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Showing posts with label Smooth Soul. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Smooth Soul. Show all posts

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Norman Connors


Norman Connors (born March 1, 1947 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American jazz drummer, composer, arranger, producer, and headliner, who has led some influential jazz and R&B groups. He also achieved several big R&B hits of the day, especially with love ballads.
Connors became interested in jazz as a child when he began to play drums, once sitting in for Elvin Jones at a John Coltrane performance he attended while in middle school. Connors studied music at Temple University and Juilliard.
His first recording was on Archie Shepp's 1967 release, Magic of JuJu. He played with Pharaoh Sanders for the next few years until signing with Cobblestone Records in 1972 and releasing his first record as a bandleader. He went on to front some great jazz recordings with Carlos Garnett, Gary Bartz, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Herbie Hancock such as "Love From the Sun" on Buddah records..
Connors began to focus more on R&B material in the mid 1970s after signing with Buddah Records. He scored several US hits with songs featuring guest vocalists such as Michael Henderson, Jean Carn, and Phyllis Hyman. The most successful of these was "You Are My Starship" (#4 R&B, #27 Pop), featuring Henderson in 1976, while "Valentine Love", his first chart success, made #10 R&B in 1975, with vocals from Henderson and Jean Carn. Dee Dee Bridgewater also performed with him on the jazz album "Love from the Sun". He has also produced recordings for various artists, including collaborators like Jean Carn, Phyllis Hyman, Al Johnson, Norman Brown, and saxophonist Marion Meadows.
His recent work, "Star Power", has seen him operating more in the vein of smooth jazz and urban crossover music, featuring Howard Hewett, Bobby Lyle, Ray Parker, Jr, Peabo Bryson, Michael Henderson, and Antoinette.

Discography:


As A Lider:

Dark of Light (Buddah Records, 1973) 
Slewfoot (Buddah, 1974)
Saturday Night Special (Buddah, 1975)
You Are My Starship (Buddah, 1976)(RE,2010)
Romantic Journey (Buddah, 1977)(RE,2010)
This Is Your Life (Buddah, 1978)
Take it to the Limit (Arista Records, 1980)
Mr.C (Arista, 1981)
Passion (Capitol Records, 1988)
Remember Who You Are (MoJazz/Motown Records, 1993)
Insert B (The Real Deal) / Nobody Knows - Gurus -Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality (Chrysalis, 1995) 
Easy Living (Motown, 1996)
Eternity (Starship Records, 2000)
Star Power (Shanachie Records, 2009)


As A Sideman:

1967:Archie Shepp-The Magic Of Ju-ju 
1971:Pharoah Sanders-Live at The East 
1971:Pharoah Sanders-Black Unity 
1973:Sam Rivers-Streams 
1973:Pharoah Sanders-Village Of the Pharoahs
1974:Pharoah Sanders-Wisdom Through Music
1974:Pharoah Sanders-Love In Us All
1976:Charles Earland-Odyssey

As A Producer:

1976:Aquarian Dream-Norman Connors presents Aquarian Dream 
1977:Vitamin E -Sharing
1978:Aquarian Dream-Fantasy
1980:Starship Orchestra-Celestial Sky 
1980:Al Johnson-Back for More
1981:Phyllis Hyman -Can't We Fall In Love Again 




Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Legend : Miles Davis




Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer.

Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, and jazz fusion. Many well-known musicians rose to prominence as members of Davis's ensembles, including saxophonists Gerry Mulligan, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, George Coleman, Wayne Shorter, and Kenny Garrett; trombonist J. J. Johnson; pianists Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Keith Jarrett; guitarists John McLaughlin, John Scofield and Mike Stern; bassists Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, and Dave Holland; and drummers Tony Williams, Billy Cobham and Jack DeJohnette.

On October 7, 2008, his album Kind of Blue, released in 1959, received its fourth platinum certification from the RIAA, signifying sales of 4 million copies. Miles Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Davis was noted as "one of the key figures in the history of jazz".

On November 5, 2009, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan sponsored a measure in the US House of Representatives to recognize and commemorate the album Kind of Blue on its 50th anniversary. The measure also affirms jazz as a national treasure and "encourages the United States government to preserve and advance the art form of jazz music."It passed, unanimously, with a vote of 409–0 on December 15, 2009.
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Studio albums
  • First Miles (1945)
  • Cool Boppin' (1948)
  • Birth of the Cool (1949 and 1950) 
  • ConceptiFon (1951)
  • Blue Period (1951)
  • Dig (1951)
  • Miles Davis and Horns (1951 )
  • Miles Davis Volume 1 (Blue Note Records, 1952 and 1954)
  • Miles Davis Volume 2 (Blue Note Records, 1953)
  • Blue Haze (1953 and 1954)
  • Collectors' Items (1953 and 1956)
  • Walkin' (1954)
  • Bags' Groove (1954)
  • Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants (1954, with one track from 1956)
  • Musings of Miles (1955) 
  • Blue Moods (1955)
  • Quintet / Sextet (1955, Miles Davis and Milt Jackson)
  • Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet (1955)
  • Cookin' with the Miles Davis Quintet (1956)
  • Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet (1956)
  • Workin' with the Miles Davis Quintet (1956)
  • Steamin' with the Miles Davis Quintet (1956)
  • 'Round About Midnight (1955-1956) 
  • Miles Ahead (1957)
  • Ascenseur pour l'Échafaud (Fontana Records, 1957 - film soundtrack)
  • Cannonball Adderley meets Miles Davis(1958)
  • Somethin' Else (Blue Note Records, 1958 - Cannonball Adderley quintet)
  • Milestones (1958)
  • Jazz Track (1958)
  • Porgy and Bess (1958)
  • 1958 Miles (1958)
  • Kind of Blue (1959
  • Sketches of Spain (1960) (RIAA: Gold)  
  • Someday My Prince Will Come (1961) 
  • Quiet Nights (1962-1963)
  • Seven Steps to Heaven (1963)
  • E.S.P (1965)
  • Miles Smiles (1966)
  • Sorcerer (1967
  • Nefertiti (1967)
  • Miles in the Sky (1968)
  • Filles de Kilimanjaro (1969 - 1968)
  • In a Silent Way (1969)
  • Bitches Brew (1970)
  • (A Tribute to) Jack Johnson (1970)
  • Live-Evil (1971 - 1970) 
  • On the Corner (1972)
  • Big Fun (1974_1969-1972) 
  • Get Up with It (1974 ) 
  • Water Babies (1976 - previously unissued recordings from 1967 & 1968)
  • Circle in the Round (1979 - previously unissued recordings from 1955-1970)
  • Directions (1981 -(1960-1970)) 
  • The Man With The Horn (1981)
  • Star People (1983)
  • Decoy (1984)
  • You're Under Arrest (1985)
  • Tutu (1986) 
  • Music from Siesta (1987 - film soundtrack)
  • Amandla (1989)
  • Aura (1989)
  • Dingo (1991 - film soundtrack)
  • Doo-Bop (1992) 

Live recordings

  • The Real Birth of the Cool (Miles’ nonet live at the Royal Roost) (1948)
  • Complete Birdland Recordings (1951-52)

  • Miles & Coltrane (1955)
  • Miles Davis Quintet at Peacock Alley (1956)
  • Amsterdam Concert (1957)
  • Miles Davis at Newport 1958 (1958)
  • Live in Den Haag (1960)
  • Miles Davis & John Coltrane. Live in Stockholm Live at the Konserthuset, Stockholm (1960)
  • Olympia, 20th March 1960 (1960)
  • Manchester Concert (1960) flac
  • Olympia, 11th October 1960 (1960)
  • Miles Davis At Carnegie Hall (1961)
  • Miles & Monk at Newport (1963 release of 1958 concert)
  • In Europe (1963)
  • Live at the 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival (1963)
  • My Funny Valentine (1964)
  • Four & More (1964)
  • Miles In Tokyo (1964)
  • Miles In Berlin (1964)
  • The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965 (1965)
  • 1969 Miles Festival de Juan les Pins (1969)
  • Live at the Fillmore East, March 7, 1970: It's About That Time (1970)
  • Black Beauty: Live at the Fillmore West (1970)
  • Miles Davis at Fillmore: Live at the Fillmore East (1970)
  • Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival 1970 (1970)
  • The Cellar Door Sessions (1970)
  • In Concert: Live at Philharmonic Hall (1972)
  • Jazz at the Plaza (1973 release of 1958 appearance)
  • Dark Magus (1974) disc 1 disc 2
  • Agharta (1975) altrn(Japan)
  • Pangaea (1975)
  • Miles! Miles! Miles! (1981)
  • We Want Miles (1982)
  • Munich Concert (1988) 1 \ 2 \ 3
  • The Complete Miles Davis at Montreux (1973-1991)
  • Miles & Quincy Live At Montreux (1991)
  • Live Around The World (1988-1991)
Box sets

  • The Complete Columbia Recordings of Miles Davis with John Coltrane (1955–1961)
  • Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings (1957–1968)
  • Seven Steps: The Complete Columbia Recordings of Miles Davis 1963–1964 
  • The Complete Studio Recordings of The Miles Davis Quintet 1965–1968
  • The Complete In a Silent Way Sessions (1968–1969)
  • The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (1969–1970)
  • The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions (1970)
  • The Complete On the Corner Sessions (1972–1975)
  • Miles Davis: The Complete Columbia Album Collection (1955-1985)
  • In Person Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk, Complete (1961)
  • The Complete Live Recordings 1948-1955 (10 CD Box 2006)
  • The Complete Prestige Recordings '51-'56 (8 Cd's box) - 1993
  • Young Miles 1945 -1950 [4CD Boxset](2001) 1 \ 2 \ 3 \ 4
  • The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions 16 Nov. '55-8 Dec.'56[4 Cd 's Box-Set 2006]

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Minnie Riperton




Biography
The tragic 1979 death of 31-year-old Minnie Riperton silenced one of soul music's most unique and unforgettable voices — blessed with an angelic five-octave vocal range, she scored her greatest commercial success with the chart-topping pop ballad "Lovin' You." Riperton was born in Chicago on November 8, 1947; as a youth she studied music, drama, and dance at the city's Lincoln Center and later contemplated a career in opera. Her pop career began in 1961 when she joined the local girl group called the Gems, signing to the famed Chess label to release a handful of singles as well as lend backing vocals to acts including Fontella Bass, the Dells, and Etta James. After graduating high school, Riperton went to work at Chess as a receptionist; following the Gems' dissolution, she also signed with the label as a solo act, releasing a single, "Lonely Girl," under the alias Andrea Davis.

In 1968, Riperton was installed as the lead vocalist of the psychedelic soul band the Rotary Connection, which debuted that year with a self-titled LP on Cadet Concepts; the singles "Amen" and "Lady Jane" found a home on underground FM radio, but the group failed to make much of an impression on mainstream outlets. While still a member of the Connection, Riperton mounted a solo career; teaming with producer/arranger Charles Stepney and her husband/composer Richard Rudolph, she issued her brilliant debut, Come to My Garden, in 1970, but again commercial success eluded her grasp. After the Rotary Connection dissolved in the wake of 1971's Hey Love, she and Rudolph took a two-year sabbatical in Florida before relocating to Los Angeles, where she sang on Stevie Wonder's Fulfillingness' First Finale and toured as a member of his backing unit Wonderlove.

Wonder agreed to co-produce Riperton's 1974 album Perfect Angel, which contained the international blockbuster "Lovin' You"; the record made her a household name, although subsequent LPs like 1975's Adventures in Paradise and 1977's Stay in Love failed to repeat its success. By this time, however, commercial woes were the least of Riperton's concerns — diagnosed with breast cancer, she underwent a mastectomy in 1976, later becoming a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society and earning a Society Courage Award from then-President Jimmy Carter. Riperton continued performing despite her declining condition, with 1979's Minnie the final record completed during her lifetime — she died in L.A. on July 12 of that year. Unreleased vocal tracks with new instrumental backing comprised 1980's posthumous collection Love Lives Forever.

Discography

1969 - Come To My Garden
1974 - Perfect Angel
1975 - Adventures In Paradise
1977 - Stay In Love
1979 - Minnie
1980 - Love Lives Forever

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Legendary Group: Earth, Wind, and Fire


The band, at various times, comprised of:
  • Maurice White (b. 19th December 1941, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A., drums)
  • Verdine White (b. 25th July 1951, Illinois, U.S.A., bass)
  • Philip Bailey (b. 8th May 1951, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A., vocals)
  • Ronnie Laws (b. 3rd October 1950, Houston, Texas, U.S.A., saxophone, guitar)
  • Larry Dunn (b. Lawrence Dunhill, 19th June 1953, Colorado, U.S.A., keyboards)
  • Michael Beale (guitar)
  • Wade Flernmons (vocals)
  • Jessica Cleaves (b. 1948, vocals)
  • Roland Bautista (guitar)
  • Sherry Scott (vocals)
  • Alex Thomas (trombone)
  • Chet Washington (tenor saxophone)
  • Don Whitehead (keyboards)
  • Yackov Ben Israel (percussion)

Earth Wind & Fire were formed in 1969 in Chicago, Illinois, by Maurice White. Maurice was singing gospel by the age of six and at the age of eleven he took up drums and formed a band with schoolmate Booker T. Jones. In 1960, he relocated to Chicago and studied music composition and percussion at Roosevelt University. He had the intention at the time of becoming a music teacher.


Maurice used to record, between 1963 and 1965, for the Chess Imprint, where he worked alongside Fontella Bass, Betty Everett, Jackie Wilson, Billy Stewart, the Radiants, the Dells, Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions and Etta James. In 1967, at the age of 22, he'd replaced Red Holt in the the Ramsey Lewis Trio. Ramsey introduced Maurice to the kalimba, an African thumb piano that would prove to play a large part in his future ventures.

By 1969, he had left Ramsey's ranks and began a songwriting partnership with keyboardist Don Whitehead and singer Wade Flemons. This collaboration led to the formation of the Salty Peppers, who signed to the Capitol imprint and had a hit with the song 'La La Time.'The group also released the single 'Love Is Life' and had another small hit with the song.


Maurice left the group and then relocated to Los Angeles. It was here that he decided to form the group Earth, Wind and Fire, named after three of the elements in his personal astrological chart. Maurice's brother, Verdine, was asked to join the group in 1970, alongside Don Whitehead, Wade Flemons, female singer Sherry Scott, guitarist Michael Beal, tenor saxophonist Chet Washington, trombonist Alex Thomas, and percussionist Yackov Ben Israel.


Earth, Wind and Fire signed to the Warner Brothers imprint and released their first, self titled, album in 1970. In 1971, a second album was released, entitled 'The Need Of Love'. They also performed on the Melvin Van Peebles film 'Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song'. The group's line-up changed, due to a lack of commercial success, in 1972 and a new line up formed consisting of female vocalist Jessica Cleaves, flute / sax player Ronnie Laws, guitarist Roland Bautista, keyboardist Larry Dunn, and percussionist Ralph Johnson. Philip Bailey also joined via a Denver R & B band called Friends & Love. The group opened for the singer John Sebastian in New York, which led to Clive Davis signing them to CBS.

Their first album was released for the label in 1972, entitled 'Last Days and Time'. By the end of 1972, Ronnie Laws and Roland Bautista had departed. They were replaced by Andrew Woolfolk and guitarists Al McKay and Johnny Graham. In 1973, the group released 'Head To The Sky', which was followed a year later by the album 'Open Our Eyes', which contained the popular song, 'Devotion'. This was the group's first collaboration with producer, arranger, and songwriter Charles Stepney.


Maurice's brother Fred White was enlisted as a second drummer. The single 'Mighty, Mighty' became Earth, Wind and Fire's first Top Ten hit on the R & B charts. 'Open Our Eyes' additionally, went gold. By 1975, Earth, Wind and Fire completed work on another movie soundtrack, entitled 'That's The Way Of The World'. The album stood up in it's own right, with the movie almost an after thought. 'Shining Star' went to the top of the R & B charts. The title track has become a Soul Classic in recent decades, with the album winning a Grammy for Best R & B Vocal Performance by a Group.


'That's The Way Of The World' reached the number one slot on both the pop and R & B charts and went double platinum. The song 'Reasons' showcased Philip Bailey's vocal dynamics, whilst the track 'See The Light' found favour with the Jazz Funk following (the song being covered by the fusion artist Eddie Russ). That album financed Maurice's further live developments which included stage stunts designed by the magician Doug Henning.

Earth, Wind and Fire employed a horn section, the Phoenix Horns, headed by saxophonist Don Myrick. 'Gratitude' followed later that year, an album of mainly live material, however one side of studio tracks proved immensly popular amongst Soul purists, especially the song 'Can't Hide Love', a track later to grace the dancefloors of the U.K. via a version by the jazz artist Jimmy Smith in 1977. 'Sing a Song', from that album, reached the pop Top Ten and the R & B Top Five.

During the 1976 sessions for Earth, Wind and Fire's next studio album entitled 'Spirit', Charles Stepney died suddenly of a heart attack. Maurice White took over the arrangments for the album, posthumously. The Charles Stepney produced 'Getaway' reached the top of the R & B charts, and the song was utilised by the BBC as part of the companies segue's between programmes that year. 'Spirit' was successful on the charts, reaching the number two spot.


Maurice took on further musical commitments, including work for the group the Emotions ('Flowers' and 'The Best Of My Love'), Pockets, Ramsey Lewis and kick starting Deneice Williams solo career via her successful album 'This Is Niecy' that year. The following year, the group began an incredible run of chart success via the album 'All N' All'. Maurice achieved massive success via the Earth, Wind and Fire songs 'Fantasy' and 'Serpentine Fire' alongside a number one single with, the Emotions song, 'Best Of My Love'. By 1978, he had formed his own label, ARC, and appeared in the film version of 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', with the group delivering their take on 'Got To Get You Into My Life', a version of the Beatles tune, that made the Top Ten. That same year, 'The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1' produced another Top Ten hit (and R & B number one) with the new song, 'September'.

The group hit the top of the charts with the Emotions collaboration 'Boogie Wonderland'. 'After the Love Has Gone', featured on the album, has since become a Soul Classic. The following year, the success began to wane somewhat, however 'Faces', an experimental double album package, contained some very fine moments, including the title track, an epic of a Jazz Funk tune, and the song 'And Love Goes On', popular with the Soul Purists. After this release Al MacKay left the group.

'Raise' was released in 1981, an album that secured a top five hit with the song 'Let's Groove'. 'Powerlight' followed two years later which was considered a substandard offering by the critics. The Phoenix Horns then left the group and Earth, Wind and Fire released the album 'Electric Universe' later that year, following which, Maurice and the group went their seperate ways for a while. Verdine White became a producer and video director and Philip Bailey embarked on a solo career. He scored a one off number one single after joining forces with Phil Collins for the duet 'Easy Lover'. Phil Collins utilised the Phoenix Horns on some of his 80's records, both solo and then with his group Genesis. In 1985, Maurice White produced his own solo, self titled, album in between his outside productions.

The group were re-united in 1987 for the album 'Touch The World'. The latest line up included Maurice and Verdine alongside Philip Bailey, Andrew Woolfolk, Ralph Johnson, and new guitarist Sheldon Reynolds. Earth, Wind and Fire scored R & B hits with 'Thinking of You' and the number one song, 'System of Survival'. In 1990, 'Heritage' was released with guest appearances from Sly Stone and MC Hammer. The group then left the Columbia imprint.

Signing to the Reprise label, Earth, Wind and Fire released the album 'Millennium' in 1993. They achieved a Grammy nomination for the song 'Sunday Morning' and then tragedy struck that year when, one time horn leader, Don Myrick was murdered in Los Angeles. Philip Bailey and Maurice and Verdine White returned once again in 1997, on the independent Pyramid label, with the album 'In the Name of Love'. The track 'Cruisin' proved popular with soul fans. In the year 2000, it was announced that Maurice White had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Maurice continued to output product, producing a new project for a group called 'Xpression' entitled 'Power'. 'A return to the roots of soul' he commented on the sleevenotes.

In 2003, Earth, Wind and Fire released the album 'The Promise', a set that was perceived to be a fine return to form for the group some 35 years since their conception and featured a further collaboration with the group The Emotions, along with artistic input from Angie Stone. By 2005, a further set was released, entitled 'Illumination'. Maurice resides in Santa Monica today, is making a full recovery from his illness (according to reports), whilst Earth, Wind and Fire were, recently, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

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Albums:

Compilations

Live Bootlegs

Solo albums



Resources

Friday, July 17, 2009

Legend: Al Green


b. AIbert Greene, 13th April 1946, Forrest City, Arkansas, U.S.A.
Al Green was born in Forrest City in Arkansas. He began his singing career at the age of nine in his fathers group, the Green Brothers. Al was the sixth of ten children born to Robert and Cora Greene. The Green Brothers toured throughout the South in the mid-'50s, before the family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Al later left the group and formed a Rock / R & B band called Al Greene and the Creations, which then became re-titled Al Greene and The Soul Mates.
The latter incarnation released a single called 'Back Up Train', which was later to be featured on Al's solo album release. Al's father removed him from the group when he caught Al listening to Jackie Wilson. Al Greene's debut solo LP was released on the Hot Line imprint in 1967, and was called 'Back Up Train'. Around this time Al came to the attention of the legendary producer Willie Mitchell.
In 1969, Willie hired him as a vocalist for a Texas show with his band, and then asked him to sign with the label. In 1970, Al recorded the album 'Green Is Blues' with his new partner. The follow up LP, 'Al Green Gets Next to You' (released in 1970), was a success and included four gold singles. 'Let's Stay Together' (released in 1972) was an even bigger success, as was 'I'm Still In Love With You' (released in 1972). 'Call Me' continued the success, a set followed by 'Al Green Explores Your Mind' (released in 1974) containing the song 'Take Me to the River', later covered by Talking Heads, amongst others. The following year Al released '(I'm So) Tired Of Being Alone', whose success set the scene for the following 5 years, where Al recorded 9 albums, had seven top ten hits and sold 30 million records!
Disaster struck on the 18th of October 1974, when Al was left with severe burns on his back, stomach and arm after an argument with a friend and partner, Mary Woodson (whom Al had met whilst performing in the New York State Correctional Facility. Mary was visiting a friend at the establishment). She had told Al she was not attached, although she was married with children at the time. Mary burst in whillst Al was taking a bath and poured boiling grits over his back and then shot herself dead, which left the singer with second degree burns. Although she was already married, Woodson reportedly became upset when Green refused to marry her. This tragic accident led to Al re-assessing his life and he decided to turn to Gospel as a healer.
He joined the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Memphis, where he still preaches and sings to the congregation today. Al recorded two soul / gospel albums entitled 'The Belle Album ' in 1977 and 'Truth N'Time' in 1978, and, during live performances, he still sang his older, successful, secular material.
Disaster struck yet again in 1979, when Al fell onto a steel instrument case in Cincinnatti, which led to a 15 day stay in hospital. After this incident, Al stuck strictly to his Gospel singing for a while, feeling that the Lord was punishing him in some way. His first completely Gospel record arrived in 1980, entitled 'The Lord Will Make A Way' for the Myrrh imprint. This album won Al a Grammy for the Best Soul Gospel Performer.
By 1985, Al had joined A & M Records, where he worked with Willie Mitchell again on the album 'Going Away'. The following year saw the release of 'Soul Survivor', which moved Al back into a more soulful / gospel vein again. He hit the charts the same year with the Arthur Baker produced single 'The Message Is Love'. Al was also featured in the 1988 movie 'Scrooged' recording the song 'Put A Little Love In Your Heart', a duet with Annie Lennox. By 1993, Al was recording with Arthur Baker again, and released the album 'Don't Look Back'.
Al's first secular album in many years was 'Your Heart's In Good Hands' (released in 1995). The same year hewas inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2003 Al released a secular album entitled 'I Can't Stop', his first collaboration with Willie Mitchell since 1985's 'He is the Light'. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Al at number 65 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
2005 saw the release of 'Everything's O.K.', which was also a collaboration with Willie Mitchell on this release. Willie returned to the studio in 2008, which saw the release of 'Lay It Down'. 'Lay It Down', includes tracks featuring John Legend, Corinne Bailey Rae and Anthony Hamilton. Al was, also, honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 BET Awards on the 24th of June 2008. Soul fans look to his single 'Keep On Pushing Love' as one of his finest recent releases.
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Albums:
  • Back Up Train (1967)
  • Green Is Blues (Hi 1970)
  • Al Green Gets Next To You (Hi 1971)
  • Let's Stay Together (Hi 1972)
  • Al Green (Bell 1972)
  • I'm Still In Love With You (Hi 1972)
  • Call Me (Hi 1973)
  • Livin' For You (Hi 1973)
  • Al Green Explores Your Mind (Hi 1974)
  • Radio Special: Self Portrait (1974)
  • Al Green Is Love (Hi 1975)
  • Full Of Fire (Hi 1976)
  • Have A Good Time (Hi 1976)
  • The Belle Album (Hi 1977)
  • Truth 'N' Time (Hi 1978)
  • Love Ritual (1978)
  • The Lord Will Make A Way (Myrrh 1980)
  • Higher Plane (Myrrh 1981)
  • Tokyo Live (Hi 1981)
  • Precious Lord (Myrhh 1982)
  • I'll Rise Again (Myrrh 1983)
  • The Christmas Album (1983)
  • Trust In God (Myrrh 1984)
  • He Is The Light (A&M 1985)
  • Going Away (A&M 1986)
  • White Christmas (Hi 1986)
  • Soul Survivor (A&M 1987)
  • I Get Joy (A&M 1989)
  • Love Is Reality (1992)
  • Gospel Soul (1993)
  • Don't Look Back (RCA 1994)
  • In Good Hands (MCA 1995)
  • On Fire In Tokyo (Xenon 1998)
  • Feels Like Christmas (2001)
  • I Can't Stop (Blue Note 2003)
  • Everything's O.K. (Blue Note 2005)
  • Lay It Down (Blue Note 2008)

Bootlegs
  • 1973 - Live at WNET Studios
  • 1974-10-04 - los angeles, ca
  • 1987-06-21 - Chicago Blues Festival - low bitrate, need better!
  • 2008-06-20 - Rochester Jazz Festival, NY
  • 2009-06-12 - Bonnaroo, Manchester TN 

Compilations
  • The Immortal Soul Of Al Green (4 CD set) (2001)
  • Collector's Edition (3 CD, 2007)
  • Al Green Sings the Gospel (1975)
  • A Deep Shade of Green (1996)
  • The Love Songs Collection
  • The Definitive Greatest Hits (1975)


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Resources

Thanks to: Fresh Sly, Zand, Blak's Lair, Noise Junkie, Nathan's Rock Moat

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Legendary Group: The Isley Brothers





The nucleus of this enduring group are three brothers:

  • O' Kelly Isley (b. 25th December 1937, Cincinnati, U.S.A., d. 31st March 1986)
  • Rudolph Isley (b. 1st April 1939, Cincinnati, U.S.A.)
  • and Ronald Isley (b. 21st May 1941, Cincinnati, U.S.A.)


The Isley Brothers began singing gospel in their hometown of Cincinnati, U.S.A. During the early 50's, the trio were accompanied by their brother Vernon, who died in a car crash during 1957. The group relocated to New York the following year and issued a few one-off singles before being signed by the RCA Records production team, Hugo And Luigi. One of their compositions 'Shout' built the group a reputation during live performances. The song sold well in the black market, and has since become an R & B standard and covered by several rock artists including the Beatles and Lulu.


The Isleys switched labels to Wand in 1962, where they enjoyed another sizeable hit with a cover version of the Top Notes' 'Twist And Shout', another song covered by the Beatles. The following years the group recorded for the labels, Wand and United Artists. A brief spell with Atlantic Records in 1964 saw the release of , 'Who's That Lady?', that did not do well at the time, but was to see a renaissance a decade later on.

The Isleys then formed their own company, T-Neck Records, in 1964, something not encouraged by a mainly white run music business at the time. The first release on the label, 'Testify', showcased their young lead guitarist, Jimi Hendrix. That record's experimental sound went largely unnoticed, and the Isleys, T-Neck and Hendrix went their separate ways.


The Isleys then signed a contract with Motown Records. At the Motown outset the group were teamed with the songwriting partnership of Holland / Dozier / Holland. By 1966, the song 'This Old Heart Of Mine' became a huge hit in America and a hit four years later in the U.K. 'Behind A Painted Smile' and 'I Guess I'll Always Love You' were reissued in the U.K. and became hits in the U.K. towards the end of the 60's.

The Isleys reactivated T-Neck in 1969 and took on a different look to refurbish their image. The group added two younger brothers: Ernie Isley (b. 7th March 1952; guitar) and Marvin Isley (bass) as well as a cousin, Chris Jasper (keyboards).


In America, 'It's Your Thing' and 'I Turned You On' scored at the end of the Sixties, whilst the U.K. were catching up with several earlier Motown releases. These records employed a funkier sound, inspired by the likes of James Brown And The JB's. Between 1969 and 1972 a live double set featured extended versions of their recent hits, and 'In The Beginning', a collection of their 1964 recordings with Jimi Hendrix.

In the early 70's, the Isleys incorporated into their repertoire a variety of rock material by composers such as Bob Dylan, Stephen Stills, Todd Rundgren and Carole King. By 1973, the album '3 + 3', became the first album issued via a distribution agreement with CBS Records. This albm set the course for several excellent outings throughout the Seventies and early Eighties. Ernie Isley's guitarwork (influenced by Jimi Hendrix) became central in the Isleys' sound, and was featured on the album's lead single, 'That Lady', a more successful version of their underrated 1964 single on Atlantic. '3 + 3' also contained soft soul interpretations of material by Seals And Croft, James Taylor and the Doobie Brothers.


'Highways Of My Life' demonstrated Ronald's own developing songwriting skills. 'The Heat Is On' in 1975 showcased the two sides of the groups' songwriting stylings. Side one would become the funkier, social commentary side of the groups writings. Side two would highlight their more romantic leanings, epitomised by the soul standard 'For The Love Of You'. It was this formula that stayed with the band for the following late Seventies and early Eighties offerings.

'Harvest For The World' (1976) proved to be one of the Isleys' most popular recordings. The song became a hit, in 1988, within the pop charts for the Christians. In the late 70's, the Isley's albums became popular within the Disco genre with Black & White audiences. 'The Pride', 'Take Me To The Next Phase', 'I Wanna Be With You' and 'Don't Say Goodnight' all topped the black music charts. 'It's A Disco Night', a U.K. hit in 1980, came from the double album 'Winner Takes All', which also included the excellent 'Let Me In Your Life'.

In the mid Eighties, Ernie and Marvin Isley and Chris Jasper left the group to form the successful Isley, Jasper, Isley combination. The rest of the group still recorded under the Isley Brothers banner, however, when O'Kelly Isley died from a heart attack on 31st March 1986, the group rested for a while. Ronald and Rudolph dedicated their next release, 'Smooth Sailin', to him. That album was produced by Angela Winbush with the title track highlighting.


Angela took over the artistic control of the group, and she wrote and produced their 1989 release 'Spend The Night', which was effectively a Ronald Isley solo album.The Isley Brothers legacy, has influenced several artists during the Nineties onwards, notably R Kelly on his 'For The Love Of You' sounding, 'Your Body's Calling'. Their 1996 release 'Mission To Please' attempted to move them into the same smooth urban soul territory as Keith Sweat and Babyface.

In 2001, the group returned to recording releasing 'Eternal', which featured vocal and production input from R Kelly, Raphael Saadiq, Avant, Jill Scott and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. An album entitled 'Body Kiss' was released in 2003 for the Dreamworks imprint. Their series of US hits from the 50's to the 90's is one of the major influences on Black American music.

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Albums
  • Shout (RGA Victor 1959)
  • Twist And Shout (Wand 1962)
  • Twisting And Shouting (Wand 1964)
  • In The Beginning (Isley Brothers & Jimi Hendrix) (1964)
  • This Old Heart Of Mine (Tamla 1966) 
  • Tamla Motown Presents: The Isley Brother (1967)
  • Soul On The Rocks (Tamla 1967)
  • Behind A Painted Smile [UK] (1969)
  • It's Our Thing (T-Neck 1969) 
  • The Brothers: Isley (T-Neck 1969)
  • Get Into Something (T-Neck 1970)
  • The Isley Brothers Way (1970)
  • Givin' It Back (T-Neck 1971)
  • Brother Brother Brother (T-Neck 1972)
  • The Isleys Live (T-Neck 1973)
  • 3 + 3 (T-Neck 1973)
  • The Isley Brothers (1974)
  • Live It Up (T-Neck 1974)
  • The Heat Is On (T-Neck 1975)
  • Harvest For The World (T-Neck 1976)
  • Go For Your Guns (T-Neck 1977)
  • Showdown (T-Neck 1978)
  • Winner Takes All (T-Neck 1979)
  • Go All The Way (T-Neck 1980)
  • Grand Slam (T-Neck 1981)
  • Inside You (T-Neck 1981)
  • The Real Deal (T-Neck 1982)
  • Between The Sheets (T-Neck 1983)
  • Masterpiece (Warners 1985)
  • Smooth Sailin' (Warners 1987)
  • Spend The Night (Warners 1989)
  • Tracks Of Life (Warners 1992)
  • Live (Elektra 1993)
  • Mission To Please (Island 1996)
  • Eternal (Dreamworks Records 2001)
  • Body Kiss (Dreamworks Records 2003)
  • Taken To The Next Phase (2004)
  • Baby Makin' Music (Def Soul 2006)
  • I'll Be Home for Christmas (Def Soul Classics 2007)

Isley, Jasper, Isley
  • Isley Jasper Isley - Broadway's Closer to Sunset Boulevard (1984)
  • Isley Jasper Isley - Caravan of Love (1985)
  • Isley Jasper Isley - Different Drummer (1987)

Solo albums

  • Chris Jasper - Superbad (1987)
  • Chris Jasper - Time Bomb (1989)
  • Chris Jasper - Amazing Love (2005) PW = Mr. Moo
  • Chris Jasper - Invincible (2007)
  • Chris Jasper - The Best Of Chris Jasper (2003)
  • Ernie Isley - High Wire (1990)
  • Ronald Isley - Here I Am (sings Burt Bacharach) (2003)
  • Ronald Isley - Mr.I (2010)

Live Bootlegs
  • with Brooklyn Bridge and Edwin Hawkins: Live At Yankee Stadium (T-Neck 1969)

Compilations

  • The Ultimate Isley Brothers (2000)
  • Take Some Time Out -The Famous Isley Brothers (United Artists 1964)
  • Doin' Their Thing (Tamla 1969)
  • Beautiful Ballads (1994)
  • 'Mellow' Isleys (1995)
  • The RCA Sessions (1996)
  • Brothers In Soul [The Early Years] (1993)
  • It's Your Thing (1999) [3Cd Boxset]
  • For The Love Of You (1993)
  • Greatest Hits Live (2005)
  • Summer Breeze: Greatest Hits (2005)
  • The Definitive Collection
  • Bedroom Classics Vol 3
  • The Essential Isley Brothers (2004)

Miscellaneous
  • Privilege - Privilege (1969) - produced by the Isleys on T-Neck
  • Baby Cortez - The Isley Way (1970) - T-Neck keyboardist, solo album covering Isley tracks.


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Resources
  • The Isley Brothers at Soulwalking
  • The Isley Brothers Discography at Rateyourmusic

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