Archives for : September2014

A Bronx A Tail: Anniversary!

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On September 29, 1993 A Bronx Tale opened up in theaters.

Happy 45th Birthday DeVante

 

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Happy Birthday to Record producer and musical artist DeVante Swing (born Donald DeGrate on September 29, 1969), a founding member of the R&B group Jodeci.

“Let’s Get It On”: This Day In Music

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On this day in 1973, Marvin Gaye’s iconic “Let’s Get It On” hit No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts, and spent 11 weeks at the summit.

Sir William Arthur Lewis: Nobel Prize Winner

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On September 29, 1979, Sir William Arthur Lewis, became the first Black to receive the in Economics. This award represents the highest level of accomplishment for an economist. He was a Professor of Economics at Princeton University.

Most Sampled Artist: Motown Edition!

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Quote Of The Day: Meal Options!

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Rosa Acosta: Bae Of The Week!

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“Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life”:This Day In Music

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On this day Sep. 29, 1998 Jay-Z released “Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life” on Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam Recordings

Sterling Saint Jacques: Sex and The City!

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The most scandalous part may be, how he appeared out of nowhere to become actor Raymond St. Jacques’ (above) son in Hollywood. At first, he was introduced as Raymond’s nephew and then he was upgraded to “son” status and was given St. Jacques’ surname.

Allegedly, Sterling was born in Brazil and St. Jacques brought him to America as a young boy.

Sterling grew up around Hollywood’s black gay set in the 70’s because Raymond (was gay) and had other black gay actors over to the house frequently. His all male parties are still discussed in Black Hollywood.

Sterling grew up to be stunningly handsome. Despite the photo above, where his eyes appear blue due to contacts, in real life, his eyes were gray. He also had a beautiful physique and stood 6’2. He was a flawless physical specimen.

Sterling was gay like his dad and was allegedly pursued by rich sugar daddies in New York before and after he became a top model. Rumors have it that he became a kept man to some of these sugar daddies and was lavished with gifts and money and kept on an allowance. Rich men also flew him overseas in private jets at a moments notice.

Tami Roman: Babe Of The Day!

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Happy 86th Birthday KoKo Taylor (September 28, 1928 June 03, 2009)

 

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Legendary Queen of the Blues Koko Taylor was born on this date in 1928.

Koko was born Cora Walton on a sharecropper’s farm in Memphis, TN. Her mother died in 1939, and she and her siblings grew up helping their father in the fields; she got the nickname “Koko” because of her love of chocolate. Koko began singing gospel music in a local Baptist church; inspired by the music they heard on the radio, she and her siblings also played blues on makeshift instruments.

In 1953, Koko married truck driver Robert “Pops” Taylor and moved with him to Chicago to look for work; settling on the South Side, Pops worked in a slaughterhouse and Koko got a job as a housemaid. The Taylors often played blues songs together at night, and frequented the bustling South Side blues clubs whenever they could; Pops encouraged Koko to sit in with some of the bands, and her singing — which reflected not only the classic female blues shouters, but contemporaries Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf — quickly made a name for her.

In 1962, Taylor met legendary Chess Records songwriter/producer/bassist Willie Dixon, who was so impressed with her live performance that he took her under his wing. He produced her 1963 debut single, “Honky Tonky,” for the small USA label, then secured her a recording contract with Chess.

Taylor made her recording debut for Chess in 1964 and hit it big the following year with the Dixon-penned “Wang Dang Doodle,” which sold over a million copies and hit number four on the R&B charts. It became her signature song forever after, and it was also the last Chess single to hit the R&B Top Ten. Demand for Taylor’s live act skyrocketed, even though none of her follow-ups sold as well, and as the blues audience began to shift from black to white, the relatively new Taylor became one of the first Chicago blues artists to command a following on the city’s white-dominated North Side. Eventually, she and her husband were able to quit their day jobs, and he served as her manager; she also put together a backing band called the Blues Machine.

With the release of two albums — 1969’s Koko Taylor, which featured a number of her previous singles; and 1972’s Basic Soul — Taylor’s live gigs kept branching out further and further from Chicago, and when she played the 1972 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, the resulting live album on Atlantic helped bring her to a more national audience.

By the early ’70s, Chess Records was floundering financially, and eventually went under in 1975. Taylor signed with a then-young Chicago-based label called Alligator, which grew into one of America’s most prominent blues labels over the years. Taylor debuted for Alligator in 1975 with I Got What It Takes, an acclaimed effort that garnered her first Grammy nomination. Her 1978 follow-up, The Earthshaker, featured several tunes that became staples of her live show, including “I’m a Woman” and “Hey Bartender,” and her popularity on the blues circuit just kept growing in spite of the music’s commercial decline.

In 1980, she won the first of an incredible string of W.C. Handy Awards (for Best Contemporary Female Artist), and over the next two decades, she would capture at least one more almost every year (save for 1989, 1997, and 1998). 1981 brought From the Heart of a Woman, and in 1984, Taylor won her first Grammy thanks to her appearance on Atlantic’s various-artists compilation Blues Explosion, which was named Best Traditional Blues Album. She followed that success with the guest-laden Queen of the Blues in 1985, which won her a couple extra Handy Awards for Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year (no “female” qualifier attached). In 1987, she released her first domestic live album, Live in Chicago: An Audience With the Queen.

Tragedy struck in 1988. Taylor broke her shoulder, collarbone, and several ribs in a van accident while on tour, and her husband went into cardiac arrest; although Pops survived for the time being, his health was never the same, and he passed away some months later. After recuperating, Taylor made a comeback at the annual Chicago Blues Festival, and in 1990 she issued Jump for Joy, as well as making a cameo appearance in the typically bizarre David Lynch film Wild at Heart. Taylor followed it in 1993 with the aptly titled Force of Nature, after which she took a seven-year hiatus from recording; during that time, she remarried and continued to tour extensively, maintaining the stature she’d achieved with her ’80s work as the living Queen of the Blues.

In 2000, she finally returned with a new album, Royal Blue, which featured a plethora of guest stars: B.B. King, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Johnnie Johnson, and Keb’ Mo’. Health issues forced another seven-year hiatus before she returned with the album Old School in 2007. Koko Taylor died in Chicago in June 2009 after experiencing complications from surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding. She was 80 years old.

 

Ellen & Wiliam Craft:

 

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Ellen Craft (1826 –1891) and William Craft (September 25, 1824 – January 29, 1900) were slaves from Macon, Georgia who escaped to the North in 1848. Ellen, the light-skinned daughter of a mulatto slave and her white master, disguised herself as a white male planter. Her husband William Craft accompanied her, posing as her personal servant. They traveled openly by train and steamboat, arriving in Philadelphia on Christmas Day 1848. Their daring escape was widely publicized, becoming two of the most famous fugitive slaves.

Ellen Smith was born in 1826 in Clinton, Georgia, to a biracial slave woman and her white master, Colonel James Smith. Ellen was so light-skinned that she was often mistaken for a member of her father’s family. This infuriated Mrs. Smith so much that she gave Ellen, then 11 years old, to her daughter, the wife of Dr. Robert Collins of Macon, Georgia. In Macon, Ellen met William Craft, a slave whose family had been sold to pay off his master’s gambling debts. At that time William belonged to a banker who apprenticed him out as a carpenter to a white cabinetmaker, an occupation that provided William with a trade few slaves were fortunate to obtain. Slaves who learned a trade had some autonomy, and many were allowed to keep part of their earnings.

Ellen and William were allowed to marry in 1846, but were not permitted to live together since they belonged to two different owners. They endured this separation for a while but soon began to plan their escape from bondage. Ellen cut her hair and bought appropriate clothes, traveling in jacket and trousers. She wore her right arm in a sling to hide the fact that she did not know how to write. They traveled to nearby Macon for a train to Savannah. Although the Crafts had several close calls along the way and neither could read nor write, they were successful in evading detection.

On December 21, 1848, the Crafts arrived in Philadelphia on Christmas Day, without being discovered. After spending three weeks with a Quaker family, the Crafts moved on to Boston, the center of the abolitionist movement. William found a job as a cabinetmaker, and Ellen worked as a seamstress. They lived at the home of Lewis Hayden, who was an ex-slave and an abolitionist. His boarding house often served as a station on the Underground Railroad.

During the following years, the Crafts became active in the abolitionist movement and gained fame on the lecture circuit, where they quickly won the hearts of audiences with the romantic tale of their escape. Stories about them were published in The New York Herald, The Boston Globe and The Macon Telegraph. In September 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law, which made it a crime for residents of free states to harbor or aid fugitives like the Crafts and mandated the assistance of federal marshals and private citizens in the fugitives’ capture. The act rewarded officers of the law for assisting slave owners by apprehending their runaways and sending them back into slavery.

The abolitionists in Boston responded by organizing a group they called the League of Freedom to protect fugitive slaves. This group elected Lewis Hayden president and William Craft vice-president. Ten days later, the League of Freedom was absorbed into the Boston Vigilance Committee, designed “to secure the colored residence of Boston from any invasion of their rights.”

Ellen’s former owner, Dr. Robert Collins sent two bounty hunters to Boston to return her to slavery. The Vigilance Committee transported Ellen to a safe place. William remained in the Hayden home, which Hayden turned into a veritable fortress, vowing to blow up his entire residence rather than surrender a single fugitive within his care. Members of the Vigilance Committee harassed the bounty hunters. They approached them at their hotel and told them that they would not be safe if they remained in Boston any longer. The slave catchers immediately left the city, but the warrant for the Crafts’ arrest was still in the hands of the Federal Marshal. They no longer felt safe, not even in the North.

With the assurance that they would be provided for in Liverpool, the Crafts sailed for England in November 1850. Working with antislavery organizations there, William and Ellen continued to contribute to the cause of emancipation. They remained public figures by lecturing in England and Scotland.

Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, William Craft’s autobiography, was published in London in 1860. In his narrative, he stated: “It is true, our condition as slaves was not by any means the worst; but the thought that we could not call the bones and sinews that God gave us our own haunted us for years.”

In June 1851, the Crafts staged a demonstration against American slavery at the London Great Exhibition. They strolled through the American section with white abolitionist friends to demonstrate the irony of encountering more racial tolerance in England – a country that had banned slavery from its colonies by 1838 – than in the ‘democratic’ United States.

When visitors from the America spread rumors of Ellen’s desire to return to the security of her former home in Georgia, she responded: “I had much rather starve in England, a free woman, than to be a slave for the best man who ever breathed upon the American continent.” The Crafts lived in England for seventeen years. They attended an agricultural school in Surrey for three years, eventually teaching. They were offered the positions of superintendent and matron of the school, but they chose to settle in West London to raise their five children.

Once the Civil War was over and all slaves were emancipated, the Crafts returned to the United States. After reunions in Boston, they settled in Ways Station, Georgia, near Savannah, in 1870. There they raised money from northern publishers and anti-slavery friends to purchase 1800 acres of land.On that property, they established the Woodville Cooperative Farm School in 1873, for the education and employment of former slaves, rescuing them from the contract labor system. They also opened a school for their children. The Ku Klux Klan burned down their first building.

Scandal erupted in 1876, when some of William’s investors accused him of using funds intended for charitable purposes for his own gain. He sued for libel to clear his name in Boston’s courts, but in 1878 lost the case along with many longtime allies. The Woodville school, where Ellen was teaching 75 children free of charge, was forced to close due to lack of funding. William struggled to maintain the farm in spite of mounting debts, sinking cotton prices and increasing anti-black violence, but it soon failed.

In 1890, the Crafts moved to Charleston and lived with their daughter’s family. Ellen died in 1891, and at her request, was buried under her favorite tree on their land. In 1900, the farm they had established was auctioned off to pay William’s debts. He died one month later.

– Hendrix Moses for Black History Mini Docs

 

Happy Birthday Helen Shapiro

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Happy 75th Birthday Elbridge “Al” Bryant (September 28, 1939 – October 26, 1975)

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Remembering Elbridge “Al” Bryant (September 28, 1939 – October 26, 1975)

Elbridge “Al” Bryant was an American tenor, and one of the founding members of Motown singing group The Temptations.
Early life and career
Bryant (nicknamed “Al” or “Bones”) was born in Thomasville, Georgia, and later moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he met best friend Otis Williams. Williams and Bryant were in a number of groups together, including Otis Williams & the Siberians, the El Domingoes, and The Distants before forming The Elgins in 1960 with fellow Distants Melvin Franklin and Otis Williams, and The Primes’ Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams.

 

The Elgins would re-christen themselves as The Temptations before signing with Miracle Records, a subsidiary of Motown Records. After releasing two of the group’s singles, the label was closed and all following singles were released under the Gordy Records label.

On The Temptations’ studio recordings using this lineup, Paul Williams and Kendricks would split most of the leads, while Otis Williams, Franklin and (the rarely recorded) Bryant were usually called upon to sing background vocals and deliver ad-libs, harmony vocals, and occasionally a few lead lines.

However all five group members got a chance to sing lead when they performed live on stage; most of which was handled by Bryant, Kendricks and Paul Williams (the latter would serve as the Temptations main lead, both on stage and in the studio, for most of this period).

Bryant would also sometimes sing the lead on “May I Have This Dance” (led by Kendricks – in his natural voice – on the studio recording), and was a co-lead on “I Want a Love I Can See” (led only by Paul Williams on the studio version) during live performances the group made in 1963. They also served as background singers for various Motown acts, including Mary Wells and Marvin Gaye.
During the Temptations’ first two years with Motown, they only scored one charting single, “Dream Come True”, which hit #22 on the R&B charts; the b-side to the single, “Isn’t She Pretty”, featured all five members trading lead vocals. But despite its commercial success the single still failed to make the U.S. Hot 100 pop singles charts, just as the group’s other six singles released during this period (although most became huge regional hits). Their lack of national success caused Bryant to become restless: he had a regular day job as a milkman, which he preferred to constantly performing and recording with the group.

By 1963, Bryant had become sometimes volatile and unpredictable to deal with. One mid-1963 backstage altercation between Bryant and Paul Williams resulted in the former smashing a beer bottle across the latter’s face and landed him in the hospital. Surprisingly, Paul forgave Al and talked the other group members out of firing him as he was determined to give Bryant another chance.

However, a few months later, the group would determine that he had done little to change and was still being uncooperative. After a second altercation onstage during Motown’s 1963 company Christmas party, Bryant was fired from the group. By the New Year of 1964, the Temptations had recruited David Ruffin as their new fifth member, and the group recorded what would be their first Top 20 pop hit, “The Way You Do the Things You Do”.
Later years and death

After being fired from the Temptations, Bryant turned up in a number of other Detroit singing groups, including The Premiers, which reunited him with former Distants bandmate Pee Wee Crawford. He is also listed as appearing with The Dramatics at the Summit on August 23, 1972, when they recorded their Dramatics Live CD, released in 1988 for Fantasy/Stax Records.
Al Bryant died of cirrhosis of the liver in Flagler County, Florida, on October 26, 1975, at the age of 36. He was married to Bobbie Jean Bryant; she and their daughter still live in the Detroit area.

Miles Davis (May 26th 1926-September 28th 1991)

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Remembering the Incomprable Mr Miles Davis.- May 26th 1926-September 28th 1991.
 

Quote Of The Day: Make Him Earn You!

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Tammy & Waka: Meet The Flockas!

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Curry Spiced Cauliflower Parsnip Soup

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Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small or ½ large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • ½ head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ cup nonfat milk
 
Instructions
  1. In a large dutch oven over low heat, sweat the onion with a pinch of salt. Once the onions are soft, turn up the heat to medium and add the chopped parsnip, celery, cauliflower and apple. Cook the vegetables for a few more minutes, stirring periodically, until the cauliflower has softened up and the vegetables are beginning to caramelize.
  2. Add the stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover the pot and lower the heat. Allow the soup to simmer on low heat for one hour.
  3. Carefully ladle the soup into a blender. Puree until silky. Return the soup to the pot and add the salt, pepper, curry powder, turmeric and milk. Add additional seasoning of desired.

Happy Birthday Ben E. King

 

 

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Happy Birthday Ben E. King
An American soul singer.
He is perhaps best known as the singer and co-composer of “Stand by Me”, a US Top 10 hit in both 1961 and later in 1986 (when it was used as the theme to the film of the same name) and a number one hit in the UK in 1987, and as one of the principal lead singers of the R&B vocal group The Drifters.

In 1958, King (still using his birth name) joined a doo wop group called The Five Crowns. Later in 1958, The Drifters’ manager George Treadwell fired the members of the original Drifters, and replaced them with The Five Crowns.

King had a string of R&B hits with the group on Atlantic Records. He co-wrote and sang lead on the first Atlantic hit by the new version of the Drifters, “There Goes My Baby” (1959). He also sang lead on a succession of hits by the team of Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, including “Save the Last Dance for Me”, “This Magic Moment”, and “I Count the Tears”.

King only recorded thirteen songs with The Drifters— two backing other lead singers and eleven lead vocal performances —including a non-single called “Temptation” (later redone by Drifters vocalist Johnny Moore).

Due to a contract dispute with Treadwell in which King and his manager, Lover Patterson, demanded that King be given a salary increase and a fair share of royalties,
King never again performed with the Drifters on tour or on television; he would only record with the group until a suitable replacement could be found. On television, fellow Drifters member Charlie Thomas usually lip synched the songs that King had recorded with the Drifters. This end gave rise to a new beginning.

In May 1960, King left the Drifters, assuming the more memorable stage name Ben E. King in preparation for a successful solo career. Remaining on Atlantic Records on its Atco imprint, King scored his first solo hit with the ballad “Spanish Harlem” (1961).

His next single, “Stand by Me”, written with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, ultimately would be voted as one of the Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America.

“Stand by Me”, “There Goes My Baby”, and “Spanish Harlem” were named as three of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll; and each of those records plus “Save The Last Dance For Me” has earned a Grammy Hall of Fame Award. King’s other well-known songs include “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)”, “Amor”, “Seven Letters”, “How Can I Forget”, “On the Horizon”, “Young Boy Blues”, “First Taste of Love”, “Here Comes the Night”, “Ecstasy”, and “That’s When It Hurts”.

In the summer of 1963, King had a Top 30 hit with “I (Who Have Nothing)”, which reached the Top 10 on New York’s radio station, WMCA.

King’s records continued to place well on the Billboard Hot 100 chart until 1965. British pop bands began to dominate the pop music scene, but King still continued to make R&B hits, including “What is Soul?” (1966), “Tears, Tears, Tears” (1967), and “Supernatural Thing” (1975).

A 1986 re-issue of “Stand by Me” followed the song’s use as the theme song to the movie Stand By Me and re-entered the Billboard Top Ten after a 25-year absence.

In 1990, King and Bo Diddley, along with Doug Lazy, recorded a revamped Hip Hop version of The Monotones’ 1958 hit song “Book of Love” for the soundtrack of the movie Book of Love.
He also recorded a children’s album, I Have Songs In My Pocket, written and produced by children’s music artist Bobby Susser in 1998, which won the “Early Childhood News’ Directors’ Choice Award” and “Dr. Toy’s/The Institute For Childhood Resources Award.” King performed “Stand by Me” on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2007. Ahmet Ertegun said, “King is one of the greatest singers in the history of rock and roll and rhythm and blues.”

As a Drifter and as a solo artist, King had achieved five number one hits: “There Goes My Baby”, “Save The Last Dance For Me”, “Stand By Me”, “Supernatural Thing”, and the 1986 re-issue of “Stand By Me”. He also earned 12 Top 10 hits and 25 Top 40 hits from 1959 to 1986. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a Drifter; he has also been nominated as a solo artist.

King performing at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston, Mass. on March 31, 2012
King’s “I (Who Have Nothing)” was selected for the The Sopranos Peppers and Eggs Soundtrack CD (2001).
King was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2009.

On March 27, 2012, the Songwriters Hall of Fame announced that “Stand By Me” would receive its 2012 Towering Song Award and that King would be honored with the 2012 Towering Performance Award for his recording of the song.

 

Happy Birthday Keni Burke

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Happy Birthday Keni Burke
(here with “The Stairsteps” top right)
An American R&B, soul, funk, and jazz singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist who began his career as a member of the 1970s soul outfit, the Five Stairsteps.
As a member of the Five Stairsteps, Burke wrote the group’s first minor hit “You Waited Too Long” in 1966, but the group would see their biggest success with the million-selling song “O-o-h Child” in 1970.
The group went on to sign with George Harrison’s Dark Horse Records in 1975, and had their next hit with the Burke-penned “From Us to You”, from their 1976 album 2nd Resurrection.
The group disbanded soon after.

Skilled as a guitarist and bassist, Burke continued to work for the Dark Horse label as a session musician, while burgeoning a solo career of his own. In 1977, he released his self-titled debut album, which featured the songs “Keep on Singing”, “Shuffle”, and “From Me to You”.
During this period he contributed instrumentation to songs by a diverse range of artists such as Sly & the Family Stone, Natalie Cole, Billy Preston, Terry Callier, Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, Dusty Springfield, Diana Ross, and Gladys Knight.

In 1981, Changes, Burke’s best-selling album to date, was released, containing the singles “Hang Tight” and his signature hit “Rising to the Top”—a big success in Chicago.

The song has become a popular sampling choice for hip hop artists, having been borrowed by artists such as Doug E Fresh (“Keep Risin To The Top”), Big Daddy Kane (“Smooth Operator”), LL Cool J (“Around the Way Girl”), Pete Rock & CL Smooth (“Take You There”), Mary J. Blige (“Love No Limit”), O.C. (“Born 2 Live”), Sean Price (“Sabado Gigante”) and once again by LL Cool J for the song “Paradise”, with Amerie, though a lot of these songs have been mistakenly thought to use the bass line from the 1983 song “All Night Long” by the Mary Jane Girls.

In 2006, “Rising to The Top” appeared in the soundtrack for the popular video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, on fictional Quiet Storm station Vice City For Lovers. Burke’s next release was the 1982 self-produced You’re the Best.

Throughout the ’80s and into the ’90s, Burke continued his session and production work for artists such as Peabo Bryson, The O’Jays, The Jones Girls and Keith Sweat, and in 1998 released his last album to date Nothin’ but Love, containing the hit “Indigenous Love”, which was popular in the United Kingdom via the Expansion Records Label.

This website content was created with the help of Ultimate Tinymce!

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