Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bobby “Blue” Bland

The Web site Rollingstone.com says of Bobby Blue Bland:

“Bobby “Blue” Bland is one of the eminent patriarchs of modern soul singing, his distinctively grainy vocal style drawing on gospel and blues. Raised in Memphis, he joined a gospel ensemble, the Miniatures, in the late 1940s. He later met guitarist B.B. King and joined the Beale Streeters, an informal group of Memphis blues musicians that included King, Johnny Ace, Roscoe Gordon, and Willie Nix. But not until 1954 (after working as King’s chauffer) did he land his first recording contract, when an executive at Duke Records heard him sing at a Houston talent show.

“His first successful single, “It’s My Life, Baby,” was released in 1955. He played one-nighters around the country accompanied by his band, led by tenor saxophonist Bill Harvey and trumpeter/arranger Joe Scott. Members of the band, under the pseudonym Deadric Malone, wrote or co-wrote most of Bland’s material. His band was bigger and brassier than most current blues bands, and anticipated the rich sound of 1960s soul music while harking back to big-band jazz.

“Since 1957, when “Farther Up the Road” was a Number Five R&B hit, Bland has had over 30 R&B Top 20 singles, including “I’ll Take Care of You” (Number Two, 1959), “I Pity the Fool” (Number One, 1961), “Don’t Cry No More” (Number One, 1961), “Turn on Your Love Light” (Number Two, 1961), and “That’s the Way Love Is” (Number Three, 1963).

“Most of Bland’s records enjoyed only modest success in the pop market; only three singles ever made the pop Top 30. In the mid-1960s Bland adopted a slicker, more upbeat style, but his career stalled until Duke Records was taken over by ABC-Dunhill in 1972. Dunhill paired him with producer Steve Barri (the Four Tops), who guided Bland back to a bluesier vocal style while giving him contemporary material by Leon Russell and Gerry Goffin, as well as new material by Deadric Malone. His California Album and Dreamer introduced him to white audiences and proved to be the most popular LPs of his career. After a fallow early-1980s he resurfaced mid-decade on the independent soul-blues label Malaco, revitalizing his career.

“While he never achieved the wide recognition of B.B. King (with whom he toured and collaborated on two LPs, Together and Together Again), he had a considerable influence on modern soul music. In 1997 he was the recipient of the Recording Academy’s coveted Lifetime Achievement Grammy. In 1998 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Blues Foundation. In 2002 Bland had a late-career resurgence with the excellent Two Steps From the Blues featuring an amalgam of blues, gospel and southern soul produced, co-written and arranged by Joe Scott with help from Duke head Don Robey. He continues to record and tour internationally well into his late seventies.

As seen in The Cape Cod Times.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ten best!: Record & CD stores

As seen in Yes Weekly!

FYE: For Your Entertainment
By Jordan Green

400 Four Seasons Town Centre, Greensboro, 336.294.1884; Hanes Mall, Winston-Salem, 336.768.3411, www.fye.com The list of casualties in the Triad’s retail music scene grows longer by the day. Some notable departures in the past four years— and these are only counting Greensboro stores: Andrew Dudek’s Gate City Noise, famed for its in-store appearances, closed when Dudek threw his lot in with the Flying Anvil club, which in turn closed after a year; BB’s New & Used CDs near Guilford College shut down last year; the Record Exchange at the corner of Spring Garden and Aycock streets was torn down when the city approved a rezoning to put in yet another drug store; Collectables at the corner of Lee and Tate streets fell prey to crime; and Collectables Too on Holden Road closes Saturday to make way for a Dunkin’ Donuts. The FYE store closed at Oak Hollow Mall in High Point, but the chain maintains locations in both Greensboro and Winston-Salem.

The stores provide a notable service — allowing customers to scan the barcode of any CD and listen before purchasing. In addition to the standard rock/ pop, R&B and hip hop sections, FYE stocks Christian, gospel, bluegrass, country and international music.

Lil Wayne, Slipknot, Beyonce and the Twilight soundtrack are big sellers, but my money would buy Johnnie Taylor’s Wall to Wall, pressed on Malaco Records out of Jackson, Miss.

Maurette Brown Clark's "It Ain't Over" Hits Top 30

Jackson, MS-"One God" by Maurette Brown Clark (AIR Gospel / Malaco Music Group) has garnered close to 50,000 spins according to BDS tabulations, spent over a year in the top ten (10), peaking at the #2 position on Billboard / Radio and Records airplay charts, hitting #1 on Mediaguide airplay charts and still remains a people's favorite continuing to receive significant spins on radio stations across the country.

Her Album The Dream captured two 2008 Stellar Awards, one for Praise and Worship Album of the Year, the other for Children's Performance of the Year for her daughter Jada Simone Clark's vocal performance on "It Ain't Over!"

Maurette Brown Clark's follow up single "It Ain't Over (Until God Says It's Over) is encouraging the hearts of thousands of Americans across this country during this tumultuous economic time while beginning to make its run up the Gospel airplay charts, debuting in the Top 30 on the Mediabase Gospel charts a few weeks ago and currently rising up the Billboard Gospel charts, now in the #19 position.

Millions witnessed Maurette Brown Clark's performance of "It Ain't Over (Until God Says It's Over) on TBN's Praise The Lord! with special guest speaker Juanita Bynum on July 24, 2007 when she turned her experience on TBN into a pure and powerful ministry moment, proving that Christian television can transpire into an extraordinarily moving television experience.

Ms. Clark's stirring performance left onlookers moved to tears, reaffirmed in their testimonies, hitting their "MySpace" accounts afterwards letting others know about this historic event that had just taken place or simply searching "YouTube" to see if they could catch a glimpse. That is one example of why people affectionately call Maurette Brown Clark the "Princess of Praise & Worship," for she truly resembles a daughter of the King.

Malaco Artists Rise on Billboard Charts

Maurette Brown-Clark (AIR, Malaco Distribution) rises on the Billboard Gospel single charts with "It Ain't Over (Till God Says Its Over)" to its peak position to date-#19.

The Mississippi Mass Choir is also still charting with it's anniversary project, The First Twenty Years.

Top Gospel Albums
Issue Date: 2009-01-17

This Week Last Week Two Weeks Ago Weeks on

Chart Title, Artist/Imprint | Catalog No. | Distributing Label Peak

44 43 45 8 The First Twenty Years, Mississippi Mass Choir
Malaco 33

Hot Gospel Songs
Issue Date: 2009-01-17

This Week Last Week Two Weeks Ago Weeks on
Chart Title, Artist/ Producer(Songwriter)
Imprint | Catalog No. | Distributing Label Peak Position

19 20 24 6 It Ain't Over (Until God Says It's Over), Maurette Brown-Clark
A.A.Ward (A. Brown~332.000~261.000 ) AIR Gospel | Malaco | 19

Oldham Heads To Hall Of Fame

By Russ Corey
Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 12:02 a.m.

Spooner Oldham has spent 50 years in the music business, and in April he will be recognized for his legendary career when he's inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Oldham, 65, confirmed Tuesday that he is an inductee when he was contacted by the TimesDaily. Hall of fame officials will make an announcement today.

Oldham, a man with roots in the beginning of the world-famous Muscle Shoals music business, will be the first studio player from the Shoals to be inducted April 4 under the hall of fame's "Sideman" category.

Oldham said he's not sure what the sideman category is, but guesses it has to do with the fact he's always been a supporting musician, playing piano and organ, in the studio and on tour. He and longtime songwriting partner Dan Penn co-wrote two multi-million-selling rock and soul songs, James and Bobby Purify's "I'm Your Puppet" and the Box Tops' "Cry Like a Baby," plus Janis Joplin's "A Woman Left Lonely," "Out of Left Field" and "It Tears me Up," by Percy Sledge, the Sweet Inspirations' "Sweet Inspiration," Joe Simon's "Let's Do It Over" and the Box Tops' "I Met her in Church." He and fellow songwriter Freddy Weller co-wrote the country standard "Lonely Women Make Good Lovers," which became a smash hit for Bob Luman in the 1970s and Steve Wariner in the 1990s.

"It's thrilling for me," Oldham said in his typical low-key style. "I didn't expect that."

Officials with the Rock and Roll Museum could not be reached for comment. But according to the museum's Web site, the sideman category was introduced in 2000 to honor musicians who have spent their careers out of the spotlight, performing as backup musicians for major artists on recording sessions and in concert. A separate committee, composed primarily of producers, selects inductees for this category.

Although the Hall of Fame is not releasing the names of sideman inductees until today, Oldham said the news filtered down to him when a friend of his daughter's in New York City called her. Oldham and his wife, Karen, their daughter, Roxanne and her husband, were vacationing in Jamaica at the time.

The news was confirmed when he received a call from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President Joel Peresman, Oldham said.

Oldham said he also received a call from the museum's curator who wants to "look over my belongings" for a display in March.

While he is proud to be inducted, Oldham said he's reluctant about halls of fame because of the perception that someone's career is nearing its end.

"It sounds like a finale," he said.

Oldham follows in the footsteps of other Shoals musicians who have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including "The Father of Rock 'n' Roll" Sam Phillips, who was inducted in 1986. Donna Jean Godchaux MacKay, as a member of The Grateful Dead, was inducted in 1994, and Percy Sledge in 2005. Producer Jerry Wexler, who was involved in the early days of the Muscle Shoals sound, was inducted in 1987.

Oldham played on the hit record that launched Rick Hall's FAME Studios, Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On," and was involved with numerous FAME sessions with artists including Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and Jimmy Hughes.

Oldham and his longtime song-writing partner Penn also are known for writing the 1966 hit, "I'm Your Puppet," that was recorded by James and Bobby Purify.

Oldham is the 13th sideman to be inducted into the hall of fame.

"Spooner deserves this big time," said Jimmy Johnson, Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section member, guitarist and producer. "I'm thrilled to death for Spooner. I'm thrilled to death for Muscle Shoals."

Fellow rhythm section member Roger Hawkins said the first band he ever played drums with was Spooner and the Spoons, with Oldham, Ronald English and Oldham's cousin, the late Bruce Oldham.

"This is really something good because sidemen don't get much recognition," Hawkins said. "For Spooner to get that award is an honor for the whole area. That excites me very much."

A native of Center Star, Oldham said his musical career got its start at Killen Junior High School in the late 1950s when he and English formed a band that played rock 'n' roll covers of the day.

Most recently, Oldham has toured and recorded with renegade Southern rock band Drive-by Truckers, and with Neil Young, appearing in the 2006 concert documentary, Heart of Gold.

He has also toured and recorded with Jewel, playing on the biggest hits of her career, Bushwalla, Frank Black, and singer-songwriter Kate Campbell. He was featured in the epic television project, "The History of Rock and Roll" and recently appeared in Joel Gilbert's documentary "Bob Dylan's Jesus Years."

"I've been around a long time and I'm still kicking," Oldham said.

Russ Corey can be reached at 740-5738 or russ.corey@TimesDaily.com.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gospel Legend Tommy Ellison Passes

On January 3, 2009, the Superstar of Gospel Music Tommy Ellison entered into eternal rest. Tommy Ellison, Mr. Superstar as he was affectionately known, was born September 15, 1932 in Sally, South Carolina. The Superstar is world known for his work as the founder, singer, composer, arranger, producer, manager and director of the legendary group Tommy Ellison & the Singing Stars. It is certainly no exaggeration to call Tommy Ellison a legend in Gospel music. The Superstar passed away leaving a legacy that has inspired many and will continue to inspire generations.

He began his career singing background for gospel music great Madame Edna Gallmon Cooke. He sang with the world famous Harmonizing Four. He can be heard singing lead on the Harmonizing Four’s version of “I found the Lord”, which was recorded during the early fifties. Tommy later joined The Sensational Nightingales where he further enhanced and cultivated the vocal talent God had bestowed upon him. After spending three years with The Nightingales, Tommy journeyed to Los Angeles where he joined forces with The Chosen Gospel Singers. During this time with the group, they recorded the hit “When the Saints Go Marching in.” He remained with The Chosen Gospel Singers until the mid sixties, when he formed the group The Five Singing Stars. During this period, Tommy for a brief time also sang with The Soul Stirrers.

The Five Singing Stars went through several name changes, i.e., the Singing Stars, Tommy Ellison and The Five Singing Stars, and Tommy Ellison and The Singing Stars. No matter the name, you knew the group would deliver solid traditional gospel music. The group became an instant hit with gospel music fans far and near.

Their many hits include Come Home (God loves You), Sailing, Holy Ghost, You Can If You Will, If You Live Right, At the Gate I Know, On My Way To Grandma’s House, and Let This Be A Lesson to You (Drunk Driver), just to name a few. Tommy and The Singing Stars recorded for the Nashboro label. One of their greatest songs with Nashboro was I Want To Be loved. After leaving Nashboro, the group recorded with Atlanta International Records (A.I.R.) label. Some of their most popular recordings with AIR were Let This Be A Lesson To You, Closer, Power, and Trust and obey. In spite of having recorded many songs, one of the signature songs for the group was Sailing.

Tommy and The Singing Stars performed at The Apollo, Madison Square Garden, and Carnegie Hall and in some of the largest venues in the country and around the world. Tommy Ellison and The Singing Stars have shared the stage with such legendary talents as the great Mahalia Jackson, Spencer Taylor, Jr., The Mighty Clouds of Joy, and The Highway QC’s, The Swan Silvertones, The Gospel Keynotes, The Swanee Quintet, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Mississippi, Willie Banks and The Messengers, The Brooklyn All-Stars, The Barrett Sisters, The Caravans, Slim and The Supreme Angels, The Davis Sisters, Doc McKenzie and The Hi-Lites, The Williams Brothers, The Fantastic Violinaires, Darrell McFadden and The Disciples, Troy Ramey and The Soul Searches, Luther Barnes and Shirley Caesar and The Sensational Nightingales. The group was blessed with the opportunity to make their presence felt through the medium of television, appearing on several nationally broadcasted network variety shows.

Tommy received numerous awards during is exceptional enduring career. He was inducted into the American Gospel Quartet Convention Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2007, the Legislature of the State of South Carolina, by Resolution, recognized Tommy Ellison and The Singing Stars for their outstanding contribution toward preserving the heritage of African American gospel music.

3 Stellar Nods For Barnes Family Reunion II & More

The biggest night in Gospel music, The Stellar Awards is less than 10 days away and The Malaco Music Group is proud to announce that Atlanta International Records (Air Gospel) CD & DVD release of "The Barnes Family Reunion II" has received three (3) 2009 Stellar Award nominations; Traditional Group/Duo Of The Year, F.C. Barnes & Company, Traditional Male Of The Year, Luther Barnes, Quartet Of The Year, Luther Barnes & The Sunset Jubilaires.

Other Malaco Music Group artists nominated for the prestigious 2009 Stellar Award are The World's Greatest Story Teller, Dorothy Norwood in the Traditional Female of The Year category for her CD & DVD release, "No Request" featuring The Mississippi Mass Choir & Keith Wonderboy Johnson in the Traditional Male Of The Year category for his CD release, "Keith Wonderboy Johnson Presents…The Rising Stars Of Quartet Vol. I."

In addition, from the Malaco Music Group distributed label TLR Records, newcomer Jai Reed makes his unprecedented Gospel music industry introduction by receiving a 2009 Stellar Award nomination in the New Artist Of The Year category for his debut CD release "Anointed For Purpose” coupled with a performance of his hit single “Anointed Me” on the 2009 Stellar Awards show.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

More Reviews Coming In For Euclid Gray

The video from Euclid Gray "Let Me Praise Him" is still receiving more and more reviews. The latest review says:

"Every time I see this video, I get excited (I'm the stepper in the light blue shirt!) The video came out great, and I'm glad that people enjoy the outcome as much as I enjoyed the process :) Much love to Mr. Gray!"

If you haven't checked the video out yet, click here to watch it on YouTube.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ruby Wilson Suffers Stroke

Jackson, Miss.

Noted Memphis soul singer Ruby Wilson suffered a mild stroke on New Year's Day and has been hospitalized in Jackson, Miss., her agent said Tuesday.

She was expected to return to Memphis today to begin rehabilitation, agent Rollin Riggs said.

She became ill after she performed on New Year's Eve at the Golden Moon casino in Philadelphia, Miss.

"The musicians who had traveled with her arranged to meet her to drive back to Memphis the morning of Jan. 1. When she didn't show up at the appointed rendezvous, they got concerned and went to her room," Riggs said.

The 60-year-old singer was taken to a local hospital, then transferred to Jackson.

Riggs indicated the stroke was mild and hoped Wilson would be performing again as early as February.

"She's in great spirits, feisty and looking forward to returning to the stage," he said.

-- Jody Callahan
Memphis Commercial Appeal

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Maurette Brown Clark's Sister Passes

The Malaco Music Group regrets to inform you that Maurette Brown Clark’s sister, Loretta Faison, passed after a brief illness on Saturday, January 3, 2008. Ms. Clark would like to thank all of you for your prayers and support. She asks that you please say a special prayer for her brother-in-law, their daughters along with the rest of the family.

The information for the wake and where to send condolences is as follows:

Location: Caggiano Memorial Funeral Home 62 Grove Street, Montclair, NJ 07042 (973) 744-6667

Date/Time: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 - 4:00pm-8:00pm

The wake is being held from 4:00pm to 7:00pm, followed by a short ceremony, concluding 8:00pm.

Funeral services will be held this weekend in Govan, South Carolina as by her sister’s request on Saturday, January 10, 2009 @ St. Phillips Church of God in Christ, 1:00pm.

Shirley Brown Album Almost Ready To Roll

Malaco is in the final assembly and mastering stages of the latest release from Shirley Brown and hopes to have it out early March. The album boasts 13 songs with some up to date songs and some "old school" songs that will ensure something for everyone. Co-Producer Frederick Knight helped lend a hand with a couple of his songs entitled "Upside Down" and "Let Me Relax You". Vick Allen also had a hand in producing the album and also has a few songs on the album. The late Rich Cason has a powerful and hypnotic track included that was one of his last songs he wrote before his untimely death. Shirley Brown herself penned a ballad titled "Why" which has received good reviews already.

Chief Engineer and co-producer Wolf Stephenson of Malaco feels this album to be one of Shirley's best yet due to the coalition of producers and "in house" input from all involved.

Mel Waiters Latest Release Scheduled For April

The latest album from Malaco/Waldoxy recording artist Mel Waiters is scheduled for release in April. As many of you know, and for those who don't Mel hosts an online radio show on www.southernsoulradio.com every Friday night called Friday Night Fish Fry. It is packed with soulful jams that will get you moving all night long.

Once the songs are made available, we'll post them here. As always, check out www.malaco.com for more information.

Floyd Taylor Song Selection In Progress

It's hard to believe that Malaco is about to begin work on Floyd Taylor's 4th album with Malaco. Floyd is a great singer with a lot of talent. Oh by the way, he's also the spitting image and sounds just like his father the late Johnnie Taylor.

Anyway, the Malaco team is hard at work with Floyd reviewing some really strong choices for songs to be included on his latest album. The entire company is buzzing about the songs so be sure to check back for updates as they become available.

Artie "Blues Boy" White album almost complete

Chief Engineer Wolf Stephenson of Malaco Records is in the final production stages of the upcoming release by Artie "Blues Boy" White. Currently, Stephenson is in the studio working on the vocal editing and guitar overdubs. The album is estimated to be out near the end of February. More information will be available soon so keep checking back.

First Ever Bobby "Blue" Bland Greatest Hits From Malaco

You've heard it here first. Chief Engineer Wolf Stephenson of Malaco Records just released some details that Malaco is working on a first ever Greatest Hits on legendary singer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bobby "Blue" Bland! This release will include a comprehensive selection of his most popular Malaco recordings as well as licensed releases of his earlier career hits.

With Stephenson behind the wheel of the selection, you can rest assured this is going to be a must have in your collection.

No release date has been set.

You can always check www.malaco.com for the latest in great music.

Dorothy Norwood sighting at Malaco

We just saw Dorothy Norwood at Malaco discussing her new album to be released under the Malaco label in early March!!!!! Her new single should be on the way to radio around February. Wow what a great sounding album this is going to be. The songs on it are very special to Ms. Norwood and she is very excited about this new album. More updates will follow.....

The Blues Is Alright Tour Gears Back Up

That's right! The 2009 edition of the wildly successful The Blues Is Alright Tour begins soon. Artists on the tour include Shirley Brown, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Willie Clayton, Marvin Sease, Floyd Taylor, Mel Waiters and many more. To find out when the tour is coming to your town, visit http://www.heritageentertainments.com

Enjoy the shows and thanks for keeping the blues alive! You can always find great music at www.malaco.com. Check out the site for new music and some of the great oldies.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year from Malaco Records!

The Malaco Music Group would like to extend warm wishes to everyone for a great New Year! With a new year, comes new beginnings. We want to make Malaco your source for all great Soul, R&B, Blues, Gospel, etc. However, to make that happen we need to hear from you. Please let us know what you would like to see from Malaco this year. No request is to big or to small for us to consider.

Please email us directly at malaco@malaco.com and let us know your thoughts. We want to hear from you!

New Album From Chuck Strong Hits Streets January 27, 2009

Chuck Strong has been one of the most consistent selling artists on the Southern Soul circuit for years. His first professional work came as a member of The Oasis Band based in his home town of Selma, Alabama. Later he sang with Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces followed by the launch of his solo career in 1986. He made his debut with the release of Love Don't Change Overnight and followed up with several more albums.

In 2002, Strong was signed to Waldoxy (a subsidiary of Malaco) and became a member of The Malaco Music family. Upon arrival, Strong had hits such as 3-N-A-Bed and the smash hit Rock That Man In The Boat. This single quickly gained attention throughout the South and helped build the solid fan base that he enjoys today.

His new CD "Faithful To A Married Woman" is packed with all new tracks and is sure to be in demand so be sure to pick your copy up!

For more information, including a track listing, visit www.malaco.com

Rogina Thomas Of The Mississippi Mass Choir Passes

The Mississippi Mass Choir Family regretfully announces the passing of our beloved singer - Rogina Thomas - on Saturday, December 27, 2008.

Her homegoing service will take place:

Saturday, January 3, 2009, 11:00AM
Greater Tree of Life M.B. Church

3102 Monticello Drive
, Jackson, MS, 39212

Rev./Dr. F.L. Blount, Pastor.

Although her signature song was "He Can Fix What is Broke," Rogina also was lead singer on "He's Coming Back," By Grace," "You Brought Me," and "Wise Men Still Seek Him."

She leaves to cherish her precious memory, her loving husband Bobby Thomas, and daughters, Ronita Thomas and Bonitsha Thomas; and a host of family and friends.

Expressions of condolences can be forwarded to:

The Mississippi Mass Choir Ministries
PO Box

, MS 39283

(All expressions will be forwarded to the Thomas Family)

Astronomers tells us that there are stars that burned out thousands of years ago, whose light can yet be seen in the celestial sky; Rogina Thomas was such a star.