Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Her Life: Mary J. Blige @ Soul Summer

http://www.plong.com/MusicCatalog%5CM%5CMary%20J.%20Blige%20-%20My%20Life%5CMary%20J.%20Blige%20-%20My%20Life.jpgIn years past, when Mary J. Blige’s primary claim to fame was being known as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul signed to Uptown Records, she wasn’t above cursing out writers, sniffing coke in nightclub bathrooms, or stumbling drunk through music industry parties. Yet, in the eighteen years since the release of her triple-platinum debut What’s the 411 in 1992, the former wild child who came of age in Yonkers during the 1980s golden years of crack and rap, has transformed.

Though she grew up to win nine Grammy Awards, to write (and co-write) countless hit songs, and to make duets with Jay-Z, Bono, George Michael Elton John and Trey Songz, she still struggles with abuse issues from her childhood and the self-inflicted sorrow she put herself through as an adult. From drink to drugs to abusive men, she’s been down that rock ‘n’ soul road. However, as can be heard on Stronger With Each Tear, her ninth studio album, Mary J. Blige is still striving for strength in her music as well as her life.

http://icannotblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Mary-J-Blige-stronger-with-each-tear-300x300.jpgReflecting back, 2009 was a very good year for Mary. Beginning with her televised performance covering Bill Wither’s classic “Lean on Me” at We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration in February, she also co-starred in director Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself alongside Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson, launched her charity Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN), and contributed “I Can See in Color” to the controversial film Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.

“You can feel Mary creatively turning herself inside out on that song,” says Precious executive producer Lisa Cortes. “Her contribution to the film is a heartfelt song that elevates the emotion of the scene. It was obvious to me that Mary took her own pain and put it into her art.”

Recently Soul Summer lunched with Mary J. Blige over steak and potatoes as she talked about past accomplishments, future projects, and the soul of Nina Simone.

For the rest of this interview, go to:

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Curtis Mayfield and the Black Rock Connection

http://static.rateyourmusic.com/album_images/77d3bcc17d4dbc53f6f9f2ed1275fb1f/48646.jpg [babyhuey~~~_babyhueys_101b.jpg] While Curtis Mayfield was always been considered one of the greatest soul voices to come out of Chicago, his guitar playing was often so understated that rock fans used to the dramatics of Jimmy Page, Prince or Carlos Santana might be weary to cite him as an influence. Yet, since the days when he was still strumming an acoustic while singing churchy sounding songs “It’s All Right” and “Amen” with the Impressions, his playing was an influence on dudes like Clapton, Beck and Steve Winwood.

Another fan of the Impressions (and of Curtis’ guitar playing) was Jimi Hendrix. According to Jimi Hendrix: In His Own Words (Omnibus Press, 1994), the voodoo chile rocker once said, “I like the Impressions…they’re some people that need to be really, really respected. See, these are classical composers. I don’t care what their music sounds like today, because today, as things are happening at that particular time, the people that’s in that particular time don’t really know the value of it until it dies off. But now people really have to start learning the value of things as they’re living today.”


Almost makes you wish brother Jimi could’ve lived long enough to see Curtis throwing down with wah-wah, feedback, fuzz and other electro-gadgets that caused strange music to erupt from the speakers. Tracks like “Billy Jack,” Kung Fu,” “Future Shock” and “Freddy’s Dead” captured a whole new level of racial angst and musical distortion in his grooves and licks.



Labels: , , ,