‘The Blurred Odyssey’ Is A “Clear” Success For The Sh-Booms

Courtesy: Limited Fanfare Records

Independent neo-soul/funk outfit The Sh-Booms is gearing up for a new short North American tour run.  The two-week tour, which features a performance in Carrboro, N.C. on May 31, is in support of the band’s debut album The Blurred Odyssey.  The 10-song record was released March 22 through independent record label Limited Fanfare.  It came a little more than three years after the band released its debut EP Usage Fee.  Whether counted as a follow-up to that record or by itself as the band’s first full-length studio recording, the 38-minute record proves to be an impressive new offering from the Orlando, Fla-based band.  The record’s soulful midway point that is ‘Late Night Lover’ is just one of the songs that serves to support that statement.  It will be addressed shortly.  ‘Dry Eyes,’ which immediately follows ‘Late Night Lover’ in the album’s sequence, is another of the record’s most notable entries.  It will be addressed a little bit later.  ‘Drop ‘Em Dead,’ which comes even later in the album’s run, is yet another of the record’s most notable additions.  It will also be addressed later.  When it is considered alongside ‘Dry Eyes,’ ‘Late Night Lover’ and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the LP becomes a work that is easily one more of this year’s top new independent albums.

The Sh-Booms’ debut full-length studio recording The Blurred Odyssey is a work that very much paints a clear picture of the band’s future.  It is a record that, with the right support, can potentially make the band just as popular as similar acts, such as Alabama Shakes, Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings.  One of the songs featured in the 38-minute record that serves to support that statement comes halfway through the album in the form of ‘Late Night Lover.’  The song’s musical arrangement is a rich, soulful composition whose horns, guitars and drums couple with vocalist Brenda Radney’s vocals to create a work that lends itself to comparisons to works from Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin.  It is a work that will certainly be a favorite for couples everywhere.  That is especially the case considering the song’s lyrical content.

The lyrical content of ‘Late Night Lover’ is clear to say the least.  Radney sings in the song’s lead verse, “Late night lover, what you doing to me/As I hold you close/I feel your heart skip a beat/Late night lover/How we doin’ on time/You’re under cover, catchin’ hearts on your line/All the time/It’s 10 til 2, and I’m watching the tube/I hear a knock at the door/And it’s gotta be you/You remove your vest from your chest/That’s my cue to undress and now it’s time to caress.”  She goes on to sing about feeling heat and feeling certain other physical sensations at this point.  She adds in the song’s second verse, “Now the smoke’s all clear/And you’re still here/And I think to myself/Am I a dwindling tear/But before you go/You must know/There’s something about your love/Makes my desires grow.”  Again, there is little to no doubt as to what the song’s subject is saying here.  This is one of those old-school works that is a romance song that focuses…well…on being with that someone late at night in the most intimate way.  The work of Radney’s band mates on their respective parts does an expert job of helping to illustrate the very strong emotions felt during those late night moments, too.  Credit where due, their work, coupled with Radney’s own powerhouse vocal delivery and her equally obvious story to create a song in this case that is one of the album’s highest points.  It is just one of the works that exemplifies the overall strength of The Blurred Odyssey.  ‘Dry Eyes,’ which immediately follows ‘Late Night Lover’ in the album’s sequence, is another of the record’s most notable works.

‘Dry Eyes,’ like ‘Late Night Lover,’ stands out in part because of its upbeat musical arrangement.  The arrangement — complete with horns and drums — throws back to the Motown sounds of days long ago.  There are hints in this arrangement, of The Temptations, The Four Tops and other similar acts that are certain to appeal to a wide range of listeners.  The firm foundation formed by the song’s old school arrangement is just part of what makes the song stand out.  Its equally accessible lyrical content, which once again focuses on the familiar topic of love found, is just as certain as the song’s arrangement to find wide appeal.

Radney sings in the song’s lead verse, “Oh boy, this happy Sunday/Left at home/to dry my eyes/I fell…on Friday/When his eyes/They met mine/Why’s a girl like me/With a boy like you/Mama always said/A fool can’t be true/Why’s a girl like me/With a boy like you/Mama always said/A fool can’t be true/Well as I met mine/And we danced all night/He left me home/To dry my eyes.”  She adds in the song’s second verse, “I woke up to tequila sunrise/Next his hands were up my thighs/I woke up feeling a bottle/But he was gone to my surprise/Why’s a girl like me/With a boy like you/Mama always said a fool can’t be true/Why’s a girl like me/With a boy like you/Mama always said/A fool can’t be true/As his eyes met mine/And we danced all night/He gave me hope /To dry my eyes.  This is a celebratory statement.  It is someone who has found that special other person after having been down for such a long time, and is simply exploding (metaphorically speaking) with happiness.  That is illustrated so well by the song’s equally celebratory arrangement, which boasts so much fire and energy.  When the two elements are coupled, they create a whole in this case that is without argument another example of what makes The Blurred Odyssey a clear success for The Sh-Booms.  It is just one more of the many songs that can be cited to support that statement, too.  ‘Drop ‘Em Dead’ is one more example of what makes the album in whole stand out.

Where ‘Late Night Lover’ and ‘Dry Eyes’ boast a clearly old-school R&B influence, ‘Drop ‘Em Dead’ lends itself to comparisons to works from famed guitarist Dick Dale, who is listed on the group’s official Facebook page as one of its influences, along with Aretha Franklin and other famed acts.  What’s really interesting here is that the band took that Dick Dale influence and coupled it with its R&B influences to make a whole that stands out (and quite well at that) on its own merits.  The whole in itself, is more than enough evidence of what makes the song stand out among the album’s 10 total entries.  Of course one would be remiss to ignore the song’s lyrical content in examining the song along with the song’s musical content.

The song’s lyrical content The lyrics are slightly difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet to reference.  However, from what can be deciphered, it can be inferred that this song, lyrically, is a loud, proud statement of self-confidence.  Radney seems to sing something to the effect of “You got the story/I got the truth/I am the rubber/You are the glue…I’m gonna put up a fight” in the song’s lead verse.  There is little else to the song in terms of lyrics.  From that point on, listeners get repeated refrains of “I’m gonna drop ‘em dead” throughout the remainder of the song.  It would seem that from that single verse and the repeated refrains, that this song is lyrically a work that is one of those musical middle fingers to naysayers as a refusal to give in and give up.  It is certain to become one a fan favorite.  When it is considered alongside ‘Dry Eyes’ and ‘Late Night Lover,’ this trio of songs in itself more than shows what makes The Blurred Odyssey a strong new offering from The Sh-Booms.  When they are considered along with the seven remaining songs that make up the rest of the album, the whole of the record becomes an LP that is a clear success for the band.  It is available now.  More information on The Blurred Odyssey is available online along with The Sh-Booms’ tour schedule, news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.theshbooms.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theShBooms

Twitter: http://twitter.com/theshbooms

 

 

 

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FMQB, Philadelphia International Records Heads Pay Tribute To Franklin

“The Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, has died after a long battle with various illnesses, and with the passing of what is one of the entertainment industry’s greatest figures, tributes to Franklin have already started pouring out.

Courtesy: Randex PR

Kal Rudman, publisher of the revered Friday Morning Quarterback magazine, has offered his condolences to Franklin’s family, pointing out that her impact on the music industry has been and is invaluable and that there will likely never be another like her.

“Aretha Franklin personified the unbelievable power of rhythm & blues,” Rudman said.  “The magic story of the power of Aretha Franklin emerged when she entered the glory of recording for Jerry Wexler at the incredible Atlantic Records.  her stature in R&B music surpassed anyone before or since.  The Queen of Soul has been taken from her throne, and it shall always remain empty.  This is a monumental loss to music lovers everywhere.  On behalf of the staff of Friday Morning Quarterback, we send our deepest condolences to her family.”

Corutesy: Randex PR

Philadelphia International Records co-founders — and R&B pioneers — Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff have also offered their condolences, noting not just her talents as a singer but who she was as a person.

“We not only admire Aretha Franklin for her singing ability, but we appreciate what she did to uplift the community,” the pair said.  “We have always been honored and elated — and are still on ‘Cloud Nine’ — for having her cover two of our songs: ‘A Brand New Me’ and ‘Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas Without The One You Love.’  While we never got the opportunity to work directly with Aretha, she was our dear friend.  We send our deepest and sincere condolences out to her family.  She was truly the best!”

These are just some of the tributes being offered to the legendary singer, whose career spanned at least seven decades.  The “first couple of hip-hop,” Beyonce and Jay Z have both paid homage to Franklin along with Mariah Carey, former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle and Diana Ross among others.

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Time Life To Re-Issue ‘The Wonder Years: The Complete Series’ This Summer

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment/StarVista

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment/StarVista

There is good news for fans of ABC’s classic family drama The Wonder Years.

Time Life Entertainment has announced that it will re-issue the series in a complete series box set next month.  It is currently slated to be released Tuesday, August 23rd and will retail for MSRP of $119.95.  The new re-issue will feature all 115 episodes of the six-season series spread across 22 discs and 12 hours of new bonus material.  Those bonus features include: highlights from the cast’s first reunion in 16 years, a farewell set tour, Exclusive interviews and more.  It also features all of the songs originally used in the series’ 5 year, six season run including: Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Aretha Franklin, James Taylor, Joe Cocker, and many others.  The series’ soundtrack in total comes to 300 songs.

Over the course of its six seasons on the air, The Wonder Years was one of television’s most popular series.  It earned a spot on Neilsen’s Top 30 in four of those seasons.  It earned an Emmy® for “Best Comedy Series,” and at age 13 lead actor Fred Savage became the youngest actor ever nominated for “Outstanding Lead Actor For A Comedy Series.”  The series would eventually go on to earn a total of 24 awards and be nominate for 70 more.  Those nominations and wins included: Emmy® Awards, A Golden Globe®, and in 1989 a Peabody® Award for pushing the boundaries of the sitcom format and using what were then new methods of storytelling.  Even after the show ended its run, its impact was still being felt.  In 1997 “My Father’s Office” was ranked #29 on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.  The series’ pilot episode was ranked #43 on that same list.

The Wonder Years: The Complete Series will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, August 23rd via Time Life Entertainment.  It will retail for MSRP of $119.95.  More information on this and other titles from Time Life Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://timelife.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

 

 

 

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StarVista, Time Life Announce Release Date, Specs For The Wonder Years Season 2

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment

Kevin, Paul, Winnie and the rest of the characters from ABC’s beloved classic drama The Wonder Years are coming back.

StarVista Entertainment announced Monday that it will release the complete second season of The Wonder Years on DVD on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015. The series’ second season consists of seventeen half-hour episodes spread across four discs. Also included in the upcoming second season set are a number of bonuses for fans. There are also more than four dozen classic songs from artists such as: Bob Dylan, Carol King, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Cream, Bing Crosby, Joni Mitchell, Simon & Garfunkel, Traffic, Diana Ross and the Supremes, James Taylor, Nat King Cole, The Miracles, Judy Collins, Donovan, and a number of others. The full list of songs and artists featured in season Two is noted below.

“Heart of Darkness”

  • You Make Me Feel So Young
  • Sunshine of Your Love-Cream

“Our Miss White”

  • Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)-The Temptations
  • The Times They Are A-Changin’-Bob Dylan

“Christmas”

  • Jingle Bell Rock-Instrumental
  • White Christmas-Bing Crosby
  • River-Joni Mitchell
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas-Instrumental

“Steady as She Goes”

  • Yellow Bird-On-Screen Character Performance
  • Somewhere-On-Screen Character Performance
  • Ooo Baby Baby-The Miracles
  • The Thrill Is Gone-B.B. King
  • Will You Love Me Tomorrow-Carole King

“Just between Me and You and Kirk and Paul and Carla and Becky”

  • I Am a Rock-Simon & Garfunkel
  • Someday We’ll Be Together-Diana Ross and the Supremes
  • Some Enchanted Evening-On-Screen Character Performance

“Pottery Will Get You Nowhere”

  • It’s Not Unusual
  • When I Fall in Love-Nat King Cole

“Hiroshima, Mon Frère”

  • Wild Thing-The Troggs
  • Brother, Brother-Carole King

“Loosiers”

  • You’ve Got a Friend-James Taylor
  • Sweet Georgia Brown-Brother Bones

“Walk Out”

  • I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man-Muddy Waters
  • The Tracks of My Tears-The Miracles
  • I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die-Rag-Country Joe and the Fish
  • Give Peace A Chance-On-Screen Character Performance

“Nemesis”

  • My Girl-The Temptations
  • Theme from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

“Fate”

  • Born under a Bad Sign-Cream
  • Respect-Aretha Franklin

“Birthday Boy”

  • Happy, Happy Birthday Baby-The Tune Weavers
  • Bookends-Simon & Garfunkel
  • Yummy, Yummy, Yummy-On-Screen Character Performance
  • Hava Nagila-Karmon Israeli Singers

“Brightwing”

  • Subterranean Homesick Blues-Bob Dylan
  • In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida-Iron Butterfly
  • You Can All Join In-Traffic
  • Catch the Wind-Donovan

“Square Dance”

  • Star Flicker-Houston Ramblers
  • Turkey In The Straw-Ralph Pierce
  • Comin’ round the Mountain-The Sundowners Band

“Whose Woods Are These?”

  • Happy Days Are Here Again-The Banjo Barons
  • In My Life-Judy Collins

“How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation”

  • The Theme from “A Summer Place”-Percy Faith and His Orchestra
  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes-The Platters
  • Never on Sunday-The Chordettes
  • I Only Have Eyes for You-The Flamingos
  • La Vie En Rose-Edith Piaf
  • Scarborough Fair/Canticle-Simon & Garfunkel

The second season of The Wonder Years sees Kevin, his friends, and his family all grow together as throughout all of the turmoil of the age. Kevin’s personal growth comes as he starts standing up to his older brother Wayne (Jason Hervey) and as he takes part in a class walkout to protest the Vietnam War. He, Paul (Josh Saviano), and Winnie (Danica McKellar) also fight to stop developers from plowing over Harper Woods, where the trio shared many of their favorite childhood memories.

The bonus materials included on the upcoming Season 2 box set are noted below.

BONUS FEATURES 

  • School Days: Roundtable with Danica McKellar, Fred Savage and Josh Saviano
  • Featurette: The Times They Are A-Changin’: The Era
  • Interviews with: Dan Lauria (Jack Arnold), Alley Mills (Norma Arnold), Daniel Stern (Narrator)

The Wonder Years: Season Two will retail for MSRP of $39.95. More information on the box set’s upcoming release and other titles from Star Vista Entertainment and Time Life Entertainment is available online at:

Website: http://timelife.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUs

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Sam Cooke To Be Honored At Annual SHOF Ceremony

Courtesy:  ABKCO Records/merlis for hire

Courtesy: ABKCO Records/merlis for hire

Sam Cooke is set to receive a very special honor.  His song, ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ is one of a small handful of songs to receive the “2013 Songwriters Hall of Fame Towering Song Award.”  The presentation will be made at the 44th annual Induction and Awards Dinner on Thursday, June 13th.  The dinner and awards ceremony will be held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. 

The song—which was originally written by Cooke in 1963 and recorded in 1964—was referenced as recently as the 2008 election by President Barack Obama after winning the election that year.  It was also used as an anthem during the Civil Rights movement.  Since its original release, it has been covered over five hundred times by various artists from the likes of: Aretha Franklin, Al Green, and Otis Redding to more modern artists such as: R. Kelly, Gavin DeGraw, and Seal just to name a few.  These are just a few of the song’s accolades.  It has even been deemed by National Public Radio (NPR) as “the most important ever recorded” and has been selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion into its National Recording Registry.  Cooke himself was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987.       

‘A Change is Gonna Come’ will be inducted into the SHOF along with works from Tony Hatch, Mick Jones & Lou Gramm, Holly Knight, JD Souther, and Steven Tyler & Joe Perry.  A full list of inductees and bios is available online via the SHOF’s virtual museum at http://songwritershalloffame.org.

Tickets for the induction ceremony are available now.  They start at $1,000 each.  They are available through Buckley Hall Events by phone at 212-573-6933.

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