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Oakland Public Library Celebrates Black History Month with Soul Explosion!!!

Posted by Billyjam, February 4, 2014 09:44am | Post a Comment

Oakland Public Library (OPL) is celebrating Black History Month in various ways at its different branches throughout this month including its soul and R&B music-themed Black History Month Soul Explosion!!! this evening (Tuesday, Feb 4th) at 6pm at the OPL Lakeview branch on El Embarcadero down by Lake Merritt. Local DJ, musician, and record store owner Ed'N'Sted will curate a "multimedia excursion into soul" by playing music and videos by such soul/R&B legends as James Brown, Jackie Wilson, The Isley Brothers, and Little Willie John for two solid hours. Tonight's FREE event starts at 6pm sharp and goes until 7:45pm. It takes place in the Meeting Room of the Lakeview branch, located at 550 El Embarcadero Oakland, CA  94610. More info by calling (510) 238-7344 or online here.

In honor of tonight's East Bay Black History Month event, below are select live videos by three of these artists. Included are the Isley Brothers on Soul Train doing "Summer Breeze," James Brown and band in concert in 1989 doing "I Feel Good," and Jackie Wilson performing "To Be Loved," "Lonely Teardrops," and "Alone At Last" on The Ed Sullivan Show in the early 60's. Also below is a really great piece on the short life (he died at 30) of the underrated Little Willie John who Marvin Gaye dubbed "the soul singer's soul singer." This excellent short documentary, entitled Fever: Little Willie John's Fast Life, Mysterious Death, & The Birth Of Soul (also the name of the book), is well worth watching if you are into the history of soul/R&B.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Charles Bradley

Posted by Amoebite, October 23, 2013 05:40pm | Post a Comment

Charles Bradley

Many artists spend years paying their dues, honing their craft, grinding out tour after tour chasing the ultimate dream of being discovered and landing a record deal. For most, the dream never happens. That is, unless you are Charles Bradley. The ultimate "rags to riches" story, Bradley went from obscurity to international fame almost overnight, but that's not what's amazing about his story. The amazing part is Charles Bradley got his break at 62 years old and his newfound fame is relatively fresh.

Charles' life has been nothing short of burdensome. You can say he graduated top of his class from the school of hard knocks and was last in line when it came to catching a break in life. From growing up poor to contemplating suicide to the murder of his brother, his story is documented in the film Charles Bradley: Soul of AmericaBradley spent two decades criss-crossing the United States working odd jobs and singing in small dives. Struggling to keep his head above water, Bradley took to performing as a James Brown impersonator named "Black Velvet." His luck changed one night when he was discovered by Daptone Records co-founder Gabriel Roth.

Two full-length albums and a handful of singles later, Charles Bradley is a powerhouse in the current "retro soul" movement that has gained audiences all over the world. The James Brown influence in Bradley is clear and some critics have also compared him to the late great Otis Redding. Bradley is like a living time capsule. He's a window into an era that many generations of music lovers were not able to see. Charles Bradley is the modern day James Brown. Check out his debut album, No Time For Dreaming, and the newly released follow-up, Victim of Love, to hear for yourself.

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Music History Monday: September 9

Posted by Jeff Harris, September 9, 2013 11:30am | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

Born on this day: September 9, 1941 - R&B vocal icon Otis Redding (born Otis Ray Redding, Jr. in Dawson, GA). Happy Birthday to The Big "O" on what would have been his 72nd Birthday.
 


On this day in music history: September 9, 1967 - "Cold Sweat Pt. 1" by James Brown hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for three weeks, also peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 on August 26th. Written by Brown and Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis, it is the fifth R&B chart topper for the Hardest Working Man in Show Business. The song is originally written in 1962, but is re-recorded and given a dramatic re-arrangement after Brown hears "Funky Broadway," the recent hit single by Wilson Pickett. The track is recorded at King Studios in Cincinnati in May of 1967 and is the first session for engineer Ron Lenhoff who will become Brown's recording engineer for the next eight years, recording and mixing numerous hits for the Godfather of Soul. The extended workout runs over seven minutes in its entirety, but is edited and split into two parts for single release. "Cold Sweat" will mark a major turning point in the evolution of R&B music, being the first record to introduce the subgenre known as Funk. By putting more emphasis on the rhythmic aspects of the song, rather than the melody, it will be regarded as one of the most influential records ever released. Released as single in July, "Cold Sweat" will climb the R&B and pop charts quickly. Ironically, it will be replaced at the top of the R&B charts by Wilson Pickett's "Funky Broadway," the very song that inspired James Brown to create "Cold Sweat."
 

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Milo Greene Set to Play Amoeba With Live Webcast As Debut Record Lands

Posted by Billy Gil, July 15, 2012 04:00pm | Post a Comment
Milo GreeneMilo Greene is British. He’s well-dressed — three-piece suit and the like. He’s incredibly confident and charming, he’s well-spoken, he’s an intellectual, but also a man’s man. He’s exactly six feet tall to the millimeter, and if he were a dad, he’d be the No. 1 dad.
 
Milo Greene the man also isn’t real — they are a band, not a dude. He’s a fictional character band member Robbie Arnett invented when forming the band with Andrew Heringer. When contacting venues, Milo Greene would send the requests, and Arnett and Heringer saw their fortunes rise accordingly, getting better shows.
 
Now a five-piece who’ve taken the moniker Milo Greene as their own, in a bit of Belle & Sebastian-style alluring bewilderment, is set to release its debut, self-titled record July 17. The band plays Amoeba Hollywood the same day, at 7 p.m. with a live webcast.
 
milo greene milo greeneThe L.A.-based band’s debut record, Milo Greene, offers the same sort of intimate harmonies and natural harmonies of a Fleet Foxes or, further back, Fleetwood Mac just as Stevie and Lindsay joined the band. Written in part in a cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and recorded with co-producer Ryan Hadlock (Ra Ra Riot, Blonde Redhead, The Gossip, The Lumineers) at Bear Creek Studio, a converted early 1900s barn in the country outside of Seattle, it’s a beautifully crafted set of songs that makes the most the band’s five-person set-up. They offer lush harmonies on songs like “Don’t You Give Up On Me,” which sounds like a gorgeous gospel intervention. Lone girl Greener Marlana Sheetz in particular stands out on songs like “Perfectly Aligned,” in which Sheetz’s testimonial vocals are wrapped in just the right amount of gauzy reverb while the boys (who include Graham Fink and Curtis Marrero, in addition to Arnett and Heringer) back her up with swaying folk-rock, along with electric swells of sound and strident harmonies when necessary. The whole thing’s, you know, perfectly aligned.
 
I sat down to talk with Fink about what it’s like to be in a folk band in L.A. in 2012, and what records and songs are doing it for him these days (Hint: Lots of ’90s R&B).
 
Me: Truthfully it was a bit hard to find out more about you guys, and along with the whole “Milo Greene” concept, it seems to me sort of an early Belle & Sebastian situation where you want the music to stand for itself and not for any member of the collective to stand out. Is that fair to say?
 
Fink: Absolutely. This is a very collective group, and the music has always stood at the forefront. We liked the idea of just releasing some live videos early, so people could see the five of us in a room, making music. No lead singer, no gloss, music first and foremost. That being said, I'm really trying to get famous so I can be gifted courtside Clippers tickets.

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Music History Monday: June 4

Posted by Jeff Harris, June 4, 2012 04:50pm | Post a Comment
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com

On this day in music history: June 4, 1942 - Capitol Records is established in Hollywood. Founded byCapitol Records songwriting legend Johnny Mercer ("You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," "Autumn Leaves," "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)," "Hooray for Hollywood"), songwriter/film producer Buddy De Sylva, and music store owner Glenn Wallichs (Wallichs Music City), Mercer will propose the idea of starting a record label the year before to his friend Wallichs. A few months later, Mercer will propose the same idea to De Sylva who is an executive producer at Paramount Pictures. With the third partner aboard, the three get to work organizing their first releases and opening their first offices in a building south of Sunset Blvd. By July 1st, the label will release its first nine singles. The label will innovate new techniques in promoting the sales of records, including being the first to distribute free records to disc jockeys for promotional purposes. Capitol will quickly build up an impressive roster of artists that includes Les Baxter, Les Paul, Peggy Lee, Stan Kenton, Les Brown, and Nat King Cole. Over the years, that list of artists will grow to also include Frank Sinatra, Stan Kenton, Judy Garland, Stan Freberg, Gene Vincent, Dean Martin, The Four Freshmen, Al Martino, The Kingston Trio, Nancy Wilson, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Linda Ronstadt, The Band, Steve Miller Band, Bob Seger, Natalie Cole, Tina Turner, George Clinton, Duran Duran, David Bowie, Queen, Heart, MC Hammer, Garth Brooks, Radiohead, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, and Katy Perry. Happy 70th Anniversary, Capitol Records!!!
 
On this day in music history: June 4, 1962 - The single "Surfin' Safari" by The Beach Boys is released. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, it is the bands' debut release on Capitol Records. The released single is actually the second version of the song recorded, with the band previously cutting a version with engineer Hite Morgan at World Pacific Studios on February 8, 1962. The first recording also features guitarist Al Jardine who is replaced shortly afterward by David Marks (when Jardine drops out of the band for a year), and is not released until January of 1970. The second (and released) version is recorded at United/Western Recorders in Hollywood on April 19th with band manager and Wilson brothers father Murry Wilson credited as producer. Also recorded on the same session is the B-side "409," which will also chart (#76 Pop). "Surfin' Safari" will peak at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 13, 1962.



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