Category Archives: Music

Ah Sukie, Sukie Now…10 of the Absolute Best Soul Songs of All Time (and How They Came to Be)!

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*Some of y’all may be a tad too young to have grooved to these classics like us baby-boomers. I recall living in a huge basement apartment in the Bronx, New York (my dad was “the super” aka resident manager). There were six of us kids who, along with my parents, would blast Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, The Jackson 5, The Supremes, Little Stevie Wonder and raise the roof off the mutha in the process.

I can recall my young stepmom, in all of her 30-something glow, laughing and dancing with us kids to songs like Martha & The Vandellas’ “Heatwave (1963),” Eddie Floyd’s “Knock On Wood (1966),”  The Drifters “Up On The Roof (1962),” and James Brown’s “This Is A Man’s World (1966)” — which was like an anthem in our house!

My dad, who was 30 years my mom’s senior, was one cool cat. He would show us doses of his swag…after he’d had a couple of drinks, of course. I can still smell his sweet cigar, as he’d stand up and do his steps in place, wearing sunglasses and the one dashiki shirt he had to his name.

So take a stroll with me down memory lane, will ya. This, my friends, is what good, soul music was and is all about. You can “click” on each song title to hear the original music. Plus, check out some of the history behind these songs and afterwards, if I’ve sparked your memory, feel free to share some of your own favorites and the memories that come to mind because of them. Continue reading

Sweet Honey In The Rock’s Carol Lynn Maillard Prepares To Perform..and Goes OFF on Donald Trump!

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*The legendary Sweet Honey In The Rock and the equally legendary San Francisco Symphony are joining forces on December 23rd.

That really should be all it takes to get you to get your tickets. But if you need further persuasion, keep reading!  Just a few minutes with founding member Carol Lynn Maillard and you realize that Sweet Honey’s holiday performance in the city by the Bay isn’t to be missed.

“A little more than half of the show will be a cappella, and the other half is done with a bass accompaniment,” Maillard said. “It’s gonna be such an amalgam of different styles and sounds!We’ll perform some traditional material that people know, some songs from the African American spiritual tradition, some quartet songs, and some covers from Marvin Gaye. We’ll also perform some stuff from our latest recording.”

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Pianist Jim Brickman Delivers Comfort & Joy In Concert This Holiday Season

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*I caught one of pianist Jim Brickman’s recent tour stops during his 20th annual holiday show, Comfort & Joy.  That’s also the name of his most recent holiday CD.  Yes, I said “most recent.”  The man’s released seven holiday CDs over the years.  You’d think he’d tire of the genre.  After last night’s show, I hope he never does.

Don’t get it twisted: Brickman’s written lots of original songs that will be sung and played for generations, and he performed a few of them last night. But how can anyone be that freaking good at playing the piano and not consider himself first and foremost a pianist???

Brickman is this generation’s Liberace (Google him), a consummate showman and a flesh-and-blood Schroeder from the Peanuts gang who plays the piano with boyish abandon. In concert, he sweeps his fans up in a Yuletide whirlwind of holiday joy. Continue reading

Pasadena Playhouse Presents Student Matinee Performance of ‘A Cinderella Christmas’

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* (PASADENA, CA)  Happy Holidays! The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director and Danny Feldman, Producing Artistic Director)) announced on Thursday that the opening night celebration of this year’s Panto at the Playhouse, A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS, on Thursday, December 8, 2016 will be dedicated as a benefit event with proceeds supporting The Pasadena Playhouse Education Programs and a student matinee performance over the holiday season.

The benefit will be co-chaired by Anita Lawler and Julietta Perez. Benefit Committee members also include Darrell Brooke, Renee Chang, Amber Gerhardt, Kathryn Hamilton, Emilie Lanstra,   Elsa Luna, Rebecca Lythgoe, Kris Lythgoe, Pam King, Cherol Nellon, Jennifer Rogers, and Melissa Tyson.

The benefit includes a VIP pre-show reception in the Carrie Hamilton Theatre of The Pasadena Playhouse, including delicious hors d’ oeuvres, desserts, beverages, and a post-show celebration with the cast of A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS.

Julietta Perez, Panto Benefit Co-Chair, says, “I look forward to Panto at the Playhouse every year because it always such a sensational show! It’s an honor to attend Opening Night, filled with holiday cheer, and know we are helping children attend the theatre and have their first introduction to this magical art form, who otherwise would not have the opportunity.” Continue reading

Neuroscience Claims ‘This Song’ Will Cure Your Anxiety (Listen)

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*Wow! It seems science of the brain has come up with the perfect song to calm us down. Those of us who suffer from anxiety, that is. I didn’t always know exactly what anxiety was. Until I realized I have it. At least sometimes. In a nutshell, it’s when you are always on edge. In my case, thinking you should be doing something more. Better. Now. But since there is only one me, and being a woman, I multitask ALL the time, I still can’t possibly do all the things my mind stimulates me to do.

The dictionary says it’s a feeling of nervousness, worry and unease. I suppose that’s true too.  Anyway, now there may be a cure; especially if you’re like me, and don’t like to take meds for everything.

Sorry pharmacists. Actually, no I’m not! Continue reading

Mickey Stevenson, Motown Legend, Seeks Talent for Original Musical This Sunday! (All Ethnicities)

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*A Motown legend is calling. Will you answer? See message from Motown’s ‘Original A&R’ man below.

I had the pleasure of interviewing William ‘Mickey’ Stevenson recently for an upcoming EURweb feature about his involvement in the upcoming “50th Anniversary” celebration of the late C. Bernard Jackson‘s “Inner City Cultural Center” taking place on November 4-6, 2016 in Los Angeles.

In the process of that interview (look forward to the feature soon) I learned of this casting call and wanted to pass it along to you.

Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy and William 'Mickey' Stevenson were inseparable back in the day.
Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy and William ‘Mickey’ Stevenson were inseparable back in the day.

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[WATCH!] Jody Watley & Shalamar Reloaded’s Sultry New, Conversation-Sparking Video “The Mood”

Nate Allen Smith, Jody Watley, and Rosero McCoo (l-r)

Nate Allen Smith, Jody Watley, and Rosero McCoo (l-r)

*Jody Watley told me a few weeks ago that she had a few upcoming, “exciting” projects with her group Shalamar Reloaded.

Having just seen the group’s new video, “exciting” has got to be the understatement of the decade.

“The Mood” is a classic, throwback mid-tempo R & B jam that will be in my music library as soon as it’s available on iTunes on October 14. The video features a characteristically gorgeous Watley (does that woman age?), along with Rosero McCoy and Nate Allen Smith who both know how to strike a sultry pose. The video’s majestic Oahu setting almost gives the three pretty people of Shalamar Reloaded a run for their money.

But the video’s showstopper is when the gloriously shirtless McCoy shows viewers just what kind of “mood” he’s in [SPOILER ALERT], as the camera pulls back to reveal his hot, tattooed male bedmate just before the two of them join an equally sexy woman in the shower. And the shower door closes.

Do your thing, Rosero. Hot. HOT. HAWT!

A brutha could use a little warning before he gets hit with all of that in the middle of the workday. I almost scheduled a pregnancy test. It is quite simply one of the sexiest music videos I’ve ever seen. After watching it (three times), I got up and took a cool shower. Literally. Continue reading

TNT Review: Ruth Pointer’s Still So Excited – Her Riveting New Memoir

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*“…the beautiful thing about being broken is that it allows you to pick up the pieces of your life, if that’s the route you want to go.”

That’s a quote from the introduction of Ruth Pointer’s unflinchingly candid, heartfelt new memoir Still So Excited, which she published earlier this year, as she celebrated her 30th year of sobriety.

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You’ll remember Ruth as one of the founding members of the legendary singing group The Pointer Sisters. After reading her book, you’ll never forget her.

Along with co-writer Marshall Terrill, Pointer, 70, lovingly walks the reader from Oakland, California where she and her siblings were raised, to her father’s church, to early stardom. She hysterically tells of family times both good and bad, detailing tiffs and rifts with her famous siblings, including Bonnie who left the group in the 1970s, before they achieved their biggest successes. Continue reading