Category Archives: HALL of SOUL

REMEMBERING A HIT MUSIC MACHINE: RIP SKIP SCARBOROUGH


posted by Robert J. Carmack  #blues2jazzguy

Clarence Alexander Scarborough wrote,co-wrote, or produced hit records for Earth Wind & Fire, LTD, Anita Baker, Blue Magic, and so on. How did he do all this, where most people never heard of him, nor did they recognize his face.

Ashford & Simpson wrote for people and you knew what they looked like. Yeah, they also recorded as a performing act too.  So did Lennon & McCartney, Johnny Bristol, McFadden & Whitehead, Isaac Hayes. This phantom like guy with the Hit Parade of songs is Skip Scarborough. He was one of the greatest, most successful Songwriter/Producers ever!

Okay. Let’s see if this list of credits impresses you. “Love’s Holiday” and “Can’t Hide Love” (Earth Wind & Fire), “Love Ballad” (LTD), “Giving You The Best That I’ve Got” (Anita Baker), “Side Show” and “Three Ring Circus” (Blue Magic), “Ffun” (Con Funk Shun), “Don’t Ask My Neighbor” (Emotions), “The Answer Is You” (Phyllis Hyman), “Love Changes” ( Mother’s Finest), “Love Or Let Me Be Lonely” (Friends of Distinction), “Lovely Day” (Bill Withers), “Lover To Lover” (Bobbie Humphrey), “It’s Alright With Me” and “Come What May” (Patti LaBelle), and “Sacrifice of Praise” (Edwin Hawkins).

All songs Skip Scarborough either wrote, co-wrote and/or produced. Most of these he did write singularly or with partners. Hard to believe all those hit songs came from someone who’s virtually unknown outside the music business. He was extremely well known in the business of music. You don’t get to write for the top acts or, write many smash hits and not be known by your colleagues.

Skip was born November 26, 1944 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At the time of his death, July 3, 2003, he was married to singer, Alton McClain (Scarborough). He married her just as her singing group was breaking up in the 70’s. You may remember all female trio, Alton McClain & Destiny; they had that one big hit, “It Must Be Love. (Skip didn’t write this song.) Destiny also recorded Angela Winbush’s classic, “The Power of Love.” Stephanie Mills had the bigger hit of the three recordings of this song.

Shortly after their marriage, Alton McClain went into the Gospel field where she still shines.

We just wanted to acknowledge this masterful Songwriter/Producer who unselfishly contributed to all our lives with his wonderfully crafted songs. The best way we can celebrate his genius is by PLAYING /POSTING his music and talking to youth just entering the music business ,making them aware of his body of work. Enjoy Skip Scarborough’s classics.

CBS STEVIE WONDER’S SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE CELEBRATION “GOT IT RIGHT”


posted by robert j. carmack #blues2jazzguy #chefrobb #GrammyAwards #GrammySalute  #CBSNetwork

“Songs in the Key of Life: An All-Star Grammy Salute” aired Monday on CBS, which featured the best of the new generation performers, all paying respect to the legendary Stevie Wonder.

http://www.complex.com/music/2015/02/beyonce-ed-sheeran-gary-clark-jr-cover-stevie-wonder-higher-ground

Performers including Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Pharrell, Tony Bennett and The Band Perry paid homage to the singer/songwriter and his muscular music catalog during the show, which was taped last week in Los Angeles. I don’t watch the Grammy Awards show and have not in over twenty years because of low quality shows and antics by publicity-starved pseudo mega stars.  I saw one of the best show openers in any Grammy-related or, not TV show by Beyoncé, with less “Rump-Shaking and more soulful singing along with two very talented young singers I was not aware of.

Singer/guitarist Gary Clark Jr. joined Beyonce and Sheeran for medley of Wonder hits that included “Higher Ground.”

A “Dialed back”  Lady Gaga played the piano and performed a spirited version of “I Wish” after sharing that Wonder’s SONGS album was the first she ever played on her own as a child. we watched on-screen as Stevie mouthed the words “Oh Wow” when she told of his influence on her as a 6 year old child.

Singer/songwriter Babyface joined Ariana Grande for “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.” Overall, a remarkable tribute to a man who began the journey as an eleven year old boy in 1961 at Motown Records, “Little Stevie Wonder”.

Quote of the Year by Jamie Foxx: ” Let’s be Honest, STEVIE WONDER has more talent in One Braid than most of the people we hear today “

WAS THIS SHOW BETTER THAN THE GRAMMYS ? Stripped of all the Punk & Circumstances it’s a resounding YESSSSSSS!!!!! IMHO.

BOBBY WOMACK PROLIFIC WRITER: MY PERSONAL FAVORITES


posted by Robert J. Carmack   #@blues2jazzguy

Nonny Womack  soul sides

Still reeling after the news of  Bobby Womack’s death, I thought about all the shows I saw live in Los Angeles going back as far as, the early 1970s. Everybody have their own favorites, but I hate having record companies pick the faves for me ,then place them on a compact disk.  I decided to pick my own this time , please see below:

1.I’m Looking for a Love

2. Daylight

3. That’s the Way I feel about Cha’

4. A Woman Gotta Have it

5.  If You Think You Lonely Now

6.Stop on By

7. No Matter How High You Get

8. Love Has Finally Come

9. California Dreamin’

10. I Wish He didn’t Trust Me So Much

 

WHAT IS YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE  BOBBY WOMACK CUT??   Send us your comments and choice…. RIP Bobby

Bobby in Red

SOUL/POP ICON BOBBY WOMACK DEAD AT 70


posted by Robert J. Carmack  #@blues2jazzguy

"Last of the Great Soulmen"
“Last of the Great Soul men”

One of the last of the great soul men has died at 70. musician, songwriter, Bobby Womack has succumb to poor health today as announced by his record label, XL Recordings. The cause of deah has not been officially reported, nut it was well known Womack was battling an array of health issues. The singer’s career spanned seven decades and included ’80s hit “If You Think You’re Lonely Now.”

Womack began his career in the early 1960s as the lead singer of his family musical group, The Valentinos. He also served as  Sam Cooke’s backing guitarist on many of his recordings.  After releasing a mild hit in early 1960s  with The Valentinos       (“But It’s All over Now”) The Rolling Stones took Womack ‘s  song global and, put Womack on the map as a songwriter along with big royalty checks.  In the late-60s, Womack went solo.

In 1968, he signed with Minit Records and recorded his first solo album, “Fly Me To The Moon,” which included his first major hit with a cover of The Mamas & The Papas’ “California Dreamin’.”

He would go on to collaborate with music notables Gábor Szabó, George Benson, Sly and the Family Stone, Janis Joplin,Patti LaBelle, and Jazz Crusaders. He would later leave Minit and sign with United Artists where he released the album, “Communication.” He would earn his first Top 40 hit, “That’s the Way I Feel About Cha.” The hits just kept on coming after that.  Part II  of this article  coming  July 1, 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOg_8hCC4u4

BLACK MUSIC MONTH:50 YEARS BOLD SOUL SISTER ARETHA FRANKLIN


posted by Robert J. Carmack    #@blue2jazzguy

aretha-franklin-harvard-degree-2014-billboard-650
photo by associated press

Congratulations!! Aretha Franklin receives an honorary degree from Harvard University  May 29 2014.  There are Divas and there are DIVAS, Aretha Franklin isn’t just the Queen of Soul, she’s THE Voice of  All Ages. Gospel, Soul, Pop, and dare I say it, Opera?? Yes, Opera as the late Italian tenor Pavarotti once requested Aretha’s presence to stand in for him at a TV show singing two Arias. Ms Franklin shocking most people, as she easily handled the  difficult music with grace and panache’.  I first heard Aretha  as a teenager on a TV show ,Steve Allen Show in 1964. a moving jazzy-blues song entitled, It Wont Be Long.

In those days She was on the Columbia records label , and they thought they could market her as a jazz singer ,since she played piano  they would just add some drums and bass and market her like a “Female Ray Charles” , needless to say, it did not work.  Aretha was the Caged Bird, and she needed to be free, to soar and sing ..Not until she took a little trip down south to Memphis, tasted a little home-cookin’ from the musicians down there including meeting Jerry Wexler as producer on a project that changed her whole life forever! The rest is as they say, history!

Ree Ree 1965  as Jazz singer
Ree Ree 1965 as Jazz singer

CHRIS JASPER IS “THE ONE” SOUL TRACKS.COM NAMES SONG OF THE MONTH


posted by Robert J. Carmack      twitter:@blues2jazzguy

Brand new single from the legendary CHRIS JASPER. Released May – on Gold City Music label , with a sizzling  album to follow by early Summer. This is drenched in Isley’s history…and is a fantastic marker of what’s to come ..”Its The One! Order yours today!!

artworks-000077686115-mynva3-t500x500  Large Chris Jasper

https://soundcloud.com/search?q=Jasper%20-%20The%20One

“Chris Jasper is an R&B legend & HALL of FAME member, for his years as a member of the Isley Brothers, where he became one of R&B’s most notable keyboardists and songwriters. He also blasted off on his solo career, hitting #1 with “Superbad” and following with a series of popular R&B and Gospel albums over the next two decades.  Chris’s last CD ” Inspired”was nominated for Grammy, and was just beat out by former bandmate Ronald Isley.         12062783-inspired-cover-art

Explore more  Chris Jasper  music: http://www.chrisjasper.com/

 

 

 

SOUL LEGEND CHARLES WRIGHT: LOOKING FOR AN UGLY WOMAN


posted by Robert J. Carmack     twitter: @blues2jazzguy

R&B Soul legendary singer Charles Wright keeps re-inventing himself,from Doo-Wop to Hip Hop. Charles is Looking for an Ugly Woman, at least that’s the name of his new cut that’s catching  on around the country. Partly due to a famous commercial using Wright’s very popular music from the  1970s “Express Yourself” , Charles was able to catapult himself into the hearts of a new generation of admirers.  Charles was the original founder of  Watts 103rd Street Band,producer,writer,singer and multi-instrumentalist.

CW_1 closeUP Now

Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band is a pioneering American soul and funk band. Formed in the early 1960s, they had the most visibility from 1967 to 1973 when the band had 9 singles reach Billboard’s pop and/or rhythm and blues Hot 100 lists, such as “Do Your Thing” (#11 Pop, #12 R&B), “Till You Get Enough” (#12 R&B, #67 Pop), and “Love Land” (R&B #23, Pop #16). They are best known for their biggest hit on Warner Bros. Records, 1970’s “Express Yourself” (#3 R&B, #12 Pop), a song that has been sampled by rap group N.W.A. and others.    

CharlesWrightTheWatts103rdStreetRhythmBand081227995041_xl_digital_zps7738784c

Charles Wright was born in 1940 in Clarksdale, Mississippi, before moving to Los Angeles in the early 1950s, playing guitar and singing in several doo-wop groups including the Turks, the Twilighters, the Shields and the Gallahads.

He also briefly worked as an A&R for Del-Fi Records and was responsible for the hit record “Those Oldies But Goodies” (Remind me of you) by Little Caesar and the Romans in 1961.  In 1962, he formed his own band Charles Wright & the Wright Sounds which included future Watts Band member, John Raynford, along with Daryl Dragon, aka “Captain” of  Captain & Tennille.  Over the course of the next six years, Wright would add more players to his group and these were the players who would eventually become known as the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, at least by 1968. Several of those members, namely drummer James Gadson, bassist Melvin Dunlap, trombonist/arranger Ray Jackson, and both guitarists Al McKay and Benorce Blackmon, would play on several Dyke & the Blazers charting singles, including “We Got More Soul” (1969) and “Let a Woman Be a Woman, Let a Man Be a Man” (1969).

Color Charles   w Guitar

The Wright Sounds played in several venues across Los Angeles but their best known stint was three years (ending in 1968) at Hollywood’s Haunted House nightclub. Originally located at Hollywood and Vine, the Haunted House was a popular club in the 1960s and appeared in several popular culture artifacts, most notably the 1969 Go-Go dancing

B-movie, Girl in Gold Boots. Wright’s nephew was the rapper Eazy-E,   a successful solo artist and member of infamous hip-hop  group N.W.A.  Eazy-E, whose real name was Eric Lynn Wright, died of AIDS  March 26, 1995 at the age of 31.  The name, Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band was originally coined by Los Angeles producer and Keymen Records owner Fred Smith in 1967. However, between 1967 and 1968, the Watts 103rd name applied to three, arguably four different personnel configurations before settling into the final band who played on every Watts 103rd album from 1968 forward.

Smith produced a theme song for KGFJ radio personality, The Magnificent Montague. The song became so popular that Smith released it as a single in 1967 and created the name, Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band for the studio group who had recorded it. Purportedly, the players on the single included Wright, James Carmichael,Leon Haywood, and Bobby Womack. (R&B Soul Iegends)

In 1966, Carmichael and Wright were both working as session players for the Nashville West recording studio. Their group of studio players was discovered by Fred Smith and comedian Bill Cosby who needed a backing band for his upcoming album, Silver Throat. Smith hired the Nashville West players and gave them the Watts 103rd name. This group included (but was not necessarily limited to): Arthur Wright (bass), Pete Fox (guitar), Streamline Ewing (trombone), Herman Riley (tenor sax), Jackie Kelso (tenor sax), Melvin Jernigan (tenor sax), Mel Brown (guitar), Abraham Mills (drums).

Due to their association with Cosby, the new Watts 103rd Band landed a deal with Warner Bros. Records, becoming the first R&B band to sign with them. They released a debut album in 1967. Technically self-titled, the album has also come to be called Hot Heat & Sweet Groove after a sub-title found on the back cover. “Spreadin’ Honey” was included on this album, per Warner Bros. insistence, even though none of the players on the album, except for Wright, had actually played on the “Spreadin’ Honey” single.

For more info and current bookings http://www.expressyourself.net/

REST IN LOVE & PEACE: JESSICA CLEAVES 1948 – 2014


posted by Robert J. Carmack  @blues2jazzguy

jessica Cleaves   EWF

 

 

 

Singer/ songwriter, Jessica Cleaves Passed away early this morning. at the present time there are no details to share.. a family statement is expected in the very near future.

Born: December 10 1948 –  Transitioned: May 2 2014

The Friends of Distinction formed in 1968 in Los Angeles with original members Floyd Butler, Harry Elston, Jessica Cleaves, and Barbara Love. Butler and Elston had worked together in The Hi-Fi’s in the mid 1960s, often opening for Ray Charles. Other members of the Hi-Fi’s were Marilyn McCoo and Lamont McLemore, who would later co-found The Fifth Dimension.

The Friends of Distinction were discovered by American football player Jim Brown, who also discovered Earth, Wind & Fire, and were signed to RCA Records. Ms Cleaves was also a featured singer in the early days of Earth , Wind and Fire. and , in more recent time she was quite  visible with George Clinton’ & Parliament.     300-px-friends-of-distinction

Jessica was born in Los Angeles. Jessica Cleaves was born to Mary Gladys Cleaves , a librarian, and Lane C. Cleaves II, a U.S. Postal employee.

Jessica’s paternal grandfather, Lane C. Cleaves Sr., was presiding Bishop over Phillips Temple, CME.

Cleaves’ godson filmmaker Armand Araujo , begun filming her life story Jessica Cleaves, My Friends of Distinction in 2013.

 

 

WAYNE HENDERSON: THE LAST CRUSADE 1939-2014


henderson  Trombonezzzzzzzzzz

posted by Robert J. Carmack   twitter: @blues2jazzguy

Wayne Henderson (1939-2014) 

Wayne Henderson born September 24, 1939 in Houston, Texas was  soul-jazz and hard bop trombonist and record producer. In 1961, he co-founded the soul jazz/hard bop group, The Jazz Crusaders.

Growing up in Los Angeles 1961, I was just learning  about real jazz . One day while listening to a new local radio station(KBCA FM),  I heard a brassy/soulful sounding tune that didn’t sound like the “Pink Panther” style  or Louis Armstrong type jazz  a D.J. named,Johnny Magnus would play daily on KFI AM. I was listening to a new group out of Houston called the Jazz Crusaders. They performed this hip ditty called Tough Talk, (title track) off the album on World Pacific Jazz label.  I recognized that brassy sound as a trombone, because my brother played one in school. I soon heard it again on the radio, this time the jock said who played what; Wilton Felder saxophone, Joe Sample piano, Stix Hooper on drums, and on trombone, Wayne Henderson!  Another note that made them stand out was the pianist, Joe Sample  making  a 17th Century instrument, the Harpsichord, sound hip and cool…a first in jazz sounds for me.

Wow! Even though I liked the saxophonist Wilton Felder, that “T-bone sound” just dominated the whole group.  I grew up listening to all of their recordings on World Pacific Jazz from the 1960s.  I learned all of the nuances of the Jazz Crusaders signature-sound that became the epitome of the new hip sound of jazz.  They was starting to dominate on jazz radio and festivals around the country at that time.

Wayne in Paris

By fusing elements of jazz, Funk, Soul, R&B, Latin, and Gospel, an iridescent sound emerged with such impact that a musical revolution was unearthed. As the quartet’s cornerstone, Henderson’s objective was to accentuate the straight-ahead (often restrained) jazz sound with other musical styles that, ironically, are the offspring of  classic jazz.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYckwpsJ24o

As a result of exposure to all of the above-mentioned forms while growing up, Henderson’s transcendent appreciation for all musical elements compelled him to subconsciously or otherwise express those nuances in live performances and on recordings.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlKKMeDosl4

Henderson, a TSU (Houston) alumnus who  resided in Los Angeles, had always focused on the new generation of musicians and singers. He felt that to keep pace with progressive music styles required a stretching of the boundaries of traditional sounds, just as it was for Miles, Coltrane, Parker, Blakey, and Ellington. Their innovations were updated versions of previous musical forms, but with their own ‘twists’ and flavor. Due to their popularity, at times during my high school days in mid-late 60s, it seemed like the Jazz Crusaders were the HOUSE BAND at the famed ,Lighthouse Jazz Cafe in Hermosa Beach, California.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwDosjXKmXI

It was there I was able to approach Wayne and ask questions about music, and secure introductions to the rest of the members.  Even though the “original four” (Wilton, Joe, Stix and Wayne) were equal in status, it was Wayne Henderson’s outgoing personality and keen vision as to where they wanted to go creatively that stood out.

After a whopping five decades as a band member, producer, leader and individual, producing along the way countless hits, awards, major recognition nationally and internationally across all genres.  Wayne refused to rest on his laurels.

Wayne seated  Jazz crusaders

Wayne “Big Daddy” Henderson augmented his career by producing and recording with other notable acts: Patti Austin, Jean Carne, Bill Withers, Ronnie Laws, Ramsey Lewis, Steely Dan, Bobby Lyle, Everette Harp, Phillip Ingram, Nathan East, Lenny Williams, Rebbie Jackson, Marvin Gaye, B.B. King, the Jackson Five, Hiroshima, Hugh Masekela, Joni Mitchell, Wilton Felder, and Tina Turner, to mention a few.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=RDkBPi-kERN5Q&v=kBPi-kERN5Q    Most of Henderson’s independent projects were produced under his own LA based labels, At Home Productions and Angel City Records. Though he is survived by all three of the original four members from Houston,Texas, he definitely will be sorely missed. Lucky for us fans,there is a tremendous body of work left behind by the Jazz master and a bevy of artist who were influenced by his creativity . (shown below l-r:Joe Sample,Wilton Felder and Wayne “Big Daddy” Henderson, “Stix” Hooper not shown)

Jazz Crusaders