James Brown – Say It Loud – I’m Black And I’m Proud

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The funk gem “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” is a song written and recorded by James Brown in 1968. It is notable both as one of Brown’s signature songs and as one of the most popular “black power” anthems of the 1960s. The song was released as a two-part single which held the number-one spot on the R&B singles chart for six weeks, and peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100.Both parts of the single were later included on a 1969 album of the same name.
“Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” was the first Brown recording to feature trombonist Fred Wesley, who went on to become the bandleader of The J.B.’s.

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Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds – Out of the Blue

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Out of the Blue marked Chris Farlowe’s return to American soul music and blues, after a decade-long hiatus caused by a road accident injury and a series of gigs with other players. It was as though he’d picked up right where he’d left off at Immediate Records in 1970, without skipping a beat — opening with Willie Dixon’s “I Ain’t Superstitious,” he sounds so American and so black that listeners could still do double-takes after 20 years in the spotlight for the singer. “The Thrill Is Gone” and “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” are among the best cuts, but the whole album is worthwhile and then some.

When Chris Farlowe had a chance meeting with legendary record producer Mike Vernon (John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac and many more), he hadn’t made an album of new material for over ten years. So with a new Thunderbirds lineup of Mo Witham on guitar, Tim Hinkley on Keyboards, Big George Webley on bass, Feelgoods drummer The Big Figure on drums and Steve Gregory playing saxophones he entered Mike’s studio in Chipping Norton to record what was to become this album, Out of the Blue. Ex Thunderbird guitarist Albert Lee also makes an appearance here and there. The bonus tracks featured here were recorded in New York in late 1969 for Polydor Records in the USA but were never released. They have been previously released on the “Rock n Roll Soldier Anthology,” which is no longer available. This is Chris Farlowe doing what he does best, singing the blues.

 

Felix Cabrera – For Green

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Felix Cabrera releases his 4th recording titled “For Green”; offering a mixture of Blues with R & B, Rock and Latin grooves. The CD contains nine tracks – seven original songs plus one Bob Dylan track, “Please Crawl Out Your Window”; and one Leiber/Stoller track, “I Keep Forgettin'”.Most of the many dozens of blues albums released every year aren’t worth the powder to blow them up. Blues is simple, traditional music that rewards personal expression but rarely gets any. Cuban-born harmonica ace Felix Cabrera may be under the spell of Paul Butterfield (and that’s not
all bad), but his feeling for the music is all the way there. The Cuban touches are subtle — a bass part here, a touch of clave and congas there — because Cabrera knows that a little goes a long way in the blues. With his collaborator of 30 years, guitarist Arthur Neilson, Cabrera created a modest treasure; a snappy, unpretentious blues record with a lot of grit, grace and charm.

Andre Williams – That’s All I Need

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Andre Williams’ life has been one wild ride — he cut some powerfully greasy singles for Fortune Records in the 1950s, was a staff songwriter and producer at Motown and Chess Records, worked with the likes of Ike Turner, George Clinton, and Stevie Wonder in the ’60s and ’70s, and after a few years down and out’ came roaring back in the ’90s with the roots-punk assault of his albums Silky and The Black Godfather. But the road got a bit too rough for comfort a few years into the new millennium, and 2010’s That’s All I Need was cut after Williams went through a stay in the hospital and a stint in rehab, and one press release reports this is the first album he’s recorded entirely clean and sober. The 74-year-old Williams does sound better controlled and less frantic on That’s All I Need, but the songs suggest that getting straight hasn’t changed him all that much — “There Ain’t No Such Thing As Good Dope” is a tale of street life that focuses on money rather than personal health, on “Cigarettes and My Old Lady,” he wonders which is going to kill him first, he recalls adventures both good and bad on “My Time Will Come” and once again insists he’s got the skills to be your lover man on “Tricks.” Williams produced this set in collaboration with Matthew Smith (who, after overseeing sessions with Nathaniel Mayer and Scott Morgan, seems to be making a career out of working with legends of Michigan R&B), and Smith has put together a tight, emphatic band for That’s All I Need, with Motown guitar legend Dennis Coffey working alongside underground rock stalwarts Troy Gregory, Dave Shettler, and Mike Alonso. That’s All I Need isn’t as fiery as some of Williams’ recent efforts, but this is music that clearly aims for a feel that’s soulful rather than manic, and on that level it works very well, especially on the confessional “Amends” and the title tune. 54 years after his first hit record, Andre Williams still has plenty to say and can conjure up a tough, funky groove that comes straight from the heart, and That’s All I Need suggests he may have another decade or two of potent music left in him.

 

Buddy Guy – Live at Legends

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A pretty great late live set from Buddy Guy – who’s tearing it up at his namesake Legends club in Chicago! Buddy’s been throwing it down for years at Legends during annual winter residencies – which can be among the tougher tickets to score in the winter live club scene around here – so it’s a bit surprising that there hasn’t been a proper live document before the top notch Live At Legends! Better late than never. It kicks off with a profane stage intro that lets you know that Buddy and his band aren’t messing around or coasting on reputation, before they shake the roof with “Best Damn Fool”, “Mannish Boy”, “I Just Want To Make Love To You”, “Damn Right I Got The Blues”, “Skin Deep” and a couple killer medleys: “Boom Boom/Strange Brew” and “Voodoo Chile/Sunshine Of Your Love”. The CD also includes 3 bonus studio recordings: “Polka Dot Love”, “Country Boy” and “Coming For You” – the latter featuring The Memphis Horns.