soul

Janelle Monae f. Big Boi - Tightrope

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This is EPIC.

Janelle Monae's EP was solid, but it didn't have anything on it that I liked as much as Letting Go, which was on the Purple Ribbon All-Stars compilation. This song, though, is fantastic. And the video is amazing, too.

Nate Dogg - I Got Love

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I hadn't thought about Nate Dogg's album "Music and Me" in quite some time until a twitter message reminded me of it. I used to play this song, and this one with Pharoahe Monch HEAVILY. Two epic jams. The whole album is pretty solid, one of my favorite underrated hip-hop records.

Sal Santana on "Keyboard City" and more: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Sal Santana

Salvador Santana is a keyboard player and singer-songwriter. His father is guitar legend Carlos Santana. He's just released a new LP, Keyboard City. He talks with The Sound of Young America about his Bay Area roots (he's an alumnus of School of the Arts in San Francisco), working on "Supernatural" as a teenager, touring with Ozomatli and recording with his mentor, Money Mark.

Robin Thicke f. Lil Wayne - Shooter

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Shooter was one of my favorite tracks off of Robin Thicke's fantastic first album Cherry Blue Skies (later retitled A Beautiful World). The album was a total flop. But apparently Lil Wayne liked it as much as I did, and he started rapping in his car over the bridges and breaks and outro, and decided to call Robin Thicke and ask if he could put it on his record. Which is pretty awesome, in my book. This all went down two or three years ago, but I didn't realize it every had a video.

Also: does this video mean Robin Thicke has a motorcycle in his living room? What's that about?

Sade - Soldier of Love

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Stone cold jam.

Johnny Paycheck - (Don't Take Her) She's All I've Got

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A smash hit, written by Jerry Williams Jr.

AKA SWAMP DOGG!

RIP, Teddy Pendergrass

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One of the truly great voices of soul.

Sam Cooke on American Bandstand

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I watched an American Masters special on Sam Cooke last night on PBS, and now I'm feeling Sam Cooke crazy. No one has ever sang like Cooke. I think he might be my favorite male singer of all time. There's something about the effortless grace of his singing that touches me even in the simplest songs (and many of his songs were very simple). It has the lightness of great pop music, but it also has the depth of great soul music. Very few can combine those two qualities - Al Green and Michael Jackson come to mind - and Sam can out-sing almost any of them.

As you can see from Cooke's conversation with Dick Clark above, he was also a businessman. He ran his own recording and publishing operations, and nurtured other talent as well.

If you're interested in learning more about Cooke, check out this hour-long show we did on him some years ago with Peter Guralnick. Guralnick's book about Cooke, "Dream Boogie," is wonderful as well.

If you want to dip your toes into his musical catalog, I love Live at the Harlem Square Club, a live album that showcases his more gospel-y performance style.

RIP to Willie Mitchell

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There's a secret list inside my head of folks I'd love to have on The Sound of Young America, and Willie Mitchell was near the top. He was the architect of Hi Records, the label that defined the career of Al Green, Ann Peebles, Syl Johnson and others. He was peerless as a soul producer. The sound of those records is so beautiful, I simply can't describe it. Among other influences, it defined the sound of the Wu-Tang Clan and D'Angelo's Voodoo. The introduction to "Love and Happiness" is my favorite part of any song ever.

RIP to Willie Mitchell, dead at 81.

Betty Davis: Raw & Uncut

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A few years ago, I interviewed Betty Davis. In the 1970s, Davis was the wife of Miles Davis and a talented and accomplished musician in her own right. Her funk records were a bit short on vocal melody, but jam-packed with amazing grooves and raw themes. Her band featured the best funk players in the world. She was also spectacularly good looking and prone to wearing wild stage outfits.

In the late 70s, she disappeared from the music scene, and was very nearly never heard from again. At one point, a fan tracked her down so she could get the tens of thousands of dollars in royalties that she was owed by ASCAP/BMI, but she hadn't spoken publicly, much less recorded, in 20 years.

Her discography was re-released by Light in the Attic Records in 2007. She did an interview with our friend Oliver Wang for the liner notes, but that was about it. I'm a huge fan, and the people at Light in the Attic love public radio, so after weeks of concerted effort, we got her to agree to an interview with The Sound. The conditions: she wouldn't go to a studio and I wouldn't call her directly.

Our interview with Ms. Davis is one of our most popular - I think because Ms. Davis has so many fans desperate for a scrap of information about her life and career.The final interview, I think, came out pretty well. It has lots of her great music livening things up, and lots and lots of interview editing.

Since folks always ask me about this interview, I thought I'd share with you the raw audio of our conversation. Understand that the amount of editing that went into this show is very atypical - all TSOYA interviews don't sound like this in raw form. Just this one. Undoubtedly the most difficult interview of my life.

This raw interview runs 38 minutes. I won't even begin to estimate what portion of that is awkward silence.


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