James Brown dies25 Dec 2006

Jamesbrown_160 James Brown, The Godfather Of Soul, has died aged 73. He had been admitted to Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia last night to be treated for pneumonia, but died this morning (25 December) at 6.45am (GMT) from heart failure.

Born in Southern Carolina in 1933, Brown had his first hit, Please Please Please in 1956, and went on to redefine the soul genre, notching up such classic hits as It’s A Man’s Man’s Man;s World, (Get Up I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine, I Got You (I Feel Good) and Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag. Earning the nicknames The Godfather Of Soul and The Hardest Working Man In Show Business, Brown reinvented himself in the late 60s, producing a brand of politically-charged funk, with the seminal Say It Loud, I’m Black And I’m Proud.

The 80s were difficult years for the singer, but he made the UK Top 10 with the single Living In America in 1985. However, he was arrested in 1988 for aggravated assault and failing to stop for police officers – at the time he was high on PCP and brandished a shotgun. Brown received six years for the crimes, but was released on parole in February 1991. He was arrested again several times in the last decade for alleged domestic abuse and possession of drugs.

Despite these setbacks, Brown continued to be a hard-working live performer, appearing at Glastonbury in 2004 and the BBC Electric Proms this October. His last public appearance was to be inducted into the UK Music Hall Of Fame on 14 November.

 
A full obituary will appear in a future issue of MOJO magazine.


UPDATE: It's now been determined that Brown died of heart failure brought on by pneumonia. There will be a public funeral for the singer on Saturday 30 December in Augusta, conducted by his friend the Reverend Al Sharpton. Before then, his body will lie in state at New York's Apollo Theatre, the scene of his legendary 1962 live album.

Posted by MOJO at 10:16AM | Leave a Comment (7)
Happy Christmas21 Dec 2006

Santa_for_website_1Thanks for all your support, passion and criticism in 2006. More of the same in 2007, please! A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at MOJO.

Posted by Ross_Bennett at 04:28PM | 
STAX RE-STACKED!20 Dec 2006

IssacIt is one of the most iconic labels in soul and, indeed, in the history of music thanks to a roster that includes Otis Redding, Booker T And The MGs, Isaac Hayes, Wilson Pickett, The Staple Singers, Rufus Thomas and Sam And Dave among others. And now, 50 years after its inception, Memphis label Stax is to be resurrected by its parent company the Concord Music Group.

While Stax was officially established in 1959, it was two years earlier that founder Jim Stewart, now 76, first recorded a couple of country acts and shopped them to fellow hometown entrepreneur Sam Phillips at Sun Records. And it is understood to the anniversary of these initial recordings that have triggered the reactivation of the label.

The new incarnation of Stax – whose imprint was purchased by Concord in 2004 – has announced that Isaac Hayes has re-signed to the label alongside Angie Stone, both of whom will issue new albums on the label in 2007.

"Stax has been and always will be soul music. I was part of that,” comments Hayes, whose symphonic 1969 set Hot Buttered Soul remains one of the label’s cornerstones. "I am coming back to Stax because there is still so much to do. It's like coming home."

“The thrill of putting out music on the label that brought the world Otis, Booker T, the Staples and so many other artists who made me want to sing in the first place is simply indescribable,” adds Angie Stone. “I simply can’t believe that I will be a Stax artist – and I’ll be label mates with Isaac Hayes. The staff at Stax share my belief that soul has to stay in touch with its origins.  We’re going to make beautiful music together.”

Hayes and Stone’s new outings will be preceded by Interpretations, a tribute to Earth, Wind And Fire, which has been assembled by E,W&F leader Maurice White and which features collaborations with the likes of Chaka Khan, The Roots, Musiq Soulchild and Meshell Ndegeocello among others.

Along with these new projects, Stax will also embark on a series of deluxe reissue packages spanning 20 CDs, the first of which will be a two disc set entitled Stax 50: A 50th Anniversary Celebration featuring some of the label’s biggest hits and packaged in a lenticular cover. The label will also scour the vaults to unearth rarities and long deleted items.

“This is about honouring an extraordinary legacy,” says Concord Music Group general manager Gene Rumsey. “We look forward not only to providing indispensable collections of the most famous Stax recordings, but also to shining a spotlight on many lesser-known and undiscovered gems.”

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TOUMANI DIABATE: THE BEST THING I'VE HEARD ALL YEAR

Toumani Toumani Diabaté
Kora! Kora! Kora!

"Ali Farka Touré's Savane. Not only was Ali my friend and colleague, he was one of the greatest musicians Africa has ever produced."

"His last solo album saw him produce something that managed to be his most diverse but still be deeply rooted in traditional Malian culture. He also knew how to share with other musicians, which is a rare thing. Taj Mahal, Santana and the Rolling Stones all agree that the blues came from Mali. *Savane reaffirms this and was a fitting testament to his career."

There'll be another Best Thing online exclusive tomorrow. meanwhile, check out the new issue of MOJO to find out what Tom Waits, John Cale, Amy Winehouse, Elton John, Jack White, Christopher Lee and many more have chosen as their Best Thing I've Heard All Year. Then tune in to The Best Thing I've Heard All Year with Frank Black, Richard Hawley, Primal Scream and more on MOJO Radio, Boxing Day at 9.00pm, repeated on New Year's Eve  at 11.00pm on Sky digital  Channel 0182, freeview Channel 721 and mojo4music.com

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AHMET ERTEGUN RETURNS HOME19 Dec 2006

Atlantic_1“He could not sing, but he was music personified,” stated Kid Rock as he attended Atlantic founder Ahmet Ertegun’s funeral which took place yesterday in the late label magnate’s hometown of the Turkish capital Istanbul.

Detroit rock-rapper Kid Rock, one the label’s more recent superstars with sales of over 18 million albums, was joined by members of the Turkish cabinet as the 83 year-old Ertegun was laid to rest at an ancestral Muslim burial lodge at the Uskudar cemetery as hundreds mourned his passing.

Ertegun’s death on December 14, resulting from injuries sustained during a fall backstage at a Rolling Stones show at the Beacon Theatre in October, has also met with a series of tributes from the music world as a whole.

“He was a very 360-degree person,” stated Quincy Jones. “He loved to have a good time. He knew how to party, which is my kind of guy, and he knew how to work. He knew how to look into the future and how to execute to bring it to fruition.”

Ertegun, who founded Atlantic in 1947 and who was instrumental in the development of key artists ranging from Ray Charles to Led Zeppelin and beyond, will honoured by a memorial service which will be held in New York in early 2007.

Posted by Ross_Bennett at 03:24PM | 
THEE RETURN OF BILLY CHILDISH

Billy_1His last show at the Dirty Water Club, North London’s UK rock’n’soul mecca, consisted of a hugely oversubscribed final bow with his Buff Medways. And last Friday, UK garage punk don Billy Childish returned to his home-from-home to unveil his new band, The Musicians Of The British Empire.

Billy’s decision to split the Buff Medways after four years typifies his eternally restless musical persona. However, The Musicians Of The British Empire – featuring drummer Wolf Howard (ex-Buffs) and bassist Nurse Julie (ex-Buffets) – confirm Childish’s resolute adherence to his three-chord gospel, via a set that spans the man’s entire 30 year career, and ranging from his time with Thee Headcoats as well as his various guises as a solo performer.

Headcoats’ crowd-pleaser Troubled Times, for instance, still figures in a set peppered with tracks that hark back to that band’s early ‘90s inception while the dictat of Punk Rock Ist Nich Tot marks the culmination of that band’s career a decade later. Fiery covers range from Childish versions of Jimi Hendrix’s Fire, The Who’s You Are Forgiven (extracted from A Quick One and delivered with menace) and John The Revelator, as popularised by Billy’s blues hero Leadbelly.

The Musicians Of The British Empire also serve up new tracks including Joe Strummer’s Grave (the flipside to their new single, Punk Rock At The British Legion Hall, out now on Damaged Goods) as well as Comb-over Man (a surf-styled near instrumental that bears an uncanny resemblance to former Headcoats staple Comanche).

MOJO is proud to conclude that, following an hour and a half set, the man lauded by everyone from Kurt Cobain to Kylie Minogue remains in utterly inspired form.

We are also happy to recommend another Childish associate, Holly Golightly who headlines the Dirty Water Club’s Christmas Bash this Friday, December 22. The Dirty Water Club is located at The Boston Arms, 178 Junction Road, London N19 5QQ (opposite Tufnell Park tube station). Tickets are available on the door.

Billy
meanwhile headlines a New Year’s Eve extravaganza at London venue The Spitz. Tickets cost £15 and are available via www.WeGotTickets.com

Posted by Ross_Bennett at 01:10PM | 
VIC REEVES: THE BEST THING I'VE HEARD ALL YEAR

Vic Vic Reeves
Aw, yes

"The best thing I heard all year was Richard Thompson's 1000 Years Of Music."

"He got asked by Playboy to say what his top 20 of the millennium was, and knowing that they probably only meant 'since Elvis', he came up with lots of tracks from 1216, and then did an album going all through the centuries and ending up with Oops! I did It Again. All the stuff from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is great, and then when he gets to the Britney Spears, it sounds exactly like what you'd hope Richard Thompson singing a Britney Spears song would sound like. Only more so."

There'll be another Best Thing online exclusive tomorrow. meanwhile, check out the new issue of MOJO to find out what Tom Waits, John Cale, Amy Winehouse, Elton John, Jack White, Christopher Lee and many more have chosen as their Best Thing I've Heard All Year. Then tune in to The Best Thing I've Heard All Year with Frank Black, Richard Hawley, Primal Scream and more on MOJO Radio, Boxing Day at 9.00pm, repeated on New Year's Eve  at 11.00pm on Sky digital  Channel 0182, freeview Channel 721 and mojo4music.com

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PAUL SMITH: THE BEST THING I'VE HEARD ALL YEAR18 Dec 2006

Maximo Paul Smith
Maximo Park-keeper

"I buy so many records, I find myself blown away once or twice a week. But this year it seems to have been mostly defunct bands and dead people."

"I've just discovered Arthur Russell – just a genius who transcended everything, and found a rare track called Love Trinity by one of my favourite bands, [short-lived, female-fronted Scots neo-post-punkers] Life Without Buildings. But the absolute best things I’ve heard are these two Lal Waterson tracks, Never The Same and To Make You Say, which I found on a compilation called Never The Same - Leave-Taking From The British Folk Revival, 1970-1977. They’re so melancholy, Martin Carthy’s guitar playing is amazing and Lal Waterson’s phrasing is unique, singing notes that another singer might reject as not clean enough. I’m saving up for the parent album, Bright Phoebus from 1972, on vinyl. I’m told they’re pretty rare."

There'll be another Best Thing online exclusive tomorrow. meanwhile, check out the new issue of MOJO to find out what Tom Waits, John Cale, Amy Winehouse, Elton John, Jack White, Christopher Lee and many more have chosen as their Best Thing I've Heard All Year. Then tune in to The Best Thing I've Heard All Year with Frank Black, Richard Hawley, Primal Scream and more on MOJO Radio, Boxing Day at 9.00pm, repeated on New Year's Eve  at 11.00pm on Sky digital  Channel 0182, freeview Channel 721 and mojo4music.com

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Farewell, Mr Atlantic15 Dec 2006

AtlanticAt the age of 11 he began collecting jazz records, and it is that same sense of passion that defined and drove Atlantic Records, the label he founded in 1947. As such, the death of Ahmet Ertegun on December 14, aged of 83, robs us of a man genuinely in love with music.

The son of the Turkish ambassador to Washington, Ahmet witnessed the first-hand impact of jazz greats such as Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway at diplomatic events hosted by his father. Indeed, it was his increasing obsession with music that saw him forego a career as a diplomat and establish what would become one of the most iconic labels in the history of the recording industry.

Ertegun
’s passion for music was typified by his artist-friendly approach that contrasted with the often exploitative nature of the music business with regards to blues, R&B and jazz artists in the late ‘40s and into the ‘50s. His ability to nurture talent was also something that characterised his hugely significant contribution to music.

Indeed the list of acts that worked with Ertegun is almost without equal, and includes iconic artists such as Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles, Bobby Darin, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, Cream, Led Zeppelin and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young among a host of other equally pioneering and successful musicians.

Ahmet’s death followed a fall backstage at a Rolling Stones concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York on October 29 where he suffered a head injury. He was subsequently hospitalised before lapsing into a coma and finally passing away New York’s Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman paid tribute to Ahmet in the following statement:

“All of us at Atlantic Records are profoundly saddened by the loss of our founder and mentor. The music community has lost a pioneer and an icon, and we have lost our father. Ahmet changed the course of modern music and culture, and he will live on through the timeless legacy of work that was created under his direction and care."

MOJO also invites you to leave your own tributes to a genuine architect of modern music…


Posted by Ross_Bennett at 05:58PM | Leave a Comment (1)
ARCTIC MONKEYS ADD SECOND SHOW

Monkeys_1Sheffield’s favourite sons the Arctic Monkeys have added a second date at the Lancashire County Cricket Ground in July 2007, following the sell-out that greeted their first show at the 50,000 capacity that went on sale this morning.

Following a fan club pre-sale yesterday, the band’s first show on July 28 went on sale to the general public and is reported to have sold out of all remaining tickets within three minutes, forcing the promoter to announce a second show on July 29.

Tickets for the Monkeys second show are now available via the Tickets part of this site. Also on sale as of today are tickets for tour by the Scissor Sisters, Fall Out Boy, The Rakes, Mastodon and Stone Sour – all of which went on sale this morning.

Posted by Ross_Bennett at 05:56PM |