The sad news of soul legend Bobby Womack passing away felt like a hit in the face. The man passed away friday the 27th of June 2014 – and this is my short little tribute to one of my favorite soul singers.
When I hear the name, Bobby Womack, the song “Across 110th Street” is the first song that pops up into my mind.
Who would have thought a 8 year old kid could touch a 40 year old man tears.
Norwegian Angelina Jordan does the Sonny Bono and Cher classic made famous by Nancy Sinatra “Bang Bang (Shot Me Down)” in the Kill Bill movie. There is a old soul in this young girl. She does her edit of the song with ease and a coolnes one must admire
This is one of the best versions I´ve ever heard of this song ever. May she win the whole competition of the popular TV-show?
Former Madrugada vocalist Sivert Høyems new single is out and it’s a epic soul/gospel/rock ballad called “Handsome Savior”
The song starts off as a slow ballad, with a naked hammon organ and Sivert Høyems fantastic vocal performance which sounds like equal parts Michael Stipe (former R.E.M.) and Nick Cave. It slowly builds. Drums, guitar, and gospel inspired backing vocals kicks in.
Sivert Høyem has one of Norways strongest, greatest and most carateristic voices. A voice that carries any song he performs.
I you like the way Coldplays “Fix You”, R.E.Ms “Drive” or Blur´s “Tender” builds up to became this epic gospel inspired rock monster you gonna love “Handsome Savior”! It´s a future epic-rock-classic!
I know we´re only a month info the new year, but the subject of this post is the truth; Prince is back to show the world why he is more relevant than ever in 2014, And he does it with a coolness and style no one can match!
The shocking coolness of Prince
Seems like we can´t get enough of Prince these days, and he´s wherever we turn; His guest spot on comedy hit comedy show New Girl was amazing, and proves his coolness, his humor and a warm superstar! In the show he showed off his table-tennis skills, his humanity – and gave a taster of a forthcoming track. He even let Zooey Dechanel aka Jess of New Girl sing with him on the live show he held in his own home in the comedy show. Prince perform this son in his highly recognizable speeded-up Camille voice!
Last but not least he has grown back his coolest afro since the late 70s / early 80s, and is this sporting black leather clad rock style that fits his new image.
The re-rise of Prince
Prince seems to have found his zen, and seems happier and more confident with himself than he has done in many years. He´s still his amazing self, the rare and most unique artist of the world alive. Prince is a living legend and an icon that is more relevant than ever. Gone is his fight with record companies, he has found the back to the funk again, and dare to take more chances than he has ever done before. He is productive, and his agenda and to-do-list seems to be filled up for years to come! His latest concerts gets top star reviews all over the press.
To steal a quote used about soul and funk legend James Brown; Prince is the hardest working man in showbiz today!
How would YOU react if Prince stood before you?
Prince is back, also online
2014 (and 2013) is the year Prince made a massive U-turn and returned to using social media and the internet again. First through his 3dreyegirl twitter profile, at first by teasing snippets of his new all girl band 3dreyegirl. He has again opened the official Prince website again, http://3rdeyegirl.com. Did you know: Prince was one of the first to sell his music solely through the internet, through his NPG Music store, and during his hiatus with Warner, he recorded and sold several albums only through his own webpage. These days he has opened for it again and has released several new songs on his new webpage. You´ll also find video clips that can be bought video clips and live-streams through his page. You´ll even find his new songs on iTunes! Do a search for Prince and check it out!
Heres a small choice of artist highly inspired by Prince.
You can hear most of them in this Princespiration Spotify playlist.
-The-Dream look at the titles of his “LoveHate” album and the production, –
-Trey Songs “Yo Side of The Bed” sampling Prince
-Maya Vik, her debut Château Faux-Coupe” album is full of Prince-flirting songs
-Romanthony (from Daft Punk “One More Time”) recorded a solo album “R.Hide in Plain Site” that is a pure unashamed tribute to Prince – just look at the song titles and listen to the sound and voice of the late Romanthony —Beyonce & Jay-Z “97 Bonnie & Clyde” included resung parts of “If I Was Your Girlfriend”,
-D’angelo “Untitled” makes you doublecheck the sleevenotes…twice! —
-Pleasure, norwegian musician/producer (Fred Ball) “Pleasure 2”, is full of Prince sound-a-like songs, pure rip-offs
-Daley – the falcetto and nasal funky voice
-Paulo Nutini the last part of “Million Faces” could have been his Purpleness
-Justin Timberlake on the tracks “Until The End Of Time” and “(Another Song) All over again”
-Justin Bieber loves the color purple
-Frank Ocean his voice, production his artistic life. “Crack Rock” samples the same Jimi Hendrix sample as Prince uses on “Tick, Tick Bang”
-Lady Gaga her androgynous image
-R.Kelly the explicit songs
-Britney Spears “Lace & Leather” is quite like “Kiss” and “I´m A Slave For You” is a rip-off of Vanity 6 “Nasty Girl”
-Ryan Adams “Touch, Feel Loose” and “Hotel Chelsea Nights” (same song different lyrics) is a pure rip-off of “Purple Rain”
-Thee Madkatt Courtship is a massive Princefan – and his “Alone In The Dark” was compared to the “Purple Rain” album in its song structure
-Felix Da Housecat off Thee Madkatt Courtshop has the most fun track on here, and its pure tribute to Prince, in the song “We All Wanna Be Prince”
So even if you don’t know it and recognize it – the influence of Prince is everywhere and has never gone away!
His name is Prince:
Prince is one of the most talented musicians we have today past and present; He is one of the greatest guitarist ever, and he plays every instrument on his records (mostly), produces, sings, writes songs in every genre there is; Funk, pop, rock, jazz, soul, hard-rock, classical.
Prince has never disappeared and has never lost it, even is some media thinks he is no longer relevant or interesting as an artist and musician. Ok, so there is some records that hasn´t sold as much as his 80s years, – and there has off course been some weak albums, but you can play any of his records from his career, and always find some songs that still stands out – that is still relevant and fresh-sounding.
Actually, I give you a request:
Send me as a comment on this blog post the title of any Prince album, and I’ll give you a list of the best songs off that album!
The Mojo Magazines summit of Prince
Mojo Magazine has summed up 20 things that prove the majesty of Prince – and why he is more relevant than ever!
One of my favourite bands from the early 90’s are Maggie’s Dream. They released one album, the self titled “Maggie’s Dream” back in 1990. The album was, and still is, a great hybrid of groovy retro rock, funk and soul. The band disbanded after a few years. They did just this one album – and it’s without doubt a great lost and largely overseen classic rock album!
The bands retro-rock songs reminded me of Lenny Kravitz – and was released just a year after Kravitz released his classic debut “Let Love Rule” back in 1989. Being a dude who reads every word in an album cover – I became amazingly curious when I discovered the Maggie’s Dreams guys thanked my hero Lenny Kravitz in their liner notes. This has been a mystery for me ever since the albums release, back in 1990 until now. That’s 24 years ago! And now it seems like the answers finally here!
I’ve been searching to solve the link between the band and the retrorock/-soul star, and I found out a while back that Mr Kravitz had actually been working with the band according to a Wikipedia post about Maggie’s Dream.
I then happened to stumble upon Maggie’s Dream on YouTube and to my surprise I found several tracks from an unreleased album, rare video clips, interviews and music videos. On closer inspection, it seemed like this was posted by the band member Lonnie D. Hillyer.
A few mails back and forth proved I was right, it WAS Lonnie from Maggie’s Dream, and we agreed to do this Q&A / Interview
The Read and Hear Q&A about Maggie’s Dream, Lenny Kravitz, the band members now and then and Lonnie D. Hillyers favourite records!
I’ve been loving the Maggie’s Dream album ever since the release in 1990, and remember I was so surprised to read that you (the band) thanked Lenny Kravitz in the liner notes and has since 1990 been wondering what was the link between Maggie’s Dream and Lenny Kravitz? A few months back I read that he was once part of Maggie’s Dream.
Q: So here it goes; Would you like to share with me and the blog readers the true story about the Maggie’s/Kravitz link?
A: Danny Palomo and Raf Hernandez were friends Lenny years before Maggie’s Dream, then he sang on the demos of “Love and Tears”, “It’s A Sin” and one other track that did not make the album after we signed with Capitol Records. He sang on those demos before the band was signed and was already working on his debut album”.
Q: If Lenny was part of Maggie’s, was he somehow involved on Maggie’s self titled debut – probably uncredited? I could swear i hear his recognizable voice on at least a couple of the songs (backing vocals), especially on “Human”
A: Lenny Kravitz did not sing on the Maggie’s Dream album.”
Q: Do you still have contact with any of the Maggie’s Dream members? If you have contact with them, what are they doing these days?
A: The drummer (Tony James) and I speak occasionally and I saw Rob a few months ago in Buenos Aires Argentina (played a few t.v. promos with him). Haven’t spoken with Danny Palomo or Raf Hernandez in years”
Q: Have you and the guys ever considered to assemble the band back together again?
A: As far as putting the band back together, haven’t heard anything about that and I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon.
Q: What was the musical inspiration behind the classic Maggie’s Dream debut album? I sense a little retro-rock – and some Kravitz inspiration or is this only coincidental?
A: Lenny and we grew up on much of the same music and we’re all about the same age, so, many of the collective musical influences are similar with the exception of jazz; that is a heavy influence because of my father who played trumpet with Charles Mingus and he was a great jazz musician who played with some other heavy cats. There was a very talented singer Lenny worked named Tony Lemans with whose demo triggered that vibe but for many of us, it was a natural direction, musically.Tony was signed to Prince’s label Paisley Park Records. He subsequently was killed in a motorcycle accident.
Q: Robi Draco Rosa, former lead vocals in Maggie’s Dream has made several albums – and had major success as a writer and producer for i.e Ricky Martins “Living La Vida Loca” and solo. Tony James has worked with names like Cyndi Lauper, Charles&Eddie (what became of them?) Hugh Harris (great debut album) and Jeffrey Gaines. Then it comes to Raf I haven’t found any history besides his Maggies Dream years. What is your story after Maggies Dream disbanded?
A: Raf and Danny were in a band with Dan Reed named “Adrenaline Sky”; Raf also played briefly with Peter Lord Moreland (who was in the Family Stand) for a little while and after that he was writing and playing with this singer who was in the broadway show “Rent”, I think his name was Adam Pascal. Danny dropped out of the music scene all together and became a chef”
Q: Who have you worked with during the years? What has been the highlight of your career so far and who is the most inspiring to work with?
A: I’ve recorded with Billy Joel (River Of Dreams), Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes, toured Love Spit Love (feat. Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs) and a few other artists. Also, auditioned for the Stones in ’93-94; also, played on a few Jeff Gaines albums as well as Charles & Eddie; I toured parts of Latin America a few times with Rob Rosa as a solo artist; there are some videos of various performances with Rob on YouTube, most notably an MTV International live performance which was probably Rob’s coolest band and the drummer in that video (Frank Ferrer) has been playing with Guns & Roses for the past 6 years or so. You can hear some of the artists with who I have played on my YouTube channel. As far as the most inspiring artist I’ve ever played with, well, that’s a tough question, I just like to play music… it’s all inspiring.”
Q: I love to get a sneak peek into the record collection of the ones when I do my Q&As – so now it’s your turn: What recordings are you’re all time favourite albums? Mention as many albums as you like!
A: Here are few of my favorite albums, not in any particular order:
1. Sly & The Family Stone Greatest Hits 2. “Fresh” by Sly and The Family Stone 3. “Gratitude” by Earth Wind & Fire 4. “Grace” by Jeff Buckley 5. “Thrust” and “Chameleon” by Herbie Hancock 6. Any Parliament Funkadelic album before 1990 7. “Songs In The Key Of Life” and “Innervisions” by Stevie Wonder 8. Any Jimi Hendrix album before his died. 9. “Solo Monk” by Thelonious Monk 10. “Superunknown” by Soundgarden 11. “Sea Of Cowards” and “Horehound” by Dead Weather 12. “Discipline” by King Crimson 13. Any James Brown before 1975 14. “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye 15. Any Charlie Parker recording 16. Any John Coltrane recording 17. Graham Central Station 18.Betty Davis 19. “Heavy Weather” by Weather Report 20. Any African-American blues before 1960 21. Most bebop and hard bop 22. Bootsy Collins in the late 1970s
Q: What does the FUTURE for Lonnie D. Hillyer look like? Any cool protects going on?
A: I’ve been in Buenos Aires, Argentina working with the drummer / singer Andrea Alvarez for her new album. You can go to www.andreaalvarez.com for her info.”
Q: If there´s something you could say to my blog readers what would it be? Here´s your chance to say whatever you like!
A: All I can say is stay true to yourself and the music and keep on playing.
If you wanna get to know Lonnie D. Hillyer even closer, watch this great 30 minute interview with Lonnie D. Hillyer from september 2013 by Fernando Martín Alvarez
…And while you’re at it; Feel free to check out this short documentary of Maggie’s Dream, by Mark Pellington
Sometimes a discribtion of ones genre fits like a hand in a glove. When I asked Dana Williams to describe her music to some one the first time the answered with just four words “etheral folk pop blues” hence the title on this interview & Question & Answer session with Dana Williams.
When you hear “Keep Me Waiting”, the debut single from Dana Williams, you hear a folk inspired voice classic soul inspired – voice, with hints of Duffy (remember her?), a thick layer of strings, piano, acustic guitars and trip hop inspired drums. All sounding like live instruments. Her vocal inspiration comes from Ella Fitzgerald, since falling inn love with her sound when she was young; “I really admire her skill and sound and so that really encouraged me to work on my vocal capabilities”
I even think I hear a little Corrine Bailey Rae in her voice and a bit Lion Babe´s vocalist Jillian Hervey & musician Lucas Goodman inspiration in her voice and sound, and when asking if she had heard and if there was any link between her and the duo she said “I have known Jillian of Lion Babe for a little while, she is a lovely person. I love their music but I wouldn’t say our vibes are similar. I guess you could say our vibes are similar, in that, they are new.” If you haven´t heard Lion Babe check out the blogpost about them here. Highly recommended if you like Dana Williams!
The sound of “Keep Me Waiting” is down earthy folk soul, and if this – or her future release will be released on vinyl I know I have to get it. Dana Williams is a young artists – and this shines through when I asked her about her prefered listening format; “The way we listen to music has changed so much as of recently and now that the internet has made everything so much more accessible, while I love listening to Vinyl on my record player, it is too easy to stream stuff online 😦 It’s all about immediate gratification”
On the other hand she´s a big fan of the really old legends of soul – because when I asked her who musician she would prefer working with – any living or dead – her answer was quite surprising “I think it would be cool to play with Sam Cooke. I think singing a duet with him would be awesome and satisfying, I love singing harmonies and his style is amazing”.
…And if i should conclude this Q&A session I guess the answer to Dana Williams classic folk-pop-soul sound, is the combination of her inspirations – the way and music format she prefers to listen to her influences, and then making up her own mix of music that sounds both old and new at the same time.
There will be more music from Dana Williams, she has a plan for her future “I plan on releasing an EP within the next couple of months. It will sound similar to the single I released “Keep Me Waiting”. “It was written by me and produced by Maxwell Drummey (Lauryn Hill) of Chester French and Dan Stringer so the sound is pretty consistent”.
“I am inspired by all sorts of musical genres and styles”.