Another legendary figure who left too soon.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Isaac Hayes – Live at Montreux 2005 – RTS, Switzerland
The legendary Isaac Hayes this weekend. In concert from the 2005 Montreux Festival.
Isaac Hayes is another one of those influential artists who left all too soon. As one of the primary writing figures at Stax, Hayes (along with writing partner Don Porter) turned out some of the most memorable songs during the Golden Soul years of the 60s. Writing such hits as Soul Man and Hold On, I’m Coming for Sam & Dave, they practically defined the Stax sound.
As a composer and producer in his own right, he was responsible for such classics as Hot Buttered Soul and the Theme to Shaft and a string of soundtracks in what became known as the Blaxploitation genre.
A versatile talent whose career spanned many areas, all the way down to voice-overs on South Park, Hayes was going through a dramatic career resurgence when a massive stroke took his life in 2008.
So as a reminder of just how great a musician and musical force he was, here is that Montreux concert with Isaac Hayes, playing before a wildly enthusiastic audience and showing everyone just how it’s done.
We won’t be forgetting that for very long time – if ever.
The Godfather of Soul has spoken.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – James Brown – live at the 1981 Montreux Festival – RSR (Swiss Radio)
It’s the Godfather of Soul this weekend – the legendary James Brown, recorded in concert at the 1981 Montreux Festival.
There isn’t a whole lot anybody can say about James Brown, that hasn’t been said and reiterated hundreds of times before. All I can say is, after running one of his Hollywood Bowl concerts f rom 1968 some time back, it’s amazing the energy and vitality was still intact. Certainly a tribute to the amazing artist who influenced so many during his career.
If, for some unknown reason, you’re not familiar with James Brown, and never got a chance to see him in concert, here is the next best thing.
And for Labor Day Weekend, there’s nothing like a few words from The Hardest Working Man In Show Business.
The new face of R&B.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Miguel – live at Malmö, Sweden – recorded live by Sveriges Radio P3 – August 5, 2013
Over to Malmö Sweden tonight for a mini-concert by West Coast native Miguel, recorded by Sveriges Radio in January of this year and broadcast just a few weeks ago. Characterized as part of a New Wave of R&B artists, Miguel has scored very highly with audiences, and judging by the reaction to the Swedish crowd, has gained a pretty solid reputation worldwide. Incorporating a mash-up of R&B, Funk, Hip-hop, rock and electronica into his music, Miguel has forged some new vistas as a result and is considered, not only New Wave R&B, but a new genre for R&B. He has been favorably reviewed and has won a host of awards, starting with New Artist of the Year in 2011 and going from there.
As always, listening to R&B in a live setting is a unique and enjoyable experience. The versatility in Miguel’s vocals are plainly evident in this context – no production, no overdubbing, no tricks. It’s the proverbial flying-without-a-net and it adds to the assessment that here is an artist who has something to say.
So hang out for a bit and enjoy.
So nice, I had to dig him twice.
Click on the link here for Audio Player: Ray Charles, live at Palais des Sport, Paris – October 22, 1961 – Radio France
Since I’m a firm believer that you can’t really have too much of a good thing, as a sort of encore to the 1997 Montreux performance, I just turned up this 1961 Paris performance by the legendary Ray Charles.
If you’re like me, the earlier performances have a bite to them that the later ones understandably don’t. For one thing, Ray Charles voice is wonderful in 1961 and the audience is anything but blasè.
So to give you another taste of The Genius of Ray Charles this weekend, here is that concert – recorded live at Palais des Sport in Paris by the venerable ORTF on October 22, 1961.
Let the good times roll.
Click on the link here for Audio Player: Dexys Midnight Runners – Live at The BBC – 1981
Most people recall Dexys Midnight Runners as the band who gave us Come On Eileen, one of the big pop hits that defined the 1980s. But they were a lot more than a one hit band (they had another big hit, Geno, which was big in the UK and not so much here). Dexys Midnight Runners (or Dexys as they are now called), were originally a horn-based band heavily influenced by Northern Soul who went through a number of direction changes before making a brief stop in the folkish, string-laden sound that became their signature trademark.
Sadly, the band went through a lot of turmoil and record company drama and their popularity flagged considerably by the end of the 80s. There have been fits and starts at reunions over the years and there is a current incarnation of the band (at least as of 2012) , so there’s always hope things will work out.
Tonight it’s Dexys Midnight Runners from the Soul period, just prior to their direction change and breakthrough. It was recorded by the BBC in 1981 and it’s a reminder that a lot of bands pigeonholed by one hit song actually had a lot more to say.
Showin’ ’em how it’s done.
Click on the link here for Audio Player: Chic with Nile Rodgers – Glastonbury 2013 – BBC 6 Music – June 28, 2013
It’s hard to say who was more blown away by this concert – the band or the audience. Clearly it was a love-fest and an energy feed, with the venerable and legendary Nile Rodgers giving the performance of a lifetime and the audience giving Rodgers a sing-along and a six minute stomping/screaming ovation in return. Seriously good times were had by all.
And all on the first day of Glastonbury this year.
If you missed it (since the streaming player kept posting “not available” to, I suspect, American audiences), here’s your chance to get into it again.
The full 90+ minutes by one of the great performers/producers/writers/talents with the band he co-founded. I’ll be interested to hear how the audience in Serbia enjoyed this one, since they opened the Exit Festival just yesterday.
I think it would be safe to crank this thing way up and add it to your weekend.
By all accounts, they should be celebrating 50 years too.
Click on the link here for Audio Player: The Pretty Things in concert at Roadburn 2013 – VPRO Radio
Anyone who is reasonably familiar with the history of The Rolling Stones knows The Pretty Things factor in there during the early days. Under a previous incarnation as Little Boy Blue and The Blue Boys, which consisted of Dick Taylor, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, they played primarily covers of American R&B artists during the formative stages of the British Rock scene. When Brian Jones came along to form his own band, Richards, Jagger and Taylor were recruited and the band was renamed The Rolling Stones. Dick Taylor left the Stones for Art School where he met Phil May and The Pretty Things were born. Had fate turned out differently . . .
Truths to tell, I always liked The Pretty Things, and often preferred them to the Stones just because they sounded so much more raw and loud, and with the raging hormones of a 14 year-old, they were talking my language.
Sadly, The Pretty Things didn’t achieve the level of success The Stones did. Probably the biggest reason was their difficulty in cracking the U.S. market as well as a few bad choices in touring strategies. Whatever the reasons were, they became something of underrated legends.
Tonight’s post is from a concert at the recent Roadburn Festival in The Netherlands. One of the constants about The Pretty Things is the ever-changing personnel. But the remaining original members Phil May and Dick Taylor carry on the raw spirit of the band and, fifty years on, still have that raw energy they always did.
So . . .happy 50th to another legendary band.
Irma Thomas – Sendin’ some Soul to Spain
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Irma Thomas, live at Black Is Back Soul Weekend – June 16, 2013
It’s hard to believe the Black Is Back Soul Weekend festival was the first time Queen of Soul Irma Thomas played in Spain. But from all accounts it was true. Needless to say, the legend hit Madrid and the audience went nuts.
And for good reason. Irma Thomas is one of those living legends we always talk about and she was in fine form this past Sunday. Luckily for those of us not able to be there, the always wonderful Radio Nacional Espana Radio 3 was on hand to broadcast the goings on.
One thing – lots of talking between songs, and mostly talking over intros. From what I’ve been experiencing the past few years of recording streaming audio from overseas, it’s one of those things announcers do in Europe; talk a lot – they all seem to. But if it meant not hearing this huge moment and that incredible voice, I’ll take the banter any day. Besides, the sound is wonderful.
So with all that, turn this one up and bask in the heady glow of a living legend. It’s good for you.
Laura Mvula – refers to herself as “the geeky kid of R&B” – we should all be so geeky.
Click on the link here for Audio Player: Laura Mvula – Live at VPRO – March 23, 2013
Sounds from up-and-comers this weekend. Tonight it’s Laura Mvula, a classically trained R&B singer from Birmingham in the UK. Her debut e album, Sing To The Moon was released just a few weeks ago and already she’s being given nods in the press as “an artist to watch” in 2013.
Here she is in session at VPRO, the pop radio outlet in Holland for the It’s Live program, recorded last week.
She refers to herself as “the geeky kid of R&B” – and my impression is; we could do with a whole lot more geeky folk if they sound even remotely like her.
A very enjoyable set and a very bright career ahead – I suspect you’ll be hearing more of her in the coming weeks.
But for now – check out a new artist.
Glady Knight & The Pips – no matter how you frame it – superb.
Click on the link here for Audio Player: GladysKnightAndThePips1983BeverleyHillsCA
Over to The Beverly Theatre in Beverly Hills, by way of London for a concert featuring Gladys Knight & The Pips, recorded in 1983 by the venerable BBC and broadcast over their Midnight Concert Series over Radio 1.
This has to be one of the fastest paced concerts I’ve heard in a long time. Hit after hit – number after number, with little or no let up. To sustain that kind of energy for over an hour is clearly awe inspiring and gives you some clue as to just how legendary these artists have become over the years.
We forget sometimes, artists who have made indelible impressions on music and culture – on society in general. And how much of their influence is still felt among listeners and the audience without even realizing it. The Soul genre has been looked at, sampled, observed and borrowed from so much these past few decades it’s become assimilated into our musical heritage. So it’s nice to be able to hear it from the movers and shakers themselves – hear how it was done. There’s still a lot to learn from.
So – some musical history this weekend from Gladys Knight & The Pips – rippin’ it up in 1983.