Tag Archives: Anthony Hamilton

Chaka Khan, Al Green, Diana Ross & The Supremes, etc.

I totally missed the great Chaka Khan‘s double-Grammy disc Funk You (listen/buy). For fun, here are three very different YouTubes of her, a classic song, her on drums, and a jazzy tune.

Muzzle of Bees introduced me to the disc Dirty Laundry: The Soul of Black Country. Review here, tracklist here, and buy it here. We’re talking a great compilation here, including James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, The Pointer Sisters, Bobby Womack, Etta James, etc.

Stop, children, what’s that sound … everybody look at this delicate but soulful cover of Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth covered by Sergio Mendes & Brazil ‘66, which you can download at Aquarium Drunkard. Buy the disc.

Aquarium Drunkard also alerts us to the amazing double disc of Diana Ross and The Supremes rarities, available here. Find their cover of Stevie Wonder’s Uptight for download here. Also, you can stream Diana Ross’ recent album of just covers, I Love You, in its entirety here.

In late May, Al Green comes out with a new disc Lay It Down that is evidently star-studded, as if Al weren’t enough. Preview a track at Soul Sides; it’s Al with Anthony Hamilton (my review of him) performing You Got the Love I Need Babe. You can also stream Al Green’s remastered greatest hits album here.

By the way, if you get a chance to see Al Green live, pay the money and sit in the front. It’s a life highlight. Check the tour dates, such as his shows co-headlining with Gladys Knight!

To bring this post full circle to yesterday’s, the Estelle/Kanye song American Boy contains the lyric “The Pips at they Gladys.” Fun!

2 Comments

Filed under Concerts, Covers, New, Shows

Anthony Hamilton

The more I listened to Anthony Hamilton on the web, the more I liked him. So, I bought the 2005 disc Ain’t Nobody Worryin’. I passed on the 2007 album Southern Comfort, because it was a little less funky than I wanted. There’s supposed to be a new album coming out in early February, according to Billboard, but I see neither hide nor hair of it so far.

He’s been collaborating with a lot of artists, including another R&B singer who’s getting hyped right now, Keyshia Cole. I’d love to see him do a duet with Alicia Keys (when she’s in a Fallin’ mood, and not a No One mood). (Really, watch that video of Fallin’. It’s a live performance, and there’s a stellar piano solo at the beginning that’s worth your time.) Anthony and Robert Randolph helped out with Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay (live YouTube of the original here that’s shockingly different than the original recording) on Buddy Guy‘s star-studded album Bring ‘Em In. Buy the album and listen to short snippets of the songs here. And, of course, you can see another bit of his work in the video for his song on American Gangster Do You Feel Me, which I posted about February 1 here.

I really gravitated to Anthony’s ’05 album because of the song Sista Big Bones, which streams on his site. However, I am warning you, DO NOT watch the video for Sista Big Bones. It nearly ruined the image I had of him in my head as a way-cool soul singer. In the song, as soulful as Anthony is, the awesome beat is more George Clinton than Al Green, and the backup vocals evoke Rufus. That sentence right there, once I formed it in my head, convinced me to buy the disc.

The other superstar track on the disc is Preacher’s Daughter, which features Stax-style backups by his wife Tarsha’ McMillian. She’s releasing an album February 26 called The McMillian Story. The intense lyrics draw you in, hard, and she’ll break your heart at the end of that song. As the liner notes say, she “vamps” the outro.

I like songs like those two with thump enough to rattle the pennies in my car’s change holder, and the album provided enough of them to keep me happy.

There are a fair number of crooning songs that I don’t love, but I feel because they’re rougher and groovier than, for instance, the too-smooth Brian McKnight, they might grow on me. Some sound like puttin’-on-the-night-moves songs, but closer attention to the lyrics reveals they’re really break-up songs.

A couple of tracks use a spoonful of soulful sugar to slip gospel messages into the grooves, not unlike Stevie Wonder and Al Green. There’s a song called Everybody that sounds in the intro like a rockin’ version of Lionel Richie’s Easy like Sunday Morning; the lyrics really remind me of Stevie: “Everybody needs love in their life / Everybody needs a little sun to shine.”

Final assessment: Dig the album, some tracks in particular, and I hope that he just funks out the next one.

1 Comment

Filed under Covers, Music Videos, Review, Soundtrack

American Gangster

I nearly purchased the American Gangster soundtrack a couple of times since seeing the Denzel Washington/Russell Crowe flick at the drive-in movie theater, but when I visit InSound to do so, they scare me off with their assessment that the disc is “An entirely fitting companion piece to the movie, but certainly not on the endlessly playable level of the Dead Presidents soundtrack discs.” And I have them, so why would I need this. Well, I’m beginning to make up my own mind on this matter.

The American Gangster soundtrack is not to be confused with Jay-Z’s album with the same title (preview all the songs here) that was inspired by the movie. Jay-Z’s is a concept album, and each track comes directly from a scene. He played the film in the background while recording. There’s also an a cappella version of the Jay-Z album for the DJs to mess around with, as usual. That’s all very interesting, but I’d actually prefer an instrumental-only version. The hooks are what keep me listening to Jay-Z, not his lyrics; for instance, in Soul Sides’ post of Jay-Z’s 99 Problems, the Dap-Kings are on the instrumentals, and I wish Jay-Z would just be quiet. Similarly, his business savvy is what keeps me following him in the news, not necessarily his rhymes (as is the case with lots of other rap stars).

Antony Hamilton singing Do You Feel Me (download it at Soul Sides or stream it at Def Jam), the featured song in the movie, is great. It was written by Diane Warren, and also relies on the Dap-Kings for the groove. Sometimes I think I’d like Hamilton’s vocals to be more silky, but it doesn’t stop me from listening. He convicts me with the line: “And you like to keep keepin’ me.” I think I keep him because the vocals sound like a man is singing them. There’s a bit of falsetto, but it’s not gratuitous, not like Pharrell Williams, who’s an interesting cat (The Neptunes) with a nice sound, but it’s certainly not manly when he sings.

The producer of the Hamilton single is Hank Shocklee, and he talks about the process in an interview here. I like that he used the Dap-Kings (of the we-may-have-backed-her-but-we-ain’t-no-Amy-Winehouse ’cause-we-been-doin’-this-for-a-long-time-and-ain’t-nobody-been-listenin’ Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings) as his session band and recorded at Daptone Records with old (“vintage”) equipment. Shocklee, famous at first for his work with Public Enemy, said, “the thing that I thought was most amazing was me actually working with live musicians again. I think that is an art that has been lost. Everybody is more drum machine and sample-oriented now.” I hope it moves Shocklee and the music he influences in a little different direction.

The final assessment is I think I talked myself into the Hamilton solo album rather than the American Gangster soundtrack … review coming soon.

1 Comment

Filed under Covers, Movie, Soundtrack