Thursday, 05 August 2010 13:09 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

JAZ34e59f_Bobby_HebbBOBBY HEBB, the writer (and original performer) of one of soul's most enduring hit songs has died aged 72. The song in question, of course, is 'Sunny' and HEBB claimed he wrote it after his brother, HAROLD had been murdered outside a Nashville night club just days after the assassination of JOHN F KENNEDY. Whatever, the tune is hugely optimistic and that optimism coupled with a catchy tune meant that 'Sunny' has become one of the most covered songs of all time. Even without 'Sunny', however, HEBB'S place in musical history would be assured. Born in the Country music capital of Nashville in 1938, HEBB always had an attraction for cowboy music and in 1952 –as part of ROY ACUFF'S SMOKEY MOUNTAIN BOYS - he became one of the first Afro-Americans to appear at the Country music shrine of the Grand Ole Opry... quite an achievement for the early 50s.

But it was 'Sunny' that made his name. In fact at the height of the song's popularity HEBB shared headlining status with the BEATLES on their 1966 US tour! After 'Sunny' HEBB continued to write and record with mixed success. Some of his songs – notably 'Love, Love, Love' and 'You Want To Change Me' became big on the Northern scene and like many vintage soul artists he was coaxed back into the studio in recent years – most notably with 'That's What I Wanna Know' (2005).

In recent years HEBB had been fighting a battle with lung cancer and he died in hospital in Nashville on 3rd August. He's survived by a daughter and 4 sons.

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 August 2010 16:24



Thursday, 05 August 2010 13:07 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

ArethaFRANKLIN_450x350ARETHA FRANKLIN – still everybody's Queen Of Soul – has been injured in a fall. It's reported that she is now recovering after slipping in the bath and breaking several ribs. The accident means that the singer will miss two free concerts in Brooklyn - which promoters are busy trying to reschedule. Ms FRANKLIN joked that she "was very much looking forward to being in Brooklyn and having a foot-long hot dog at Coney Island!". The fall has also meant the cancellation of a private performance at the birthday party of CHARLES RANGEL – a prominent Democratic Congressman.

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 August 2010 16:24



Wednesday, 04 August 2010 10:23 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

Glenn_JonesThe Northampton-based reissue label Funky Town Grooves (FTG) has just released a batch of fascinating titles that should be of interest to '70s and '80s funk and soul fans.

'Finesse,' the debut album by singer GLENN JONES – originally issued on RCA in 1984 – is arguably the pick of the bunch. Not only is the FTG version digitally remastered but it includes three bonus cuts – among them the 12-inch single versions of 'Finesse' and 'I Am Somebody' (the latter was the Florida-born singer's first Stateside hit).

For disco-soul aficionados, FTG has also reissued 'Hot Butterfly,' the 1977 album by GREG DIAMOND'S BIONIC BOOGIE. The set includes the classic title cut featuring a young Luther Vandross on lead vocals, as well as the club favourite 'Cream (Always Rises To The Top).' Other stellar contributors to the record include Cissy Houston and David Lasley.

From the same timeframe are the albums 'We're All In This Together' and 'Milky Way' by New Orleans' funk and soul aggregation, CHOCOLATE MILK. Both sets can be found on a new FTG 'twofer,' which features the group's biggest US R&B hit, 'Girl Callin'.'

Another FTG 2-on-1 release is a set by NEW HORIZONS, a family group from Dayton, Ohio. The group's 1983 Columbia album 'Something New' – featuring their solitary US R&B hit, the Zapp-style funk workout, 'Your Thing Is Your Thing' – is included alongside 1984's follow-up, 'Gonna Have Big Fun.' Both sets were produced by Roger Troutman.

More 2-on-1s from FTG come from keyboardist MICHAEL WYCOFF – comprising the RCA albums 'Come To My World' (1980) and 'On The Line' (1983) and featuring the US chart entries 'Feel My Love,' 'One Alone' (with vocals from Merry Clayton) and 'Tell Me Love' – and the SKOOL BOYZ (a CD comprising the trio's mid-'80s albums 'Skool Boyz' and 'This Is The Real Thing').

'Do You Believe In Music,' the 1979 RCA album by the New York group, WAX, is also reissued via FTG (it includes the group's only US smash, 'Get Loose'), along with the self-titled Arista album from 1981 by MADAGASCAR. The group's two biggest tunes – 'Baby Not Tonight' and 'Rainbow' – are the standout cuts.

Look out for reviews of some of these titles soon at SJF. For more information, go to



Monday, 02 August 2010 16:19 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

ruffinsThough it didn't quite make the expected ripples on its initial release in 1970, the collaborative album from JIMMY and DAVID RUFFIN – 'I Am My Brother's Keeper' has long been an in-demand collector's item. The good news is that September sees the album gets its first ever CD release from Universal/Motown. JIMMY and DAVID RUFFIN need no introduction to SJF readers, who, we're sure, will be delighted at the opportunity to have what has become something of a soul Holy Grail. The original album contained 12 cuts and - as was the way with Motown at the time - they comprised covers of soul/pop hits (including an obvious 'He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother') along with a selection of Motown originals. The new, remastered issue comes with a pair of bonus cuts – a hard driving 'You're What I Need' and an undubbed version of 'Stand By Me'. (The original, issued version features over-dubbed "live" effects). As with all Motown archive reissues, the album comes with extended liner notes, atmospheric photos and full track annotations.

Last Updated on Monday, 02 August 2010 21:40



Monday, 02 August 2010 16:14 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

natalie_williams203London's RONNIE SCOTT'S club is currently playing host to the BRITISH JAZZ FESTIVAL... lots then going on down in Frith Street. Here are some highlights of the festival and other upcoming shows...

August 7th: Brit Jazz Fest - JASON REBELLO QUARTET featuring PINO PALLADINO ... Pianist Rebello's quartet tonight features electric bass star PINO PALLADINO

August 8th: Brit Jazz Fest - SOUL FAMILY SUNDAY WITH NATALIE WILLIAMS (pictured)             

August 15th: RONNIE SCOTTS BLUES EXPERIENCE .......The Blues Experience is led by TONY REMY and specializes in blues music from Chicago to Delta to West Coast to British,

August 16th – 18th: TERRY CALLIER ......CALLIER, of course, is an underground soul hero... with two new albums coming out soon, 'Welcome Home' and 'Hidden Conversations'.

August 19th – 21st: INCOGNITO .......check out SJF's interview with BLUEY and full review of INCOGNITO'S latest album.

August 22nd: FUNK AFFAIR ....Regular night of deep funk grooves from some of the UK's best loved funk heavyweights, including alumni from JAMIROQUAI and singer LOUISE POLLOCK

August 27th – 29th: AIRTO MOREIRA & FLORA PURIM ... The Brazilian husband and wife duo ...deservedly recognized for their individual talents;


Last Updated on Monday, 02 August 2010 21:41


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