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Category Archives: black music artists

“The Intruders – Together”

“The Intruders – Together”

The Intruders were an American soul music group most popular in the 1960s and 1970s. As one of the first groups to have hit songs under the direction of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, they had a major influence on the development of Philadelphia soul.

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“(OLIVIA ) LOST AND TURNED OUT – The Whispers”

“(OLIVIA ) LOST AND TURNED OUT – The Whispers”

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The Whispers are an American group from Los Angeles, California, who have scored hit records since the late 1960s. The Whispers were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003,[1] and were winners of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Award in 2008.[2] By popular vote, the group was inducted into The SoulMusic Hall Of Fame at SoulMusic.com in December 2012.[3]

Career
The Whispers formed in 1964 in Watts, California. The original members included twin brothers Wallace “Scotty” and Walter Scott, along with Gordy Harmon, Marcus Hutson, and Nicholas Caldwell. After being invited to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1966 by Sly Stone, the group relocated to that area where they began developing a reputation as a show-stopping live act. Walter Scott was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War during that period for eighteen months, returning to the group in 1969 after discharge. After Harmon injured his larynx in a driving accident in 1973, he was replaced by former Friends of Distinction member Leaveil Degree. Scotty Scott’s fluid, melodic voice is featured on virtually all of their hits.

The group scored many hits on the R&B and Billboard Hot 100 charts throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and they hit #1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart in 1980 with “And the Beat Goes On / “Can You Do the Boogie” / “Out the Box”. In 1987, they enjoyed a brief tenure in the Top 10 when “Rock Steady” became their first Top 10 success on the Hot 100, reaching #7, while also capturing the #1 spot on the R&B chart.

After a series of singles on Los Angeles label, Dore, the group signed to a small LA label, Soul Clock, run by producer Ron Carson, who was responsible for their breakthrough hit, “Seems Like I Got To Do Wrong” in 1970. Moving to the larger New York-based Janus label, they continued to be produced by Carson, before he sold all of his recordings to Janus with the group then recording mainly in Philadelphia in the mid ’70s. Since that period, most of their studio work has been done in Los Angeles. Their most successful period was in the 1980s with SOLAR Records (Sound Of Los Angeles Records), which was operated by their manager at the time, Dick Griffey. The Whispers later established their own production company, Satin Tie Productions, through which they released their independent 2006 album For Your Ears Only.

The group opened Game 2 of the 1989 World Series at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum with their rendition of the National Anthem.

Marcus Hutson left the group in 1992 due to prostate cancer. According to the Whispers’ website, when Hutson died of it in 2000, they vowed to never replace him and started performing as a quartet.

Jerry McNeil resigned his position as keyboardist in the latter part of 1993 in order to spend more time with his family. In 2014, The Whispers was inducted into The Official R&B Music Hall of Fame.

The Philadelphia soul songwriter team Allan Felder, Norman Harris, Bunny Sigler, and Ronnie Baker provided several of The Whispers’ songs including “A Mother for My Children” and “Bingo”.

Nicholas Caldwell died of congestive heart failure at his San Francisco home on January 5, 2016.[4]

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“If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes”

“If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes”

If You Don’t Know Me by Now” is a song written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and recorded by the Philly soul musical group Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, which became their first hit after being released as a single in 1972 topping the US R&B chart and peaking at number three on the US Pop chart.

The song was originally written for Labelle (a trio led by Patti LaBelle) but they never recorded it. Much like the issue with “I Miss You” and The Dells passing on it, the song’s composers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff gave the song to Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, which featured Teddy Pendergrass as lead vocalist. In addition to the single release, the song was included on their debut album I Miss You.

Patti LaBelle later made the song as part of her concert repertoire in 1982. A live version appears on her 1985 album, Patti.

It was later covered by the English pop/soul band Simply Red, also becoming their best-known hit after reaching number one on the U.S. Hot 100 on July 15, 1989 and at number thirty-eight on the Hot Black Singles chart. It peaked at number two in the UK Singles Chart. It also topped the Canadian Singles Chart. Seal recorded the song for his 2008 album Soul, and, in April 2009, it became his first top-ten Adult Contemporary hit since “Love’s Divine” in 2004; the song was subsequently nominated for the Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Grammy.

Rod Stewart also included this song on his 2009 album Soulbook.

The song was chosen as one of the Songs of the Century by the RIAA. It was featured at the end of Michael Apted’s movie Class Action.

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“Roberta Flack – Killing Me Softly With His Song (Tradução)”

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Killing Me Softly with His Song
“Killing Me Softly with His Song
” is a song composed by Charles Fox with lyrics by Norman Gimbel. The song was written in collaboration with Lori Lieberman, who recorded the song in late 1971. In 1973 it became a number-one hit, in US and Canada, for Roberta Flack, also reaching number six in the UK Singles Chart. The song has since been covered by numerous artists.

The Roberta Flack version

Lieberman was the first to record Fox and Gimbel’s song in late 1971, releasing it in early 1972.[9] Helen Reddy has said she was sent the song, but “the demo… sat on my turntable for months without being played because I didn’t like the title.”[10]

Roberta Flack first heard the song on a flight from Los Angeles to New York City on which the Lieberman original was featured on the in-flight audio program. After scanning the listing of available audio selections, Flack would recall: “The title, of course, smacked me in the face. I immediately pulled out some scratch paper, made musical staves [then] play[ed] the song at least eight to ten times jotting down the melody that I heard…. When I landed, I immediately called Quincy [Jones] at his house and asked him how to meet Charles Fox. Two days later I had the music.” Shortly afterwards Flack rehearsed the song with her band in the Tuff Gong Studios in Kingston, Jamaica but did not then record it.[11]

In September 1972, Flack was opening for Marvin Gaye at the Greek Theater; after performing her prepared encore song, Flack was advised by Gaye to sing an additional song. Flack – “I said well, I got this song I’ve been working on called ‘Killing Me Softly…’ and he said ‘Do it, baby.’ And I did it and the audience went crazy, and he walked over to me and put his arm around me and said, ‘Baby, don’t ever do that song again live until you record it.'”[12]

Released in January 1973, Flack’s version spent a total of five non-consecutive weeks at number-one in February and March 1973, being bumped to number 2 by the O’Jays’ “Love Train” after four straight weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100. Billboard ranked it as the No. 3 song for 1973.[13]

Charles Fox suggested that the reason Flack’s version was more successful than Lieberman’s was because Flack’s “version was faster and she gave it a strong backbeat that wasn’t in the original.”[7] According to Flack: “My classical background made it possible for me to try a number of things with [the song’s arrangement]. I changed parts of the chord structure and chose to end on a major chord. [The song] wasn’t written that way.”[14] Flack plays electric piano on the track. The bass is played by Ron Carter, the guitar by Hugh McCracken and the drums by Ray Lucas.[citation needed] The single appeared as the opening track of the album of same name on August 1, 1973.

Flack later won the 1973 Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, for the single, with Gimbel and Fox earning the Song of the Year Grammy.

In 1996 a house remix of Flack’s version went to number one on the US dance charts.[15]

In 1999 Flack’s version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[16] It also ranked #360 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and #82 on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of all time.[17]

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“THE STAPLE SINGERS – I’LL TAKE YOU THERE”

 

The Staple Singers, is known as  an American gospel, soul and R&B singing group. Roebuck “Pops” Staples (1914–2000), the patriarch of the family, formed the group with his children Cleotha (1934–2013), Pervis (b. 1935), and Mavis (b. 1939). Yvonne (b. 1936) replaced her brother when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and again in 1970. They are best known for their 1970s hits “Respect Yourself”, “I’ll Take You There”, “If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me)”, and “Let’s Do It Again”, which with one exception (“I’ll Take You There”) peaked on the Hot 100 within a week from Christmas Day.

While the family surname is “Staples”, the group used the singular form for its name, “The Staple Singers”.

History

Roebuck moved from Mississippi to Chicago after his marriage, and worked in steel mills and meat packing plants while his family of four children grew up.[1] The family began appearing in Chicago-area churches in 1948. Their first public singing appearance was at the Mount Zion Church, Chicago, where Roebuck’s brother, the Rev. Chester Staples, was pastor.[2] They signed their first professional contract in 1952.[3] During their early career they recorded in an acoustic gospel-folk style with various labels: United Records, Vee-Jay Records (their “Uncloudy Day” and “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” were best sellers), Checker Records, Riverside Records, and then Epic Records in 1965. “Uncloudy Day” was an early influence on Bob Dylan, who said of it in 2015, “It was the most mysterious thing I’d ever heard… I’d think about them even at my school desk…Mavis looked to be about the same age as me in her picture (on the cover of “Uncloudy Day”)…Her singing just knocked me out…And Mavis was a great singer—deep and mysterious. And even at the young age, I felt that life itself was a mystery.”[4]

It was on Epic that the Staple Singers developed a style more accessible to mainstream audiences, with “Why (Am I Treated So Bad)” and “For What It’s Worth” (Stephen Stills) in 1967. In 1968, the Staple Singers signed to Stax Records and released two albums with Steve Cropper—Soul Folk in Action and We’ll Get Over, Pervis returning for these.[5] After Cropper left Stax, Al Bell produced their recordings, conducting the rhythm sessions at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and cutting the overdubs himself at Memphis’ Ardent Studios,[6] moving in a more funk and soul direction.

The first Stax hit was “Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom-Boom)” in early 1971. Their late 1971 recording of “Respect Yourself”, written by Luther Ingram and Mack Rice, peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard R&B chart and No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Both sold over one million copies, and were each awarded a gold disc by the RIAA.[7] The song’s theme of self-empowerment had universal appeal, released in the period immediately following the intense American civil rights movement of the 1960s. In 1972 “I’ll Take You There” topped both Billboard charts.[8] In 1973 “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me)” reached No. 9 on the Hot 100 and No. 1 on the R&B chart.

After Stax’s 1975 bankruptcy, the foursome signed to Curtis Mayfield’s label, Curtom Records, and released “Let’s Do It Again”, produced by Mayfield; the song became their second No. 1 pop hit in the US and the album was also successful. In 1976 they collaborated with The Band for their film The Last Waltz, performing on the song “The Weight” (which The Staple Singers had previously covered on their first Stax album). However, they were not able to regain their momentum, releasing only occasional minor hits. Their 1984 album Turning Point featured their final Top 40 hit, a cover of Talking Heads’ “Slippery People” (which also reached the Top 5 on the Dance chart). In 1994, they again performed the song “The Weight” with country music artist Marty Stuart for MCA Nashville’s Rhythm, Country and Blues compilation, somewhat re-establishing an audience. The song “Respect Yourself” was used by Spike Lee in the soundtrack to his movie Crooklyn, made in 1994.

In 1999, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Pops Staples died of complications from a concussion suffered in December 2000. In 2005, the group was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Mavis Staples has continued to carry on the family tradition and continues to add her vocal talents to both the projects of other artists and her own solo ventures. Mavis appeared at Glastonbury in 2015, and her 2016 album Livin’ on a High Note includes a simple acoustic version of a sermon of the late Martin Luther King, whom she knew, in the track MLK Song.[9] Cleotha Staples died in Chicago on February 21, 2013, after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for over a decade.[10]

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“These Arms Of Mine ~ Otis Redding”

These Arms Of Mine ~ Otis Redding:

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Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter, record producer, arranger and talent scout. He is considered one of the greatest singers in the history of American popular music and a seminal artist in soul and rhythm and blues. His singing style was powerfully influential among soul artists of 1960s and helped exemplify the Stax sound.

Born and raised in the US state of Georgia, Redding quit school at age 15 to support his family, working with Little Richard’s backing band, the Upsetters, and also performing at talent shows for prize money. In 1958, he joined Johnny Jenkins’s band, the Pinetoppers, and toured the Southern states as a driver and musician. An unscheduled appearance on a Stax recording session led to a contract and his first single, “These Arms of Mine,” in 1962. Stax released Redding’s debut album Pain in My Heart two years later.

Initially popular mainly with African Americans, Redding later reached a wider American popular music audience. Along with his group, he first played small gigs in the American South, then performed in the western states at the popular Los Angeles night club Whisky a Go Go. European appearances included London, Paris and other major cities.

After appearing at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, Redding wrote and recorded his iconic “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” with Steve Cropper. The song became the first posthumous number-one record on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts after his death in a plane crash. The Dock of the Bay became the first posthumous album to reach number one on the UK Albums Chart.

Redding’s premature death devastated Stax. Already on the verge of bankruptcy, the label soon discovered that Atlantic Records owned the rights to his entire song catalog.

Redding received many posthumous accolades, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He received the honorific nickname King of Soul. In addition to “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” “Respect” and “Try a Little Tenderness” are among his best-known songs.

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“Linda Jones / I Who Have Nothing” 

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I (Who Have Nothing); (sometimes billed as I Who Have Nothing) is a song originally released in English by Ben E. King in 1963.

The song was included in the musical revue Smokey Joe’s Cafe.

The original English Ben E. King version was released in 1963 and reached #29 on the Billboard charts. Other versions which reached the Billboard charts were performed by Terry Knight and the Pack in 1966 (#46), Liquid Smoke in 1970 (#82), Warhorse in 1972 and Sylvester in 1979 (#40). The most popular version in the United States was by Tom Jones, peaking at #11 in Cashbox and at #14 in Billboard in the fall of 1970. Jones lip-synched to the hit recording on a highly rated Raquel Welch television special that summer.

Shirley Bassey released the song (produced by George Martin) in September 1963, reaching #6 on the UK charts. She performs the song at almost every live concert she gives, and it is on many of her compilation albums, including I Am What I Am with the London Symphony Orchestra, and her 1989 album La Mujer where she sings it in Spanish (“Hoy No Tengo Nada”). She has also been instrumental in making Donida’s music known to English-speaking audiences through arranging for translations from the Italian, having performed with the composer conducting his own music on Italian television.[2][3]

Other versions of “I (Who Have Nothing)” include recordings by Blue Mink, Brook Benton, Petula Clark, Joe Cocker, Dee Dee (nl), Neil Diamond, Patti Drew, Kerry Ellis, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Candice Glover, Bob Guillaume, Jedi Mind Tricks, Googoosh, Katherine Jenkins, Gladys Knight, Terry Knight and the Pack, Al Kooper, Ijahman Levi, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Liza Minnelli, Donny Osmond, Status Quo as the Spectres, Normie Rowe, Haley Reinhart, Jordin Sparks, Sylvester, Mary Byrne, Luther Vandross & Martha Wash, Dee Dee Warwick, and Liquid Smoke.

The song has also been rendered in Dutch as “Nee…” recorded by Milly Scott (1964), in Finnish as “En ole mitään” recorded by Pasi & Pekka (fi) (1970) also by Lea Laven (album Se jokin 1970) and as “En ou mittään” by Esa Pakarinen (fi) (1972), in French as “Sans Toi” par Joe Sentieri himself in 1961 and as “Moi (Je Ne Suis Plus Rien)” recorded by Sylvie Vartan (1967), in German as “Du” recorded by Mary Roos (1972), in Greek as “Agapi (Love)” recorded by Marinella for her 1992 album I Marinella Tragouda Megales Kyries,[4] in Romanian as “Eu, Care Nu Am Nimic” recorded by Aurelian Andreescu for his 1974 self-titled album, and in Spanish as “Uno de tantos” recorded by Enrique Guzmán (1963).

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