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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Detroit 9000 (1973)





























Starring

Storyline
Directed by blaxploitation specialist Arthur Marks (Friday Foster, Bucktown) from a script by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Orville Hampton, Detroit 9000 follows a pair of detectives—one white, morally conflicted, and pragmatic (Alex Rocco), the other an African-American straight arrow (Hari Rhodes)—as they join forces to track down the men behind the high-stakes heist of a political fundraiser for an ambitious black politician.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

R.I.P. Levi Stubbs


Levi Stubbs (1936 - 2008)


I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my friend, Levi Stubbs. It is not only a tremendous personal loss for me, but for the Motown family, and people all over the world who were touched by his rare voice and remarkable spirit.

Read more about Levi Stubbs @ Fullundie

Friday, October 24, 2008

Train Ride to Hollywood Aka Night Train (1975)








Starring:
  • Bloodstone - Willis Draffen Jr., Charles Love, Charles McCormick & Harry Williams
  • Michael Payne
  • Guy Marks
  • Jay Robinson
  • Jay Lawrence
  • Phyllis Davis
  • John Myhers
  • Elliot Robins
IMDb.com:
Harry Williams, member of the rhythm & blues band Bloodstone,
is about to go onstage for a concert when he is hit on the head.
The rest that follows is his dream. The four band members become
conductors on a train filled with (impersonated) actors and
characters from the 1930s such as W.C. Fields, Dracula, and Scarlett
O'Hara. For instance 'Jay Lawrence' (q.v.), who gave a brief impression
of Clark Gable in _Stalag 17 (1953)_ (q.v.), plays Gable at greater
length. Patterned after movies by the Marx Brothers and the Beatles,
"Train Ride" features various songs. The thin plot requires the
singing conductors to solve a mystery; Marlon Brando is murdering
Nelson Eddy, Jeanette McDonald, and others by suffocating them in
his armpits. Arriving in Hollywood, the Bloodstone boys are turned
into wax sculptures by Brando.

Ripped by Cinnemageddon user calcifer provided thru FunkbackLink to soundtrack review:
Bloodstone - Trainride To Hollywood (1975)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Legendary Group: The Four Tops


Formed 1956, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

Levi Stubbs (b. Levi Stubbles, 6th June 1936, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. d. 17th October 2008, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)

Renaldo 'Obie' Benson (b. 14th June 1936, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. d. 1st July 2005, Harper Hospital, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)

Lawrence Payton (b. 2nd March 1938, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A, d. 20th June 1997)

and Abdul 'Duke' Fakir (b. 26th December 1935, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)

**************************************************************************************

The Four Tops were formed, under that name, in 1956 in Detroit, Michigan, although two years prior to that they had sang at a party together in the town.

All of the group members attended Detroit-area high schools.

Levi Stubbs and Abdul 'Duke' Fakir attended Pershing, and met Northern students Renaldo 'Obie' Benson and Lawrence Payton at a friend's birthday party.

It was at this party where the quartet first sang together.

In those preceding years they called themselves the Four Aims, as early as 1953, changing their name in 1956 to the Four Tops.

As the Four Aims, they sang Jazz Standards, converting to an R & B sound with the name change.

They changed their name to the Four Tops to avoid confusion with the group the Ames Brothers.

Lawrence Payton's cousin Roquel Davis helped them get an audition with Chess Records in 1956, where they recorded one single entitled 'Kiss Me Baby'.

The Four Tops also recorded for the Red Top, Columbia (where they recorded 'Ain't That Love' in 1960) and Riverside imprints between 1958 and 1962.

In 1963, the group were then signed to the Motown jazz subsidiary Workshop.

In 1964, they recorded an album entitled 'Breaking Through', which wasn't released and Berry Gordy decided to put the group in the songwriting hands of the Holland / Dozier / Holland writing and production team.

Instant success followed with the initial release, with the new collaboration, in the form of 'Baby I Need Your Loving'.

The song reached the Top 20 in the States.

In 1965, they released 'I Can't Help Myself', which went straight to the top of the charts, and the success continued for the group.

For two more years, the Tops and the writing team had continued success, with 'Reach Out I'll Be There' making the top spot in the charts both sides of the Atlantic in 1966.

The Four Tops also charted with the songs 'Bernadette' and 'It's The Same Old Song'.

By 1967, the groups sound diversified, however, they still charted with Left Banke's 'Walk Away Renee' and Tim Hardin's 'If I Were A Carpenter'.

When the Holland / Dozier / Holland writing team left the Motown stable to form the Invictus imprint, the Four Tops success was placed on the backburner, however, they teamed up with the various producers / writers such as Frank Wilson and Smokey Robinson.

In 1970, they charted again with the Tommy Edwards song 'It's All In The Game', and the ballad 'Still Waters (Run Deep)'.

Also in 1970, they teamed up with The Supremes for the first of three albums together.

They also had a hit in 1971 with the Jim Webb song 'MacArthur Park'.

Renaldo 'Obie' Benson co-wrote Marvin Gaye's classic song 'What's Going On' that same year.

One final album was released for the Motown label entitled 'Nature Planned it' in 1972.

Later that year, the Four Tops left Motown, following the release of the single 'A Simple Game'.

This was prompted by Motown's relocation to California from Detroit in 1972.

They group signed to the ABC / Dunhill Records imprint, where they charted with the song 'Are You Man Enough', taken from the movie soundtrack 'Shaft In Africa'.

'Keeper Of The Castle' provided the group with their first chart hit for a while in 1972, with the subsequent album containing the excellent 'When Tonight Meets Tomorrow'.

The group were teamed up with the songwriting partnership Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter at this time.

Several excellent albums followed including 'Main Street People' in 1973 and 'Meeting Of The Minds' in 1974.

'Night Lights Harmony' was released in 1975, followed by 'Catfish' in 1976 (containing the excellent 'Strung Out On Your Love').

'The Show Must Go On' turned out to be the groups final album for ABC / Dunhill before the Four Tops relocated to the MCA imprint.

In 1981, they joined Casablanca Records, and had a number 1 hit with 'When She Was My Girl'.

In 1983, the group performed with The Temptations during the Motown 25th Anniversary television special.

They re-signed to the label for 'Back Where I Belong', one side of which was produced by Holland / Dozier / Holland.

In 1986, Levi Stubbs provided the voice for Audrey the man-eating plant in the film version of 'Little Shop of Horrors'.

They then relocated to the Arista imprint, where they recorded the singles 'Indestructible' and 'Loco In Acapulco', the latter taken from the soundtrack to the film 'Buster'.

The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and continued to tour the oldies circuit.

The groups line-up remained the same throughout their recording career until Lawrence Payton died from liver cancer in June 1997.

In 2002, it was reported that Levi Stubbs was suffering from prostate cancer, however, he had suffered a stroke and a mild heart attack.

This led to Levi not being able to tour.

His place, in the line up, was taken by Ronnie McNeir.

In 2004, a special event was held in his honour, entitled 'It’s All The Way Live With Levi - 50 Years And Still Going'.

Levi attended, along with The Temptations, The Contours, Mary Wilson, Dennis Edwards, The Miracles, The Marvelettes, The Spinners, The Dells, Ollie Woodson, The Satin Tones, The Supremes including members Cindy Birdsong, Jean Terrell, Sherrie Payne amongst others.

Renaldo Obie Benson sadly died on the 1st July 2005, Harper Hospital, Detroit, from several medical conditions.

The current group line up comprises: 'Night Lights Harmony' was released in 1975, followed by 'Catfish' in 1976 (containing the excellent 'Strung Out On Your Love').

'The Show Must Go On' turned out to be the groups final album for ABC / Dunhill before the Four Tops relocated to the MCA imprint.

In 1981, they joined Casablanca Records, and had a number 1 hit with 'When She Was My Girl'.

In 1983, the group performed with The Temptations during the Motown 25th Anniversary television special.

They re-signed to the label for 'Back Where I Belong', one side of which was produced by Holland / Dozier / Holland.

In 1986, Levi Stubbs provided the voice for Audrey the man-eating plant in the film version of 'Little Shop of Horrors'.

They then relocated to the Arista imprint, where they recorded the singles 'Indestructible' and 'Loco In Acapulco', the latter taken from the soundtrack to the film 'Buster'.

The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and continued to tour the oldies circuit.

The groups line-up remained the same throughout their recording career until Lawrence Payton died from liver cancer in June 1997.

In 2002, it was reported that Levi Stubbs was suffering from prostate cancer, however, he had suffered a stroke and a mild heart attack.

This led to Levi not being able to tour.

His place, in the line up, was taken by Ronnie McNeir.

In 2004, a special event was held in his honour, entitled 'It’s All The Way Live With Levi - 50 Years And Still Going'.

Levi attended, along with The Temptations, The Contours, Mary Wilson, Dennis Edwards, The Miracles, The Marvelettes, The Spinners, The Dells, Ollie Woodson, The Satin Tones, The Supremes including members Cindy Birdsong, Jean Terrell, Sherrie Payne amongst others.

Renaldo Obie Benson sadly died on the 1st July 2005, Harper Hospital, Detroit, from several medical conditions.

The current group line up comprises:

Abdul 'Duke' Fakir, Roquel Payton (Lawrence's son), Theo Peoples and Ronnie McNeir.

Levi Stubbs passed away at his home in Detroit on the 17th October 2008. He was 72.

Levi had suffered a series of strokes and other illnesses had been sick for a number of years prior to his passing.





Discography

Four Tops (Motown 1965)
Four Tops No. 2 (Motown 1965)
Four Tops On Top (Motown 1966)
Four Tops Live! (Motown 1966)
Four Tops On Broadway (Motown 1967)
Four Tops Reach Out (Motown 1967)
Yesterday's Dreams (Motown 1968)
Four Tops Now! (Motown 1969)
Soul Spin (Motown 1969)
Still Waters Run Deep (Motown 1970)
Changing Times (Motown 1970)
with the Supremes: The Magnificent Seven (Motown 1970)
with the Supremes: The Return Of The Magnificent Seven (Motown 1971)
with the Supremes: Dynamite (Motown 1972)
Nature Planned It (Motown 1972)
Keeper Of The Castle (Dunhill 1972)
Shaft In Africa film soundtrack (Dunhill 1973)
Main Street People (Dunhill 1973)
Meeting Of The Minds (Dunhill 1974)
Live And In Concert (Dunhill 1974)
Night Lights Harmony (ABC 1975)
Catfish (ABC 1976)
The Show Must Go On (ABC 1977)
At The Top (MCA 1978)
The Four Tops Tonight! (Casablanca 1981)
One More Mountain (Casblanca 1982)
Back Where I Belong (Motown 1983)
Magic (Motown 1985)
Hot Nights (Motown 1986)
Indestructible (Arista 1988)


Resource:
Soulwalking.co.uk

Legend: Barry White


b. Barry Eugene Carter (a.k.a. Barry Lee) 12th September 1944, Galveston, Texas, U.S.A.

d. 4th July 2003, Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, Los Angeles, U.S.A.

**************************************************************************************

Barry White was born in Galveston, Texas, but raised in Los Angeles.

Barry's mother's name was Sadie Mae Carter, however, his father's surname was White.

He was involved in the local music community while still very young, playing piano on Jesse Belvin's hit 'Goodnight my Love' at the age of 11.

Barry recorded his first record when he was 16 with a group called the Upfronts.

The song was called 'Little Girl' on a local L.A. label called Lummtone Records.

Barry made several records during the early 60's, under his own name, as 'Barry Lee', and as a member of the Atlantics, the Majestics as well as the Upfronts.

Following on Barry worked for various independent labels around Los Angeles.

He was also a producer and road manager for Bob and Earl.

Barry took an A & R position with Bob Keene, the man who first recorded Sam Cooke.

He was hired for 40 dollars a week to do A.&.R for Keene's other labels, Mustang and Bronco.

Barry recorded a record for Bronco called 'All in the Run of a Day.'

One of the first groups he worked with was the Versatiles who later became the 5th Dimension.

Barry found a greater success as a backroom figure, guiding the careers of, among others, Felice Taylor, recording 'It May Be Winter Outside,' 'I'm Under the Influence of Love,' and 'I Feel Love Coming On', and Viola Wills ('Lost Without the Love of My Guy', Top 20 R & B).

In 1969, he put together Love Unlimited, a female vocal trio made up of Diana Taylor, Glodean James (his future wife) and her sister Linda.

He also founded the Love Unlimited Orchestra, a 40-piece ensemble to accompany himself and the singing trio, for which he conducted, composed and arranged.

Love Unlimited's success, in 1972, with 'Walkin' In The Rain With The One I Love', featuring his voice on the telephone, rejuvenated Barry's own career.

The hits followed including 'I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More', 'Never, Never Gonna Give You Up' (both 1973), 'Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe' and 'You're The First, The Last, My Everything' (both 1974) all of which proved popular in the U.K. and the U.S.A. alike.

Barry had a major hit in 1978 with Billy Joel's song 'Just The Way You Are'.

He later undertook several recordings with Glodean White before returning to the UK Top 20 in 1987 with 'Sho' You Right'.

Barry's achievements during the peak of his career, in securing gold and platinum discs for worldwide sales is impressive.

In 1990, he was a featured vocalist on the Quincy Jones project 'Back On The Block', contributing to the song 'The Secret Garden'.

Lisa Stansfield has often voiced her approval of Barry's work and in 1992, she and he re-recorded a version of Stansfield's hit 'All Around The World'.

In 1999, Barry returned with 'Staying Power' containing the popular 'Which Way Is Up'.

He, also, took a cameo role in the television series Ally McBeal, where his recordings were pivotal to many of the series storylines.

Barry's godson is the singer and songwriter Chuckii Booker.

In 2002, Barry was admitted into hospital and underwent kidney dialysis following kidney failure afrer suffering years of high blood pressure.

Barry had suffered two strokes, the latest of which occurred in May 2003.

Barry White, who had suffered kidney failure from years of high blood pressure, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, Los Angeles, around 9.30am local time, on the 4th of July 2003, said his manager Ned Shankman.

He was 58.







Discography

I've Got So Much To Give (20th Century 1973)
Stone Gon' (20th Century 1973)
Can't Get Enough (20th Century 1974)
Just Another Way To Say I Love You (20th Century 1975)
Let The Music Play (20th Century 1976)
Is This Whatcha Wont? (20th Century 1976)
Barry White Sings For Someone You Love (20th Century 1977)
Barry White The Man (20th Century 1978)
The Message Is Love (Unlimited Gold 1979)
I Love To Sing The Songs I Sing (20th Century 1979)
Barry White's Sheet Music (Unlimited Gold 1980)
The Best Of Our Love (Unlimited Gold 1981)
with Glodean James Barry And Glodean (Unlimited Gold 1981)
Beware! (1981)
Change (Unlimited Gold 1982)
Dedicated (Unlimited Gold 1983)
The Right Night And Barry White (A&M 1987)
The Man Is Back! (A&M 1990)
Put Me In Your Mix (A&M 1991)
The Icon Is Love (A&M 1994)
Staying Power (BMG 1999)


Resource:
Soulwalking.co.uk

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tom Scott & The L.A. Express - The Nine Lives Of Fritz The Cat OST (Single)



Blaxploitation.com:
Ever wondered what Tom Scott's LA Express, the masterful LA session band he played with in the 70s and sometime backing band to Joni Mitchell, would have sounded like if they got seriously funky? Well, wonder no more because this obscure soundtrack 45 will really hit the spot. Originally scheduled for an LP release, the full LP got canned when the second Fritz The Cat movie bombed, but luckily this 45 was released in limited quantities. It's a cracker - wicked mid 70s jazz-funk, super tight and with a monstrous funky vocal. Killer horn and rhythm section work means that this 45 is hot enough to melt your turntable. Absolutely brilliant.

And luckily for us comet01 over at My Jazz World decided to share this with the rest of us so we can enjoy it. Ain't life sweet?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974)





























Voices/Cast:
  • Skip Hinnant ... Fritz (voice)
  • Reva Rose ... Fritz' Old Lady (voice)
  • Bob Holt ... Many voices (voice)
  • Robert Ridgely... (voice)
  • Fred Smoot... (voice)
  • 'Sweet' Dick Whittington... (voice)
  • Luke Walker... (voice)
  • Peter Leeds... Juan / Various Characters (voice)
  • Louisa Moritz... Chita (Juan's Sister) (voice)


IMDb.com:
Fritz the Cat may have lost one of his lives in the comics, but in his new movie, he has eight more lives left to go! While his wife screams at him, Fritz lights up a joint and reminiscences about what could have been. Fritz, now married and with a son, is desperate to escape from the domestic hell he now finds himself in. Lighting up a joint, he begins to dream about his eight other lives, hoping to find one that will provide a pleasant distraction. The drug-induced journeys he takes include spells as an astronaut, Hitler's psychiatrist, a courier travelling in hostile territory during a race war, and as a pupil of an Indian guru living in the sewers of New York.



Link to soundtrack rewiew:
Tom Scott & The L.A. Express - T.C.B. in E (Main Title Theme From Nine Lives Of Fritz The Cat) / Jump Back (Vocal By Merry Clayton)

Visit the Museum of Black Cult Cinema for additional information and digital media.