Posts Tagged ‘R&B’

Slow Jammin’ Like Kevin

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Slow Jammin’ Like Kevin is a mixtape honoring the style of Kevin “Slow Jammin” James, a pioneer of slow jam radio shows.  If you don’t know James’ style, you’ve been missing out on a DJ who loves the classics yet has a gift for recognizing a classic in the making.  Delivered between his amazing collection of rare slow jams is one of the warmest yet coolest voices in radio; his mellow tone whispers it’s time to turndown the lights and vibe.

This legendary radio personality influenced my musical taste and also was the DJ I most imitated when doing my radio show in college.  Even this website has a bit of James in it.  The information I share about the artists and the music posted here is a direct reflection of James’ approach to teaching a little something about the music and artists he features.  After a set of his music, I always look forward to hearing what he has to say.  He has a deep respect for R&B and because he’s been such a dedicated student of the format, he is a wonderful teacher.

Kevin James, a Pennsylvania native, came to WKYS FM in Washington, DC in the mid 70’s and stayed for nearly 15 years hosting the nightly Slow Jam Show.  I had the privilege of growing up with Kevin on my radio.  Just before I graduated from high school, James headed west to L.A.’s 92.3 the Beat.  Between James leaving and the death of Quiet Storm creator, Melvin Lindsey a kind of silence fell over Washington’s airwaves as stations scrambled to find their footing.

Kevin James went on to be a major influence in California too.  Snoop Dogg featured Kevin’s voice on two of his albums and thanked him for his music in the liner notes.  I understand the feeling; Kevin not only plays great music but also connects with his listeners.  He says he’s not a DJ, but is a friend who enjoys sharing music.  Unlike many R&B DJ’s who want to stay in a groove, Kevin has no problem switching it up; he even takes listener requests, which is very rare for an urban Slow Jam Show.  Anyone who’s called into Kevin’s shows knows he loves to talk with his listeners as much as he loves playing them music.

Kevin returned to DC’s airwaves when he hosted the Weekend Edition of The Quiet Storm on WHUR, the original home of the Quiet Storm Show.  He actually did the broadcasts from his house in California, I learned that after calling in one night and talking with him about some music I was searching for.  I told him how much his style and work meant to me during that conversation.  I also told him about how happy I was to hear him back on our airwaves.  For Washingtonians, hearing Kevin on the weekends was a treat, like a walk down memory lane.  He’s a part of that rare club of radio personalities who play what they feel, not what they are programmed to play; as listeners and lovers of music, we hear the difference.

Kevin’s style is for the true R&B connoisseur; please enjoy Slow Jammin’ Like Kevin.

 

Download the 192 kbps version (108.7 MB) here!

Top 5 Neo-Soul Females

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Erykah Badu

One of my favorite albums, across all music genres, is Erykah Badu’sMomma’s Gun.”  I honestly believe it’s one of the last true albums produced; and by that I mean it’s not a collection of singles… it’s a well-arranged production of songs.  Erykah is the mother of Neo-Soul;  I say this because she was the first major female Neo-soul artist, and has also “birthed” a number of new Neo-soul singers.   A couple of her background singers, N’Dambi and Yahzarah, have gone on to be hit makers in the genre as well… like Badu said, “[she] goes on and on and on and on.”

Badu calls her self an “analog girl in a digital world,” but that’s just her modesty.  She’s actually one of the most forward thinking and creative artists in music today.  A good songwriter can express the words and thoughts that you may feel everyday but don’t know how to say on your own; that’s why we love good music, it’s relatable.  A good singer can bring well-written lyrics to life; they have soul and passion.  A musician finds the notes to tie it all together…  but an artist is all this and more.  Whatever has created Erykah Badu, I love it.  She is a fantastic mix of flawed yet unapologetic womanhood.  She strips herself bare, sometimes literally, and shares her soul.  I don’t hear artists paying tribute to Badu or crediting her genius and influence, but isn’t that always the way for women?  The industry may not appreciate her now, but it will.  Maybe what’s really going on is she is the digital girl and we’re stuck in an analog world.

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Jill Scott

When the “Who is Jill Scott” album was first released, I put it in my car’s CD changer and didn’t take it out for like two years.  From her soft vocals echoing hope of lasting love to her screams of celebration, “Who is Jill Scott” is a classic album.  While I obviously love her recordings there is nothing like Jill Scott live.  She writes with the soul of a poet, performs with the intensity of a dramatic actress and sings like a goddess… I would say an angel, but I don’t’ think angels bring it like “Jilly from Philly.”  When her heart is broken, yours breaks too.  When she’s in love, you can’t wait to feel the same way.  That’s what Philadelphia soul has always done and that’s what flows through Jill Scott, from her hair follicles to her toenails.

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Ledisi

Not since Sly and the Family Stone has a sound so raw and real come out of the San Francisco Bay Area.  Ledisi’s vocals can make you want to kick off your shoes in celebration or ball up in the corner and cry.  In her music, she asks the hard and serious questions aloud that so many women keep inside like; “How am I going to pay my bills?”  and “Will you be there in the morning?”  She is a down-home “gal” from the left coast and represents for the everyday sister everywhere.

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Amel Larrieux

Now here lies the voice of an Angel. From the first time Amel Larrieux sweetly said, “Tell me if you want me to give you all my time,” the answer was a resounding yes from music fans everywhere. This singer, songwriter, musician and producer, began as a member of Groove Theory in the 90’s and has since become a solo, Neo-soul staple. Her sweet, soft and often pain stricken vocals always seem to feel a little melancholy even when she’s singing a happy song. She was a part of pioneering Neo-soul and continues to perform it better than most.

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Me`shell Ndegeocello

From the fist time I heard Me`shell Ndegeocello’s low moan over her sensual bass guitar I thought, “Thank you God for sending my generation the music of Ndegeocello.”  She was so wonderfully retro-soul it almost seemed like a cosmic mistake.

Originally from the DC area, she flirts with hints of go-go in her percussion-driven up-tempo songs but is obviously in a serious relationship with soul.  She is a visual and stimulating songwriter; I can see what she’s describing and I can feel what she’s feeling.  My favorite Me`shell song changes from time-to-time, but my top two would be Outside Your Door and Rush Over.  These are literally two of my favorite songs of all time and there are quite a few other Me`shell songs that would easily go in my Top 50.  This musician, singer, songwriter is simply amazing and if you haven’t heard her album “Bitter,” get it immediately.  From the first note to the last, it is one of the most haunting R&B, Neo-Soul, Funk, Soul compilations ever!  And “Bitter” is great after a hard break up… just stay away from all sharp objects while you listen.

Bill Withers – Sweet Wanomi

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“If you’ve read the album cover by now, you know that my name is what my name is…” – Do It Good, by Bill Withers.

I love that line! I feel like…if you’ve read my About Page by now then you know that I love Bill Withers!  I’m starting to work on a soul compilation for a friend and was going through some Withers when I came across Sweet Wanomi, the b-side to Grandma’s Hands.  I’ve never heard Withers talk about the meaning behind this song, but I like to imagine that it’s about a little girl falling asleep in her Daddy’s arms.  I used to love hearing my Dad sing this song.  Enjoy!

Toney Fountaine – I Found The Girl

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This song is for real D.C. music lovers.  Singer Toney Fontaine, originally from Landover, Maryland, has only enjoyed minor, local success — but what a voice!  He’s had a few Washington Quiet Storm classics; I Found the Girl is his most popular.  This single was first released in 1988.  I searched for years to find this song and came across it in an old record store in Silver Spring, Maryland.  I Found the Girl will soon be featured on Sounds Like Washington Vol. 2.  Enjoy!

Foster Sylvers – Misdemeanor (extended)

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Misdemeanor was a 1973 Top 10 R&B hit for Foster Sylvers of the Sylvers.  This extended version of the song so jams!  Check out the guitar solo near the end… my goodness!  You may recognize this song from the sample used by Dr. Dre in The D.O.C.’s It’s Funky Enough song.  Misdemeanor is featured on my “Homecoming 2010 Alumni” Mix posted under Party Mixes.  Enjoy!!