Sunday December 4th, 2005
New CD's this past week:
- Chris Brown - Chris Brown
Music news headlines this week:
Mary J. Blige To Portray Legendary Singer
Nina Simone In Film
Mary J. Blige is set to star in an as-yet-untitled biopic that will focus
on the rise of late, legendary jazz/soul singer Nina Simone. It will be
the singer's first starring role in a film (she made her big-screen debut
alongside Q-Tip and Fat Joe in 2001's "Prison Song").
The film, an MTV Films/ Paramount Pictures project, will also take a look
at Simone's relationship with Paris-based manager Clifton Henderson.
Simone's eclectic career took off during the 1960s, and the singer was
renowned for her powerful jazz ballads and protest songs, including
"Mississippi Goddam" and "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black" — the latter,
subsequently covered by Aretha Franklin and many others, served as an
anthem for the civil rights movement. Simone essentially retired in the
mid-1970s and eventually moved to France, where she died in 2003.
The film will be produced by Interscope Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine
along with Lauren Lloyd, Gene Kirkwood and Eminem's manager, Paul
Rosenberg. A director has not been named, but the screenplay will be
penned by television writer Cynthia Mort ("Will & Grace," "Roseanne").
In the meantime, Blige's seventh studio full-length, The Breakthrough, is
set to hit stores on December 20
Hamilton Gearing Up For New Album
Success has not spoiled Anthony Hamilton.
His refreshing, keep-it-real attitude is still intact - even after selling
1.2 million copies of his debut album, 'Coming From Where I`m From,' and
rubbing musical elbows with the likes of Carlos Santana, the Game and
'I don`t get it twisted,' Hamilton says during a photo shoot in New York
for his sophomore release, 'Ain`t Nobody Worryin`,' due Dec. 13.
'I haven`t started wearing shades at night,' he adds. 'And I don`t break
all the rules at clubs. When I was recording in Charlotte [N.C.], I`d sing
a little bit and then get some potato salad from my mama`s house. I need
That laid-back attitude has served Hamilton well during a nearly 11-year
odyssey, and it is the approach he brought to the studio while prepping to
record the new album.
Instead of going in with a strategic plan, Hamilton says he simply wanted
to tap back into the winning combination of his first album: great songs
that allow him to convey raw emotion.
'I didn`t want to stray too far,' the recently married Hamilton says. 'You
can lose your audience that way. I just wanted to make sure the songs were
good enough for me to listen to. I`m very picky. It may sound cocky, but
I`m a fan of my voice. I don`t want to hear any crap.'
His buttered-rum voice is reminiscent of such classic R&B singers as Bobby
Womack. It is put to good use ('singing my tail off' in Hamilton-speak) on
lead single 'Can`t Let Go.'
Between albums, Hamilton suffered a setback when he 'blew a gasket' and
bruised his vocal cords. On doctor`s orders, he was told to remain silent
for three months.
'Once I did that, I recorded four major songs for the album in one week,'
Now back in form, he has also locked down several guest stints, including
an appearance on Santana`s new album, 'All That I Am.'
Of that experience, Hamilton says, 'He`s a legend. I`m glad we got the
chance to do it.'
Itching to get back on tour, Hamilton says he has learned a lot during the
last several years. 'You have to learn how to play some of the industry
games of business and politics without losing your soul. I pray to God I
make the right moves _ and don`t step on anybody`s toes.
The Temptations Reflecting On 15 Classic Motown Songs On New Album
Finally, The Temptations, one of the most popular singing groups of all
time, perform the Motown classics they always loved but never had the
chance to record. Putting a fresh spin on 15 of Motown's greatest songs,
"Reflections" (New Door/UMe) will be released January 31, 2006. "Motown is
the soundtrack of our lives," says Otis Williams. "These are songs we have
always wanted to do, and now, happily, we have had a chance to do them."
This is the 47th album of new recordings from the incomparable
Temptations, their first album for New Door Records, a UMe label venture.
Forty-five years after forming in Detroit, The Temptations bring some of
the most memorable songs in pop and R&B to life like no other group,
adding their signature harmonies to these timeless classics. Forty-one
years after the last time they issued an album with a similar theme
(1965's "The Temptations Sing Smokey"), "Reflections" is a reflection of
artists who were there when Motown made history. Otis Williams, the
remaining founding member, actually observed the recording of The
Supremes' original version of "Reflections." Temptation G.C. Cameron, once
a member of The Spinners at Motown, was also a frequent presence in the
Five tracks are from the legendary Holland-Dozier-Holland writing and
production team, with whom The Temptations didn't record much in the
1960s. On "Reflections," The Temps pounce on the material with gusto: they
put a haunting, modern R&B stamp on the title track (#2 for The Supremes
in 1967); deliver a raucous rendition of "Can I Get A Witness" (Top 25 for
Marvin Gaye in 1963), have fun with "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)"
(Top 10 for Gaye in 1965) and "This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)"
(Top 15 for the Isley Brothers in 1966); and are in a melancholy mood in
"I Hear A Symphony" (#1 for The Supremes in 1965).
The Temptations also tackle two songs that were hits for Gaye and Tammi
Terrell: "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" (Top 10 Pop/#1 R&B in 1968),
with guest vocals by Vann Johnson, and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"
(Top 20 Pop in 1967 and #1 Pop for Diana Ross in 1970). In addition,
"Reflections" boasts their energetic take on "Ooo Baby Baby," the 1965 Pop
Top 20 Smokey Robinson & The Miracles hit, as well as a pair of tracks
first made famous in 1970 by the Jackson 5 -- aching, sensuous versions of
"Never Can Say Goodbye" (#1 R&B/#2 Pop) and "I'll Be There" (#1 Pop and
The Temptations also put their unmistakable stamp for the first time on
"Don't Leave Me This Way," Thelma Houston's #1 disco anthem from 1977
(originally performed by Philly's Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes, Motown
and Thelma made it a classic). Temptations Ron Tyson, Terry Weeks and
Cameron trade off electrifying lead vocals on "Neither One Of Us (Wants To
Be The First To Say Goodbye)," a 1973 R&B #1 from Gladys Knight & The
Pips; and on "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted," originally a 1966 Top 10
Pop and R&B hit for Jimmy Ruffin, brother of former Temp David Ruffin.
One song they did previously record but as a duet with The Supremes in
1968 is "Try It Baby," which had been a Pop Top 20 for Gaye in 1964. Vann
Johnson again guests on the track. Diana's 1970 Pop Top 20 "Reach Out And
Touch (Somebody's Hand)" is the album's perfect closer, a song more and
more relevant to our times. Eight of the album's tracks are produced by
Steve "The Scotsman" Harvey (Bridgette McWilliams, Donnie, Everyday
People) with the balance produced and arranged by Benjamin Wright
(OutKast, Justin Timberlake, Destiny's Child, Aretha Franklin, Michael
Jackson, Janet Jackson), both of whom have produced recent Temptations
The Temps' new millennium triumphs include 2000's Grammy-winning, Top 20
R&B "Ear-Resistable"; 2001's Top 30 R&B "Awesome," and 2004's Top 20 R&B
"Legacy." In 2006, The Temptations, of Williams, Tyson (member since 1983,
the lineup's second longest tenure), Cameron, Weeks and bass singer Joe
Herndon, continue to raise the standard by which all singing groups are