soul

Bill Withers, Soul Legend: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Bill Withers

Bill Withers is the singer-songwriter behind soul classics like Ain't No Sunshine, Lean on Me, Use Me, Just the Two of Us, Lovely Day and more. Withers retired from the music industry in the mid 1980s, and with the exception of a few songs penned for other artists, has stayed out of the public eye. He's featured in the new documentary and concert film Soul Power, which follows a music festival in Zaire in 1974. The film hits theaters in New York and LA on July 14th, and opens across the country thereafter.

Bill Withers in "Soul Power"

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Bill Withers from Jesse Thorn on Vimeo.

I was lucky enough to see the new documentary "Soul Power" a couple weeks ago. It was shot at Zaire '74, a festival of soul music from the African diaspora that accompanied the Foreman-Ali fight that was the centerpiece of the film When We Were Kings.

It features musical performances from, among others, Celia Cruz & the Fania All-Stars, The Spinners, Miriam Makeba, James Brown and the great Bill Withers.

I can count on one hand the number of musicians as important to me as Bill Withers, and it was an amazing honor to get to speak with him for The Sound of Young America. Bill has been mostly retired for more than twenty years, but he's very healthy and sharp as a tack at 70.

The interview will air next week. In the meantime, enjoy his performance from the film. And go see it when it opens near you in July -- it's AMAZING.

Remembering Michael Jackson with Oliver Wang & Jay Smooth: The Sound of Young America Podcast

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Michael Jackson
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Oliver Wang
Guests: 
Jay Smooth

Oliver Wang and Jay Smooth join Jesse to talk about the life and music of Michael Jackson.

Bill Withers in West Virginia

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Bill Withers interviewed on West Virginia public TV on the occasion of his induction into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. One of the great popular songwriters of the 20th century, and an absolutely radiant man.

Sly Stone was on Morning Becomes Eclectic?

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Holy shit!

Lucinda Slim & the Lonestars - "All This Time"

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Lucinda Slim & The Lone Stars "All This Time" from krewcial on Vimeo.

I've been visiting and posting on okayplayer.com for about ten years now. In that time, I've seen a lot of talented amateur hip-hop producers come and go, even some who made it (9th Wonder, for example). DJW, aka Dan Wally, who makes the music for TSOYA was one of my favorites. Another was a European fella named Krewcial. I found myself wondering the other day what he was up to, so I googled him and came up with this great new record her produced. The artist, Lucinda Slim, is apparently based in London. I wanna say Krewcial is Dutch? Anyway, a lovely track.

Nina Simone at the Harlem Festival

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Nina Simone at the Harlem Festival, held in Central Park in 1969. According to Arthur Magazine the original film has been optioned but never released (they seem think it's a race thing). It's pretty amazing.

My (African-American) aunt Claudia once joked to me that she was pretty sure when she got to Woodstock and saw all the white people that she was the only one there to see Sly. According to this great Smithsonian magazine article, this bill also featured Stevie Wonder, Sly, Mahalia Jackson and Abbey Lincoln with Max Roach, among others. I don't think calling it the "black Woodstock" is out of the question.

Click through for the rest of Nina's performance.

Fresh Air Rock Historian Ed Ward: National Treasure (for Germany, I guess)

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If Fresh Air's rock historian, Ed Ward, didn't live in Berlin, I'd say he was a national treasure.

His pieces are consistently insightful and full of great music. If NPR's treatment of baby boomer stuff was always this good, I'd be on board 1000%. I think the greatest sign of the quality of his pieces is how much I enjoy the ones on kinds of music I don't care for at all. And the ones on music I *do* like are double awesome.

Check out this recent piece on Westbound Records, the Detroit label that spawned Funkadelic, among others.

And of course, anyone who dedicates eight minutes of national radio to the great Swamp Dogg is a national treasure in my book!

PS: Dear NPR web gurus, I presume based on reviews that your API is super cool and all, but can we get an embeddable audio players? Love, Jesse

Soul Power!

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MOUSTACHE GFOS WORLD CHAMPION!

NO SHIRT BILL WITHERS SUPER PERFORMANCE!

A DELIGHT OF GREAT TIME WITH FANIA ALL-STARS!

I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED FOR THIS FUCKING MOVIE!

Prince on Tavis Smiley

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Prince on Tavis

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