Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band is a pioneering American soul and funk band. Formed in the early 1960s, they had the most visibility from 1967 to 1973 when the band had 9 singles reach Billboard's pop and/or rhythm and blues Hot 100 lists, such as "Do Your Thing" (#11 Pop, #12 R&B), "Till You Get Enough" (#12 R&B, #67 Pop), and "Love Land" (R&B #23, Pop #16). They are best known for their biggest hit on Warner Bros. Records, 1970's "Express Yourself" (#3 R&B, #12 Pop) that is often sampled by rappers, such as N.W.A.
Charles Wright was born in 1940 in Clarksdale, Mississippi, before moving to Los Angeles in the early 1950s, playing guitar and singing in several doo-wop groups including the Turks, the Twilighters, the Shields and the Gallahads. He also briefly worked as an [[A&R]] for In 1962, he formed his own band Charles Wright & the Wright Sounds . Over the course of the next six years, Wright would add more players to his group and these were the players who would eventually become known as the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, at least by 1968.
* Charles Wright - guitar, piano
* Al McKay - guitar
* Benorce Blackmon - guitar (replaced Al McKay)
* Gabe Flemings - piano, trumpet
* Melvin Dunlap - bass
* James Gadson - drums
* Big John Rayford - saxophone
* Bill Cannon - saxophone
* Ray Jackson - trombone
(As The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band)
* Hot Heat & Sweet Groove. Warner Bros. Records 1741 (1967)
* Together. Warner Bros. Records 1761 (1968)
* In The Jungle, Babe. Warner Bros. Records 1801
(As Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band)
* Express Yourself. Warner Bros. Records 1864 (1970)
* You’re So Beautiful. Warner Bros. Records 1904 (1971
(As Charles Wright)
* Rhythm & Poetry. Warner Bros. Records BS-2620 (1972)
* Doin What Comes Naturally. ABC/Dunhill DSD-50162 (1973)
* Ninety Day Cycle People. ABC/Dunhill DSD-50187 (1974)
* Lil' Encouragement. ABC/Dunhill (1975)
The legendary Charles Wright of the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band creator of the world famous Express Yourself and Loveland has a new single "Looking For An Ugly Woman" (cause pretty women think they slick). The single is from the upcoming album "Be Careful What You Look For".
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
- Soul Drums -Direction (1968)
- Stand By Me-Mega (1971)
- Purdie Good -Prestige (1971)
- Soul Is ... Pretty Purdie" -Flying Dutchman (1972)
- Lialeh - Bryan (1973)
- Shaft - Prestige (1974)
- Delights of the Garden- Celluloid (1975)
- Purdie As a Picture - Kilarnock (1993)
- Tokyo Jazz Groove Sessions - Lexington (1993)
- Coolin' 'n' Groovin' - Lexington/West 47th 1993 (1993)
- After Hours with The 3B's - 3B's (1993)
- The Hudson River Rats - 3B's (1994)
- Kick N Jazz Drum Beat- Blocks (1996)
- Soul to Jazz I -Act(1997)
- In the Pocket- P Vine (1997)
- Soul to Jazz II- Act (1998)
- Get It While You Can- 3B's (1999)
- Purdie Good Cookin' Own Label (2003)
- The Godfathers of Groove(2008)
- The Godfathers of Groove _vol 3 (2010)
- Gabor Szabo - Jazz Raga (1966)
- James Brown - Cold Sweat (1967)
- King Curtis and his Kingpins - Instant Soul (1967)
- The Soul Finders - Sweet Soul Music (1968)
- Albert Ayler - New Grass (1968)
- James Brown - Say It Loud-I'm Black & I'm Proud (1969)
- Al Kooper - You Never Know Who Your Friends Are (1969)
- Gary Burton - Good Vibes (Atlantic, 1969)
- Dizzy Gillespie - Cornucopia (Solid State, 1969)
- Aretha Franklin - Young, Gifted and Black (1972)
- James Brown - Get On the Good Foot (1972)
- Larry Coryell - Coryell (1969)
- BB King - Completely Well (1970)
- Robert Palmer's Insect Trust - Hoboken Saturday Night (1970)
- Eddie Palmieri - Harlem River Drive (1970)
- Aretha Franklin - Aretha Live at Fillmore West (1971)
- King Curtis - Live at Fillmore West (1971)
- Larry Coryell - Fairyland (1971)
- Herbie Mann - Push, Push (1971)
- Dizzy Gillespie - Real Thing (1971)
- Hubert Laws - Wild Flower (Atlantic, 1972)
- Aretha Franklin - Amazing Grace (1972)
- Esther Phillips - Alone Again Naturally (1972)
- Miles Davis - Get Up with It (1972)
- Ronnie Foster - Sweet Revival (1972)
- BB King - Guess Who (1973)
- Cat Stevens - Foreigner (1973)
- Hall & Oates - Abandoned Luncheonette (1973)
- Jimmy McGriff - Come Together (1974)
- Joe Cocker - I Can Stand a Little Rain (1974)
- Bama The Village Poet - Ghettos Of The Mind (1974)
- Cornell Dupree - Teasin' (1975)
- Todd Rundgren - Initiation (1975)
- Jorge Dalto - Chevere (1976)
- Hummingbird - We Can't Go On Meeting Like This (1976)
- Steely Dan - The Royal Scam (1976)
- Steely Dan - Aja (1977)
- Hummingbird - Diamond Nights (1977)
- Pee Wee Ellis - Home in the Country (1977)
- Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson - You Can't Make Love Alone (1977)
- Joe Cocker - Luxury You Can Afford (1978)
- Dizzy Gillespie - Digital at Montreux, 1980 (Pablo, 1980)
- Steely Dan - Gaucho (1980)
- Jimmy McGriff - Blue to the Bone (1988)
- Elliott Randall - Still Reelin (2006)
- Hair - Broadway Cast Recording (2009)
Friday, March 30, 2012
Originally formed in 1962, the Dramatics (at various times) consisted of:
Ronald Dean Banks (b. 10th May 1951, Redford, Michigan, U.S.A. d. 4th March 2010, Sinai Hospital, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.) 1962 to 2010
Larry Reed (lead singer) 1962 to 1968
Roderick Davis 1962 to 1968
Elbert Wilkins (d. 13th December 1992, from a massive heart attack - formerly of the Theatrics) 1962 to 1973
William 'Weegee' Howard (b. William Franklin Howard II, 13th July 1950, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A., d. 22nd February 2000, Bronxville, New York, U.S.A.) 1968 to 1973 then 1986 to 1989
Willie Ford (b. 10th July 1950, LaGrange, Georgia, U.S.A. - formerly of the Capitols) 1968 - today
Robert Ellington 1964
Craig Jones 1981 to 1982
Larry 'Squirrel' Demps (b. 23rd February 1949, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.) 1962 to 1981
Leonard Cornell Mayes (b. 5th April 1951, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. d. 7th November 2004, Southfield, Michigan, U.S.A.) 1973 to 2004
James Mack Brown (d. 28th November 2008)
L. J. Reynolds (b. Larry James Reynolds, 27th January 1952, Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.A.) 1973 to 1981 then 1986 to today
Winzell Kelly (b. 16th January 1953, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. - ex: the Capitols, Five Special, TFO Band, and the Floaters) 1994 to today
Steve Barnett-Boyd 1989 to 1994
Bo Henderson 1981
Michael Brock 2006 to today
The Dramatics were formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1962. The Dramatics initially released two singles on the Wingate imprint (including 'Somewhere' b/w 'Bingo', a 45 that was misprinted as being recorded by the Dynamics, a fault later corrected on further pressings) and 'Inky Dinky Wang Dang Do' b/w 'Baby I Need You' both released in 1966. Robert Ellington left the band at an early stage in the Sixties. The group were mistakenly named the Dynamics, back in 1962, however, as the Dramatics they achieved major success with their songs, 'In the Rain' and 'What You See Is What You Get'. In 1967, the Dramatics achieved a small hit with the Ivy Joe Hunter produced song 'All Because Of You' b/w 'If You Haven't Got Love' by the Dramatics, released on the small Detroit label, Sport Records (Sport 101). During that year, The Dramatics were staying at the Algiers Motel, following a performance at Detroit's Fox Theatre, during an alleged murder by members of the Detroit Police Department. This became one of the incidents which sparked the Detroit Riots of 1967.
It wasn't until 1971 when the Detroit producers Don Davis and Tony Hestor signed the Dramatics to the Memphis-based Stax Records in 1971, where the group saw greater success with their song 'Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get'. The song reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 9 back at the time. The group were awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. later that year. At this stage, The Dramatics comprised of Ron Banks, William 'Wee Gee' Howard (ex. The Sir Primes, who died of a heart attack on the 22nd of February 2000 at the age of 49), Elbert Wilkins (who died of a heart attack on the 13th of December 1992 at the age of 45), Willie Ford, Larry Demps and keyboardist James Mack Brown (who died on the 28th of November 2008 at the age of 58).
Following the release of the group's first album, William Howard and Elbert Wilkins left the group. They were replaced by L.J. Reynolds (previously of Chocolate Syrup) and Leonard 'Lenny' Mayes. In 1973, the group released the song 'Hey You! Get Off My Mountain' (taken from the 'A Dramatic Experience' album), which became an R&B number 5 and pop Top 50 that year. During the Seventies, the Dramatics released several further popular sides, including the haunting ballad 'In The Rain'. In 1974, the Dramatics left Stax Records, and the following year began an association with Los Angeles-based ABC imprint, while still recording in Detroit with Davis and Hestor.
U.S. hits at ABC included the ballad 'Me And Mrs. Jones' (R&B number 4 and pop Top 50, 1975, a song made popular by Philadelphia International star Billy Paul), 'Be My Girl' (R&B number 3, 1976) and 'Shake It Well' (R&B number 4, 1977). The Dramatics appeared on Soul Train and also released the songs 'Toast to the Fool', 'Me and Mrs. Jones', 'I'm Going By The Stars In Your Eyes' and 'Be My Girl'. In the meantime, William Howard and Elbert Wilkins formed their own version of the Dramatics. They released the song 'No Rebate on Love', and called the group 'Ron Banks and The Dramatics'. Relocating to the MCA imprint in 1979, the group achieved their last Top 10 hit with 'Welcome Back Home' (R&B number 9, 1980). The same year, the group released the album 'The Dramatic Way', which contained the popular rare groove dancer 'Get It'.
Shortly afterwards L.J. Reynolds left to establish a solo career, and in 1981 Craig Jones was recruited in his place, but they disbanded in 1982 after Ron Banks left to start a solo career, releasing 'Truly Bad' for CBS in 1983 (featuring 'This Love Is For Real'). William Howard later rejoined the original group for the albums 'Somewhere in Time: A Dramatic Reunion' in 1986, and 'Positive State Of Mind' in 1989. He then left the group again. The Dramatics were reunited in the late 80's and released 'Look Inside' for the NCI label in 2002. The Dramatics have worked with many diverse R&B acts, including Snoop Dog, and continue to tour.
The current line-up consisted of Ron Banks, L.J. Reynolds, Willie Ford, Winzell Kelly and Michael Brock, (who replaced Lenny Mayes, who died of lung cancer on the 8th of November 2004 at the age 53). Ron Banks sadly passed away in 2010 at the age of 58. He was at home with his family when he abruptly passed out, according to fellow Dramatics singer L.J. Reynolds, who had spoken to Ron just minutes earlier. Ron passed away at the Sinai Hospital in Detroit. His last hometown gig with the Dramatics was a November 2009 concert at Motorcity Casino’s Sound Board venue. Ron Banks is survived by his wife, Sandy Banks, four daughters and two sons.
as the Dramatics:
- Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get (Volt Records 1972)
- Dramatically Yours (Volt Records 1973)
- A Dramatic Experience (Volt Records 1973)
- The Dells vs. The Dramatics (Cadet Records 1974)
- The Dramatic Jackpot (ABC Records 1975)
- Drama V (ABC Records 1975)
- Joy Ride (ABC Records 1976)
- Shake It Well (ABC Records 1977)
- Do What You Wanna Do (ABC Records 1978)
- Anytime, Anyplace (MCA Records 1979)
- The Dramatic Way (MCA Records 1980)
- 10 And A Half (MCA Records 1980)
- New Dimensions (Capitol Records 1982)
- Somewhere In Time (A Dramatic Reunion) (Fantasy Records 1986)
- Live (Volt Records 1988)
- Positive State Of Mind (Volt Records 1989)
- Stone Cold (Volt Records 1990)
- A Dramatic Christmas: The Very Best Christmas of All (Fantasy Records 1997)
- If You Come Back To Me (Fantasy Records 1999)
Solo: L.J. Reynolds:
- Key to the World (1981)
- Travellin' (Capitol Records 1982)
- Lovin' Man (Mercury Records 1984)
- Tell Me You Will (Fantasy Records 1987)
- L.J. Reynolds (Gospel album) (Capitol Records 1991)
with Ron Banks:
- 2 Of A Kind (Lifesong Records 1994)
- Love Is About To Start (Volt Records 2000)
- Through The Storm (Da Pit Bull Kat Records 2007)
- The Message (Crystal Rose Records 2007)
Solo: Ron Banks:
- Truly Bad (CBS Records 1983)
Friday, March 23, 2012
- Shelbra Bennett (later Shelbra Deane) (born Memphis, Tennessee)
- John Colbert aka J. Blackfoot (born November 20, 1946, Greenville, Mississippi, US; died November 30, 2011)
- Anita Louis (born November 24, 1949, Memphis, Tennessee)
- Norman Richard West, Jr. (born October 30, 1939, Monroe, Louisiana)
The Soul Children was an American vocal group who recorded soul music for Stax Records in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They had three top ten hits on the Billboard R&B chart – "The Sweeter He Is" (1969), "Hearsay" (1972), and "I'll Be The Other Woman" (1973) – all of which crossed over to the Hot 100.
The group was formed in 1968 by Isaac Hayes and David Porter of Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, after one of the label's top acts, Sam & Dave, left Stax to join the Atlantic label. As leading songwriters and producers for the label, Hayes and Porter put together a vocal group with two male and two female singers, all of whom sang lead on some of the group's recordings. The original members were Norman West, John Colbert (aka J. Blackfoot), Anita Louis, and Shelbra Bennett. Colbert – who had been known from childhood as Blackfoot for his habit of walking barefoot on the tarred sidewalks of Memphis during the hot summers – had recorded solo singles before joining The Bar-Kays as lead singer, after four original band members were killed with Otis Redding in a plane crash. Anita Louis was a backing singer on some of the records produced by Hayes and Porter. Shelbra Bennett had recently joined the label as a singer. Norman West, Jr., the last to join the group, grew up in Louisiana, and sang in church with his brothers Joe, James, and Robert. He replaced William Bell as a member of The Del-Rios in 1962, later recorded several unsuccessful solo singles in Memphis, and sang with a rock band, Colors Incorporated, which had been formed by members of Jerry Lee Lewis' band.
The group's first record, "Give 'Em Love", produced by Hayes and Porter and released in late 1968, was a Bilboard R&B chart hit, as were two follow-ups. Their fourth single, "The Sweeter He Is", became one of their biggest hits, reaching no. 7 on the R&B chart in late 1969 and no. 52 on the Hot 100. The group also released their first album, Soul Children, in 1969. Musicians used on the recordings included Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn and Al Jackson, Jr., of Booker T. & the M.G.'s, as well as Hayes. However, after the group had a minor hit with a slowed-down version of "Hold On, I'm Coming" in early 1970, Hayes left the project to develop his solo career. The group recorded a second album, Best of Two Worlds, at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, but their next few singles failed to make the charts. In 1972, they recorded another album, Genesis, arranged by Dale Warren and produced by Jim Stewart and Al Jackson, which produced another hit single, "Hearsay". Written by West and Colbert, it reached no. 5 on the R&B chart and no. 44 on the US pop chart. They appeared at the Wattstax concert in August 1972, and followed up with several smaller hit singles. In 1973, they recorded the ballad "I'll Be the Other Woman", written and produced by Homer Banks and Carl Hampton, and with lead vocals by Shelbra Bennett, which became their biggest hit, reaching no. 3 on the R&B chart and no. 36 on the pop chart. They also recorded a final album for Stax with Banks and Hampton, Friction.
The Soul Children left Stax in 1975, and Bennett left for a solo career. The trio of West, Colbert and Louis signed to Epic Records in 1976, releasing an album, Finders Keepers and several moderately successful singles. Their second album for Epic, Where Is Your Woman Tonight (1977), reunited the group with producer David Porter. Porter then signed the group to a reactivated Stax label established by Fantasy Records, and co-produced another album for the group, Open Door Policy (1978). However, it was less successful than their earlier recordings, and the group decided to split up in 1979.
After the group split up, Anita Louis left the music business and later worked for Federal Express, Time-Warner, and as a professional business trainer. Norman West continued working in night clubs and as a gospel singer and musician. J. Blackfoot became a successful solo singer; his biggest hit was "Taxi" in early 1984, which reached no. 4 on the R&B chart. Shelbra Bennett recorded several singles as Shelbra Deane in the late 1970s and early 1980s; her biggest solo success was "Don't Touch Me" (no. 50 R&B, 1977).
In 2007, West and Blackfoot decided to reform the Soul Children, adding two new singers, Ann Hines and Cassandra Graham. They recorded an album, Still Standing for JEA Right Now Records. West released a single in 2008 called "Long Ride Home."
- 1968 - Soul Children
- 1971 - Best of Two Worlds
- 1972 - Genesis
- 1974 - Friction
- 1976 - Finders Keepers
- 1977 - Where Is Your Woman Tonight?
- 1978 - Open Door Policy
- 2008 - Still Standing
- 1979 - Chronicle (Greatest Hits)
- 1997 - Hold On, I'm Coming
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Lamont Dozier is the #1 songwriter in America. And for every #1 song that Lamont has written, Lamont has also produced it!
If you only know the legendary Lamont Dozier as one third of the songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland, you only know a portion of his incredible story. The internationally acclaimed, Grammy-award winning music master has spent more time before and after those heady years as a recording artist in his own right, as well as a solo and collaborative songwriter and top producer. He has indelibly impacted pop music for five decades.
Lamont Dozier is one of BMI’s most honored songwriters with over fifty-four #1 hits for such legendary artists as the Supremes, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye and many others. As part of the legendary songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland, Lamont penned such legendary songs as “Baby I Need Your Loving” (9 million performances), “Baby Love” 4 million performances), “How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You)” (7 million), “I Hear a Symphony” (4 million), “It’s the Same Old Song” (4 million), “Reach Out I’ll Be There” (5 million), “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” (5 million), “Where Did Our Love Go” (5 million), “You Can’t Hurry Love” (8 million) and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” (5 million).
The Detroit-born Dozier grew up listening to his father’s record collection of pop/jazz singers, sang in the Baptist gospel choir and absorbed the classical music his aunt played on the family piano. He signed to Berry Gordy’s hometown Motown label, the Sound of Young America, in 1962 as a triple threat, Artist, Producer and Songwriter. It was there he hooked up with Brian Holland and later on, his brother Eddie, setting the standard of ‘60s R&B and soul, fulfilling Lamont’s dream of a music that could cross over to pop radio, where it dominated the era, until the trio’s departure in 1968 to set up their own Invictus and Hot Wax labels.
Since 1972, Lamont has pursued his own solo career, starting with a regional hit with the single, “Why Can’t We Be Lovers,” leading to a deal with ABC Dunhill for his solo albums, Out Here on My Own and Black Bach, scoring success with the singles, “Trying to Hold on to My Woman” and “Fish Ain’t Bitin’,” earning him a nod as Best New Artist from Billboard.
After stints on Warner Bros. (the hit single, “Going Back to My Roots”) and Columbia, Dozier relocated to Europe, where he hooked up with British producer Pete Waterman of the team of Stock, Aitken & Waterman, working with the likes of Alison Moyet, Simply Red, Boy George and Eric Clapton. He collaborated with Phil Collins on the soundtrack of the Genesis star’s movie Buster in 1988, by writting and producing the #1 hit single "Two Hearts" and also earning them a Grammy, a Brit Award, a Golden Globe, Britain’s distinguished Ivor Novello honor and an Oscar nomination.
In 2002 solo album, Lamont Dozier…An American Original, garnered him a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Album. The year 2003 brought forth the prestigious BMI Icon Award to Lamont Dozier, while 2004 crowned these accomplishments with the British Special International Ivor Novello Award given to Lamont Dozier.
Lamont Dozier’s ‘70s solo albums have been sampled over and over again making his catalogue one of the most sampled music catalogues to date by everyone from rappers Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur to Lil Wayne, to Dr. Dre to The Alchemist to Common, Lupe Fiasco, Three 6 Mafia to soul icons Mary J. Blige and Nas to Usher and alternative rockers Linkin Park.
Lamont is currently serving in his second term as Trustee for NARAS, the organization known for The Grammy Awards. Previously he had served two terms as Governor. Lamont spends much of his time at Grammy Board meetings, speaking on songwriter panels for both Grammy Camp, and Career Day in Schools on behalf of the Grammys, wishing to give back the knowledge that he has learned throughout his many years in the Music Industry. This is extremely fulfilling to Lamont, as he loves to educate young aspiring talent about the do’s and don’t’s in the business he knows so well. He is also the Chairman for the Advocacy Committee at NARAS. As Chair, he walks Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. for artists' rights, lending his name and influence to help the creators of copyright content to continue to be able to own and protect their works.
An inductee to both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame and, in 2009 the recipient of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame's most coveted award, The Johnny Mercer Award for lifetime achievement, Dozier continues to push the envelope. He has plans for his own Broadway Bound Musical Angel Quest, as well as a rare one-time only reunion with his former writing partners Brian and Eddie Holland who together are creating a new score for a musical based upon the film The First Wives Club which conducted its first workshop in July 2009 at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California, and is now preparing to make its Broadway debut in Spring 2011.
Lamont Dozier continues to work with the best of the latest generation of artists, including Kanye West, Joss Stone, Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, members of the Black-Eyes Peas, Solange Knowles and popular Grammy Award winning producer, Mark Ronson. Lamont's most recent hit single is an instrumental titled “Living In High Definition” which is on the newest George Benson album, Songs and Stories. He is currently working in the studio with many new and exciting artists who are getting ready to debut this year.
One of Lamont’s proudest accomplishments is having been awarded the 2007 Thornton Legacy Award through the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music. USC/Thornton also created a Lamont Dozier Scholarship in perpetuity for their students. Lamont is presently serving as an Artist In Residence Professor at USC/Thornton where is he actively involved in the new Popular Music Major which is the first program of its kind in the country.
- Out Here On My Own (ABC Records 1973)
- Love And Beauty (Invictus Records 1974)
- Black Bach (ABC Records 1974)
- Prophecy (ABC Records 1975) (unreleased)
- Right There (Warners Records 1976)
- Peddlin' Music On The Side (Warners Records 1977)
- Bittersweet (Warners Records 1979)
- Working On You (Columbia Records 1981)
- Lamont (M & M Records 1982)
- Bigger Than Life (Megaphone Records 1983)
- Inside Seduction (Atlantic Records 1991)
- Going Back To My Roots (Sanctuary Records 2000)
- The ABC Years and Lost sessions (2000)
- Reflections of (Jam Right Records 2004)
b. 4th June 1945, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.
LeRoy Hutson is an African American instrumentalist, composer, arranger, producer and multi-talented performer. He never achieved a level of success that his talent deserved. Leroy first formed a vocal group in his native New Jersey, but emerged as a soul music talent while attending Howard University in 1970, studying dentistry. There with his room-mate Donny Hathaway, he collaborated on 'The Ghetto', a hit for Donny in early 1970.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A., LeRoy and Donny also sang in the Mayfield Singers, who released one single for Curtis Mayfield in 1967 called 'Don't Start None' on the Mayfield imprint. As a teenager, LeRoy was a member of The Nu-Tones, a vocal group based in New Jersey. The Nu-Tones comprised of Ronald King, Bernard Ransom, Ed Davis, Irving Jenkins and LeRoy Hutson. Later he teamed up with Deborah Rollins to form Sugar And Spice, recording several singles including 'In Love Forever', 'Ah Ha Yeah' and 'Dreams' in 1968. In 1971, LeRoy replaced Curtis in the Impressions and recorded two albums with the group. LeRoy began his solo career on Curtom in 1973 and through 1992 established himself with a successful recording career, recording eight albums and charting with some 13 singles in the U.S.A. On most of his work, he wrote, produced, arranged and played multiple instruments.
His most successful charting singles were 'All Because Of You' (in 1975), 'Feel The Spirit' (in 1976), 'I Do, I Do' (in 1976), 'Where Did Love Go' (in 1978), and 'Right Or Wrong' (in 1979). When Curtom went out of business in 1980, LeRoy's career was essentially on hold and he soon disappeared from the music world, re-appearing briefly for 'Paradise' (containg 'Nice & Easy') in 1982. He later worked for the U.K. based Expansion Label releasing the 'Shades Of Love' EP (including 'Share Your Love') in 1992. In 2009, LeRoy released the album 'Soothe You, Groove You', which retails from his own website, and was released on his own Triumph imprint. LeRoy is the father of producer JR Hutson. As a writer and producer, LeRoy has worked with Roberta Flack ('Tryin' Times', 'Gone Away'), The Natural Four ('You Bring Out The Best In Me', 'Can This Be Real'), Linda Clifford, Voices of East Harlem ('Cashing In'), Arnold Blair ('Trying To get Next To You'), and Next Movement ('Let's Work It Out').
- Love O Love (Curtom Records 1973)
- The Man (Curtom Records 1975)
- Hutson (Curtom Records 1975)
- Feel The Spirit (Curtom Records 1976)
- Hutson II (Curtom Records 1976)
- Closer To The Source (Curtom Records 1978)
- Unforgettable (RSO/Curtom Records 1979)
- Paradise (Elektra Records 1982)
- Shades Of Love EP (Expansion Records 1992)
- Soothe You, Groove You (Triumph Records 2009)
Friday, December 2, 2011
One of the relatively few artists who emerged in the early '70s to enjoy a run of success with a Southern soul-based sound, this Florida singer recorded her best material for Atlantic in Miami with noted session players like the Memphis Horns and the Dixie Flyers. Putting her earthy pop-soul to ballads and mid-tempo material, much of it written and crafted by producer Dave Crawford, Moore had a half-dozen R&B hits for the label; the biggest, "Precious, Precious" (1970) and "Sweet Charlie Babe" (1973), were also small pop hits. In 1972 and 1973, she cut some tunes in Philadelphia's Sigma Sound Studios with a slicker feel, with generally successful results. There was nothing especially earth-shaking about Moore's style or material, but it was solid stuff with a grittier feel than much of the soul music in vogue at the time. After leaving Atlantic, she had one more sizable R&B hit, "Make Me Feel Like a Woman" (1975).
1973 - Sweet Charlie Babe
1976 - Make Me Feel Like A Woman
1979 - I'm On My Way
1980 - With Your Love
Friday, October 28, 2011
1959 Nina Simone and Her Friends (Studio) Bethlehem Records
1959 The Amazing Nina Simone (Studio) Colpix Records altrn
1959 Nina Simone at Town Hall (Live and studio) Colpix Records altrn
1960 Nina Simone at Newport (Live) Colpix Records part 1 part 2
1960 Forbidden Fruit (Studio) Colpix Records
1962 Nina at the Village Gate (Live) Colpix Records part 1 part 2
1962 Nina Simone Sings Ellington (Live) Colpix Records
1963 Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall (Live) Colpix Records
1964 Folksy Nina (Live) Colpix Records
1964 Nina Simone in Concert (Live) Philips Records altrn
1964 Broadway-Blues-Ballads (Studio) Philips Records altrn
1965 I Put a Spell on You (Studio) Philips Records
1965 Pastel Blues (Studio) Philips Records altrn
1966 Nina Simone with Strings (Studio) (strings added) Colpix
1966 Let It All Out (Live and studio) Philips
1966 Wild Is the Wind (Studio) Philips
1967 High Priestess of Soul (Studio) Philips
1967 Nina Simone Sings the Blues (Studio) RCA Records
1967 Silk & Soul (Studio) RCA Records altrn
1968 Nuff Said (Live and studio) RCA Records
1969 Nina Simone and Piano (Studio) RCA Records
1969 To Love Somebody (Studio) RCA Records
1970 Black Gold (Live) RCA Records
1971 Here Comes the Sun (Studio) RCA Records
1972 Emergency Ward (Live and Studio) RCA Records altrn
1974 It Is Finished (Live) RCA Records
1978 Baltimore (Studio) CTI Records
1982 Fodder on My Wings (Studio) Carrere
1984 Backlash (Live) StarJazz
1985 Nina's Back (Studio) VPI
1985 Live & Kickin (Live) VPI
1987 Let It Be Me (Live) Verve
1987 Live at Ronnie Scott's (Live) Hendring-Wadham
1993 A Single Woman (Studio) Elektra Records
Friday, September 16, 2011
Nicknamed the "Female Preacher," Lyn Collins was discovered in the early '70s along with her relatives Bootsy and Catfish Collins by James Brown, who was making the transition to the hardest funk phase of his career. Lyn Collins was born June 12, 1948, in Abilene, TX, where she grew up; she began singing in her teens, waxing a tune called "Unlucky in Love" at age 14, and married a man who served both as her manager and as the local promoter for the James Brown Revue. Collins sent Brown a demo tape and he responded by essentially putting her on standby in 1970, when Marva Whitney left the Revue. Former vocalist Vicki Anderson elected to rejoin, however, so Brown instead invited Collins to come to Georgia for a recording session in early 1971, which produced the single "Wheel of Life." By the end of that year, Anderson was ready to leave again, and Collins officially joined the James Brown Revue. In 1972, Brown's People Records label released Collins' self-penned single "Think (About It)"; produced by Brown, it became her first and biggest hit, made her the most commercially successful female singer in Brown's camp, and was later sampled for the main vocal hook in the party rap classic "It Takes Two" by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock. Collins' first full-length album, also titled Think (About It), was released later in the year. Collins continued to record singles for Brown through 1973, also fulfilling her heavy touring commitments as a member of the Revue. Collins' second album, Check It Out if You Don't Know Me by Now, was released in 1975. She eventually became a backup session vocalist, also appearing on the soundtracks of the film Dr. Detroit and the TV series Fame. Around the late '80s/early '90s, Collins attempted a comeback as a dance-club diva, recording the house single "Shout" for Belgium's ARS label, and a self-penned track called "Break Your Heart" for an Italian label. In 1993, Collins' profile was given a boost by female dancehall reggae singer Patra, who invited Collins to perform on her hit remake of "Think (About It)"; partly due to the resulting interest, her two official albums were reissued in England and Holland. In addition, Collins' work has appeared on Polydor compilations like James Brown's Funky People and James Brown's Original Funky Divas, as well as the bootleg singles comp Female Preacher; she continued to tour and perform, most notably at the European Jazz/Funk Festival (in both 1998 and 1999) and the Montreux Jazz Festival. Shortly after returning from a European tour in February of 2005, Lyn Collins passed away on March 13 at the age of 56.
1972 - Think (About It)
1973 - Female Preacher
1975 - Check Me Out If You Don't Know Me By Now
2005 - Mama Feelgood
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Best remembered for the soul classic "Show and Tell," singer Al Wilson was born June 19, 1939 in Meridian, Mississippi. From childhood forward he was singing professionally, and by the age of 12 was leading his own spiritual quartet and singing in the church choir, even performing covers of country and western hits as circumstances dictated. While he was in high school, Wilson and his family relocated to San Bernadino, California, where he worked odd jobs as a mail carrier, a janitor, and an office clerk, in addition to teaching himself to play drums; after graduation he spent four years touring with Johnny Harris and the Statesmen before joining the U.S. Navy and singing with an enlisted men's chorus. After a two-year military stint, Wilson settled in Los Angeles, touring the local nightclub circuit before joining the R&B vocal group the Jewels; from there he landed with the Rollers, followed by a stint with the instrumental combo the Souls. In 1966, Wilson signed with manager Marc Gordon, who quickly scored his client an a cappella audition for Johnny Rivers -- the "Secret Agent Man" singer not only signed Wilson to his Soul City imprint, but also agreed to produce the sessions that yielded the 1968 R&B smash "The Snake." The minor hit "Do What You Gotta Do" appeared that same year, but Wilson then largely disappeared from sight until 1973, when he issued the platinum-selling Weighing In -- the album's success was spurred by the shimmering "Show and Tell," a Johnny Mathis castoff that sold well over a million copies. 1974's "The La La Peace Song" proved another major hit, and two years later, "I've Got a Feeling We'll Be Seeing Each Other Again" cracked the R&B Top Three. With 1979's "Count the Days" Wilson scored his final chart hit, however, and he spent the next two decades touring clubs and lounges; in 2001 he re-recorded his classic hits for the album Spice of Life. Kidney failure took his life on April 21, 2008.
1969 - Searching For The Dolphins
1973 - Show And Tell
1973 - Weighing In
1974 - La La Peace Song
1976 - I've Got The Feeling
1979 - Count The Days
Saturday, December 11, 2010
A wildly flamboyant funk diva with few equals even three decades after her debut, Betty Davis combined the gritty emotional realism of Tina Turner, the futurist fashion sense of David Bowie, and the trendsetting flair of Miles Davis, her husband for a year. It's easy to imagine the snickers when a 23-year-old model married a famous musician twice her age, but Davis was no gold digger; she turned Miles on to Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone (providing the spark that led to his musical reinvention on In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew), then proved her own talents with a trio of sizzling mid-'70s solo LPs.
Born Betty Mabry in North Carolina, Davis grew up in Pittsburgh and had decamped to New York by the early '60s, where she gained entrance into hipster musical circles courtesy of the clubs she frequented -- and one she worked at, the Cellar. She first recorded around that time, and also put out a 1964 single for Don Costa's DCP imprint. Her first major writing credit, "Uptown" by the Chambers Brothers, came in 1967, before she'd turned 20. One year later, she met Miles Davis in New York, and they were married by the end of summer 1968. Though their marriage didn't survive the end of the decade, Betty Davis was tremendously influential to Miles, introducing him to psychedelic rock and even influencing his wardrobe. Miles' 1968 LP Filles de Kilimanjaro featured her on the cover, and he wrote the final track ("Mademoiselle Mabry") for her.
Miles divorced her in 1969, explaining later in his autobiography that she was "too young and wild" for him. (He also suspected her of an affair with Jimi Hendrix, an allegation she denies.) By the beginning of the '70s, Betty Davis began work on a set of songs and tapped a host of great musicians to bring them to fruition: Greg Errico and Larry Graham from Sly Stone's band, Michael Carabello from Santana, the Pointer Sisters, and members of the Tower of Power horn section. Her self-titled debut album finally appeared in 1973, and though it made no commercial impact at all, it was an innovative collection with plenty of blistering songs. Even more so than a soul shouter like Tina Turner, Davis was a singer for the feminist era, a take-no-prisoners sexual predator who screamed, yelled, grunted, purred, and cooed her way through extroverted material like "Anti Love Song," "Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him," and "He Was a Big Freak." Religious groups protested many of her concert appearances (several were canceled), and radio outlets understandably refused to play her extreme work.
Davis hardly let up with her second and third albums, 1974's They Say I'm Different and 1975's Nasty Gal, but they too made little impact. Though she would have made an excellent disco diva, Betty Davis largely disappeared from the music scene afterward. An aborted 1979 session has been released on multiple occasions, once as Crashin' from Passion and also as Hangin' Out in Hollywood. Early in the 21st century, Light in the Attic Records reissued Davis' three released studio albums, and also issued for the first time her 1976 unreleased recording, Crashin' from Passion, as Is It Love or Desire?
- 1973 Betty Davis
- 1974 They Say I'm Different
- 1975 Nasty Gal
- 1976 - Is It Love Or Desire
- 1995 Hangin' Out in Hollywood
- 1996 Crashin' from Passion
- 2003 - This Is It (Compillation)
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Songwriter, singer, and producer Leon Ware is one of the less-recognized products of the Motown Records music factory of the 1960s and '70s, primarily because he has tended to work behind the scenes despite recording a series of albums under his own name. His signature style is a highly romantic approach to soul music that has resulted in many hit records, notably "I Wanna Be Where You Are," recorded by Michael Jackson, and "I Want You," recorded by Marvin Gaye, both of which he co-wrote.
Growing up as an aspiring musical artist in Detroit, Ware naturally became part of Motown Records, which was founded in the city as he approached manhood. In the spring of 1967, the Isley Brothers' recording of "Got to Have You Back," which he wrote with Ivy Hunter and Steve Bowden, placed in both the R&B and pop singles charts after its release on the Motown imprint Tamla Records. But his first major hit as a writer came with the Four Tops' "Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)," co-written with Pam Sawyer and released as a single on Motown, which reached the Top Ten of the R&B charts and the Top 40 of the pop charts in early 1971. He was not working exclusively for Motown, either. During 1971, he collaborated with Ike & Tina Turner, co-writing six songs on their album 'Nuff Said, released that fall on United Artists Records. The album reached the Top 40 of the R&B charts and also appeared in the pop charts. Ware himself was contracted to United Artists, and his self-titled debut album appeared on the label in 1972.
Back at Motown, Ware began collaborating with Arthur "T-Boy" Ross, younger brother of Motown star Diana Ross, and they came up with "I Wanna Be Where You Are," which Michael Jackson recorded for Motown on his early-1972 album Got to Be There. Released as a single in the spring, it peaked at number two on the R&B charts and reached the Top 20 of the pop charts. Over time, it became one of Ware's most-covered songs, earning recordings by José Feliciano, Marvin Gaye, SWV, and others. In 1973, Ware had songwriting credits on albums by the Average White Band, Donny Hathaway, and the Jackson 5. "Give Me Just Another Day," which he wrote for the Miracles, was released as a single on Tamla that fall and reached the R&B charts. His next R&B singles chart entry came with "If You Were My Woman," an answer record to the Gladys Knight & the Pips hit "If You Were My Man," recorded by Latimore on Glades Records, in the spring of 1974. That same season saw the release of a more important project for him, Quincy Jones' LP Body Heat on A&M Records. Ware was both a writer and performer on the disc, which topped the R&B charts and reached the pop Top Ten, going gold. "If I Ever Lose This Heaven," which he wrote with Pam Sawyer and sang on the album with Minnie Riperton and Al Jarreau, was an R&B singles chart entry in September. Nearly a year later, it gained even greater renown when it was covered by the Average White Band on Atlantic for a single that reached the Top 40 of both the pop and R&B charts. It went on to become another major copyright for Ware, covered by such artists as Jonathan Butler, Sergio Mendes, and Nancy Wilson. Meanwhile, the title track from Body Heat, co-written by Ware, also became an R&B singles chart entry in the spring of 1975. "Rolling Down a Mountainside," which he wrote with Jacqueline Hilliard, also became an R&B hit, this one for the Main Ingredient on RCA Victor Records that spring, peaking in the Top Ten and also getting into the pop chart before serving as the title track on the group's next album. Ware collaborated with Minnie Riperton and Richard Rudolph on "Inside My Love," which was featured on her Epic Records album Adventures in Paradise, also released in the spring of 1975. Issued as a single that summer, the song became a Top 40 R&B hit and reached the pop charts.
Ware had two projects in progress at Motown during this period. He was producing songs for T-Boy Ross, and he was recording his own solo album. But when label president Berry Gordy heard one of the proposed Ross tracks, "I Want You," he decided that Marvin Gaye should cut it instead. And when Gaye heard the material Ware had done for his album, it was turned into a Gaye LP instead. Ware produced what now became Gaye's I Want You album, released on Tamla in March 1976, having co-written all the songs on it. The title tune (co-written with Ross) topped the R&B charts and made the Top 20 of the pop charts. It went on to become a standard, covered by Herb Alpert, Gato Barbieri, Madonna, and Michael McDonald among many others. Robert Palmer's medley of it with "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)," another Gaye hit, reached the pop Top 20 in 1991. The I Want You album went to number one on the R&B charts and the Top Ten of the pop charts. It spun off a second single, "After the Dance," co-written by Ware, Ross, and Gaye, that made the R&B Top 20 and was a pop chart entry.
Having given away the material for his album, Ware began again on a solo effort for Motown and produced Musical Massage, released on Motown's Gordy Records subsidiary in September 1976. He has suggested that Motown wanted him to give this album's songs to Gaye, too, and that when he refused, the label released the LP but gave it no promotion, resulting in its commercial failure. So, he went back to being a songwriter for others. During the late '70s, he placed songs on albums by Minnie Riperton, Marlena Shaw, Melissa Manchester, and Bobby Womack. He issued his third solo album, Inside Is Love, on Fabulous Records in 1979. It reached the R&B charts in December, along with its single, "What's Your Name," establishing him as a recording artist for the first time. He was represented on Melissa Manchester's 1980 album For the Working Girl on Arista by "Lovers After All," which he and Manchester wrote and which Manchester sang with Peabo Bryson. Released as a single in early 1981, it reached the Top 40 of the R&B charts and was a pop chart entry as well. Meanwhile, Ware had signed with Elektra Records as a recording artist, and he released his fourth solo album, Rockin' You Eternally, which spawned two R&B singles chart entries, "Baby Don't Stop Me" and the title song, but did not itself reach the charts. Nevertheless, Elektra financed a follow-up, and Ware's second album to be called simply Leon Ware was released in 1982. But the label dropped him when the disc failed to sell.
Nevertheless, Ware still had his songwriting to fall back on, and in the early and mid-'80s he had cuts on albums by Jeffrey Osborne, Loose Ends, Teena Marie, and James Ingram. In 1987, he pacted with Slingshot Records and released his sixth solo album, Undercover. In the late '80s and 1990s, while he continued to work on various sessions as a musician, arranger, and producer, he placed fewer new songs with other artists, though he did have cuts on albums by the Isley Brothers, John Martyn, Fred Wesley, and Chico DeBarge, among others. The chief exception to this relative drought was "Independence," which was recorded by Lulu and became a hit in England in 1993, just missing the Top Ten. But Ware's career benefited in two respects in the 1990s. First, his work was discovered as the source of sampling by rappers and hip-hop artists. Montell Jordan's 1999 R&B chart entry "When You Get Home," for example, sampled "I Want You," as did tracks by EPMD ("It's Going Down"), Ice Cube ("What Can I Do"), and Prince ("Mr. Happy"), among others. A Tribe Called Quest's "Lyrics to Go" sampled "Inside My Love," as did 2Pac's "Me Against the World" and Aaliyah's "Heartbroken," and 2Pac also sampled "Body Heat" on the number one pop and R&B hit "How Do U Want It." Such success didn't increase Ware's exposure as an artist, but it did increase his publishing income substantially. At the same time, he was being discovered as a soul music progenitor, particularly in England, where the Expansion label began reissuing his solo albums. He helped his cause by putting out his seventh album, Taste the Love, on his own Kitchen Records label in 1995. In 2001, Candlelight, a jazz album he recorded with Don Grusin, came out on Kitchen in the U.S. and Expansion in the U.K. Love's Drippin', a more characteristic collection of soul music, followed in 2003.
1972 - Leon Ware
1976 - Musical Massage
1979 - Inside Is Love / lossless