Soul Serenade: Laura Nyro, "Timer" | Popdose

laurasoul

I have written extensively about Laura Nyro for Popdose. There was my review of the splendid Iconoclassic reissue of her live album Season of Light, and more recently, a review of One Child Born, a one-woman show devoted to Nyro’s music. The bottom line is that I have been a fan of her music since the ’60s, and yet somehow fan doesn’t seem like a strong enough word. I’ve turned to Laura Nyro on dark days for more than 40 years, and I’ve always found comfort and compassion there. There are few people whose music has meant more to me over the years.

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Soul Serenade: Laura Nyro, "Timer" | Popdose
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CD Review: Miles Davis, "Bitches Brew: 40th Anniversary Edition" | Popdose

bitchesbrew

Miles Davis once quipped that he had changed the course of jazz “four or five times.” If you know anything about jazz, and I don’t profess to know much, you know that it was no idle boast. One of those times came with the release of Bitches Brew in April 1970. These days, no significant album release anniversary seems to go by without the release of an expanded, remastered, repackaged, revised re-release, and for the most part, that turns out to be a very good thing. In fact, these releases are often the only rays of light coming from a music industry that is in the throes of a long and protracted demise. What the major labels have is catalog. Eventually, that may be all they have. So why not make the most of it as Sony Legacy has done with the 40th Anniversary reissue of Bitches Brew.

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CD Review: Miles Davis, "Bitches Brew - 40th Anniversary Edition" | Popdose
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Soul Serenade: The Delfonics, "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" | Popdose

delfonics

The other day I was listening to my favorite radio show, Ron & Fez, on satellite radio. The discussion turned to Quentin Tarantino’s film music. As one example after another was played, I realized that as unlikely as it may seem, Tarantino has actually surpassed the great Martin Scorcese when it comes to the use of music in his films.

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Soul Serenade: The Delfonics, "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time) | Popdose
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Cratedigger: Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse, "Dark Night of the Soul" | Popdose

dnots

Ok vinyl lovers. I have something very special for you this week. If you’re reading this column, chances are you own, and use, a turntable. If not, read on anyway. The prize I’m offering in this contest would make a great gift for the vinyl lover in your life. In fact, it’s so good that you may want to actually buy yourself a turntable so that you can hear it.

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Cratedigger: Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse, "Dark Night of the Soul" | Popdose
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Soul Serenade: The Temptations, "You're My Everything" | Popdose


temptations

It’s surprising to me that we’re now several months into Soul Serenade, and I have yet to feature a track by the Temptations. They are, after all, my favorite soul vocal group, and one of my favorite acts of any genre ever. I did feature a David Ruffin track (“Walk Away From Love”) in week three, but that was from his solo years after he left the group.

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Soul Serenade: The Temptations, "You're My Everything" | Popdose
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CD Review: Brian Wilson, "Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin" | Popdose

wilsongershwin

The idea of a collaboration between two of America’s greatest composers is one that is intriguing, but also fraught with peril. The biggest problem is that the music of George Gershwin is completely familiar to even the most casual music fan in this country. We’ve heard it in concert halls and cocktail bars for our entire lives. We’ve heard wonderful cover versions of Gershwin songs, and some pretty bad ones. So for Brian Wilson the question becomes, if you’re going to do an album of Gershwin music, what are you going to bring to the project that’s new?

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CD Review: Brian Wilson, "Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin" | Popdose
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Live Music: 2010 Newport Folk Festival, Part Two | Popdose

sharonsm

If anything, the final day of the 2010 Newport Folk Festival was even more beautiful than the day before, and Newport Harbor was at the height of its midsummer glory. Arriving early has its benefits, as not only were we able to avoid the traffic that builds up later in the day, we were also treated to an ad hoc performance by What Cheer? Brigade, a 19-piece brass band from nearby Providence that somehow mixes elements of Balkan, Bollywood, Latin, and New Orleans music into a wonderfully uplifting stew. What Cheer?’s job was to wander the grounds over the weekend, turning up here and there, and whenever they did, it was a delight.

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Live Music: Newport Folk Festival 2010, Part Two | Popdose
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Live Music: 2010 Newport Folk Festival, Part One | Popdose

dawesweb

George Wein started the Newport Folk Festival in 1959, and though economic difficulties caused the festival to close down in 1971, it was revived in 1985, and it’s been running continuously ever since. One of the great joys of the current festival is to see Mr. Wein, who turns 85 in October, in attendance at various performances, still intently focused on the music.

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Live Music: 2010 Newport Folk Festival - Part One | Popdose
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