Today 11:40 AM

A Love Like Yours - Kim Weston

I recently was listening to my KW Greatest Hits & Rare Classics. There was a song on there that I had forgotten about, A Love Like Yours. I checked and the earlier one was naturally by Martha & the Vandellas and Kim's was released about three years later.

Kim did an outstanding job on A Love Like Yours. It is within striking distance of the Vandellas version. There are some other good characteristics about Kim's version.

What do others think about this selection?

Ironically, I also have her 2-CD set The Motown Anthology consisting of 48 songs, but A Love Like Yours is NOT included in this collection. I guess I did not fully appreciate Kim as I have other artists, but after listening to the Greatest Hits and Rare Classics, I changed my mind and am more and more convinced that they did not fully develop her into the superstar they could.
Today 10:20 AM

Patti LaBelle, the Doyenne of Philadelphia Soul - NY Times Magazine, Part 1

The NY Times Style magazine has extended profiles (including new interviews and gorgeous photography) of Patti as well as Barbra Streisand and Dolly Parton. Here's a cut-and-paste of Patti's profile -

At 76, she is the embodiment of success, the personification of warmth and an artist who changed the landscape of American music

By Mark Anthony Neal
Photographs by Hank Willis Thomas and Deb Willis
Styled by Alex Harrington

PATTI LABELLE’S superpower is a spellbinding scream — a refined shriek, really — that makes hairs stand at attention, bones shiver and spines twist. It was 1975 when I first heard it. I was 10, in my parents’ South Bronx tenement, where the radio station WBLS — offering “the total Black experience in sound,” as the promos said — was always on during our morning rush to school. That’s when it hit me — “Creole Lady Marmalaaaaade,” the last word of those titular lyrics, which debuted the year before, filling the air. My first Patti LaBelle moment. There have been many such moments since — like hearing “Love, Need and Want You” (1983), which I put on the very first slow-jam tape I made as a teen — and with each one, the only logical reaction is to throw up your hands, kick off your shoes and, on occasion, break out in a praise dance.
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There’s no such thing as a passive response to a Patti LaBelle song — nor should there be. LaBelle came to prominence in the 1970s, a decade that was defined by the greatest generation of divas of soul and gospel music: Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Shirley Caesar, Gladys Knight and Inez Andrews, as well as the relative youngsters Chaka Khan and Natalie Cole. But there was something so relatable about LaBelle, who reminded you of your favorite church soloist or the girl at the high school talent show who could saaang, not just sing. LaBelle has been described as the Godmother of Soul, a master of one of America’s classic art forms, but that moniker ultimately fails to capture the singularity of her musical prowess: Perhaps more than any living performer, LaBelle sits at the intersections of soul and gospel, the former a genre that is indebted to the latter. Gospel is a form of Black religious music that emerged in the 1930s courtesy of Thomas A. Dorsey, the onetime pianist for the blues legend Ma Rainey who also wrote the classic “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.” Soul took shape in the 1950s, in large part because of Ray Charles, who added secular lyrics to the melodies of familiar gospel songs, most famously with the track “I Got a Woman” (1954), an early remix of sorts of the Southern Tones’ “It Must Be Jesus.” Many Black churchgoers considered Charles’s music blasphemous, but he opened a portal to a generation of gospel singers like Sam Cooke, Johnnie Taylor and Franklin, who became early stars of the new genre.

But LaBelle is more than someone who exhibits a mastery of soul and gospel; she is “church,” a style of singing taken from Black Pentecostal and Baptist musical traditions, where gospel music is unfettered by the business of religion and soul is unfettered by expectations of the music industry. LaBelle’s rendition of the ABCs on “Sesame Street” in 1998 is just one example. She begins in a slow, bluesy style, accompanied by a piano, and as a congregation of Muppets joins in, the song is transformed into a sanctified shout, performed with a fervor no one had ever had for the ABCs — and perhaps never will again. It was church.

IT FELT LIKE the last day of summer on the autumn afternoon that I arrived at LaBelle’s home, just north of Philadelphia — the whir of her family and staff was not unlike that of children during recess. While Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre’s “California Love” played in the background at LaBelle’s request, the photographers Deb Willis and Hank Willis Thomas went about the work of capturing a woman who is beyond simple impressions. Watching them made me think of Roy DeCarava’s classic photos of Ornette Coleman, Billie Holiday or John Coltrane, or Malcolm X taking a photo of Muhammad Ali — one of the most photographed Black Americans of the 20th century taking pictures of one of the most photographed Black Americans of the 20th century. In other words: an alignment of Black brilliance and genius.

At 76, the unwieldy rawness of LaBelle’s youthful instrument has given way to a refined and nuanced power that she summons with the aplomb of a master craftswoman. She’s “truly gotten better,” Dyana Williams, the longtime Philadelphia radio personality and a friend of LaBelle’s, told me. The singer, she added, “has transcended generations and still remained relevant to each generation of music makers.”

Yet even more significant than her longevity is the context of her staying power. LaBelle is of a generation of Black women who are regularly lauded with the honorific of “auntie” — Auntie Phylicia, Auntie Gladys, Auntie Cicely — a term of affection for women who continue to hold an important place in the culture. These are the women who young Black folks know will always offer support without immediate judgment — who will provide correction and counsel. As I was shown into LaBelle’s living room, the scents of nutmeg and cinnamon hanging in the air — there was peach cobbler in the oven — I realized I was no longer in Patti LaBelle’s home but in any number of aunties’ homes, which I’ve come to expect to smell this way. “Oh my,” I thought to myself, sitting on the couch across from a piano covered with dozens of photographs of close family and friends, including the Clintons and Barack Obama, “I’m in Auntie Patti’s house.” And then she appeared: stunning, regal, beautiful.

We later moved to her sitting room, where she keeps a selection of her many awards; she has five certified gold records, the platinum-selling “Winner in You” (1986) and two Grammys, earned for her albums “Burnin’” (1991) and “Live! One Night Only” (1998). LaBelle lives by herself, but the assorted family members in the house that day — her two young granddaughters, her son Zuri and his wife (who’s also her personal makeup artist), who all live nearby — were a good indication of how welcoming a space it is: a home, not a way station, an important place for someone who has spent a lifetime on the road (until the recent pandemic, she still toured regularly). “Philadelphia is a place for me to live all my life because it’s quiet enough for me,” LaBelle said of her hometown. “It’s not crazy like New York or L.A. I love Philly. Philly is my home.”

10-27-2020 07:49 AM
Today 07:33 AM

Gladys Knight & Pipls & Marvin Gaye - Grapevine

Probably someone may have posted this clip on here 2 years, 5 years or 10 years ago lol, but I'll just post it for anyone who - like me - had never seen it before tonight!

Today 07:28 AM

Patti LaBelle, the Doyenne of Philadelphia Soul - NY Times Magazine, Part 2

But Philadelphia has also been a musical inspiration for LaBelle and generations of artists from the city and beyond. “It’s the most productive city I know,” LaBelle said, reeling off a string of artists who were either born in the city or made their reputations there: Bunny Sigler, Thom Bell, Pink, Jill Scott, the Roots, Eve, Musiq Soulchild, her close friend Teddy Pendergrass, Phyllis Hyman, Billy Paul. Philadelphia sits between and thus in the shadows of America’s cultural capital, New York City, and the seat of American power, Washington, D.C. There’s an underdog quality to the place, something that makes its residents try harder than they might. Indeed, when you listen to LaBelle’s vocals on early covers of “Over the Rainbow” (recorded in 1966) or the Irish hymn “Danny Boy” (in 1964) — the young LaBelle singing as though each note will be her last — there’s a feeling of “I can’t believe she did that with this song,” trampling all conventions in her range and phrasing, making us rethink how these Tin Pan Alley standards were supposed to be sung. The essence of Patti LaBelle the singer is that she is always willing to do that to a song, and it’s one reason she is the exemplar of what has become known as the Philly Sound.
And yet, what is that sound? “You know Philly when you hear it,” LaBelle said coyly. Williams, who’s been based in Philadelphia for the past 40 years, described it as “melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and funky at the same time — the embodiment of multiple genres,” including European classical music: The string arrangements you hear in many of the genre’s songs — like the intro to the O’Jays’ “Stairway to Heaven” (1975) or the proto-disco classic “Love Is the Message” (1973) by MFSB — were often performed by members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Williams is referencing Philadelphia International Records specifically, the label founded by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff in 1971 that is synonymous with Philadelphia Soul. The label’s sound married the earthy vocals of local singers with the pop appeal of Motown. Philadelphia Soul was the embodiment of the aspirations of working-class Black Americans who wanted the good life for themselves in the post-civil rights era. At its best, the label balanced those aspirations (the lush strings) with a prideful defiance, emboldened by those signature bass lines, which you can hear on a track like LaBelle’s “Love Bankrupt” (1983). Ostensibly a song about losing love, it’s also a subtle analogy for a retreat from the early gains of the civil rights movement: “You changed on me,” LaBelle sings, and you can tell she means it.
BORN PATRICIA HOLTE — her family called her Patsy — on May 24, 1944, LaBelle was raised in the Eastwick neighborhood in southwest Philadelphia, a largely Black working-class community, by her parents, Henry and Bertha Holte. She was the second youngest of five children: Her brother, Thomas, was the eldest, and she had three sisters, Vivian, Barbara and Jackie. In her memoir, “Don’t Block the Blessings” (1996), LaBelle recounts a doting father, a railroad man and sometime nightclub performer who braided her hair, cooked her breakfast and had a voice like Nat King Cole. Her mother worked in food service before becoming a full-time homemaker. When her father became abusive toward her mother, the two divorced. On one occasion following her parents’ split, LaBelle was sexually abused by her mother’s new boyfriend. After that, it was the music of Nina Simone, Gloria Lynne, Dakota Staton and James Moody — introduced to her by her brother — that became LaBelle’s “escape hatch … [and] gave me something to believe when I thought I had lost my faith.” She started singing shortly thereafter, with “the broom as a microphone,” as she recalled. She then moved on to the church choir at Beulah Baptist Church — which was close to her childhood home — at a time when the church played a prominent role in the daily lives of Black Americans. It was the choir director, Harriet Chapman, who forced LaBelle to take a solo. “‘Oh, no, Patsy, you have to come in front and do the lead,’” LaBelle remembered her saying. When she protested, Chapman suggested a duet with her son, Nathan. LaBelle got the bug quickly thereafter, singing “God Specializes,” and received the amen from the whole congregation: “They all stood up saying, ‘Hallelujah!’ That’s when I first realized I had talent.”
LaBelle began her career in 1960 when she joined a quartet that had originally included Jean Brown, Yvonne Hogen and Johnnie Dawson but would later feature the singers Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash and Cindy Birdsong. (Birdsong would go on to join the Supremes in 1967, making the quartet a trio.) The Ordettes, as they called themselves, signed with Harold Robinson’s Newtown Records label in 1962 and were rechristened the Bluebelles; their lead singer, “little” Patsy Holte, became Patti LaBelle. But the group was largely overshadowed by others like the Shirelles and the Supremes, the latter of which became one of the most successful groups ever; their lead singer, Diana Ross, became a global superstar. But Ross was never tied to one place like LaBelle — she moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s, and later relocated to New York City. LaBelle, on the other hand, remained, becoming synonymous with her hometown. Diana Ross was a pure pop confection; Patti LaBelle is, and has always been, a home-cooked meal.


Ralph Terrana

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