This weeks news. ..  or more rarther today, Sunday is the 36th. Anniversary of the O'Jays singer Billy Powell, he died in 1977. They had performed together as a Gospel group until 1958 when they formed the Triumphs and later as the Mascots, but finally The O'Jays.

Also on on this day we lost a Blues performer: 'Babyface' Leroy, he was a drummer/guitarist and singer, and passed in Chicago in 1958. On the Black history side of things, the famous black Russian poet Alexander Pushkin was born on this day in 1799 (EU Calendar). His family had been transported Africans and he ended being Russia's greatest poet!

In the UK we have a Bank Holiday this weekend and so far in the Birmingham area  the Sun has continued to shine, fingers crossed for Monday. A reminder that Mr. Merry's friends the Note benders can be seen throughout the year, see photo.

Tracklisting for Bank Holiday Sunday 26th. May 

Hour One
Babyface & Anita Baker - Like We Used To Do
Black Street - Don't Leave Me (remix)
Dionne Warwick - Move Me No Mountain
Jill Scott - Family Reunion
Phil Perry - You Send Me
Justin Timberlake - That Girl
Stephanie Mills - Keep Away Girls
Wop Bop Torledo - Kissaway
Peggy Scott-Adams - Mr. Wright or Mr. Wrong?
Loose Ends - Choose Me
The Brand New Heavies - One More 4 The Road

Hour Two
'Three-inna-Row': Babyface
1 Rock Bottom
2 Given A Chance
3 Chivalry

Zhane - Request Line
Noel Gourdin - Foxy (remix)

Lenny Lattimore - Weekend
Faze-O - Riding High
Donald Byrd - Loving You
LeRoy Hutson - Paradise
Kenny Thomas - Turn It Up
Cee-Lo Green - My Kinda People
Charlie Wilson - I Still ave You

Babyface Biography:

Born Kenneth Edmonds, 10 April 1959, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Babyface's achievements as a songwriter and producer throughout the late 80s and 90s, especially with L.A. Reid, sometimes overshadowed his own efforts as a performer, which go back to the mid-70s with the funk outfit Manchild. His early solo efforts showed a sophisticated, adult-orientated strain of urban soul, going against the current grain of rap-influenced explicitness and raunchy swingbeat; wisely, perhaps, as his light, pleasant voice could not really compare to earthier singers such as R. Kelly.

It was not until 1995, when the single "When Can I See You" won a Grammy, that he could claim the commercial success that had been heaped on his own prot‚g‚s such as Boyz II Men (Edmonds wrote and produced the massive US chart-topper, "End Of The Road'), Bobby Brown and Toni Braxton. In fact, since the split with Reid, Babyface's main success has been as a producer and writer of movie soundtracks, with The Bodyguard and Waiting To Exhale both going multi-platinum. Expectations were high for his 1996 solo album, which should have sealed his claim to be taken seriously as a contemporary soul performer.

Unfortunately, The Day turned out to be something of a back-slappers" showcase; guest spots by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, LL Cool J, Mariah Carey and even Shalamar could not obscure the fact that the songs Babyface kept for himself were simply not as strong as those he provided for other members of the R&B royalty. Following an unplugged MTV set and a seasonal release, Babyface signed a new recording contract with Arista Records. His debut for the label featured collaborations with Snoop Dogg and the Neptunes.


The Floaters

In the news this week... There have been any number of Millie Jackson compilations – most culled from the 20 albums she made for Spring Records in the 70s but most focus on the well-known numbers, the up-tempo and the famous rap/monologue tracks. The new Ace/Kent collection – 'The Moods Of Millie Jackson' – is a tad different. The 20 tracker focuses on her more intimate side. It brings together a whole clutch of (mainly) long-forgotten ballads from her many Spring long players. The two best-known items on the set are 'It Hurts So Good' and 'If Loving You Is Wrong' – and they remain classics but items like 'Solitary Love Affair', SAM DEES' 'Special Occasion' and BANKS and MITCHELL'S 'From Her Arms To Mine' are outstanding too. Check out too a great version of BOBBY WOMACK'S 'I'm Through Trying To Prove My Love To You'. .. pain never sounded better. (soulandjazzandfunk.com)

It's Grace Jones' birthday today along with  Malcolm X, had he still been around. Jones though started out as a model, regularly appearing at the New York City nightclub Studio 54. Jones secured a record deal with Island Records in 1977, which resulted in a string of dance-club hits. In the late 1970s, she adapted the emerging electronic music style and adopted a severe, androgynous look. Jones found mainstream success in Europe, particularly the United Kingdom, scoring Top 40 entries on the UK Singles Chart. Her albums include Warm Leatherette, Nightclubbing and Slave to the Rhythm, and her biggest hits are "Pull Up to the Bumper", "I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango)", "Private Life", "Slave to the Rhythm" and "I'm Not Perfect (But I'm Perfect for You)".
Must also today remember the 1930 birth of Lorraine Vivian Hansberry, she was an African-American playwright and writer. Her best known work, the play A Raisin in the Sun, was inspired by her family's battle against racial segregation in Chicago.
Sunday's playlist for May 19th, 2013

Hour One
Terry Garmon
Terry Garmon - Any Way
William Brothers - Still There
Kenny G - G-Bop {welcome bed]
Vernoneau - Waiting In Vain
Paltrow / Babyface - Just My Imagination
Drea - As We Proceed / Traitor
Jagged Edge - Let's Get Married
Lauryn Hill - Can't Take My Eyes Of You
Miki Howard / Chris Williams - Hope That ..
         ...We Can Be Together Soon
Justin Timberlake - That Girl

Hour Two
2013 is there 50th aniversary year
Three-Inna-Row: The Floaters
1 I Am So Glad I Took My Time
2 Woman Love / You Are My Lady
3 Float On (7' version)

Stef Mills - What You Gonna Do...
Black Street - Joy (remix)
Erika Yancey - So Good (radio)
Terri Walker - Drawing Board
The Manhattans - Crazy
Mr. Dalvin - Get Mine
Anthony David - Body Language
Deniese Williams - 'Cause I Love You Baby

The Floaters Biography:
The Floaters were an African-American R&B vocal group, from the Sojourner Truth housing projects in Detroit, Michigan, that formed in 1976. The band was formed by the former The Detroit Emeralds' singer James Mitchell, with his brother Paul Mitchell, Larry Cunningham, Charles Clark, and the unrelated Ralph Mitchell. Most of The Floaters were from the Sojourner Truth housing project, on Detroit's Eastside.
James Mitchell apparently came up with the idea and tune for their one major hit, "Float On", in a dream. The lyrics spotlighted each member of the band, who introduced themselves with their name, astrological sign, and ideal type of romantic partner. "Float On" was tracked in a garage recording studio called Pac 3.[1] The song was written by Arnold Ingram, Marvin Willis and James Mitchell Jr., and produced by Woody Wilson. It became a world wide hit in 1977 on ABC Records, reaching #1 on the US R&B chart, #20 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and #1 in the UK Singles Chart (for a single week in August that year)

Follow-ups such as "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" (#28 Billboard R&B chart) could not duplicate the idiosyncratic charm of "Float On", but, with some changes in the line-up, the group remained active for several years releasing four studio albums of disco orientated dance music and romantic sweet soul. They were largely unable to shake off their one-hit wonder tag.

The Floaters returned to Pac 3 to record a new version of "Float On" with Full Force for the Brooklyn, New York based group's summer 2001 TVT debut album, Still Standing.

A skit was made for Sesame Street in which David (Northern Calloway), Bob (Bob McGrath), Gordon (Roscoe Orman) and Luis (Emilio Delgado) were attired in in 1970's-style sky-blue tuxedos with a number five on each palm of their gloves and performed a song entitled "Gimme Five". Each character explained what they loved about the number five before singing lead on the chorus of the song. David loved the number five because of the way it looks, Bob appreciated the number because it's easy to count up to, Gordon loved the number because it's the same as his fingers on each hand, and a Spanish-speaking Luis loved the number because three and two make five, as do four and one.

Cheech & Chong did a parody of the song, retitled "Bloat On featuring The Bloaters". It appears on their compilation album, Where There's Smoke There's Cheech & Chong.

On an episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Jewel and Jazz DJ Jazzy Jeff got married and this song was playing when they were walking down the aisle. (wiki)


Gwen McCrae

 In the News... NEW YORK (AP) - Fantasia is feeling the love - and says she hasn't felt this good since winning "American Idol" in 2004. The singer's fourth album, "Side Effects of You," debuted at No. 1 and No. 2 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop and Top 200 albums charts last week. She said the response is both welcome and complicated, especially after her last few tumultuous years. "It feels really good," she said softly. "You have to be very careful because there was a time when I went from being up here and everybody loved you and then when (that) ole thing happened, it was like, 'OK, everybody ...' - so it's almost, like, tricky."

Fantasia could be addressing a number of things that have bruised her image. In 2010, police believed they were responding to an attempted suicide after Fantasia overdosed on aspirin and other pills at her home in Charlotte, N.C., but her manager says she wasn't trying to kill herself. She gave birth to her son, Dallas, in 2011 and was trashed on blogs by people who said she had been in a relationship with a married man. She's battled bad publicity and also endured financial and emotional woes. But the singer has had her share of positive experiences, too, since becoming an "Idol" champ. She won her first Grammy Award in 2011, has released platinum and gold albums, and starred on Broadway in Oprah Winfrey's "The Color Purple."

The big-voiced singer says she's put the drama behind her and released both her pain and happiness on her new album.(the boombox)

 A new Sheree Brown album and book, Message From The Heart is about to come out in a few weeks and some of the songs are highly recommended. More about the book in the trailer shown above.

This Weeks Playlist, Sunday 12th May 2013

Hour One
Quincy Jones - Tomorrow (edit)
Donny Osmand - Breeze On By
George Benson - Breezing [welcome bed]
Randy Crawford - Endlessly
The Staples - Love Me, Love Me, Love Me
Jeff Redd - Down Low
Big Robb - Macaroni Cheese Song
Shirley Brown - After A Night Like This
Eloise Laws - If I Don't Watch Out
Rick Clarke - One Dance (Don-E remix)
Ms Monique - Slow & Easy
Brandy - I'm Missing You
Marcus Miller - Rush Over

Hour Two
'Three-Inna-Row' : Gwen McCrae 
1 I Can Only Think Of You
2 Doin' It
3 Girl Friend's Boyfriend

Steve Parks - Movin' In The Right Direction
Eddie Harris - It's All Right Now
Vanessa Williams - The Way That You Love Me
Porche - Make You Feel Real Good
Kenny Thomas - Turn It Up
Patrice Rushen - Number One
Maxwell - Sumthin' Sumthin'
D-Influence - Magic

Gwen McRae Biography:

Born 21 December 1943, Pensacola, Florida, USA. The wife of George McCrae, Gwen made her mark in the mid-70s with a delightful series of southern-style soul numbers produced by Steve Alaimo and Clarence Reid for Henry Stone's Miami-based TK operation. She first found success with a remarkable remake of the old Bobby Bland gospel blues, "Lead Me On" (R&B number 32, 1970). The record was recorded for TK Records, but leased to Columbia Records. The following year, now on TK's subsidiary label Cat, she followed with an equally remarkable remake of the Ed Townsend oldie, "For Your Love" (R&B number 17). McCrae had her only pop hit with "Rockin' Chair" in 1975, when the number 1 R&B hit crossed over to reach the US Top 10. "Love Insurance" (R&B number 16) was a respectable follow-up in 1975.

TK collapsed in 1980, and McCrae moved to New Jersey, and while there signed with Atlantic Records, after which she entered the charts with "Funky Sensation" (number 22 R&B) in 1981. McCrae's last US chart record was in 1984, but in the UK she had a hit with "All This Love That I'm Giving' (number 63, 1988), an old single taken from 1979"s Melody Of Life. Her status on the UK's northern soul scene led to a new recording contract with the Homegrown label, who released McCrae's Girlfriend's Boyfriend in 1996. Further recordings followed for the revived Goldwax Records label in the USA, and in 2004 McCrae released her first gospel album. (music.us)


Millie Jackson

After Katrina in 2005
In this weeks news...Fats Domino's restored white piano is to become a museum piece in his native New Orleans, Louisiana after Sir Paul McCartney helped fund the instrument's restoration. The Steinway grand was salvaged from the star's flooded home after 2005's Hurricane Katrina and it has been meticulously returned to its former glory thanks to donations from music producer Allan Slaight, McCartney and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Happy again!
Domino's piano will go on show next year (2014) as part of a major Louisiana State Museum music exhibition. It's not the only historical Steinway McCartney has helped to restore in recent years - he also helped pay for the makeover of the Motown museum's piano, which recently went on show in Detroit, Michigan.(contact music)

Had James brown lived he would have been 80 years of age on Friday. His tiny monument in Augusta GA is,  after 8 years now rusting and in a poorly maintained condition, just as the observer say's: "He wouldn't have appeared on stage this way." But we can still remember him for all his great work  -  that cannot be taken from his memory. 

Nishkam Centre
If you are a parent or a carer of a disabled child you are invited to attend the first Birmingham “Include ME TOO” BME Family Support Network Event that will be taking place on:

Date: Tuesday 21st May 2013
Times: Daytime: 10am –12.30pm – session 1
Evening: 6.00pm – 8.30pm – session 2
Venue: Nishkam Centre, 6 Soho Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, B21 9BH
The Nishkam Centre is a new six million pound building and has all the modern facilities, refreshments will also be served. More info: PCRL

News has just reached us that the bassist for the groups Funkadelic and Parliament, Cordell Mosson, has died. He was 60. With Gary Shider, Cordell left New Jersey and traveled to Canada as a teenager. The pair joined a group called United Soul, who led to an introduction to George Clinton, for the duo. George produced some of the sides recorded by the group, which were later renamed U.S. Music with Funkadelic.
Gary and Cordell were then invited by George to join his ensembles called Parliament and Funkadelic.
From 1972 onwards, Cordell became an integral part of the groups, remaining with Funkadelic until the group disbanded. Cordell's name as spelled on his birth certificate is Cardell Mosson. This led to some confusion regarding album credits on the group's sleeves. Cordell is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of the groups Parliament and Funkadelic. (bootsy/soulwalking)

Don't forget to click my 'like/friends' buttons, finally have a nice May Bank Holiday, see you all next Sunday...

This weeks playlist for Sunday, 5th. May 2013

Hour One
Ann Nesby - Where Would I Be
Eric Benet' - Love The Hurt
Gerald Albright - Anniversary [welcome bed]
Jaheim - Waiting On You
Phil Perry - You Send Me
Fantasia - You Got Me Waiting
Freddie Jackson - Jam Tonight
Gerald LeVert - Greater Later
Syleena Johnson - Guess What
Luther VanDross - She Loves me Back
           / I Won't let You Do That To Me
D'Angelo - Spanish Joint

Hour Two
'Three-Inna-Row': Millie Jackson
1 Young Man, Older Woman
2 I Can't Say Goodbye
3 If Your Not Back In Love By Monday
Lisa Stansfield - When Are You Coming Back
Womack & Womack - Life Is Just a Ballgame
Coke Escovedo - Runaway
Bill Withers - Use Me
Deborah Cox - One Wish
Eric Roberson/Phonte - Been In Love
Phyllis Hyman - Don't Tell Me Tell Her
Barbara Lynn - You Make Me So Hot
I-Level - In The Sand

Millie Jackson Biography:
Born 15 July 1944, Thompson, Georgia, USA. A former model, Millie Jackson's controversial singing career began professionally in 1964 at a club in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. Her first recordings followed in 1970; over the next three years she made several excellent, if traditional, soul singles, which included two US R&B Top 10 entries, with "Ask Me What You Want" and "My Man, A Sweet Man". "Hurts So Good", a song from a pseudo-feminist "blaxploitation" movie, Cleopatra Jones, was Jackson's biggest hit to date, reaching US number 24, but her subsequent direction was more fully shaped in 1974 with the release of Caught Up. With backing from the Muscle Shoals rhythm section, the tracks included a fiery interpretation of "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right'. The accompaniment intensified the sexual element in her work as Millie embraced either the pose of adulteress or of wronged wife. A further collection, Still Caught Up, continued the saga, but Jackson's style later verged on self-parody as she progressed down an increasingly blind alley. The raps became longer and more explicit, and two later albums, Feelin" Bitchy and Live & Uncensored, required warning stickers for public broadcast.

Despite excursions into C&W and a collaboration with Isaac Hayes, Jackson seemed unable to abandon her "bad mouth" role, exemplified in 80s titles such as "Sexercise Pts 1 & 2" and "Slow Tongue (Working Your Way Down)". Despite her strong cult following, the only occasion on which Jackson made any significant impact on the US or UK pop singles market was in 1985 when duetting with Elton John on "Act Of War", which reached the UK Top 40. She continued to enjoy a string of US R&B hits, including "Hot! Wild! Unrestricted! Crazy Love" and "Love Is A Dangerous Game', but a creative nadir was reached with 1989"s Back To The S**t!, which featured Jackson sitting on a toilet on the front cover. In the early 90s, Jackson wrote the play Young Man, Older Woman, which with a run of four years proved more successful than her concurrent music releases. By the end of the decade Jackson had begun to establish herself as a leading radio host, with this work taking precedence over her recording career.

Millie Jackson possesses one of soul's outstanding voices, yet sadly chooses to limit its obvious potential in favour of her trademark lewd rapping. Nearly all of Jackson's Spring albums saw CD release in the 90s on the UK Ace's Southbound label.