Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Conversation with Raphael Saadiq [OkayPlayer]
Rare Photos of Michael Jackson [Rolling Stone]
Soul Bounce Is Down To # 1 [Soul Bounce]
Remembering Bernie Mac [VIBE]
Aretha & Her Man [C+D]
Common Drops A New Video [Soul Bounce]
WILL.I.AM & John Legend at the DNC [VIBE]
Hurricane Katrina: 3 Years Later [Black Voices]
Friday, August 29, 2008
Happy Birthday Michael Jackson!!! 50 years ago Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana. The past twenty years of Michael's life have been bizarre, to say the least. However, let's try not to focus on the scandals, trials, plastic surgeries, and wacky behavior. Let's go back to 1972. Long before Michael's 'Bad' tour grossed $125 million and Off The Wall and Thriller shattered every record imaginable. Long before 47 million people watched in awe as Michael did the moonwalk on Motown 25. Long before he co-wrote the international smash hit 'We Are The World.' And long before everybody wanted to be Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson was a 13 year old basking in the success of his solo debut, Got To Be There. Four years prior, Michael along with brothers Marlon, Jackie, Tito and Jermaine, signed to Motown Records as the Jackson 5. In '71, Michael stepped out on his own and began recording his solo debut produced by Hal David and Willie Hutch. Three songs, 'Got To Be There,' 'Rockin' Robin,' and 'I Wanna Be Where You Are', put Michael on the charts. The young singer took a stab at Bill Wither's 'Ain't No Sunshine' and the Carole King classic 'You've Got A Friend.' The ten track set also featured 'Maria (You Were The Only One),' today's Soul Tracks selection. From the opening note, Michael sounds far more mature than his 13 years. He sounds like a man who has lived a lifetime of experiences. It's hard to believe the song is autobiographical. But then again, maybe it is. A then 13 year old Michael could have been experiencing the raw emotions of the break up of a teenage love affair. Either way, Michael channeled his inner David Ruffin and sang with all the emotion and conviction of a broken man pleading for the lady in his life to came back.
Thicke Claims VIBE Is Something Else
The album cover for Robin Thicke's upcoming set has surfaced on the net. Something Else hits the streets September 30th. Speaking of Robin Thicke, the blue eyed soul singer claims VIBE Magazine refused to put him on the cover because they have a strict policy against having white artists on the cover. Could this be a case of reverse racism? A strict policy that doesn't allow white artists on the cover? I find it hard to believe. In VIBE's 15 year history, The Beastie Boys, Eminem, Gwen Stefani and Michael Jackson have all graced the cover. Wait a minute, MJ is black, isn't he? Biracial acts such as Mariah Carey, Faith Evans, and Alicia Keys have appeared on the cover of VIBE. Could this be some sort of misunderstanding? Thicke's claim is based on a recent interview he did with the magazine, when the subject of Thicke gracing the cover came up, he was told "we don't put white artists on our covers..." Thicke harbors no ill will towards the magazine, "I respect that because I live in a house with a black woman. I won't use the word racism. I will say it's a tough, but rewarding, fight. I look at Mary J. Blige, somebody who has had only a few pop hits and yet has changed culture, generated new sounds and inspired leagues of artists. She's now a worldwide phenomenon. And it's because of what she stood for; she never gave up." I don't want to call Robin Thicke a liar, but his claims of "racism" seem to be untrue. What are your thoughts?
DNC Pays Tribute To King
Team Obama paid homage to Martin Luther King yesterday at the Democratic National Convention. It was only right, August 28th marked the 45th anniversary of King's monumental 'I Have A Dream' speech. 45 years later, Barack Obama, the embodiment of King's dream, becomes the first African American nominee of a major party. The King tribute included remarks by King's children, Rev. Bernice King and Martin King, and fellow Civil Rights pioneer Rep. John Lewis. If you missed the tribute, take a look at the clips above and below.
Jazmine Sullivan Joins Maxwell On Tour
Any Jazmine Sullivan news is good news. The Philly soul chick is adored around these parts. Who doesn't like Ms. Sullivan? Her single 'Need U Bad' has reached the number one spot on the Urban mainstream charts, the video for the single is holding down the top spot on BET's 106 & Park. The J Records recording artist will share the stage with Maxwell on his highly anticipated fall tour. Maxwell handpicked Jazmine Sullivan to open his 25 city tour. Sullivan's debut album, Fearless, drops September 23. Hit up Maxwell's myspace page for tour dates.
Change We Can Believe In
45 years after Martin Luther King delivered his 'I Have A Dream Speech,' Barack Obama became the first black man to accept the nomination of a major party. In a nation where black men make up half of the prison population, this was a historical moment indeed. Barack Obama stood before 84,000 supporters and delivered the keynote address of the 2008 Democratic National Convention. In a moving 42-minute speech, Obama brought many to tears and reflected on the morals and values instilled in him as a child and his plans for our nation. "Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work. That's the promise of America...that's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President. Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it. Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America. I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow. I will cut taxes - cut taxes - for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class. And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East...Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime - by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less - because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy."
Obama concluded his acceptance speech by evoking to spirit of Martin Luther King, Obama borrowed a line from King's 'I Have A Dream Speech', ""We cannot walk alone...and as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back." America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise - that American promise - and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess."
"I should have had the sense to pay attention
cause something told me to
the road to hell is paved with good intentions
and lord knows it's true
the years that I gave
where they all in vain..."
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Words can not begin to describe the music of Curtis Mayfield, it immediately grabs and inspires you. In the early 1970's when Mayfield joined forces with Gladys Knight and the Pips he did just that. Curtis wrote songs that spoke to those in the ghetto just trying to hold on and Gladys sang with the conviction of a woman just trying to make it through another day. The beautifully written love ballad 'The Makings of You,' originally recorded by Curtis Mayfield on his Curtis LP, was included on the 1974 Claudine soundtrack album. Gladys Knight was the musical embodiment of Claudine, a single Harlem mother, living on welfare with six children who falls in love with a garbage man. 'The Makings of You' was their song. Even though Gladys had a difficult time describing the makings of her lover, you can feel the song in her heart. Gladys & The Pips let it be known, love does exist in the ghetto.
Obama's Big Night In the words of Betty Wright "tonight is the night." 45 years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his 'I Have A Dream' speech at the March on Washington. 1963 was also marked by the assassination of Medgar Evers and the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham that resulted in the deaths of four little girls. 45 years later, black man, Barack Obama, will deliver the most important speech of his political career as he formally accepts the Democratic nomination. A historical moment indeed. Obama will stand before 75,000 people at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado. Hopefully, this Presidential hopeful will offer us more than a mere dream. Obama must deliver a plan to solve the numerous problems facing this nation.
In memory of Dr, King's historic 'I Have A Dream' speech, the DNC will offer a tribute to the civil rights leader that will include Rep. John Lewis, Rev. Bernice King and Martin Luther King III.
Jennifer Hudson has been handpicked by Obama to serenade the crowd with her rendition of the national anthem. The convention will end on a soulful note, Obama family favorite Stevie Wonder, John Legend, and Will.i.am are scheduled to close the show.
Marvin Helps Redeem The Dream
A year prior to his death,Marvin Gaye made an unforgettable appearance at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game. Dressed in a dark double breasted suit with a pair of dark shades concealing his eyes, the soul crooner gave the audience at the L.A Forum a soulful rendition of the 'Star Spangled Banner.' This soul stirring moment has been recaptured in a recent Nike commercial featuring the aptly titled 'Redeem Team,' the USA men's basketball team reclaimed the gold in Beijing. Watching images of Marvin along with images of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and other players fills me with a great sense of pride, black athletes and musicians have been great ambassadors of black culture to the world.
Celebrate Christmas With Ledisi
I do not own a single Christmas album. Come this holiday season, that will surely change. Grammy nominated soulstress Ledisi is giving us all a holiday gift with her Christmas release It's Christmas. The album art and track listing have surfaced on the net. As you can see, the album art is reminiscent of retro record covers from the golden age or rock 'n' roll. The 12 track set includes Christmas standards 'Silent Night,' 'Give Love On Christmas Day,' 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' --among others. Ledisi treats us to five original compositions. Be on the lookout for Ledisi's tour in support of the album, the perfect holiday gift.
"I started to write you letters
but i wanted to be more clever
I wanted to get down and sweet talk you
but just like a baby
I could not talk
and I tried to come closer
but could not walk..."
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Gospel music is the bedrock of American music. The influence of gospel on modern music is undeniable. Soul and R&B are direct descendants of the sacred musical form. Somewhere in between the sacred and secular exist John Legend's 'It Don't Have To Change.' The Ohio native received his musical training in the church. Legend's gospel upbringing overflow on the reflective 'It Don't Have To Change' from his debut project Get Lifted. The gospel tinged song invokes memories of a family gathered around an organ singing the songs of Zion. John's family, The Stephens clan, join the soul singer on the track. The Stephens' may not sing the praises of the Lord but they do reflect on the joys and pains of family life. Any song that has the ability to remind me of my grandmother and family gets a soul clap from me. 'It Don't Have To Change' does just that.
Saadiq Jams With 'Love That Girl'
Try to imagine an impromptu jam session at the old Motown studios in Detroit with Smokey Robinson on lead vocals, Florence, Mary and Diana playing the role of background singers, The Funk Brothers serving up their trademark sound and a young Stevie Wonder watching from the sidelines. Raphael Saadiq's latest video for the Motown inspired 'Love That Girl' is reminiscent of a 1960's Motown jam session. Saadiq keeps it simple and takes you back to a time when music was music. The soul brother's upcoming release is a complete throwback to the beloved sound of the 60's and 70's, The Way I See It drops September 16. Treat yourself to a slice of vintage soul and let us know what you think.
Aretha Set To Release Christmas Album
The upcoming holiday season will get a good heaping of soul courtesy of Aretha Franklin. The 'Queen of Soul' will release the first holiday album of her fifty year career. Fifty two years to be exact, Aretha released her first album in 1956. Aretha's camp has discouraged the Queen from recording a holiday album for decades but the Queen has a different view on things,"it was just so grossly remiss that I have not had a Christmas album. It was just ridiculous...I'd be at home cooking and enjoying the holidays and listening to everybody but myself. I wasn't enjoying that." Starting October 14, Aretha and others can throw down in the kitchen while listening to This Christmas.
Good Morning, this moment is long overdue but allow me to introduce myself and welcome you to Public Soul Announcement. I am the sole founder, creator, and writer for Public Soul Announcement. I'm a twenty-something college student based in NYC. I gained a deep passion and appreciation for music as a child combing through my mother's record collection. A few of my favorite artists are Mary J. Blige, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Jay-Z, Donny Hathaway, Mavis Staples, Common, Marvin Gaye, Maxwell, Anthony Hamilton and Chrisette Michele. Common once said "music can be forever if you make it from the heart, if you make it from the soul and it’s good." I created Public Soul Announcement with one goal in mind, to keep good music alive in this world of generic radio friendly "music." Here at Public Soul Announcement I'm able to combine my love of music and social and political issues affecting the black community. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. While you are visiting, check out some of my favorite posts.
Never Can Say Goodbye: A Tribute To Isaac Hayes
Pioneers of R&B Need Our Help
Ain't Nothing Like Aretha
Soul Tracks: Common featuring D'Angelo 'So Far To Go'
The Black Woodstock
Soul Tracks: Al Green 'God Blessed Our Love'
Young,Gifted,Black and Dead!!!
Classic Album Revisited: Donny Hathaway Everything Is Everything
"I put your picture on my mirror
start to blush when somebody says your name
in my stomach there's a pain
see you walking my direction, I go the other way
I start to stutter when I speak..."
try to stand, but my knees go weak..."
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Scarface is far removed from the rap world of today. Scarface is a grown ass man who is capable of bringing an entire lifetime of experiences to every recording session. He sits with a class of rappers that include Common, Nas, Jay-Z, Bun B, and Talib Kweli. Scarface, one of the pioneers of Southern rap, has remained relevant in the rap game for twenty years on his own terms. You won't find 'Face following the latest hip-hop trends or prancing around in videos with a shiny suit on. In 2002, the Houston born MC released his critically acclaimed seventh studio endeavor The Fix. The album reads like a gangsters journal, reflecting on the cold blooded nature of the streets and the search for salvation. 'Face fans are well aware that Scarface has no problem acknowledging a higher power and the afterlife in his rhymes. Faith Evans lends her gospel bred vocals to the emotional Neptunes produced track 'Someday.' Kirk Franklin he is not. However, he lays his burdens down like no rapper before him.
Kanye Wishes You A 'Good Morning'
I hate to inundate you with videos but the clip above is definitely worth watching. Hip hop's most creative rapper Kanye West has unveiled his latest visual treat weeks after releasing the innovative and fresh video for 'Champion.' Kanye's latest video for the song 'Good Morning' comes in the form an animation and follows Kanye Bear on an exhausting day through 'Universe City' before a graduation ceremony. Hit play and feast your eyes on Kanye's latest visual delight and let us know what you think.
John Legend's DNC Performance
John Legend took his message of hope and change to the main stage of the Democratic National Convention last night. Legend, along with the Agape International Choir sang 'If You're Out There,' a call to action anthem from his upcoming release Evolver. The song is available for download on Obama's official website. Evolver,Legend's first studio album since 2006's Once Again, includes tracks with guest Kanye West, Estelle, Andre 3000 and others.
Ladies, Maxwell Is Going On Tour!
Ladies, call, text or IM your girlfriends and spread the news. Maxwell, take a deep breath, is touring in the fall! In the aftermath of a much talked about performance at the '08 BET Awards, Maxwell is hitting the road on the 'Maxwell Live '08 tour. Maxwell's first tour in over six years has been dubbed a 'pre-party celebration' in anticipation for the soul man's long awaited trilogy Black Summer's Night. The 24 date tour kicks off October 8 in Boston. Stroll over to Maxwell's myspace page for a complete listing of tour dates.
This summer, Congress declared the month of September National Gospel Heritage Month. Speaking of the sacred musical form, in the wake of the death of Atlantic Records executive Jerry Wexler it has been revealed that Wexler was working on bringing a long-dormant documentary about the making of Aretha Franklin's best-selling 1972 album Amazing Grace to the big screen. Sister ReRe is revered around these parts, the idea of an Amazing Grace doc is glorious news indeed. For many, Amazing Grace proved to be their first introduction to the sounds of gospel. For those of us raised in the church, gospel music was nothing new but Aretha's Amazing Grace was nothing short of amazing. In the presence of her father, Rev. C.L Franklin, and her gospel mentors Rev. James Cleveland and Clara Ward, Aretha took all her troubles to Jesus and in the process took us on a scared musical journey of uninhibited conviction and sobering confessional intensity. Wexler enlisted Sidney Pollack to shoot the two day performance at Los Angeles' New Temple Missionary Baptist Church. In the aftermath of the recording, Atlantic Records and Warner Bros. Pictures failed to reach an agreement with Aretha over terms for her cooperation in the picture. As a result, the film languished in the studio's vault for 36 years. In January, former Atlantic record producer Alan Elliot caught wind of the sacred footage and encouraged Mr. Wexler to start looking for funding for the film. Wexler found a potential backer in fellow musician industry icon Chris Blackwell. Mr. Blackwell says he has been in discussions to help finance the film but a definitive agreement hasn't been set. Aretha is asking for a cool $1 million. It's a known fact that numerous Aretha projects have failed to see the light of day but let's pray this one does.
The first night of the Democratic National Convention was an emotional affair. John Legend kicked things off with a performance of 'If You're Out There,' Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. delivered an inspiring speech and Kennedy clan patriarch and Democratic elder statesman Sen. Ted Kennedy made a surprise appearance. The highlight of the night belonged to First Lady hopeful Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama's soul stirring speech, an effort to present the Obama's as embodiments of the American Dream, reflected on her humble beginnings on Chicago's South Side and Barack's central message of change. In case you missed it, check out Michelle Obama's historic delivery at the DNC.
"I can let it all pass me by
or I can just try and try..."
Monday, August 25, 2008
Today marks the seven year anniversary of the death of Aaliyah Dana Haughton. It was seven years ago when we all stared at the television in disbelief upon hearing of Aaliyah's untimely death. Seven years prior to her tragic death, her R.Kelly produced debut album, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number was released. Amid the rumors of a marriage, a 14 year Aaliyah and 27 year old R.Kelly created an appealing blend of 90's R&B, soul, jazz, and hip hop. In a bold move, Aaliyah wrapped her teenaged vocals around the Isley Brothers classic 'At Your Best(You Are Love)'. Surprisingly, Aaliyah's rendition evokes an equal amount of sensual seduction as the original. A love song's love song. Included in this post is a memorable moment from the motion picture ATL, Aaliyah's 'At Your Best(You Are Love)' creates the mood for a classic love scene between the lovely Lauren London and T.I.
The Black List
The black experience in America is defined by struggles, joys, trials, tribulations and triumphs. A diverse group of prominent African Americans from various professions, disciplines and backgrounds are telling their own story, the African American experience in the 21st century, in HBO's Documentary Film Series latest doc, The Black List, which airs tonight at 9. Sean Combs, Toni Morrison, Chris Rock, Al Sharpton, Serena Williams and others are featured in the Elvis Mitchell and Timothy Greenfield-Saunders film. If you feel like telling your personal experience of black life in America, head over to HBO Blacklist and upload your video.
Mary J. Blige is at it again. Months after wrapping up a tour with Jay-Z, Sister J. Blige is hitting the road again in support of her latest release Growing Pains. Soul singers Dave Young and Robin Thicke will join MJB on 'The Love Soul Tour,' which kicks off September 13 in North Charleston, SC and ends October 18 in Concord, California. Go check Mary out, you will not be disappointed. Click here for complete tour dates.
The Show Must Go On
The video above is the unofficial video of the day in the black blogsphere. The reincarnation of the Ruffin brothers, K-Ci and JoJo, are seen performing in Sydney, Australia when JoJo suddenly passes out. K-Ci Hailey, Mary's former lover, keeps on sanging like nothing is wrong. It's obvious drugs and singing don't mix, just ask Chaka Khan. Peep Chaka singing 'Precious Lord Take My Hand' with Etta James and Gladys Knight.
John Legends Opens DNC
I'm sure many of us will be tuning in to see Barack and Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention. Be on the look out for John Legend as well. The five time Grammy Award winning soul singer will premiere his new song, 'If You're Out There,' during a historic set opening the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Reflecting the themes of hope and change, 'If You're Out There' calls upon us to make a difference, "we're the generation/we can't afford to wait/the future started yesterday and we're already late." The song will be available online following Legend's performance. Legend's performance and the DNC can be seen tonight at 8 on TV One. Michelle Obama, Jesse Jackson Jr., Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg and others will be speaking at the convention tonight.
"soon as I get home
I'll make it up to you
baby I'll do what I gotta do..."
Friday, August 15, 2008
Public Soul Announcement is on Vacation
Public Soul Announcement is on a short vacation. Don't worry, we shall return on Monday August 25. In the meantime, Public Soul Announcement wants to hear from you. What are your thoughts on Public Soul Announcement? Do you see room for improvement? We want to know a few more things. Have you been grooving to the sounds of an up and coming artist(s)? If so, who?. Have you been to any concerts this summer? Have you come across any good albums? Tell us about it.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
In the wake of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, Stevie's Songs In The Key of Life and Innervisions and Aretha's Young, Gifted and Black, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes released Wake Up Everybody in 1975. Unlike Marvin's What's Going On, Wake Up Everybody not only expressed the social ills of the world, it spoke of love, lust, lost love, admiration, and freedom. In a sign of things to come, Teddy Pendergrass epitomized sensuality on the aptly titled track 'You Know How To Make Me Feel So Good' featuring female vocalist Sharon Paige. If Marvin Gaye's 'Let It Get It On' is the the song of the night, the Gamble & Huff composed 'You Know How To Make Me Feel So Good' is the perfect prelude to 'Let's Get It On.'
Musiq Needs A New 'Radio'
Musiq unveiled the first video for his upcoming album. The Philadelphia soul cat describes his first single, 'Radio', as "different." He wasn't lying. On this particular track Musiq has abandoned his signature neo-soul sound and embraced the generic sounds of radio friendly R&B. Musiq may have been hoping for a smash hit, unfortunately he has failed miserably. The video doesn't fare much better. The highlight of the video belongs to Musiq's mohawk, but that's about it.
Hip Hop Honors
LaBelle Album Set for October Release
Syleena's Latest Chapter
Syleena Johnson has unveiled the album art for her the latest chapter in her trilogy of albums, The Chicago native looks stunning even with a tear drop making it's way down her beautiful face. Chapter 4: Labor Pains, a personal narrative chronicling Syleena's life as mother and newlywed, hits the streets on September 2. The album marks a change in Syleena's recording career, the sultry vocalist parted ways with Jive Records and started her own label, Aneelys Records. Syleena's signature gritty vocals can be heard on the latest Chapter 4: Labor Pains track to hit the net. Syleena follows in the footsteps of fellow Chi-Town native Curtis Mayfield with the socially conscious 'Freedom.' Syleena makes it a family affair by sampling her pop's 'I'm Talking About Freedom.' By the way, her father is the legendary and highly underrated Syl Johnson.
"foolish pride is all that I have left
so let me hide
the tears and the sadness you gave me
you put the hurt on
you socked it to me, momma
when you said goodbye
so please walk on by..."
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Soul singers has the innate ability to express love, lust, joy, pain, trials and tribulations and emotions - plenty of emotions. Some singers are so good at expressing their emotions that you know they are going through some things. A cheating man. A sour relationship. The loss of a loved one. The list goes on and on. Aretha was going through some things when she sang 'Ain't No Way.' It's obvious Gladys Knight was going through some things when she recorded 'Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye).' When Mavis Staples stepped into a Detroit studio to record 'I Have Learned To Do Without You' she was going through some things, a bitter divorce to be exact. Mavis recorded the song for her Stax sophomore album Only For The Lonely. The highlight of the track isn't the Stax Sound, the behind-the-beat horn arrangements and the prominent, pulsating rhythm section, but it is Mavis' voice. A voice that conveys sheer raw emotions, Mavis was going through some things.
Joss Stone Sings for Team Obama
While Common, Talib Kweli, Nas, will.i.am, Big Boi and Mary J. Blige --to name a few, have all crafted songs expressing their support for Team Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has elected British soul singer Joss Stone to record a track that will serve as a campaign theme song. New Yorkers Alicia Keys and Jay-Z are also reported to be composing songs for Team Obama.
If you haven't registered to vote, visit Rock the Vote and do so now!
Public Soul Announcement '08
It's time for the 2008 Black Weblog Awards!! The Black Weblog Awards recognizes the best and brightest in the black blogsphere. Public Soul Announcement is worthy of being nominated in 1 of the 30 categories. 'Blog To Watch' highlights the best “undiscovered” blog in the blogsphere; keep your eye on this one! This is for that great blog that not everyone knows about…but should! I'm sure you can agree that Public Soul Announcement is the 'Blog To Watch.' Click here to show your support and nominate Public Soul Announcement as the 'Blog To Watch.' Thanks in advance. Spread the word. Public Soul Announcement '08.
Raphael Saadiq Is 'Staying In Love'
My latest Raphael Saadiq fix comes in the form of 'Staying In Love,' the latest track to hit the net from his forthcoming album The Way I See It. If you didn't know any better, it would be safe to assume 'Staying In Love' is a 1960's Motown record that never saw the light of day. Saadiq successful recreated the 'Motown Sound,' the use of tambourines to accent the back beat, prominent melodic electric bass guitar lines, distinctive melodic and chord structures, and a call and response singing style. Saadiq describes the song as a "nifty dance floor gem.It reminds me of a Jackson 5 record, with that James Jamerson bass line, the kind of energy folks love from those Motown tracks." Press play and satisfy your soul.
Pioneers of R&B Need Our Help
One of the founding principles of The Rhythm & Blues Foundation, a non profit organization dedicated to the historical and cultural preservation of R&B, is to provide financial and medical assistance to older artists in the world of R&B. According to the Rhythm & Blues Foundation website, the organization has "helped pay for everything from eyeglasses and instruments to hospital stays and home care. Our grants have put food in empty cupboards, kept the heat on and made sure that the lights weren’t turned off. Sadly, families also turn to the Foundation to help bury artists who were once celebrated in life, but who have been forgotten in death." Without a doubt the R&B musicians and singers of the past have made immeasurable contributions to the world of music. In the words of rapper T.I "there would be no rap, hip-hop or whatever you want to call it, without R&B. I give props to the great artists from the 40's, 50's, 60's, and 70's...we got to take care of our own!" Many of the pioneering artist of R&B who were often underpaid and too often unrecognized are in need of financial assistance.They gave so much, now it's time we give a little in return. Donations can be made at the Rhythm & Blues Foundation website.
"rock steady baby
that's what I feel now
let's call this song exactly what it is..."
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
In the early 70's super producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff established Philadelphia International Records. The O'Jays' Backstabbers was one of the first albums released on the Philly based label providing a launching pad for the label and Philly Soul. After more than a decade of regional hits and traveling the 'chitlin curcuit', The O'Jays were on their way to soul stardom. The infectious 'Time To Get Down' and the uplifting anthem 'Back Stabbers' were heard on radios all across the country. 'Who Am I,' written by oft-forgotten composer, producer, and musician Bunny Sigler, was one of the soul ballads featured on the album. Masters of soul balladry, Eddie LeVert took lead vocals while William Powell and Walter Williams played the background to present a soft mood of introspection. The smooth yet haunting opening sounds gives way to a heartfelt vocal performance full of conviction creating soul music's saddest break up song.
August 28 marks the ten year anniversary of the release of Lauryn Hill's masterpiece debut solo album. It's hard to fathom that ten years have passed since the release of The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, a rare fusion of soul, hip hop, and reggae that chronicled Lauryn's life and the lessons learned. In the aftermath of its' release Lauryn Hill has become a musical icon. In 2002, Lauryn took us on a spiritual journey via the oft-forgotten acoustic set MTV Unplugged No. 2.0: Lauryn Hill. In the years that have followed, Lauryn's life has been marked by strange behavior and bizarre public appearances. She has left us wondering the hell is going on with Lauryn Hill? Has she lost her mind? While many have given up on the hopes of hearing another Lauryn Hill studio album, I'm still hopeful. In an upcoming issue of People magazine, those associated with Lauryn, including the father of her five children, Rohan Marley, speak out about the reclusive musical genius.
Lauryn and her five children are living with Lauryn's mother in New Jersey. Rohan Marley, Bob Marley's son, insists there is nothing wrong with Lauryn and says "she is loving the suburban life and being with her children, seeing them grow and instilling our teachings of righteousness to them. She does what regular people do, she cooks, shops, goes to restaurants, regular things....she became more in tune with the earth." Marley, who doesn't reside with Hill, claims the two are "spiritually together." Marley and Hill are parents to five children, sons Zion, 11; Joshua, 6; and John, 5; and daughters Selah, 9; and a still unnamed seven-month-old. According to Rohan Marley "we want a name that means Glory of the Ark; for now we call her baby Marley.” Former Fugees members Pras still doesn't understand why Lauryn insisted people address her as Miss. Hill', “when she said, ‘it’s Ms. Hill,’ I said Excuse me? She also told me she was gonna have people call her “Empress.” Wyclef alluded to the fact that something is wrong with Lauryn, "when you're so successful, if you don't have one person around you that can talk some sense into you, it's over." Music engineer Gordon Williams described Lauryn as highly intelligent and funny but believes Lauryn's success took a toll on her, "she didn’t have a minute in the day when there wasn’t something going on. She wanted to be a regular person. She tried to accommodate everybody all the time.” An unnamed source says that an association she began in the late 1990’s with a spiritual advisor “made everything go crazy. She said his preaching made her feel like everything she did in her career was bad.”
Kanye Is A 'Champion'
Kanye West's music videos have always been a visual delight. The man has always created videos that are innovative, fresh, and fun. His latest video is no exception. Kanye's latest visual treat comes from 2007's Graduation. 'Champion,' an amusing ode to the Olympic games, finds Kanye transformed into a sock puppet dubbed 'Air Yeezy,' an athlete competing in the fictitious 'Unified Games.' Yes, 'Air Yeezy' walks away victorious, Kanye West wouldn't have it any other way.
Never Can Say Goodbye The past weekend proved to be a difficult set of days for Black America. We loss two artistic geniuses, comedian and actor Bernie Mac took his last breath Saturday morning and Isaac Hayes, the father of 12 and the grandfather of 14, went on to glory Sunday morning. I'm sure his soul comrades, Sam Cooke, David Ruffin, Ray Charles, Donny Hathaway, James Brown --to name few, welcomed him with open arms. A homecoming celebration like no other. Even though the Memphis bred soul man created his own brand of soul music Isaac Hayes was more than just a soul singer, he was an enduring symbol of empowerment, he crystallized the strength and beauty of black manhood. Isaac Hayes fully embraced the beauty of his blackness as evident on many of his albums covers. He was black and proud. He may not have said it loud but it was written all over his face. The man known as Black Moses walked to sound of his own organ, he was bold, proud, confident, beautiful, cool, and possessed plenty of sex appeal.
As I sit here and reflect on the life and music of Isaac Hayes, I realize so many soul singers have left us and so few are still around. I dread the day when Aretha, Gladys, Stevie, Al Green, Mavis Staples, Patti LaBelle, Sam Moore, Smokey Robinson and others join God's choir. These are our heroes and sheroes, the voices of a people, they translated our trials and tribulations, joy and pain, and heartache and sorrow into music. Soul music is the soundtrack of our lives, it helped us get through tryin' times and helped us celebrate the good times. Curtis Mayfield once proudly proclaimed "you know to talk about the 60's almost brings tears to my eyes. What we did. What we all did. We changed the world- me,us Smokey, Jerry Butler, The Temptations, Aretha, Otis, Gladys Knight, James Brown. We really did. Barriers broke down for us and for all black musicians afterwards. I mean, to have lived through that and to have been apart of that, is more than anyone can ask." We are deeply indebted to the pioneering artists of soul music, men and women who were agents of social change. Today, we pay homage to Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. Till we meet again...never can say goodbye.
"take your fine self home
it looks much better than time
my fever keeps growin'
girl you're blowin' my mind..."
Monday, August 11, 2008
Isaac Hayes' third album was aptly titled The Isaac Hayes Movement, by the late 1960's black artists were recording extended epics and Isaac Hayes was at the forefront of the movement after following his inner voice and embarking on a solo career. Prior to releasing his debut album, Isaac Hayes along with David Porter were the architects of the gut bucket sound of Stax Records. Describing the music of Isaac Hayes as unique is an understatement. The Memphis bred soul man crafted his own brand of soul music with precise, complex and intense orchestrated arrangements with a heavy dose of organs, horns and guitars. 'Black Moses' marched to beat of his own drums, his songs stretched well over 7 minutes, a far cry from the traditional three-to-four minute industry norm. Released in 1970, The Isaac Hayes Movement is the follow up to Hayes' groundbreaking sophomore Hot Buttered Soul. Much Hot Buttered Soul, The Isaac Hayes Movement featured 4 extended epic tracks, which included renditions of George Harrison's 'Something,' Hal David and Burt Bacharach's 'I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself' and Chamler-Rhodes 'One Big Happy Family.' Hayes reworked the Jerry Butler classic 'I Stand Accused' into a 11 minute epic chronicling Hayes' longing for his best friend's finance,which features a nearly 5 minute opening monologue full of raw anguish and agony.
Mavis Staples LiveA great live album is able to capture the spirit and soul of the performer and audience. A live album is a communion between the performer and audience. Aretha held her audience in the palm of her hands at the Fillmore West and the music of Curtis Mayfield came to life at The Bitter End In New York City. Soul shouter Mavis Staples unearthed the pain, joy, hope, and sorrow of the Civil Rights Movement at The Hideout in Chicago this past June. Most of the songs from the session were taken from her critically acclaimed album We'll Never Turn Back, an ode to the Civil Rights Movement. Staples, along with a three-piece band and a trio of background singers, opened with "For What It's Worth" and went through a bundle of songs akin to the turbulent Civil Rights Movement including "Eyes On The Prize," "Wade In The Water," "This Little Light of Mine," "Why Am I Treated So Bad?," "We Shall Not Be Moved" --to name a few. Mavis Staples Live: Hope At The Hideout, is set for release November 4th.
Robin Thicke & MJB Create 'Magic'
While we wait for Something Else to hit store shelves, Robin Thicke has enlisted the help of MJB for the remix to his first single 'Magic.' The duo plan on shooting a video for the remix in the coming weeks. The blue eyed soul singer is joining Mary on the road performing spot dates throughout September.
Isaac Hayes (1942-2008) Shades, fur coats, gold chains, gleaming bald head, a '72 Peacock Blue, gold trimmed, 2 door Eldarado: Isaac Hayes was the epitome of style and the term 'fly,', a sex symbol and an icon for Black pride. I can remember the first time I heard his deep baritone voice, he was the morning deejay at KISS-FM in New York City. A few years later I would discover the music of 'Black Moses,' music that broke the soul formula and revolutionized black music by ushering in a silky, sensual adult sound – and by interpolating lengthy pillow-talk monologues. His extensive resume boasts everything from backing up Otis Redding and writing hit songs with David Porter to creating groundbreaking soul epics, Hot Buttered Soul, Black Moses, The Isaac Hayes Movement-- to name a few, to composing and recording the landmark blaxploitation soundtrack Shaft to winning an Academy Award for 'Best Original Song' for 'Theme From Shaft' to serving as the voice of Chef on South Park to acting in a number of films. In an odd coincidence, Isaac Hayes had just finished work on the film Soul Men, which also stars Bernie Mac, who passed away Saturday. Isaac Hayes, truly epitomized the meaning of one's life coming full circle.Born in poverty, Isaac Hayes grew up picking cotton in Memphis, ironically the stately home he passed away in overlooks those same fields where cotton grew for centuries.
"not only good-lookin
the girl was so smart
can't beat her cooking
ask me how I know
and I'll tell you so..."
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
The Countdown Isn't Over Yet... [SoulBounce]
Hip Hop In 1996 [This Is Real Music]
Conversation with Robin Thicke [SINGERSROOM]
England's Soul [Songs In The Key Of Life]
The Perfect Trio...Queen Latifah, J-Hud, & A. Keys [Wooohah!]
Erykah Badu Performs in BK [VIBE]
Rockin' The Bells [OkayPlayer]
Friday, August 8, 2008
There really is something about Mary. Mary J. Blige that is. That 'something' can be defined as the flurry of emotions one feels when listening to a Mary record. Wyclef once said "Mary doesn't sing to you, she sings through you." For the past 16 years Sister J. Blige has been singing through us. While many female vocalists have come and gone, MJB is still around. Reason being, Mary, an around the way girl from Yonkers, NY, reminds of us the women in our lives; our mothers, sisters, girlfriends, aunts, and cousins. We felt her inner pain and understand her sense of 'nobodiness.' We have experienced similar trials and tribulations. Now, we bask in her happiness and sit in awe of her success. Mary's seventh studio album, The Breakthrough, marked a transformation in Mary's life. Drugs and alcohol became a thing of the past and Mary was a happily married woman. The Breakthrough sold 727,000 copies in its first week, becoming the biggest first-week sales for an R&B solo female artist. Raphael Saadiq composed, produced, and played the role of background singer on the glorious 'I Found My Everything.' Saadiq was able to channel Mary's inner soul child evoking memories of a 70's soul ballad. It is safe to assume the song is autobiographical. Mary's everything is husband Kendu Isaacs, the man she credits for her transformation and breakthrough.
Eric Benet's Homecoming Celebration
Halle Berry has a new baby and former lover Eric Benet has a new video out. A video for the single 'You're The Only One' has finally been released. Benet doesn't stick to the typical male R&B crooner video script. The video opens with the line "the best place to start is the beginning....Eric Benet returns home." Eric returns to his old Milwaukee neighborhood with a mini outdoor concert for the community. Sit back and enjoy Eric's homecoming celebration.
Go Vote. Right Now!!!!
It's time for the 2008 Black Weblog Awards!!. The Black Weblog Awards recognizes the best and brightest in the black blogsphere. In my humble opinion, Public Soul Announcement is worthy of being nominated in 1 of the 30 categories. 'Blog To Watch' highlights the best “undiscovered” blog in the blogsphere; keep your eye on this one! This is for that great blog that not everyone knows about…but should! I'm sure we can agree that Public Soul Announcement is the 'Blog To Watch.' Click here to show your support and nominate Public Soul Announcement as the 'Blog To Watch.' Thanks in advance. Spread the word. Public Soul Announcement '08.
Ain't Nothing Like Aretha
While browsing through YouTube videos I came across the clip above. The year was 1975. The event was the 17th Grammy Awards. Philly soul architect Thom Bell was recognized as producer of the year and Stevie's brilliant Fulfillingness' First Finale received a Grammy for Album of the Year. The highlight of the night was Aretha's amazing performance of Marvin & Tammi's 'Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing,' which she interpreted on 1974's Let Me In Your Life. While the real thing belonged to Marvin & Tammi, Aretha reconstructed the song into an Aretha classic that night. Influenced by the 'flat-footed' gospel singers of the 50's, Aretha, accompanied by a trio of background singers, took to the stage, stood 'flat-footed' and wore the Ashford & Simpson penned song out. Aretha was the embodiment of black womanhood that night, it's quite obvious that a young Whitney Houston was taking notes. The moments following Aretha's performance show the presentation for 'Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.' Aretha was nominated along with soul sisters Millie Jackson, Etta James, Tina Turner, Shirley Brown, Thelma Houston and Ann Pebbles. Aretha would grab the award for her rendition of 'Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing.' Sister ReRe made history that night, she won the award eight consecutive times starting in 1968 with 'Respect.' Ain't nothing like Aretha.
Raphael Saadiq Makes A '100 Yard Dash' As the release date for Saadiq's The Way I See It draws near, another soul drenched track has hit the 'net. The vintage soul set hits stores September 16.'100 Yard Dash,' the latest track to pop up on the net is highly addictive, I've played it five times in a row. I can't enough of Raphael Saadiq, September 16 can't come fast enough. Raphael Saadiq describes the track as "a juke joint, Booker T.-type groove. I reflected back to my first Tony!Toni!Tone! albums when I was singing in a high tenor voice." The music speaks for itself, listen and savor the soul.