DeepSoul: The Temptations with Rick James - "Standing on the Top"

A funk superstar and a legendary Motown act team up to produce a 1980s R&B classic.
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The eighties may have brought changes in soul and R&B, but Motown music remained a favorite among baby boomers (the success of 1983's The Big Chill film and soundtrack proved this fact). In 1982, the Temptations returned to their original label, Motown, after a brief tenure with Atlantic; to celebrate, the then-current members reunited with three former lead singers: Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, and Dennis Edwards. Looking to make a comeback, the group teamed with a seemingly unlikely producer: Rick James, the "punk funk" artist who was then at the peak of his popularity. What emerged from this collaboration was

DeepSoul: Tank - "You're My Star"

This 2014 single demonstrates how old school R&B and modern hip hop can be merged to create timeless music.
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Long a valuable behind-the-scenes player, Tank has penned and produced hits for top R&B artists such as Dave Hollister, Charlie Wilson, Jamie Foxx, and Kelly Rowland. His underrated solo material, however, has received comparatively less attention. A fusion of classic R&B and hip hop, Tank's work further impresses with his malleable voice and catchy hooks. These elements are on full display on the 2014 single "You're My Star," a standout from the album Stronger. Born Durrell Babbs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin before later moving to Clinton, Maryland, Tank honed his singing skills in the church choir. He got his start as

DVD Review: Heart -- Alive In Seattle

A fantastic homecoming concert for Ann and Nancy Wilson and Heart.
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In 2002, Heart went on their "Summer of Love" tour. The tour mixed hits from their extensive catalog with well-chosen covers and a handful of new songs. The tour culminated with a memorable stop in the group's hometown of Seattle, WA. The show was filmed and makes up the DVD Heart -- Alive in Seattle. Originally released in 2003, this strong performance is available once again on DVD. The group comes out swinging with a terrific "Crazy On You." Ann Wilson is in strong voice, challenging herself from the outset on this number with no shortage of high notes. For

DVD Review: Pete Townshend's Deep End -- Face The Face

Pete Townshend's Deep End gives an explosive performance on Rockpalast in 1986.
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In 1986, Pete Townshend was in the midst of a series of shows for his concept album White City: A Novel. For the performances, he assembled an all-star band known as Pete Townshend's Deep End, many of who played on the album, including David Gilmour on guitar and vocals and Simon Phillips on drums. On January 29, 1986, the group made an appearance on the famed German TV show, Rockpalast. Long available as a bootleg, the show is finally being released officially as a DVD/CD set titled Pete Townshend's Deep End -- Face The Face. The show mixes White City

CD Review: Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996

Bryan Adams' triumphant Wembley Stadium show, now available on CD.
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During his career, Bryan Adams arguably reached the peak of his popularity, at least in Europe, during the mid 1990s. Nowhere was this more evident than in England, where Adams performed before 70,000 fans at historic Wembley Stadium. Coming not quite a year after the successful DVD release of this memorable performance comes a two-CD set of the same show, Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996. Adams opens the show with two offerings from his then-new album, 18 Til I Die -- the Stones-influenced "The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You" and the garage rock of "Do

DVD Review - Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996

Bryan Adams delivers before a packed house at Wembley Stadium.
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In 1996, Bryan Adams was riding the success of his album 18 Til I Die, an album that moderately well in the U.S., but especially well in Europe. His gig in London's famed Wembley Stadium to a packed house of 70,000 fans is proof positive. The memorable performance was filmed and makes up the DVD Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996. The show opens with a pair of songs from 18 Til I Die, the Stones-influenced "The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You" and the garage rock of "Do To You." The former finds the band locked

DeepSoul Salutes Bill Withers: "Soul Shadows" (with the Crusaders)

The final entry in DeepSoul's salute to the legendary singer looks at one of the more obscure - and underrated - tracks in his catalog.
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By 1980, Bill Withers began collaborating with other artists; he subsequently scored one of the biggest hits of his career with 1981's "Just the Two of Us," a smooth track also featuring Grover Washington, Jr. A year before that single, however, Withers worked with the famed group the Crusaders on the track "Soul Shadows." The band's brand of smooth jazz-funk perfectly suits Wither's unadorned voice, resulting in a sophisticated song that should have received more attention upon its release. Due to ongoing disputes with his label Columbia, Withers was unable to record his own albums from 1979-1985. To remain in

DeepSoul Salutes Bill Withers: "Hello Like Before"

The 1975 ballad typifies the soul singer's deeply personal songwriting and vocal style.
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By 1975, Bill Withers was at a professional crossroads. His previous record label, Sussex, had collapsed, forcing him to sign with Columbia. While he subsequently released albums containing hits such as "Lovely Day" and "I Want to Spend the Night," Withers was unhappy with the label. He felt he had lost control over his material, thus in the late 70s/early 80s he focused on collaborations with the Crusaders and Grover Washington, Jr. After the unhappy experience recording 1985's Watching You Watching Me, Withers would depart Columbia and struggle with career direction. Before that stage, however, Withers seemed to be off

Celebrating Prince On His 59th Birthday

Remembering the iconic visionary and one of his greatest songs on what would have been his 59th birthday...
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"No, I don't think about gone. I just think about in the future when I don't want to speak in real time." Today is Prince's 59th birthday and it's impossible not to notice the massive void in the present tense since his passing. I was devastated at the news like millions around the world but a friend and fellow follower of His Purple Badness told me she was not going to be sad. Prince's music was filled with joy and had been a soundtrack to many a good time and great night and that wasn't how she was going

Blu-ray Review: The Who - Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 2004

The Who return to conquer the Isle of Wight once again in this 2004 performance.
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The Isle of Wight Festival has taken on a legendary status over the years -- the early incarnations, particularly the 1969 and 1970 ones -- which were attended by roughly 150,000 and 600,000 people respectively in particular. Those two festivals included memorable performances by The Who among others. It is only natural then, that when the festival was revived in 2002, that The Who would be invited back and, in 2004, they were. Many years older, and down to two original members -- Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey -- but no less explosive live, the band delivered an inspired show,

DVD Review - The Frank Sinatra Collection: The Timex Shows - Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

All four legendary Sinatra Timex shows are available officially as separate discs..
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In 1959 and 1960, Frank Sinatra was in his coolest guy in the room, Rat Pack-era prime. He was nearing the end of his legendary run at Capitol Records and soon would be running his own label, Reprise. During this time, he also recorded four TV specials featuring a bevy of guest stars and Sinatra cronies. Sponsored by Timex, and long available unofficially, the shows are now available separately as part of the Frank Sinatra Collection as The Timex Shows Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. Volume one features two shows from 1959 -- The Frank Sinatra Timex Show and An

Remembering The Timeless, Generational Voice of Soundgarden's Chris Cornell

Soundgarden frontman passed away at age 52 after performance in Detroit...
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The world woke to the shocking news that Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell passed away at the age of 52 shortly after the band completed a concert in Detroit. I'm still processing this as are his family, loved ones, friends, and many millions of fans, and I still cannot get my head around it. The shockwaves continue to reverberate and I'm struck by the strange coincidence we are days away from the release of a deluxe edition of the Singles soundtrack, that not only captured a special moment in time much better than the film, but also showed us a

Outside The Tower of Song: Everybody Knows

A new series about the songs of Leonard Cohen begins with the song that introduced me to him...
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My introduction to Leonard Cohen is likely atypical to of that of his other ardent fans but I'm certain I'm not the only Gen X'er whose first encounter came courtesy of the 1990 film Pump Up The Volume starring Christian Slater. I'd never heard anything like "Everybody Knows." High school for me was mostly hair metal and the emerging underground grunge scene. My ears were accustomed to squalling guitars and shrieking vocals, piercing voices singing about decadence or men howling about alienation. Pulsing synth and oud flourishes (hell, I didn't know what an oud was!) could hardly have been more

Premiere: Blues Music Award Nominee John Németh Debuts "Kool Aid Pickle"

Check out the first single from BMA nominee John Németh!
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2017 Blues Music Award nominee for BB King Entertainer of the Year John Németh is releasing his upcoming studio album Feeling Freaky, out May 19, and is premiering the new single "Kool Aid Pickle," which we have here for you to stream. "Kool Aid Pickle" comes as an instant download when you pre-order the record. Németh's new LP is produced by guitarist extraordinare Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi All-Stars) and finds the vocalist/harmoica ace stretching boundaries far beyond even his own updated blues sound. His touring band does most of the heavy lifting as his instrumental backing on the record and

DeepSoul Salutes Bill Withers: "Who Is He (and What Is He to You)?"

Infidelity, jealousy, and pain never sounded so good in this 1972 classic.
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Bill Withers may be known for feel-good hits such as "Lean on Me" and "Lovely Day," but he could also speak of the darker sides of love, namely jealousy and betrayal. His 1972 cut "Who Is He (and What Is He to You)?" stands as one of the finest in the soul genre, with an unforgettable bass line and guitar riff (along with quivering strings) creating a sense of paranoia along with sorrow. For his masterpiece album Still Bill, Withers wrote most of the material. One exception is "Who Is He," a collaboration with lyricist Stanley McKinney. McKinney may have

DeepSoul Salutes Bill Withers: "I Want to Spend the Night"

DeepSoul celebrates the organic soul of the "Lean on Me" singer, beginning with this sensual slow jam.
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Few artists embody the very essence of soul as much as Bill Withers, a consummate singer, songwriter, and musician. His lyrics are highly personal yet universal in theme, addressing romantic, political, and familial topics. Never oversinging, his voice can soar, only to descend into a grittiness that expresses deep emotion. He implemented his gospel roots, into his blending of soul and R&B (with a touch of folk), making Withers a standout among his peers in the 1970s. While Withers has largely retired from performing, his music is everywhere, still played on the radio, used in commercials, and incorporated into films.

DeepSoul, Sampled Edition: Timmy Thomas - "Why Can't We Live Together"

This 1973 hit features a one-man-band, and has inspired numerous covers and hip hop samples.
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AllMusic's Andrew Hamilton labels it "the cheapest Top Ten hit ever made." Regardless of its minimalist production, the 1973 single "Why Can't We Live Together" by Timmy Thomas ranks as one of the most unlikely and influential hits of the 1970s. Its hypnotic beat, Latin percussion, and heartfelt lyrics retain timeless appeal, with artists such as MC Hammer, 3rd Bass, Leaders of the New School, and (more recently) Drake sampling its distinctive elements. Born in 1944 in Evansville, Indiana, Thomas gradually honed his keyboard skills and later performed with jazz legends Donald Byrd and Cannonball Adderley. After a brief stint

Blu-ray Review: Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Memories In Rock: Live In Germany

After nearly two decades, Ritchie Blackmore returns to rock in a strong concert Blu-ray.
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Ever since Rainbow gave way to Blackmore's Night in 1997, fans of Ritchie Blackmore have wondered if he would ever return to the melodic hard rock that earned him a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Deep Purple. In the summer of 2016, fans' prayers were answered when Blackmore decided to resurrect Rainbow with an all-new lineup, playing three well-received concerts, two in Germany and one in England. The German shows were filmed and make up the new Blu-ray/2-CD Set Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Memories In Rock: Live in Germany. While the band's

DeepSoul, Sampled Edition: Chicago - "Street Player"

Although primarily known as a rock band, Chicago have also proved themselves as superb R&B players.
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By the late 1970s, the successful rock/pop/contemporary jazz fusion band Chicago was at a crossroads. Original guitarist, lead vocalist, and leader Terry Kath died tragically in 1978, forcing the group to rethink their sound and image. They hired guitarist/vocalist Donnie Dacus and recruited hit making producer Phil Ramone to helm the 1978 album Hot Streets, which spawned two top 40 hits: "No Tell Lover" and "Alive Again." For their followup, Chicago 13, the band and Ramone reteamed to create an album fitting the then-dominant disco sound. Critics despised the material, and longtime Chicago fans expressed horror at the group straying
For the next three columns, DeepSoul is spotlighting songs that have been frequently sampled by artists from various genres. "Take that funk inside of you / And make your body move," funk group Breakwater commands listeners. With a room-shaking beat, funky synthesizers, and blasting electric guitar, they encourage us to "Release the Beast." Originally released in 1980, the song found renewed attention when Daft Punk sampled it for their 2005 track "Robot Rock." Clearly the French DJs/producers glommed on to this lesser-known groove, as they actually altered it little for their own remake. In any case, the EDM stars shined

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