Sunday April 30th, 2006                                                  HOME


New CD's this past week:

- Avant - Director
- Ben E. King - I've been around
- Amel Larrieux - Morning
- Rihanna - A girl like me


Music news headlines this week:


Teena Marie Says News Album “Sapphire” Is Dedicated To Rick James

Singer Teena Marie says that her upcoming album Sapphire is dedicated to
the late Rick James, her mentor, friend, and occasional collaborator who
died in August of 2004. The album is titled after an unreleased song by
Marie, who celebrated her 50th birthday on Sunday, March 5th, says that
she still misses James and hasn't really allowed herself to grieve fully
for the punk funk innovator. She says: "I miss him cursing me out (laughs)
a lot, I really miss that, 'cause we loved each other very much but we
fought a lot too because we're very different people. Both very, very
creative and very respectful of each other's creativity. But Rick was like
the total opposite of me. And I was one of the ones who wouldn't allow him
to do whatever he wanted to do."
The first single from Sapphire, "Ooh Wee," got off to a strong start at
radio, something that still thrills the veteran performer. Said Marie:
"It was the most-added record on AC R&B in March, so that
was exciting. And they're telling me that it's getting off to a really
good start, so this is just the beginning."
Sapphire is out next tuesday May 9th from Cash Money Classics. The new
album will be the follow-up to Marie's smash 2004 set La Dona, her first
commercially released album in 13 years.


Ann Nesby Debuts On Two Charts, Granddaughter Paris Survices On 'Idol'

Powerhouse vocalist Ann Nesby got two treats this week: her granddaughter
Paris Bennett escaped the bottom two to continue in the final five for the
American Idol crown Wednesday night, and her new gospel album In The
Spirit debuted on two Billboard charts. The new album, released on her own
It's Time Child label through Shanachie, bounced onto the Top Gospel
Albums chart at Number 19 and onto the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart at Number
Nesby's fourth solo effort includes 12 inspirational tracks, including
versions of Bill Withers' "Grandma's Hands" and Stevie Wonder's "Heaven Is
One Zillion Light Years Away."
A former lead singer with the Minneapolis choir and band Sounds Of
Blackness, Nesby has also earned two Grammy Awards, one with the Sounds
for their 1991 debut Evolution of Gospel, and the second for her
contribution to the all-star album Handel's Messiah: A Soulful
Celebration. Nesby is featured on the Sounds' current album, Unity, which
was honored with a Stellar Award this year.
Nesby's daughter Jamecia Bennett is Paris' mother. Jamecia, also a singer,
has also performed with Sounds Of Blackness.


Beyoncé Back In The Studio

Beyoncé is back in the studio to record the follow-up to her bestselling
solo debut, "Dangerously In Love."
According to, Beyoncé is working on her new album with producer
Sean Garrett, who says the singer is "vibrant" and "happy" and that the
recording is going well. "The songs are sick," he boasted.
Garrett has also spent some studio time with another famous singer: Fergie
from the Black Eyed Peas. Garrett worked on the track "London Bridge,"
which is set to appear on Fergie's forthcoming solo album.


India.Arie Bumps New Album To June

Originally scheduled for May 9, India.Arie's third album, "Testimony: Vol.
1, Life & Relationships," will now arrive June 27 via Universal Motown.
The project features guest appearances from a diverse group of artists,
including R&B vocalist Akon, superstar country act Rascal Flatts and Bela
Fleck and the Flecktones bassist Victor Wooten.
After previewing tracks for members of the media yesterday (April 25) in
New York, Arie performed three songs live, along with guitarist/vocalist
Blue Miller of the Gibson-Miller Band. The pair has written several songs
As the album's title attests, the disc revolves around self-love and
relationships. Arie says she originally hoped to name the album
"India'Song" but couldn't due to legal issues. "'Testimony' is like the
emphatic [release] of your experiences and how God has blessed you," she
said of the current title. "It's very much symbolic of what I've been
going through for the past year putting this project together."
In addition to playing the guitar, Arie has also added the piano to her
repertoire. "I had to try really hard to have the courage to try something
new," she said.
"Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationships" will be the follow-up to her
2002 album "Voyage to India," which bowed at No. 6 on The Billboard 200
and has sold over 1 million copies in the United States, according to
Nielsen SoundScan.


Soul Stars Saluting Motown & Philly Hits

The Motown-Philly connection Boyz II Men once sang about is alive and well
and taking the form of the album "A Soulful Tale of Two Cities." The
project is the brainchild of Phil Hurtt, a Philadelphia International
songwriter who co-wrote the Spinners' "I'll Be Around" with Thom Bell.
Hurtt and his cohorts are working in studios in the Detroit suburb of
Dearborn and Philadelphia, where Motown singers are recording classic
Philly soul songs and the Philly artists are doing the same with Motown
hits. The final product will feature 46 tracks spread across two CDs.
Hurtt's Soul Renaissance Records hopes to release the album in June, with
the first singles -- one Motown and one Philly song -- due May 16.
"It's one camp honoring the other camp, and vice versa," says Soul
Renaissance vice-president Theo Primas, who is serving as the project's
co-executive producer. "It's two great bodies of music that constitute
what you can call the soundtrack of our lives. The artists are still here
and vibrant, and we have not forgotten about them."
The Detroit contingent includes George Clinton ("Expressway to Your
Heart," "Love Don't Let Me Wait"), Freda Payne ("Betcha By Golly, Wow,"
"When Will I See You Again"), Lamont Dozier ("Me and Mrs. Jones," "Close
the Door"), the Velvelettes ("People Make the World Go Round," "One of a
Kind Love Affair"), the Temptations' Ollie Woodson ("Stairway to Heaven"
-- the O'Jays, not Led Zeppelin), Chapter 8's Carolyn Crawford ("Didn't I
(Blow Your Mind This Time)") and the Vancouvers' Bobby Taylor ("Sadie,"
"If You Don't Know Me by Now").
The Philly corps features Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge ("Superstition,"
"Dancing in the Street"), Jean Carne ("Higher Ground," Ted Mills of Blue
Magic ("Shop Around," "Just My Imagination (Runnin' Away With Me)"),
Barbara Mason ("Get Ready," "My Baby Loves Me"), the Delfonics' William
Hart ("Just Ask the Lonely," "Darling Forever"), Russell Thompkins, Jr.,
of the Stylistics ("Ain't That Peculiar," "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's
Over)"), Bunny Sigler ("Stop! In the Name of Love," "Ooh Baby Baby,"
"Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing"), the Trammps' Jimmy Ellis ("Shotgun,"
"Isn't She Lovely") and Hurtt ("Girl's Alright With Me").
Sigler and Carne team up on "Fire and Desire," while Sigler and Hurtt have
recorded a rendition of the Temptations' rarity "I Need You."
Motown's Funk Brothers and Philadelphia International's MFSB are also
participating in the project, which is still being recorded. Other
artists, including Motown's Kim Weston, are being added. A DVD from the
sessions will be released, and some sort of live presentation -- and
possibly a tour -- is being investigated.


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