Monthly Archives: June, 2012

ROSE ROYCE-ROSE ROYCE III: STRIKES AGAIN.

ROSE ROYCE-ROSE ROYCE III: STRIKES AGAIN. When Norman Whitfield decided to set up his own record company Whitfield, after spending ten years at Motown as their psychedelic kahuna, one of his first signing were Total Concept Unlimited, an eight-piece band from Los Angeles. Norman became the group’s mentor, signing them to his label and shaping …

Continue reading

THE O’JAYS-TRAVELIN’ AT THE SPEED OF THOUGHT.

THE O’JAYS-TRAVELIN’ AT THE SPEED OF THOUGHT. A year after The O’Jays released Message In the Music, their final album to feature William Powell, The O’Jays would release Travellin’ At the Speed of Thought, their first album featuring their new vocalist Sammy Strain. Given how successful The O’Jays had been since releasing their first album …

Continue reading

TEENA MARIE-NAKED TO THE WORLD.

TEENA MARIE-NAKED TO THE WORLD. Having left Motown after a bitter and prolonged legal dispute, Teena Marie signed for Epic Records, releasing five albums. She’d enjoyed commercial success at Motown, releasing three albums that were certified gold between 1979 and 1981. These were Lady T in 1979, 1980s Irons In the Fire and 1981s It …

Continue reading

RONNIE FOSTER-DELIGHT.

RONNIE FOSTER-DELIGHT. After the release of Ronnie Foster’s previous album, 1978s Love Satellite, Ronnie headed out on the road with George Duke, before accompanying George Benson on one of his tours. On his return home, Ronnie would release the most commercially successful album of his career, Delight. On Delight, which was rereleased by SoulMusic Records …

Continue reading

QUAZAR-QUAZAR.

QUAZAR-QUAZAR. Having spent several years aboard George Clinton’s Mothership Connection, as vocalist and guitarist for Funkadelic and Parliament, Glenn Goins started getting restless being just a side-man for George. He watched other members leave the bands, forming their own successful bands. Soon he too, was considering his future, having played important roles on mid-seventies Funkadelic …

Continue reading

DISCO RECHARGE-TANGERUE/STRANGE AFFAIR.

DISCO RECHARGE-TANGERUE/STRANGE AFFAIR. After the success of Harmless Records’ Disco Discharge series, which celebrated the release of four further volumes in 2012, taking the total to sixteen volumes of the Disco Discharge series, Harmless have launched another new label and series, Disco Recharge. The Disco Recharge series sees Harmless rerelease long out of print classic …

Continue reading

DENIECE WILLIAMS-NIECY.

DENIECE WILLIAMS-NIECY. From the release of her debut album This Is Niecy in 1976, Deniece Williams embarked on an eight year musical adventure, where she released seven solo albums, two of which were certified gold and one platinum. During that period, Deniece worked with some of the most successful producers of that time. This included …

Continue reading

GEORGE MCCRAE-ROCK YOUR BABY.

GEORGE MCCRAE-ROCK YOUR BABY. Imagine an artist could record a single in an hour, costing them just $15 or $20 and that single went on to reach number one in the US Billboard and US R&B Charts. While that might sound far fetched, it actually happened. Back in 1974 George McCrae recorded Rock Your Baby …

Continue reading

THE JACKSONS-GOIN’ PLACES.

THE JACKSONS-GOIN’ PLACES. Just eleven months after The Jacksons had released the most successful album of their career thus far, 1976s The Jacksons, they released the followup album Goin’ Places. This was the second album of a joint venture between where Epic Records and Philadelphia International Records, with Gamble and Huff in charge of the …

Continue reading

LIVE AND REMASTERED-20TH ANNIVERSARY BOX SET.

LIVE AND REMASTERED-20TH ANNIVERSARY BOX SET. Recently, when reviewing Salsoul 30th, I was comparing how record labels celebrate anniversaries. Often, the differences can be stark. Sometimes, record companies release lavish box sets like Harmless Records Philadelphia International Records-The 40th Anniversary Box Set, a mammoth ten disc box set, that was the perfect way to celebrate …

Continue reading

TEMMA TEJE-MIDGET LAMPS IN THE DARK.

TEMMA TEJE-MIDGET LAMPS IN THE DARK. Although TEMMA-Teje is just twenty-one, he’s packed a lot into his nascent musical career, so far. Starting at just aged thirteen, he was writing songs for his band. By sixteen, his band were playing twice a week at various venues. He was guitarist and vocalist. Then his career progressed …

Continue reading

ALBERT KING-I’LL PLAY THE BLUES FOR YOU.

ALBERT KING-I’LL PLAY THE BLUES FOR YOU. Although Stax was primarily a soul label, they also released gospel, funk, jazz and blues music. Without doubt, their most famous blues player was Albert King, who having released his debut album for King Records, The Blues, in 1962, signed to Stax in 1966. This would see Albert …

Continue reading

SALSOUL 30TH.

SALSOUL 30TH. One thing I find quite ironic about the music industry is the importance certain bands and labels place on anniversaries. If you take bands like The Beatles, Beach Boys or labels like Motown, then it seems anniversaries give record labels the chance into go into marketing overdrive. Take The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely …

Continue reading

PAUL BUCHANAN-MID AIR.

PAUL BUCHANAN-MID AIR. Although The Blue Nile only released four albums between forming in 1981 and they released their final album High in 2004, they’ve attained legendary status among their fans. Sadly, their albums never sold in the quantities their talent deserved. Very little is known about the three members of The Blue Nile, Paul …

Continue reading

DEXTER WANSEL-TIME IS SLIPPING AWAY.

DEXTER WANSEL-TIME IS SLIPPING AWAY. Mention the name Dexter Wansel, and many people think of the music herwrote, arranged and produced for artists on Philadelphia International Records. The artists that Dexter worked with during his time at Philadelphia International Records reads like a who’s who of Philly Soul. Teddy Pendergrass, The Jacksons, Lou Rawls, The …

Continue reading

ARETHA FRANKLIN-JUMP TO IT.

ARETHA FRANKLIN-JUMP TO IT. Before Jump To It was released in 1982, Aretha Franklin’s career was going through something of a lean spell. It had been six years since Aretha’s last top forty single Something He Can Feel and six years since her 1976 album Sparkle had been certified gold. Since then, Aretha had released …

Continue reading

BILL WITHERS-STILL BILL.

BILL WITHERS-STILL BILL. A year after the release of his debut album Just As I Am, Bill Withers released what would prove to be his most successful album ever, Still Bill. Not only did it build on the success of his debut album Just As I Am, it became the first of two of his …

Continue reading

TEENA MARIE-EMERALD CITY.

TEENA MARIE-EMERALD CITY. Having released four albums for Motown between 1979 and 1981, three of which had been certified gold, Lady T, Teena Marie had signed for Epic after a prolonged and bitter contract dispute that cost her over one-million dollars in legal fees. Her first album for Epic had been 1983s Robbery, which reached …

Continue reading

RONNIE FOSTER-LOVE SATELLITE.

RONNIE FOSTER-LOVE SATELLITE. Between 1972 and 1975, Ronnie Foster released four studio albums and one live album for the legendary Blue Note label. His debut album was 1972s critically acclaimed The Two Headed Freap, before releasing the funk drenched Sweet Revival in 1973. It saw Ronnie interpret ten tracks, including The O’Jays classic Back Stabbers …

Continue reading

SALSOUL NATION-COMPILED AND MIXED BY LUKE HOWARD.

SALSOUL NATION-COMPILED AND MIXED BY LUKE HOWARD. Two of my favorite labels are Philadelphia International Records and Salsoul Records. Both labels were hugely important during the seventies, producing some of the greatest music of the decade. Even forty years later, the Philly Sound’s inimitable sound is still as popular and influential. Similarly, Salsoul Records’ music …

Continue reading