Q & A with Casey Gane-McCalla Discussing His New Book, “Inside The CIA’s Secret War in Jamaica”

Q & A with Casey Gane-McCalla Discussing His New Book, "Inside The CIA's Secret War in Jamaica"
As we celebrate the 71st birthday of the late great Bob Marley, we were really really happy to discuss a new book about Jamaica and the CIA’s involvement in the country. Casey has been a friend to the site for many years and was one of the creators of the amazing “Monkey Gang” Mockumentary that we loved.  Check out our chat and let us know what you think. Read more of this post

Celebrate Bob Marley’s 71st Birthday with This Amazing and Rare Interview!

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Of all the artists we wished we could have seen live during their lifetime, Robert Nesta Marley AKA Bob Marley, sits near the top of the list.  As we mourn the recent death of Earth, Wind& Fire‘s Maurice White, let’s take some time today to remember one of the greatest musicians of all time.  Captured here in a rare interview with another legend, Gil Noble, on the famous “Like It Is” show recorded in New York City less than a year from his death.  In the discussion, Bob speaks about his origins in Jamaica and the history of reggae music.  Happy Birthday Bob! Read more of this post

LISTEN To The One Track with Notorious B.I.G., Tupac and Heavy D. on It #TBT

Eddie F. and the Untouchables
After peeping the amazing TVOne Unsung documentary on Heavy D. & The Boyz, we had to do a little more digging in celebration of Throwback Thursday.  In the doc, truly Unsung producer and member of Heavy D. & The Boyz, DJ Eddie  F discusses one of his solo projects, DJ Eddie F and the Untouchables.  One track that made waves on the album was “Let’s Get It On” which featured an impressive posse including  2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Heavy D. and Grand Puba.  As discussed in Unsung, it was the only time you would hear Heavy D. and Notorious B.I.G. on the same track and one of the few times Biggie and Pac were on the same song. Read more of this post

WATCH Heavy D. & The Boyz Full Unsung Episode

Heavy D. & The Boyz

We recently re-watched the amazing Unsung episode featuring one of the truly underrated hip hop groups of all time, Heavy D. & The Boyz.  Back in the late 80’s. Hev and his Mount Vernon, NY homies really made waves in Hip-Hop, R&B and later, Pop Music.  One of the early groups to benefit from the legendary super producer, Teddy Riley, they were on top until the early-mid 90s.  Unfortunately, with the untimely death of dancer, Troy Dixon, AKA Trouble T-Roy, the group began to unravel.   Although Heavy D. would continue for a few more successful albums with The Boyz and several solo efforts, Dwight Errington Myers (his government name) died unexpectedly on November 8, 2011. Read more of this post

Whose Version of “Blame It On The Boogie” is Better?

Blame-It-On-The-Boogie-2

Like most music fans, we thought the original and classic “Blame It On The Boogie” was by The Jacksons  (led by Michael Jackson) from their amazing 1978 album, Destiny.  However, thanks to soulhead contributor Michael A. Gonzales, we now know the original was recorded by English singer Mick Jackson (no relation) and was co-written by Mick Jackson (credited as Michael George Jackson-Clarke) as well as Mick’s brother, David Jackson and Elmar Krohnjust.  While both tracks were clearly disco, there are subtle differences in the music arrangement, vocal performance (e.g. the stark differences in the way “boogie” is pronounced) and energy levels exhibited by the respective artists. Read more of this post

Discover Pop Soul Heaven with Brittany Campbell’s Heroes Album #ICYMI


This past weekend, our staff was hanging out in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn when we came across a recent publication of local magazine, The Deli.  It’s January cover story featured up and coming pop-soul artist, Brittany Campbell.  Campbell lives uptown and has been gigging around town and even opened for Katy Perry. Read more of this post

WATCH Jimmy Fallon as Bob Dylan Singing Drake’s “Hotline Bling” [VIDEO]


A few week’s back, late night talk show stalwart, Jimmy Fallon, absolutely nailed a spot on impersonation of rock and folk legend Bob Dylan.  However, it was not a performance of one of Dylan’s classic’s like “All Along the Watchtower” or “Like a Rolling Stone”.  Instead, Fallon flipped the proverbial script with an unlikely cover of the ever popular “Hotline Bling” from last year.  Needless to say, it was hilarious and offered a very on point Dylan-esque take that may go down as one of the best mashups that never really happened ever. From the costumes, performance posturing and vocal delivery, Fallon really tore the house down with this one.  Enjoy!

WATCH Lion Babe’s Incredible New Video “Where Do We Go” Shot in NYC

Lion Babe WHERE DO WE GO Video

Over the past few years, we have featured this amazing group Lion Babe.  Lion Babe (Jillian Hervey and Lucas Goodman) , which includes has been on the scene for a while now and we are happy to bring this video to you.  Last Fall, we introduced the uptempo single “Where Do We Go” and now we have the video for this standout track from the forthcoming LP, Begin.   Read more of this post

Hear The Utter Disappointment and Pain from Poet, Jasmine Mans, in Her Passionate Piece, Footnotes For Kanye

Jasmine-Mans
We are simply speechless after hearing this amazingly passionate plea from poet and teacher, Jasmine Mans, to Kanye West to consider his place in history.  Instead of summarizing her amazing work her, we URGE you to listen to this.  She BREAKS IT DOWN!!!!  Although this poem was released a little over a month ago, it comes just in time for Kanye’s upcoming album, Wave.  Perhaps he will hear this and do a little thinking.

Thanks to NY-based soulhead Shawn Dye for hooking us up with this one. Read more of this post

Listen to These Three Essential Albums from January 2016 That You Probably Slept On [FULL STREAMS]

Three Slept On Albums from January 2016

by Greg J. Harmon

January was very intriguing month in the world of music. While many are anticipating the new releases from Sia, Bloc Party, and Rihanna, there were 3 particular albums that were released that were probably under your personal radar (but should be heard) including: Read more of this post

WATCH Nate Dogg – Unsung [FULL EPISODE]

unsung-nate-dogg
Anyone who loves hip-hop, especially that special blend from the West Coast has to have a significant amount of reverence for the almighty Nate Dogg.  This brother changed the game like no other before him. Adding some of the most catchy hooks ever to tracks from artists like 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Warren G and many many others, his voice will live on forever through his hits.

TVOne continues to highlight artists like Nate Dogg in their amazing Unsung series which returns later this month with a new list of features.  We really enjoyed this intimate look at the life and untimely death of one of the legends of hip hop from either coast.  Enjoy this amazing episode which features interview by some of Nate contemporaries and loved ones. Read more of this post

WATCH Leon Bridges’ New Video “River” [VIDEO]

river-leon-bridges-cover-art-2015-stream-lyrics-500x500
Peep this great new video from new soul singer with an old sound, Leon Bridges.  This young cat has been making waves for the last couple of years and has garnered a lot of praise for his similarity to classic soul singers like Sam Cooke among others.  We are happy he has been able to break through and look forward to more work from this talented young brother. Read more of this post

We Are KING, The New LP from L.A. Based, KING, will Make You Dream and Fall In Love #MondayMustListen

King-We Are King

Since KING‘s critically acclaimed 2011 debut EP, The Story, was released, many have been wondering where they have been. Well, the wait is over.  These three ladies from Los Angeles (Anita Bias and twin sisters Amber and Paris Strother) have really made an amazing record that is the perfect continuation of their ethereal, soulful and passionate initial effort.  Lead by haunting vocal all around and a subtle groove, we couldn’t stop smiling when listening.  Thanks a ton to NPR for hosting them recently on their popular First Listen series.  Join the throngs of fans from Prince to Erykah Badu who also love these sisters.

Read more of this post

Whose Version of “Girlfriend” is Better? #TBT

Paul McCartney and Wings and Michael Jackson

Before reading Michael A. Gonzales’s impressive essay about Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall album, which appeared on Ebony.com, we were totally unaware that MJ’s “Girlfriend” was indeed a cover. Released a little more than a year prior, “Girlfriend” was released by Paul McCartney and Wings.

Apparently, Michael and Paul had discussed the song at a party. At the time, Paul thought the song would be perfect for MJ, but then later decided to release it himself on the Wings LP, London Town. As we all anticipate the release of Spike Lee’s documentary about Off The Wall, “Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown to Off the Wall“, next week on February 5, we thought this would be a great time to look back at this great song and compare and contrast the versions.

Listen below and tell us which version you like best. Read more of this post

Listen to the new Musiq Soulchild Single, “I Do” [FULL STREAM]


We dig this new relationship focused single from Philly R&B crooner, Musiq Soulchild.  Like some of his other hit songs, Musiq delivers on this new joint that we suspect will be hitting Urban Adult Contemporary radio any day now. Read more of this post

A Conversation with Jazz Soul Legend Ramsey Lewis by Christopher Daniel

RamseyOnRhodes1_LR

By Christopher Daniel

Considering legendary pianist and composer Ramsey Lewis has enjoyed six decades in the music business, he still effortlessly has that innate sense of urgency and passion for practicing and performing. “I’m looking at my piano as we speak,” says the charming 80-year-old musician via phone from his Chicago apartment. “I still spend anywhere from two to six hours a day at the piano when I’m not on the road. I got some musical ideas in my head. I need to get over there and write them down.”

It feels like yesterday since Lewis released his espressivo rendition of Dobie Gray’s “The In Crowd” 50 years ago. The Grammy-winning single crossed over onto the Top Five for both pop and R&B. The Windy City native’s album of the same name was recorded live at Bohemian Caverns in Washington, D.C., earning Lewis his first gold record. It was a waitress at a coffee shop who suggested to Lewis and his trio that they consider performing the song.

That decision to record “The In Crowd” turned out to be what Lewis says is “one of the most wonderful moments of his life.” “When ‘The In Crowd’ became a hit record, it was very unexpected,” he says over loud bulldozing noises. “We were looking for one more tune to play on the album. We didn’t know what that should be.” That same year, The Ramsey Lewis Trio released another live recording, “Hang on Ramsey!”, taped at Hermosa Beach, CA’s The Lighthouse. The easygoing instrumentalist was accustomed to releasing at least two projects per year since debuting with Ramsey Lewis & His Gentleman of Jazz album on Chess Records in 1956.

RamseyOnGreen_LR

Little did Lewis know, flooding the market with a slew of projects was a bold move for recording artists, adding that promotion, marketing and touring had to configure into the equation. “When we started recording in the ‘50s, we were putting out a record every six months,” recalls the performer whose subsequent hits included “Hang on Sloopy” and “Wade in the Water.” “Nobody told us that’s too often. We had no idea that people would get so into the music.” Like many of Lewis’s jazz contemporaries, playing new versions of standards and popular material is something he takes pride in.

Lewis, who was exposed to various musical styles by attending a multicultural high school and playing in church, is not a big fan of the term “cover songs.” “I was able to play what I felt comfortable with,” he adds. “It was how you felt about the song. All of the masters not only did original music, but they did music from Broadway and Hollywood. If it was a great song, it’s fair play to record it.”

Another memorable gold disc Lewis earned was for his funky 1973 LP, “Sun Goddess”. Recorded along with the massively successful band Earth, Wind and Fire (EWF), the groove-laden album was made over a three-day period in Chicago. Lead singer Maurice White, the one-time drummer in the second lineup of the trio, insisted that the music he produced for Lewis would be “bigger than ‘The In Crowd’.” The album’s semi-instrumental title track, with its refraining ad-libs and breezy R&B melody-meets-Latin rhythms, struck a chord with listeners, going onto become of the most sampled cuts for hip-hop and R&B artists.

Chuckling to himself, Lewis, who went on to host his own syndicated radio program, The Ramsey Lewis Morning Show, and a PBS series, “Legends of Jazz”, remembers receiving numerous calls from music publishers about his past recordings. “It’s a compliment,” urges Lewis, whose music has been sampled by A Tribe Called Quest, Goodie Mob, Beck and E-40 among others. “I appreciate that young artists can relate to what it was I was doing to the point they want some of my licks on their record. It helps an old man with his bank account, too (chuckles).”

RamseyOnRed_LR

Lewis recently released his 80th album, “Take Another Look”, a reissue of his “Sun Goddess” LP with 10 tracks total and three bonus cuts. He re-recorded all but the title track, settling on re-editing the song instead because of EWF’s touring schedule. “It’s one of my favorite pieces because it brings back memories recording it,” says Lewis, “so I wanted to take another look.” Take Another Look was released under Lewis’s latest jazz imprint under Sony Music and Red Distribution, Ramsey’s House.

The deal gives Lewis, formerly a Columbia Records artist, full freedom as an A&R executive. A relationship between his management and the parent company is responsible for the partnership. Sony is fully funding all efforts for Ramsey’s House while the Stellar- and NAACP Image Award winner and his team work to concoct the appropriate marketing strategies. “I’m just really happy about it,” says the jovial NEA Jazz Master. “There are a lot of talented young people out here that need a break, to be heard and recorded.”

Helping young musicians is where Lewis devotes a great deal of his time and energy. The humanitarian with memorabilia at the Smithsonian has been the Artistic Director for the Ravina Festival for 24 years. Sharing that he started taking music seriously by the time he was 12 years old, Lewis partners with musical directors to assist with keeping jazz music preserved in public schools and to grow those departments. For his 80th birthday, Lewis wrote a concerto for a jazz trio and orchestra.

“In anyway that I can, I try to reach out and help young people,” reiterates Lewis, who joined his first band, The Cleffs, when he was 15. “I was born and raised in a neighborhood where we needed help.”

To further commemorate the release of “The In Crowd” and “Hang on Ramsey!”, Lewis is excited about playing on his Steinway Concert Grand in his favorite cities like Atlanta. He flashes back to performing in venues like La Carousel Lounge in the early stages of his career. Performing “The In Crowd” is something Lewis has attempted to eliminate from his repertoire because he thought his audience was tired of it. It’s a decision the laid back musician that originally wanted to be a mathematician or scientist knows would’ve been a bad one.

“I tried a couple of concerts when I didn’t play it at the end of the show,” recalls Lewis. “People would not leave. It’s a wonderful experience having recorded that song. It’s a wonderful thing that I was able to do songs that I like.”

__________________
Christopher A. Daniel is an award-winning journalist and culture critic currently residing in Atlanta, GA. In addition to being a regular soulhead.com contributor, he is the music & pop cultural editor for The Burton Wire, which covers news around the African Diaspora. Follow Christopher @Journalistorian on Twitter.

Prince Stuns in First Ever One Man Show at Paisley Park

We only know of one lucky soulhead who attending this once in a lifetime event that will go down as one for the ages.  Prince (our favorite) held an intimate concert/gala billed as “Piano and a Microphone” last night at the famed (and newly renovated Paisley Park in suburban Minneapolis.  Beginning with the amazing ballad “Baby” from his self-titled debut, For You, and ending with the soaring “Anna Stesia” from Lovesexy, Prince made the ladies swoon and the gents beam with envy.  For those in attendance, this sounds like one of the best shows ever. Read more of this post

Anderson Paak – Malibu [FULL ALBUM STREAM + REVIEW]

This past weekend, a close friend and fellow soulhead, leaned over to me and asked me to listen to something she knew I would enjoy.  Almost immediately, my face scrunched up and my neck began to bob uncontrollably.  She smiled in agreement and gave me the details that this was Anderson Paak, who had been featured on Dr. Dre‘s latest LP, Compton.  “Ahhhh” I replied and instantly recognized his voice and vibe.  Fast forward to the next day when I would have a chance to listen to the long player, Malibu, in full.

Read more of this post

QUESTLOVE VS. PRINCE Animated True Story [VIDEO]

QuestPrince
Shout out to Questlove on his birthday and also to OkayPlayer for this amazing story, the second installation of their Storyville series.  Reminiscent of Dave Chappelle’s infamous tales (read: Rick James), this joint had our entire staff rolling.  From beginning to end, you will enjoy this. Classic!

More From YouTube:
Questlove, you may have heard, tells the best stories. Prince, in our experience, IS the best stories. Watch above as Okayplayer animates Questo’s tale, a story filled with the magic powers of The Purple One, Nigerian Afrobeat god Fela Kuti, Finding Nemo, and a hot pink stretch Hummer. Read more of this post

Moise Morancy – Dear President Obama (MUST WATCH) [VIDEO]


Although this has been circulating for a little over a month, we were just able to check it out. Powerful does not begin to describe this amazing work from Brooklyn rapper, poetic and actor, Moise Morancy. Surrounding by his friends, he eloquently pays tribute to outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama. He delivers his soliloquy with passion that makes us proud. Although the first line may turn off some, the remaining verses will inspire you. Please check this out and support this brother.  He deserves your attention.

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