Soul and Jazz and Funk Latest

MACK RICE DIES

Tuesday, 28 June 2016 10:25 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

1mackSoul veteran "SIR" MACK RICE died on Monday 27th June at his Detroit home. He was 82 and cause of death was recorded as "complications of Alzheimer's Disease." His passing was confirmed by family friend Pat Lewis in a statement to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

Rice was born Bonny Rice in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in 1933 and as a child, family friend Ike Turner helped him learn piano. In 1950 his family relocated to Detroit where Mack joined vocal group the Five Scalders then after army service he hooked up with the Falcons, amongst whose personnel were Eddie Floyd and Wilson Pickett. The group had hits with 'You're So Fine' and 'I Found Love', before Pickett went solo in '63. Rice then worked as a duo with Eddie Floyd but after he went solo, Mack began to concentrate on song writing.

His most well known song, of course, is 'Mustang sally'. In an interview he recalled that he wrote it as a joke song first called 'Mustang Mama' and aimed it at Aretha Franklin. She actually played piano on Mack's first demo, rejected it and suggested the title change! In 1966 the (Young) Rascals recorded the song as a B side and Mack himself enjoyed a minor hit with his Blue Rock 45. But the song is best known in its Wilson Pickett Muscle Shoals-recorded version.

1amackThe Pickett hit brought Rice into contact with Steve Cropper who brought the writer into the Stax set up and though he recorded some singles for the legendary label, he's best remembered there as a songwriter. Amongst his credits are Rufus Thomas' 'The Funky Penguin', Albert King's 'Cadillac Assembly Line' and, of course, the Staple Singers' 'Respect Yourself'. Mack Rice remained with Stax until the end (though he commuted from Detroit) and when bankruptcy hit he was one of the company's last full-time employees.

After Stax, Rice continued to work with Steve Cropper but more major success eluded him and he went into the asphalt business. Then, in the 90s he released several solo albums and always continued to perform in an around Detroit. Sadly, illness forced him to retire. In 2012 Kid Rock recorded one of Rice's earliest songs, 'Detroit, Michigan,' and he sang it at halftime of that year's nationally televised Detroit Lions Thanksgiving game. Rice said the song was "a tribute to Detroit's women".

On the lasting success of 'Mustang Sally', Mack said; "I can't tell you why it's lasted. It's a good old funky song. It got to be a slang thing, and then it went crossover.... You can go in a club now, and hear any white band playing it."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 June 2016 10:31

 

SYMPLI SOUL!

Sunday, 26 June 2016 18:36 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

1sympSYMPLI WHITNEY is the alter ego of Massachusetts soulstress Whitney Marshall who won friends right across the soul spectrum with her recent album, 'Ryze Of The Phoenix'. From the LP 'Weekend Thang' found its way into many a DJ's box while the gentler 'I Can See You And Me' found favour with the sophisticated soul crowd.

Now as summer comes a-knockin', young Whitney offers a brace of new cuts that evoke the spirit of those great 80s Weekender Anthems. Produced by Wadz and released on Fonkfatherz Records, 'Fresh Love' and 'Get Enuff' are crunchy, funky, electro soul dancers that might have you digging out those old 12"s by people like Evelyn Champagne King, Kleeer, Kashif and the SOS Band.

Both songs are available to download now

Last Updated on Sunday, 26 June 2016 18:40

 

MORE (AND MORE) KENYA

Sunday, 26 June 2016 18:34 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

1kenyamixBack in 2015 KENYA (JOHNSON) delivered one of that year's best indie soul sets....'My Own Skin'. From the long player, 'Let Me' became the in-demand cut. Always catchy, it was a stately modern soul beater that was later remixed by French maestro Tom Glide. Tommy Boy cranked up the tempo a tad but left things firmly in the modern soul arena.

Now, blow me, 'Let Me' is out again in yet another remix. This time the tweaker in chief is house don, Sean McCabe. He offers two reworks... a main vocal retooling and what he calls a "classic soul mix" – by which he means a classic "soulful house" remix... It's not frantic or frenetic and fans of modern soul will be delighted with it. Both new mixes are available now on Joey Negro's Z records.

And if you're wondering why so many remixes... well it's because Kenya will be releasing a whole "remix" album in November. I daresay one of these McCabe mixes will be on it!

Last Updated on Sunday, 26 June 2016 18:41

 

BERNIE WORRELL DIES...

Saturday, 25 June 2016 18:59 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

1benBERNIE WORRELL – keyboard player with the various Funkadelic/Parliament collectives – died on Friday 24th June in Bellingham, Washington. He was 72 and he'd been suffering from lung and prostate cancer for some time. His passing was announced on his Facebook page: "At 11:54, June 24, 2016, Bernie transitioned Home to The Great Spirit. Rest in peace, my love -- you definitely made the world a better place. Till we meet again, vaya con Dios.".

Born in New Jersey, Worrell was something of a child prodigy, playing piano aged just 3 before going on to study at the renowned Juilliard Conservatory of Music. One of his earliest pro gigs was working with the Tavares brothers when they were known as Chubby and the Turnpikes. However after a meeting with George Clinton, Bernie was drafted into the Parliament team. Working within the whole Parliament/Funkadelic/Parlet/ Brides Of Funksentstein/Bootsy's Rubber Band aggregations, Worrell played grand piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, Hohner Clavinet, Hammond B3 organ, ARP String Ensemble and Moog synthesizer in his own, often idiosyncratic way.

Bernie released his own solo album, 'All The Woo In The World' in 1978, then in the 80s he went onto work with Talking Heads and Fela Kuti. More recently Bernie worked with ex Parliament guitarist DeWayne 'Blackbyrd' McKnight and performed with his own group, the Bernie Worrell Orchestra. He also appeared in the movie 'Ricki and the Flash'.

An inductee in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Bernie Worrell will be remembered as a true innovator, a pioneer in bringing electronics into soul and funk music.

Last Updated on Saturday, 25 June 2016 19:03

 

McARTHUR PARK!

Friday, 24 June 2016 18:45 Bill b E-mailPrintPDF

1mcWhen it comes to obscure soul reissues none can be more obscure than the latest release on ever-dependable Soul Junction Records.

Their new 45 features a male vocal quartet called McARTHUR, who were fronted by Willie Cornelius Jones. Willie had previously been in the Royal Jokers and the 21st Century but in 1974 he created McArthur, named for the World War II general! The quartet only lasted for 18 months and they cut just one record, 'It's So Real'/'I'll Never Trust Love Again', for the Mainstream subsidiary, Brown Dog.

Though Mainstream was a New York label, their record was cut in Detroit and soul anoraks will notice the name of legendary sax man Andrew "Mike" Terry on the writing credits of the putative A side, 'It's So Real'. The tune's a soulful, harmonic ballad with sweet strings (from the Detroit Symphony) and a glorious heart-wrenching mild piece monologue. 'I'll Never Trust Love Again' is another ballad... a bit more sombre, and a lot more dramatic.

The original Brown Dog 45 is currently getting lots of attention and commanding big bucks.... now, thanks to Soul Junction all proper soul fans can enjoy it without the eye-watering price tag!

Last Updated on Friday, 24 June 2016 18:52

 

    

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