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Billy Ocean by Don Hunstein/Sony Music Ent. Archives.

Before finding international success and stardom with a string of well-known radio hits, Billy Ocean grinded on the U.K. circuit for well over a decade

…e songs during that period. It was like my apprenticeship.”   The first product to surface on wax was a 45 released on the independent Spark label in 1971. Billed as Les Charles, Billy recorded two songs penned by David Myers and John Worsley, who scored a top five U.K. hit that same year with “Jack in the Box” recorded by Clodagh Rodgers. “You can imagine the pure excitement,” Billy reminisces. “To be able to go home to my parents and say,…

July 1, 2013 | Justin Kantor | Articles
Karl Hector and the Malcouns - Unstraight Ahead

Karl Hector and the Malcouns release Unstraight Ahead on Now-Again Records

  On June 17, 2014, Los Angeles label Now-Again Records releases the newest album by Jay Whitefield (Poets of Rhythm, Whitefield Brothers) and company: Unstraight Ahead by Karl Hector and the Malcouns. Listen to “Jo Nibunga”:     From the press release: It’s been some years since the first Karl Hector release, and it’s known now that Mr. Hector is indeed the German producer and guitarist Jay Whitefield, ne Jan Weissen…

April 28, 2014 | Wax Poetics | New Releases
D.I.T.C.

D.I.T.C. Crew reflects on their careers and the late, great Big L

…f songs and live shows in his honor, and a documentary on the late MC’s life story in the works. The coinciding release of his third (and second posthumous) album, Return of the Devil’s Son, says a lot about the potency of Big L’s legacy. Throughout it all, one important story remains intertwined with his—the longevity of his extended music family, Diggin’ in the Crates, as a signature brand in hip-hop. For old and new fans, that brand will alway…

January 7, 2011 | Damian Ghigliotty | Articles
TV
Turquoise Summers (Omega Supreme Records)

Turquoise Summers continues the modern-funk tradition for Omega Supreme Records

…am-Funk dropped his debut album, Toeachizown, a monumental five-LP boxed set on Stones Throw Records. Since its release, the genre known as modern funk has steadily picked up steam and rapidly become a worldwide movement. By using vintage analog synthesizers and drum machines, modern funk pays homage to the boogie sound from the early ’80s but is continuing where the funk left off and gliding into the future with a fresh and renewed outlook. In t…

December 19, 2014 | Wax Poetics | Articles
Tanya-Morgan-Promo-Pic

Hip-hop crew Tanya Morgan release its third album, Rubber Souls

Von Pea and Donwill of Tanya Morgan   This week sees the release of Tanya Morgan’s third album, Rubber Souls. With the departure of Ilyas Nashid from the group, and solo projects for both Von Pea and Donwill, much has changed for Tanya Morgan since their 2006 debut Moonlighting and 2009’s sophomore effort Brooklynati. Fittingly, their new album marks a fresh stage for the group, experimenting with and expanding their sound with the help of…

September 24, 2013 | Alice Price-Styles | Articles
D'Angelo 'Black Messiah'

D’Angelo’s Black Messiah is magical

…usicians and fans that music can be empowering, therapeutic, and funky. Formulaic songwriting may allow acts to release albums on a tighter, structured schedule. Bathing in the ideas and their execution can lead to a project collapsing under its own weight… or produce outcomes that are far beyond what anyone could have expected. Thankfully, we got the latter. It’s difficult to keep people interested in your music between albums for a couple of ye…

January 15, 2015 | Eric Luecking | Guest Blog
Lost Midas (Tru Thoughts)

Lost Midas release new album, Off the Course, and video, “Head Games”

  Tru Thoughts artist Lost Midas drops new album, Off the Course, on July 29 in the U.S. There is a free record-release party in Los Angeles tomorrow, Tuesday, July 22. Be sure to RSVP. Lost Midas also just dropped a new video for the single “Head Games,” featuring Audris. Check it.    …

July 21, 2014 | Wax Poetics | Videos
Sheridan House

DJ Sureshot compiles 27 boogie tracks for Ubiquity’s new Sheridan House box set

…ly had the pleasure to speak with Hunt about the history of the label and how he got involved. To celebrate the release, there are also record release parties across the USA that will feature giveaways, product displays, world class DJs, and even some surprise guests and meet and greets. Groove to the sounds of Ty & Towana’s “Catch Action,” which is available as a free limited-time download, from Sheridan House while you ind…

September 16, 2014 | Eric Luecking | New Releases
Nicole-Wray

Number One Lady

  One month after their debut album released, Wax Poetics interviewed Lady—comprised of R&B veterans Nicole Wray and Terri Walker—for its Summer 2013 issue. The women were bubbling, excited, and hopeful for the future of the band, but as Issue 55 hit newsstands, they were quietly going through a break up. Nicole Wray talks with Wax Poetics about the split and the future of Lady. How did the Terri situation come about and what was the r…

October 23, 2013 | Marissa Wallace | News
Nas Illmatic XX

Nas celebrates the 20th anniversary of Illmatic

…mazingly quick twenty years since it hit shelves originally in April of 1994, the MC was that same age upon its release. As stated in the press release by the maestro himself—“I’m here today because of Illmatic”—it’s clear that he recognizes how important this album has been to his career. While many artists in the genre fade due to a multitude of reasons, each solo release since 1994 has been a hugely anticipated event, thanks in part to his lyr…

April 24, 2014 | Eric Luecking | New Releases
Aaliyah

Designing the cover for Aaliyah’s 2001 self-titled release and dealing with the death of an icon

August 25, 2001. I am driving on the Bay Bridge, on my way to celebrate my birthday, when I noticed that the radio stations were playing a lot of her songs. Then came a call from the A&R at Virgin Records; she was crying…   Originally published as “The Art of Aaliyah” in Wax Poetics Issue 59   Years earlier, when I was a student at UC Berkeley, I distinctly remember hearing “If Your Girl Only Knew” when it debute…

August 25, 2014 | Warren Fu | Articles
Photo by Brick Stowell

The Frank Ocean Interview

…enre-smashing phenomenon in as quickly as it took the twenty-three-year-old to hit “publish.” The label quickly released a couple singles on iTunes and scrambled to package a commercial release of the album, but sample issues and runaway hype ultimately bested a corporate co-opting of his brand. The official release of Nostalgia, Ultra has been scrapped in favor of a new, upcoming release. Ocean’s lips stayed tight as praise and adoration flew hi…

February 10, 2012 | Matthew Trammell | Articles
Black Dynamite Score/Soundtrack Party 9

Records Release Party

Photos by Steve Believe & Skeme Richards…

October 31, 2009 | Wax Poetics | The Recap
Tame Pose

The Fresh Artifact

…fferent labels. Over the same seventeen years, he’s moved from cassette to vinyl to CD to vinyl to digital-only releases. But to those who haven’t closely followed his transitions, the Notty-Headed Terror from Jersey has occasionally slipped on and off the radar as he’s bounced from one label to another. He and his Artifacts co-emcee El Da Sensei made their first official appearance with the Nubian Crackers in the summer of ’93, on the bass-heavy…

August 25, 2011 | Damian Ghigliotty | Articles
VP Fall Album Release Party 14

Fall Album Release Party

Thank you to everyone that came out to VP Records & Wax Poetics Party celebrating all the Fall album releases of VP Records, Greensleeves and 17 North Parade. Spur Tree Lounge was packed, the Heineken was flowing, and there was more than enough music to satisfy roots, lovers rock and dancehall reggae lovers cravings. It was such an amazing turn out, and we couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate all the VP Records/Greensleeves/17 N…

October 21, 2009 | Wax Poetics | The Recap
Del tha Funkee Homosapien

Del tha Funkee Homosapien interview

…m, and Future Development, both of which have been earning informal reputations as hip-hop classics since their release in the 1990s. It is now 2004, and Del sits up in his Bay Area home, studying music theory, smoking bidis, and crafting beats. The catalyst of the celebrated Hieroglyphics collective claims and demonstrates that he is continuously evolving. From the funk-infused I Wish My Brother George Was Here, to the sci-fi ridden Deltron 3030…

February 8, 2004 | David Ma | Articles
hgl2

Inner City Hues

…ly Harlem Days and Nights–but Ruddy thought Coonskin would be a great title. And when the film was ready to get released, the Paramount rep showed up at Ruddy’s office, where I was present, and wanted us to change the title. I was all for it, because I wanted to go back to my original title. I was very nervous about Coonskin. I said, “Hey, how about Harlem Nights?” Ruddy stood up at his desk and told the guy to get the fuck out of his office. He…

April 2, 2010 | Tony Best | Articles
Lincoln Olivetti: Brazilian Boogie Boss 1978-1984

80-minute disco/boogie mixtape featuring Brazilian producer and arranger Lincoln Olivetti

…the recording studios of Rio de Janeiro as a protégé to the legendary dance-band leader, Ed Lincoln. In 1970 he released a little-known LP of pop-covers in a dance style, much like dozens of other similar remakes albums. Hot Parade #1 didn’t exactly make Lincoln a household name, so instead he turned his attention towards playing sessions, arranging, and eventually producing music for other artists often in collaboration with friend and partner R…

June 6, 2014 | Allen Thayer | Mixtape
1977470_220183541511552_2094349981_n1-e1396954129474

Be With Records reissues vinyl copies of Leon Ware’s 1982 self-titled LP, the Streets’ A Grand Don’t Come for Free, and Ned Doheny’s Hard Candy

…ng officially licensed high-quality vinyl records that are currently unavailable or never even received a vinyl release. Be With Records are unique in actively seeking vinyl lovers’ suggestions about records that should be released. Only three releases in, they are already getting a lot of attention… More on the releases: Leon Ware’s self-titled 1982 album has long been a holy grail for modern-soul record collectors. And Be With Recor…

August 23, 2014 | Wax Poetics | News
The Soul Stirrers

Sam Cooke’s SAR label still sounds heavenly

…Sam Cooke would have celebrated his eighty-fourth birthday. So it’s fitting that ABKCO scheduled a January 27th release near his birthday to commemorate two more compilations of material that was recorded for his SAR label between 1959 and 1964. While the label has been compiled before on the excellent Sam Cooke’s SAR Records Story: 1959-1965, that set was a two-disc overview of various acts who recorded for the label. With the new series that AB…

January 29, 2015 | Eric Luecking | New Releases
Claude Dubois - Mellow Reggae cover print

Québécois singer Claude Dubois recorded a French reggae album two years before Serge Gainsbourg

…gae recording, it is only because history has simply forgotten an album produced by a bold Québécois artist and released two years earlier. It’s actually Claude Dubois, a popular, Montreal-born singer, to which we owe the first French reggae album ever produced worldwide. Although there had been novelty one-off singles before, never had an artist committed a whole album to seriously explore this new music. But this record, 1977’s Mellow Reggae, a…

April 14, 2014 | Ghislain Poirier | Articles
Photo by Henry Diltz

Ned Doheny went from the folky Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter scene to R&B heights

…experience with Lloyd’s group. Ned played in Lloyd’s live group and on at least one studio recording, Moon Man (released in 1972 though recorded earlier). “Charles was singing in those days in his kinda whispy voice. I think he was trying to do sort of a Miles [Davis] chameleon transformation thing, which I think was a little poorly conceived. I think he saw me as a sort of rock-and-roll guy and wouldn’t that be fun? I have to say from my perspec…

May 28, 2014 | Allen Thayer | Articles
45T-PERU MARAVILLOSO!-final version_FLAT_72DPI_RGB

Paco Zambrano y Su Combo

Last week, Tiger’s Milk Records released a scintillating compilation, Peru Maravilloso, of Peruvian tunes that range from cumbia to tropicalia. How special is this release? Virtually none of the fifteen tracks included on the album have seen a release since their original release in Peru. The compilation was assembled by Duncan Ballantyne, Martin Morales, and Andres Tapia, each of whom brings their own element of expertise to the country’…

November 20, 2013 | Eric Luecking | New Releases
Danny Alias of Persona Records

Persona Records launched the recording careers of Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principle and showed the world that house music could really sell

…do a parody of a Laurie Anderson song!” In 1984, Bell and Alias became partners in Persona Records. Their first release was Alias’s “Civil Defense.” Remembers Alias, “We wanted a follow-up to ‘Big Brother,’ and we wanted something that was original, that would be all our own. So I’m music and words on that. And then David and I—we actually went to Columbia College—would look for student musicians to play on tracks.” They recorded the single at Se…

April 9, 2014 | Jacob Arnold | Articles