Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:13 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

heronGIL SCOTT-HERON has died. He was 62. His friend DORIS NOLAN said that he died in St Luke's Hospital, New York on Friday May 29th... the cause of death is not clear but he is believed to have become ill after returning from a visit to Europe to promote his most recent album.

Born in Chicago in 1949, HERON was acknowledged as one of the founders of Hip-Hop and Rap – an accolade he never quite agreed with. He was brought up in Tennessee by his grandmother (his father had been the first black footballer to play in the British leagues... playing for Glasgow Celtic) but, aged 13, he relocated to New York where – even at a young age - he became more and more politicised and he developed a musical format which allowed him to express his political views. He dubbed his style (a brooding mix of minimalist percussion a and poetry) 'bluesology' and described himself as a 'bluesician'.

In his music SCOTT-HERON revealed his deep interest in justice and civil rights, and the shortcomings of the consumer society of the 1970s and 80s. He was also outspoken about the development of nuclear technology. His most famous album was 1970's 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised' which was a look at the treatment of racial issues in the age of mass media. SCOTT- HERON was also among the first artists to use his music to attack apartheid in South Africa, long before the issue became the focus of a popular global campaign. SCOTT- HERON also had a long-running song-writing partnership with pianist and flautist BRIAN JACKSON, who he met at Lincoln University.

UK poet LEMM SISSAY, a friend of SCOTT-HERON'S who produced a documentary on his work, told the BBC he was "a polymath" who "spoke crucially of the issues of his people. In the late 60s and early 70s, black poets were the news-givers, because their stories were not covered in truth in the mainstream media".

In recent years, though GIL was forced to deal with his own personal demons. Throughout his adulthood he'd been troubled with an addiction to cocaine, which took him in and out of various legal institutions, and he was also diagnosed as being HIV positive.

Last year, he returned to the studio, releasing 'I'm New Here', which was his first new studio release in 16 years, but also, sadly, the album became his swansong.

GIL SCOTT-HERON'S true legacy will be the articulation of the Black politic in the 70s and 80s. One of his most quoted mantras was - "If the right of free speech is truly what it's supposed to be, then anything you say is alright" .... apposite then, and even more so now


Last Updated on Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:19



Thursday, 26 May 2011 08:41 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

famikly_businessOne of the recent big successes on cable and satellite TV has been 'BRANDY & RAY J: A FAMILY BUSINESS'. The reality show follows the ups and downs of the NORWOOD FAMILY – and more specifically the family's famous daughter, BRANDY. BRANDY, of course, was one of the first of the new wave of modern soul/R&B divas and since her debut back in the 90s she's continued to enjoy huge success.

Her brother, RAY J has enjoyed charts runs too while mum and dad – WILLIE AND SONJA NORWOOD – are respected performers and entrepreneurs in their own right; WILLIE is an acclaimed gospel singer and in-demand vocal coach, while SONJA is a music business/management hot shot. The VH 1 TV show offers a regular snapshot of NORWOOD family life and the show's success has prompted Rhino Records to release a tie-in album – 'A Family Business'. The tunes on the eleven tracker are delivered by different combinations of the family and the lovely ballad 'Talk To Me' (featuring BRANDY, RAY and WILLIE) has been chosen as the lead single.

The album is released on Rhino Records on June 13th... but in the meantime we at  have five copies of the album to give away. Simply answer the question at the end of this article and e-mail your answers to our normal address and a copy of 'A Family Business' could be on its way to you...... good luck.

QUIZ QUESTION; One of BRANDY'S biggest ever worldwide hits was the duet 'The Boy Is Mine'...... who was her duet partner on the track?


Last Updated on Thursday, 26 May 2011 08:46



Wednesday, 25 May 2011 18:56 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

moMO KOLOURS is a percussionist who's just debuted with an intriguing, hugely experimental 7 track EP – 'EP1 DRUM TALKING'. The music on the set betrays MO'S Mauritian roots as he draws heavily on the famed Sega music of the island – but here he interprets it a brand new way – infusing it with heavy dub, hints of soul and – above all else – electronic instrumentation.

The EP's 7 tracks are sequenced as one free-flowing piece and already radio people like GILLES PETERSON are picking up on extracts to play out on their shows. There are no "proper" vocals on the disc; rather we're treated to vocal loops, incantations and loose, disconnected fragments that give the work a dream like flavour- held together by MO KOLOURS' unique percussive sounds. Hear what it's all about to best effect on 'Dead Of Night' which draws its inspiration from THE BEATLES' song 'Blackbird'. Strange? Sure.... but compulsive and eerie nevertheless. To learn more about this experiment in sound go to



Wednesday, 25 May 2011 12:37 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

jayThis Summer NORMAN JAY MBE celebrates 30 years of his Good Times Sound System and to celebrate he'll be at the Notting Hill carnival – as usual- and releasing a wonderfully, eclectic and diverse new compilation album illustrating just why he's stayed the course.

JAY set up his first sound system, Great Tribulation, in 1979 with his brother JOEY which became Good Times Sound System in 1981, the start of a 30-year residency at Notting Hill Carnival. NORMAN changed the face of the music played there, introducing a range of gritty, soulful styles to complement the predominantly reggae-based sound systems. The move paved the way for the open-minded Carnival we know today, with Good Times still at its core.

Apart from the Carnival, NORMAN has worked tirelessly championing black music in the clubs and on the radio and for this he was awarded the MBE. Why, he's even appeared on BBC's 'Question Time'!

His compilations – released regularly to tie in with his high profile gigs- have always been essential listening and to celebrate his 30th anniversary in the business he's teamed up with Strut Records to issue a very special set. This new collection features some real rarities like 'Dreamin' by short-lived band ZALMAC and FRIES & BRIDGES' 'Forever This', a real mover featuring an early vocal by CEE-LO GREEN. There's also music from legends like CURTIS MAYFIELD; newies from the likes of AVERY SUNSHINE and a real nod to the past with a track from LITTLE ANTHONY & THE IMPERIALS.



NEW FROM bbe...

Tuesday, 24 May 2011 09:04 Bil Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

sevenbbe Records have just released four new albums – three compilations and a single artist set.

The single artist set is '1979' from MATHIAS STUBO. STUBO is a young Norwegian musician whose parents introduced him to jazz and soul at an early age and '1979' is his homage to the music that he's grown to love... the jazz and funk of the late 70s and early 80s. That said he doesn't strive to replicate the music and styles of that golden age; rather, he uses mainly electronic instrumentation to offer his twist on it. File under "interesting".

The first of the label's new compilations has been put together by the iconic LOUIE VEGA. 'Mad Styles And Crazy Visions 2' sees Mr V return to his vision of the high energy sounds that graced dance floors in the 70s and 80s. The double CD is mixed by the man himself and features music from people like BASEMENT JAXX, PEVEN EVERETT, ERIC KUPPER and PHIL ASHER.

Different again is 'Legendary Wild Rockers' – a 20 track compilation put together by KEB DARGE. The album is stuffed with rare rockabilly, wild surf music and general 50s and early 60s exotica. DARGE'S DJ experiences have recently shown him that people are becoming fed up and disenchanted with formulaic, computer-generated sounds. He calls it "empty music" and believes that more and more people are turning to "real" authentic sounds... and there's nothing more authentic than 'The Goo Goo Muck' from RONNIE COOK and the GAYLADS – just one of the corkers here!

The fourth compilation is possibly the most interesting. 'Seven Heven' (their spelling, by the way) has been complied by MARK WEBSTER and it's a 19 track collection of tunes that were originally released as 7" vinyl singles and some are making it to CD for the first time. Some great cuts here – most notably RON HALL'S monumental 'The Way You Love Me' and a Latin version of 'I Believe In Miracles' from The SUNLIGHT SQUARE LATIN COMBO.

For more information on all these albums go to


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