Tagged with "blue"
It's Jazz, Soul, Rhythm & Blues by Solex Tags: jazz soul rhythm blues solex word life production new quality entertainment

A native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Solomon grew up as a PK (Preacher’s Kid) and was exposed to the ministry of music early in his childhood. He is the oldest of three siblings and began playing the bass guitar at age 15 with his family’s gospel quartet, The Edmond Family. Solomon’s passion for playing the keyboard ultimately lead him to a career as a minister of ­music for over 25 years. He has since began focusing on the creation and production of the music that has always been a part of his being yet was forbidden to be expressed...Love Songs and Life Music!

In 1977, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the Atlanta College of Arts and pursue a degree in graphic design. He was very excited about a promising future as a design artist and dreamed of one day owning his own graphic design company. But little did he know, there would be a divine interruption of his plans – one that almost took his life. While attending college, Solomon became deathly ill and had to drop out of school. He moved back home with his parents in South Georgia and was convalescent for several ­years. He was finally diagnosed with Sarcoidosis of the lungs.

Solomon made his debut in the “Life Music” category with his release of Together Again in 2007, a soulful compilation of jazz, rooted in gospel with a mild mix of Latin and R&B beats. The CD is a tribute to his first cousin, Jonathan Dubose. Solomon has since released CD’s entitled “Love Language”, “The B-Side”,  “Smooth Soul” and “LIV.” His latest release is entitled “Your Face.”

R&B and Soul Legends - Blue Magic Tags: rb soul legends blue magic word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Blue Magic is an American R&B/soul music group and one of the most popular Philadelphia soul groups of the 1970s. Founded in 1972, the group's original members included lead singer Ted Mills with Vernon Sawyer, Wendell Sawyer, Keith Beaton, and Richard Pratt. Their most notable songs included smooth soul ballads such as "Sideshow", "Spell", "What’s Come Over Me", "Three Ring Circus" and "Stop to Start."

Blue Magic was formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1972 when former member of The Delfonics Randy Cain brought in singer-songwriter Ted Mills to do some writing with the Philly-based WMOT production company to create a new band. A short time later the group Shades of Love, featuring Keith Beaton, Richard Pratt, Vernon Sawyer and his brother Wendell, came in to audition. (According to Marc Taylor in his book 'A Touch of Classic Soul of the Early 1970s',"although the group performed admirably, they lacked a standout lead singer".) The execs decided to replace the Toppicks, the act Mills recorded with. They inserted Shades of Love (which they owned contractually) with Ted Mills and retitled the group Blue Magic. They were signed with Atco Records through WMOT in the same year.

The group was one of the earliest acts produced by Norman Harris, a Philadelphia recording veteran. The group's harmonies were supported by the MFSB studio house band. Their first early song release in 1974 was "Spell" which went onto the Billboard R&B charts at number 30 (it was written and co-produced by Mills).

Their second release became their first Billboard US Top 10 hit single, "Sideshow". It was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in August 1974. It climbed to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the R&B chart. A follow-up, "Three Ring Circus" also sold well, reaching #36 in the pop chart and #5 R&B. MFSB guitarist Bobby Eli wrote both "Sideshow" and "Three Ring Circus". Their debut self-titled album was released later in the year.

Because their first three singles releases were slower songs, the group became known mostly for their ballads.

The album Thirteen Blue Magic Lane in 1975 maintained the group's popularity and spawned their version of the popular dance number "We're On The Right Track", as well as the ballad "Chasing Rainbows". The song "What's Come Over Me" from their debut album was re-worked as a duet with Margie Joseph dubbed in alongside Mills' original lead vocals. The new approach saw the song climb to #11 on the R&B chart again in 1975.In total the group had two R&B chart singles in 1975 and four in 1976.

The group had their first world tour that year which lasted for 42 weeks. The tour included 48 states in the United States, five countries in Europe and a 10-day stay in the Philippines. They concluded their tour with a two-week engagement in the Virgin Islands.

Blue Magic were known also for their choreography. As a visually oriented group, they had several major television appearances, including Soul Train, The Mike Douglas Show, The Jerry Blavat Show, Dancin' On Air, and A.M. Philadelphia.

In April 1975, they were chosen as the best new group of the year which earned two Ebony Awards. The first was presented in New York by Aretha Franklin, the second in Florida by the female recording artist Vanity.

They have shared the stage with other performers such as The Jacksons, Lionel Richie, The Commodores, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Natalie Cole, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Spinners, Earth, Wind & Fire, New Edition, The Stylistics, Mick Jagger and others.

The group also contributed background vocals for Alyson Williams and the Rolling Stones (on the song "If You Really Want To Be My Friend" from the album It's Only Rock 'n' Roll).

By 1977, the group's popularity was faded with the rise of disco music and changing music styles, and despite the group continuing to record consistently they failed to chart. Subsequent label moves to Capitol Records for a reunion with Norman Harris (who had left two years earlier) and then the smaller label Mirage resulted in some smaller R&B charting, but no major success.

Background singer Richard Pratt left in the early 1980s. After singers Vernon and Wendell Sawyer left, the remaining two members Mills and Beaton hired two other singers and traveled to Los Angeles, California to record with Skip Scarborough and some members of the popular group Earth Wind & Fire on the album "Message from the Magic."

In 1988, the original group got back together and had some renewed popularity in late 1989 with the album, "From Out of the Blue."

In 1990, The Amsterdam News carried the story of Mills' near-fatal car accident. The other members of the group brought in new lead Rod Wayne (real name Roderick Bronaugh), who remained with the group until 2004. Bronaugh now teaches at Tennessee State University. After Rod Wayne, Wade Elliot and Leemy Walters, other leads. Ted Mills has reunited with Wendall Sawyer and Keith Beaton. Both Vernon Sawyer and Richard Pratt have their own groups.

After surgery in 1996, Mills returned to the music scene as a solo act, recording an album for Casablanca Records that year entitled "This Magic Is Real", featuring the remake of "Tear It Down."

Mills appeared in the touring play, "Girl, He Ain't Worth It" with The Manhattans, Meli'sa Morgan and Tito Jackson, and appeared in the play "Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places". In 2007, Mills recorded the album "3 Tenors of Soul" with Russell Thompkins, Jr. and William Hart, released on Shanachie Records and produced by Bobbi Eli.

Officially, the group known as "Blue Magic", featuring members Keith Beaton, Wendell Sawyer, Fernando Kee, and lead vocalist Leemy Waiters tour worldwide. Waiters replaced Wade Eliot, who had replaced Rod Wayne in 2004. The name was formally trademarked by Wendell Sawyer and Keith Beaton some years earlier. Ted Mills has reunited with Wendell Sawyer and Keith Beaton May 2013.

Vernon Sawyer tours with his own Blue Magic group, with members Freddie Ingleton, Bennie "BJ" Dixon and Reynardo. Richard Pratt has his own group as well.

Source: Wikipedia

The Original Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes Tags: harold melvin bluenotes word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

While casual Soul Music fans associate Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes solely with the classic period of their association with Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International Records from 1972-76, the group had been around in Philadelphia for twenty years before hooking up with PIR.  With Melvin as lead vocalist and principal songwriter, the group, with various personnel changes, remained principally a regional act in the 50s and 60s, scoring only a few minor Soul hits.  

Then in the late 60s Melvin discovered Theodore (Teddy) Pendergrass, a young drummer for the Cadillacs, and recruited him as a member of the Blue Notes' backing band.  Ultimately Teddy's vocal talents led him into the group as its lead singer and brought the group to the attention of the blazing hot songwriters/producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who signed the group to their PIR label in 1971.  Success was immediate, as the group scored on two smash ballads in 1972, "I Miss You" (later covered by David Ruffin) and the now classic "If You Don't Know Me By Now" (later taken to #1 by Simply Red).  With the latter release Pendergrass quickly emerged as one of the bright young stars of Soul Music, with his distinctive sexy, growling voice ripping through Gamble & Huff's highly orchestrated, sophisticated material.  1973 brought the group its first dance hit, "The Love I Lost," and another smash album. 

By 1975's "Wake Up Everybody" and "Bad Luck," Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes were Soul Music royalty, on par with the O'Jays and the Stylistics.  However, it appeared incongruent that the group name continued to spotlight Melvin while the vocal and visual highlight was the handsome lead singer, Pendergrass.  The issue came to a head in 1976, and Pendergrass left the group for what would be a very successful solo career.  Gamble & Huff stuck with Pendergrass the solo artist, and the Blue Notes were soon off to MCA Records to try and recover from the loss of their lead singer. 

The group's first post-Pendergrass album, Reaching For The World was clearly structured to sound like their work on PIR, but neither the material nor new lead singer David Ebo could match the Gamble & Huff/Pendergrass combination, and the title cut barely snuck into the Soul top 10.  It was the group's last hit.  Sporadic group member Sharon Paige (who had duetted with Pendergrass on the previous hit "I Hope That We Can Be Together Soon") took a more prominent role on the group's next LP, 1980's The Blue Album, but it barely charted.   More shake-ups led to a new group composition that lasted nearly a decade, consisting of Melvin, Rufus (Fuss) Thorn, Bill Spratley, Dwight (Blackey) Johnson and new lead singer Gil Saunders.  This line-up released Talk It Up (Tell Everybody) on Philly World Records, but the disc generated little interest domestically (though it received some minor overseas airplay).  By the early-90s, Melvin and a rotating posse of Blue Notes had become permanent fixtures on the oldies circuit.  Sadly, Melvin died in 1997 at age 57. 

Remaining members of the Blue Notes have continued successfully touring in multi-artist soul music shows as "Harold Melvin's Blue Notes."

by Chris Rizik

 

Lady Sings the Blues - Classic Movies & Television Tags: classic movies television lady sings blues word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Lady Sings the Blues is a 1972 American biographical drama film directed by Sidney J. Furie about jazz singer Billie Holiday loosely based on her 1956 autobiography which, in turn, took its title from one of Holiday's most popular songs. It was produced by Motown Productions for Paramount Pictures. Diana Ross portrayed Holiday, alongside a cast including Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor, James T. Callahan, and Scatman Crothers.

In 1936, New York City, Billie Holiday is arrested on a drugs charge.

In a flashback to 1928, Billie is working as a housekeeper in a brothel where she is raped. Sheruns away to her mother, who sets up a job cleaning for another brothel in the Harlem section of New York. The brothel is run by an arrogant, selfish owner who pays Billie very little money.

Eventually, Billie tires of scrubbing floors and becomes a prostitute but later quits and returns to a nightclub to unsuccessfully audition to become a showgirl. After "Piano Man" (Richard Pryor) accompanies Billie "All of Me", Jerry, the club owner, books her as a singer in the show.

Billie's debut is unsuccessful. Louis McKay (Billy Dee Williams), arrives for her debut and gives her a fifty dollar tip. Billie takes the money and sings "Them There Eyes". Billie takes a liking to Louis and begins a relationship with him. Eventually she is discovered by two men: Harry and Reg Hanley, who sign her as a soloist for their southern tour in hopes of landing a radio network gig. During the tour, Billie witnesses the aftermath of the lynching of an African-American man, which presses her to record the controversial song "Strange Fruit". The harsh experiences on the tour result in Billie taking drugs which Harry supplies. One night when Billie is performing, Louis comes to see Billie. He knows that she is doing drugs and tells her she is going home with him. Billie promises to stay off the drugs if Louis stays with her.

In New York, Reg and Louis arrange Billie's radio debut, but the station does not call her to sing; the radio sponsors, a soap company, object to her race. The group heads to Cafe Manhattan to drown their sorrows. Billie has too much to drink and asks Harry for drugs, saying that she does not want her family to know that the radio show upset her. He refuses and she throws her drink in his face. She is ready to leave, but Louis has arranged for her to sing at the Cafe, a club where she once aspired to sing. She obliges with one song but refuses an encore, leaving the club in urgent need of a fix. Louis, suspicious that Billie has broken her promise, takes her back to his home but refuses to allow her access to the bathroom or her kit. She fights Louis for it, pulling a razor on him. Louis leaves her to shoot up, telling her he does not want her there when he returns.

Billie returns to the Harlem nightclub, where her drug use intensifies until she hears of the death of her mother. Billie checks herself into a drug clinic, but because she cannot afford her treatment the hospital secretly calls Louis, who comes to see her and agrees to pay her bills without her knowledge. Impressed with the initiative she has taken to straighten herself out, Louis proposes to her at the hospital. Just as things are looking up, Billie is arrested for possession of narcotics and removed from the clinic.

In prison, Billie goes through crippling withdrawal. Louis brings the doctor from the hospital to treat her, but she is incoherent. He puts a ring on her finger to remind her of his promise to marry her. When she finishes her prison sentence, Billie returns home and tells her friends that she does not want to sing anymore. Billie marries Louis and pledges not to continue her career, but the lure of performing is too strong and she returns to singing with Louis as her manager. Unfortunately, her felony conviction has stripped her of her Cabaret Card, which would allow her to sing in NYC nightclubs. To restore public confidence and regain her license, Billie agrees to a cross-country tour. Billie's career takes off on the nightclub circuit.

Louis leaves for New York to arrange a comeback performance for Billie at Carnegie Hall. Despondent at Louis' absence and the never-ending stream of venues, Billie asks Piano Man to pawn the ring Louis gave her in exchange for drugs. While they are high that evening, Piano Man's drug connections arrive; he neither pawned the ring nor paid for the drugs. Piano Man is killed by the dealers. Within the hour, Louis and her promoter call Billie with news that they got Carnegie Hall. Louis returns to find a very fragile Billie who is traumatized and has fallen back into drugs. Louis takes her back to New York.

Billie plays to a packed house at Carnegie Hall. Her encore, "God Bless the Child", is overlaid with newspaper clippings highlighting subsequent events: the concert fails to sway the Commission to restore her license; subsequent appeals are denied; she is later re-arrested on drug charges and finally dies when she is 44. Nevertheless, the Carnegie triumph is frozen in time.

Source: Wikipedia

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