Legendary R&B Songwriter Leon Ware Dead at 77

Leon_Ware dead

Detroit native Leon Ware, one of the great soul and R&B songwriters of our time, died yesterday at the age of 77. In 2009, he was treated for prostate cancer. Ware’s family has yet to release details surrounding his passing.

Ware’s prolific career began in 1967 when he co-wrote The Isley Brothers’ “Got to Have You Back.” He went on to collaborate with Ike & Tina Turner and Arthur “T-Boy” Ross, younger brother of Diana Ross. One of the songs they wrote was ‘I Wanna Be Where You Are’ recorded by Michael Jackson for his album, Got To Be There. He also lent his low-key production touch to Marvin Gaye’s groundbreaking I Want You released in 1976.

Among his vast array of credits Ware went on to write for Quincy Jones, Teena Marie, Jeffrey Osborne, Loose Ends, James Ingram, Melissa Manchester, Krystol, Bobby Womack and Lulu. He helped produce singer Maxwell‘s seminal debut album, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, in 1996. Ware also released 11 solo albums.

Lockyear 5 Tracks of the Moment


After sowing the seeds of his style in Manchester by way musical influence from Detroit, now London-based techno producer Lockyear made his debut last January on One Track Brain’s OTB Records with “Store Street” / “Katabatic Wind.” A year and two weeks later he returns to the label with his Wave Knowledge EP, a striking three-track effort boasting sinewy melodies and rhythms, deep bass and stripped-down grooves.

The release is worth your attention alone for the blissful “Taming the Elephant,” a 6am track that inspired us to dig out every record we own by The Beloved.

We tracked down the one-named phenom and asked him to share five current tracks he currently can’t live without. Here they are in no particular order. Continue Reading

Premiere: Steve Smith – Happy

steve smith dirty vegas happy

Fresh from a 37-date tour supporting Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze, Dirty Vegas frontman Steve Smith continues to let his creative juices flow on his upcoming Union EP set for release on February 24. (Watch our 2011 video interview with Dirty Vegas here.)

Smith wrote the EP in 2016, a year that saw him perform for HRH Prince William at a gala at Kensington Palace on November 10, 2016.

We’re extremely pleased to world premiere “Happy” from his latest effort. On the cut Smith’s trademark croon is in top form and effortlessly sails over a deep musical backdrop accented with soulful sax and deep keyboards. Take a listen and your ears will thank you.

Steve Smith plays Club Passim in Cambridge, MA on February 22 and Rockwood Music Hall in New York City on March 10.

Santigold Selling Brooklyn House for $1.95 Million


If you thought that baller homes were only the relegated to EDMers like Paul Oakenfold, Avicii and Calvin Harris, well, think again.

Multi-faceted singer-songwriter and one-time Big Shot cover star Santigold has put her Bed Stuy, Brooklyn home up for sale for a cool $1.95 million. Eesh, the thought of the property tax bill alone puts us in a cold sweat.

Known for early hits like “Creator” and “L.E.S. Artistes” to recent efforts such as “Can’t Get Enough of Myself” and “Who Be Lovin’ Me” off 2016’s 99¢ album, the Philadelphia native’s abode eschews the douchiness of the aforementioned DJs’ homes and exudes the swagger she build her music career on.

The house is a legal two-bedroom renovated as a single home. It boasts a mahogany staircase, original window shutters, stained glass, moldings, and five working fireplaces.

From Brownstoner:

The kitchen (not pictured) is on the garden level along with the drawing/dining room; it leads out to a garden with a flagstone patio.

The parlor floor holds the living room and a rear bedroom; above is a large front bedroom (not pictured), a small second bedroom, and a dressing room with enough built-in cabinetry to meet a pop star’s demands, painted in turquoise.

There’s central air conditioning, and a closeted washer/dryer on the parlor level.

Any takers?

santigold house for sale

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Jewel Kid 5 Tracks of the Moment


Malta-born Jewel Kid (a.k.a. J.J. Mejlak) has made a name for himself via his Alleanza label, using the imprint as a platform to release music from like-minded technocrats Popof, Pig&Dan, Alex Bau, Enrico Sangiuliano, Luigi Madonna, and Mauro Picotto.

Embracing a tough, hard-sitting techno sound that isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo, he’s also released choice cuts on Suara, Soma, Tronic, Sleaze, and Break New Soil.

Fresh from issuing “Behind These Walls” b/w “Perimeters” on Gynoid in January, today he drops the Road Not Taken EP on Sleaze Records. Fortunately for us on this side of the pond is news that the Kid will touch down next month in the U.S. for a quickie two-date DJ trek.

Ahead of his brief stateside excursion, we checked in with Jewel Kid and asked him to share his five favorite tracks of the moment. Find them below listed in no particular order. Continue Reading

Clyde Stubblefield, the ‘Funky Drummer,’ Dies at 73


Clyde Stubblefield, a session drummer best known for his work with James Brown, passed away on Saturday at the age of 73. According to Stubblefield’s wife, Jody Hannon, the drummer died of kidney failure at a Madison, Wis., hospital. He had been suffering from kidney disease for 10 years, and had been hospitalized for a few days.

Stubblefield was behind the drums on classic James Brown songs “Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud),” “I Got The Feelin’” and “Funky Drummer.”

The grooves he laid down were influential and groundbreaking. They were later discovered by a legion of artists in the ’80s — including Run DMC, Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, L.L. Cool J, George Michael, Sinead O’Connor, Boogie Down Productions —who sampled his funky beats and made Stubblefield .one of the most sampled drummers in history.

Unfortunately, Brown didn’t share royalties with Stubblefield. During the 1990s and 2000s, he released solo albums of his own — Revenge of the Funky Drummer” and The Original Funky Drummer Breakbeat Album. In 2011, the DVD release of the documentary Copyright Criminals featured a collection of new Stubblefield performances designed for easy sampling.

In 2000, Stubblefield was diagnosed with bladder cancer, which he survived. In the process, he racked up roughly $90,000 in medical bills. After Prince’s death in 2016, he revealed that the Purple One, who he had never met, privately paid his medical expenses, as a gift for his influence.

Roots drummer Questlove eulogized Stubblefield on Instagram, calling him “The Funky Funkiest Drummer Of All Time.”