Bill Withers Has Ruined Everything.

This was what kicked off all the problems...

I went to see the Soul Power film and after that the blog ran dry for a few days. Everything failed the "Bill Withers Test" (is it 50% as good as Bill Withers? No? Not posting it). I was so excited about it I put on an event because I felt everyone had to see it. I eventually got over this, but then I went to see Still Bill at the BFI and it all began again.

Now it keeps coming back in waves - sometimes I just can't post so and so's latest project because it's failing the BW test and I know I won't be listening to it in 6 months let alone 30 years. I've been listening to Bill Withers Live at Carnegie Hall which is a true masterclass in, well, class. Bill is without question one of the greatest songwriters of all time, who made music without compromise, broke rules, and can make you cry in under 0 to 10 seconds. If you send me music, I would really appreciate it if you could take the BW test for yourself before you do. Thanks.

FREE: Zo! - ...Just Visiting Too

Looking to fill a hole with some soul? Look no further! ...Just Visiting Too is the new (and FREE) EP by Zo! It's essentially an EP of cover versions featuring the vocalists Yahzarah, Carlitta Durand, Sy Smith, Phonte and Darien Brockington. You can grab the EP as a free download from The Foreign Exchange website.


01. Perfect Angel feat. Yahzarah
02. Nights Over Egypt feat. Carlitta Durand
03. Crazy You feat. Sy Smith
04. Holding You, Loving You
05. My Flame feat. Phonte
06. Somethin Special feat. Yahzarah
07. The Highways of My Life (Pts. 1&2) feat. Darien Brockington

So, who's up for a history lesson? Don't all raise your hands at once!

Perfect Angel was written by Stevie Wonder and originally performed by Minnie Riperton. Yahzarah does the vocal proud, as does the production and instrumentation by Zo!. Also worth noting that all the production and instrument playing on the EP is done by Zo! and nobody else!

Carlitta Durand sings on Nights Over Egypt, a track originally performed by The Jones Girls and released in 1982. It pays a sweet homage to the original, whilst the sharp production and delivery gives it that contemporary edge. It's very smooth, but holds a solid groove throughout.

The Prince track Crazy You sees Sy Smith provide the silky vocals. This is a fantastic take on a track originally performed by an artist of the opposite sex. I love how it's been flipped to give a different vibe, but still maintains the emotion of the original.

Holding You, Loving You is a Don Blackman track and gives Zo! an opportunity to flex his instrumental muscles. Some might recognise the track from numerous records that have sampled it. Like; Jay-Z, People Under The Stairs and Slum Village. This is both delicate and heavy, the end product of the combined strengths of quality production and inexplicable musicianship.

Phonte provides the vocals on the Bobby Caldwell track My Flame. It's an absolutely beautiful take on the track. Deeply soulful, full of sentiment, and with an infectious groove. Perfect soul for a soothing afternoon.

Yahzarah is back for the second time on the track Somethin' Special which was originally a Rod Temperton track performed by Quincy Jones with Patti Austin. This is another example of retro soul being represented in, not just a contemporary fashion, but a genuinely *decent* fashion. First off, it sounds crazy (to my old ears) to call early 80s soul 'retro', but hey, it's been nearly 30 years now! This stuff still sounds fresh as the day it was originally pressed!

The final track on the EP is The Highways Of My Life (Pts. 1 & 2) feat. Darien Brockington. This was originally by The Isley Brothers, and Zo! and Darrien do it a fantastic justice. It's simply beautiful and gives me nothing short of goosebumps. Darien's talent has never been a secret, but he has done a wonderful job of covering the vocals on this track, particularly considering there is only one Darien and not a trio of them!

Call it a sort of taster for the upcoming Zo! full LP, SunStorm, but this EP of covers is very much of its own being. A solid EP full of fantastic instrumentation and brilliant singing. It beats the hell out of a lot of new stuff coming out and stands up tall against the originals it has covered. Oh, and need you be reminded that this is FREE?!?!?!

Don't mug yourself, get it downloaded.

Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan & Stevie Wonder Tribute to Diana Ross

I just scooped this over at Pinboard (have you voted for them in the Dazed Raw Blog Awards yet?), and I'm so glad people are paying tribute to artists whilst they're alive and can enjoy it...on that note I thought I'd share one of my favourite Diana Ross songs...she recorded it in 1991 and apparently redid it with Westlife a few years ago (wtf?!) so I had to dig really hard to find the original video, featuring her two gorgeous sons Ross & Evan. Apologies for the subtitles.

Spotify, I love you

The wonderful Ralegh Long of Patrick Hamilton, no relation to Lewis Hamilton, and Rose Dougall & The Distractions has been obsessing over Spotify for a long time now. He sent me an invite before it was fully accessible to us normal folk and I thought it was pretty groovy, but just groovy and no more than groovy, until today.
I have just read that U2's new album is now available through Spotify in conjunction with the Guardian. Simply click on the following link, because you won't find it through a standard spotify search, et voila! No Line Through The Horizon' will either pleasure or pall on you in no time at all, and they'll be no line through your horizon....*cackle* Pretty darn cool, eh?
Now, about that photo: Michael Jackson is rumored to play a series of gigs at the O2 Arena (Again). I know we've heard this one before but it's the King of Pop people. The KING OF POP!! All I've heard is a 30 day run, in July. JULY!! I wasn't told which July but I hope he's well enough to play because I've never seen him perform and I simply can't wait.
I wish I had a time machine. All together now: "Where did you come from Baby, And ooo won't you take me there right away, won't you my my baby..."

Pure Filth - Zapp and Roger

First day back on the 9-5 and I think we're all needing a little wonder back in our lives now that Santas been and gone and we've pledged not to touch another drop of booze..ever again....So the other night something shifted in the space-time continuum when I was shown this clip of Zapp & Roger doing Computer Love live..behold the solo 2 mins in..pure filth and glorious

Eid Mubarak= Family Time

Since Eid dropped and passed, my family bring out the old Bollywood tapes and we all have a sing along, laugh at the state of some dancing the new Bollywood actresses, attempt a few moves ourselves, food was on rotation throughout the evening and the dancing didn't fizzle out until the early morning- excusing my man flu which resulted in me being flat out in bed for most of the evening- Eid has now finished, bring on the next one in 2 months! Woohoo!

I thought i'd share a few classic videos of some tracks my family tend to drop on a regs on these family affairs,

First off is the classic song my dad loves to sing along to for my mother who hides in the kitchen whenever it drops and me and my sister cringe behind the sofa...

-The first few lines translates as something like, 'You are my holy temple, You are my act of worship, You are God, itself for me.' (Please correct me if i'm wrong as i only understand Hindi to certain extent!) The singer is Lata Mangeshkar, Google her for samples, since I was a baby, her voice is forever played in my household, she has the most amazing voice and has been the main singer for so many hit Bollywood films.

Ok next song is just a classic, one of my favourite dances, my mum starts hitting them high notes when it gets dropped, my cousins start dancing the hips away...

'Nimbooda' means something like lemon/lime, In the song the person is asking for it as its sourness will help to protect against evil and envious eyes of people. From the really famous film, Hum dil de chuke sanam, one of my faves actually!

The next song is from a film that was a remake of a very old folk tale that has been passed on from generations, my grandmother used to tell me this story when i was little, a tragedy, a classic and was then remade with famous Bollywood stars and a big budget, 'Devdas', I've chosen my outfit for my future wedding from this song, my cousins getting her dance moves ready...a modern day classic...

Last but not least, A R Rahman, world famous Indian music producer, absolutely blows my mind away in his skills with the music for this film, here is one of the most famous songs from this film, 'Dil Se'...

If you need names, info on any of the songs mentioned, just contact me, I'd love to help! If I got anything wrong translation wise, please let me know! Hindi really isn't my first language!

Ole Blue Eyes

No, not Frank - Smokey. I've loved Smokey Robinson since I can remember loving music. I can hardly think of anyone who has written as many songs that I love apart from Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye (and L'il Wayne obviously). Smokey was one of those people on my 'to marry when I grow up' list, after seeing him duet with Linda Ronstadt on Being With You and Ooh Baby Baby (which is my favourite so I have to share it with you - click here) that was it - I was going to grow up, get shoulder pads and blue mascara and marry Smokey. With the Miracles he had hits with Shop Around , You've Really Got a Hold On Me, Going to a Go-Go, I Second That Emotion and The Tears of a Clown - wait, that's not all. He also wrote My Guy for Mary Wells, Get Ready & My Girl for the Temptations, and Ain't That Peculiar & I'll Be Doggone for Marvin Gaye. I know. I just had to show you The Jackson Five cover of Who's Loving You (click here to download it!)- I actually prefer it to the original and if this doesn't make your day I don't know what will.

Here's Smokey & The Miracles performing Tracks Of My Tears - I love the fact dancing used to be compulsory.

After splitting with the Miracles he wrote Cruisin' and Being With You, and then he made this with Rick James but he was a coke head at this point so that might explain it:

I'll finish up with this - another cover I prefer to the original but I don't think Smokey will mind me saying that...D'Angelo, Cruisin'