DeepSoul Salutes Fats Domino: "Blue Monday"

Our salute to the R&B pioneer continues with a 1956 classic first introduced in a seminal rock film.
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Rolling Stone calls it the "working man's blues," and "Blue Monday" does demonstrate rock's indebtedness to the genre. While Fats Domino did not write the track--he was not even the first to record it--he transformed the song into a memorable blend of rock, blues, country, and New Orleans jazz. What results is a track addressing a subject with which most listeners can relate, along with a dose of good-natured naughtiness. Domino's longtime collaborator Dave Bartholomew originally penned "Blue Monday" for New Orleans R&B singer/guitarist Smiley Lewis. Released as a single in 1954, this version prominently features rhythm guitars, horns, and

DeepSoul Salutes Fats Domino: "I Hear You Knocking"

This week's DeepSoul is the first in a three-part salute to the rock and roll pioneer.
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One of the early architects of rock and roll, Fats Domino combined R&B with New Orleans swagger to create a feel-good but raunchy form of music. Lyrics such as "I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill" leave little doubt as to the nature of that thrill, but Domino's radiant smile and rollicking piano never offended. A huge part of rock history was lost upon his October 24, 2017 death. but his timeless catalog will remain for new fans to discover. This week's DeepSoul is the first in a three-part salute to the music pioneer. Born in the Big Easy in

Blu-ray Review: The Who - Tommy: Live At The Royal Albert Hall

The Who performs Tommy for a good cause
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The Who's Tommy is one of the most legendary albums of the rock and roll era, or any era really. The classic rock opera pushed the limits of what could be done within the confines of a rock record and was meant to be listened to as a complete piece. The band has performed Tommy live many times since it was first released in 1969, but never in its entirety until now. In April 2017, The Who took to the stage at London's famed Royal Albert Hall to perform the complete Tommy in support of the Teenage Cancer Trust. The

Blu-ray Review: Jeff Beck - Live At The Hollywood Bowl

The legendary guitarist looks back at over 50 years of music.
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Among guitar heroes, Jeff Beck has had a career like few others. The two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee pioneered hard rock and psychedelia with the Yardbirds and later his own Jeff Beck Group. Not wanting to rest on his laurels, he has also been at the forefront of jazz-fusion and instrumental music and has dabbled in electronica. More than 50 years into his career, he has outlasted most of his contemporaries and has few, if any peers. To celebrate his remarkable career, Beck played a 2016 gig at the Hollywood Bowl with numerous guests, including: Steven Tyler,

DeepSoul: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - "Breakdown"

Tom Petty, soul artist? His first hit single melds elements of R&B with rock and blues, making the track a standout in his catalog.
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The music world has been mourning the loss of Tom Petty, the iconic rock artist who died from cardiac arrest on October 2. What few critics and fans have discussed, however, is that Petty's sound encompassed genres besides rock, namely blues, country, and folk. Another major influence that has been little explored is R&B, and that element permeates his first hit, 1976's "Breakdown." Its dominant drums, bass, and keyboards along with Petty's snarling narrative of a deteriorating love affair makes "Breakdown" sound like no other song in Petty's catalog. Coming off the breakup of his band Mudcrutch, Petty formed a

Blu-ray Review: The Rolling Stones From The Vault: Sticky Fingers Live At The Fonda Theatre 2015

The Rolling Stones deliver one of their best albums to a small group of very lucky fans.
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For years bands have been playing classic albums in their entirety in concert as a way to entice fans to their shows. One notable exception to this has been The Rolling Stones -- until now. The band began their 2015 American Zip Code tour at Hollywood's Fonda Theatre, a tiny venue for the Stones. That's nothing new as the group has traditionally played smaller venues to begin tours or as nice surprises for fans during their tours. What was new was that they performed their classic album, Sticky Fingers, in its entirety for the first and, as of now, only

DeepSoul: Stargard - "Which Way Is Up"

A slice of late '70s funk/disco, "Which Way Is Up" remains an underrated track by an unjustly neglected group.
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A slice of late 70s funk/disco, "Which Way Is Up" remains an underrated track by an unjustly neglected act: Stargard. A female trio who drew comparisons to Labelle (particularly through their flamboyant costumes) and the Pointer Sisters, they achieved only one hit with the theme song to the 1977 Richard Pryor vehicle Which Way Is Up? Their blend of R&B, funk, and gospel should have achieved more success, but their lack of smash followup led to their 1983 breakup. The original lineup consisted of Rochelle Runnells, Debra Anderson and Janice Williams, and their more gritty, aggressive vocal approach led to

DeepSoul: Herbie Hancock - "Chameleon"

The jazz pioneer impacted modern hip hop, r&b, and funk in this 1973 classic.
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Herbie Hancock may be a renowned jazz master, but he also influenced early hip hop and contemporary R&B. Most listeners can point to 1984's "Rockit" as the soundtrack for breakdancers, but his 1970s experiments in fusion led to an important track in the development of funk: 1973's "Chameleon." The corresponding album, Head Hunters, became not only Hancock's most successful album, but one of the bestselling jazz albums of all time. Along with collaborator and reedits Bernie Maupin, bassist Paul Jackson, drummer Harvey Mason, and percussionist Bill Summers, Hancock wrote material expanding the very concept of jazz. "I always enjoy working

DVD/CD Review: Journey - Live In Manila

A triumphant homecoming gig for Arnel Pineda of Journey.
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In 2007, Journey was at a career crossroads of sorts. Singer Jeff Scott Soto replaced Steve Augeri, who had sung with the band since 1998, the year before, but by mid 2007, Soto was out as well. The band took to YouTube to look for a replacement and found one in Filipino singer Arnel Pineda, who has held the role ever since. It helps that Pineda's vocals sound uncannily like Steve Perry's, too. After the success of the group's debut album with Pineda, the Wal-Mart-exclusive Revelation, the band decided to go that route again in 2009, with the DVD Live

CD Review: Justin Hayward - All The Way

All The Way is a great starting point to Justin Hayward's solo career.
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For more than 50 years, Justin Hayward has been best known for his role as guitarist, singer and songwriter in The Moody Blues, penning and singing such hits as "Nights In White Satin" and "Question." During that time, he has also forged a successful solo career, beginning with 1975's Blue Jays, recorded with fellow Moody John Lodge. A new compilation, All The Way, brings together 15 of these solo recordings, including a rare track once thought lost and a brand new recording "The Wind Of Heaven." The album opens with the original stereo mix of "Blue Guitar." Though the song

DeepSoul: Bob and Earl - "Harlem Shuffle"

The 1963 single has experienced an unlikely resurgence of interest through covers, samples, and an appearance in a 2017 summer film.
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With its prominent use in the Summer 2017 film Baby Driver, "Harlem Shuffle" by Bob and Earl has gained renewed attention. The Rolling Stones previously scored a hit with their hit 1986 cover (featuring Bobby Womack on backing vocals), accompanied by its humorous Ralph Bakshi and John Kricfalusi-directed video. The 1963 original features not only a more soulful vocal performance but also funky horns and drums. Over 50 years later the question remains: just who were Bob and Earl? The duo originally consisted of Bobby Day and Earl Nelson (aka Jackie Lee), two singers who had previously recorded classics still

DeepSoul: The Temptations with Rick James - "Standing on the Top"

A funk superstar and a legendary Motown act team up to produce a 1980s R&B classic.
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The eighties may have brought changes in soul and R&B, but Motown music remained a favorite among baby boomers (the success of 1983's The Big Chill film and soundtrack proved this fact). In 1982, the Temptations returned to their original label, Motown, after a brief tenure with Atlantic; to celebrate, the then-current members reunited with three former lead singers: Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, and Dennis Edwards. Looking to make a comeback, the group teamed with a seemingly unlikely producer: Rick James, the "punk funk" artist who was then at the peak of his popularity. What emerged from this collaboration was

DeepSoul: Tank - "You're My Star"

This 2014 single demonstrates how old school R&B and modern hip hop can be merged to create timeless music.
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Long a valuable behind-the-scenes player, Tank has penned and produced hits for top R&B artists such as Dave Hollister, Charlie Wilson, Jamie Foxx, and Kelly Rowland. His underrated solo material, however, has received comparatively less attention. A fusion of classic R&B and hip hop, Tank's work further impresses with his malleable voice and catchy hooks. These elements are on full display on the 2014 single "You're My Star," a standout from the album Stronger. Born Durrell Babbs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin before later moving to Clinton, Maryland, Tank honed his singing skills in the church choir. He got his start as

DVD Review: Heart -- Alive In Seattle

A fantastic homecoming concert for Ann and Nancy Wilson and Heart.
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In 2002, Heart went on their "Summer of Love" tour. The tour mixed hits from their extensive catalog with well-chosen covers and a handful of new songs. The tour culminated with a memorable stop in the group's hometown of Seattle, WA. The show was filmed and makes up the DVD Heart -- Alive in Seattle. Originally released in 2003, this strong performance is available once again on DVD. The group comes out swinging with a terrific "Crazy On You." Ann Wilson is in strong voice, challenging herself from the outset on this number with no shortage of high notes. For

DVD Review: Pete Townshend's Deep End -- Face The Face

Pete Townshend's Deep End gives an explosive performance on Rockpalast in 1986.
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In 1986, Pete Townshend was in the midst of a series of shows for his concept album White City: A Novel. For the performances, he assembled an all-star band known as Pete Townshend's Deep End, many of who played on the album, including David Gilmour on guitar and vocals and Simon Phillips on drums. On January 29, 1986, the group made an appearance on the famed German TV show, Rockpalast. Long available as a bootleg, the show is finally being released officially as a DVD/CD set titled Pete Townshend's Deep End -- Face The Face. The show mixes White City

CD Review: Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996

Bryan Adams' triumphant Wembley Stadium show, now available on CD.
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During his career, Bryan Adams arguably reached the peak of his popularity, at least in Europe, during the mid 1990s. Nowhere was this more evident than in England, where Adams performed before 70,000 fans at historic Wembley Stadium. Coming not quite a year after the successful DVD release of this memorable performance comes a two-CD set of the same show, Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996. Adams opens the show with two offerings from his then-new album, 18 Til I Die -- the Stones-influenced "The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You" and the garage rock of "Do

DVD Review - Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996

Bryan Adams delivers before a packed house at Wembley Stadium.
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In 1996, Bryan Adams was riding the success of his album 18 Til I Die, an album that moderately well in the U.S., but especially well in Europe. His gig in London's famed Wembley Stadium to a packed house of 70,000 fans is proof positive. The memorable performance was filmed and makes up the DVD Bryan Adams - Wembley Live 1996. The show opens with a pair of songs from 18 Til I Die, the Stones-influenced "The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You" and the garage rock of "Do To You." The former finds the band locked

DeepSoul Salutes Bill Withers: "Soul Shadows" (with the Crusaders)

The final entry in DeepSoul's salute to the legendary singer looks at one of the more obscure - and underrated - tracks in his catalog.
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By 1980, Bill Withers began collaborating with other artists; he subsequently scored one of the biggest hits of his career with 1981's "Just the Two of Us," a smooth track also featuring Grover Washington, Jr. A year before that single, however, Withers worked with the famed group the Crusaders on the track "Soul Shadows." The band's brand of smooth jazz-funk perfectly suits Wither's unadorned voice, resulting in a sophisticated song that should have received more attention upon its release. Due to ongoing disputes with his label Columbia, Withers was unable to record his own albums from 1979-1985. To remain in

DeepSoul Salutes Bill Withers: "Hello Like Before"

The 1975 ballad typifies the soul singer's deeply personal songwriting and vocal style.
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By 1975, Bill Withers was at a professional crossroads. His previous record label, Sussex, had collapsed, forcing him to sign with Columbia. While he subsequently released albums containing hits such as "Lovely Day" and "I Want to Spend the Night," Withers was unhappy with the label. He felt he had lost control over his material, thus in the late 70s/early 80s he focused on collaborations with the Crusaders and Grover Washington, Jr. After the unhappy experience recording 1985's Watching You Watching Me, Withers would depart Columbia and struggle with career direction. Before that stage, however, Withers seemed to be off

Celebrating Prince On His 59th Birthday

Remembering the iconic visionary and one of his greatest songs on what would have been his 59th birthday...
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"No, I don't think about gone. I just think about in the future when I don't want to speak in real time." Today is Prince's 59th birthday and it's impossible not to notice the massive void in the present tense since his passing. I was devastated at the news like millions around the world but a friend and fellow follower of His Purple Badness told me she was not going to be sad. Prince's music was filled with joy and had been a soundtrack to many a good time and great night and that wasn't how she was going

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