The only thing I love just a bit more than music is a success story. And when the two are combined, especially in the case of Jennifer Hudson, it moves me. No, for real. Throw in the holidays, and I'm done. That was me the other night, in smile-and-sing-a-long mode as J-Hud took us along with her and her family back to Chicago for her son's first Christmas in her hometown. It was her first time being back home for the holidays since suffering the tragedy of her mother, brother and nephew all being murdered late last year. The ABC special, Jennifer Hudson: I'll Be Home For Christmas, showed the Grammy award winner going back to her roots, visiting and putting on a show for the students at her old high school. Her versions of "This Christmas," "Give Love On Christmas Day" and "Silent Night" were beautiful, and seeing her almost moved to tears when her music teacher spoke highly of her got to me, too. Below is a clip from the special for your review. If that doesn't move you, or at least put you in holiday mode, I'm not sure what will. I just know it got to me. If you'll excuse me, I have to go and blow my nose. *sniffle*
DC Bouncers, we got a treat for you coming up this Friday night. Performing live in concert at Liv on December 18th will be sultry songbird Maya Azucena with W. Ellington Felton as her opening act. If you've never seen Maya perform live before, then this is your chance to check her out and we're giving away a pair of free tickets to one lucky Bouncer to do just that. Details on how to enter are after the bounce, and even if you don't win tickets are only $5, which is a serious bargain just in case you've already spent all your money on Christmas shopping.
- The latest batch of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees have been announced. Better luck next year, LL Cool J. [HHDX]
- Sade looked better than women half her age (and some teenagers, too!) at her listening session in NYC. [BB]
- Thinking about picking up Robin Thicke's Sex Therapy? Don't bother. [AOAAD]
- This is a great gift for the Michael Jackson lover in your life. [VB]
The Verrazzano. The John F. Kennedy. The Samuel I. Newhouse. Those are names of various Staten Island ferries where, if you traveled on any of them during the early '80s, you may have found the Force MDs perfecting their doo-wop skills in the middle of the main cabin. It's what they loved to do before and after getting their record deal back during a time when, you know, singing still mattered. Tommy Boy Records came knocking in 1984, and the group was finally put on the musical map outside of their home borough. The song that did it? "Tender Love." The slow jam classic placed them in the Billboard Top Ten as well as on the Krush Groove motion picture soundtrack, and today, is a staple on every Quiet Storm station across the land. Sure, the group had other hits, but this is the one you'd want to represent them. Hell, if I could go back to those ferries in the 80s, this is the one I'd want to hear them sing. The one song that undoubtedly made the East River quiver. The one that would literally rock the boat. Enjoy.
Force MD's: "Tender Love"
And the remixes just don't stop. To celebrate The Beauty Created's one year anniversary, Jesse Boykins III released a remix album featuring an array of producers who have out their own unique spin on his material. If you've been up on JBIII's recent remixes that we've been posting on SoulBounce, then some of these you may already be familiar with. There are, however, more surprises in store even for those ardent JBIII fans, including an electric guitar-heavy demo track, "Dirt," produced by Derek Taylor and JBIII. Take a listen to this track, as well as one that caught my ear below. Then peep the tracklist and get your freeload on by clicking the link.
Jesse Boykins III: "Be All Truth (DJ C-MAC Remix)"
Jesse Boykins III: "Dirt"
It hasn't been easy being Corinne Bailey Rae. To have tragedy strike as you're approaching the pinnacle of your career. To have a platinum-selling, award-winning debut album and everything that comes with it, and suddenly feel completely empty. To lose the love of your life while doing the thing in life you love... most of us could never imagine such a thing. Yet, she's lived with that feeling for the better part of the past two years, living in a sea of confusion after her husband's death. Unfathomable.
That's what makes Bailey Rae's return to the musical stage such a triumphant one. And what makes the title of her sophomore disc--The Sea--such an ironic one. Especially since, if you use the metaphor of the sea as life, the very thing that likely had her feeling like she was drowning as she grieved, has now turned into a place of calm, comfort and tranquility.
It hasn't been easy, but such is life at sea.
After yesterday's Diggin' In The Crates featuring D'Angelo's "Spanish Joint," a good friend of mine sent me this present. It's not that I've never heard this acoustic version of "Africa" before, but I had never heard it in its entirety. Before you music engineers jump on the less-than-perfect sound quality, this recording likely wasn't meant to be officially released. If you listen really closely at the absolute end of the track, you'll hear D'Angelo muse "Whatever's going on in Marvin's..." It's not like I'm trying to coax D'Angelo out his foxhole with my adoration of his songs that are 10 years old or anything, I'm just trying to gently make it known that the natives are restless.
D'Angelo: "Africa (Acoustic Version)"
I was just remarking the other day that it's so weird to not have my child be as into Sesame Street as I once was. Granted that Elmo thing hijacked the show and turned it into something not fun anymore, but I really miss the musical numbers from popular artists back in the day. I'm not the only one yearning for those chunky graphics and feel good messages. Georgia Anne Muldrow has a new video for "Roses" featuring kids, lots of good vibes, and old school graphics. After watching this video and the one she had for "Runaway," I sense a recurring theme. Luckily, it's one that's kid-friendly, adult-friendly, and groove-friendly.
Calling all NYC party people! This Saturday night it's going down once again with some of the best live music that NYC has to offer at S.O.B.'s, and SoulBounce is your free ticket connection. This time around we're giving away tix to see Jaspects at their official The Polkadotted Stripe album release party. The energetic sextet will take to the stage to bring one of my favorite albums of 2009 to life, and if you are anywhere near NYC on Saturday, December 19th it would be a very good look to check them out. Also on the bill are Lydia Caesar and Jon Bibbs and the evening is hosted by SB fave, Eric Roberson. All that talent for the bargain price of $10 in advance or $12 the day of the show. If you know like I know, then pick up your tickets at the S.O.B.s box office or online at TicketWeb ASAP. If you're feeling lucky, you know the drill--hit the bounce for deets on how to enter!
I want Toni Braxton's comeback album to be great. I really do. I've always been a fan of her voice and, even when she went through her "let's prance around half naked" stage, I remained a ride-or-die fan. So you know I tried to get with the song "Yesterday," which became a hot buttered mess once Trey Songz (who clearly also invented singing off-key) was added to the mix. Couldn't do it. Thankfully, another track that may appear on her forthcoming album, Pulse, leaked entitled "Hands Tied." This one is more like it, with the Maryland native showing off the lower register that made me fall in love all those years ago, letting her lover know that she can do whatever it takes to make them happy. I can definitely get with this. Let us know what you think.
Toni Braxton: "Hands Tied"