Jul 19

Eumir Deodato – Happy Hour (1982/2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192kHz  | Time – 00:36:17 minutes | 1,74 GB  | Genre: Disco, Funk, Soul
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Warner Bros. Records ‎
Recorded: House of Music, W. Orange, New Jersey.

One of Deodato’s career highlights, this 1982 release finds the wildly talented musician incorporating a more smooth pop sound. The slick and melodious album features a guest appearance by Kelly Baretto, whose R&B style and high octave vocals blends with ease. The album features the hit singles “Keep It In The Family,” “Keep On Movin’” and the title track.

Although he was not only heavily involved in producing funkers Kool & the Gang but was elsewhere employed far from his own jazz roots, fusionist Eumir Deodato was still taking the time to perfect his own smooth pop. Happy Hour, released in 1982, is a prime example of the sounds and styles he’d now fully adapted. Sweet and slick, Happy Hour hinges on the upbeat sounds of early-’80s pop, leaving his prior success with disco present but lurking in the background. With vocalist Kelly Barretto taking a turn across the lion’s share of the songs, she set the tone with her clear R&B style and, although it was “Happy Hour” that hit the pop charts, the opening “Keep on Movin’” was a far better example of her prowess. Nearly eight minutes long and built around a smoothly repetitious, delicious, classic Deodato groove, her octave-leaping vocals bound in and out of the mix with ease amid the synth and brass. Elsewhere, Deodato brought in the star power of guest Candi Staton on a barely lukewarm version of the Smokey Robinson classic “The Tears of a Clown,” which focused almost exclusively on an unending alto sax solo. On a happier note, both “Keep It in the Family” and “I Never Get Enough” wrapped up the set with a Motown vibe. But while Happy Hour is easy on the ears, with nice turns spattered throughout, there’s nothing overly remarkable about the set, nor is there anything to recommend it. Deodato was capable of much better, and it would have been nice to hear it. –Amy Hanson

1 Keep On Movin’ 7:51
2 Happy Hour 4:59
3 Just This One Night 5:03
4 Tears Of A Clown 4:38
5 Sweet Magic 4:16
6 Keep It In The Family 5:04
7 I Never Get Enough 4:26

Alto Saxophone – Nelson Rangell, Steve Greenfield
Backing Vocals – Allison Bragdon, Cynthia Huggins, Eban Kelly, Joan Motley
Bass – Gary Grainger, Neil Jason
Bass, Synthesizer [Bass], Guitar, Synthesizer, Backing Vocals – Jerry Barnes
Bass, Synthesizer [Mini Moog] – Norman Durham
Drums – John Sussewell, John “Broadway” Tucker
Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes] – Mark Cohen
Guitar – Alan Thomas, David Brown, George Parrish, Wyatt Staton
Handclaps, Sequenced By [Clap Trap] – Bobby Douglas
Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Vocoder – Katreese Barnes
Keyboards, Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes] – Alan Palanker
Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals – Camille, Kelly Barretto
Piano [Keyboard], Synthesizer [Arp Omni, Arp Pro Soloist, Mini Moog], Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer], Congas – Eumir Deodato
Programmed By – Eumir Deodato, Jerry Barnes, Katreese Barnes, Norman Durham, Rick Suchow
Strings – Kermit Moore
Synthesizer [Bass] – Rick Suchow
Synthesizer [Prophet 5] – Michael Mandel
Tenor Saxophone – Bob Malach, Manny Boyd
Trombone – Clifford Adams, Keith Oquinn
Trumpet – Earl Gardner, Michael Ray

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Jul 09

Jerry Bergonzi – Spotlight On Standards (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 1:03:19 minutes | 1,3 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: AcousticSounds | Front Cover | © Savant

There’s an old saying that a great jazz musician never plays a song the same way once. That could certainly be said of Jerry Bergonzi. He is an intellectual artist of uncompromising integrity and a bold, original composer. On Jerry’s new Savant recording he returns to the organ-tenor trio format after a long hiatus from it. From the opening track, Cy Coleman’s “Witchcraft” with its hypnotic organ vamp and “bewitching” chord substitutions Jerry gives to the first 8 bars, you know this isn’t going to be your parents’ organ-tenor gig. Bergonzi and his discmates, Renato Chicco on organ and Andrea Michelutti on drums, take these standards down new harmonic paths and use them as a launching pad for fertile and impressive improvisation. The playing is always intense and distinctive, fresh and spontaneous.

1. Witchcraft
2. Bi-Solar
3. Blue Cube
4. First Lady
5. Gabriella
6. Dancing in the Dark
7. Out of Nowhere
8. Come Rain or Come Shine
9. Stella by Starlight

Jerry Bergonzi – tenor sax
Renato Chicco – B-3 organ
Andrea Michelutti – drums

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Jul 06

Keith Sweat – Dress To Impress (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 1:06:19 minutes | 783 MB | Genre: Funk, Soul
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: 7digital | © RAL/Sony Music

Keith Sweat’s first studio album since 2011 arrived as the singer’s syndicated radio program, The Sweat Hotel, was approaching its tenth year. It could be deduced that the gig has sharpened Sweat’s ears and pen, as Dress to Impress features his best round of songs in well over a decade. Beside a small cast of writing and production associates that includes Wirlie Morris and Derek Allen, Sweat focuses on romance and emotional connection. The album sounds fresh while drawing from numerous eras, just as the Sweat Hotel playlist roams from decade to decade.

01. Good Love (3:44)
02. Tonight (feat. Silk) (4:09)
03. Just the 2 of Us (feat. Takiya Mason) (3:45)
04. Pulling Out the One (3:30)
05. Special Night (4:34)
06. Back and Forth (4:04)
07. Give You All of Me (4:07)
08. Missing You Like Crazy (feat. Dru Hill) (4:42)
09. Lovers and Friends (4:05)
10. Feels Good (4:24)
11. Better Love (4:53)
12. Dressed to Impress (4:21)
13. Can’t Let You Go (4:17)
14. Say (3:35)
15. Get It In (4:03)
16. Let’s Go to Bed (feat. Gerald Levert) (4:06)

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Jun 26

Jack Holcomb – Led by the Masters’s Great Hand (1965/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 00:33:04 minutes | 692 MB | Genre: Gospel, Christian, Soul
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front cover | Label: RCA Records

The man once called “Americas favorite gospel song stylist”, Rev. Harold Jackson “Jack” Holcomb, has been gone for over 40 years, but his albums are as popular today as they were in his fifteen-year recording career. Here in this space I will share what I have learned about Jack Holcomb, information that has not been easy to find because Jack has been gone since July 1968, long before there was a World Wide Web. Many people have joined with me and helped to build up this web site, and I hope you will, too. We want this to be a resource for people who are interested in knowing more about a fellow Christian who loved his Lord and raised his voice in songs of praise his whole life long.

Harold “Jack” Holcomb, a minister and gospel recording artist was born and raised in Waco,Texas. He hosted a radio program in California and was evangelist Jack Shuller’s song leader. He returned to Waco and recorded many gospel music albums and traveled around the country preaching and singing at groups and churches. In 1963 he was named “Mr. Gospel Music” by RCA Records. Jack did not have an easy life, coming from a poor family. He lost his first wife just a few years into their marriage. He remarried, but in 1953 his first child Jo Ellen died in a tragic accident; before she could be buried a tornado struck and destroyed the funeral home and most of downtown Waco. He found his daughter’s body and she was buried in Waco Memorial Park. Jack suffered heart attacks throughout the 1960s. In the summer of 1968, when Jack was only 47 years old, he was to meet with executives in Dallas to plan his next record, but died of heart failure in his hotel. Jack was buried in Waco memorial park next to his beloved daughter.

1. Oh, How I Love Jesus 02:41
2. To Be Used of God 02:53
3. These Are the Hands 02:49
4. Inside Those Pearly Gates 02:40
5. The King and I 02:15
6. Go, Little Prayer 03:19
7. (When I’m) Led by My Master’s Great Hand 02:28
8. Blessed Be the Name 02:43
9. He’s Coming Soon 02:45
10. How Wonderful to Know 02:38
11. My Mother’s Bible 02:34
12. Suppertime 03:25

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Jun 23

Wilson Pickett – Hey Jude (1969/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 00:31:09 minutes | 1,24 GB | Genre: R&B, Soul
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © Rhino Atlantic

For the First Time – Digitally Released As High Resolution Downloads 192kHz/24bit Classic Soul Titles from the Archives of Atlantic Records and Rhino Records.

With the music scene rapidly evolving, Wilson Pickett delivered a versatile outing with the release of Hey Jude. Produced by the legendary Rick Hall, the work incorporates some of rock’s finest tunes including “Born To Be Wild” and the Lennon & McCartney classic, “Hey Jude.” Displayed with funky arrangements, Pickett is joined by one of Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” Duane Allman. Found here is material penned by greats including Bobby Womack, Raymond Moore, Isaac Hayes and David Porter. Hey Jude remains another accomplishment in an illustrious career.

Wilson Pickett and the Muscle Shoals session crew with whom he cut most of his best work thankfully had the good sense to not try to go psychedelic when the pop charts went all day-glo in the late 1960’s, but that’s not to say they didn’t make an effort to change with the times. On Hey Jude, Pickett and producer Rick Hall decided to throw a couple of recent rock covers into the mix, and while Pickett’s version of “Hey Jude” suggests that he isn’t entirely sure what it is he’s singing about, he still belts it out with his typical level of commitment and builds up to a proper fury at the end; he sounds more comfortable with the neo-biker bombast of “Born To Be Wild”, a combination of artist and material that works far better than anyone would have a right to expect. But the most notable change in Pickett’s approach for this album was the addition of Duane Allman on guitar; his wirey, blues-accented leads don’t overpower the album, but they add a noticeably harder texture to the sound, and that seems to suit Pickett, one of the toughest soul shouters of his time, just fine. Most of the Hey Jude is dominated by hard Southern soul numbers like “A Man and a Half” and “Toe Hold”, and Pickett, one of the most dependable performers on the 1960’s soul scene, gives a typically con brio performance on all ten tracks, and the sharp report of the horn section and Allman’s blistering guitar makes for music just as potent as the wail of the lead singer, which is not an accomplishment to be sneered at. ~~ AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

1. Save Me 02:38
2. Hey Jude 04:07
3. Back In Your Arms 02:56
4. Toe Hold 02:49
5. Night Owl 02:22
6. My Own Style Of Loving 02:43
7. A Man And A Half 02:50
8. Sit Down And Talk This Over 02:21
9. Search Your Heart 02:45
10. Born To Be Wild 02:46
11. People Make The World 02:46

Wilson Pickett – vocals
Duane Allman, Jimmy Johnson, Albert Lowe – guitar
David Hood, Gerald Jemmott – bass
Barry Beckett – keyboards, piano
Marvell Thomas – organ
Roger Hawkins – drums
Gene Miller, Jack Peck – trumpet
Joe Arnold, Aaron Varnell – tenor saxophone
James Mitchell – baritone saxophone

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Jun 20

Aretha Franklin – The Queen In Waiting (2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 59:30 minutes | 1,02 MB | Genre: R&B, Soul
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Front Cover | © Columbia – Legacy

Aretha Franklin is one of the giants of soul music, and indeed of American pop as a whole. More than any other performer, she epitomized soul at its most gospel-charged. The Queen in Waiting is Aretha Franklin’s 2002 compilation album featuring popular tracks “God Bless the Child”, “Skylark”, “Only the Lonely” and “Try a Little Tenderness”. The album includes Aretha’s last Columbia recordings produced by Bob Johnston, noted for his work during this period with Bob Dylan; and songs that Columbia “sweetened” with new musicians after Aretha left the label.

1 Tighten Up Your Tie, Button Up Your Jacket (Make It for the Door) (Mono Mix) 01:57
2 (No, No) I’m Losing You 03:09
3 Why Was I Born? 02:52
4 Hands Off (Mono Mix) 02:13
5 Swanee 02:24
6 You Made Me Love You 02:34
7 Until You Were Gone (Mono Mix) 03:08
8 Mockingbird (Mono Mix) 02:36
9 Can’t You Just See Me (Mono Mix) 01:56
10 Today I Sing the Blues (Mono Mix) 02:47
11 Walk on By 02:51
12 One Room Paradise 02:01
13 Every Little Bit Hurts 02:44
14 Evil Gal Blues 02:43
15 Rough Lover 02:42
16 Trouble in Mind 02:07
17 Without the One You Love 03:38
18 Won’t Be Long 03:07
19 Take a Look 02:48

Previously Unreleased:
20 Runnin’ Out of Fools03:03
21 Skylark 06:10

Aretha Franklin, vocals, piano
Robert Mersey, arranger, conductor
Howard A. Roberts, arranger, conductor
Horace Ott, arranger, conductor

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Jun 20

Aretha Franklin – Unforgettable: A Tribute To Dinah Washington (1964/2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 40:02 minutes | 792 MB | Genre: R&B, Soul
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Columbia – Legacy

Unforgettable: A Tribute to Dinah Washington is the sixth studio album by American singer Aretha Franklin. Released on February 18, 1964, by Columbia Records, The album is a tribute dedicated to the recently deceased singer Dinah Washington. The sessions were recorded in New York. A few tunes were cut with strings in order to bring out the essential ballad character of the songs (with the help of Bob Mersey’s arranging); most of the tracks, though, were made with the assistance of a small and sympathetic accompanying group for which Mersey supplied minimal written guidance.

Since her youth Franklin had admired Dinah Washington, and it’s a safe bet that the level of emotional commitment Washington brought to her work was a major influence on the blossoming style of Aretha, not to mention Washington’s effortless sense of swing. Shortly before she died, Washington took appreciate notice of her acolyte as well. So Aretha’s tribute to Washington is as logical as it is satisfying. Recorded when Aretha was just 21, UNFORGETTABLE is somewhat of a departure from her more R&B-oriented early work. However, the string arrangements of Johnny Mersey adn the jazzy bass work of George Duvivier mesh perfectly with Franklin’s high-flying vocal fireworks. From the slow, subtle caress of “What a Difference a Day Made” to the organ-led blues of “Nobody Knows the Way I Feel This Morning,” the young Aretha is in total command of the material here, simultaneously paying homage to and progressing from the influence of Washington. ~~AllMusic Review

1. Unforgettable 03:41
2. Cold, Cold Heart 04:36
3. What a Diff’rence a Day Made 03:31
4. Drinking Again 03:28
5. Nobody Knows the Way I Feel This Morning 05:11
6. Evil Gal Blues 02:41
7. Don’t Say You’re Sorry Again 02:45
8. This Bitter Earth 04:35
9. If I Should Lose You 03:36
10. Soulville 02:21

Bonus tracks:
11. Lee Cross (mono) 03:05

Aretha Franklin, vocals, piano
Ernie Hayes, piano, organ
Paul Griffin, organ
Teddy Charles, vibes
George Duvivier, bass
Gary Chester, drums
Ernie Royal, trumpet
Buddy Lucas, tenor sax, harmonica
Bob Asher, trombone
Strings arranged and conducted by Robert Mersey

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Jun 20

Aretha Franklin – Yeah!!! In Person With Her Quartet (1965/2011) 
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:14:43 minutes | 1,44 GB | Genre: R&B, Soul
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Columbia – Legacy

Yeah!!! (or Aretha Franklin In Person With Her Quartet) is the eighth studio album by American singer Aretha Franklin, Released on May 17, 1965 by Columbia Records. Contrary to the overdubbed sounds of audience murmurs, the album was not a live album, but instead was recorded live at New York’s Columbia Studios and produced by Clyde Otis. This would be Franklin’s last collection of jazz recordings until the release of 1973’s Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky), released during her landmark tenure at Atlantic Records. An expanded version of the album that also contains the original session tracks without audience overdubs has been released on CD in the Columbia Box Set Take A Look: Aretha Franklin Complete On Columbia.
Aretha Louise Franklin (born March 25, 1942) is an American singer and musician. Franklin began her career singing gospel at her father, minister C. L. Franklin’s church as a child. In 1960, at age 18, Franklin embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records only achieving modest success. Following her signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin achieved commercial acclaim and success with songs such as ‘Respect’, ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ and ‘Think’. These hits and more helped her to gain the title The Queen of Soul by the end of the 1960s decade.

Franklin eventually recorded a total of 88 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries and twenty number-one R&B singles, becoming the most charted female artist in the chart’s history. Franklin also recorded acclaimed albums such as I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Lady Soul, Young, Gifted & Black and Amazing Grace before experiencing problems with her record company by the mid-1970s. After her father was shot in 1979, Franklin left Atlantic and signed with Arista Records, finding success with a cameo appearance in the film, The Blues Brothers and with the albums, Jump to It and Who’s Zoomin’ Who?. In 1998, Franklin won international acclaim for singing the opera aria, ‘Nessun Dorma’, at the Grammys of that year replacing Luciano Pavarotti. Later that same year, she scored her final Top 40 recording with ‘A Rose Is Still a Rose’.

1. This Could Be the Start of Something 01:30
2. Once in a Lifetime 03:21
3. Misty 03:38
4. More 01:50
5. There Is No Greater Love 04:40
6. Muddy Water 02:28
7. If I Had a Hammer 02:35
8. Impossible 03:22
9. Today I Love Ev’rybody 03:25
10. Without the One You Love 03:33
11. Trouble in Mind 02:54
12. Love for Sale 02:40

Bonus tracks:
13. Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home 02:15
Previously Unreleased:
14. Misty 03:36
15. Love for Sale 02:30
16. Once in a Lifetime 03:20
17. Today I Love Ev’rybody 03:24
18. Impossible 03:26
19. This Could Be the Start of Something 01:25
20. More 02:09
21. There Is No Greater Love 04:40
22. If I Had a Hammer 02:31
23. Muddy Water 02:29
24. Without the One You Love 03:41
25. Trouble in Mind 03:02

Aretha Franklin, vocals, piano
Kenny Burrell, guitar
Hindel Butts, drums
James Richardson, bass
Teddy Harris, piano

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Jun 18

Wilson Pickett – Right On (1970/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 00:38:23 minutes | 1,48 GB | Genre: R&B, Soul
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © Rhino Atlantic

For the First Time – Digitally Released As High Resolution Downloads 192kHz/24bit Classic Soul Titles from the Archives of Atlantic Records and Rhino Records.

Right On is Wilson Pickett’s stunning 1970 studio recording. Proclaimed by Rolling Stone as one of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time,” Pickett howls on tunes including “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” “Funky Way,” “It’s Still Good” and “Sugar Sugar.” Right On charted on both the Billboard 200 and Billboard’s Top R&B Albums.

Wilson Pickett encountered a momentary slump in 1970, as this album was his first for Atlantic in many years that stayed locked in the bottom rungs of the pop Top 200 albums. Pickett did get a fluke novelty hit with “Sugar, Sugar,” maybe his worst soul smash ever. The album wasn’t a total disaster, but everyone forgot about it quickly when Atlantic rushed out Wilson Pickett in Philadelphia later that year. —AllMusic Review by Ron Wynn

1. Groovy Little Woman 2:38
2. Funky Way 2:36
3. Sugar Sugar 3:00
4. Sweet Inspiration 2:54
5. This Old Town 3:19
6. You Keep Me Hangin’ On 4:43
7. Lord Pity Us All 3:44
8. It’s Still Good 2:36
9. Woman Likes To Hear That 2:50
10. She Said Yes 3:15
11. Hey Joe 3:05
12. Steal Away 4:15

Wilson Pickett – vocals
Eddie Hinton, Jim O’Rourke, Jimmy Johnson – guitar
David Hood, Harold Cowart – bass
Barry Beckett, Billy Carter – keyboards
Roger Hawkins, Tubby Zeigler – drums
Cissy Houston, Jackie Verdell, John Utley, Judy Clay – background vocals

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May 28

The O’Jays – Ship Ahoy (1973) [Reissue 2003]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD/DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 48:49 minutes | Scans included | 4,24 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 48:06 minutes | Full Scans included | 0,98 GB
Features Stereo & Multichannel Surround sound | Genre: Funk, Soul

The “other” O’Jays album masterpiece, Ship Ahoy combined shattering message tracks and stunning love songs in a fashion matched only by Curtis Mayfield’s finest material. From the album cover showing a slave ship to the memorable title song and incredible “For the Love of Money,” Gamble and Huff addressed every social ill from envy to racism and greed. Eddie Levert’s leads were consistently magnificent, as were the harmonies, production and arrangements. “Put Your Hands Together” and “You Got Your Hooks In Me” would be good album cuts, but on Ship Ahoy they were merely icing on the cake.

01. Put Your Hands Together
02. Ship Ahoy
03. This Air I Breathe
04. You Got Your Hooks In Me
05. For The Love Of Money
06. Now That We Found Love
07. Don’t Call Me Brother
08. People Keep Tellin’ Me

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