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Showing posts from 2015

Space Disco Flight (To Planet 2016)

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Hello Earth, we’re flying to 2016 with our disco spacecraft! ;-) Space disco is the fusion of disco music with futuristic themes, sounds and visuals. This kind of music became popular in the late 1970s and was heavily influenced by sci-fi movies like ‘Star Wars’ and the growing popularity of electronic instruments. The main idea behind this subgenre was a musical or lyrical exploration of the wonders of outer space, and many bands often included robotic shapes, laser illumination and computer screens sequences in their live performances. The artists themselves often dressed in a way inspired by glam rock and somewhat futuristic fashion. They looked like astronauts on stage. The lyrics about going into space have sometimes a sexual connotation, which I try to parody in my track ‘Counting down tonite’ with a George Clinton sample. In fact, George Clinton was the one who introduced the P-Funk Mothership in 1975. Later bands like Earth, Wind & Fire and The Jacksons used space elements…

Mellow Moods The Christmas Edition

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Merry Christmas from The Smooth Operators! :-) We selected some mellow tracks that sound tasty during Christmas diner... ;-)

One of the tracks is ‘Wiggle that wotsit’ by The Hollies. They had over 30 charting singles on the UK Singles Chart and 22 on the Billboard Hot 100, with major hits on both sides of the Atlantic that included ‘He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother’, ‘Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress’ and ‘The Air That I Breathe’ (written by Albert Hammond). Singer Allan Clarke, who left the band for good (he did some solo projects through the years) in 1999, has a very distinctive voice and the three part harmony of the band is extraordinary. In recognition of their achievements, the Hollies were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. 'Wiggle that wotsit' reached #20 on the Dutch Top 40 in January 1977.


Tracklist:

Earth Wind & Fire – Gratitude (1975)
Tuxedo – Wonderful Christmastime (2014)
America – You Can Do Magic (1982)
Dionne Warwick – What Is This (1…

Deep Shine Of Disco Lights

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We're rolling into Christmas... ;-) Enjoy these disco classics to lighten up your holidays! Last Friday new remixes of 'Jerry goes black' by Funk My Jesus came out. They're all outstanding, just like the original that is on this cloudcast.

The Universal Robot Band were Gregory Carmichael, Patrick Adams, Leroy Burgess, Gregory Tolbert and Woody Cunningham. Their debut single was 'Dance And Shake Your Tambourine', which featured some magnificent keyboard parts by Gregory Tolbert. It peaked at #93 on The Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. Woody Cunnigham started the band Kleeer a few years later. I selected a Christmas track by The Universal Robot Band.

Rose Royce used to play with Motown artist Edwin Starr, but they became famous for the Norman Whitfield-produced soundtrack to the Richard Pryor movie 'Car Wash'. With its hand-clapping, funky intro, exciting vocals and the band's great performance, the title track became one of the biggest disco songs ever, l…

Smooth Sailing: Sophisti-Pop & Synth-Wave

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Enjoy the 1980s inspired episode of Smooth Sailing! Sophisti-pop or sophisticated pop was a smooth, jazzy style of mainstream pop/rock that appeared during the mid-1980s. In addition to jazz, many sophisti-pop artists incorporated sweet pop-soul into their sound. The dominant synthesizers that usually polished the arrangements marked sophisti-pop as a product of the 1980s. With its slick production and mellow, urbane feel, sophisti-pop fit both adult contemporary and quiet storm radio formats, but it never became an established trend. By the beginning of the 1990s, when house and hip hop became big, it was pushed out of the market. Simply Red and Sade were probably commercially the most successful exponents of sophisti-pop. Other important representatives were Matt Bianco, Curiosity Killed The Cat, Hue & Cry and The Blow Monkeys.

Synth-wave was the electronic variant of new wave. The artists were young DIY artists with cheap keyboards that knocked on the door in the slipstream o…

The Smooth Operators Present Mellow Moods Volume 2

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Enjoy the second volume of Mellow Moods by The Smooth Operators!

One of the tracks is by Greg Perry, brother of soul singer Jeff Perry. While in his teens, Greg began his musical career at Chicago-based Chess Records working with legendary producer Billy Davis (the Dells, Fontella Bass). He turned down a publishing deal with Motown, opting instead to sign with Holland-Dozier-Holland's just-opened Invictus/Hot Wax Records. Meeting singer/songwriter General Johnson and lyricist Angelo Bond, the trio began to collaborate on songs, many of which became huge hits. One of them was 'Stick up' by Honey Cone. Main member of this girl trio was Greg Perry's (future) wife Edna Wright, sister of Darlene Love (known for her work with Phil Spector).

Picture by Joel Meyerowitz

Tracklist:

Average White Band - Atlantic Avenue (1979)
Debra Laws - How Long (1981)
Herbie Hancock - Motor Mouth (1982)
Brooklyn Dreams - Fallin’ In Love (1980)
Benny Sings - My Favourite Game (2015)
Raydio - Jack &a…

Groovy, Sexy & Soulful Part 58 Motown Edition

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Enjoy this Motown edition of ‘Groovy, sexy and soulful’!

“Mary Wells, was -- aside perhaps from the Miracles -- the artist most responsible for moving Motown from its noisier rock & roll beginnings into a smoother, more sophisticated soul sound. She had a lot of help in doing so from Smokey Robinson, who produced and wrote her biggest hits, including 1962's Top Ten single 'You Beat Me to the Punch' (which he co-wrote with Ronnie White of the Miracles). Robinson has said that he wanted to give soul music a calypso Caribbean feel on some of Wells' early hits, and 'You Beat Me to the Punch' is a good example of this, particularly in the bongo part. The soft yet sustaining tones of the vibraphones were also used extremely effectively, particularly at the part where the music stopped at the end of the verses, only for a vibe tinkle to be joined by Wells as she went back into the chorus. Robinson's production and the backup male vocals did a great deal to add …

The Smooth Operators Present Mellow Moods

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In the 1970s studio techniques improved rapidly and there was plenty of money to hire the best musicians, so artists took their time to make their records. In Philadelphia, for instance, the sophisticated 'Philly soul' was created ('Get down with the mellow sound') by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and around the West Coast singer-songwriters started to make their own mellow sound, which is now known as 'yacht rock'. This clean new sound was perfect for upcoming FM radio that replaced AM Radio at the time, so it became immens popular, especially in the United States. By the beginning of the 1980s people got fed up with the mellow sounds and its popularity faded. The Smooth Operators (Martijn Soetens and I) pay tribute to the heyday of the FM radio sound with our series Mellow Moods. There's some fresh blood too. Enjoy our trip on quiet water!

Peter Godwin started as one half of Metro in the 1970s (the other half was Duncan Browne, known for his classic 'The…

Forgotten Grooves From The Crates

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Enjoy these forgotten Grooves From The Crates! Only the song by Brooklyn-based Catey Shaw is brand new. She tells everyone about her broken relationship... I hear some bits and pieces of 'Jungle love' by The Time in the song, but that makes it even better! The track by The Dells is on the new compilation 'Soul On The Real Side 4'.

"Bohannon, make it funky!" 'Let's start II dance again' by Hamilton Bohannon, Carolyn Crawford and Dr. Perri Johnson was one of the first rap tracks on the Dutch pop charts. Hamilton Bohannon was the bandleader for several Motown tours in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Marvin Gaye mentions his name on his very funky track ‘Checking out’. When Motown moved to Los Angeles in 1972, Hamilton Bohannon started a career of his own, later supported by former Motown singer Carolyn Crawford. In 1963, at the age of 13, she signed a contract to Motown Records, after winning a talent contest. She recorded a few singles for the label…

Groovy, Sexy & Soulful Part 57 Sleepless Night Edition

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Enjoy this 57th part of ‘Groovy, sexy and soulful’! It's music for a sleepless night...

Milton Wright is the brother of soul singer Betty Wright (of 'Clean-Up Woman' fame). He made some underappreciated records for the disco-oriented Miami label TK (specifically its Alston subsidiary). Blending smooth, rich vocals with disco-tinged funk and a strong electronic flavor (often courtesy of Moog synthesizers), Wright issued his debut album 'Friends & Buddies' in 1975. His single 'Keep It Up' became a cult classic among funk and disco collectors, and he followed it with another LP, 'Spaced', after which he faded from view.

This is how Canadian electronic pop duo Bob Moses decribe their music on Soundcloud: "Occupying the fertile ground between organic band land and an all-electronic production project, Bob Moses draw on the two poles to vividly resonate across both."

The track by London-based Mary Lake is out on Bandcamp.

Tracklist:

Four80Ea…

The Smooth Operators Present Late Night Pop Volume 2

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Smooth pop, yacht rock and sunset soul! After Late Night Pop volume 1, Martijn Soetens, music director of NPO Radio 6 and I teamed up as The Smooth Operators again. The concept behind Late Night Pop is to create that lazy atmosphere of listening to music on your couch, just before going to bed. We guide you through that twilight zone. Our carefully picked songs sound best after a day of hard work or a heavy night out... No stress, just relax with quality songs from quality artists. They make you think that life has been good, as Joe Walsh once sang… Enjoy!

Cool Uncle is the funny name Bobby Caldwell and Jack Splash have chosen for their new duo. Caldwell is an often sampled and covered blue-eyed-soul veteran (best known for 'What you won't do for love'). Splash is a Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer who has worked with Alicia Keys, Kendrick Lamar and Jennifer Hudson. Their self-titled debut album features neo-soul singers Cee-Lo Green and Mayer Hawthorne, plus Briti…

Groovy, Sexy & Soulful Part 56 Early Morning Edition

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Enjoy this new edition of ‘Groovy, sexy and soulful’! The songs are easy to listen to in the morning, when waking up is hard. The closing track is by Gordon Lightfoot (born November 17, 1938). He is a Canadian singer-songwriter who achieved international success in folk, folk-rock, and country music, and has been credited for helping define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s. He experienced chart success in Canada with his own recordings, starting in 1962 with the #3 hit '(Remember Me) I'm the One'. Lightfoot's recordings made an impact on the international music charts in the 1970s, with songs such as 'If You Could Read My Mind' (1970) (#5 on the US chart), 'Sundown' (1974), 'Carefree Highway' (1974), 'Rainy Day People' (1975), all reaching #1, and 'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald' (1976). In 1981 'If You Could Read My Mind' was covered by disco/soul singer Viola Wills. It reached #3 on the Dutch Top 40.

Young…

Boogie & Disco Grooves From The Crates

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Enjoy the boogie and disco sounds on this new part of Grooves From The Crates! I selected a couple of ‘pure’ disco tracks to close the mix, but most of the tracks are from the post-disco era. Post-disco (sometimes simply called ‘boogie’) is a subgenre that came about around 1980. When disco seemed to take over all radio stations, a riot in Chicago took place on July 12, 1979, now known as Disco Demolition Night. It was an event to destroy a box of disco records by DJ Steve Dahl in a baseball stadium that got out of hand. This anti-disco happening marked the end of disco as mainstream, especially in the US. Dance music became more underground again, as it was before the movie ‘Saturday night fever’. As a response to over-commercialization and artistic downfall of disco culture, a more soulful and electronic driven form of dance music arose in clubs. Post-disco was a singles-driven market, controlled mostly by independent record companies that generated a cross-over chart success all …

Late Night Pop: Smooth Pop, Yacht Rock & Sunset Soul

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Martijn Soetens of NPO Radio 6 and I teamed up as The Smooth Operators! The idea behind Late Night Pop is to create that lazy atmosphere of listening to music on your couch, just before going to bed. We guide you through that twilight zone. Our carefully picked songs sound best after a day of hard work or a heavy night out. No stress, just relax with quality songs from quality artists. They make you think that life has been good, as Joe Walsh once sang… Enjoy!

Tracklist:

Minnie Riperton – Feelin' That Your Feelin's Right (1975)
Jim Croce ‎– Time In A Bottle (1973)
Steely Dan ‎– Rikki Don't Lose That Number (1974)
Tiffany – Late Night Show (1978)
Rosie – There’s A Song In It Somewhere (1977)
Maarten Peters & The Dream – After The Party (1986)
Heat – Don’t You Walk Away (1980)
Marilyn Scott – Let’s Not Talk About Love (1979)
Greg Guidry – Going Down (2000)
Pratt & McClain – Whachersign (1976)
Savanna – Never Let You Go (1982)
Al Johnson & Jean Carn – I’m Back For More (1980)

Smooth Sailing: California Dreaming & Soulful Streaming

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Feel the Californian moods and soulful grooves on this new episode of Smooth Sailing! The soon to be released 45 box and cd ‘The Brasileiro Treasure Box of Funk and Soul’ stretches across the scope of funk, soul, and psychedelic music from Brazil. Some highlights include the extremely rare and funky ‘Labirinto’ by 2001 & Beto, the blistering psychedelic funk of Antônio Carlos & Jocafi’s ‘Quem Vem Lá’, the essential rare groove track ‘Bananeira’ by Emilio Santiago and Osmar Milito E Quarteto Forma’s rare ‘América Latina’, which is sampled by Madlib and featured on this cloudcast. ‘The Brasileiro Treasure Box of Funk and Soul’ is out on ‘Culture of soul’ on the 23rd of October.

The track by Skylephant is an exclusive one! It will be released on the 13th of November.

In 1970 Syreeta (or Rita) Wright and Stevie Wonder got married and although they were divorced just 18 months later, they continued to work together for several years. They wrote 'Spinnin' and spinnin', …

Groovy, Sexy & Soulful Part 55 Autumn Edition

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Enjoy this new part of ‘Groovy, sexy and soulful’! The opening track, ‘Fly away’ by Abraham (Abe) Battat, is a righteous combination of sonorous jazz guitar, crackling drums and warm acoustic piano. Floating through the tones as if in a private concert for you in your very living room, it is an earnest, honest vocal performance bringing a rainbow message of freedom and liberty to the world. The song is on a new compilation album called ‘Praise poems’ part 2, out on Tramp Records and originally the b-side of ‘Listen here’. Picture: Claudia Cardinale

Don't forget to listen next week, then there will be a new Smooth Sailing part!

Tracklist:

Abraham Battat – Fly Away (1965)
Bonnie Dobson – Milk And Honey (1970)
Ambrosia ‎– You're The Only Woman (You & I) (1980)
Richard Martian & Co – Dawn (Part II) (1960s)
Paqua – We Came Far (2014)
Finnigan & Finlon – Seasons Of Doubt (1970s)
Pointer Sisters – Don’t It Drive You Crazy (1977)
Robert Palmer ‎– Respect Yourself (1995)
Linx – You…

Magnifica: Jazzy Latin Soul & Deep House

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Latin soul mixed with laid-back dance, that’s the spirit of ‘Magnifica’. One of the tracks that I selected is 'Draggin' my heels' by The Hollies. Singer Allan Clarke of The Hollies (named after Buddy Holly) has a very distinctive voice and the three part harmony of the band is extraordinary. The Hollies had over 30 charting singles on the UK Singles Chart, and 22 on the Billboard Hot 100, with major hits on both sides of the Atlantic that included ‘He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother’, ‘Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress’ and the ‘The Air That I Breathe’ (written by Albert Hammond). They are one of the few British pop groups of the early 1960s that have never officially broken up and continue to record and perform. In recognition of their achievements, the Hollies were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. ‘Draggin’ My Heels’ was an underground disco classic in the New York clubs at the time. It was played many times by DJ David Mancuso at The Loft. Little …

Electro Disco Grooves From The Crates

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Enjoy the cool electro disco sounds on this new part of Grooves From The Crates! When American disco faded away because of the ‘disco sucks’ movement by the end of the 1970s, European disco flourished, especially in Italy. The Italians created their own ‘italo’ sound with non-complicated sing-along hooks and keyboard sounds (often about space adventures). The British, Dutch, Germans, French and Belgians participated too. With some help from the American underground scene, the European countries filled the gap between seventies disco and the late eighties house explosion. With their ‘electro’ or ‘electric boogie’ records, the foundation was laid for hip hop as well (Rock Steady Crew). I collected a couple of those early 'electro disco’ tracks and some recent ones as well.

John Morales is a DJ and mixer who helped to pioneer the use of editing for dance floor remixes of records in the 1980s. Morales mixed Tuxedo’s self-titled album, and returned to the master tapes to create his …

Groovy, Sexy & Soulful Part 54 Soul & Disco Edition

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Silver Convention is best known for their worldwide disco smash ‘Fly robin fly’. It was initially called 'Run rabbit run', but when German producers Silvester Levay and Michael Kunze heard a song on the radio called 'Run rabbit', they changed it into 'Fly robin fly'. The song with the sparse vocals, funky bass, hammering piano and repeating violins went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975. After topping the American and English charts, Levay and Kunze chose vocalists Linda G. Thompson, Ramona Wulf and Penny McLean to be permanent members of Silver Convention. The next year they had another huge hit with the title track off their second album, ‘Get up and boogie’. Then success started to fade. Their concept album ‘Madhouse’ (when American Rhonda Heath replaced Thompson) brought only a minor hit single with ‘Everybody's talkin' 'bout love’. The group's 1977 single ‘Telegram’, chosen to represent Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest, …

Smooth Sailing: September Moods & Laid-Back Grooves

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Feel the September moods and laid-back grooves on this new episode of Smooth Sailing!

Jazz flautist Bobbi Humphrey signed with Blue Note in 1971 and released 'Flute in' soon afterwards. She recorded covers, like 'Ain't no sunshine' (Bill Withers) and 'It's too late' (Carole King) for the album. The latter is on this cloudcast. Humphrey's smooth blend of jazz, funk, pop, and R&B fit in well with the new sound of Blue Note, and her six albums for the label were all successes. In particular 1973's ‘Blacks and blues’ sold very well. She worked with the fabulous Mizell Brothers as producers for the first time then. The LP gave her a crossover pop and R&B audience. In 1974 her concert for the Montreux Festival in Switzerland was released as an album. Two years later she was named Best Female Instrumentalist by Billboard. In 1977 Humphrey switched record labels, signing with Epic and releasing 'Tailor made' that same year. She also pl…

Groovy, Sexy & Soulful Part 53 Romantic Edition

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A few love making grooves, combined with a couple of romantic West Coast pop and new wave songs. One of them is ‘Breakfast’ by The Associates. They were Billy Mackenzie (‘William’ in ‘William, it was really nothing’ by The Smiths) and Ian Rankine. After a few singles and two albums, 1982's ‘Sulk’, was the group's definitive statement that sold very well and it was named album of the year in Melody Maker. Following the LP's success, a promotion tour and a record deal was set up in the US, but Mckenzie cancelled it all at the very last moment. Rankine went mad and left the group for a solo career. Mackenzie kept the name 'Associates' and booked a studio with producer Martin Rushent to record an album, but the final result never saw the light of day. A few of the tracks later appeared re-recorded on 1985's ‘Perhaps’. One of the tracks on the album is the closing track of this mix, ‘Breakfast’. In the 1990s the career of Billy Mckenzie went downhill. After the deat…

Soulful West Coast Classics (AOR On The Radio Series)

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West Coast pop (not to be confused with nineties hip hop) is some kind of a melting pot of soul, disco, funk, jazz, folk, psychedelic, AOR and all the (sub) genres in between. It was preceded by the early seventies West Coast singer/songwriters (like James Taylor and Carole King) and became popular from approximately the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties. West Coast pop is well-crafted, soft-focused music that was mainly made and played in California. A few big names are The Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac and Steve Miller Band. This sub-genre differs from soft rock or rock ballads, played by heavier stadium rock bands, like Def Leppard, Whitesnake or Loverboy, but you can discuss about some acts, like Toto and Boston.

Because of the coastal area, where West Coast pop was originated and its often nautical themes, it is called ‘yacht rock’ sometimes as well (although that term emphasizes the campy side of it). Listeners were meant to nod their heads to the beat and not to move their l…