The Soul thread

April 6, 2016 Variety

R&B singer-songwriter Leon Haywood, whose 1974 hit single “I Want’a Do Something Freaky to You” was memorably repurposed by Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin but a ‘G’ Thang,” died on Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 74.

Born in Houston, Haywood moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s and found work as a keyboardist, most notably with Big Jay McNeely and as a part of Sam Cooke’s touring band. He notched a pair of minor R&B chart hits at the end of the decade, first on Imperial with “She’s With Her Other Love” and then on Decca (the Motown-inspired “It’s Got to Be Mellow”).

After a fallow period as a solo artist, Haywood reemerged in the mid-1970s as a reliable crafter of mid-tempo, string-drenched funk anthems on 20[SUP]th[/SUP] Century Fox Records. “Stroking (Pt. II),” “Come and Get Yourself Some” and the Sly Stone-indebted “Keep It in the Family” were all hits on the R&B chart, while “I Want’a Do Something Freaky to You” reached No. 15 on the pop singles chart in 1975.

A slow-burning bedroom jam with a lengthy intro, the latter song provided Dr. Dre’s “‘G’ Thang” with all its most recognizable instrumental elements: the wah-wah guitar, stuttering bassline and whiny synth riff. Dre’s song was the signature single from his 1992 album “The Chronic,” which has since been certified triple Platinum. (Haywood’s 1974 cut “That Sweet Woman of Mine” would later become a sample source for J. Cole and Cam’ron.)

After three albums for Columbia and MCA, Haywood returned to 20[SUP]th[/SUP] Century for 1980 single “Don’t Push It Don’t Force It,” an infectious disco funk workout that reached No. 2 on the R&B chart and made headway in the U.K. (Haywood’s LP “Naturally,” released that same year, also included “Lover’s Rap,” an experiment with hip-hop at a time when much of the R&B establishment still considered rap something of a passing youth fad.) A year later, he wrote a Grammy-nominated Top 40 hit for labelmate Carl Carlton, “She’s a Bad Mama Jama,” before seguing into a career as a producer.
By Hillel Italie NEW YORK — Apr 25, 2016, 4:30 AM ET

Leon A. Huff, Billy Paul, and Kenneth Gamble (Feb. 6, 2008)

Billy Paul, a jazz and soul singer best known for the No. 1 hit ballad and "Philadelphia Soul" classic "Me and Mrs. Jones," died Sunday.

Paul, whose career spanned for more than 60 years, died at his home in Blackwood, New Jersey, his co-manager, Beverly Gay, told The Associated Press. Paul, 80, had been diagnosed recently with pancreatic cancer, Gay said.

Known by his beard and large glasses, Paul was one of many singers who found success with the writing and producing team of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, whose Philadelphia International Records also released music by the O'Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and Lou Rawls.

"Me and Mrs. Jones" was an extramarital confession and a characteristic Gamble and Huff production, setting Paul's thick tenor against a lush and sensuous arrangement. Many fans best remember the moment when Paul's otherwise subtle vocals jump as they reach the title words, stretching out "Me" and "And" into multiple syllables and repeating "Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Jones." (Paul himself was married to the same woman for decades).

Paul's voice made him "one of the great artists to come out of Philly and to be celebrated worldwide," Gamble and Huff said in a statement late Sunday.

"Our proudest moment with Billy was the recording of the salacious smash 'Me and Mrs. Jones.' In our view, it is one of the greatest love songs ever recorded," they said.

The song was one of the top singles of 1972 and brought Paul a Grammy the following year for best male rhythm 'n blues performance, with runners-up including Ray Charles and Curtis Mayfield. Paul remained identified with the song for the rest of his life.

Paul continued to perform live until he fell ill and his manager said he had been lining up numerous appearances at the time of his death. Among his favorites in concert was a cover of Prince's "Purple Rain." (Prince died last Thursday).

He was born Paul Williams but later agreed to his manager's suggestion that he change his name to Billy Paul to avoid confusion with songwriter Paul Williams and other musicians with the same name. A Philadelphia native, he sang much his life, performing with such jazz stars as Charlie Parker and Dinah Washington and being featured on a handful of singles while still in his teens.
Paul was drafted into the military in his early 20s, and found himself on the same base in Germany with a couple of famous show business names, Elvis Presley and Gary Crosby, Bing Crosby's son.

"We said we're going to start a band, so we didn't have to do any hard work in the service," he told in 2015. "We tried to get Elvis to join but he wanted to be a jeep driver. So me and Gary Crosby, we started it and called ourselves the Jazz Blues Symphony Band."

By the mid-1960s, the Beatles had inspired him to incorporate more rhythm 'n blues into his singing and he had found a new home for his recordings after meeting Gamble at a Philadelphia music shop. His early albums with Gamble and Huff, including "Ebony Woman" and "Going East," sold modestly, before "Me and Mrs. Jones" briefly made him a superstar.

Paul faced numerous obstacles following his biggest hit. Radio stations resisted his more socially conscious follow-up song, "Am I Black Enough for You" and the Rev. Jesse Jackson was among those who objected to the explicit "Let's Make a Baby."

Years later, Paul sued Gamble and Huff and other industry officials over unpaid royalties and was awarded $500,000 by a Los Angeles jury in 2003.

Paul is survived by his wife, Blanche Williams, with whom he had two children. Although he endured many difficult moments with Gamble and Huff, he would look back on those years as a lost golden age.

"It was like a family full of music," he told "It was like music round the clock, you know. And I reminisce and I still wish those days were here."
Brian McCollum, Detroit Free Press 4:40 p.m. CDT June 28, 2016

Detroit soul stalwart Sir Mack Rice, who wrote “Mustang Sally,” “Respect Yourself” and other enduring R&B hits, died Monday in metro Detroit. He was 82. A onetime member of the Detroit group the Falcons in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s — featuring longtime friend and future solo star Wilson Pickett — the Clarksdale, Mississippi-born Rice went on to make his name primarily as a songwriter, funneling tunes to artists associated with Memphis’ Stax Records.

“Mustang Sally” was the best known among them: Originally called “Mustang Mama,” a title later tweaked at the urging of Aretha Franklin, the song was recorded by Rice and hit No. 15 on the R&B charts in 1965. A year later, Pickett’s cover version took off and became the song’s signature interpretation.

“Respect Yourself” became a hit for the Staple Singers in 1971 (and Bruce Willis in 1987), while other Rice tunes were picked up by artists such as Johnnie Taylor (“Cheaper to Keep Her”), Rufus Thomas (“Do the Funky Penguin Part 1”) and Albert King (“Cadillac Assembly Line”).

A long-forgotten 1964 composition, “Detroit, Michigan,” was covered by Kid Rock on the 2012 album “Rebel Soul,” and performed by Rock at halftime of that year’s nationally televised Detroit Lions Thanksgiving game.

"It was a tribute to Detroit's women," Rice told the Free Press at the time. "Our beautiful girls."

In his later years, Rice put together a band of Detroit-area musicians and became a regular at local festivals and events such as the Woodward Dream Cruise. He moved from Detroit to Bloomfield Hills in 2011.

Rice died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, Memphis paper the Commercial Appeal reported Monday night.

Sir Mack Rice talked with the Free Press for a story that ran on May 19, 2000:
He's one of Detroit's hidden treasures.

Sir Mack Rice is the name behind "Mustang Sally," one of the most enduring songs in pop and soul history. As a member of the Falcons in the late '50s — a group that spawned Wilson Pickett, Joe Stubbs and Eddie Floyd — Rice cut his teeth singing doo-wop.

But it was his knack for songwriting that helped him soar. "Mustang Sally," brought to national attention by Pickett in 1966, tops a list of Sir Mack compositions that includes "Respect Yourself," "Cheaper to Keep Her" and "24-7 Man."

After a stint in Memphis during the '70s, Sir Mack now runs a Detroit asphalt company and small record label, performing occasionally at festivals nationwide. He has a solo record with IN-FI Records due June 16 (2000).

On his lack of name recognition compared to Motown's stars: "I came up with them, but we went another way. (The Falcons) cut records at Berry (Gordy's) studio. But you know, the songwriters stay in the dark all the time. Around Memphis, my name was big because of Stax Records, but in Detroit nobody knows who did these songs."

On the origins of "Mustang Sally": "It was written as a joke, really. I wrote it as 'Mustang Mama' ...Aretha played keyboards on the demo track. I was singing 'Ride, Sally, ride,' and Aretha said, 'Why don't you call it "Mustang Sally"?' Aretha and my wife didn't particularly like the tune. I'm a big critic of myself; sometimes you write something and don't think it's good enough. But it's been carrying me ever since."

On the song's endurance: "I don't knock it, but I can't tell you why it's lasted. (Laughs.) It's a good old funky song. It got to be a slang thing, and then it went crossover.... You can go in a club now, and hear any white band playing it."
50 Soul Music Stars who died during 2016

December 18, 2016 | Soul Tracks

One of our saddest jobs at SoulTracks is to inform SoulTrackers about the deaths of soul music artists. And 2016 was a devastating year, with the death of dozens of artists who were part of the fabric of our lives.

We feel it is part of our mission to pay tribute to the legacies of thest all time greats. On this page we provide a list of those artists who have died during 2016, and a link to our tributes to them. They are shown in the order of the date we reported on their deaths during the year. Each artist's name or picture is a link to our written tribute to him or her.

Rest in Peace, friends.

Natalie Cole
Nicholas Caldwell of The Whispers
Otis Clay (blues legend)
Norman Mayers (writer and multi-faceted artist)
Clarence "Blowfly" Reid (singer and songwriter)
Glenn Frey of The Eagles
TJ Tindall (MFSB guitarist)
Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire
Willie B Holland of The Persuaders
Denise Matthews aka Vanity
Gavin Christopher (singer and songwriter)
Daryl Coley (Gospel great)
Lee Andrews (Doo wop legend)
Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest
James Jamerson, Jr. (renowned bassist)
Larry Payton of Brass Construction
Leon Haywood (singer and songwriter)
Doug Banks (radio legend)
Billy Paul (singer)
Franklin Kennedy of Frankie and the Spindles
Reginald Torian, Sr. of The Impressions
Marshall "Rock" Jones of the Ohio Players
Bernadette Randle (pianist)
Nate Neblett (session drummer)
Prince Be of PM Dawn
Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns
Jerome Teasley (Motown drummer)
Bernie Worrell of Parliament-Funkadelic
Sir Mack Rice (singer and songwriter)
Allan Barnes of the Blackbyrds
Kenny Kelly of Riff
Jimmy Levine (musician and producer)
David Camon (singer and songwriter)
Toots Thielemans (legendary harmonica player)
Edward "Dwight" Fields of the Manhattans
Fred McFarlane (producer and musician)
Clifford Curry (Southern Soul singer)
Trisco Pearson of the Force MDs
Kashif (singer, songwriter and producer)
Little Royal Torrence (singer)
Rod Temperton (legendary songwriter)
Sonny Sanders (songwriter and producer)
Larry "Bingo" Marcus of the Rude Boys
Jimmy Williams of Double Exposure
Victor Bailey of Weather Report
Leon Russell (singer and songwriter)
Rod Wayne of Blue Magic
Sharon Jones (singer)
Colonel Abrams (singer)
Joe Ligon of the Mighty Clouds of Joy
Blue Magic - Spell

This song was in The New Edition Story performed by the group in the talent show that the young Bobby got stage fright at.
Cuba Gooding, Sr. (April 27, 1944 - April 20, 2017)

4/20/2017 by Colin Stutz Billboard

Cuba Gooding, Sr. of The Main Ingredient performs at Chastain Park Amphitheater on July 10, 2013 in Atlanta.

Cuba Gooding, Sr., lead singer for the 1970s soul group The Main Ingredient and father to Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding, Jr., has died, a source confirms to Billboard. He was 72.

According to TMZ, Gooding was found dead in his car on Thursday (April 20) in Woodland Hills, California.

Gooding joined The Main Ingredient in 1971 when the former lead singer Donald McPherson died unexpectedly of leukemia. He had served as a backing vocalist on some of their recordings previously. While Gooding was with the RCA-signed band, the act scored five top 10 hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, including their highest-charting effort: 1972's "Everybody Plays the Fool," which peaked at No. 2 for three weeks. The track also was their biggest hit on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, climbing to No. 3. The Gooding-led group also notched top 10s on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart with "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely," "Happiness Is Just Around the Bend" and "Rolling Down a Mountainside."

In 1977, Gooding left the band to pursue a solo career on Motown in 1977, releasing two albums. In 1979, he reunited with his Main Ingredient bandmates and they continued to work together through the 1980s. Gooding resumed his solo career in 1993 and did not participate in a 1999 reunion of his old band. Gooding also had a minor acting career.

As a solo artist, Gooding notched two R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart hits of his own: 1978's "Mind Pleaser" and 1983's "Happiness Is Just Around the Bend," which reached Nos. 91 and 43 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, respectively. More than two decades later, Gooding returned to Billboard's charts with the top 10-charting Adult Contemporary airplay chart hit "This Christmas" (Richard Kincaid featuring Cuba Gooding Sr.). It climbed to No. 9 in December of 2012.

The singer had four children with his wife Shirley Gooding: actors Cuba Gooding Jr., Omar Gooding, April Gooding and musician Tommy Gooding.
Oh my goodness. So sorry to hear about Cuba Sr.
I don't like what I have read may be the death. but I judge not.
He and the band were quite popular back in the day and had some nice songs.

May he rest in peace.

Thoughts go out to Cuba Jr., Omar, and the rest of his family.
December 3, 2019 • by VIBE Staff

Questlove will make his directorial debut with an upcoming documentary about a legendary black music festival, Variety reports. Black Woodstock, chronicles the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which featured performances from Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight and The Pips, B.B. King, The Staples Singers, Sly and the Family Stone, Mahalia Jackson, Moms Mabley, and more.

The weekly summer music festival, aimed at promoting black unity and pride, was attended by over 300,000 people and went down every Sunday for two months in the summer of 1969. Members of the Black Panther Party provided security for the festival after the NYPD refused the job.

A concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of Black Woodstock was held at Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park earlier this year. The documentary will include dozens of hours of never-before-seen footage shot 50 years ago by director Hal Tulchin, who died in 2017.

“I am truly excited to help bring the passion, the story and the music of the Harlem Cultural Festival to audiences around the world,” Questlove said in a statement. “The performances are extraordinary. I was stunned when I saw the lost footage for the first time. It’s incredible to look at 50 years of history that’s never been told, and I’m eager and humbled to tell that story.”

David Dinerstein and Robert Fyvolent will produce the film along with RadicalMedia, the company behind the Netflix documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? Joshua L. Pearson, who edited the Simone documentary, has also signed on for Black Woodstock, as well as music supervisor Randall Poster. Executive producers include Beth Hubbard, Vulcan Productions, Concordia Studio, Play/Action Pictures.

The Drifters. Some Kind of Wonderful. Lead vocals - Rudy Lewis. 2m 36s.

Written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin.
That also seemed to be a thing for a while a female/male combo. Husband and wife it seems. Perhaps family of actor Jamie Foxx?

The Brothers Johnson / I'll Be Good To You / 1976

Live performance. I prefer this to the studio version, it's faster. The studio version is more R&B, this is more soul, imo.
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