Sunday  August 8th, 2004


New CD's this past week:

- Al Jarreau Accentuate the positive
- Stephanie Mills Born for this

Music news stories this week:
Funk Singer Rick James Found Dead In His Home

Funk singer Rick James, best known for the 1981 hit Super Freak, died
Friday, apparently of natural causes, police said.
He died in his sleep sometime during the morning of Friday, August 6.
He was found in bed at roughly at 9 AM by his personal assistant and was
pronounced dead at 9:20 when paramedics arrived.
Officer Esther Reyes, a Police Department spokeswoman said:.
"He died apparently of natural causes. We learned of his death after
responding to a radio call."
After his big hit, James' fame began to fade as he became embroiled in
legal problems and health troubles.
James was convicted in 1993 of assaulting two women. The first attack
occurred in 1991 when he restrained and burned a young woman with a hot
pipe during a cocaine binge at his house in West Hollywood. He was free on
bail when the second assault occurred in 1992 in James' hotel room.
James was sentenced to more than two years in state prison.
In 1997, he released a new album, but a year later he suffered a stroke
while performing at Denver's Mammoth Events Center, derailing a comeback
In 1998 he also underwent hip replacement surgery.
An autopsy Saturday failed to determine the cause of death. The singer was a
diabetic and also had a pacemaker.
His three children daughter Ty and sons Rick Jr. and Tazman said Friday
through a spokeswoman that they believe their father died of heart failure.
Officials are awaiting results of a toxicology test, which could take several
weeks, said Lt. David Smith, supervising investigator of the Los Angeles
County coroner's office.


R&B Singer Ronald Isley Has Minor Stroke

Soul veteran Ronald Isley, the lead singer with the Isley Brothers, has
suffered a minor stroke, but hopes to resume performing as soon as
possible, a spokeswoman for his record label said on Thursday.
Isley, 63, felt unwell while walking along a street in London last Friday,
checked into a local hospital for a few days, and has since returned to
his home in St. Louis, Mo., said the spokeswoman at Def Soul Classics.
She said his speech did not appear to be affected, and he had assured the
label that he would be fine and wanted to get back on the road quickly.
Ronald Isley founded the Isley Brothers with older siblings Rudolph and
O'Kelly in the 1950s, and the group made it big in the ensuing decades
with such soul classics as "Twist and Shout" and "This Old Heart of Mine."
The band's most recent album, "Body Kiss," topped the U.S. pop charts last
year, and Ronald Isley subsequently collaborated with composer Burt
Bacharach on an album featuring reworked versions of Bacharach-David
nuggets like "Alfie" and "Close to You."


Anita Baker New Album Features Babyface, George Duke And Gerald Albright

The September 7th release date for Anita Baker's first album in ten years,
My Everything, is drawing closer, but other details about the new set have
been closely guarded. The first single, "You Are My Everything," has
already been embraced by urban AC and smooth jazz radio. The track, which
was produced by Barry Eastmond, is Number Nine on the national smooth jazz
chart, and Number One at urban AC.
The album features ten tracks, with special musical guests George Duke on
keyboards and Gerald Albright on saxophone. Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds
also co-wrote "Like You Used To Do" with Baker and performs it with her as
well. There is also a second version of "You Are My Everything" included
on the set.
The track listing for the album is: "You're My Everything," "How Could
You," "In My Heart," "Serious," "How Does It Feel," "Like You Used To Do,"
"Close Your Eyes," "You're My Everything Revisited," "I Can't Sleep," and
"Men In My Life."


Maxwell Putting Fnishing Touches On Fourth Album

R&B singer Maxwell has been out of the limelight for almost two years. The
singer's last release was 2001's platinum, Now, but according to his
friend and frequent collaborator, producer Stuart Matthewman, he is
currently putting the finishing touches on a new album.
Matthewman explained that Maxwell simply needed a break: "But yeah no,
he's doing his thing, Maxwell. He's writing. He just needed a break. He
needed to, like Sade, I guess have something to write about, you know.
He's going through changes and stuff, so."
Matthewman added: "He nearly had his record finished then he was making some
changes. We've kinda of not really worked much yet so we'll probably get
to do a couple of tracks eventually, hopefully."
Maxwell's untitled fourth album is tentatively scheduled for release in
November according to his label, Columbia Records.
In addition to working with Maxwell on all three of his studio albums,
Matthewman has been Sade's guitarist and producer. The talented
multi-instrumentalist also recently released the second album, Stage 2,
from his group, Sweetback, which includes two other members of Sade's

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