisingly attractive. Fantasia turns it up a notch and adds a touch of grace to the video. Sit back and watch Fantasia's visual flashback to a bittersweet relationship, the type of relationship that goes sour but you can't help thinking about the other person.

Soul Fixin'

a purple invasion.
Three days later I am still a tad bit disappointed with Prince. Why? The Purple One failed to perform at the BET Awards. Now, Prince fans across the country have another reason to be upset. In a move that is sure to delight European fans, Prince has decided to release his latest album, 20Ten, as a freebie with various European publications. Prince has joined forces with England's Daily Mirror and sister publication The Daily Record to giveaway more than 2.5 million copies of 20Ten on July 10. The rare deal will also include a milestone exclusive interview, considering Prince has refused British interviews for more than a decade. Fans in Germany and Belgium are just as lucky. Germany's edition of Rolling Stone magazine will also include the new album in its' August issue. Legions of Prince fans who plan on catching the Purple One at Belgium's Werchter Festival are in for an extra treat. The Belgium paper, Het Nieuwblad, will include copies of 20Ten on July 10, the same day as the festival.
Free giveaways are nothing new to Prince. In 2007, his album Planet Earth was distributed with copies of U.K's Mail publication. No word yet on if, how and when 20Ten will be released stateside. No need to fret, our European friends will more than likely share the goodies. In the meantime, enjoy BET's tribute to Prince in its' entirety.

Soul Fixin'

let's get 'closer'.
Allow yourself the opportunity to get a bit 'Closer' to Corrine Bailey Rae. A visual treat accompanies the equally infectious and seductive single 'Closer.' The video proves to be a delicate mixture of style, substance and sexiness. Sit back, relax, press play and enjoy the next three minutes and forty three seconds. Be sure to check out Corrine's live performance of 'Closer.'

Soul Fixin

talk of the town.

Chris Brown's BET Awards performance ranks as one of the year's must-see TV moments. Three days later, people are still talking about his tribute to The King of Pop. A few people, who had the pleasure to witness Chris Breezy's performance in person, spoke directly to and expressed their thoughts on the emotional performance. Peep what Keri Hilson, Mario, Tia Mowry, Melody Thornton, Wale, BET's Stephen Hill & others had to say. What do you have to say? Drop a few words in the comments box.

Soul Fixin'

philly soul chick.
After a brief retreat from the spotlight, R&B newcomer Jazmine Sullivan has been busy applying the finishing touches on her as-yet-untitled sophomore album. The Philly native supplied a few details via Twitter. Check out her tweets below & listen to her lastest single, the Missy Elliott produced 'Hold You Down.'

Soul Fixin'

and then there was soul.
While cruising the net I ran into the video below. The video, titled 'A Brief History of Soul Music,' takes a visually compelling look at a handful of men that have provided their artistry to the genre of soul music.Take a quick thirty three seconds out of your busy Wednesday and press play.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Soul Tracks

After receiving word that Prince would receive BET's Lifetime Achievement Award I was hoping Raheem DeVaughn would be apart of the festivities. One listen to Raheem's rendition of Prince's 'I Would Die 4 U' would leave the listener feeling the same way. In typical Prince fashion, the tribute featured an all female line up, that included Janelle Monae, Esperanza Spalding, Alicia Keys and Patti LaBelle. (Side note: where the hell was Shelia E?) Prince appeared to be pleased with all those who paid tribute to him, I'm sure he would have been equally pleased if Raheem performed in his honor. Give Raheem's version of 'I Would Die 4 U' a listen and let us know what you think. Is it a worthy cover? Or is it lackluster?

Soul Fixin'

from new ark to israel.
NPR radio has undertaken the painstaking task of selecting fifty voices to include in their 50 Great Voices series of awe-inspiring stories chronicling voices from around the globe and across time. Reclusive musical genius Lauryn Hill is one of the chosen few. NPR journalist Zoe Chace had the rare opportunity to interview L. Boogie after a even more rare performance at the Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa, California. (Peep the video below.) Listen to the commentary and interview below. Click here to hear more from the interview including Lauryn on her creative experience & being both a rapper and singer.

Soul Fixin'

her music.her pain.her tragedy.
Let's go back to October of 2008. On Chicago's South Side there was news of a triple homicide. A woman, her son & grandson lay dead. It wouldn't be long before word surfaced that American Idol alum & Oscar winning actress Jennifer Hudson was in the middle of the tragic event. The deceased woman was her mother, the man her brother and the young boy her beloved nephew. For the first time since the brutal triple murder, the actress and songstress speaks candidly about the tragic events. Next Monday, VH1's rock-doc 'Behind The Music' is focusing squarely on Jennifer Hudson. According to J. Hud the October '08 tragedy was "all a blur, it was surreal. It was like I was outside of myself." Jennifer also reveals that for "almost two weeks straight . . . [I was] inside one room with just family and friends coming in and out. I prayed when I'd get up in the morning and prayed before I lay down at night." Without a doubt, her prayers have been answered. Check the teaser below.