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'R&B' Bands // p 1

Darren's favorite bands for his Song Of The Day filtered by R&B
316 Bands
Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse

Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer and songwriter. She was known for her deep, expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul (sometimes labelled as blue-eyed soul and neo soul), rhythm and blues, and jazz. Winehouse's debut album, Frank (2003), was a critical success in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her follow-up album, Back to Black (2006), led to five 2008 Grammy Awards, tying the then record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made her the first British woman to win five Grammys, including three of the General Field "Big Four" Grammy Awards: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

Winehouse won three Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors: in 2004, Best Contemporary Song for "Stronger Than Me"; in 2007, Best Contemporary Song again, this time for "Rehab"; and in 2008, Best Song Musically and Lyrically for "Love Is a Losing Game." She also won the 2007 Brit Award for Best British Female Artist, having been nominated for Best British Album, with Back to Black.

Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on 23 July 2011, at the age of 27. Her album Back to Black posthumously became, for a time, the UK's best-selling album of the 21st century.

2006–2008: Back to Black and international success

In contrast to her jazz-influenced former album, Winehouse's focus shifted to the girl groups of the 1950s and 1960s. Winehouse hired New York singer Sharon Jones's longtime band, the Dap-Kings, to back her up in the studio and on tour. Mitch Winehouse relates in Amy, My Daughter how fascinating watching her process was: her perfectionism in the studio and how she would put what she had sung on a CD and play it in his taxi outside to know how most people would hear her music. In May 2006, Winehouse's demo tracks such as "You Know I'm No Good" and "Rehab" appeared on Mark Ronson's New York radio show on East Village Radio. These were some of the first new songs played on the radio after the release of "Pumps" and both were slated to appear on her second album. The 11-track album, completed in five months, was produced entirely by Salaam Remi and Ronson, with the production credits being split between them. Ronson said in a 2010 interview that he liked working with Winehouse because she was blunt when she did not like his work. She in turn thought that when they first met, he was a sound engineer and that she was expecting an older man with a beard. Promotion of Back to Black soon began and, in early October 2006 Winehouse's official website was relaunched with a new layout and clips of previously unreleased songs. Back to Black was released in the UK on 30 October 2006. It went to number one on the UK Albums Chart for two weeks in January 2007, dropping then climbing back for several weeks in February. In the US, it entered at number seven on the Billboard 200. It was the best-selling album in the UK of 2007, selling 1.85 million copies over the course of the year.

The album spawned a number of hit singles. The first single released from the album was the Ronson-produced "Rehab." The song reached the top ten in the UK and the US. Time magazine named "Rehab" the Best Song of 2007. Writer Josh Tyrangiel praised Winehouse for her confidence, saying, "What she is mouthy, funny, sultry, and quite possibly crazy" and "It's impossible not to be seduced by her originality. Combine it with production by Mark Ronson that references four decades worth of soul music without once ripping it off, and you've got the best song of 2007." The album's second single and lead single in the US, "You Know I'm No Good," was released in January 2007 with a remix featuring rap vocals by Ghostface Killah. It ultimately reached number 18 on the UK singles chart. The title track, "Back to Black," was released in the UK in April 2007 and peaked at number 25, but was more successful across mainland Europe. "Tears Dry on Their Own," "Love Is a Losing Game" were also released as singles, but failed to achieve the same level of success.

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 'Me & Mr Jones'

'Me & Mr Jones'
Monday, June 3, 2019

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 'Love Is a Losing Game'

'Love Is a Losing Game'
Tuesday, January 29, 2019

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Bill Withers

Bill Withers

William Harrison Withers Jr. (born July 4, 1938) is an American singer-songwriter and musician who performed and recorded from 1970 until 1985. He recorded several major hits, including "Lean on Me", "Ain't No Sunshine", "Use Me", "Just the Two of Us", "Lovely Day", and "Grandma's Hands". Withers won three Grammy Awards and was nominated for four more. His life was the subject of the 2009 documentary film Still Bill. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

Bill Withers was born in the small coal-mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia. He was born with a stutter and has said he had a hard time fitting in. Raised in nearby Beckley, he was 13 years old when his father died. Withers enlisted with the United States Navy at the age of 18 and served for nine years, during which time he overcame his stutter and became interested in singing and writing songs.

He left the Navy in 1965. Using the $250 he received from selling his furniture to IBM co-worker Ron Sierra, he relocated to Los Angeles in 1967 to start a musical career. Withers worked as an assembler for several different companies, including Douglas Aircraft Corporation, while recording demo tapes with his own money, shopping them around and performing in clubs at night. When he debuted with the song "Ain't No Sunshine", he refused to resign from his job because he believed the music business was a fickle industry.

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 'I Don't Know'

'I Don't Know'
Thursday, October 3, 2019

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Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley

Charles Edward Bradley (November 5, 1948 – September 23, 2017) was an American singer. His performances and recording style were consistent with the revivalist approach of his main label Daptone Records, celebrating the feel of funk and soul music from the 1960s and 1970s. One review said he "echoes the evocative delivery of Otis Redding".

Calling himself "the screaming eagle of soul", Bradley was the subject of the documentary Soul of America which premiered at South by Southwest in 2012.

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 'Why Is It So Hard'

'Why Is It So Hard'
Friday, March 15, 2019

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 'Heartaches and Pain'

'Heartaches and Pain'
Sunday, October 14, 2018

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Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Lee Mayfield (June 3, 1942 – December 26, 1999) was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer, and one of the most influential musicians behind soul and politically conscious African-American music. He first achieved success and recognition with The Impressions during the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and 1960s, and later worked as a solo artist.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Mayfield started his musical career in a gospel choir. Moving to the North Side, he met Jerry Butler in 1956 at the age of 14, and joined the vocal group The Impressions. As a songwriter, Mayfield became noted as one of the first musicians to bring more prevalent themes of social awareness into soul music. In 1965, he wrote "People Get Ready" for the Impressions, which displayed his more politically charged songwriting. Ranked at no. 24 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, the song received numerous other awards, and was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, as well as being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.

After leaving the Impressions in 1970 in the pursuit of a solo career, Mayfield released several albums, including the soundtrack for the blaxploitation film Super Fly in 1972. The soundtrack was noted for its socially conscious themes, mostly addressing problems surrounding inner city minorities such as crime, poverty and drug abuse. The album was ranked at no. 72 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down after lighting equipment fell on him during a live performance at Wingate Field in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York, on August 13, 1990. Despite this, he continued his career as a recording artist, releasing his final album New World Order in 1996. Mayfield won a Grammy Legend Award in 1994 and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995, and was a double inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of the Impressions in 1991, and again in 1999 as a solo artist. He was also a two-time Grammy Hall of Fame inductee. He died from complications of type 2 diabetes in 1999 at the age of 57.

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 'Move On Up'

'Move On Up'
Friday, January 11, 2019

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D'Angelo

D'Angelo

Michael Eugene Archer (born February 11, 1974), better known by his stage name D'Angelo (pronounced di-Angelo), is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. Along with artists like Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Maxwell, and collaborator Angie Stone, D'Angelo is associated with the Neo soul movement.

Born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of a Pentecostal minister, he taught himself piano as a child. At eighteen he won the amateur talent competition at Harlem's Apollo Theater three weeks in a row. After a brief affiliation with hip-hop group I.D.U., his first major success came in 1994 as the co-writer and co-producer of the song "U Will Know".

His debut solo album, Brown Sugar (1995), received positive reviews and sold over two million copies. His next album, Voodoo (2000), debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200. Its lead single "Untitled (How Does It Feel)," entered the R&B charts and won a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal; likewise, Voodoo won for Best R&B Album. D'Angelo was hailed as the next Marvin Gaye by GQ in 2014.

 

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 'Africa'

'Africa'
Monday, January 20, 2020

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 'Betray My Heart'

'Betray My Heart'
Saturday, May 11, 2019

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 'Unshaken'

'Unshaken'
Sunday, January 13, 2019

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 'Really Love'

'Really Love'
Sunday, December 16, 2018

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 'Till It's Done'

'Till It's Done'
Saturday, September 15, 2018

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Donald Byrd

Donald Byrd

Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II (December 9, 1932 – February 4, 2013) was an American jazz and rhythm & blues trumpeter. A sideman for many other jazz musicians of his generation, Byrd was known as one of the only bebop jazz musicians who successfully pioneered the funk and soul genres while remaining a jazz artist. As a bandleader, Byrd was an influence on the early career of Herbie Hancock.

Byrd attended Cass Technical High School. He performed with Lionel Hampton before finishing high school. After playing in a military band during a term in the United States Air Force, Byrd obtained a bachelor's degree in music from Wayne State University and a master's degree from Manhattan School of Music. While still at the Manhattan School, he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, as the successor to Clifford Brown. In 1955, he recorded with Gigi Gryce, Jackie McLean and Mal Waldron. After leaving the Jazz Messengers in 1956, he performed with many leading jazz musicians of the day, including John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, and later Herbie Hancock.

Byrd's first regular group was a quintet that he co-led from 1958 to 1961 with baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, an ensemble whose hard-driving performances are captured "live" on At the Half Note Cafe.

Byrd's 1961 LP Royal Flush marked the Blue Note debut of Hancock, who came to further attention with Byrd's successful 1962 album Free Form, and these albums also featured the first recordings of Hancock's original compositions. Hancock has credited Byrd as a key influence in his early career, recounting that he took the young pianist "under his wings" when he was a struggling musician newly arrived in New York, even letting him sleep on a hide-a-bed in his Bronx apartment for several years

He was the first person to let me be a permanent member of an internationally known band. He has always nurtured and encouraged young musicians. He's a born educator, it seems to be in his blood, and he really tried to encourage the development of creativity.

Hancock also recalled that Byrd helped him in many other ways: he encouraged Hancock to make his debut album for Blue Note, connected him with Mongo Santamaria, who turned Hancock's tune "Watermelon Man" into a chart-topping hit, and that Byrd also later urged him to accept Miles Davis' offer to join his quintet.

Hancock also credits Byrd with giving him one of the most important pieces of advice of his career – not to give away his publishing rights. When Blue Note offered Hancock the chance to record his first solo LP, label executives tried to convince him to relinquish his publishing in exchange for being able to record the album, but he stuck to Byrd's advice and refused, so the meeting came to an impasse. At this point, he stood up to leave and when it became clear that he was about to walk out, the executives relented and allowed him to retain his publishing. Thanks to Santamaria's subsequent hit cover version of "Watermelon Man", Hancock was soon receiving substantial royalties, and he used his first royalty check of $3,000 to buy his first car, a 1963 Shelby Cobra (also recommended by Byrd) which Hancock still owns, and which is now the oldest production Cobra still in its original owner's hands.

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 'Cristo Redentor'

'Cristo Redentor'
Saturday, December 15, 2018

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Donny Hathaway

Donny Hathaway

Donny Edward Hathaway (October 1, 1945 – January 13, 1979) was an American soul singer, keyboardist, songwriter, and arranger. Hathaway has been described as a "soul legend" by Rolling Stone. His enduring songs include "The Ghetto", "This Christmas", "Someday We'll All Be Free", "Little Ghetto Boy", "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know". Hathaway is also renowned for his signature versions of "A Song for You", "For All We Know" together with "Where Is the Love" and "The Closer I Get to You", two of many collaborations with Roberta Flack. He's been inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame and won one Grammy from four nominations. Hathaway was also posthumously bestowed with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Hathaway worked as songwriter, session musician and producer for Curtis Mayfield's Curtom Records in Chicago. He did the arrangements for hits by the Unifics ("Court of Love" and "The Beginning of My End") and took part in projects by the Staple Singers, Jerry Butler, Aretha Franklin, the Impressions and Curtis Mayfield himself. After becoming a "house producer" at Curtom, he also started recording there. Hathaway recorded his first single under his own name in 1969, a duet with singer June Conquest called "I Thank You Baby". They also recorded the duet "Just Another Reason", released as the b-side. Former Cleveland Browns president Bill Futterer, who as a college student promoted Curtom in the southeast in 1968 and 1969, was befriended by Hathaway and has cited Hathaway's influence on his later projects.

That year, Hathaway signed to Atco Records, then a division of Atlantic Records, after being spotted for the label by producer/musician King Curtis at a trade convention. He released his first single of note, "The Ghetto, Pt. 1", which he co-wrote with former Howard roommate Leroy Hutson, who became a performer, writer and producer with Curtom. The track appeared the following year on his critically acclaimed debut LP, Everything Is Everything, which he co-produced with Ric Powell while also arranging all the cuts.

His second LP, Donny Hathaway, consisted mostly of covers of contemporary pop, soul, and gospel songs. His third album Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway was an album of duets with former Howard University associate and label mate Roberta Flack that established him, especially on the pop charts. The album was both a critical and commercial success, including the Ralph MacDonald-penned track "Where Is the Love", which proved to be not only an R&B success, but also scored Top Five on the pop Hot 100. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA on September 5, 1972. The album also included a number of other covers, including versions of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend", "Baby I Love You", originally a hit for Aretha Franklin, and "You've Lost That Loving Feeling".

Perhaps Hathaway's most influential recording is his 1972 album, Live, which has been termed "one of the best live albums ever recorded" by Daryl Easlea of the BBC. The album can also be found on the British online music and culture magazine The Quietus' list of "40 Favourite Live Albums". It was recorded at two concerts: side one at the Troubadour in Hollywood, and side two at The Bitter End in Greenwich Village, Manhattan.

Donny Hathaway is also known as the co-composer and performer of the Christmas standard, "This Christmas". The song, released in 1970, has become a holiday staple and is often used in movies, television and advertising. "This Christmas" has been covered by numerous artists across diverse musical genres, including the Whispers, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Alexander O'Neal, Christina Aguilera, Chicago, Harry Connick, Jr., Dru Hill, *NSYNC, Gloria Estefan, Boney James, The Cheetah Girls, Chris Brown, Anthony Arnett (First Baptist Bracktown Christmas Celebration), Patti LaBelle and Mary J. Blige (A Mary Christmas), Seal, Train and CeeLo Green, among other artists.

Hathaway followed this flurry of work with some contributions to soundtracks, along with his recording of the theme song to the TV series Maude. He also composed and conducted music for the 1972 soundtrack of the movie Come Back Charleston Blue. In the mid-1970s, he also produced albums for other artists including Cold Blood, where he expanded the musical range of lead singer Lydia Pense.

His final studio album, Extension of a Man came out in 1973 with two tracks, "Love Love Love" and "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" reaching both the pop and R&B charts. However, it was probably best noted for his classic ballad, "Someday We'll All Be Free" and a six-minute symphonic-styled instrumental piece called "I Love The Lord, He Heard My Cry". He told UK music journalist David Nathan in 1973, "I always liked pretty music and I've always wanted to write it." Added the writer, "He declined to give one particular influence or inspiration but said that Ravel, Debussy and Stravinsky were amongst whom he studied."

He returned to the charts in 1978 after again teaming up with Roberta Flack for a duet, "The Closer I Get to You" on her album, Blue Lights in the Basement. The song topped the R&B chart and just missed the number 1 spot on the Hot 100 (reaching #2). Atlantic then put out another solo single, "You Were Meant For Me" shortly before his sudden death.

Liner notes for later releases of his final solo album explain: "Donny is no longer here, but the song "Someday We'll All Be Free" gathers momentum as part of his legacy... Donny literally sat in the studio and cried when he heard the playback of his final mix. It's pretty special when an artist can create something that wipes them out." Edward Howard, lyricist of the song, adds, "It was a spiritual thing for me... What was going through my mind at the time was Donny, because Donny was a very troubled person. I hoped that at some point he would be released from all that he was going through. There was nothing I could do but write something that might be encouraging for him. He's a good leader for young black men".

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 'A Song For You'

'A Song For You'
Thursday, November 7, 2019

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Dr. John

Dr. John

Malcolm John Rebennack Jr. (November 20, 1941 – June 6, 2019), better known by his stage name Dr. John, was an American singer and songwriter. His music combined blues, pop, jazz, boogie-woogie, and rock and roll.

Active as a session musician from the late 1950s until his death, he gained a following in the late 1960s after the release of his album Gris-Gris and his appearance at the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music. He typically performed a lively, theatrical stage show inspired by medicine shows, Mardi Gras costumes, and voodoo ceremonies. Rebennack recorded 30 studio albums and 9 live albums, as well as contributing to thousands of other musicians' recordings. In 1973 he achieved a top-10 hit single with "Right Place, Wrong Time".

The winner of six Grammy Awards, Rebennack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by singer John Legend in March 2011. In May 2013, Rebennack received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Tulane University.

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 'Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya'

'Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya'
Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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Durand Jones & The Indications

Durand Jones & The Indications

"My grandma always heard me singing at home, and she said, ‘I’m gonna put your ass in the youth choir,’” remembers Durand Jones. “I was reluctant. But one day the organist could hear me in the choir, and said ‘boy I’m gonna give you a song.’ So I sang the song… the whole church just flipped out. People were running and jumping and afterwards they were giving me money and stuff. Man it was really cool. That’s when the realization came that maybe I could make something of this.”

In the fall of 2012, Durand Jones left his small-town in Louisiana for the foothills of Indiana. Alto saxophone in tow he enrolled in the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. “Being a singer was never part of the plan,” Jones admits. But soon enough he found his way in front of a rowdy rock-n-roll band belting out a rambunctious rendition of “Dock Of The Bay,” to a basement full of drunken undergrads. That rowdy band unfolded into The Indications—comprised of Aaron Frazer [of The Flying Stars of Brooklyn, NY] (drums), Blake Rhein (guitar), Kyle Houpt (bass) and Justin Hubler (organ).

Inspired by a handful of dusty and obscure 45s bearing names like The Ethics, Brothers of Soul and The Icemen, The Indications set out to make a record steeped in heavy drums, blown-out vocals, and deep grooves. Gathered around a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder and a case of Miller High-Life, the group spent their Sunday evenings recording into the early hours of the morning.

Durand Jones & The Indications' self-titled debut album was the result. With comparisons from Charles Bradley and Lee Fields to Al Green, the only thing that separates this band from those greats is their youth. Having now taken their raucous live show all across the US, the band have galvanized a following that are ready to take them to the next level.

Source bandcamp.com

 'Sea Gets Hotter'

'Sea Gets Hotter'
Thursday, March 7, 2019

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 'Is It Any Wonder?'

'Is It Any Wonder?'
Sunday, July 15, 2018

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Funkadelic

Funkadelic

Funkadelic is an American band that was most prominent during the 1970s. The band and its sister act Parliament, both led by George Clinton, pioneered the funk music culture of that decade. Relative to its sister act, Funkadelic pursued a heavier, psychedelic rock-oriented sound.

The group that would become Funkadelic was formed by George Clinton in 1964, as the unnamed backing section for his doo wop group The Parliaments while on tour. The band originally consisted of musicians Frankie Boyce, Richard Boyce, and Langston Booth plus the five members of the Parliaments on vocals. Boyce, Boyce, and Booth enlisted in the Army in 1966, and Clinton recruited bassist Billy Bass Nelson and guitarist Eddie Hazel in 1967, then added guitarist Tawl Ross and drummer Tiki Fulwood. The name "Funkadelic" was coined by Nelson after the band relocated to Detroit. By 1968, because of a dispute with Revilot, the record company that owned "The Parliaments" name, the ensemble began playing under the name Funkadelic.

Psychedelic era
As Funkadelic, the group signed to Westbound in 1968. Around this time, the group's music evolved from soul and doo wop into a harder guitar-driven mix of psychedelic rock, soul and funk, much influenced by the popular musical (and political) movements of the time. Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone were major inspirations. This style later evolved into a tighter guitar and horns-based funk (circa 1971-75), which subsequently, during the height of Parliament-Funkadelic success (circa 1976-81), added elements of R&B and electronic music, with fewer psychedelic rock elements. The band made their first live television performance on Say Brother in October 7, 1969. They played a jam with songs "Into My Own Thing", "What Is Soul?", "(I Wanna) Testify", "I Was Made to Love Her" (Stevie Wonder cover), "Friday Night, August 14th" and "Music for My Mother".

The group's self-titled debut album, Funkadelic, was released in 1970. The credits listed organist Mickey Atkins plus Clinton, Fulwood, Hazel, Nelson, and Ross. The recording also included the rest of the Parliaments singers (still uncredited due to contractual concerns), several uncredited session musicians then employed by Motown, as well as Ray Monette (of Rare Earth) and future P-Funk mainstay Bernie Worrell.

Bernie Worrell was officially credited starting with Funkadelic's second album, 1970s Free Your Mind... and Your Ass Will Follow, thus beginning a long working relationship between Worrell and Clinton. The album Maggot Brain followed in 1971. The first three Funkadelic albums displayed strong psychedelic influences (not least in terms of production) and limited commercial potential, despite containing many songs that stayed in the band's set list for several years and would influence many future funk, rock, and hip hop artists.

After the release of Maggot Brain, the Funkadelic lineup was expanded greatly. Tawl Ross was unavailable after experiencing either a bad LSD trip or a speed overdose, while Billy Bass Nelson and Eddie Hazel quit due to financial concerns. From this point, many more musicians and singers would be added during Funkadelic's (and Parliament's) history, including the recruitment of several members of James Brown's backing band, The JB's in 1972 – most notably Bootsy Collins and the Horny Horns. Bootsy and his brother Catfish Collins were recruited by Clinton to replace the departed Nelson and Hazel. Bootsy in particular became a major contributor to the P-Funk sound. In 1972, this new line-up released the politically charged double album America Eats Its Young. The lineup stabilized a bit with the album Cosmic Slop in 1973, featuring major contributions from recently added singer-guitarist Garry Shider. After first leaving the band, Eddie Hazel spent a year in jail after assaulting an airline stewardess and air marshal while under the influence of PCP, then he returned to make major contributions to the 1974 album Standing on the Verge of Getting It On. Hazel only contributed to P-Funk sporadically thereafter.

 

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 'Hit It and Quit It'

'Hit It and Quit It'
Friday, January 24, 2020

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 'I'll Stay'

'I'll Stay'
Thursday, December 6, 2018

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Koko Taylor

Koko Taylor

Koko Taylor (born Cora Anna Walton, September 28, 1928 – June 3, 2009) was an American singer whose style encompassed Chicago blues, electric blues, rhythm and blues and soul blues. Sometimes called "The Queen of the Blues", she was known for her rough, powerful vocals.

Life and career
Born on a farm near Memphis, Tennessee, Taylor was the daughter of a sharecropper. She left Tennessee for Chicago in 1952 with her husband, Robert "Pops" Taylor, a truck driver. In the late 1950s, she began singing in blues clubs in Chicago. She was spotted by Willie Dixon in 1962, and this led to more opportunities for performing and her first recordings. In 1963 she had a single on USA Records, and in 1964 a cut on a Chicago blues collection on Spivey Records, called Chicago Blues. In 1964 Dixon brought Taylor to Checker Records, a subsidiary label of Chess Records, for which she recorded "Wang Dang Doodle", a song written by Dixon and recorded by Howlin' Wolf five years earlier. The record became a hit, reaching number four on the R&B chart and number 58 on the pop chart in 1966, and selling a million copies. She recorded several versions of the song over the years, including a live rendition at the 1967 American Folk Blues Festival, with the harmonica player Little Walter and the guitarist Hound Dog Taylor. Her subsequent recordings, both original songs and covers, did not achieve as much success on the charts.

"Taylor sounds like you always wanted those women with Big in front of their names to sound—powerful, even rough, without ever altogether abandoning her rather feminine register."
— Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981)

Taylor became better known by touring in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and she became accessible to a wider record-buying public when she signed a recording contract with Alligator Records in 1975. She recorded nine albums for Alligator, eight of which were nominated for Grammy awards, and came to dominate ranks of female blues singers, winning twenty-nine W. C. Handy/Blues Music Awards.

She survived a near-fatal car crash in 1989. In the 1990s, she appeared in the films Blues Brothers 2000 and Wild at Heart. She opened a blues club on Division Street in Chicago in 1994, which relocated to Wabash Avenue, in Chicago's South Loop, in 2000 (the club is now closed).

In 2003, she appeared as a guest with Taj Mahal in an episode of the television series Arthur. In 2009, she performed with Umphrey's McGee at the band's New Year's Eve concert at the Auditorium Theater, in Chicago.

Taylor influenced Bonnie Raitt, Shemekia Copeland, Janis Joplin, Shannon Curfman, and Susan Tedeschi.

In her later years, she performed over 70 concerts a year and resided just south of Chicago, in Country Club Hills, Illinois.

In 2008, the Internal Revenue Service said that Taylor owed $400,000 in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest, for the years 1998, 2000 and 2001. In those years combined, her adjusted gross income was $949,000.

Taylor's final performance was at the Blues Music Awards, on May 7, 2009. She suffered complications from surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding on May 19 and died on June 3.

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Koko Taylor among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.

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 'Insane Asylum'

'Insane Asylum'
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

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Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Noelle Hill (born May 26, 1975) is an American singer, songwriter and rapper, known for being a member of Fugees, and for her solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which won many awards and broke several sales records. Raised mostly in South Orange, New Jersey, Hill began singing with her music-oriented family during her childhood. In high school, Hill was approached by Pras Michel for a band he started, which his friend, Wyclef Jean, soon joined. They renamed themselves the Fugees and released the albums Blunted on Reality (1994), and the Grammy Award–winning The Score (1996), which sold six million copies in the U.S. Hill rose to prominence with her African-American and Caribbean music influences, her rapping and singing, and her rendition of the hit "Killing Me Softly". Her tumultuous romantic relationship with Jean led to the split of the band in 1997, after which she began to focus on solo projects.

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998) remains Hill's only solo studio album. It received critical acclaim showcasing a representation of life and relationships and locating a contemporary voice within the neo soul genre. The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and has sold approximately eight million copies there. This included the singles "Doo Wop (That Thing)" (also a number one), "Ex-Factor" (became her biggest solo hit in UK), and "Everything Is Everything". At the 41st Grammy Awards, the record earned her five awards, including Album of the Year and Best New Artist. During this time, she won several other awards and became a common sight on the cover of magazines.

Soon afterward, Hill dropped out of the public eye, dissatisfied with the music industry and suffering with the pressures of fame. Her last full-length recording, the new-material live album MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 (2002), sharply divided critics and sold poorly compared to her first album and work with the Fugees. Hill's subsequent activity, which includes the release of a few songs and occasional festival appearances, has been sporadic. Her behavior has sometimes caused audience dissatisfaction; a reunion with her former group did not last long. Her music and public statements have become critical of pop culture and societal institutions. Hill has six children, five of them with Rohan Marley. In 2012 she pleaded guilty to tax evasion and served a three-month prison sentence the following year.

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 'Nothing Even Matters'

'Nothing Even Matters'
Wednesday, June 12, 2019

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