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MEDICINE MAN...

Thursday, 17 August 2017 19:04 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altA J CROCE is the son of music legend Jim Croce. Croce senior died aged just 30 in 1973 having seen his songs – like 'Bad, Bad Leroy Brown' and 'Time In a Bottle' becoming US music standards. A J (Adrian James) suffered a difficult childhood. He was just two when his famous father died and after abuse from his mother's boyfriend he was partially blinded. But music was in his genes and motivated by his father's memory and inspired by people like Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, he made music his career.

AJ has eight albums under his belt and he's just released his ninth – 'Just Like Medicine', and though he's not a soul man per se, soul collectors might want to investigate when they learn that the 10 tracker has been produced by Dan Penn and features input from people like David Hood, Steve Cropper, the McCrary Sisters and The Muscle Shoals Horns. Recorded down in Nashville you'd be right in guessing  that the long player has a Southern soul feel to it; there's a garnish of country about things too.... there's a guest spot from Vince Gill.

Most soulful of the offerings is the moody ballad, 'Move On' (tremendous input from the MS Horns) while most poignant song is AJ's version of his father's 'Name Of The Game'. It was the last song Jim Croce wrote and he never got round to recording it.

AJ CROCE'S 'JUST LIKE MEDICINE' is out now on Compass Records

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 August 2017 19:13

 

BLACK IRISH....

Thursday, 17 August 2017 18:58 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altNew York born SHANNON McNALLY debuted way back in 2001 with 'Jukebox Sparrows' and since then she's become an in-demand fixture on the US Americana circuit where her blend of country, blues, rock and Irish shadings have won her a throng of faithful fans.

Those fans have been delighted with her newest album – 'Black Irish' ... a 12 track collection that offers three originals and a slew of well-chosen covers. Of most interest, maybe, is the country flavoured version of Stevie Wonders 'I Ain't Gonna Stand For It'. You can also enjoy a rollicking take on the Staple Singers' 'Let's Go Home', a stately twist on the Band's 'It Makes No Difference' and a lively, enthusiastic cover of Muddy Waters' 'The Stuff You Got To Watch'.

Amongst the guests are soul singer Wendy Moten, country legend Emmylou Harris and Americana veteran Rodney Crowell who has also produced the album.

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 August 2017 19:13

 

VAN: TOUR…

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 15:34 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altIn support of his upcoming 'Roll With The Punches' album (see our news archive), SIR VAN MORRISON has announced a series of live dates. His official web site www.vanmorrison.com will furnish full details.

However, if you want to catch the man up close and personal, he's also announced two very intimate shows at Belfast's Europa Hotel. In an honest effort to boost tourism to his native Northern Ireland Morrison regularly plays at some of the country's hotels. There, he says, he can replicate the feelings he enjoyed when he was starting out playing small jazz and soul clubs.

The Europa Hotel shows take place on December 4th and 5th and follow the two recent hotel shows he played at County Down's famed Slieve Donard Hotel where the small audience were treated to a selection of Morrison classics and songs from 'Roll With The Punches'.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 August 2017 15:40

 

STAX PROM

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 14:21 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altFollowing on from our recent story on the upcoming STAX seven 7" singles box set (see our archive); the BBC has announced that on 1st September, as part of their historic proms concerts, they'll be celebrating the music of the legendary Memphis soul label.

In this Late Night Prom, Jools Holland and His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra pay tribute to the pioneering label and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stax/Volt Revue's first tour of the UK. The concert will feature some of the label's greatest surviving artists ... people like Booker T. Jones, Sam Moore, Steve Cropper, William Bell and Eddie Floyd will appear alongside Sir Tom Jones, a confirmed Stax fan, Beverly Knight and Ruby Turner.

The show takes place at the Albert hall and we're told that seated tickets for this Prom are now on return only. But no BBC Prom is ever truly sold out as you can still "Prom", queuing on the day for a standing ticket. Promming tickets are only £6.

The show will be broadcast on BBC 4 on the night of the concert.

 

PASSINGS ....

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 13:58 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThe last few days saw the passing of two musicians – neither was big "names" nor mightily lauded, but both made contributions to black music that will endure.

On Monday 14th August ROBERT YANCY died. Robert was the son of Natalie Cole (mother and son pictured above) and Independents singer and songwriter Marvin Yancy. Of course, he was the grandson of Nat King Cole too. Robert Yancy was just 39 and died of a heart attack – like his father who suffered similarly aged just 34.

Robert Yancy was himself a musician, having worked with his mother and other soul music artists, including SWV. A spokesperson said that Robert had been working on a documentary about his mother at the time of his death, adding that he still seemed deeply upset about losing her.

altMulti-instrumentalist and songwriter BENARD IGHNER died the same day. Bernard will be best remembered for writing the song 'Everything Must Change'. He was 72 and had been suffering lung cancer and spinal stenosis.

Born in 1945, Benard was a self-taught musician, proficient on piano, guitar, bass, drums, flugelhorn, alto and soprano saxophones and flute. He recorded as sideman on albums in the 70s and 80s on several labels, and worked with such artists as Sarah Vaughan and Marlena Shaw. But he will be most remembered for the song  'Everything Must Change'. First recorded by Quincy Jones and Ighner on Jones's 'Body Heat' album in 1974, the song went on to be covered dozens of times by artists ranging from like Nina Simone, Judy Collins, Nancy Wilson, George Benson and James Ingram. Ighner himself re-recorded 'Everything Must Change' as the last track on his only solo album, the 8-song 'Little Dreamer'. The album was released on Japan's Alfa imprint in 1978 and later became hugely collectable.

This week singer/songwriter Brenda Russell posted: "We lost another gifted angel...the writer of the timeless, classic song 'Everything Must Change.' We met in the 70's. He was a friend to me who left an indelible mark on the world with this one song alone. I was in awe of his talent, and how he taught himself to play multiple instruments. Listen to his profound lyric and killer vocals on this track, recorded when we used live strings. Benard was gorgeous inside and out. R.I.P. Benard, kind & gentle genius."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 August 2017 14:27

 

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