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'R&B' Bands // p 1

Darren's favorite bands for his Song Of The Day filtered by R&B
371 Bands
Alton Ellis

Alton Ellis

Alton Nehemiah Ellis OD (1 September 1938 – 10 October 2008) was a Jamaican singer-songwriter. One of the innovators of rocksteady who was given the informal title "Godfather of Rocksteady". In 2006, he was inducted into the International Reggae And World Music Awards Hall Of Fame.

Early life
Born Alton Nehemiah Ellis in Trenchtown, Kingston, Jamaica, Ellis was raised within a musical family which included his older brothers Leslie [who performed as one of his back up singers and co-wrote some of his songs], and Irving [known as 'Niney'] who was a popular singer and steel pan player on Jamaica's North Coast. He learned to play the piano at a young age. He attended Ebeneezer and Boys' Town schools, where he excelled in both music and sport. While at Boys' Town Ellis performed as a dancer (in a duo) in the first show that a school director called Mr Bailey had organized for Vere Johns who had been invited down to talent scout. He would later compete on Vere Johns' Opportunity Hour. After winning some competitions, he switched to singing, starting his career in 1959 as part of the duo Alton & Eddy with Eddy Parkins.

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 'Dance Crasher'

'Dance Crasher'
Saturday, February 22, 2020

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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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Charlotte Dos Santos

Charlotte Dos Santos

Charlotte Hall Dos Santos (born 1990 in Oslo, Norway) is a Brazilian-Norwegian jazz singer, composer, and arranger, currently based in Berlin.

Biography

Dos Santos grew up in Bærum with a Norwegian mother and Brazilian father. She attended jazz studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts (2013–16), where she earned a Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Writing and Production, and Vocal Jazz Performance. Her music mixes „South-American traditions, jazz, neo soul, and tasty beats, with music history samples in a colorful way“. Dos Santos released her solo EP Cleo in 2017 on the label Fresh Selects. The EP was received positively in Norwegian media.

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 'King of Hearts'

'King of Hearts'
Monday, August 24, 2020

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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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 'One Mo' Gin'

'One Mo' Gin'
Monday, July 6, 2020

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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.

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 '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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El Michels Affair

El Michels Affair

Michels played with Soul Fire Records house band The Mighty Imperials before forming his own ensemble in 2002. This group released singles for Soul Fire and for Misty, a sublabel of Daptone Records, as well as a full-length album which was released on the Michels-cofounded label Truth & Soul Records in 2005. After performing with Raekwon at a concert, the group began working with other members of the Wu-Tang Clan and covered several of their songs for vinyl single releases. By 2009, this had yielded an album's worth of material, which was released in 2009 as Enter the 37th Chamber, the name a play on the album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). El Michels Affair followed this with a second album of arrangements of songs by Wu-Tang Clan and from its members' solo releases, titled Return to the 37th Chamber.

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 'Glaciers of Ice'

'Glaciers of Ice'
Sunday, March 22, 2020

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