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Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Four Tops Discography


Formed 1956, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

Levi Stubbs (b. Levi Stubbles, 6th June 1936, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. d. 17th October 2008, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)

Renaldo 'Obie' Benson (b. 14th June 1936, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. d. 1st July 2005, Harper Hospital, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)

Lawrence Payton (b. 2nd March 1938, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A, d. 20th June 1997)

and Abdul 'Duke' Fakir (b. 26th December 1935, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)

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The Four Tops were formed, under that name, in 1956 in Detroit, Michigan, although two years prior to that they had sang at a party together in the town.

All of the group members attended Detroit-area high schools.

Levi Stubbs and Abdul 'Duke' Fakir attended Pershing, and met Northern students Renaldo 'Obie' Benson and Lawrence Payton at a friend's birthday party.

It was at this party where the quartet first sang together.

In those preceding years they called themselves the Four Aims, as early as 1953, changing their name in 1956 to the Four Tops.

As the Four Aims, they sang Jazz Standards, converting to an R & B sound with the name change.

They changed their name to the Four Tops to avoid confusion with the group the Ames Brothers.

Lawrence Payton's cousin Roquel Davis helped them get an audition with Chess Records in 1956, where they recorded one single entitled 'Kiss Me Baby'.

The Four Tops also recorded for the Red Top, Columbia (where they recorded 'Ain't That Love' in 1960) and Riverside imprints between 1958 and 1962.

In 1963, the group were then signed to the Motown jazz subsidiary Workshop.

In 1964, they recorded an album entitled 'Breaking Through', which wasn't released and Berry Gordy decided to put the group in the songwriting hands of the Holland / Dozier / Holland writing and production team.

Instant success followed with the initial release, with the new collaboration, in the form of 'Baby I Need Your Loving'.

The song reached the Top 20 in the States.

In 1965, they released 'I Can't Help Myself', which went straight to the top of the charts, and the success continued for the group.

For two more years, the Tops and the writing team had continued success, with 'Reach Out I'll Be There' making the top spot in the charts both sides of the Atlantic in 1966.

The Four Tops also charted with the songs 'Bernadette' and 'It's The Same Old Song'.

By 1967, the groups sound diversified, however, they still charted with Left Banke's 'Walk Away Renee' and Tim Hardin's 'If I Were A Carpenter'.

When the Holland / Dozier / Holland writing team left the Motown stable to form the Invictus imprint, the Four Tops success was placed on the backburner, however, they teamed up with the various producers / writers such as Frank Wilson and Smokey Robinson.

In 1970, they charted again with the Tommy Edwards song 'It's All In The Game', and the ballad 'Still Waters (Run Deep)'.

Also in 1970, they teamed up with The Supremes for the first of three albums together.

They also had a hit in 1971 with the Jim Webb song 'MacArthur Park'.

Renaldo 'Obie' Benson co-wrote Marvin Gaye's classic song 'What's Going On' that same year.

One final album was released for the Motown label entitled 'Nature Planned it' in 1972.

Later that year, the Four Tops left Motown, following the release of the single 'A Simple Game'.

This was prompted by Motown's relocation to California from Detroit in 1972.

They group signed to the ABC / Dunhill Records imprint, where they charted with the song 'Are You Man Enough', taken from the movie soundtrack 'Shaft In Africa'.

'Keeper Of The Castle' provided the group with their first chart hit for a while in 1972, with the subsequent album containing the excellent 'When Tonight Meets Tomorrow'.

The group were teamed up with the songwriting partnership Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter at this time.

Several excellent albums followed including 'Main Street People' in 1973 and 'Meeting Of The Minds' in 1974.

'Night Lights Harmony' was released in 1975, followed by 'Catfish' in 1976 (containing the excellent 'Strung Out On Your Love').

'The Show Must Go On' turned out to be the groups final album for ABC / Dunhill before the Four Tops relocated to the MCA imprint.

In 1981, they joined Casablanca Records, and had a number 1 hit with 'When She Was My Girl'.

In 1983, the group performed with The Temptations during the Motown 25th Anniversary television special.

They re-signed to the label for 'Back Where I Belong', one side of which was produced by Holland / Dozier / Holland.

In 1986, Levi Stubbs provided the voice for Audrey the man-eating plant in the film version of 'Little Shop of Horrors'.

They then relocated to the Arista imprint, where they recorded the singles 'Indestructible' and 'Loco In Acapulco', the latter taken from the soundtrack to the film 'Buster'.

The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and continued to tour the oldies circuit.

The groups line-up remained the same throughout their recording career until Lawrence Payton died from liver cancer in June 1997.

In 2002, it was reported that Levi Stubbs was suffering from prostate cancer, however, he had suffered a stroke and a mild heart attack.

This led to Levi not being able to tour.

His place, in the line up, was taken by Ronnie McNeir.

In 2004, a special event was held in his honour, entitled 'It’s All The Way Live With Levi - 50 Years And Still Going'.

Levi attended, along with The Temptations, The Contours, Mary Wilson, Dennis Edwards, The Miracles, The Marvelettes, The Spinners, The Dells, Ollie Woodson, The Satin Tones, The Supremes including members Cindy Birdsong, Jean Terrell, Sherrie Payne amongst others.

Renaldo Obie Benson sadly died on the 1st July 2005, Harper Hospital, Detroit, from several medical conditions.

The current group line up comprises: 'Night Lights Harmony' was released in 1975, followed by 'Catfish' in 1976 (containing the excellent 'Strung Out On Your Love').

'The Show Must Go On' turned out to be the groups final album for ABC / Dunhill before the Four Tops relocated to the MCA imprint.

In 1981, they joined Casablanca Records, and had a number 1 hit with 'When She Was My Girl'.

In 1983, the group performed with The Temptations during the Motown 25th Anniversary television special.

They re-signed to the label for 'Back Where I Belong', one side of which was produced by Holland / Dozier / Holland.

In 1986, Levi Stubbs provided the voice for Audrey the man-eating plant in the film version of 'Little Shop of Horrors'.

They then relocated to the Arista imprint, where they recorded the singles 'Indestructible' and 'Loco In Acapulco', the latter taken from the soundtrack to the film 'Buster'.

The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and continued to tour the oldies circuit.

The groups line-up remained the same throughout their recording career until Lawrence Payton died from liver cancer in June 1997.

In 2002, it was reported that Levi Stubbs was suffering from prostate cancer, however, he had suffered a stroke and a mild heart attack.

This led to Levi not being able to tour.

His place, in the line up, was taken by Ronnie McNeir.

In 2004, a special event was held in his honour, entitled 'It’s All The Way Live With Levi - 50 Years And Still Going'.

Levi attended, along with The Temptations, The Contours, Mary Wilson, Dennis Edwards, The Miracles, The Marvelettes, The Spinners, The Dells, Ollie Woodson, The Satin Tones, The Supremes including members Cindy Birdsong, Jean Terrell, Sherrie Payne amongst others.

Renaldo Obie Benson sadly died on the 1st July 2005, Harper Hospital, Detroit, from several medical conditions.

The current group line up comprises:

Abdul 'Duke' Fakir, Roquel Payton (Lawrence's son), Theo Peoples and Ronnie McNeir.

Levi Stubbs passed away at his home in Detroit on the 17th October 2008. He was 72.

Levi had suffered a series of strokes and other illnesses had been sick for a number of years prior to his passing.




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ALBUMSLink
  • Lost and Found : Breaking Through (rec. 1963-64, rel. 1999)
  • Four Tops (Motown 1964)
  • Four Tops No. 2 (Motown 1965)
  • Four Tops On Top (Motown 1966)
  • Four Tops Live! (Motown 1966)
  • Four Tops Live! (Motown 1966)
  • Four Tops On Broadway (Motown 1967)
  • Four Tops Reach Out (Motown 1967)
  • Yesterday's Dreams (Motown 1968)
  • Four Tops Now! (Motown 1969)
  • Soul Spin (Motown 1969)
  • Still Waters Run Deep (Motown 1970)
  • Changing Times (Motown 1970)
  • with the Supremes: The Magnificent Seven (Motown 1970)
  • with the Supremes: The Return Of The Magnificent Seven (Motown 1971)
  • with the Supremes: Dynamite (Motown 1972)
  • Nature Planned It (Motown 1972)
  • Keeper Of The Castle (Dunhill 1972)
  • Shaft In Africa film soundtrack (Dunhill 1973)
  • Main Street People (Dunhill 1973)
  • Meeting Of The Minds (Dunhill 1974)
  • Live And In Concert (Dunhill 1974)
  • Night Lights Harmony (ABC 1975)
  • Catfish (ABC 1976)
  • The Show Must Go On (ABC 1977)
  • At The Top (MCA 1978)
  • Tonight! (Casablanca 1981)
  • One More Mountain (Casblanca 1982)
  • Back Where I Belong (Motown 1983)
  • Magic (Motown 1985)
  • Hot Nights (Motown 1986)
  • Indestructible (Arista 1988)
  • 16 Great Souvenirs (Duchesse 1990)
  • Christmas is Here (1995)
COMPILATIONS
  • Fourever (2001) - 4 CD set : 1 - 2 - 3 - 4
  • It's All In the Game (1979)
  • Lost and Found : Lost Without You (unreleased 1963-70) 
  • Greatest Hits (1967) at Pirate Island
  • Ultimate Collection (1997) at Blak's Lair
  • 50th Anniversary Anthology at Sad Songs
  • Soul Legends (2006)

Barry White Discography


b. Barry Eugene Carter (a.k.a. Barry Lee) 12th September 1944, Galveston, Texas, U.S.A.

d. 4th July 2003, Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, Los Angeles, U.S.A.

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Barry White was born in Galveston, Texas, but raised in Los Angeles.

Barry's mother's name was Sadie Mae Carter, however, his father's surname was White.

He was involved in the local music community while still very young, playing piano on Jesse Belvin's hit 'Goodnight my Love' at the age of 11.

Barry recorded his first record when he was 16 with a group called the Upfronts.

The song was called 'Little Girl' on a local L.A. label called Lummtone Records.

Barry made several records during the early 60's, under his own name, as 'Barry Lee', and as a member of the Atlantics, the Majestics as well as the Upfronts.

Following on Barry worked for various independent labels around Los Angeles.

He was also a producer and road manager for Bob and Earl.

Barry took an A & R position with Bob Keene, the man who first recorded Sam Cooke.

He was hired for 40 dollars a week to do A.&.R for Keene's other labels, Mustang and Bronco.

Barry recorded a record for Bronco called 'All in the Run of a Day.'

One of the first groups he worked with was the Versatiles who later became the 5th Dimension.

Barry found a greater success as a backroom figure, guiding the careers of, among others, Felice Taylor, recording 'It May Be Winter Outside,' 'I'm Under the Influence of Love,' and 'I Feel Love Coming On', and Viola Wills ('Lost Without the Love of My Guy', Top 20 R & B).

In 1969, he put together Love Unlimited, a female vocal trio made up of Diana Taylor, Glodean James (his future wife) and her sister Linda.

He also founded the Love Unlimited Orchestra, a 40-piece ensemble to accompany himself and the singing trio, for which he conducted, composed and arranged.

Love Unlimited's success, in 1972, with 'Walkin' In The Rain With The One I Love', featuring his voice on the telephone, rejuvenated Barry's own career.

The hits followed including 'I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More', 'Never, Never Gonna Give You Up' (both 1973), 'Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe' and 'You're The First, The Last, My Everything' (both 1974) all of which proved popular in the U.K. and the U.S.A. alike.

Barry had a major hit in 1978 with Billy Joel's song 'Just The Way You Are'.

He later undertook several recordings with Glodean White before returning to the UK Top 20 in 1987 with 'Sho' You Right'.

Barry's achievements during the peak of his career, in securing gold and platinum discs for worldwide sales is impressive.

In 1990, he was a featured vocalist on the Quincy Jones project 'Back On The Block', contributing to the song 'The Secret Garden'.

Lisa Stansfield has often voiced her approval of Barry's work and in 1992, she and he re-recorded a version of Stansfield's hit 'All Around The World'.

In 1999, Barry returned with 'Staying Power' containing the popular 'Which Way Is Up'.

He, also, took a cameo role in the television series Ally McBeal, where his recordings were pivotal to many of the series storylines.

Barry's godson is the singer and songwriter Chuckii Booker.

In 2002, Barry was admitted into hospital and underwent kidney dialysis following kidney failure afrer suffering years of high blood pressure.

Barry had suffered two strokes, the latest of which occurred in May 2003.

Barry White, who had suffered kidney failure from years of high blood pressure, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, Los Angeles, around 9.30am local time, on the 4th of July 2003, said his manager Ned Shankman.

He was 58.






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ALBUMS
  • I've Got So Much To Give (20th Century 1973)
  • Stone Gon' (20th Century 1973) 
  • Can't Get Enough (20th Century 1974)
  • No Limit On Love (1974) - late 60s/early 70s material
  • Just Another Way To Say I Love You (20th Century 1975)
  • Let The Music Play (20th Century 1976)
  • Is This Whatcha Wont? (20th Century 1976)
  • Barry White Sings For Someone You Love (20th Century 1977)
  • Barry White The Man (20th Century 1978)
  • The Message Is Love (Unlimited Gold 1979)
  • I Love To Sing The Songs I Sing (20th Century 1979)
  • Barry White's Sheet Music (Unlimited Gold 1980
  • with Glodean James Barry And Glodean (Unlimited Gold 1981)
  • Beware! (1981)
  • Change (Unlimited Gold 1982)
  • Dedicated (Unlimited Gold 1983)
  • The Right Night And Barry White (A&M 1987)
  • The Man Is Back! (A&M 1990)
  • Put Me In Your Mix (A&M 1991)
  • The Icon Is Love (A&M 1994)
  • Your Heart and Soul (1998) - re-issue of "No Limit on Love"
  • Staying Power (BMG 1999)
  • "Let the Music Play" -2000-(Funkstar Deluxe remixes)


COMPILATIONS

  • All Time Greatest Hits (1994)
  • The Ultimate Collection (2000)
  • Soul Seduction (2001)
  • Love Songs (2003)
  • Gold
  • The Best Of Our Love (Unlimited Gold 1981)
  • The White Collection (Barry White & others)
  • "Barry White - DJ Kamel" (2003)
  • Just For You (3CD box set, 1992)

AFFILIATES


Love Unlimited
  • Love Unlimited (UNI 1972)
  • From a Girl’s Point Of View, We Give to You… (Varses 1972)
  • Under the Influence Of... (20th Century 1973)
  • In Heat (20th Century 1974)
  • He's All I've Got (Priority 1977)
  • Love Is Back (Priority 1980)

Love Unlimited Orchestra
  • Rhapsody In White (1974)
  • White Gold (1974)
  • Together Brothers (1974)
  • Music Maestro Please (1975)
  • My Sweet Summer Suite (1976)
  • My Musical Bouquet (1978)
  • Super Movie Themes, just a little bit different (1979)
  • Welcome Aboard (1981)
  • Let 'Em Dance! (1981)
  • Rise (1983)

Various Barry White Productions
  • "Boss Soul: Bronco/Mustang Soul Singles 1966-1967" (Del-Fi 1998)
  • "Boss Soul: Produced By Barry White" (Del-Fi 1998)
  • Gene Page - 'Hot City' (1974)
  • Gloria Scott - 'What Am I Gonna Do' (1974)
  • Jay Dee (JD) - 'Come On In Love' (1974)
  • White Heat - 'White Heat' (1975)
  • Evan Pace - ‘Face To Face' (Blue Thumb, 1973)
  • West Wing - ‘West Wing' (20th Century)
  • Tom Brock - I Love You More & More (1974)

VIDEO
  • "The Man and His Music"



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

David Axelrod Discography


born April 17, 1936, Los Angeles

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His father was active in radical labour union politics, and Axelrod was raised in South Central Los Angeles, where he grew up listening to R&B and jazz music. After a stint as a boxer, he found studio work in the booming film and television industry, and was soon in demand as a drummer, producer and arranger. He produced his first album in 1959, saxophonist Harold Land’s The Fox, which was seen as a landmark record showing that West Coast musicians could play top quality hard-edged jazz.

In late 1963, he joined Capitol Records as a producer and A&R man, and encouraged the label to develop their black artists. He began working with Lou Rawls, producing his successful Live album and a succession of gold albums and hit singles including "Love Is A Hurting Thing", "Your Good Thing Is About To End" and "Dead End Street", which Axelrod wrote and produced. He also began working with Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, one of the most successful jazz crossover artists of the 1960s. Axelrod produced Adderley’s 1967 album Live At the Club, which spawned one of the biggest jazz hits of the period, the funky "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”, written by the band’s pianist Joe Zawinul, which reached # 11 in the US pop charts.

Around this time Axelrod also began working with a regular group of leading session musicians, notably Howard Roberts (guitar), Carol Kaye (bass) and Earl Palmer (drums), first using them on records by David McCallum and then used to fill out two records that were released by the Electric Prunes, Mass In F Minor and Release Of An Oath. The Electric Prunes disbanded during the recording sessions and Axelrod's team completed the albums. These used sweeping strings, booming sound and heavy beats in a way that was unique for the time and became highly influential many years later. Axelrod’s success also encouraged Capitol to allow him to produce solo albums, the first two of which, Song Of Innocence (1968) and Songs Of Experience (1969), were homages to the mystical poetry and paintings of William Blake. His third solo album, Earth Rot (1970), warned of the impact of environmental pollution and degradation.

At the same time, Axelrod continued to work with Adderley and Rawls, and with the South African singer Letta Mbulu, bandleader David Rose, and unsuccessful psychedelic groups Common People and Hardwater. In 1970, he left Capitol and over the next few years issued a rock version of the Messiah and further solo albums, as well as continuing to work with Adderley on several albums until the latter’s death in 1975. His approach fell out of fashion for a while, and three solo albums he recorded in the 1980s went unreleased.

His work as arranger and composer began to be rediscovered in the early 1990s, and to be sampled by artists such as DJ Shadow and Lauryn Hill. In 1993 he released his first album for over a decade, Requiem:Holocaust. Several compilations of his earlier work were also released. In 2000 he released David Axelrod, which used rhythm tracks originally recorded for a proposed third Electric Prunes album, with new arrangements. Dr. Dre used a David McCallum cut ('The Edge') for "The Next Episode" from 1999's 2001. Masta Ace also used a cut from 'The Edge' in his song, "No Regrets" from the 2001 album, Disposable Arts.

David Axelrod appeared at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on 17 March 2004 as part of the Ether festival where he conducted a one off performance of his solo work. He was joined on stage by Richard Ashcroft who sang Holy Are You, originally recorded by The Electric Prunes. At the end of this rare concert he informed the audience that he was suffering from ill health. In 2006, "Live at Royal Festival Hall" was released as a DVD and CD.

Axelrod signed with Blue Note Records in 2005.








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ALBUMS

COMPILATIONS
  • "The Edge" (1966-70 at Capitol)

MISCELLANEOUS
  • David Axelrod Samples Vol 1-2 (originals & hiphop flips)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Roy Ayers Discography



born September 10, 1940, Los Angeles

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Vibraphonist/vocalist Roy Ayers is among the best-known, most-loved and respected jazz/R&B artists on the music-scene today. Now in his fourth decade in the music business, Ayers, known as the Godfather of Neo-soul, continues to bridge the gap between generations of music lovers. In the ’60s he was an award-winning jazz vibraphonist, and transformed into a popular R&B bandleader in the ’70s/’80s. Today, the dynamic music man is an iconic figure still in great demand and whose music has been sampled by music industry heavyweights, including Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, 50 Cent, A Tribe Called Quest, Tupac, and Ice Cube.

Ayers recently recorded with hip-hop artist Talib Kweli (produced by Kanye West) and jazz/R&B singer Will Downing. Many of Ayers’ songs including “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,”, “Searchin”, “Running Away” have been frequently sampled and remixed by DJ’s worldwide.

One of the most visible and winning jazz vibraphonists of the 1960s, then an R&B bandleader in the 1970s and '80s, Roy Ayers' reputation s now that of one of the prophets of acid jazz, a man decades ahead of his time. A tune like 1972's "Move to Groove" by the Roy Ayers Ubiquity has a crackling backbeat that serves as the prototype for the shuffling hip-hop groove that became, shall we say, ubiquitous on acid jazz records; and his relaxed 1976 song "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" has been frequently sampled. Yet Ayers' own playing has always been rooted in hard bop: crisp, lyrical, rhythmically resilient. His own reaction to being canonized by the hip-hop crowd as the "Icon Man" is tempered with the detachment of a survivor in a rough business. "I'm having fun laughing with it," he has said. "I don't mind what they call me, that's what people do in this industry."

Growing up in a musical family — his father played trombone, his mother taught him the piano — the five-year-old Ayers was given a set of vibe mallets by Lionel Hampton, but didn't start on the instrument until he was 17. He got involved in the West Coast jazz scene in his early 20s, recording with Curtis Amy (1962), Jack Wilson (1963-1967), and the Gerald Wilson Orchestra (1965-1966); and playing with Teddy Edwards, Chico Hamilton, Hampton Hawes and Phineas Newborn. A session with Herbie Mann at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach led to a four-year gig with the versatile flutist (1966-1970), an experience that gave Ayers tremendous exposure and opened his ears to styles of music other than the bebop that he had grown up with.

After being featured prominently on Mann's hit Memphis Underground album and recording three solo albums for Atlantic under Mann's supervision, Ayers left the group in 1970 to form the Roy Ayers Ubiquity, which recorded several albums for Polydor and featured such players as Sonny Fortune, Billy Cobham, Omar Hakim, and Alphonse Mouzon. An R&B-jazz-rock band influenced by electric Miles Davis and the Herbie Hancock Sextet at first, the Ubiquity gradually shed its jazz component in favor of R&B/funk and disco.

In the 1980s, besides leading his bands and recording, Ayers collaborated with Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, formed Uno Melodic Records, and produced and/or co-wrote several recordings for various artists. As the merger of hip-hop and jazz took hold in the early '90s, Ayers made a guest appearance on Guru's seminal Jazzmatazz album in 1993 and played at New York clubs with Guru and Donald Byrd.







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ALBUMS



EPs
Both EPs : Roy Ayers - Vibes / Sonny Sharrock - Guitar / Miroslav Vitous - Bass / Bruno Carr - Drums


VIDEO

COMPILATIONS

PRODUCTION - ALBUMS

PRODUCTION - SINGLES

MISCELLANEOUS



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