Tagged Soul

Monday 2pm ET: Feature Artist – LaVern Baker

Delores LaVern Baker (November 11, 1929 – March 10, 1997) was an American rhythm-and-blues singer who had several hit records on the pop chart in the 1950s and early 1960s. Her most successful records were “Tweedle Dee” (1955), “Jim Dandy” (1956), and “I Cried a Tear” (1958).

Baker began singing in Chicago clubs such as the Club DeLisa around 1946, often billed as Little Miss Sharecropper,[4] and first recorded under that name in 1949. She changed her name briefly to Bea Baker when recording for Okeh Records in 1951 and then was billed as LaVern Baker when she sang with Todd Rhodes and his band in 1952.

In 1953 she signed with Atlantic Records as a solo artist, her first release being “Soul on Fire”. Her first hit came in early 1955, with the Latin-tempo “Tweedle Dee”, which reached number 4 on the R&B chart and number 14 on the national US pop chart. Georgia Gibbs recorded a note-for-note cover of the song, which reached number 1; subsequently Baker made an unsuccessful attempt to sue her and petitioned Congress to consider such covers copyright violations.

Baker had a succession of hits on the R&B charts over the next couple of years with her backing group, the Gliders, including “Bop-Ting-a-Ling” (number 3 R&B), “Play It Fair” (number 2 R&B), and “Still” (number 4 R&B). At the end of 1956 she had another hit with “Jim Dandy” (number 1 R&B, number 17 pop), which sold over one million copies and was certified as a gold disc.[7] Further hits followed for Atlantic, including the follow-up “Jim Dandy Got Married” (number 7 R&B), “I Cried a Tear” (number 2 R&B, number 6 pop in 1958, with sax by King Curtis), “I Waited Too Long” (number 5 R&B, number 3 pop, written by Neil Sedaka), “Saved” (number 17 R&B, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller), and “See See Rider” (number 9 R&B in 1963). In addition to singing, she did some work with Ed Sullivan[8] and Alan Freed on TV and in films, including Rock, Rock, Rock and Mr. Rock & Roll. In 1964, she recorded a Bessie Smith tribute album. She then left Atlantic for Brunswick Records, for which she recorded the album Let Me Belong to You.

Wednesday 2pm ET: Feature Artist – Chic

Chic, currently called Nile Rodgers & Chic, is an American band that was organized during 1976 by guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards. It recorded many commercially successful disco songs, including “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)” (1977), “Everybody Dance” (1977), “Le Freak” (1978), “I Want Your Love” (1978), “Good Times” (1979), and “My Forbidden Lover” (1979). The group regarded themselves as a rock band for the disco movement “that made good on hippie peace, love and freedom”. In 2017, Chic was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the eleventh time.

At the same time, Edwards and Rodgers composed, arranged, performed, and produced many influential disco and R&B records for various artists, including Sister Sledge’s albums We Are Family (1979) and Love Somebody Today (1980); Sheila and B. Devotion’s “Spacer”; Diana Ross’s 1980 album Diana, which included the successful singles “Upside Down”, “I’m Coming Out” and “My Old Piano”; Carly Simon’s “Why” (from 1982 soundtrack Soup for One); and Debbie Harry’s debut solo album KooKoo (1981). An album recorded with Johnny Mathis was rejected by his label and remains unreleased.

Chic also introduced a young session vocalist, Luther Vandross, who sang on Chic’s early albums.

Nile Gregory Rodgers Jr. (born September 19, 1952) is an American record producer, songwriter, musician, composer, arranger and guitarist. The co-founder of Chic, he has written, produced, and performed on records that have cumulatively sold more than 500 million albums and 75 million singles worldwide. He is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a three-time Grammy Award-winner, and the chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Known for his “chucking” guitar style, Rolling Stone wrote in 2014 that “the full scope of Nile Rodgers’ career is still hard to fathom.”

Formed as the Big Apple Band in 1970 with bassist Bernard Edwards, Chic released their self-titled debut album in 1977. It included the hit singles “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)” and “Everybody Dance”. The 1978 album C’est Chic produced the hits “I Want Your Love” and “Le Freak”, with the latter selling more than 7 million singles worldwide. The song “Good Times” from the 1979 album Risqué was a number one single on the pop and soul charts, and became one of the most-sampled songs of all time, “ushering in” hip-hop via The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”, inspiring Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”, and anchoring the Daft Punk hit “Around the World”.

Bernard Edwards (October 31, 1952 – April 18, 1996) was an American bass player, singer, songwriter and record producer, known primarily for his work in disco music with guitarist Nile Rodgers, with whom he co-founded Chic. In 2017, Edwards was selected as the 53rd greatest bassist of all time by Bass Player magazine.

In 1996 Nile Rodgers was named Japan Tobacco Super Producer of the Year in Japan, and was invited to perform there with Chic in April of that year. Just before the concert at the Budokan Arena in Tokyo, Edwards fell ill, but despite Rodgers’ insistence, refused to cancel the gig. He managed to perform but had to be helped at times. At one point, Edwards blacked out for a few seconds before resuming his playing. Rodgers assumed the absence of bass was a deliberate improvisation and did not learn the truth until after the show. After the concert, Nile went to check on Bernard and asked how he was doing, to which he replied “I’m fine, I just need to rest.” This was the last time Nile spoke to Bernard. Edwards retired to his hotel room where he was later found dead by Rodgers. The medical examiner determined the cause of death was pneumonia. Edwards’ final performance was issued in 1996 as the album Live at the Budokan.

 

Tuesday 2pm ET: Feature Artist – Temptations

The Temptations are an American vocal group who released a series of successful singles and albums with Motown Records during the 1960s and 1970s. The group’s work with producer Norman Whitfield, beginning with the Top 10 hit single “Cloud Nine” in October 1968, pioneered psychedelic soul, and was significant in the evolution of R&B and soul music. The band members are known for their choreography, distinct harmonies, and dress style. Having sold tens of millions of albums, the Temptations are among the most successful groups in popular music.

Featuring five male vocalists and dancers (save for brief periods with fewer or more members), the group formed in 1960 in Detroit, Michigan under the name The Elgins. The founding members came from two rival Detroit vocal groups: Otis Williams, Elbridge “Al” Bryant, and Melvin Franklin of Otis Williams & the Distants, and Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams of the Primes. In 1964, Bryant was replaced by David Ruffin, who was the lead vocalist on a number of the group’s biggest hits, including “My Girl” (1964), “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” (1966), and “I Wish It Would Rain” (1967). Ruffin was replaced in 1968 by Dennis Edwards, with whom the group continued to record hit records such as “Cloud Nine” (1969) and “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)” (1970). The group’s lineup has changed frequently since the departures of Kendricks and Paul Williams from the act in 1971. Later members of the group have included singers such as Richard Street, Damon Harris, Ron Tyson, and Ali-Ollie Woodson, with whom the group scored a late-period hit in 1984 with “Treat Her Like a Lady”.

Over the course of their career, the Temptations released four Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles and fourteen R&B number-one singles. Their music has earned three Grammy Awards. The Temptations were the first Motown recording act to win a Grammy Award – for “Cloud Nine” in 1969 – and in 2013 received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Six of the Temptations (Edwards, Franklin, Kendricks, Ruffin, Otis Williams and Paul Williams) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. Three classic Temptations songs, “My Girl”, “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)”, and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”, are among The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. The Temptations were ranked at number 68 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of all time.

Otis Williams (born Otis Miles Jr.; October 30, 1941) is an American baritone singer. Nicknamed “Big Daddy”, he is occasionally also a songwriter and a record producer. Williams is the founder and last surviving original member of the Motown vocal group The Temptations, a group in which he continues to perform; he also owns the rights to the Temptations name.

Edward James Kendrick (December 17, 1939 – October 5, 1992), best known by the stage name Eddie Kendricks, was an American singer and songwriter. Noted for his distinctive falsetto singing style, Kendricks co-founded the Motown singing group The Temptations, and was one of their lead singers from 1960 until 1971. His was the lead voice on such famous songs as “The Way You Do the Things You Do”, “Get Ready”, and “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)”. As a solo artist, Kendricks recorded several hits of his own during the 1970s, including the number-one single “Keep on Truckin'”.

Paul Williams (July 2, 1939 – August 17, 1973) was an American baritone singer and choreographer. Williams was noted for being one of the founding members and original lead singer of the Motown group The Temptations. Along with Elbridge “Al” Bryant, Otis Williams, and fellow Alabamians Eddie Kendricks and Melvin Franklin, Williams was a member of The Temptations during the “Classic Five” period. Personal problems and failing health forced Williams to retire in 1971. He was found dead two years later as the result of an apparent suicide.

David Melvin English (October 12, 1942 – February 23, 1995) better known by the stage name Melvin Franklin, or his nickname “Blue”, was an American bass singer. Franklin was best known for his role as a founding member of Motown singing group The Temptations from 1960 to 1994.

Elbridge “Al” Bryant (September 28, 1939 – October 26, 1975) was an American tenor, and one of the founding members of Motown singing group The Temptations.

David Eli Ruffin (born Davis Eli Ruffin, January 18, 1941 – June 1, 1991) was an American soul singer and musician most famous for his work as one of the lead singers of The Temptations (1964–68) during the group’s “Classic Five” period as it was later known. He was the lead voice on such famous songs as “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”.

Dennis Edwards Jr. (February 3, 1943 – February 1, 2018) was an American soul and R&B singer who was best known as the frontman in The Temptations, on Motown Records. Edwards joined the Temptations in 1968, replacing David Ruffin and sang with the group from 1968 to 1976, 1980 to 1984 and 1987 to 1989. In the mid-1980s, he attempted a solo career, scoring a hit in 1984 with “Don’t Look Any Further” (featuring Siedah Garrett). Until his death, Edwards was the lead singer of The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards, a Temptations splinter group.

Friday 4pm 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).

Sam & Dave are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. They are Grammy Award and multiple gold record award-winning artists. 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 3 consecutive top 10 LPs. Their crossover charts appeal (13 straight appearances and 2 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.

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.

Tuesday 8pm ET: Feature Artist: Kool and The Gang

Kool & the Gang is an American band formed in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1964 by brothers Robert “Kool” Bell and Ronald Bell, with Dennis “D.T.” Thomas, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown, and Ricky West. They have undergone numerous changes in personnel and have explored many musical styles throughout their history, including jazz, soul, funk, rock, and pop music. After settling on their name following several changes, the group signed to De-Lite Records and released their debut album, Kool and the Gang (1970).

The band’s first taste of success came with their fourth album Wild and Peaceful (1973), which contained the US top ten singles “Jungle Boogie”[1] and “Hollywood Swinging”. Kool & the Gang subsequently entered a period of decline before they reached a second commercial peak between 1979 and 1986 following their partnership with Brazilian musician/producer Eumir Deodato and the addition of singer James “J.T.” Taylor to the line-up. Their most successful albums of this period include Ladies’ Night (1979), Celebrate! (1980), and Emergency (1984), their highest selling album with two million copies sold in the US, and the hit singles “Ladies’ Night”, the US number one “Celebration”, “Get Down on It”, “Joanna”, and “Cherish”. The band continue to perform worldwide, including as support for Van Halen in 2012 and their fiftieth anniversary tour in 2014.

Kool & the Gang have won numerous awards, including two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, and, in 2006, a Music Business Association Chairman’s Award for artistic achievement. In 2018, the Bells, Brown, and Taylor were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Their discography includes 23 studio albums and almost 70 singles. They have sold 7.5 million and 4.5 million RIAA-certified albums and singles, respectively, in the US.

Wednesday 4pm ET: Sounds of The 70s

This week on the Sounds of The 70s we feature music from: Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, KC & The Sunshine Band, Bad Company, Aerosmith, Henry Gross, Doobie Brothers, Thelma Houston, Grass Roots and more. . . 

Monday 2pm: Feature Artist: Ashford & Simpson

Ashford & Simpson were an American husband-and-wife songwriting-production team and recording duo of Nickolas Ashford (May 4, 1941 – August 22, 2011) and Valerie Simpson (born August 26, 1946).

Ashford was born in Fairfield, South Carolina, and Simpson in the Bronx, New York City. Afterwards, his family relocated to Ypsilanti, Michigan, where he became a member of Christ Temple Baptist Church. While there, he sang with a group called the Hammond Singers (named after the founding minister, James Hammond). Later, Nickolas attended and graduated from Willow Run High School in Ypsilanti, Michigan, before pursuing his professional career, where he would ultimately meet his wife, Valerie. They met at Harlem’s White Rock Baptist Church in 1964. After having recorded unsuccessfully as a duo, they joined an aspiring solo artist and former member of the Ikettes, Joshie Jo Armstead, at the Scepter/Wand label, where their compositions were recorded by Ronnie Milsap (“Never Had It So Good”), Maxine Brown (“One Step at a Time”), as well as the Shirelles and Chuck Jackson. Another of the trio’s songs, “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” gave Ray Charles a number one U.S. R&B hit in 1966. That same year, Ashford & Simpson joined Motown, where their best-known songs included “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “You’re All I Need To Get By,” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” and “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand).” Ashford and Simpson wrote many other hit songs, including Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” (1978) and Teddy Pendergrass’s “Is It Still Good to You?”

As performers, Ashford & Simpson’s best-known duets are “Solid” (1984) and “Found a Cure” (1979). The duo was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. Ashford and Simpson were also recipients of The Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Award in 1999, and ASCAP’s highest honor, the Founder’s Award, which they received on March 18, 1996.