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Saturday, 18 April 2015 19:15 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

johnny-kemp-getty-4New Jack Swing soul man JOHNNY KEMP died on Friday April 17th in Jamaica. He was 55. Circumstances surrounding his death are confusing. Jamaican police said that Kemp's body was found floating near Montego Bay, though they refused to confirm cause of death. They did add that he arrived in the area on a cruise vessel. Kemp, it seems was scheduled to perform on a cruise this weekend though the cruise company has declined to comment other than to say that; "We have received confirmation that Johnny Kemp has passed away. We do not have any other details. We can confirm he was not on the ship for the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage Cruise."

Johnny Kemp was born in the Bahamas but relocated to New York and joined a band called Kinky Fox. In the 80s he joined forces with Kashif and enjoyed moderate success with a tune called 'Just Another Lover'. His greatest success, however, was the Teddy Riley produced album 'Secrets Of Flying', from which his biggest hit 'Just Got Paid' came. The song was a No. 1 hit on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart and was covered by NSYNC on their 2000 album 'No Strings Attached'.

After that Kemp dropped of the music biz radar, though latterly he did take part in a number of New Jack Swing reunion tours. He also appeared on a 2007 Keith Sweat DVD called 'Sweat Hotel Live'.

Johnny Kemp is survived by his wife, Deirdre Fisher-Kemp and their two sons. Deirdre wrote on Facebook on Friday: "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence. Jeremiah 17:7"


Last Updated on Saturday, 18 April 2015 19:20



Friday, 17 April 2015 19:41 Bill b E-mailPrintPDF

Dusty_Springfield_Faithful_2015_album_coverThere is no argument. DUSTY SPRINGFIELD is the finest British female soul singer ever. Anyone who doubts this simply needs to go to her monumental 'Dusty In Memphis' album - the 1969 long player was a landmark recording and remains a benchmark against which to judge other contenders.

The album was the first in what was meant to be a three album deal with the mighty Atlantic Records. The second fruit of the contract was 'A Brand New Me' (re-titled 'From Dusty With Love' in the UK) – for which the singer was teamed with the then up-and-coming Philadelphia duo, Gamble and Huff.

For her third Atlantic album, the execs assigned her to Jeff Barry – a veteran of the Brill Building era who at that time (1970) was the second most successful producer in the US (the most successful was Norman Whitfield!). The pair recorded thirteen tracks and two singles were eventually released – 'Haunted'/'Nothing Is Forever' and 'I Believe In You'/'Someone Who Cares'. Neither had any chart success and Dusty's manager extricated her from her Atlantic contract and inked a deal with ABC/Dunhill. Hardly surprising then that the third album was shelved.

Over the years odd tracks from the Springfield/Barry sessions have surfaced – most on the 1999 re-issue of 'Dusty In Memphis' but now the whole album has been re-assembled by Real Gone Music with reissue specialist, Jim Pierson gaining access to Jeff Barry's master session mixdown tapes. The result is a magnificent 'DUSTY SPRINGFIELD; FAITHFUL' 13 tracker that adds even more weight to our original assertion.

Amongst the many highlights is 'Nothing Is Forever' – a classic Springfield ballad while the tender 'Someone Who Cares' almost rivals it. Outstanding too are two great covers – a version of Carole King's 'You've Got A Friend' and what has to be the definitive reading of Bread/David Gates' 'Make It With You'. Barry creates a wonderful soundscape and I contend that Dusty has never sounded better.

This essential album is out now and comes complete with an extensive essay and a collection of rarely-seen photographs of Dusty. Reissue of the year, so far!


Last Updated on Friday, 17 April 2015 19:48



Wednesday, 15 April 2015 20:02 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

TRISTAN_supersize_artworkDutch soul/funk outfit TRISTAN are currently riding a wave of popularity backed by the success of their '2nd Phase' album (see our reviews pages). Fresh from acclaimed gigs in London and Manchester, the band have just updated the set's latest single. It's a great "1984 Remix" of their 'Supersize My Sunshine'. As the mix moniker implies the flavour of the new tweak is heavily retro though Evelyn Kallansee's powerful vocal is kept well up in the mix. There's a real urgency to affairs and you can investigate via all the usual download portals.



Wednesday, 15 April 2015 20:00 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

pinkbookcoverEveryone remembers SYLVESTER'S 'You Make Me Feel Mighty Real'. It was - and remains - a bona fide disco classic – a sonic definition of the glitter ball era. Oddly given the tune's popularity not a lot is known about the man himself. Sure, most people know that Sylvester was gay and enjoyed his role as a disco icon but few know that he was a tireless worker -educating minority communities about AIDS. Not many know about his charity work or the pride he took in his unofficial role as a gay ambassador.

Well, the record is about to be set right as acclaimed soul writer SHARON DAVIS publishes her biography of Sylvester. 'Mighty Real: Sharon Davis Remembers Sylvester' hits the book racks this month and Ms Davis – best known for her extensive and classic writing about Motown – pull no punches. She writes frankly about Sylvester's unpredictability and stubbornness and his love to shock. But she also explores his thoughtful and caring nature and offers intimate insights into his personality.

Sharon is ideally placed to write the book. In the late 70s, she was Sylvester's publicist and worked night and day with him, finally sharing his big moments and helping him live his dream. The book is also stuffed with record company reports and schedules accompanied by exclusive and personal visuals to bring alive the time they shared in 1978, making this book a valuable insight into a hit in the making.

"Mighty Real: Sharon Davis Remembers Sylvester" is published by Bank House Books & Media and available from all reputable book sites. We'll bring you a full review very soon.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 April 2015 20:07



Wednesday, 15 April 2015 10:38 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

sandy_barber_opolopo_rework_mainNew York's SANDY BARBER is an underground soul heroine. Her cult reputation rests on her 1977 LP 'The Best Is Yet To Come'. Produced by veteran Clyde Otis, it didn't do too much till the collectors picked up on a wonderful dance tune called 'I Think I'll Do Some Stepping On My Own' and, then, of course, copies of the album (those that people could find) started to change hands for big bucks.

The album was reissued back in 2011 on bbe Records and 'Stepping' still sounded good as did the new mixes of it commissioned for the reissue. Well, THAT tune refuses to go away... demand is such that a brand new remix has been released, this time courtesy of Scandinavian master Opolopo. Mr O (Peter Major) doesn't' make too many radical changes... that loping bass line was always there and he retains all the soulfulness of Ms Barber's vocal. It's as all good remixes should be... respectful to the original. Find out more about the new mix @




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