Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Song of the Day: "Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud" (James Brown)

"Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud" - James Brown
  • Writers: James Brown and Alfred Ellis
  • Producer: James Brown
  • Record Label: King
  • Released in 1968 from Say It Loud—I'm Black and I'm Proud
  • Peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles

Remix: "Fill Me In (Sango Remix)" (Craig David)

I've still been jamming out to "Fill Me In (Sango Remix)" for a few years now and thought I would bring it back for those who missed it the first go around and can still cop the free download.

Craig David's breakout debut album Born To Do It featured his classic first hit single "Fill Me In" and while it's been over twelve years since "Fill Me In" was first release, a solid remix of his classic joint has hit the net in the form of "Fill Me In (Sango Remix)."

With that said, take a listen after the jump to "Fill Me In (Sango Remix)" and if you like what you hear, cop the free download while supplies last!

Amazing Cover: "All The Man That I Need" (Ledisi)

This past holiday season, Ledisi offered up the best rendition of of the Whitney Houston iconic #1 classic hit "All The Man That I Need" sans The Voice's in my humble opinion.

Possessing one of the best voices in music history in my opinion and clearly one of the best voices in the game right now, Ledisi's powerhouse vocals and her dedication to training and studying throughout her career continue to offer once in a lifetime performances and moments that I continue to enjoy.

If you don't get to shouting and/or putting your hand up when watching Ledisi's sublime performance of "All The Man That I Need," then you might want to make an appointment with a cardiologist and fast because something is wrong with you.

Either way you feel, watch Ledisi's praise-inducing rendition of "All The Man That I Need" below and Enjoy!

Live Audio: "Amazing Grace" (Aretha Franklin)

As we continue to protest the injustices of our legal and police systems here in America, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit one of the songs I always listen to in my time of need.

Back in 1972, Aretha Franklin released her career defining live gospel album Amazing Grace. Recorded at her New Bethel Baptist Church, Franklin let into numerous spirited renditions of Gospel hymns though her rendition of the title track"Amazing Grace" proves to be the definitive version of this famous hymn.

With that said take a listen after the jump to her phenomenal vocal performance of "Amazing Grace" and Enjoy!

Playback: "Brown Skin" (India.Arie)

Back in 2001, India.Arie released her second single "Brown Skin" from her debut album Acoustic Soul and the Carlos "6 July" Broady produced joint heated up the airwaves during the fall and subsequent winter months of 2002.

Featuring a 'grown and sexy' message accompanied with India's sublime vocals and some seductive instrumentation, "Brown Sugar" is still in rotation at radio stations and on my own personal playlists over a decade later.With that said, take a second listen to India's thumping "Brown Skin" below and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "Is It Because I'm Black?" (Syl Johnson)

As tensions continue to rise not just Ferguson, but throughout the country and world,  I thought it would be appropriate to revisit this classic cut from Syl Johnson.

Back in 1970, Syl Johnson released his sophomore album Is it Because I'm Black? and the title track would go onto because one of his biggest hits to date. Peaking at #11 on the Best Selling Soul Singles,

Johnson wrote the title track in response to the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and it still resonates loud and clear today. With that said, Syl Johnson's legacy still lives on through this powerful cut and you can take a listen to "Is it Because I'm Black?" below!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Live Audio: "Young, Gifted, and Black" (Donny Hathaway)

Donny Hathaway's take on the classic "Young, Gifted, and Black" is the stuff of legends and thankfully Hathaway recorded this phenomenal version during the recording of his live album at The Troubador here in West Hollywood.

With that said, take a listen to Hathaway's powerful rendition of the iconic "Young, Gifted, and Black" below and Enjoy!

Song of the Day: "I Am Light" (India.Arie)

"I Am Light" - India.Arie
  • Writer: India Arie Simpson
  • Producer: India Arie Simpson
  • Featured on 2013's SongVersation

Mixtape: "#ByeFelicia" (Jordin Sparks)

It's been a minute since Jordin Sparks' 2009 sophomore album Battlefield and after a few start and stop dates for her anticipated third album, Jordin has finally released some new music in the form of her mixtape #ByeFelicia.

Featuring 2 Chainz on "Double Tap," the nine track mixtape shows off a more mature Jordin as she has done plenty of living since her last official music statement in 2009. While there is no word on when her third album will be released, this is a nice offering until she offers her highly anticipated third album.

With that said, take a listen to it below and Enjoy!

Amazing Cover: "Young, Gifted and Black" (Aretha Franklin)

There is something about the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin's rendition of "Young, Gifted and Black" that really does it for me even above the brilliant original by Nina Simone.

As we all figure out next steps after Darren Wilson was not indicted for killing Mike Brown in Ferguson, I thought this would be an appropriate cover to revisit.

Lifted from her LP Young, Gifted and Black, the title-track to this project offers up a gospel infused rendition that only Ms. Franklin could bring and for her unearthly interpretation, Ms. Franklin was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1973.

With that said, take a listen after the jump to her amazing cover of "Young, Gifted and Black" and Enjoy!

Second Listen: "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" (Marvin Gaye)

"Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)"was the third and final single lifted from Marvin Gaye's 1971 landmark album, What's Going On. Written by Gaye and James Nyx, the song depicted the ghettos of inner-city America as it discussed how the bleak economic situation would lead to someone wanting to holler and throw ones hands up. The song was recorded in a mellow funk style with Gaye playing piano. Several of the Funk Brothers also contributed, including Eddie "Bongo" Brown, and bassist Bob Babbitt.

The song helped Gaye make history by being one of the few artists to have three or more Top 10 songs off Billboard's Pop Singles chart peaking at #9 and one of the first to have three consecutive #1 hits on Billboard's R&B Singles chart where it stayed for two weeks. Although not certified by the RIAA at that time, all three releases from the What's Going On album gained Gold status by selling over 1,000,000 copies in the United States.

In its unedited version as it appears on the album, the final minute of the song (and of the LP) is a reprise to the theme of "What's Going On", the album's first song, then segues into a dark ending. This final minute was cut off of the single version, as well as other sections of the song so the single edit runs under three minutes--this edit appears on subsequent reissues of the LP.

With that said, take a second listen to my favorite song from Gaye's discography and one of my top 5 favorite songs of all time and Enjoy!

Cut: "Don't Let Me Down" (Amel Larrieux)

Last night after the verdict came down to not indict Darren Wilson for killing Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO, I wanted to tune out for a moment and decided to go see Beyond The Lights.

With that said, during the film, I was struck by the usage of Amel Larrieux's "Don't Let Me Down" during the film, both for its poignant usage in the film, but also what it means in a larger context with Ferguson and America's justice system.

As we continue to gather our thoughts, emotions. and actions regarding this situation, take a listen below to Amel Larrieux's "Don't Let Me Down."