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DEE DEE WARWICK DIES...

Monday, 20 October 2008 11:19 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

DEE DEE WARWICK DIES...

DEE DEE WARWICK - regarded by many as the soul singers' soul singer - died on Saturday 18th October - she was 63. DEE DEE, younger sister of DIONNE, had been ill for a long while and she passed away at a nursing home in Essex County, New Jersey. DIONNE was with her. DEE DEE was born DELIA MAE WARRICK on 25th. September 1945 and she began singing with her sister in the 50s. Then, working alongside their aunt CISSY HOUSTON, the sisters became New York's hottest session vocalists and it was only a matter of time before solo careers beckoned… after a surreptitious name change of course. History will recall that DIONNE WARWICK enjoyed more hits and more success, but to soul purists DEE DEE WARWICK was regarded as the superior soul stylist. Signed to Mercury/Blue Rock she enjoyed success with the original version of 'I'm Gonna Make You Love Me', while 'When Love Slips Away' has always been a popular tune with UK soul collectors. DEE DEE's time with Atco Records yielded some sultry southern scorchers like 'She Didn't Know' while in later years work - like 'Fool Of The Year' - on smaller indie labels has been much sought after. More recently - and before the onset of her illnesses - DEE DEE toured as one of sister DIONNE'S backing vocalists… and it's her sister who has provided a short, but fitting tribute to DEE DEE'S talent: "All I can say is that God has another incredible voice to add to his angelic choir."
DEE WARWICK 1945 - 2008

 

LEVI STUBBS DIES

Saturday, 18 October 2008 14:06 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

LEVI STUBBS DIES

More sad soul news…FOUR TOPS' legendary lead singer LEVI STUBBS passed away at his Detroit home on Friday 17th October. He was 72. LEVI had been ill for some time. Several years ago he suffered a series of strokes which prevented him from working with his beloved group and latterly he'd been diagnosed with cancer. Born in 1936, LEVI formed a group - the FOUR AIMS - with high school buddies ABDUL FAKIR, RENALDO BENSON and LAWRENCE PAYTON in 1953. A deal with Chess and a name change to the FOUR TOPS bore little fruit but after signing with Motown in 1963 things began to change dramatically. They broke though in 1964 with the beautiful 'Baby I Need Your Loving' and any fan worth his soulful salt knows the rest. Anyone (like me) around in the 60s will attest to the fact that the FOUR TOPS - with LEVI STUBBS in full, powerful control - were at the vanguard of the Motown invasion of the UK and to this day the group have a huge, loyal fan base here. I was lucky enough to interview the FOUR TOPS on a couple of occasions. At the most recent interview, LEVI had retired due to ill health, so I took the opportunity to ask DUKE (as diplomatically as possible) why such a wonderful vocalist as LEVI had never gone solo. DUKE smiled and simply said that that the foursome were lifelong friends and that LEVI had never even dreamed of going it alone. He told me that when BERRY GORDY relocated to Los Angeles and started to make movies he tried to entice LEVI by offering him a part in 'Lady Sings The Blues'. LEVI said that he'd only take the part if roles for the other three were forthcoming too! That's loyalty - a loyalty embodied in one of the group's lesser known songs - 'The Four Of Us'… check it out to understand what friendship is all about. LEVI STUBBS was also a staunch family man. He leaves a wife of 48 years (CLINIECE), 5 children and 11 grand children and our condolences go out to them. Tributes have already started to flood in. SMOKEY ROBINSON said "LEVI STUBBS was on of THE great voices of all time. He was very near and dear to my heart." BERRY GORDY added, "LEVI was the greatest interpreter of songs I've ever heard. He had a rare voice and remarkable spirit." Strangely, though, the greatest tribute to the power, emotion, passion and soul of LEVI STUBBS' remarkable voice was written some years ago by an Englishman…. BILLY BRAGG, no less, in his song 'Levi Stubbs' Tears': "When the world falls apart some things stay the same. She takes off the Four Tops tape and puts it back in its case. When the world falls apart, some things stay in place. LEVI STUBBS' tears run down his face". (BB)

LEVI STUBBS 1936-2008

 

DEATH OF JAZZ MUSICIAN AND FILM COMPOSER NEAL HEFTI

Friday, 17 October 2008 06:11 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

DEATH OF JAZZ MUSICIAN AND FILM COMPOSER NEAL HEFTI

NEAL HEFTI, the American jazz trumpeter, arranger and movie composer, died on Saturday October 11th at his home in Lake Toluca, California, aged 85. Arguably the biggest impact Hefti's music made on popular culture was the memorable theme music he composed for the zany TV series 'Batman' in the mid-1960s - though he once described it as the hardest piece of music he ever had to write. Hefti's other credits included the movie scores to 'How to Murder Your Wife,' 'Harlow' (which included the popular, much-covered, song 'Girl Talk) and 'The Odd Couple,' a comedy starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau which morphed into a '70s TV series.
Born in Hastings, Nebraska, in 1922, Hefti took up the trumpet as an eleven-year-old. He soon became proficient and during the big band swing era of the 1940s was in demand as an arranger and penned orchestral charts for people like Earl Hines, Woody Herman and Harry James. In the 1950s and '60s, he became an arranger for Count Basie and masterminded the legendary bandleader's famous 1957 Capitol LP, 'Atomic Basie.' In fact, Miles Davis once said of Hefti: "If it weren't for Neal Hefti, the Basie band wouldn't sound as good as it does."


 

MARY MARY... NEW ALBUM OUT IMMINENTLY

Friday, 17 October 2008 05:41 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

MARY MARY... NEW ALBUM OUT IMMINENTLY

MARY MARY, the sibling gospel duo comprising Erica and Trecina 'Tina' Campbell, returns with 'The Sound,' a brand new 11-track CD released on Integrity via Sony BMG on Monday October 20th. Excluding the pair's 2006 Yuletide album, 'A Mary Mary Christmas,' it's their first long player proper since an eponymous third album released in 2005.
The Californian-born sisters rose to fame back in 2000 on the strength of their infectious crossover smash, 'Shackles,' lifted from their platinum-selling debut platter, 'Thankful,' helmed by producer Warryn Campbell (Erica's husband). Significantly, Campbell also has a major involvement with the girls' new album, which once again marries heartfelt Christian messages with contemporary R&B sounds.
Look out for a full review soon at www.soulandjazzandfunk.com

 

INDIE SOUL SPECTACULAR

Friday, 10 October 2008 08:37 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

INDIE SOUL SPECTACULAR

Season of mists and mellow soulfulness … indeed! Autumn brings a bumper harvest festival of indie soul goodies. Expansion start things off with a great crop - including the 2008 'Soul Togetherness' collection, KLOUD 9's 'Enjoy The Ride' and MAYSA LEAK'S 'Metamorphosis' … also available on import through Shanachie, that one. Dome have their fifth 'Soul Lounge' box set on offer - three CDs and 40 great tracks, including brand new recordings from FULL FLAVA and REUBEN'S THREAD. PHIL DRIVER'S Soul Unsigned set-up release their first full album …imaginatively-titled 'Soul Unsigned Volume 1' … 14 great, new indie soul cuts in there. As intriguing is SOUL:ID'S 'Sex, Love And Philosophy', and for those who collect female soul, 'Independence Day' from INDEPENDENT SOUL DIVAS is a must. Featured vocalists there include LeNORA JAYE, NIKOLE HALL, RENE JONES, CHANEL PERRY and STACYE BRANCHE. More esoteric, maybe, is 'Make The Road By Walking' from the MENHAN STREET BAND on the Daptone spin-off label, Dunham. REEL PEOPLE'S acclaimed 'Seven Ways To Wonder' set gets a revitalised release with a whole raft of remixes, while if you like your soul a touch smoother try WAYNE BRADY'S remarkable 'A Long Time Coming' on Peak Records. Finally SHANTEL'S Mo-Philly album 'Arize It's Time To Shine' will get a December release. In the meantime the lady's single, 'It's Over Now' will be available from mid-November. Full reviews on all these on www.soulandjazzandfunk.com very soon.

 

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