Archive for the ‘Music News’ Category

A life of music for Sidney Drew

Posted: November 20, 2016 in Music News

ASHLEY MAIKA/ Northumberland Today Sidney Drew will be retiring from piano after 35 years of playing local churches and choir following her last concert on December 4.

Sidney Drew, 83-year-old accompanist for Choral Legacy Women’s Choir and Rural Faith United Church, will be retiring after more than eight years with Choral Women’s Choir, and 35 with the local churches.

Since moving to the area, Drew had been playing for both Bethesda United Church and Baltimore Church.

Her last concert with Choral Legacy Women’s Choir will be on Dec. 4 and is called Getting in the Mood for Christmas.

Drew said she decided to retire in June, and would stay until Christmas so there would be time to find someone else to play the piano.

She said her reasoning for retiring was for her deterioration of hearing and arthritis in her hands, and the goodbye is bittersweet.

“It’s retiring from 75 years of music really,” said Drew who started practising when she was seven years old.

Before the amalgamation of Baltimore United Church and Bethesda South United Church, Drew would play at both services on Sunday, and practice with the Choral Legacy Women’s Choir on Thursdays.

Now, with her spare time, she wishes to spend it with family, specifically her grandchildren. She hasn’t had as much time with them as she’d like because her schedule really only gave her free time when they were in school.

Drew said that a week ago, after her last time playing at the service for Rural Faith United Church, the congregation had a little surprise for her to say goodbye, complete with food and two of her grandchildren playing the piano for her.

Drew expressed a lot of pride that three of her grandchildren are interested in music, specifically piano.

Although Drew will not be playing anymore for the choir or church, she says she will still be attending the choirs concerts and going to church.

Getting in the Mood for Christmas will be held at Baltimore United Church, 9288 Burwash St. at 2:30 p.m. where tickets are $10 at the door.

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Gary Kang’s agency, Leessang Company, issued a strongly worded statement denying that the singer and reality show star appears in a currently circulating sex tape.

(Photo : Wikipedia)

(Photo : Wikipedia)

Leessang Company not only denies that Gary Kang (Kang Hee Gun) is in the tape being circulated but says they will take decisive legal action against anyone spreading rumors that he is.

The agency told the Korean media outlet Naver TV that when they first heard the rumors, they did not even think they were worth responding to. But as the rumors spread and more people began to discuss them, the agency decided that it was time to release a statement and take action.

On August 31, the agency released an official statement denying that Gary Kang is the person in the sex tape. The agency pointed out that the person in the sex tape has a tattoo on his left arm while Gary Kang’s is on his right arm. The tattoos are similar but not exactly the same.

The agency said that the man who acknowledges being in the sex tape contacted them and expressed his concern about any problems his tape might have caused the popular celebrity.

Leessang Company will request a formal police investigation to discover who first spread the tape and the rumor. They will also pursue charges against anyone who continues to spread it. The agency asked the public to help stop the spread of such rumors because they hurt Kang and the actual people in the video.

The agency’s statement comes only days after an arrest warrant was issued against the man allegedly spreading false rumors about the existence of a sex tape that supposedly featured actress Lee Si Young. Her agency not only denied that she was in such a tape but is planning to sue the person who spread it. If convicted the person could spend years in jail and have to pay a $50,000 fine.

Gary Kang is the rapper and lyricist of the hip-hop duo Leessang. He has had several cameo appearances on dramas, including “Emergency Couple” and “The Girl Who Sees Smells.” But he is also well known because of his appearances on variety shows. He has been a regular guest on “Running Man” since 2010. Together with actress Song Ji Hyo, they are known as the Monday Couple because of their affectionate onscreen relationship/

Compton, the new album from hip-hop mogul and Apple employee Dr. Dre, was streamed 25 million times in its first week on Apple Music. In addition to the streams, Apple says the album also sold half a million downloads through iTunes — a solid performance that was not quite enough to push it to number one in the US charts. Apple executives reported the figures in a statement to The New York Times, but the publication did not specify whether the figure was made up from complete listens to the whole album, or includes people who listened to individual songs.

Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre

“Drake got 48 million streams in a week”

The album, which came at the same time as, and loosely ties into NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton, was an all-Apple affair. Dre announced the album on his own Beats 1 radio show, The Pharmacy, and it premiered a day early on Apple’s streaming service, before full release on iTunes on July 7th. For now at least, it remains an Apple exclusive, only available for stream on Apple Music and digitally through iTunes. Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine was positive about the results, saying that it constituted a good start for Apple Music. “We’re beginning to show what we can do in terms of communicating music to a worldwide audience and helping artists at the same time,” he told The New York Times.

But where Iovine says Apple is just getting started getting music to the world, hip-hop’s current kings are already old hands at disseminating their music to a huge and internet-literate fanbase. Even with Dre’s incomparable legacy and a heavy marketing push from Apple, Compton’s numbers still lag behind hip-hop’s current kings: Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly got 39 million streams in its first week online back in March, while If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, the surprise album released by Drake earlier this year, notched up 48 million streams. Both artists used Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks to build suspense for their newest records, and released them on multiple streaming services, securing more listeners than Compton could with its Apple-first approach.

Fresh from winning their case against Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and TI for copyright infringement – and being awarded $7.4m in the process – the family of Marvin Gaye appear to have decided to take a look at the rest of Williams’s catalogue.

Pharrell
The next song in their sights is another huge global hit, one that will likely have generated enormous amounts of revenue after more than 10m salesMeanwhile. . “I’m not going to lie. I do think they sound alike,” Gaye’s daughter Nona told CBS News of the similarities between Williams’s worldwide smash Happy and Gaye’s 1966 song Ain’t That Peculiar.

“I heard the mash-ups – but I didn’t really need to hear them,” said Gaye’s ex-wife Janis. “I know Ain’t That Peculiar and I’ve heard Happy.”

However, they are not yet contemplating further legal action. “We’re not in that that space,” Janis said. “We’re just in the moment today and we’re satisfied.”

Howard King, the lawyer who acted for Williams, Thicke and TI, issued a statement to Billboard about his clients’ reaction to their loss in the Blurred Lines case.

“My clients and I are understandably disappointed in the jury’s verdict, especially given their absolute conviction that Blurred Lines came from the hearts and souls of Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and TI, and no other place,” he said. “Should the verdict be allowed to stand, a terrible precedent will have been established that will deter the record labels that fund new music from getting involved with creations built on the shoulders of other composers. No longer will it be safe to create music in the same style or genre of a prior song.”

He continued: “There was no properly‑admissible evidence upon which the jury could have found copying. A comparison of the two songs readily reveals that there isn’t one note in the melody that’s the same, there isn’t one chord in the entire song that’s the same, and there are no more than three notes in the bass lines, out of twenty six notes, that are the same.”

He added that “this matter is not finished by any stretch of the imagination.”

Rick James: 10 Essential Tracks

Posted: August 13, 2014 in Music News
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During his five-decade career as a pop libertine, singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, James Ambrose Johnson, Jr., a.k.a. Ricky Matthews or Rick James, was reportedly more of a superfreak than any very kinky girl he didn’t take home to mother. When Dave Chappelle and Charlie Murphy hilariously characterized “Slick James” (nickname courtesy of P-Funk’s George Clinton) as a goofball with a mean streak who spouted koan-like non sequiturs (“I’m Rick James, bitch!”) and pithy reflections (“Cocaine is a hell of a drug!”), there was little need for hyperbole. Yet despite all the decadence, James was an undeniably formidable song-maker who created hits for others, scored six Top 40 albums and seven Top 10 R&B singles as a solo act and spawned two deliriously iconic songs (“Super Freak” and MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This”) with just one devilish riff.

On the 10th anniversary of James’ death at his Los Angeles home, let’s dig out our glittery braids and space boots and celebrate some of the greatest musical moments of this street-song eccentric.

The Mynah Birds, “It’s My Time” b/w “Go on and Cry” (1966)

After going AWOL from the Navy and fleeing to Toronto, Canada, James “Rick James” Johnson eventually ended up in a local rock group called the Mynah Birds, which featured future members of Buffalo Springfield and Steppenwolf. After the group signed a deal with Motown, the label discovered that James (working under the Matthews alias) was wanted by military authorities and terminated the band’s contract. James served a year in jail, but when he got out, he was arrested again and deported. At some point, he traveled to Detroit with a reformed version of the Mynahs and recording this single. The A-side, co-written by ex-Mynah Birds member Neil Young, was a stirring garage-soul nugget that showed the group’s unique mix of grit, shimmy and twinkle. The flip is a James rarity in more ways than one – a tender ballad that actually sounds sincere of heart.

Rick James, “My Mama” b/w “Funkin’ Around” (1974)

rick james
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In the decade-plus between the Mynah Birds and his first solo album, James moved to California, got a gig as a Motown staff songwriter (Spinners, Marvelettes, etc.), reputedly worked as a drug courier, recorded an album with a group called the Great White Cane (get it?) and cut one-off deals to make singles. These included this snappy revelation for A&M, of which one YouTube commenter muses, accurately: “It’s almost like [Lenny] Kravitz’s entire music career can be traced back to this one track.” A bubblegum rocker that floats along on an electric harpsichord and taut horn section, “My Mama” quickly downshifts into a Betty Davis-style nasty-funk suckerpunch. The vampy, Blaxploitation-influenced B-side instrumental, meanwhile, is the most free-flowing, no-nonsense workout that a James band ever put to tape.

Rick James, “You and I” (1978)

Finally finding redemption at Berry Gordy’s personal Motown imprint, Gordy Records, James unleashed his brash “punk-funk” movement with this gloriously strutting single, which boasted a colossal synth-bass groove, James’ boa-tossing vocal panache and double-entendres directed at his ex-wife. Off the platinum album Come Get It! and featuring the ace musicians who would make up his Stone City Band, “You and I” was a Number One R&B hit, reaching Number 13 on the pop charts and later being sampled on albums by Monie Love (1990’s Down to Earth) and Candyman (1990’s Ain’t No Shame in My Game).

Rick James, “Mary Jane” (1978)

The second single from Come Get It! was a tour de force of everything that permitted those Prince comparisons and earned James the cachet to walk his dirty boots into Eddie Murphy’s house and proclaim, “Fuck your couch, nigga!” The pointillist string arrangement, the moody/swaggy guitar runs, the perfectly placed bass plucks, the heavenly flute and back-up coos, the squishy space-jam synth, James’ tripped-out rap-yowl, the reverbed “do ya do yas,” the bonus Steely Dan interludes, how the song could’ve just strolled its fly ass along for 25 minutes and nobody would’ve minded. Of course, during the ensuing decades, it’s lived on in zillions of rap samples, from EPMD’s “Jane” to J. Lo and Ja Rule’s “I’m Real (Murder Remix)” to Kanye West’s “Runaway,” which started the trend of nicking James’ shouts from the “Mary Jane” live version. To wit: “Look atcha!”

Teena Marie feat. Rick James, “I’m a Sucker for Your Love” (1979)

James actually passed on producing Diana Ross to work with his bold-voiced, then-unknown and unnamed Motown labelmate Tina Brockert, who settled on the moniker Teena Marie for her debut album Wild and Peaceful. This almost frantically flirty duet kicked off with an everybody-in-the-pool wink – “Well, all right, you freaks, give it up, for Lady T” – and just kept on funkin’ up the P-Funk with wiggle-worm bass and relentlessly horny horns. “Come here, sucker, make love to me, right now!” shouted Marie at one point, amid giggles. Although the song became a Top 10 R&B hit, there were no photos of Marie in the album art or circulated in the press, so her skin color wasn’t revealed until the duo appeared to perform “I’m a Sucker” on Soul Train, making her the show’s first white guest.

Rick James, “Super Freak” (1981)

After Come Get It!, James knocked out three albums in two years, enjoying relative commercial success but flatlining creatively, largely due to his chemically enhanced lifestyle. That drought ended with his career-defining triple-platinum album Street Songs, which put the punk back in James’ funk on manic, lasciviously tipsy first single “Give It to Me Baby.” Though a Number One R&B hit, “Give It to Me” simply set the stage for “Super Freak,” the ur-Rick James manifesto: Druggy superstar elicits fetish hijinks from DTF girl, plus New Wave keyboards, palpitating bass and silly vocal trickeration (in this case abetted by the Temptations, whose Melvin Franklin was James’ uncle).

A suggestive quickie video was shot for the still-new MTV, which was yet to play a clip by a black artist, but James got smacked down by the channel’s head of talent and acquisitions, Carolyn Baker: “It wasn’t MTV that turned down ‘Super Freak.’ It was me,” she stated flatly in the book I Want My MTV. “I turned it down. You know why? Because there were half-naked women in it, and it was a piece of crap. As a black woman, I did not want that representing my people as the first black video on MTV.” Noble sentiments, but the song still went Top 20.

Rick James feat. Teena Marie, “Fire and Desire” (1981)

James not only mentored Marie, the two had a torrid affair during a debauched era when the star bought a Hollywood mansion and an immense ranch near his Buffalo hometown, which became a crash pad for his band, back-up singers and anyone else who got sucked into their orbit. In other words, it was complicated. By 1981, the couple had broken up, but this seven-minute slow jam – meandering, rousing, awkwardly intimate, painfully honest, in dire need of Auto-Tune, 100 percent autobiographical and 100 percent full of shit – forever entwined the duo. James talked mad game, Marie wailed like a banshee and they both unspooled a narrative whereby love changed their cold-blooded ways. Of course, this was post-game positive spin of the highest order, but it’s probably better that way.

Mary Jane Girls, “All Night Long” (1983)

The Mary Jane Girls’ first two albums contained the most consistent, tuneful and least problematic work of Rick James’ career, and the immaculately slinky, heavily sampled, not-quite-slow jam “All Night Long” was his greatest composition. From the pillowy bassline and get-comfy “Hey, boy” come-on to the cozily melodic vocal touches, tinkly synth sprinkles and masterfully laconic production, the whole song flowed with a river-y certainty. Basically a solo project for main Stone City back-up singer JoJo McDuffie and whomever tagged along, the MJGs’ image was similar to James’, but less kooky and crude. Basically, it’s the only Rick James music that doesn’t sound like everybody’s on drugs. A third MJGs album was recorded but never released, due to James’ legal and contractual issues with Motown (not to mention growing crack habit).

Rick James, “Glow” (1985)

Amid the dark free-fall of 1985, James’ most high-profile creation was Eddie Murphy’s execrable synth-pop hit “Party All the Time.” “Glow,” on the other hand, was an unexpected burst of light, reaching Number Five on the R&B chart despite the album of the same name fizzling and James becoming increasingly notorious for his antics. In this context, the song feels like a last gasp of self-will, an effort to put a more heartening spirit into the world, even if that spirit is still delivered with James’ typical lip-licking tics. It’s a moodier, limo-lusting version of MFSB’s “Love Is the Message,” with James yearningly asking, “Don’t you know you are beautiful?”

The video, likely in reaction to Prince’s Purple Rain, is a mini-film with a wasted James, all golden locks and ruffled shirt, having an existential crisis in his dressing room, screaming at his girlfriend and manager (“I’m Rick James, I don’t need nobody!”), busting ass onstage but then rising above to rock the world. Whew!

Rick James, feat. Roxanne Shanté, “Loosey’s Rap” (1988)

Though objectively laughable and James’ official tap-out as a hitmaker, this was one of the first proper rap and R&B collaborations (if not the first) and somehow hit Number One on the R&B charts, which was certainly a nice look for one of the dopest female MCs ever. Sadly, her rhyme is hot garbage – “They call me Loosey, ’cause I’m so loose,” really? – and Shanté gets implicated by James’ increasingly disturbing world of objectification. The video, in which she did not appear, was a seamier version of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” featuring an array of scantily-clad models wandering around a bathroom/dressing room/shower/soundstage in lingerie, leather and latex, along with a tiger on a chain. The remix by Juice Crew producer Marley Marl shapeshifts the track’s clunky thud into a funky, stuttering SP-1200 marvel, with Big Daddy Kane elevating the proceedings by simply dropping a couple of lukewarm 16s. Here, Shanté finally cuts loose, even playfully taunting James. Clearly, it was time for the King of Punk Funk to surrender his throne.

 

Not many gigs start with the audience being asked to change into hospital gowns and end with the star being carted off in an ambulance – but that was how Jack White‘s latest secret show in London played out.

White has made a habit of playing unusual, impromptu events in recent years, but nothing could compare to the “immersive” experience he put on in conjunction with London theatrical company Punchdrunk. Fans gained entry by following clues online and registering to be tested for “contagious and infectious diseases.” A phone call invited them to a late-night appointment at a fictitious clinic called Vescovo & Co., while a follow-up text message revealed the location as an office block just off the Strand, in central London.

But while fans knew the event was White-related, no one knew exactly what it would consist of. They were greeted by doctors and nurses who asked them to sign a disclaimer form and change into gowns and masks before under-going disorientating psychological tests.

Jack White
Jack White is removed after becoming “infected.”
Photo by Jon Wilkinson

Eventually, after one patient was found to be “infected,” the 100-strong audience was ushered into a confined space for “decontamination.” As the lights were turned off and dry ice pumped in, some fans seemed close to panic, but that was replaced with delight when White and his band (also clad in scrubs) appeared through the gloom.

The group played a fast and furious set, opening with the title track of White’s new album, Lazaretto, and including “High Ball Stepper,” “Sixteen Saltines,” “St. James Infirmary Blues” alongside White Stripes songs “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” and “Icky Thump.”

During the latter, White faked some sort of seizure and was stretchered off, as the confused crowd were deposited back on the street, still in their gowns. There, as a finale, an “infected” White was carried from the building and placed in an ambulance, which then drove away – leaving the fans the gift of a personalized “prescription” from “Dr. White.”

White is due to play another – presumably more conventional – show at London’s Eventim Apollo this evening.

Justin Bieber music has dominated the pop charts over the past few years. His first single, “One Time”, reached number 12 on the Canadian Hot 100 during its first week of release in July 2009. The song was later certified Platinum in Canada and the US and Gold in Australia and New Zealand. Bieber’s first release, My World, would eventually achieve the same status, and his singles “One Less Lonely Girl”, and two promo singles, “Love Me”, and “Favorite Girl”, charted within the top forty of the Billboard Hot 100.

Justin Bieber musicJustin Bieber’s “Baby”, the lead single from his debut album, My World 2.0, which features Ludacris, was released in January 2010. It has been the pop star’s biggest hit thus far, reaching number five in the U.S. and reaching the top ten in seven other countries. Two promo singles, “Never Let You Go” and “U Smile”, were top thirty hits on the U.S. Hot 100, and top twenty hits in Canada. My World 2.0 also debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, Irish Albums Chart, Australian Albums Chart, and the New Zealand Albums Chart and reached the top ten of fifteen other countries.

On November 1, 2011, Bieber released Under the Mistletoe, his second studio album. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 210,000 copies in its first week of release. Justine Bieber also began recording his third studio album in 2011. It is entitled Believe. It has been confirmed that Kanye West and Drake are featured in the album. On February 22, 2012, Bieber announced via Twitter that the first single off Believe will be released in March 2012. Bieber has also announced that the first single from the new album will be called “Boyfriend” and will be released on March 26, 2012.

Justin Bieber is one of the first pop superstars in the new age of digital media. There are a great number of platforms for playing and listening to his music, as well as tracking the various performances and movements of the singer himself. The worldwide web offers access to Justin Bieber music to fans and listeners all over the world; it also provides the latest news about the pop star for those that are interested. There is no shortage of blogs and websites dedicated to promoting this hot young pop star and informing his fans about his life and achievements. Keeping tabs on the newest developments concerning Justin Bieber has never been easier.