Monday, April 22, 2013

CHRISSY AMPHLETT (1959 - 2013)


Best known for the controversial (at least here in the U.S.) 1991 hit song about female masturbation, "I Touch Myself", Chrissy Amphlett of the Australian rock band, The Divinyls passed away today after a lengthy battle with cancer and multiple sclerosis.

The sexy and provocative vocalist met guitarist, Mark McEntee in 1980 and they formed the Divinyls. The group recorded six studio albums before disbanding in 1996. Amphlett and McEntee did not speak for many years until they were inducted in to the Australian Hall of Fame in 2006. The Divinyls reunited briefly and recorded a single, "Don't Want To Do This" the following year and toured their home country.

Amphlett also performed as an actress making appearances in the 1982 film, "Monkey Grip" and on the Australian stage in the musical, "The Boy From Oz" where she played Judy Garland.

To pay tribute, here is the music video of Chrissy Amphlett with her band doing their smash that reached number four in America, number ten in Britain and number one in Australia:

Friday, April 19, 2013

"THE GREAT GATSBY' SOUNDTRACK

While "The Great Gatsby" is not due in movie theaters until May 10th, that doesn't mean it's too early to hear some tunes from the soundtrack. Much like what he did with the soundtracks for "Romeo + Juliet" and "Moulin Rouge!", the director Baz Luhrmann has incorporated contemporary music in to his period films.

This time, he has enlisted Jay-Z to help produce the music and together they have assembled a very impressive array of artists. Some of the musicians on board include will i. am, Sia, Jack White, Bryan Ferry, and the producer's wife, Beyoncé who does her take of the Amy Winehouse classic, "Back To Black". The hot British pop artist, Emeli Sandé, is here as well and provides a slinky version of Beyoncé's breakout first solo single, "Crazy In Love".

The song, "Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey will be the first official single (out April 23rd) to help create some buzz.

Here is a video currently out that provides little snippets of some of the other tracks on the album:



I am loving what I've heard so far and I really can't wait to see the film. The full versions of a couple of tracks have leaked with "A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)" a hip-hopped jazzy tune by Fergie (with assistance by Q-Tip and GoonRock) and "Over The Love", a gorgeous ballad by Florence & The Machine that are floating around out there.

Have a listen to Fergie's tune:

"A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)" - Fergie featuring Q-Tip and GoonRock (2013)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

MY TUNE OF THE DAY


The tune that I'm loving today is the 1994 international hit, "100% Pure Love" by Crystal Waters, a song I hadn't heard in such a long time but still sounds quite fresh.

This singer had no real intention of starting a music career despite her father being a jazz musician and her great aunt was vocalist and film star, Ethel Waters. After Crystal graduated from college, she went to work as a tech for a Washington DC parole board. However, Waters later found herself gravitating towards music but first as a writer. She teamed-up with a production team called The Basement Boys. After she cut a demo for dance artist, Ultra Naté, the boys loved it but thought it was perfect with Crystal singing the track. This song, "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" became a world-wide smash reaching number eight on the U.S pop chart and number one on the dance chart in 1991. "100% Pure Love" was the lead single from her follow-up album, "Storyteller" which made it to number eleven on the pop chart and once again to the top spot on the dance music chart.

These two songs were the highlight of Crystal Waters' career but she had six other chart-topping dance hits which included "Making Happy" and "Relax". Ms Waters has only recorded three albums with the 1997 self-titled album being her last to date but has occasionally released new music over the years. The singer recently lent her vocals to a Chris Cox & DJ Frankie track "Oh Mama Hey" which hit number one on the dance chart last March.

"100% Pure Love" - Crystal Waters (1994)

 As a bonus, here is the music video of the first hit by Crystal Waters:

 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

TAKE TWO: BONNIE RAITT



Bonnie Raitt certainly stands out as a musician as she's not only one of the few female guitarists out there but also an outspoken political activist and passionately kept the tradition of the blues alive. She actively put a spotlight on the forgotten early blues performers such as Howlin' Wolf and Sippie Wallace.

It seems impossible that Bonnie Raitt would not have entered music in some capacity as her mother was a pianist and her father was Broadway musical star, John Raitt. Bonnie took an interest in the guitar as a young girl and later while attending college, she met promoter, Dick Waterman who changed her life. He introduced her to the blues and soon, Raitt began performing in clubs where she would meet these legendary artists and performed along side them. She soon caught the attention of the music industry and eventually signed with Warner Bros. Raitt released her self-titled debut in 1971 and while it received plenty of critical praise, the album received very little radio play. A lack of significant sales continued with her following albums but Raitt always managed to impress with her stirring live performances.

Raitt had been recording music for almost twenty years before she finally achieved her first taste of long overdue commercial success with the album, "Nick of Time" in 1989. Having been dropped from her record label four years earlier, she teamed-up with producer, Don Was who decided to update her bluesy-rock sound with a smoother contemporary production. The album topped the Billboard 200 album chart and went on to win three Grammy Awards including Album of The Year.

Bonnie Raitt continues to hit the road and just released her sixteenth studio album, "Slipstream" last year on her own record label which won a Grammy for Best Americana Album, giving her a career total of ten awards. Raitt was inducted in to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

Here are two of my very favorite songs from Bonnie Raitt:

"Nick Of Time" - Bonnie Raitt (1989)

"I Can't Make You Love Me" - Bonnie Raitt (1991)

Monday, April 1, 2013

RANDOM SIGHTS + SOUNDS

Once again, here are a few sights and sounds that I'm digging at this particular moment.

"Pillow Talk" - Sylvia (1973)

"Give Me You" - Tamia (2013)

I have to admit that I've never gotten in to the music of Ciara but I'm really in to the latest single, "Body Party". Written by the proclaimed, Princess of Crunk&B and her boyfriend, the rapper, Future, the tune is a slow-burning ballad that samples one of my favorite songs, "My Boo" by the Ghost Town DJ's. Look for it on her next album, "One Woman Army", due out in June:



The British electropop artist, Little Boots has dropped some new music from her forthcoming second album, "Nocturnes".  Although there was a music video made for the song, "Headphones", it does not appear listed as a track on the album. Perhaps it might show up on some future deluxe edition or something but no matter. It's a great tune and a fun video:




"Attracting Flies" - AlunaGeorge (2013)

"Sacrilege" - Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2013)



Phoenix, the French alt-rock band, has finally resurfaced following their 2009 world-wide smash album, "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix".  The first single, "Entertainment" is off of their fifth studio album, "Bankrupt!", expected later this month:




ABSENT FACES IN POP MUSIC

I had read a interesting article recently in the Los Angeles Times about the difficulties of a new generation of Black female singers being...