Havmercy! Kelly Price & Stokley Williams: 2 Powerhouses, 1 Song!

•January 9, 2011 • 11 Comments

As we look toward a new week, it is absolutely wonderful to kick it off with a piece of music that totally excites me!  Two of my favorite songbirds, Kelly Price and Stokley Williams teamed up on a song entitled, Not My Daddy that will be part of Kelly’s eagerly anticipated forthcoming release, Kelly. I owe an enormous amount of gratitude to Singersroom for pointing the spotlight on this cut.

This pairing is really special to me because I became completely enamored with Kelly Price, vocally a few years ago.  She had a live taping of what was to be released on dvd for her album, This Is Who I Am at Zion Cathedral C.O.G.I.C. in Freeport, NY (Long Island).  Watching Kelly perform live, alongside Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Joe Ligon was phenomenal.  Throughout the evening, Kelly ministered between songs, shared her testimony, changed outfits and was simply breathtaking. In the audience were Ron Grant, Melonie Daniels, James Hall and Chrisette Michele.  Unfortunately, the dvd was never released.

Mint Condition, hands down is the best band in existence today.  As the lead vocalist of the band, Stokley Williams stands out, as most leads do, but there’s more to him than just his vocal contributions.  His stage presence, random instrument solos and scat acrobatics are always filled with unparalleled vigor that are guaranteed to draw the crowd.  Anyone who knows me fully understands that Mint Condition will forever hold a special place in my heart.  When they perform in New York, if it can be prevented, I try not to miss a show.

Check out Not My Daddy (and let me know what you think):


Inner Soul Rewind: Honoring Lady T’s Legacy w/Certifiable Blends

•January 6, 2011 • 8 Comments

The sting left behind by a sudden and unexpected death, sometimes never seems to fade. However, when the individual is an entertainer and leaves a tremendous body of work as their legacy for us to treasure, the pain is slightly decreased. Such is the case with the recent passing of Teena Marie aka Lady T aka Vanilla Child. We knew it would be only a matter of time before the podcaster familia went to their respective corners to pull together the best mixes of music ‘The Ivory Queen of Soul’ left behind for us to cherish.

Two of my favorite folk under the podcasting umbrella: TGrundy, the mastermind behind R.I.B.S., not the messy delicacy that once walked on four hoofs, but a delicacy of music medleys, nonetheless; and the brother who has identified himself as EJ Flavors in the world of social mediums joined forces to bring Lady T to us in the form of five dynamic mixes. (tracklistings posted below)

For me, these offerings hit the spot because each of my favorite Teena Marie (& Rick James) songs were included — I hope you’ll feel the same!

EJ Flavors Playlists #1 -#3

Teena: Uptempo

1 – Square Biz (It Must Be Magic )

2 – It Must Be Magic (It Must Be Magic )

3 – I’m a Sucker for Your Love  with Rick James (Wild and Peaceful)

4 – I Need Your Lovin’ (Irons In The Fire)

5 – 365 (It Must Be Magic )

6 – Behind The Groove (Lady T)

7 – Don’t Look Back (Wild and Peaceful)

8 – Chains (Irons In The Fire)

9 – The Ballad Of Cradle Rob & Me (It Must Be Magic )

10 – Revolution (It Must Be Magic )

11 – Work It (Naked To The World)

12 – Lovergirl (Starchild)

13 – Surrealistic Pillow (Naked To The World)


Teena: Downtempo, Volume 1

14 – Portuguese Love (It Must Be Magic )

15 – Fire and Desire W/Rick James (Street Songs)

16 – Casanova Brown (Robbery)

17 – If I Were A Bell (Ivory)

18 – Wishing On A Star (New York Undercover: A Night At Natalie’s)

19 – Happy w/ Rick James (Throwin’ Down)

20 – Too Many Colors (Lady T)

21 – Irons In The Fire (Irons In The Fire)

22 – Young Love (Irons In The Fire)

23 – Aladdin’s Lamp (Lady T)

24 – I’m Gonna Have My Cake (And Eat It Too) (Wild and Peaceful)

25 – Yes Indeed! (It Must Be Magic )

26 – Opus III (Does Anybody Care) (It Must Be Magic )

27 – Ooo Wee  w/Kurupt (Sapphire)

28 – Baby I Love You (Congo Square)

29 – Baby I’m Your Fiend (La Dona)


Teena: Downtempo, Volume II

30 – Out on a Limb (Starchild)

31 – Dear Lover (Robbery)

32 – Ooo La La La (Extended Mix) (Naked To The World)

33 – Deja Vu (We’ve Been Here Before) (It Must Be Magic )

34 – Naked To The World (Naked To The World)

35 – Sunny Skies (Emerald City)

36 – Stop The World (Robbery)

37 – Can It Be Love (Lady T)

38 – Now That I Have You (Lady T)

39 – Where’s California (It Must Be Magic )

40 – You Blow Me Away (Sapphire)

41 – Parking Music (Passion Play)

42 – A.P.B. (Sapphire)

43 – Can’t Last A Day w/ Faith Evans (Congo Square)

*EJ Flavors link*

R.I.B.S. Playlists #4 & #5

Playlist 4: (song – artist)

  1. I Am Love (ft Teena Marie) – Pamela Williams
  2. Somebody Just Like You (ft Gerald Albright) – Teena Marie
  3. Lover’s Lane (ft Howard Hewett) – Teena Marie
  4. Soul Mates (ft Teena Marie) – Q.T. Hush
  5. When It’s Late (ft Teena Marie) – Gooch
  6. Life Is So Hard (ft Teena Marie)  -Eve
  7. Shorty Down – Teena Marie
  8. Ain’t A Damn Thang Changed – L.A. Nash
  9. Lead Me On – Teena Marie
  10. Bad Boy – Teena Marie
  11. The Ballad Of Cradle Rob & Me – Teena Marie
  12. Main Squeeze (ft Lenny Kravitz) – Teena Marie
  13. Cruise Control (ft Smokey Robinson) – Teena Marie
  14. Can’t Last A Day (ft Faith Evans) – Teena Marie
  15. Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite) – Pamela Williams
  16. Soldier (ft Shirley Murdock) – Teena Marie
  17. Congo Square (ft George Duke) – Teena Marie

Playlist 5: (song – artist)

  1. Gigolette (ft Teena Marie) – Ozone
  2. Baby, Do You Feel Me? (ft Teena Marie) – Danny Tenaglia
  3. Body Work (ft Teena Marie) – Yo-Yo
  4. Sweet On You (ft Yo-Yo) – Teena Marie
  5. I Got You (ft Rick James) – Teena Marie
  6. Ladies Choice (Feat. Queen And Gail Gotti) – Teena Marie
  7. Cum On Over (ft Teena Marie) – Domino
  8. God Has Created (ft Smokey Robinson) – Teena Marie
  9. Hypnotized (Prelude) – Teena Marie
  10. Hypnotized – Teena Marie
  11. Dear Lover – Teena Marie
  12. Sudan (ft Teena Marie) – George Duke
  13. Simmer Down (ft Lady Levi) – Teena Marie
  14. The Pressure (ft MC Lyte) – Teena Marie
  15. Black Cool – Teena Marie
  16. I’m Still In Love – Teena Marie
  17. My Dear Mr. Gaye – Teena Marie
  18. Latin Lullaby (ft Teena Marie) – Pamela Williams

*R.I.B.S. link*

In addition, sweet Sy Smith and Mark de Clive-Lowe team up to revamp Teena Marie’s ‘Lovergirl‘ with their own special twist.  (check out the SoulTracks news piece ~ here)

Sidebar: EJ’s OSW (Old School Wednesday) segments have reunited me with songs that impacted me in a certain way along my journey to today. Be sure to subscribe because when he has the time to put them together, trust and believe me when I warn you that you WILL NOT want to miss any episode!

2010’s Losses Were Heaven’s Gains!

•December 29, 2010 • 18 Comments

Perhaps it’s an age thing, but we are seemingly losing more legends with each passing day … and, it hurts! The hurt is like a sharp kick to the gut; painful and exhaustive.

There is a strong possibility that you either may not have ever met the deceased entertainer, or might have only shared a chance encounter, resulting in posing for a photo, securing an autograph or shaking hands.  Regardless of how brief the encounter may have been, their presence in whatever form throughout the years in our lives, led us to  feel connected to them.

2010 saw the passing of many significant entertainers, most recently, singer Teena Marie. There is an ongoing outpouring of love all around the internet for Teena Marie. My hope is that the magnitude of respect and adoration serves as a flicker of comfort for her daughter.

In no particular order, here are some of the losses that heaven gained this year:

Musician, Teena Marie

Teena Marie [Mary Christine Brockert] (March 5, 1956 – December 26, 2010), her sudden death has stunned the music world, and beyond.


Civil rights leader Dr. Benjamin Hooks

Benjamin L. Hooks, a civil rights leader who was also a lawyer and an ordained Baptist minister who joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and led the NAACP for 15 years.


Actress/Singer/Activist Lena Horne

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (June 30, 1917 – May 9, 2010) was a singer, actress, civil rights activist, dancer — whose breathtaking beauty made her the object of many mens’ desires.


Singer/Songwriter Teddy Pendergrass

Theodore “Teddy” Pendergrass (March 26, 1950 – January 13, 2010) was an R&B/soul singer and songwriter, who first rose to fame as lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and later launched a successful solo career.


Rapper Guru

Keith Edward Elam aka GURU (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal)(July 17, 1961 – April 19, 2010), was an emcee and member of the hip-hop duo Gang Starr, along with DJ Premier.


NBA Player, Manute Bol

Manute Bol (October 16, 1962 – June 19, 2010) played on several NBA teams in the 80s & 90s and was also an activist who contributed to several causes in Sudan.


Dick Griffey, Founder of SOLAR Records

Richard Gilbert “Dick” Griffey (November 16, 1938 – September 24, 2010) was an American record producer and promoter who founded SOLAR Records (Sound of Los Angeles Records). SOLAR Records was once home to artists like Shalamar, The Whispers, Lakeside, LA Reid and Babyface.


Musician, James Moody

Musician, James Moody (March 26, 1925 – December 9, 2010) was best known for his hit Moody’s Mood for Love.


Margaret Taylor-Burroughs

Margaret Taylor-Burroughs (November 11, 1917 – November 21, 2010) was a prominent African American artist and writer and a co-founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History.


NBA Player, Quintin Dailey

Quintin “Q” Dailey (January 22, 1961 – November 8, 2010) was a professional basketball player who spent 10 years in the NBA, playing for the Chicago Bulls, LA Clippers and Seattle SuperSonics.


Musician, Gregory Isaacs

Gregory Anthony Isaacs (15 July 1951 – 25 October 2010) was a Jamaican reggae artist whose hit, Night Nurse is one of the most popular reggae songs in history. (thanks KH!).


Solomon Burke, King of Rock and Soul

Solomon Burke (March 21, 1940 – October 10, 2010) was a singer, songwriter and mortician.  He was also the archbishop of the United House of Prayer For All People (and the father of 21, grandfather of 90).


Singer, Albertina Walker

Albertina Walker (August 29, 1929 – October 8, 2010) was proclaimed ‘The Queen of Gospel Music’ and sang with Mahalia Jackson as a teenager.  She formed the group, The Caravans which included members like Shirley Caesar, James Cleveland and Dorothy Norwood, to name a few.


News Correspondent, Harold Dow

Harold Dow (September 28, 1947 – August 21, 2010) was a journalist and news correspondent who worked for CBS News as an investigative reporter.


Musician, Robert Wilson

Robert Wilson (December 21, 1956 – August 15, 2010) was one third of the group of Wilson Brothers, best known as The Gap Band.  He was known as the Godfather of Bass Guitar.


Singer, Walter Hawkins

Walter Hawkins (May 18, 1949 – July 11, 2010) was an renowned gospel singer and pastor.


Musician, Garry Shider

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Garry Shider (July 24, 1953 – June 16, 2010) was a guitarist, who was the musical director of the P-Funk All-Stars.


Musician, Marvin Isley

Marvin Isley (August 18, 1953 – June 6, 2010), the youngest member of the family music group was a bass guitarist.


Singer, Ali-Ollie Woodson

Ali-Ollie Woodson (September 12, 1951 – May 30, 2010) , sang lead with the Temptations in the late 80s through the 90s, had a solo career and appeared in a few movies, television shows and stage plays.


Activist/Historian, Dorothy Height

Dorothy Irene Height (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010) was the president of the National Council of Negro Women for more than 40 years, as well as a civil rights activist.  Dr. Height spoke out during the civil rights movement, alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. about the injustices against African Americans.


Singer, Ron Banks

Ron Banks (May 10, 1951 – March 4, 2010), founder of the group, The Dramatics.


Actor, Gary Coleman

Gary Coleman (February 8, 1968 – May 28, 2010)

Holiday Cheer!

•December 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It’s finally Christmas … well, the truth is that the ‘day’ has come and gone, in a year that has seemingly flown by. The holidays elicit certain feelings in each of us, good, bad and indifferent. Along with this season comes the music. There is something about a song that brings you back to a special moment ~ be it one filled with happy memories, or one you wish you never had to remember. For me, I can give you specifics — like, growing up in the Bronx and my brother waking me on Christmas morning to sneak down the hall and peek into the living room at the mountain of gifts around our tree. The torturous part of the whole scene was that our parents would not allow us to touch a thing until we brushed our teeth and ate breakfast. Please understand, our apartment was small and there was not enough room in the kitchen for a table, so we ate at a kitchenette in the living room, stealing glances at the tree. In the background, my father would be playing Christmas music. The sounds of Mahalia Jackson, Nat King Cole, the Jackson 5 and even Johnny Mathis filled our apartment. Such bittersweet memories are still as prevalent within me today as they were so many years ago. I will share this tidbit with you ~ I listen to some Christmas songs year round! They are just too soulful, too melodic and cause me to smile with glee to only pull out for a few short weeks that comprise the holiday season.

Here’s my list (and I’d love to know what songs you’d pick):

This Christmas ~ Donny Hathaway
Christmas Day ~ Frank McComb
Give Love On Christmas Day ~ Ledisi
Every Year, Every Christmas ~ Luther Vandross
Silver Bells ~ Mahalia Jackson
The Christmas Song ~ Nat King Cole
Give Love On Christmas Day ~ New Edition
I Can’t Hardly Wait for Christmas ~ The O’Jays
Make Sure You’re Home ~ Profyle f. Joe & Chico DeBarge
Peace and Joy ~ Rahsaan Patterson
The Real Meaning of Christmas ~ The Winans

Wanna hear? 🙂

Stax Records/Concord Music Group’s statement on the passing of Teena Marie

•December 27, 2010 • 2 Comments

Statement issued by Concord Music Group:

December 26th, 2010 – Stax Records, the Concord Music Group family and millions of fans around the world, lost a great artist and friend on Sunday when soul music icon Teena Marie died at the age of 54.

An internationally renowned singer, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and performer, Teena Marie, released her thirteenth and final album, CONGO SQUARE on June 9, 2009 for legendary soul music label Stax Records. The critically acclaimed collection was a personal milestone for the iconic, Grammy nominated soul music star and Rhythm & Blues Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient as it marked her 30th year in the industry she loved.

Teena Marie left a sensational musical legacy. Making her debut in 1979, her sublime musical eclecticism took soul music in new directions, swiftly earning her a hallowed and singular place in the hearts of R&B purists. Throughout her groundbreaking accomplishments, Teena remained humble, unpretentious and refreshingly down-to-earth. Her talent was matched only by her kindness of spirit. She collaborated with musical giants throughout her career and they reciprocated with the kind of love and respect that indicated she was truly one of them.

“The enduring influence of Teena’s inspirational, trailblazing career, could only have been made possible through her brilliant song-writing, showmanship and high energy passion which laid the ground work for the future generations of R&B, hip-hop, and soul,” stated Concord Music Group chief label officer, Gene Rumsey. “We feel extremely fortunate to have worked with a visionary who changed music in indelible ways. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends and of course, millions of fans around the world.”

# # #

For more information, please contact:

Joel Amsterdam – Concord Music Group joel.amsterdam@concordmusicgroup.com

Live Music ~ Looking Ahead to 2011!

•December 22, 2010 • 3 Comments

I am deep in the midst of wrapping up my 2010 adventures that took me through an unbelievable journey in music — and a life detour that silenced me for months, when the excitement of what lies beyond for 2011 eased it’s way into my soul! Concert and performance dates have already been confirmed and announced for the early part of 2011. My calendar has quite a few dates circled in red ink!

Let’s gooooo…


January 18th ~ Prince returns to Madison Square Garden for another installment of the Welcome to America tour. If anyone knows who’s part of the line up on that date, do tell!

February 4th ~ New Day Entertainment Group (my family) are bringing Eric Roberson to Indiana! My brother, and one of the hottest DJ’s on the scene today, DJ Smoove will serve as the event’s DJ. (wish I could be there for this one!)

February 12th ~ Rahsaan Patterson returns to his NY home for an evening at BB King’s! Sure to be a standing room only smoker, the singer is sure to lace the crowd with new material from his forthcoming release, Bleuphoria and romp through a host of his classic hits. Although the  new project is not set to hit the streets until April 2011, the first single, Easier Said Than Done is already gaining spins. If you have yet to check it out ~ here’s your opportunity! *Tix on sale: 12/23/10*

February 24th ~ Robert Glasper, along with Casey Benjamin, Derrick Hodge, Chris Dave and special guest, Stokely (Mint Condition) are up for two sets at the Blue Note (show info)!

Who didn’t already know what a HUGE fan I am of the band, Mint Condition?! *smile*

And birthday 2010 was extra special…taking in the Robert Glasper Trio for two live sets, and meeting the man of the hour somewhere in the midst!

2010: Year in Review ~ Phase One (February & March)

•December 14, 2010 • 2 Comments

The early part of 2010 presented so many wonderful opportunities to me that I seemingly floated from one day to the next, often in amazement. I was invited to be part of the Centric TV SoulSessions blog family and to me, God answered a huge chunk of my prayers. In a short span of time, my social calendar became utterly cluttered. I was working my full time job and zipping to a show, interview or preview event somewhere in the confines of New York City. I am extremely grateful for the experience that led me to spend time chatting with the likes of Jonathan Butler, Dru Hill, KeKe Wyatt, Tia Fuller, Kirk Franklin, Calvin Richardson, Lezlie Harrison, Lyfe Jennings and Dave Hollister. These were life chances that may not have ever come my way …

My first SoulSessions blog, Awesome God: In Remembrance of Shawn Brown was meant to pay homage to one whose contribution to the gospel music has left a lasting impression on me. Shawn, a co-founding member of the well-known choir, Youthful Praise was ill and passed away at the top of the year. I hoped to express my admiration in words.

From there, the intriguing, KeKe Wyatt was the first artist I interviewed and immortalized on the SoulSessions blog. What I really enjoyed most was listening to this beautiful sister, through a country twang, speak of her personal challenges and turning them into triumphs. She had some great cuts on her album, Who Knew? which certainly indicated that she still has loads of power behind her vocals! (interview link)

In February, New York City’s weather was brutal! Traveling to Harlem to catch up with the singer, Davina was more of a mental challenge than anything else. I remember vividly just how sharp the winds were on 125th Street on that particular evening. Davina, though having only released one album during the height of neosoulism, quietly disappeared. Despite the weather, I was not willing to pass up a chance to learn more about her, find out where she was during those years of silence and what she was preparing to unleash on the hungry ears of music lovers around the globe. (interview link)

In early March, I was back in Harlem for a high energy show that featured an artist whose performances are few and certainly far between, Van Hunt. I think I am still smiling over the thought of having reintroducing myself and Van telling me that he remembered meeting me in either 2000 or 2001 when I interviewed Rahsaan Patterson at a studio in New York City. Do I really make that much of an impression on folks I meet? *gushing* (Hell Up in Harlem with Van Hunt)

Opening Van Hunt’s show that same evening in Harlem was TreZure, the Empress, a beautiful sister with powerful vocals whom I had been hearing about for years from my friend, Charles Anthony.

Also during the month of March, I was fortunate to attend a private performance where the ultra talented, jazzy and soulful, Lezlie Harrison showed out! Accompanying her on two songs was the dynamic trumpeter, Roy Hargrove. I felt extremely privileged to receive this invitation. (Lezlie Harrison: Oozing with Jazzy Soul)

Before he was sentenced to jail time, I nearly melted (literally) when I met and interviewed Lyfe Jennings. What was absolutely hilarious about the whole encounter is that I never considered myself much of a fan of his music, but that all changed by the time the interview wrapped. Chatting with him presented the perfect gateway to learning more about the rumor that he was leaving music. It had slipped my mind at that time that the singer had a looming criminal matter, which ultimately revoked his freedom. (Is Lyfe Over?)

To be continued…