The New York Rock and Soul Revue: Live at the Beacon ~ A GREAT disk i’ve been listening to lately

This was a side project headed by Donald Fagen while Steely Dan were on a bit of a sabbatical in 1991. Stars such as Donald Fagen, Boz Scaggs, Phoebe Snow and Micheal McDonald got together to perform a series of shows backed by an outstanding 16 person backing band.

The shows were properly recorded and the “best”, according to someone, is here. Certainly the tracks here impress and would be highly recommended to Steely Dan fans as three of the tracks are Dan and one Fagen, played subtly differently and in magnificent sound quality.

Phoebe Snow gets a bit overwrought in a couple of places. Otherwise the rest of the singers, superb voices, perform splendid versions of well known songs.

Overall think smooth jazz rock and soul in the vein of Steely Dan and Micheal McDonald recorded superbly well and performed by masters of their respective crafts and you are close to what this album sounds like.

The New York Rock and Soul Revue: Live at the Beacon is a live album which documented the New York Rock and Soul Revue. It was recorded on March 1 and 2, 1991 at the Beacon Theater in New York City, a favorite venue of organizer Donald Fagen. The performances featured Fagen and included Phoebe SnowMichael McDonaldBoz ScaggsEddie BrigatiDavid Brigati and Charles Brown. Selections on the album included a number of songs which were originally written and recorded by members of the revue, as well as other songs. The album was released by Giant Records.

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LISTEN ~ New York Rock & Soul Revue (featuring Michael McDonald) “Minute By Minute” ~~

Gospel Singer Elizabeth King Hits A Musical Milestone At 77

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At the age of 77, Memphis sacred soul singer Elizabeth King is releasing her first full-length album, Living in the Last Days. She talks about it with NPR’s Debbie Elliott.

~~~ LISTEN ~~~

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Listening to Miles this afternoon …

Miles Davis: ‘Kind of Blue’ NPR

~~~ 54-minute Listen ~~~

Miles Davis (October 1959)Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The best-selling jazz record of all time is a universally acknowledged masterpiece, revered as much by rock and classical music fans as by jazz lovers. The album is Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.

Kind of Blue brought together seven now-legendary musicians in the prime of their careers: tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Jimmy Cobb and, of course, trumpeter Miles Davis.

Davis and his cool, measured trumpet style had been attracting attention in the jazz world since the mid-1940s. By 1958, at age 32, Davis was an international jazz star whose playing set the standard for jazz musicians of the day.

And just as younger artists looked to Davis for guidance and inspiration, he looked to them for raw, new talent and innovative musical ideas. In the mid-1950s, Davis discovered gold in the subtle sounds of 25-year-old pianist Bill Evans, whom he recruited into his late-1950s sextet. Evans would prove an essential contributor to the Kind of Blue sessions.

Even before Kind of Blue, Davis was experimenting with “modal” jazz, keeping the background of a tune simple while soloists played a melody over one or two “modes,” or scales, instead of busy chord progressions — the usual harmonic foundation of jazz.

In addition, Evans introduced Davis to classical composers, such as Béla Bartók and Maurice Ravel, who used modalities in their compositions. Davis also drew on his knowledge of the modal qualities in the blues.

With Evans, Davis worked up a few basic compositional sketches, and when the musicians arrived at the studio on March 2, 1959, they were given the outlines. Davis wanted to capture the musicians’ spontaneity — and he wanted to capture it on the first take.

The first tune recorded, “Freddie Freeloader,” is representative of the “first take” magic on the record, and it features the happy, swinging playing of pianist Wynton Kelly, who had recently joined Davis’ sextet.

The second tune recorded that day ended up as the lead and probably best-known album track. “So What” took an unusual tack: bassist Paul Chambers stated the opening melody, and with Evans playing rather unorthodox chords underneath, the song serves as somewhat of a fanfare or overture, hinting at what was in store for the listener.

Davis was at a musical peak in the 1950s and had been preparing the ideas that would become Kind of Blue for years. A year before the recording, Davis slipped Evans a piece of paper on which he’d written with the musical symbols for “G minor” and “A augmented.”

“See what you can do with this,” Davis said. Evans went on to create a cycle of chords as a meditative framework for solos on “Blue in Green.”

The second day of recording did not take place for seven weeks. When the band finally gathered again, this time minus pianist Kelly, the first tune recorded was essentially a series of Flamenco- and North African-derived scales.

Ashley Kahn, author of Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece, says that the resulting recording possesses an almost spiritual quality as the musicians — particularly Coltrane — seemed to take a reverent approach to the composition.

For the tune “All Blues,” Davis again played with the simplest of elements. He took a standard 4/4 time blues and gave it a waltz feel in 6/8. Evans said that was part of Davis’ genius — creating a simple figure that becomes much more. The setting allowed alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley to return to his big-band roots.

To the musicians who recorded it, Kind of Blue was just another session when it was released in August 1959. But the disc was quickly recognized by the jazz community as a classic. Jazz musicians were startled by the truly different sound on an album that laid out a clear roadmap for further modal explorations.

“So What” became the tune, the one that every musician — not just the practitioners of jazz — simply had to know. The other tracks also quickly became standards, and the individual solos throughout the record continue to inspire musicians to this day.

Musicians from all genres perform, record and study the album’s songs, and the influence of the songs on culture beyond music continues to grow. Drummer Cobb says it all comes down to simplicity — the reason Kind of Blue has remained so successful for so long. And because of its inherent balance, historian Dan Morgenstern adds, the album never wears out its welcome.

THE FILM THAT JAZZ DESERVES ~ The New Yorker

Bertrand Tavernier’s “ ’Round Midnight” shows what it means to devote your life to music.

By Howard Fishman

April 7, 2021

Still from Round Midnight showing musicians playing in a jazz club
Jazz musicians play a club, in a scene from “ ’Round Midnight.”Photograph from Warner Bros. / Photofest
  • The jazz world owes a debt of gratitude to the filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier, who died on March 25th, at the age of seventy-nine. The French auteur’s career included such stylistically disparate films as “A Sunday in the Country” and “Death Watch,” but his signature work may be the moody, impressionistic “ ’Round Midnight,” from 1986, about an aging American jazz musician in nineteen-fifties Paris and the admiring fan who befriends and helps him. It’s ironic (and maybe fitting) that it took a foreign director to do justice to a quintessential American art form. “ ’Round Midnight” is the film that jazz deserves.

American jazz movies tend to resemble the “scare films” in driver’s-ed classes, cautionary tales that show what happens when we don’t follow the rules. From “The Jazz Singer,” in 1927, right up through this past year’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” the story that Hollywood has told about jazz is one involving over-the-top caricatures, the lives of its geniuses rife with criminality, runaway libidos, wanton self-destruction, and obsessive madness. If American cinema has a message to impart, it seems to be that jazz musicians are trouble—best observed from a safe (read: morally superior) distance. They’re exotic creatures, these movies say. They’re not like us.

“ ’Round Midnight” is the exception. Tavernier treats the jazz milieu with respect, subtlety, and restraint. (He also co-wrote the screenplay, with David Rayfiel.) There is no overheated drama to be found here. There is a love story, but, rather than a fraught tale of sexual misadventure, it’s a platonic one—and it’s between two men. That one of them is Black and the other is white doesn’t overtly factor into their relationship, a reminder that the opportunity for regular work was not the only reason that many great African-American jazz artists fled to Europe in that era. (The film was inspired, in part, by Francis Paudras’s “Dance of the Infidels,” an account of the pianist Bud Powell’s expatriate years in France.)

Tavernier’s elegiac film shows us scenes of musicians as real, three-dimensional people: plying their wares each night, talking about life, listening to records, sharing meals, taking walks. They’re funny and flawed, imperfect yet dignified. Some tropes do appear—the central character struggles with alcohol dependence, and there is a fast-talking New York manager (played by Martin Scorsese)—but these are treated with a soft touch.

Tavernier’s best decision was entrusting the lead role to the saxophone legend Dexter Gordon, who infuses every frame he appears in with a kind of insouciant gravitas. (His acolyte is played by François Cluzet.) Although only in his early sixties when the film was shot, Gordon was “very old for his age,” the film’s producer, Irwin Winkler, told me. He seems ancient, and not of this world. His character interacts with everyday reality as much as is required of him—to place an order, to introduce a tune, to offer some gentle wisdom to a small child. But whether speaking, playing, or simply in repose, what Gordon exudes most is philosophical detachment, the melancholy knowledge that the life he has chosen demands that he keep some part of himself separate, ready to heed the call of his muse when he takes the stage each night. “My life is music. My love is music. And it’s twenty-four hours a day,” Gordon’s character says. His heavyweight, world-weary performance is that of someone who knows that his days are numbered, like Robert Ryan, in John Frankenheimer’s adaptation of “The Iceman Cometh,” or Richard Farnsworth, in David Lynch’s “The Straight Story.”

Although Gordon portrays the fictional Dale Turner, we always know who he really is, and we’re lucky to have his magnetic performance captured for posterity. (Gordon died less than four years after the film was released.) When he’s heard invoking the names of some of his favorite tenor-sax players (“Lester Young . . . Coleman Hawkins . . . Ben Webster”) or when he rhapsodizes about Count Basie and Charlie Parker, these are stirring meta-moments that add to the film’s verisimilitude. Tavernier called the film “incredibly emotional to shoot, because the frontier between life and fiction was always completely thin.”

Gordon had never before played a dramatic role on film, and his only acting experience had been in a Los Angeles production of Jack Gelber’s play “The Connection,” a quarter-century earlier, in which he portrayed a jazz musician with a drug habit. But his widow, Maxine Gordon, told me that “Dexter always considered getting onstage as a performance and as acting. He was ready when he was selected for the film, and knew that he had to do what other great artists had never had the opportunity to do.” Gordon received an Oscar nomination for his work, and Marlon Brando wrote to him to say that it was the first time in fifteen years that he’d learned something new about acting.

The entire film is like a lazy, languid ballad performed by an ensemble of masters. In interviews that Tavernier gave after the film’s release, he spoke of the challenges of capturing “the bizarre, enigmatic way jazz musicians relate to each other. They make Pinter’s characters sound like . . . over-explainers.” He solved this by allowing Gordon and his fellow-musicians (a cast of jazz heavies that included Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Freddie Hubbard, and Billy Higgins) to set the tempo of the scenes. He let them relax. He gave them space, and then let them fill it up. Sometimes, there are long, empty pauses, “the same way that in the jazz the notes that the people don’t play are as important as the notes that they play,” Tavernier said.

All but one of the musical performances were shot live, and are gorgeously captured, with long swaths of camera stillness that linger over the introspective concentration of players who are creating in real time and the audiences that are admiring them. Tavernier was careful to populate these scenes with genuine jazz fans and people from that world rather than with movie extras, to allow for authentic reaction shots. “I wanted that kind of thing where nothing happens,” he noted. “Just people listening.”

It’s the sort of cinematic pace that has all but been done away with in the Netflix era; no swirling cameras or frenetic jump shots here—just long, pensive, slow takes of musicians at work. We see Gordon’s wordless gestures again and again, his reactions to what his bandmates play, the delight he takes in the colors they choose in their comping and in their solos. We see the joy of musicians simply making music together—the smiles, the eye contact, the body language. It feels authentic because it is.

“I was impressed with the approach,” Ron Carter told me. “So often, you see musicians played by actors who don’t even know how to hold their instruments correctly” (although he was quick to single out Chadwick Boseman for fingering his trumpet properly in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”). To the untrained ear, jazz can sound as random as a Jackson Pollock drip painting looks, but the visual intimacy that Tavernier captures makes the mystery of a jazz ensemble universally accessible.

I was a teen-ager when “ ’Round Midnight” was released, just beginning to explore jazz as a listener, and I remember the revelations it held for me about the life surrounding this music, one so at odds with the values presented by my homogenous, upwardly mobile upbringing. These musicians didn’t make a lot of money, drive fancy cars, or have much in the way of creature comforts. They lived in small, sparsely furnished rooms, ate home-cooked meals, and lived modestly. But they were seemingly in possession of an inner calm that I found alluring. Their spirits seemed vital, their souls intact. I remember thinking to myself, “I want to do that.”

Having now spent most of my adult life as a musician and bandleader, I can say that just about every other jazz film I’ve seen depicts a reality I don’t recognize. Although it’s true that the history of this music is littered with struggle, misbehavior, and hardship, what profession isn’t? Humans are human. For every Buddy Bolden, Lester Young, or Anita O’Day, there are any number of lesser-known, less-celebrated jazz musicians as dedicated to their art, minus the self-torture. The ones I know—those with staying power, the first-call players who always have work—are mostly a quiet bunch, humble people dedicated to their craft. They’re good friends, devoted parents, loving siblings, and loyal partners who do their jobs with the positive attitude, solid work ethic, and healthy sense of humor that are the hallmarks of any career professional. The ones who unhappily subscribe to the Hollywood notion that great art requires suffering, those who engineer chaos when their lives get too placid, generally don’t last. As the violinist Charlie Burnham, a man who’s been doing this for more than half a century, said to me, “The jazz life is not that much different from any other kind of life.”

Revisiting “ ’Round Midnight” after all these years, I was stunned by how nuanced and true it still feels. Maybe it’s just the effect of this long year (and counting) of being unable to perform in small rooms, but the film viscerally evoked the best associations I have of my life as a bandleader: the cozy, unspoken camaraderie that can be established with a group of strangers each night. The daylight hours spent exploring the streets of a new city, breathing unfamiliar air, noticing a different quality of the light, internally reviewing the previous night’s show: what had worked, what had not, what could be added or changed—a different tempo or new song—to the set that evening.

But, more than anything, I was reminded of a feeling I’ve been fortunate enough to have known at the end of many of those long evenings on the stand. Having made myself completely available to the flow of improvised music, emboldened by the trust afforded me by my bandmates and our audience. Having followed unexplored paths, and discovered worthwhile things. Those nights walking home along the deserted streets of a dreaming city, with perhaps only a fistful of dollars in my pocket, my clothes reeking from perspiration and the stench of the club, but rich with a feeling I might call ecstatic peace—an awareness that I’d not only served my purpose that day as well as I possibly could but had even managed to somehow transcend the particulars of my individual life. A sense of being complete, of deep satisfaction, a kind of success not included in the American dream of cash and prizes.

I count these experiences as among the highlights of my life, a fulfillment of the promise I saw offered by “ ’Round Midnight” when I first watched it, thirty-five years ago. As Dexter Gordon himself asks rhetorically in “Sophisticated Giant,” Maxine Gordon’s account of her husband’s life, “Why do most jazz stories dwell on the negative side of this life? We are people who get to play music for a living. What could be better?”

Howard Fishman is a writer, performer, and composer based in Brooklyn.

The Ballad of The Snow Leopard And The Tanqueray Cowboy

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A 1998 live recording of the David Rodriguez song, “The Ballad Of The Snow Leopard And The Tanqueray Cowboy”. A song Lyle Lovett recorded on his 1998 Album “Step Inside This House”

~~~  LISTEN  ~~~

David Rodriguez

Ballad Of The Snow Leopard And The Tanqueray Cowboy

Comfort me said she
With your conversation
With the cocktails
And the candlelight
In your eyes
It’s funny how we hunger
For some inspiration
And everything else
That money just won’t buy

Men have lied
Many good girls have gone astray
Just to hear the gypsy play
One more lilting cowboy tune
And as the rivers run dry
And the mountains blow away
They sing of lovers and how they lay
Beneath this crazy frontier moon

I ain’t no golden boy
I ain’t no Grecian dancer
And I ain’t no loudmouthed cowboy
From the West
I’m not the kind of man
With all the answers
But I surely know the songs
That suit me best

But lately I’ve had something on my mind
It’s growing stronger all the time
Calling out when I’m alone
But I’m a poet
And I’m bound to walk the line
Between the real and the sublime
And give the muses back their own

It’s a penny for your thoughts
It’s a dollar for you kisses
Keep a running tab on the time
‘Cause what I’ve got the most of
Is what she misses
The clock is hers
The hourglass is mine

But I’m her lover
Not a man bent on revenge
Hanging out here on the fringe
Of my native borderlands
Counting the days
The sun shone golden across her head
Lying on the banks of the bayou’s edge
Kicking up some Southeast Texas sand

‘Last Soul Company’ Details The Story Of Malaco Records

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A new book chronicles the history of Malaco Records, the oldest continuously run independent record label in America, and one of the biggest gospel labels in the world.

~~~ LISTEN TO THE NPR INTERVIEW WITH ROB BOWMAN ~~~

NOEL KING, HOST: 

Malaco Records is one of the oldest independent record labels in this country. In the ’70s, it was known for soul hits.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “MR. BIG STUFF”)

JEAN KNIGHT: (Singing) Mr. Big Stuff, who do you think you are?

KING: In the ’80s, Malaco shifted to a hybrid of blues and soul.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “MEMBERS ONLY”)

BOBBY BLUE BLAND: (Singing) ‘Cause it’s members only tonight.

KING: And these days, Malaco is a powerhouse of gospel music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “HE’LL CARRY YOU”)

THE MISSISSIPPI MASS CHOIR: (Singing) He’ll carry you. He’ll carry you, yes, he will. He’ll carry you.

KING: A new book about Malaco comes out today. It’s called “The Last Soul Company: The Malaco Records Story.” Here’s Ashley Kahn.

ASHLEY KAHN, BYLINE: In 1967, three white men who fell in love with Black music, Tommy Couch, Mitchell Malouf and Wolf Stephenson, opened a recording studio in their hometown of Jackson, Miss.

ROB BOWMAN: It’s a story that, by right, never should have happened. There should be no important record company in Jackson, Miss.

KAHN: Rob Bowman is a music historian known for his definitive account of another great Southern soul label, Stax Records. Bowman has now written a history of the Malaco label, an independent record company still in business and still owned and operated by its original founders.

BOWMAN: It is one of the longest running independent record label in American music history, longer than Motown, Stax, Atlantic, Chess – all of them. It’s also the largest Black gospel company in the world – bar none.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “I KNOW I’VE BEEN CHANGED”)

LASHUN PACE: (Singing) I said that I know I’ve been changed.

KAHN: At first, the three founders intend to produce and license recordings to other record companies. Here’s Malaco co-founder Wolf Stephensen.

WOLF STEPHENSON: We started out with soul and blues artists because that’s the kind of music we loved. We knew we had somewhat of a white audience for some of the soul and blues stuff but found out that not a whole lot of folks were making this kind of record for those Black buyers, mostly Black women.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “GROOVE ME”)

KING FLOYD: (Singing) You make me feel good inside. Come on and groove me, baby. I need you to groove me.

KAHN: The secret to Malaco’s longevity is the label’s willingness to change and adapt. Again, Rob Bowman.

BOWMAN: The first 15 years, you can say, they’re stumbling around, but in the process, they hit a few records like “Groove Me” by King Floyd, “Mr. Big Stuff” by Jean Knight. They have one massive hit on their own label, Dorothy Moore’s “Misty Blue.” That saved them from bankruptcy at one point.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “MISTY BLUE”)

DOROTHY MOORE: (Singing) Oh, I can’t forget you. My whole world turns misty blue.

BOWMAN: Second period takes shape in the early ’80s, where they become the home for soul artists who are considered to be past their prime. Disco, funk and then hip-hop have taken over the Black music market, their anachronisms, their has-beens.

KAHN: Soul singer Z.Z. Hill sparks the soul revival with the bestselling hit “Down Home Blues” that takes over Southern radio in 1982.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “DOWN HOME BLUES”)

Z Z HILL: (Singing) She said your party’s jumping and everybody’s having a good time. And you know what’s going through my mind.

STEPHENSON: That particular record was so prevalent. I mean, you couldn’t turn the radio on without hearing it. It was our rebirth as an independent label.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “DOWN HOME BLUES”)

HILL: (Singing) She said take off those fast records and let me hear some down home blues.

KAHN: By the late ’80s, Malaco began to shift again, this time from good time music to music that carries good news.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “BETTER THAN BLESSED”)

LOUISE CANDY DAVIS: (Singing) I’m blessed, better than blessed. I want to thank you, Lord, thank you, Lord, thank you, Lord.

DARRELL LUSTER: In the ’70s, when they began the gospel division of Malaco, I was able to hear some of the first recordings.

KAHN: Darrell Luster is Malaco’s current head of gospel production.

LUSTER: When I recognize that Malaco was also doing blues, mixing salt with sugar, I started hearing that same piano that I heard on the gospel recordings. I heard the same drums. I heard the same sound because they were using the exact same engineer, Wolf Stephenson. It was coming out of the same room. And I was like, oh, my God.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “LORD, PLEASE REMEMBER ME”)

THE JACKSON SOUTHERNAIRES: (Singing) Lord, remember that, remember that I’m trying, I’m trying, I’m trying to get (ph)…

KAHN: Malaco soon signed a number of legendary gospel quartets like The Soul Stirrers and the Sensational Nightingales. But in 1988, a new project comes their way that establishes the label as a home for the next generation of gospel stars.

LUSTER: The Mississippi Mass Choir, under the direction of Frank Williams, Frank said, I’m going to incorporate quartet with choir and I’m going to call it choir-tet (ph). And that is the success of The Mississippi Mass Choir.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “HOLD ON OLD SOLDIER”)

THE MISSISSIPPI MASS CHOIR: (Singing) Hold on old soldier, no matter what people do to you, hold on old soldier, I know the Lord will see you through.

KAHN: Malaco’s focus on Black gospel continues to grow through the ’90s and into the 21st century. They buy out a number of historic gospel and soul labels to expand their catalogue while signing and producing young artists like Christina Bell.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “GOING”)

CHRISTINA BELL: (Singing) Always mending the broken things inside of me.

KAHN: Christina Bell is one of Malaco’s most recent discoveries. Her introduction to the label was a special song she learned growing up.

BELL: It’s called “It’s Good To Know Jesus” and to have that from the South being heard on radio – I’m from Shreveport, La., but that’s The Mississippi Mass Choir. It’s just like it’s right next door. So, you know (laughter, singing) it’s good to know Jesus. He’s the lily of the valley. He’s the bright and morning star.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “IT’S GOOD TO KNOW JESUS”)

BELL: (Singing) It’s good to know the Lord.

KAHN: Today, Malaco makes most of its money with new gospel releases and music licensing fees from a warehouse full of blues, R&B and soul recordings.

(SOUNDBITE OF DENISE LASALLE’S “BUMP AND GRIND”)

KAHN: Record companies have always been a bit at odds with themselves, not knowing how best to preserve and honor the history they’ve helped create while pursuing the next big hit. Malaco, the last soul company, has found a way to make that balance work for more than 52 years. For NPR News, I’m Ashley Kahn.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “BUMP AND GRIND”)

DENISE LASALLE: (Singing) I want to bump and grind and get on down, hold your body close to mine…

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To dive into the history of gospel music is to dive into a rich, bottomless, soulful goldmine for sampling. In 1962, the leading label for gospel music, Malaco Records, was founded in Jackson, Mississippi. Since then, Malaco Records has become one of the oldest, independently run record labels in America. This label continues to be a trailblazer for African American music and was termed “the last soul company” by Peter Guralnick, well-known music critic and screenwriter.

After graduating, Tommy Couch and brother-in-law Mitchell Malouf started what is now Malaco Records, later adding Wolf Stephenson to the team. Revenue from initial record releases was nominal, so the label took on smaller gigs like creating jingles and renting out studio spaces. Wardell Quezergue made Malaco an offer that they could not resist, sending them artists in return for studio space and backing musicians. This trade resulted in the label releasing “Groove Me” by King Floyd, spiking sales through the roof. After Atlantic picked the track up for distribution, Malaco Records’ musicians became hot commodities. The label continued taking risks, seeing heightened payoff.

Malaco Records has also produced names like Fred McDowell, Bobby “Blue” Band, Z.Z. Hill, Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton, and James Cleveland. Today, the label’s roster of music can be seen sampled in some of the hip-hop industry’s biggest tracks. For those who may not know what music sampling is, it is when an artist reuses a sample of an already existing song in their own recording. Songs that sample from Malaco Records’ catalogue include “Selah” by Kanye West, “Right Hand 2 God” by Nipsey Hussle, and “Purple Haze” by The Diplomats.

Left to right, top to bottom: Tommy Couch, Jerry Wexler, Mitchell Malouf, Jo Jo Benson ,and Peggy Scott.
Left to right, top to bottom: Tommy Couch, Jerry Wexler, Mitchell Malouf, Jo Jo Benson ,and Peggy Scott.

After reaching its 50th anniversary, Malaco Records’ story is broadcasted in a retrospective book entitled The Last Soul Company: The Malaco Records Story. It includes some of Malaco Records’ most influential artists exploring their careers and outputs. It also gives readers a look into the history of Malaco Records’ struggles and comebacks, documenting the very roots the label was founded on. The book documents the sampling history of Malaco Records, going in-depth to describe how the label became one of America’s sampling leaders. It includes never-before seen images that help explain the history of Malaco Records and aid in submerging readers into the experience of those working on the label.

Grammy Award-winning author and screenwriter Rob Bowman previously wrote Soulsville, U.S.A – The Story of Stax Records (2003). As he did in Soulsville, U.S.A – The Story of Stax Records, Bowman gives readers the opportunity to insert themselves in Malaco Records’ history.

The Last Soul Company: The Malaco Records Story is available on March 23rd.

Frederick Knight, Bobby Blue Bland, and George Jackson.
Frederick Knight, Bobby Blue Bland, and George Jackson.

JOHN PRINE, 73: ‘I REMEMBER EVERYTHING’ ~ NPR

February 26, 2021

More than 500,000 people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19 since the pandemic hit this country and the world just over a year ago. NPR is remembering some of those who lost their lives by listening to the music they loved and hearing their stories. We’re calling our tribute Songs Of Remembrance.


I don’t believe anyone could choose his favorite song; everything he wrote was a labor of love. The final gift he gave us was “I Remember Everything,” which turned out to be maybe his most prophetic. His music inspired millions of fans worldwide and leaves his family with a lasting legacy.

The song title says it all: “I Remember Everything.” It evokes so much emotion and so many memories, they’re truly hard to separate. My best memory of John is the last conversation we had — about six weeks before we lost him. It ended the way every one of our conversations ended: “Love you, Cuz!” —Jennifer Johnson,

~~~ WATCH ~~~

a couple of old Amazing Rhythm Aces tunes this afternoon …. sure opens the door to yesterday …

One of the classic but underrated bands of the 70’s. These guys never received the credit they were due. The compositions were outstanding and the guitar solos had such a unique sound. Russell Smith had a very soulful, bluesy voice and did his homework with influences like Ray Charles. The man had a voice made for country, rock, bluegrass, Southern rock, rhythm and blues, and soul. Aces are my desert island album.

rŌbert

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From the 1976 album “Too Stuffed To Jump”… i’d listen to it for hours, lost in the music, Dancing the Night Away

Dancing the Night Away

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Lipstick Traces