Sunday July 9th, 2006
New CD's this past week:
None to report
Music news headlines this week:
Berry Gordy Calls For More Musical Responsibility
Motown founder Berry Gordy had strong words about the state of R&B and
hip-hop music during a recent speech in Philadelphia. Receiving a Lifetime
Achievement Award from presenters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff of
Philadelphia International at the 2006 Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer
Awards, Gordy noted that the music and the industry around it is suffering
from a lack of love and responsibility.
Without citing any specific artists, labels, or styles of music, Gordy
acknowledged the negative imagery in today's music and encouraged the
audience of R&B veterans as well as newly minted artists to take the high
road: ["There are many evil forces throughout the world and they seem to
be taking over. They're taking over because of the lack of love. There is
more greed, money and power, and the idea that anything is OK if people
are willing to pay the price for it, is wrong."]
Noting the power of money to cloud people's judgment, Gordy continued:
["And it really all boils down to, how do you feel about yourself? Are you
a good guy or a bad guy? My feeling is that there are way more good guys
than bad. While the bad guys are fewer in number, they have made bad very
popular. And good people get hooked on it, and pay big money for it."]
Gordy made his speech at the Pioneer Awards last Thursday (June 29th) at
the Park Hyatt Bellevue, where the previous evening he spoke on a panel
featuring Gamble & Huff, founders of Philadelphia International, and Al
Bell, head of Memphis label Stax, as well as former Motown exec and artist
Smokey Robinson, songwriter and fellow Pioneer Award honoree Thom Bell,
and others. It was the first time that the heads of the three major black
music labels of the '60s and '70s had come together anywhere.
India.Arie Tops Albums Chart With Her Testimony
India.Arie 's brand new album, Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship, has
landed at Number One in its first week on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
The set sold 161,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen
SoundScan. Billboard.com notes that the singer may have gotten a sales
boost from her dynamic appearance alongside Chaka Khan, Prince, Stevie
Wonder and Yolanda Adams on last week's BET Awards ceremony.
It's vindication for Arie, who says she was a little nervous about
reception for the album, which is very different in sound and style from
her previous album, 2002's Voyage To India. Arie invited Bonnie Raitt and
the Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox to appear on Testimony: Vol. 1, which also
features Arie performing a Don Henley song and even playing the trumpet.
"Not giving people what they expect from me might turn them off," Arie
admitted to Billboard. "In the music industry you have to be conscious of
that. But that takes a back seat to doing what's honest for me. I place
this in faith, not fear, that it will work."
Arie also added that the term "neo-soul" is not an accurate description of
what she and many other artists are currently doing. "It was coined to
make money. You know, 'This is a special kind of water in a special glass
that costs $15 instead of $9.' That's what the music industry is about,"
she declared. "But that's not what I'm about. I never called myself or my
music that. That's what bothered me: They were seeking to define a bunch
of artists defying definition. So we were put in this box. How dare you
tag someone to make people feel comfortable?"
Brian McKnight To Duet With Jill Scott On New Album
Brian McKnight is currently writing songs for his first album on the
Warner Bros. album. His tenth album overall will be titled 10 and will
describe his life after his divorce. Due in the fall, 10 will also feature
a duet with Jill Scott, titled "More Than Just a Thang."
McKnight's 10 will be the follow-up to 2005's Gemini, which debuted at
Number Four on the Billboard 200.
The singer-songwriter has other projects in the works. He plans to shoot a
pilot for a weekly talk/music TV show later this month.
Bobby Brown Booed During New Edition Reunion At Essence Festival
Though fans were excited by the prospect of seeing the original members of
New Edition perform together once more, Bobby Brown's antics at Sunday's
Essence Music Festival show in Houston caused them to boo him from the
As New Edition members Ronnie DeVoe, Ricky Bell, Ralph Tresvant, Michael
Bivins and Johnny Gill went through their paces with slick choreography,
earning cheers from the crowd, Brown tried to grab the spotlight by
running around the stage wildly performing raunchy dance moves. He then
left the Reliant Center's stage, and New Edition performed several of the
group's well-known ballads.
But his performance descended into more raunchy dance moves and talk about
his sex life with wife Whitney Houston. Brown wrapped up with a shirtless
performance of "My Prerogative," which by then had fans reportedly booing
and screaming for him to leave the stage.
Just a week earlier at the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards in Los Angeles, the
group's Ricky Bell noted that any reunion with Brown, who went solo in
1989, was bound to be unpredictable. He said: "It's been crazy (laughs).
You know how Bob is, he's ... always the unexpected. You never know
what you're gonna get with Bob. But I mean, honestly, he's been real
cooperative, he's been showing up on time, and doing... I mean, he's been
real respectful. So I mean, we've been having a ball with Bob."
Frankie Beverly Says He & Maze To Record Again
Frankie Beverly and members of his group Maze were on hand in Philadelphia
last Thursday (June 29th) to be honored at the 2006 Rhythm & Blues
Foundation Pioneer Awards, which pay tribute to veterans of rhythm &
blues. The event, held at the Park Hyatt Bellevue, featured an impromptu
performance by Beverly as he accepted the group's award.
Beloved by fans for hits spanning three decades, including "We Are One,"
"Golden Time Of Day," "Happy Feelin's," and more, Maze and Beverly, the
group's lead singer, songwriter and producer, sold albums but rarely
reached the top of the charts. Beverly said what the honor means to
him: "Because we seldom get any sort of recognition in terms of awards,
this is such a big deal. Especially from Philly, cause we still are very,
very much a Philly group. So it's more than what I can put into words. And
I want to make it clear we have been rewarded richly. We don't get a lot
of awards but we have gotten more than enough rewards and it shows now.
This is very, very high point for us."
After being plagued by vocal problems for the past few years, Beverly says
that he is on the mend and the group plans to go back into the studio:
"Yes, yes, I've spoken to this in the past. I've had some voice problems
in the past, but they're actually coming along now. So I've been writing,
doing a lot of writing the last year or so. Look to actually get into the
studio before the year is out. And if the Lord's willing maybe early next
year something new will come. "
The most recent studio album by Maze was the 1993 release Back To Basics.