Tag: Soul

Friday 10/15/21 12:05am ET: Feature LP: Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key of Life (1976)

Songs in the Key of Life is the eighteenth studio album by American singer, songwriter and musician Stevie Wonder. It was released on September 28, 1976, by Tamla Records, a division of Motown. The double album has been regarded by music journalists as the culmination of Wonder’s “classic period” of recording. The album was recorded primarily at Crystal Sound studio in Hollywood, with some sessions recorded at the Record Plant in Hollywood, the Record Plant in Sausalito, and The Hit Factory in New York City; final mixing was conducted at Crystal Sound.

By 1974, Wonder was one of the most successful figures in popular music; Wonder’s previous albums Talking Book, Innervisions and Fulfillingness’ First Finale were all back-to-back critical successes. However, by the end of 1975, Wonder seriously considered quitting the music industry and planned to emigrate to Ghana to work with handicapped children. Plans for a farewell concert had begun, but Wonder subsequently changed his mind and signed a new contract with Motown on August 5, 1975. This outlined a seven-year, seven-album, $37 million deal with full artistic control. At the time, it was the biggest recording deal in history.

Songs in the Key of Life was released as a double LP with a four-song bonus EP. It debuted at number one on the Billboard Pop Albums Chart becoming only the third album to achieve that feat and the first by an American artist at the time. Both the lead single “I Wish” and follow-up single “Sir Duke” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Songs in the Key of Life spent thirteen consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard 200, becoming the album with the most weeks at number one during the year. It was the second best-selling album of 1977 in the US. In 2005, Songs in the Key of Life was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Songs in the Key of Life won Album of the Year at the 19th Grammy Awards. It is the best-selling and most critically acclaimed album of Wonder’s career. Widely regarded as Wonder’s magnum opus and one of the greatest albums in the history of recorded music, many musicians have remarked on the quality of the album and its influence on their own work. Additionally, notable musicians have cited it as the greatest album of all time. It was voted number 89 in Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums and ranked number 4 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2002, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2005, Songs in the Key of Life was inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress, which deemed it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

  1. “Love’s in Need of Love Today” 7:06
  2. “Have a Talk With God” 2:42
  3. “Village Ghetto Land” 3:25
  4. “Contusion” 3:46
  5. “Sir Duke” 3:52
  6. “I Wish” 4:12
  7. “Knocks Me Off My Feet” 3:36
  8. “Pastime Paradise” 3:27
  9. “Summer Soft” 4:14
  10. “Ordinary Pain” 6:16
  11. “Isn’t She Lovely” 6:34
  12. “Joy Inside My Tears” 6:30
  13. “Black Man” 8:27
  14. “Ngiculela – Es Una Historia – I Am Singing” 3:48
  15. “If It’s Magic” 3:12
  16. “As” 7:08
  17. “Another Star” 8:08
  18. “Saturn” 4:54
  19. “Ebony Eyes” 4:11
  20. “All Day Sucker” 5:06
  21. “Easy Goin’ Evening (My Mama’s Call)” 3:55

Stevie Wonder – lead vocals, musician, arrangement, composer, producer
Nathan Watts – bass guitar (4-6, 16, 17, 19, 21), percussion (14), handclaps (16)
Raymond Pounds – drums (4-6)
Greg Phillinganes – keyboards (4, 11, 12, 18)
Michael Sembello – lead guitar (4, 5, 10, 18, 20)
Ben Bridges – rhythm guitar (4, 5, 9, 18, 20)
Eddie “Bongo” Brown – collinga (1)
Shirley Brewer – backing vocals (4, 14), “Ordinary Pain” reply vocals (10), handclaps (11)
Josie James – backing vocals (4, 17)
Michael Gray – backing vocals (4)
Artece May – backing vocals (4), handclaps (11)
Hank Redd – alto saxophone (5, 6, 10, 13, 17)
Trevor Lawrence – tenor saxophone (5, 6, 17)

Raymond Maldonado – trumpet (5, 6, 17), percussion (8)
Steve Madaio – trumpet (5, 6, 13, 17)
Renee Hardaway – backing vocals (6, 14)
Bobbye Hall – percussion (8)
West Angeles Church of God Choir – backing vocals (8)
Hare Krishna – backing vocals (8)
Ronnie Foster – organ (9)
Nastee Latimer – percussion (9)
Minnie Riperton – backing vocals (10)
Mary Lee Whitney – backing vocals (10, 16)
Deniece Williams – backing vocals (10)
Syreeta Wright – backing vocals (10)

Linda Lawrence – “Ordinary Pain” reply backing vocals (10)
Terry Hendricks – “Ordinary Pain” reply backing vocals (10)
Sundray Tucker – “Ordinary Pain” reply backing vocals (10)
Charity McCrary – “Ordinary Pain” reply backing vocals (10)
Linda McCrary – “Ordinary Pain” reply backing vocals (10)
Madelaine “Gypsie” Jones – “Ordinary Pain” reply backing vocals (10)
Josette Valentino – handclaps (11, 16), percussion (14)
Dave Henson – handclaps (11, 16)
Brenda Barrett – handclaps (11)
Colleen Carleton – handclaps (11)
Carole Cole – handclaps (11)
Nelson Hayes – handclaps (11)
Edna Orso – handclaps (11)
Tucker – handclaps (11)
Susaye Greene – backing vocals (12)
George Bohanon – trombone (13)
Glenn Ferris – trombone (13)

Al Fann Theatrical Ensemble – verbal replies (13)
Amale Mathews – percussion (14)
Charles Brewer – percussion (14)
John Fischbach – percussion (14)
Marietta Waters – percussion (14)
Nelson Hayes – percussion (14)
Dorothy Ashby – harp (15)
Greg Brown – drums (16)
Herbie Hancock – keyboards (16), handclaps (16)
Dean Parks – guitar (16)
Yolanda Simmons – handclaps (16)
Bobbi Humphrey – flute (17)
George Benson – guitar, backing vocals (17)
Nathan Alford, Jr. – percussion (17)
Carmello Hungria Garcia – timbales (17)
Jim Horn – saxophone (19)
Peter “Sneaky Pete” Kleinow – steel guitar (19)
W. G. Snuffy Walden – lead guitar (20)
Carolyn Dennis – backing vocals (20)

Thursday 10/14/21 11pm ET: Feature LP: Daryl Hall & John Oates – Big Bam Boom (1984)

Big Bam Boom is the twelfth studio album by American duo Daryl Hall & John Oates, released by RCA Records on October 12, 1984. It marked the end of one of the most successful album runs by a duo of the 1980s. RCA issued a remastered version in July 2004 with four bonus tracks. The lead single “Out of Touch” was a #1 pop hit, and charted in several other areas (#24 Hot Black Singles, #8 on the Adult Contemporary charts and #1 on the dance charts, #48 in the UK). Another song taken from the album, the Daryl Hall and Janna Allen-penned “Method of Modern Love” reached a high point of #5, and “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid,” reached #18.

Musical styles on the album include pop, rock, and dance-rock, with R&B/soul influences. The album had even more of an electronic, urban feel to it compared to their previous albums, combining their song structure & vocalization with the latest technical advances in recording and playing. The album employed some of the most sophisticated equipment ever used in the recording industry at the time.

Big Bam Boom peaked at No. 5 in the United States and sold over three million copies worldwide.

  1. “Dance on Your Knees” 1:25
  2. “Out of Touch” 4:21
  3. “Method of Modern Love” 5:32
  4. “Bank on Your Love” 4:17
  5. “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid” 5:27
  6. “Going Thru the Motions” 5:39
  7. “Cold Dark and Yesterday” 4:41
  8. “All American Girl” 4:28
  9. “Possession Obsession” 4:36
  10. “Out of Touch” (12″ version) 7:35
  11. “Method of Modern Love” (12″ version) 7:48
  12. “Possession Obsession” (12″ version) 6:28
  13. “Dance on Your Knees” (12″ version) 6:38

Daryl Hall – lead vocals (1–6, 8), backing vocals, synthesizers, guitars, arrangements
John Oates – lead vocals (7, 9), backing vocals, synthesizers, guitars, synth guitar, arrangements

Robbie Kilgore – keyboards, synthesizer programming
Wells Christy – Synclavier programming
Clive Smith – Fairlight CMI
Tom “T-Bone” Wolk – synthesizers, guitars, bass guitar, arrangements
G.E. Smith – lead guitars
Mickey Curry – drums
Jimmy Bralower – LinnDrum programming
Bashiri Johnson – percussion, timbales
Jay Burnett – additional percussion
Charles DeChant – saxophone
Coati Mundi – Spanish vocals

Thursday 10/14/21 1pm ET: Feature Artist: Sam & Dave

Sam & Dave were an American soul and R&B duo who performed together from 1961 until 1981. The tenor (higher) voice was Sam Moore (born 1935) and the baritone/tenor (lower) voice was Dave Prater (1937–1988).

Nicknamed “Double Dynamite”, “The Sultans of Sweat”, and “The Dynamic Duo” for their gritty, gospel-infused performances, Sam & Dave are considered one of the greatest live acts of the 1960s. Many subsequent musicians have named them as an influence, including Bruce Springsteen, Al Green, Tom Petty, Phil Collins, Michael Jackson, Elvis Costello, The Jam, Teddy Pendergrass, Billy Joel and Steve Winwood. The Blues Brothers, who helped create a resurgence of popularity for soul, R&B, and blues in the 1980s, were influenced by Sam & Dave – their biggest hit was a cover of “Soul Man”, and their act and stage show contained many homages to the duo.

According to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Sam & Dave were the most successful soul duo and brought the sounds of the black gospel church to pop music with their call-and-response records. Recorded primarily at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1965 through 1968, these included “Soul Man”, “Hold On, I’m Comin'”, “You Don’t Know Like I Know”, “I Thank You”, “When Something is Wrong with My Baby”, “Wrap It Up”, and many other Southern Soul classics. Except for Aretha Franklin, no soul act during Sam & Dave’s Stax years (1965–1968) had more consistent R&B chart success, including 10 consecutive top 20 singles and three consecutive top 10 LPs. Their crossover charts appeal (13 straight appearances and two top 10 singles) helped to pave the way for the acceptance of soul music by white pop audiences, and their song “Soul Man” was one of the first songs by a black group to top the pop charts using the word “soul”, helping define the genre. “Soul Man” was a number one Pop Hit (Cashbox: November 11, 1967) and has been recognized as one of the most influential songs of the past 50 years by the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Rolling Stone magazine, and RIAA Songs of the Century. “Soul Man” was featured as the soundtrack and title for a 1986 film and also a 1997–1998 television series, and Soul Men was a 2008 feature film.

Sam & Dave are inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, and the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame. They won a Grammy Award for “Soul Man” and they received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. Rolling Stone ranked Sam & Dave No. 14 its list of the 20 Greatest Duos of All Time.

Friday 10/1/21 12pm ET: Feature Artist: Freddie Jackson

Frederick Anthony Jackson (born October 2, 1956) is an American singer. Originally from New York, Jackson began his professional music career in the late 1970s with the California funk band Mystic Merlin. Among his well–known R&B/soul hits are “Rock Me Tonight (For Old Times Sake)” (1985), “Have You Ever Loved Somebody” (1986), “Jam Tonight” (1986), “Do Me Again” (1990), and “You Are My Lady” (1985). He contributed to the soundtrack for the 1989 film, All Dogs Go to Heaven with the Michael Lloyd-produced duet “Love Survives” alongside Irene Cara. He also appeared in the movie King of New York.

Friday 10/1/21 1am ET: Feature LP: Seal (1991)

Seal is the debut studio album by Seal, released May 24, 1991. It contains the singles “Crazy”, “Future Love Paradise”, “The Beginning”, “Killer” and “Violet”. The album debuted at number one in the UK and went on to win Best British Album at the 1992 Brit Awards. Seal’s following album, released in 1994, was also named Seal. It is usually referred to as Seal II.

There are two versions of the album, with minor and major differences in three songs. The shorter version of “Wild” is more rock-based and heavy than the original. The shorter version of “Violet” contains no dialogue within the singing. Track lengths of both versions are given for each song affected. “Killer” is a re-recorded version of the UK number one single by Adamski, which also features Seal on vocals.

Many of the songs (including various ZTT mixes) were featured in the Greg Stump 1991 film Groove Requiem in the Key of Ski. Later Seal tracks appeared in other Stump films as well. The track “Killer” was also featured on the American crime series Homicide: Life on the Street and was included on the 2-disc soundtrack album.

The song “Crazy” was covered by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes on their album Take a Break, by Mushroomhead on their album XIII, by Talisman on their 1995 album Life, by Alanis Morissette on her 2005 compilation album Alanis Morissette: The Collection, and by German power metal band Iron Savior.

“The Beginning” – 5:40
“Deep Water” – 5:56
Crazy” – 5:57
“Killer” – 6:22
“Whirlpool” – 3:56
“Future Love Paradise” – 4:20

“Wild” – 5:28
“Show Me” – 5:59
“Violet” – 8:06

Seal – vocals
Richard Cottle, Mars Lasar, Mark Mancina, Jamie Muhoberac, Guy Sigsworth – keyboards/sampling
Gus Isidore, Randall Jacobs, Chester Kamen, Trevor Rabin, Kenji Suzuki, Bruce Woolley – guitars
Chrissy Shefts – all guitars (“Crazy”)
Trevor Horn, Steve Pearce, Doug Wimbish – bass guitar
Curt Bisquera, Denny Fongheiser, John Robinson, Keith LeBlanc – drums
Paulinho da Costa, Andy Duncan, Luís Jardim – percussion
Gary Maughan – Fairlight CMI
Gota Yashiki – drums, percussion, bass guitar
Ian Morrow – keyboard and drum programming
Maria Vidal – backing vocals

Tuesday 9/28/21 12am ET: Feature LP: Michael Jackson – Off The Wall (1979)

Off the Wall is the fifth solo studio album by American singer Michael Jackson, released on August 10, 1979, by Epic Records. It was Jackson’s first album released through Epic Records, the label he recorded under until his death in 2009, and the first produced by Quincy Jones, whom he met while working on the 1978 film The Wiz. Several critics observed that Off the Wall was crafted from disco, pop, funk, R&B, soft rock and Broadway ballads. Its lyrical themes include escapism, liberation, loneliness, hedonism and romance. The album features songwriting contributions from Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Rod Temperton, Tom Bahler, and David Foster, alongside three tracks penned by Jackson himself.

Between 1972 and 1975, Jackson released a total of four solo studio albums with Motown as part of The Jackson 5 franchise; Got to Be There (1972), Ben (1972), Music & Me (1973) and Forever, Michael (1975). Before recording his next album, which came to be Off the Wall, Jackson desired to create a record not sounding like a Jacksons record, but rather showcasing creative freedom and individualism.

Off the Wall peaked at number three on the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart and number one on the Top Black Albums chart, staying at number one on the latter for 16 weeks, and was an enormous critical success. Five singles were released from the album. Jackson wrote three songs himself, including the Billboard Hot 100 number one single “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”, which was Jackson’s first solo number-one single since “Ben”, seven years prior. The second single from the album, “Rock with You” also peaked atop the chart. With the title track and “She’s Out of My Life” reaching the top 10 of the chart, Jackson became the first solo artist to have four singles from the same album peak inside the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

Off the Wall was a significant departure from Jackson’s previous work for Motown and was hailed as a major breakthrough for him. In retrospect, writers have hailed it a landmark of the disco era and one of the greatest albums of all time. Critics often debate whether it or Thriller is Jackson’s best album. It has sold over 20 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time. In August 2009, it was certified 8× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). At the 1980 Grammy Awards, it was nominated for two Grammy Awards, with Jackson winning Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male for “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”. In 2008, Off the Wall was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

1. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” 6:02
2. “Rock with You” 3:38
3. “Working Day and Night” 5:10
4. “Get on the Floor” 4:42
5. “Off the Wall” 4:11
6. “Girlfriend” 3:08
7. “She’s Out of My Life” 3:41
8. “I Can’t Help It” 4:28
9. “It’s the Falling in Love” 3:52
10. “Burn This Disco Out” 3:39

Thursday 9/16/21 12pm ET: Feature Artist: Chi-Lites

The Chi-Lites are an American R&B/soul vocal quartet from Chicago, Illinois, United States.

The group’s greatest fame came during the early 1970s. They scored eleven Top Ten R&B hits from 1969 to 1974. They also charted 21 songs in the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Chart, and had chart hits in Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada, as well as in the U.S.

Marshall Thompson – 1959–present (born August 24, 1942, Chicago)
Tara Thompson – 1998–present (born June 29, 1971, Chicago)
Fred Simon – 2010–present (born May 29, 1951, Chicago)
Mack Miller – 2014–present (born May 1, 1955, Chicago)
Warren Tipton – 2018–present (born June 12, 1958, Gary, Indiana)

Robert “Squirrel” Lester – 1959–2010 (born August 16, 1942, McComb, Mississippi; died January 21, 2010, Chicago)
Eugene Record – 1959–1973, 1980–1988 (born December 23, 1940, Chicago; died July 22, 2005, Chicago)
Creadel “Red” Jones – 1959–1973, 1980–1982 (born September 26, 1940, St. Louis, Missouri; died August 25, 1994 Glendale, California)
Clarence Johnson – 1959–1964
Stanley Anderson – 1973
Willie Kinsey – 1973
David “Doc” Roberson – 1973
David Scott – 1976–1980
Danny Johnson – 1976–1977
Vandy Hampton – 1976–1980
Frank Reed – 1988, 1990–1993, 1996–1998, 2001–2014 (born September 16, 1954, Omaha, Nebraska; died February 26, 2014)[16]
Anthony Reynard Watson – 1988–1990, 1993–1996, 1998–2002 (born Mobile, Alabama)
Marzette Griffin- 2015–2018 Chicago, IL

Wednesday 8/25/21 12am ET: Feature LP: George Benson – Breezin’

Breezin’ is the fifteenth studio album by jazz/soul guitarist George Benson. It is his debut on Warner Bros. Records. Released in May 1976.

George Washington Benson (born March 22, 1943) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He began his professional career at the age of 21 as a jazz guitarist.

The album marked the beginning of Benson’s most successful period commercially. Breezin’ topped the Pop, Jazz and R&B album charts in Billboard and spun off two hit singles, the title song (which has become a fusion jazz standard) and “This Masquerade,” which was a top ten pop and R&B hit. The album itself was certified triple Platinum by the RIAA.

The album won multiple prizes at the 19th Annual Grammy Awards. The album won the awards Best Pop Instrumental Performance for Benson and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for Al Schmitt and was nominated as Album of the Year for Tommy LiPuma and Benson. “This Masquerade” received the award Record of the Year for LiPuma and Benson, while it was nominated as Song of the Year for Leon Russell and as Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male for Benson.

1. “Breezin'” 5:40
2. “This Masquerade” 8:03
3. “Six to Four” 5:06
4. “Affirmation” 7:01
5. “So This is Love?” 7:03
6. “Lady” 5:49

George Benson – guitar, vocals
Jorge Dalto – acoustic piano, clavinet, acoustic piano solo (2)
Ronnie Foster – electric piano, Minimoog synthesizer, Minimoog solo (3), electric piano solo (5)
Phil Upchurch – rhythm guitar, bass (1, 3)
Stanley Banks – bass (2, 4, 5, 6)
Harvey Mason – drums
Ralph MacDonald – percussion
Claus Ogerman – arrangements and conductor

Tommy LiPuma – producer
Noel Newbolt – associate producer
Al Schmitt – recording, mixing
Don Henderson – assistant engineer
Doug Sax – mastering at The Mastering Lab (Hollywood, California).
Ed Thrasher – art direction
Robert Lockhart – art direction
Peter Palombi – design
Mario Casilli – photography

Monday 6/28/21 12pm ET: Artist Countdown: 5th Dimension Top 30 Hits

The 5th Dimension is an American popular music vocal group, whose repertoire includes pop, R&B, soul, jazz, light opera and Broadway – a melange referred to as “champagne soul”.

Formed as the Versatiles in late 1965, the group changed its name to “the 5th Dimension” by 1966. Between 1967 and 1973 they charted with 19 Top 40 hits on Billboard’s Hot 100, two of which – “Up – Up and Away” (No. 7, 1967) and the 1969 number one “Medley: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)” — won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Other big hits include “Stoned Soul Picnic” (No. 3), “Wedding Bell Blues” (No. 1), “One Less Bell to Answer” (No. 2), a cover of “Never My Love” (pop No. 12/Easy Listening No. 1), “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All” (No. 8) and “If I Could Reach You” (pop No. 10/Easy Listening No. 1). Three of their records reached the Top Ten of Billboard’s Rhythm & Blues/Soul chart. Five of their 19 Top 20 hits on the Easy Listening chart reached number one.

The five original members were Billy Davis Jr., Florence La Rue, Marilyn McCoo, Lamonte McLemore, and Ronald Townson. They have recorded for several labels over their careers. Their first work appeared on the Soul City label, which was started by Imperial Records/United Artists Records recording artist Johnny Rivers. The group later recorded for Bell/Arista Records, ABC Records, and Motown Records.

Some of the songwriters popularized by the 5th Dimension went on to careers of their own, especially Ashford & Simpson, who wrote “California Soul”. The group is also notable for having more success with the songs of Laura Nyro than Nyro did herself, particularly with “Stoned Soul Picnic”, “Sweet Blindness”, “Wedding Bell Blues”, “Blowin’ Away” and “Save the Country”. The group also recorded songs by well-known songwriters such as “One Less Bell to Answer”, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and the songs and music of Jimmy Webb, who wrote their hit “Up – Up and Away”. The group’s 1967 LP The Magic Garden features all but one song composed by Webb.

1Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)1969
2Wedding Bell Blues1969
3Up, Up and Away1967
4(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All1972
5Sweet Blindness1968
6Workin’ on a Groovy Thing1969
7Blowing Away1969
8One Less Bell to Answer1970
9Never My Love1971
10Save the Country1970
11Love’s Lines, Angles and Rhymes1971
12Together Let’s Find Love1971
13Puppet Man1970
14Stoned Soul Picnic1968
15If I Could Reach You1972
16Ashes to Ashes1973
17Light Sings1971
18On the Beach (In the Summertime)1970
19Paper Cup1967
20Go Where You Wanna Go1966
21Carpet Man1968
23Everything’s Been Changed1973
24The Girls’ Song1970
25California Soul1968
26The Declaration1970
27No Love in the Room1975
28Love Hangover1976
29Another Day, Another Heartache1967
30A Change Is Gonna Come/People Got to Be Free1970