Good morning, here’s a Blue Peter one I drew earlier yesterday morning. Albeit I’m a COYS fan gotta big up this young Gunners and England football star. Just raising the profile of Mr Boom SAKA Laka a young African prince given the freedom to the borough of my old hood Ealing. Raise in Greenford UB6 15 minutes walk up the road from my local Perivale UB6 this 19 year old has achieved so much at his tender age than myself and many of my first and second generation Windrush teenagers did when we were a Paul Hardcastle na na na na ’19’ year old!!
9 years ago I was fortunate to have an in depth interview with Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff which was very enlightening. It was a members only issue but we do have some back issue which are available from our website shop. In our current issue 95 we feature an advert for an amzing box set Get On Board The Soul Train with a record review in the designated section of the magazine. It’s included in this Blog post so have a read and make sure you secure one and also grab yourself a copy of the issue 40 with the Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff interview.. Enjoy..Fitzroy
Today is a proper ‘Waybackintheday Wednesday’ for sure. It’s 15 years exactly on this date that the very first edition of The Soul Survivors Magazine was distributed to the soul surviving attendees at The Soul Village Weekender 7th-9th July 2006. This small acorn has grown into a teenaged soul tree that has produced 92 issues as the ‘info provider for the soul survivor’.
Co founded by Anna Marshall who left after 9 years in 2015 and myself still carrying with the baton, both of us novices and virgins at the time in the music publication industry, which already had a few still on going long serving and established soul music journals.
The Soul Survivors Magazine as a bi monthly printed and digital publication has been blessed to have some great contributors and advertisers too many to mention and featured interviews many with the following:
Smokey Robinson, Jocelyn Brown, Omar, Leroy Burgess, Jean Carn, Jeffery Daniel& Howard Hewitt (Shalamar), Melba Moore, Chaka Khan, Eddie Levert (O Jay’s), Robert & Ronald Khalis Bell (Kool & The Gang) Frankie Beverly (Maze),Greg Edwards, Robbie Vincent, Tony Blackburn, Dez Parkes, George Power Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson, Chris Hill, Colin Curtis, Trevor Shakes, Brand New Heavies, John Legend, Leon Ware, Larry Blackmon (Cameo), Wayne Henderson, George Duke, Thelma Houston, Teena Marie, Tom Moulton, John Morales, Louie Vega, Josh Milan, Nile Rodgers (Chic), Steve Arrington (Slave) and Larry Graham (Sly & The Family Stone). Roy Ayers, Gwen McCrea, Gwen Dickey (Rose Royce), Harold Brown (War) Omar, Bluey (Incognito), Carleen Anderson, Courtney Pine, Gary Hines(Sounds Of Blackness) Rahsaan Patterson, Natalie Stewart aka Floacist (Floetry), Eric Roberson, Jazzie B, HB & Caron Wheeler(Soul II Soul), Marcus Miller & Angie Stone.
I’ve tried to keep this brief as I have so much more memorabilia to share over the next few weeks and I will be personally thanking the subscribers contributors and advertisers in the forthcoming various posts. Happy 15th to The Soul Survivors and long may we continue to be the’ info provider for the soul survivor’
‘Give Me The Reason’ ..here’s an excuse to pay homage to the 16th anniversary of Luther Vandross joining his rightful place in the creator’s choir with a Blue Peter one I painted earlier in May 2021
Luther Vandross was born on the 20th April 1951 in New York. He grew up in a lower Manhattan housing project until his father passed away when he was 8 years old. After this tragic event, he moved to the Bronx. Influenced by his parents and older sister singing, he formed a vocal group, whilst at the William Howard Taft High School, called Shades Of Jade with friends, Carlos Alomar, Diane Sumler and Fonzi Thornton. As part of a musical theatre workshop, they recorded ‘Listen My Brother’ which Luther and his group sang on the children’s TV program, Sesame Street in 1969. By 1973 he’d written 2 songs recorded by Delores Hall, one being a very funky duet ‘Whose Gonna Make It Easier For Me’. A year later school friend Carlos Alomar became David Bowie’s guitarist. Luther was invited to a recording session at the famous Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, and Bowie upon hearing Luther’s velvet tones, recruited him for backing vocals on the ‘Young American’ album. In 1975, Luther co-wrote Bowies ‘Fascination’ and did his own version of ‘Funky Music’ on this, his debut project. It’s rumoured that Luther sang backing vocals on Bowie’s ‘Golden Years’ a track Luther would sing with disco outfit Mascara a few years later. His composition ‘Brand New Day’ was featured in both the film and Broadway musical of ‘The Wiz’.
Also in 1975 Luther with Patti Austin recorded vocals for Bob James’s ‘Westchester Lady’ which subsequently were taken off the final mix. When I spoke to Bob James for Soul Survivors in issue 34, Bob said later, whilst they were working together, Luther joked with him, that had Bob left the vocals on, Luther would have had an earlier solo career. Whilst working with Bette Midler, Luther met Arif Mardin of Atlantic. This helped to reacquaint Luther’s Shades of Jade outfit (with the addition of Christine Wiltshire, who later went on to work with Jocelyn Brown and Leroy Burgess) and they recorded two albums under the guise of Luther. Providential not coincidental, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards were part of Luther’s Band reigniting their earlier collaborations from the Sesame Street band. Cotillion dropped the group and Luther ended up retaining the rights to the album. He became an in demand session singer working with Chic, headlining the backing vocals of their ‘C’est Chic’ debut album and the original instrumental version of ‘Everybody Dance’. Luther’s vocals graced Sister Sledge, Quincy Jones, Roberta Flack, Odyssey, Peter Jacques Band, BB&Q Band, Kleeer, Cat Stevens, Ringo Starr & Carole Bayer Sager’s music. As disco reached a peak in the latter 1970’s Luther fronted bands, Lemon, Gregg Diamond, Charme, New York City Band, Mascara and Change. The rest is history.
However between then and Luther touting for a successful record deal with Epic in 1981, it would appear that none other than Quincy Jones seemingly overlooked signing Luther Vandross. Speaking with Patti Austin in 2012 issue 36, Patti recalls working with Luther on her godfather Quincy’s Jones’ ‘Sound’s’ album and duets with Luther on ‘I’m Gonna Miss You In The Morning’. Luther also sings lead on the albums ‘Taking In To The Streets’. Patti says “Ironically Quincy has since admitted he didn’t see that vision of Luther. He loved him but didn’t pursue taking him under his wing but put him on the album. Quincy just didn’t get Luther’s potential and I thought, ok I’m trying to tell you something here LOL.” From the time Luther sealed the deal with Epic in 1981 he released album after album alongside his partner in rhyme bassist ‘Marvellous’ Marcus Miller. Luther co-wrote and produced his own albums as well other artist including Aretha Franklin’s ‘Jump To It’ and ‘Get It Right’ and Cheryl Lynn’s ‘Instant Love’. I always remember waking up Easter Friday 1985 to ‘The Night I Fell In Love’ like it was yesterday and although I was already a fan of his music, that album with the song, that‘ll make a grown man cry ‘My Sensitivity’, sealed the fan for life deal. Covering many a classic by artists Brenda Russell, Stevie Wonder, Burt Bacharach & Hal David, and Heatwave, Luther had a unique style of replicating a composition as though he’d sung it first.
Luther has sung with many female vocalists including Gwen Guthrie, Patti Austin, Dionne Warwick, Janet Jackson & Patti Labelle. I was lucky enough to see him in the mid 80’s at Wembley when he travelled the world doing live concerts. Luther was undoubtedly instantly recognisable on a track even if he was doing background vocals. His film credit includes ‘The Meteor Man’ a Robert Townsend film where he played a villain within a gang. He provided vocals for the 70’s gang epic ‘The Warriors’ soundtrack and Roberta Flack covered his ‘You Stopped Loving Me’ for the film ‘Bustin’ Loose’, starring Cicely Tyson and Richard Prior. Luther has lent his voice to many musical styles, mostly gospel & soul based, but he was very versatile in other genres throughout the changing faces of R&B music from the 1970’s to the 2000’s up until he passed. He has been sampled in hip-hop and rap, by many including Heavy D sampling ‘Don’t You Know That’ in ‘Got Me Waiting’, Queen Pen sampled ‘Never Too Much’ in ‘All My Love’ and Busta Rhymes rapped on Luther’s version of Bill Wither’s ‘Lovely Day’. Master’s At Work mixed ‘Are You Losing Me?’ and there was a very soulful unreleased house mix of ‘Take You Out Tonight’. One of the last releases that became a classic was ‘Shine’ sampling Chic’s ‘My Forbidden Lover’. In my interview with Melba Moore in issue 13 from 2008 she urged me to listen to her album ‘Closer’ and when you hear Luther on ‘Something On Your Mind’ you’ll understand why. Vocalist, songwriter, producer and an all around gifted African American artist of huge proportion. Luther Vandross passed 16 years ago on July 1st 2005. So as I never got to speak with him I thought I would honour him in the Soul Survivor’s Roll Call Of Fame.
Greetings,today is 12 years ago when my virtual ‘Big Boy’ brother Michael Jackson went into his deepest sleep. The truth be known, MJ was my first iconic influence aged 8 years old and I wanted to be like him. Yes even back then although I was a happy child I felt that being black had some negative connotations. The first record I ever bought out of my pocket money in 1973 was ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’. I never heard Bill Wither’s original till a few years later. My first slow dance at our Perivale Jnrs/Middle School disco circa 1973 was to MJ’s ‘Ben’. I had a T Shirt with his image on, watched The J5 cartoon on TV and later circa 1979 rocked his Afro hairstyle. I remember going to an Ealing Green High School trip to France in the same year and in the hostel that we stayed in, they had a juke box. Now between us young black soul rebels we pumped that Spotify playlist of it’s time full of French franc coins to hear ‘Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough’ on repeat as that was the best we was gonna get. I remember in 1983 deliberately missing my regular Friday night fling foot session at Electric Ballroom’s Double Disco to stay at home and watch the unveiling of the Thriller movie short video being shown around 1am on TV. Fast forward like a TDK C90 tape to 1994 my son Jamal is one years old and he is mesmerised by MJ studying his videos so intensely, that he would assume position and anticipate the moves before MJ executed them. Jamal’s first dancing experience on stage was aged 4 when he lived in Portugal and an MJ impersonator Billy Proud would ask Jamal to come out of the audience to dance with him. Jamal went on to become a dancer flinging foot light years ahead and with more eloquence than his pops did in my era. So I guess you can say MJ had a profound affect on me and my mini me. For me aged 8 seeing someone in my own African Diaspora image handsome, cute, singing, dancing and having his own black TV cartoon show, that was inspiring. So yes I did shed tears watching TV 25th June 2009 the night he passed.. not gonna lie. For me MJ was as smooth as his moonwalk and 2nd to his main mentor JB was the ultimate singing ‘Dancin’ Machine’. Needless to say I will be doing a 2 hour MJ influenced show on www.oursalsasoul.com this Sunday 8pm-11pm. MJ thank you for your ‘Music & Me’ legacy 🙏🏿♥
Summer Soulstice starts it’s virtual 48 hours broadcast tomorrow, so let’s some some virtual love by tuning in via You Tube, Mixcloud Live & Twitch and you an donate via www.soulfund.uk It’s all in aid of Cherry Lodge Cancer Care and inspired in the soul surviving memory of Andy Weekes. I’ll be on Sunday 5-6pm after Mick Foster and before James Anthony so let’s show some soul surviving love please🙏🏿
Morning on this pinch punch Junesday 1st 2021. Here is the front cover of our 15th Anniversary edition 92 of The Soul Survivors Magazine for June & July 2021. It features news reviews & interviews with Morgan Khan, Marcus Miller, Hayden Browne(HB Soul II Soul) & Andrew Levy (BNH). We get the printed issues back end of this week and the digital should be ready for viewing in the next Eddie Murphy ’48 Hours’. We are the ‘info provider for the soul survivor’….still!!