Amoeblog

New Life for Oakland's Continental Club

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 5, 2015 06:03pm | Post a Comment

Continental Club, OaklandBy Brent James

Nestled inconspicuously on 12th Street in West Oakland in a neighborhood known as Prescott (or the “Lower Bottoms” to the longtime residents of the area) is a quaint little building that you will probably miss if you blink. A structure of brick and hardwood and matted red carpets that haven’t been touched since the 1960s, the building standing at 1658 12th Street is the Continental Club – a once a mighty Jazz and Blues supper joint that helped Oakland and the East Bay Area garner the reputation of being the “Motown of the West.” Along with Slim Jenkins’ Supper Club, Esther’s Orbit Room, and dozens of other nightclubs that sprawled along 7th Street, the stages in these rooms once hosted the likes of Jackie Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, Etta James, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Ike and Tina Turner, and even Jimi Hendrix. The list goes on and the stories are endless if you’re lucky enough to get some face time with the “old timers” of the area. In this neighborhood, people still say “good morning” and spend many a Summer night on their porches, so that’s pretty easy to do.

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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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AMOEBA SF HIP-HOP & SOUL SECTIONS WITH LUIS & DR. GOLDSTEIN

Posted by Billyjam, September 30, 2009 06:00am | Post a Comment

Last week, while visiting the San Francisco Amoeba Music store, standing in the hip-hop aisle gazing at its thousands upon thousands of vinyl and CD titles I found myself drooling in awe. The seemingly endless Amoeba Music San Franciscoselection is like an encyclopedia of hip-hop, which is what I mentioned to Luis (the store's hip-hop buyer), who offered to do a quick run-through video tour (above) of Amoeba SF's truly amazing hip-hop section for those who have not recently or ever visited the Haight Street store. This section offers the most comprehensive Bay Area rap selection (including tons of DVD titles) I have ever seen -- thanks in large part to Luis, who really knows and cares about the Bay's homegrown hip-hop flava.

One aisle over from hip-hop is the soul / r&b section and it is damn good, too, with an exhaustive selection of soul from the very latest back to the classics of bygone decades. In that section I ran into Dr. Goldstein of Free Gold Watch (the nearby Haight district store that makes some of Amoeba's T-shirts and was featured on the Amoeblog last week) and knowing his love for both soul and Amoeba I asked if he would do a quick run through tour of the Amoeba SF soul section. He obliged (video below) and made the very good point, especially in these MP3 happy days, about how when you buy a CD or record you are getting an artifact -- not to mention much higher quality audio.

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Digging Through the Record Stacks - 2

Posted by Whitmore, April 15, 2008 09:41pm | Post a Comment

Music historians often site The Diablos as the originators and early archetypes to the Motown sound. Formed in Detroit in about 1950 by high school students Nolan Strong and Bob "Chico" Edwards, the Diablos derive their name from, El Nino Diablo, a book Strong was reading for a school report. From the start the group's sound centered on Nolans’s eerily ethereal, lead tenor voice. (Musical talent ran deep in his family: Nolan’s cousin, Barrett Strong, wrote "Money'' and many other R&B standards.) Other original Diablos members included Juan Guiterriez as the second tenor, Willie Hunter singing baritone, Quentin Eubanks as bass with Edwards on guitar, and later on Nolan’s brother, Jimmy, would join the group as the second tenor.

In 1954, the Diablos went into Fortune Records to cut some demos. The owners of Fortune, Jack & Devora Brown, who founded the label in 1947, immediately signed them. Their first single, "Adios My Desert Love" (Fortune 509, 1954), was written by Devora Brown. However, their second single and masterpiece, "The Wind" (Fortune 511, 1954), was written by the group. This ballad has a curiously ghostly quality and takes full advantage of the groups strongest points; a simple guitar line plays with a light vibrato, filling in behind the perfectly sculpted background harmonies singing "blow wind," as Strong's incredibly delicate, smooth as silk lead carries over the top. The atmosphere takes on a rather strange quality during the bridge when, backed by a quirky plate-reverb effect, Strong quietly recites his lines about his missing lover.  All and all, and truthfully, this cut is slightly bizarre but so evocatively captivating.  And, of course, it went nowhere, until some eight years later when "The Wind" was re-released in 1962-- this time it found a national audience, hitting the lower rungs of the Billboard Charts. “The Wind" is now regarded as a doo wop classic and is much sought after by collectors. The Diablos would continue to record for Fortune Records until the mid sixties, though with various lineups, perhaps the reason the last few releases were credited to only Nolan Strong.

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