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Friday, February 2, 2018

Nemorin - Creole Dance (1992) and Mission Of Love (1995) DOUBLE POST!!

So, I was looking into the work of Toby Gad, the Danish super-producer and songwriter who has worked with the biggest pop stars in the world, including Madonna, Fergie, Ricky Martin, Selena Gomez, Kelly Clarkson, Demi Lovato, and Beyonce, and I came across an artist he worked with who I had never heard of before, Nemorin.  I checked out a couple of her videos and liked what I heard, so I ordered her two CDs.  Little did I know at the time that she was once Toby's girlfriend and that she had an extensive career of her own. Jacqueline Nemorin was born in Mauritius. She moved to London with her parents, and then to Germany on her own, where she married German producer and composer Frank Diez.  In Germany she also hooked up with disco composer and producer Veit Marvo and became part of his Red Point Orchestra in 1972.  She also did a lot of session singing.  She soon changed her name to Jackie Carter and briefly became part of disco trio Silver Convention.  Before they released their first album and biggest hit, "Fly, Robin, Fly", Jackie was replaced in the group and only sang lead on one album track, "Please Don't Change The Chords Of This Song".  However, she soon signed a solo deal with Atlantic Records and released her first album Treat Me Like A Woman in 1976.  She released the moderately successful singles "Treat Me Like A Woman" and "Just Like Lightning", but then lost her deal with Atlantic. In 1977, she performed in the German musical Tell!, and in 1978 she released disco remakes of the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black" and The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On". In 1979, she released her second album, Ruby Shoes, which was produced by her husband.  She released the singles "Stay For The Night" and "Ohh, What A Way To Go" to little success. In 1980, she and her husband joined Eric Burdon's Fire Dept. for one album.  She did mainly backing vocal gigs after that and then released her last single as Jackie Carter, "Heat Of The Night" in 1985.  She also returned to Mauritius that year for her own TV special. Also that year, she joined the pop vocal quartet The Hornettes.  She stayed with the group until 1993, wanting to concentrate on her solo career.  During her time in the group, she released the solo single "A Ci Lelao", which took influence from her Mauritian background and took on a world pop sound. In 1990, she met Toby Gad, who at the time was best known for his work with producer Frank Farian with Milli Vanilli.  She had divorced her husband in 1987. When Jackie left the group, she and Toby started writing together, which led to her first album as Nemorin, Creole Dance.  It included "A Ci Lelao" and took it's overall sound from that.  Toby took the reigns as producer, and they both wrote the songs.  "It Feels Good To Be Loved" was the only other single released.  Working on the album began a long romantic and professional partnership between the two, and Jackie started to write and produce as well.   In 1994 she had two songs on the soundtrack for The Neverending Story III, "Mission Of Love" and "Dream On (The Neverending Story)".  "Mission Of Love", which was in the eurohouse vein, was released as a single and saw some success in clubs.  An album followed the next year, with Toby again producing and the sound again incorporating world music. "Boat On The River" was released as the only other single. Jackie and Toby also formed the group Love You that year, and released three singles. including "Countdown For The Summer". The two then moved to New York and started working together for other artists, writing and producing pop songs for artists like Enrique IglesiasTaylor DaynePYTSita and K-Otic.   They also released a song, "Free As A Bird", as Qute in 1999. After they separated in 2000, Jackie moved back to Germany and sang with the band Rubbersoul, and later moved to London, where she continues to write, produce and record. A pretty full career, I'd say, especially for someone I'd never heard of before!

Video for Accillelao

Live performance of It Feels Good To Be Loved

Download Creole Dance

1 Accillelao
2 Creole Dance
3 Aloha Mahe
4 Bajo
5 Tale About Freedom
6 It Feels Good To Be Loved
7 Around The World
8 Blood Of The Kings
9 Merry Go Round
10 Wheels On Fire

Video for Mission Of Love

Live Performance of Aloha Wahine

Download Mission Of Love

1 Mission Of Love
2 Aloha Wahine
3 Boat On The River
4 Angelina
5 Fire Of Love
6 Why?
7 Shine On
8 Le Le Kasbah
9 What If?
10 For The Children
11 Dream On - The Neverending Story III
12 Mission Of Love (Classic Version)

Friday, January 26, 2018

Lindy Layton - Pressure (1991) & No Other Star (1996) DOUBLE POST!!

Thanks to a wishlist fulfillment from Konstantin, I can now share both albums by British singer Lindy (aka Belinda) Layton.  I became aware of Lindy way back in 1990, when her group Beats International, which also included Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, had a huge pop-reggae #1 UK and #1 Billboard Dance Chart hit with "Dub Be Good To Me", a remake of SOS Band's R&B hit "Just Be Good To Me". I knew that she had a solo career after that, but only managed to get my hands on her first solo album a few years ago, Now, thanks to Konstantin, I have both! And luckily Wikipedia has an entry on her solo work, which makes my job here easy. After having another UK top 10 hit with "Won't Talk About It", Beats International's subsequent singles and album did not fare near as well.  Before Beats started working on their second album, Lindy was snatched up by Arista for a solo career.  Her first single was a remake of Janet Kay's 1979 reggae UK #2 hit "Silly Games".  Lindy's version reached #22 on the UK chart. Her album soon followed, as did the #42 hit "Echo My Heart".  The album had many tracks similar to the reggae pop of Beats International, but it also moved into house music as well.  It also included a remake of Prince's "Do Me Baby".  After the next two singles "Wait For Love" and "Without You" failed to take off, Lindy was dropped from Arista.  She released the house single "I'll Be A Freak For You" the following year on a smaller label, and was soon signed to PWL.  On PWL she released two poppier singles, "We Got The Love" and "Show Me", which reached #38 and #47, respectively, on the UK pop chart. She was then dropped from PWL as well.  It would take her three years to release more music, which she passed mainly DJing. The album No Other Star was only released in Japan on the Cutting Edge label, and the only single release from it was "Who Do You Think You Are?", which failed to chart.  She had returned to her pop reggae roots, which was clearly out of vogue by the mid-nineties. She then teamed up with DJ Steve Proctor to form the breakbeat duo Hardknox in 1997. They released their first single "Coz I Can" on the Skint label, and two years later released their self-titled album on Jive Electro. It was not a great commercial success, but was favoured by the underground scene. Nothing much was heard from Lindy until 2009, when she appeared on tracks on albums by both the Dub Pistols and the Groove Diggerz, such as "I'm In Love" and "Body Flow", as well as a remake of "Just Be Good To Me".  She featured on two other Dub Pistols albums on the tracks "Rock Steady" in 2012, and "Our Life" in 2015.  She also had a daytime radio show in 2013 called The Mrs.  She now focuses on songwriting and DJing, but hopefully she will return to making music some time soon.

Video for Silly Games

Video for Without You

Download Pressure

1 Wait For Love
2 Echo My Heart
3 Do Me Baby
4 Without You
5 Keep It Up
6 Silly Games
7 Drop The Pressure
8 Lines
9 Cruel (To Be Kind)
10 This Isn't Fair
11 Best Thing
12 Let Me Keep You Here

Download No Other Star

1 Who Do You Think You Are?
2 Feeling Groovy (A.K.A. West Side)
3 Miracle
4 No Other Star
5 Running Away
6 Bedtime
7 It Must Be Love
8 Like We're Human
9 Truly
10 Can't Get My Eyes Off You
11 Why
12 High Time
13 Love The One You're With
14 Stay With Me Till Dawn

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Mamado & She - Wild (1989)

Mamado & She was a rap collective led by the formidable Mamado, a producer and engineer from Jacksonville, Florida.  The rest of the group, comprised of rappers, vocalists, musicians and dancers, were Joan York (Babe), Nancy Jones (Punk Rock), Sonja Lindsey (Cocoa), Talien Richardson (Kid Kusa), Victor Blanco (Spinbad), Gary Chisholm (Gee Man), and Gino Williams (Gino J).  They appeared seemingly out of nowhere in 1988 with the Miami-bass track "My Suzuki" on a local label. It garnered enough buzz that Epic Records imprint WTG signed them to an album deal.  The next single was a response to Tone Loc's "Wild Thing" called "I'm Your Wild Thang". It managed to reach #13 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart in March of 1989. The album dropped in August that year and hit #53 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Later that month, the single "Can We Take You Higher?", which was a medley of hits from Sly & The Family Stone, reached #41 on the Dance Club Songs chart.  Despite having had some, though minimal, chart success, they were dropped by WTG.  The group scattered and most of the members have disappeared, but Mamado keeps writing, producing and engineering and is an executive at Railroad Records Swat Inc. in Jacksonville. She also released an independent film entitled Bad Influences in 2010, and is keeping the woman power alive and well.

Video for Can We Take You Higher?

Download Wild

1 I'm Your Wild Thang
2 Bac' Up & Live
3 I Don't Know Y
4 Gimme Dat Thing
5 My Suzuki
6 Can We Take You Higher? (Stone Cold Medley): Sing A Simple Song / Everyday People / Thank You / I Want To Take You Higher
7 Git Up Offa Dat Beat
8 J'ville Rock
9 R.U.N. 2 Me
10 A Short Break For Da Bass
11 Bac' Up And Live (Ditty Dope Dub)
12 I Don't Know Y (N 2 The Dawn Mix)
13 I Don't Know Y (Radio Edit)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Kevin Aviance - Box Of Chocolates (1999) & Entity (2003) DOUBLE POST!!

Kevin Aviance was born Eric Snead in 1968 in Richmond, Virginia. With a love for music, theatre, fashion and drama, he moved into drag at a young age, with punk being a huge influence, as well as obvious influences like Grace Jones and Boy George.  He moved to Washington, D.C. to be a hairdresser and drag performer, but also developed a bad drug habit.  Luckily his life turned around when he was discovered by The House Of Aviance, a vogue-ball house based in New York City that was one of the premiere groups on the voguing scene. Changing his name to Kevin Aviance, he moved first to Miami and then to New York City where he became an acclaimed drag performer at the Sound Factory. In 1994 he made a cameo in Madonna's "Secret" video and soon made the natural progression to making music of his own.  His first single, "Cunty (The Feeling)", was released on Strictly Rhythm in 1996 as 'Rageous Projecting Kevin Aviance'.  It garnered enough notice to get him signed to legendary DJ François Kevorkian's Wave Music.  His next single was a remake of George Kranz's 1983 dance hit "Din Daa Daa".  It quickly went to the top of the Billboard Dance Chart in 1997, and also hit #65 on the UK singles chart in 1998.  It is likely his best remembered song.  His next single was a remake of "Join In The Chant", a 1987 dance hit by EBM group Nitzer Ebb.  Kevin's version managed to reach #8 on the Billboard Dance Chart. The success of the singles led to the album A Box Of Chocolates, released in 1999.  That same year he performed in the film Flawless. The first single "Rhythm Is My Bitch" climbed to #2 on the Billboard Dance Chart, though the next single, "Dance For Love", failed to chart. Interestingly, that was the first single that Kevin actually sang on, as his signature style was spoken word.  He signed to Centaur Entertainment a couple of years later and released "Alive" in 2002, which once again hit the top of the Billboard Dance Chart.  The album Entity soon followed, as did the single "Give It Up", another #1 hit and his biggest to date.  This album had Kevin singing on all of the tracks, and is much better than his first, IMO. After leaving Centaur, Kevin released another single, "Strut", which managed to reach #13 on the Billboard Dance Chart in 2006, a couple months after Kevin was robbed and gay-bashed by a group of up to seven men.  This resulted in his jaw being wired shut for a month, as well as a fractured knee.  He persevered and discussed the experience on The Tyra Show.  Since then he has returned to the stage and reamins a drag icon.  He has released a few singles including "Hold On Me" with Tom Stephan vs S-Man in 2007, a remake of Britney Spears' "Gimme More" in 2009, and most recently "Bang, DaBeat" with Samuri in 2017.  Obviously Kevin will not be going anywhere anytime soon, and the gay world wouldn't have it any other way.

Download Box Of Chocolates

Video for Cunty

Video for Din Da Da

Video for Join In The Chant

Video for Rhythm Is My Bitch

Video for Dance For Love

1 Fanfare
2 Din Da Da Da
3 The Need
4 Chocolates
5 Do You Know Me
6 Dance For Love
7 Everyday
8 The Beats
9 Cunty
10 Robots
11 Join In The Chant
12 Rhythm Is My Bitch
13 Tonight
14 Home

Download Entity

Video for Alive (Remix)

1 Aviancetro "Clap Your Hands"
2 Alive
3 You've Got The Groove
4 Give It Up
5 Interlube Chant "Love"
6 Freak It (Live Out Loud)
7 Power
8 Seattle
9 Twirl (Don't Bring Me Down)
10 Fire
11 Ready Set Go
12 Alive (Victor Calderone Vs. The Tribalist Remix)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Connie - Connie (1986), No Tears (1995), The Best Of Connie (2002) & Party Time 1 (2015) QUADRUPLE POST!!!!

So, I guess I have left you guys waiting for a new post for a very long time.  It has been an extremely difficult year, as you can imagine, and I thank you all for your words of sympathy and support. I am in a better state of mind, rest assured. Recently I was thinking about Connie's rare album No Tears for some reason and wanted to hear it again.  After an extensive search in my messy collection, I located it and, after realizing how good it was, I felt that I needed to share it.  My partner Mark was very supportive of my blogs (and loved Connie), and with that in mind, I thought I'd come back with a quadruple post to make up for lost time. :) I originally fell in love with Connie in 1986 after hearing her song "Experience" on the radio.  This was when freestyle music was beginning to explode, and I was addicted! I managed to track the single down, and on the other side was "Funky Little Beat", which would become her biggest hit. After that, however, I never heard anything more from Connie. She had a lower profile that some of her contemporaries, and it wasn't until I found her self-titled album many years later that I could indulge in more of her fab music. Born Consuelo Piriz on July 30, 1964, in Miami, Florida, Connie dreamed of performing as a child, and in her early 20s was introduced to music producer Henry Stone. Stone was the co-owner and president of R&B and disco label TK Records, and he executive produced Connie’s debut single “Funky Little Beat”, which became an instant club hit and almost hit the Billboard Dance top 40.  Amos Larkins II produced the self-titled album that followed, and the singles "Experience“, “I Can’t Stop”, and “Rock Me” followed, though not to the same level of success.  They were instant classics in freestyle clubs, however.  While touring, Connie managed to record three more singles - a remake of KC & The Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight" in 1987 (included here on her first album), and "Tonight's The Night" in 1988 and "Rockin, Rollin Weekend" in 1989, both produced by Amos Larkins II. After touring for several years, Connie got married and decided to focus on family. It wasn't until 1995 that she would release her next album, No Tears, along with the same-titled single, on obscure label Black Olive, this time with different producers. Though the sound was still very much freestyle and Connie, both the single and album failed to have any impact, as freestyle was past its prime. Nothing was heard from Connie for 7 more years, when Thump Records released The Best Of Connie in 2002. Produced once again by Amos Larkins II, it wasn't a true "Best Of" since it contained remakes of four past songs, as well as remixes of "Funky Little Beat", three new tracks, and remakes of Trinere's freestyle hits "How Can We Be Wrong" and "All Night", and Debbie Deb's "When I Hear Music" and "Look Out Weekend" (also originally produced by Amos Larkins II). While mostly a freestyle album, the three new tracks were decidedly euro-house. By then freestyle was no longer in vogue, except for in retro clubs. Luckily, the internet would soon change that, and the demand for retro music grew rapidly as the internet did.  As with several other artists featured on this site, the demand for Connie grew as well. In 2006 she recorded the Latin reggaeton album Let's Party (Estilo Reggaeton) (no, I do not have it as I am not a fan of reggaeton, sorry!) and also released The Best Of Connie - Funky Little Beat (which is basically just a remastered version of her first album). After this, Connie toured in retro freestyle shows with other legends.  Finally, in 2015, she released another album, Party Time 1, again working with Amos Larkins II and returning to the freestyle sound that she was known and loved for.  Clearly Connie is on a roll once again, touring extensively, and we can only hope she releases new music again soon.

Video for Funky Little Beat

Download Connie

1 Experience
2 Your Eyes
3 I Can't Stop
4 Fire In My Heart
5 Funky Little Beat
6 Laughter In The Rain
7 I'm In Love With You
8 Rock Me
9 Get Down Tonight

Download No Tears

1 No Tears
2 Dream On
3 Together Forever
4 La La (Means I Love You)
5 I Like It (Street Mix)
6 Round And Round
7 I'll Be Comin' Back
8 Burning Desire
9 I Like It
10 No Tears (Hip House Mix)

Download The Best Of Connie

1 The Power Of Love
2 Spinning
3 Feel The Beat
4 Funky Little Beat
5 How Can We Be Wrong
6 Rock Me
7 Experience
8 All Night
9 When I Hear Music
10 Your Eyes
11 Look Out Weekend
12 Funky Little Beat 2.0 (Club Mix)
13 Funky Little Beat 2.0 (Radio Mix)

Download Party Time 1

1 Call 911
2 Get Up
3 Don't Want You To Go
4 The Night Is Still Young
5 Must Be The Beat
6 No One
7 Rock This Party
8 Romance
9 Don't Be Jealous
10 A Boy And A Girl

Friday, July 29, 2016

Dee Fredrix - Grace (1993)

Thanks to a request from Marco, I located the one and only album from Britain's Dee Fredrix.  Though I didn't realize it until now, Dee more commonly went by name Dee Lewis (though her maiden name is actually Fredericks) and she was mentioned on the Isle previously thanks to a post on her sister Shirley Lewis. Like Shirley, Dee did a lot of background work until she joined her older sisters Shirley and soul/disco diva Linda to form Lewis (aka The Lewis Sisters), who released five non-charting pop singles in 1986/87. Linda originally changed her last name from Fredericks to Lewis in tribute to soul singer Barbara Lewis, and her sisters soon followed. Dee was also featured in 1986 on two singles by Stock Aitken Waterman's bizarre bossa nova collective Mondo Kané and the charity single "Give, Give, Give" by Dance Aid.  While continuing to perform backing vocals for a wide variety of artists like Kylie Minogue and Donna Summer (thanks to the SAW connection), she also managed to release several pop singles of her own on Mercury as Dee Lewis, including three top 100 UK Singles: "Stuck On Love" (#90 in 1987 and recharting in 1988 at #95), a remake of the Emotions' "Best Of My Love" (#47 in 1988) and "Double Standard" (#89 in 1989).  Having had minimal success on the charts, she returned to backing vocals and regrouped.  In 1993 she reemerged with a new name, taking her real last name and changing the spelling to something shorter and catchier.  She also had a new, much more soulful sound.  Her first single was the ballad "And So I Will Wait For You", which hit #56 on the UK charts.  The follow-up was a house track, "Dirty Money", which managed to reach #74 on the UK pop charts, but also become a club hit thanks to remixes by Satoshi Tomiie. I have this 12" single and always loved this song, but until now, this was the only song I had ever heard by Dee.  I am glad to be able to hear more, and there are a couple other housey tracks on the album.  A promo of remixes of "Whatever It Takes" was also released, and Dee released one other non-album single in 1994, "Live My Life", but neither were hits. With solo stardom just out of reach, Dee went back to session singing.  Her Twitter account indicates that she is still singing and songwriting, especially for film soundtracks.  Hit her up there or on Facebook should you wish to know more.  Perhaps you could also ask her if a Lewis Sisters reunion is in the cards (fingers crossed). :)

Video for Dirty Money

Download Grace

1 Dirty Money
2 And So I Will Wait For You
3 Whatever It Takes
4 Hold On To What We've Got
5 How Can This Be Wrong
6 There But For The Grace
7 If I Could Relive Your Love
8 Don't Get In My Way
9 Buried Treasure
10 Look My Way

Friday, July 22, 2016

Mrs Robinson - Obsession (2006)

Hello again.  I am finally coming to terms with Prince and Vanity passing, and think it's time to add another post to lighten the mood here! This time I'm taking you into the mid-2000s, which is rare here.  There are other blogs that focus on this era of pop music (and I suspect some will 'borrow' this link for their own - if you must, give credit where credit is due, people!), but this album is special.  Earlier this year I discovered the Real Housewives Of Cheshire.  Being a rabid fan of the Real Housewives franchise, I was shocked that I hadn't heard of this series sooner.  But I binge watched and liked what I saw.  I usually need to look up info on all of the housewives, and these ladies were no exception.  During my research, I discovered that one of the ladies, Tanya Bardsley, was once in a girl group, when she was still known as Tanya Robinson, and they recorded an album.  Of course I needed that album ASAP! And I ordered it immediately.  Funny enough, the week I received the CD, I was finally caught up in the series, and in the new episode that week, Tanya finally discussed her brief time in the group, with a lot of self-deprecation. Tanya was a pretty successful 'glamour' model in the UK in the early 2000s, thanks to winning a modelling competition in 2003 thrown by magazine FHM, who were looking for the 'FHM High Street Honey'.  As a result, she became a presenter on two shows, Gamenation and Strike.  Also, unbeknownst to me at the time, she was featured in a video that my boyfriend and I used to love, a dance remake of Rod Stewart's "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" by Girls Of FHM, which was a top ten hit in 2004.  The video featured a who's who of sexy British models, singers and starlets (catch her around the 2:34 mark).  She was also part of the offshoot FHM High Street Honeys, who had a top 40 hit with a dance remake of the Divinyls' "I Touch Myself" in 2006. Although she did not contribute vocals, this experience in music tempted Tanya to pursue a solo music career.  With the help and input of irritating photographer and media personality Darryn Lyons (whom I loathed when he was on Celebrity Big Brother), Tanya decided that perhaps a girl group would be a better idea, as she was not a very good singer. They soon recruited two other ladies, Shereen Guerin, who Tanya had met during the High Street Honeys competition, and Paula Jade (Cremin), a singer they met at a recording studio, who would end up singing all of the leads.  They chose the name Twisted Sisterz, though they were soon threatened with legal action by the heavy metal band Twisted Sister, and changed it to Mrs Robinson, a play on the Simon and Garfunkel song and Tanya's last name.  Hoping to copy the success of girl groups like Atomic Kitten and Girls Aloud, the ladies teamed up with Ryan Laubscher, who wrote and produced the whole album, except for the first single, "I'm A Little Obsessed".  The single was not a success, however.  They did get some minor attention for the follow-up, "Don't Forget My Name", which was a tribute to the troops and supported the Army Benevolent Fund.  This wasn't enough to garner worldwide - or even countrywide - fame, however, and the girls disbanded.  On RHOC, Tanya remembered her time in the group as fun but underwhelming, due to their lack of success and her lack of talent.  But she shouldn't be so hard on herself, as the album is full of fun pop songs that fit the time perfectly (though they do sound a bit dated...) And while the other ladies have maintained a low profile since, Tanya is killing it, having married hot footballer Phil Bardsley, and she continues to be a hoot on The Real Housewives Of Cheshire.  She is hilarious, and really should consider a career in comedy instead of music (though I must say, her battle with equally amusing Ampika last season did not please me.  I blame pregnancy hormones. ;) ) Though I won't hold my breath, would it be too much to ask for a Mrs Robinson reunion on the next season of RHOC?

Video for I'm A Little Obsessed

Live performance of Don't Forget My Name

Download Obsession

1 Teacher
2 I'm A Career Girl
3 Don't Ask Me
4 Beautiful World
5 Touched
6 I'm A Little Obsessed
7 Don't Forget My Name
8 Hollywood Film Star
9 Survive
10 Falling Asleep
11 Faded Heart

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Just as I was finally coming to terms with the death of Vanity, the unbelievable news that Prince died assaulted me last week.  I couldn't, and still can't, process it properly.  I have already expressed my adoration and memories of Vanity and her influence on my life on this blog, and obviously if it wasn't for Prince, there would be no Vanity, so his influence is even greater.  He changed my life through his music and image as well, and I really cannot express just how important he has been to my life. To me, he WAS music, and every piece of music I enjoy to this day has some sort of Prince influence in it. In fact, this blog would not exist without Prince, as he encouraged me to explore different and less popular artists and music, especially though his protegees. Suffice it to say, I've been having a listening marathon to his music ever since, and I encourage all of you to explore his vast body of work and go beyond the hits.  Every single album that he has released, from the late 1970s to his death in 2016, have amazing album tracks that need to be heard, not to mention his b-sides and demos.  No surprise, those are what I've been indulging myself in.  In fact, my boyfriend asked me what my favourite Prince song is, and I immediately said "Space", which is from his Come album, an underrated and disregarded album released to fulfill his contract with Warner Bros. after he severed ties with them. I think it's one of his best albums, and "Space" is a masterpiece.  But there are so many others, I couldn't possibly list them.  And then there are all of the songs he wrote, produced, collaborated on or influenced for a multitude of other artists, all of whom I adore, like Sheila E., The Time, The Family, Sheena Easton, Jill Jones, Wendy & Lisa, Andre Cymone, and Chaka Khan, to name only a few. And of course the Isle has featured many of these artists as well. In honour of his unexpected passing, please visit the following posts and revel in his genius: Amar, Apollonia, Bobby Z, Carmen Electra, Carole Davis, Dale Bozzio, Day Zs, Elisa Fiorillo, Good QuestionIngrid Chavez, Lois L., Mayte, Taja Sevelle, Tyka Nelson, and, of course, Vanity.

"You better live now, before the grim reaper come knocking on your door."

                                                                                   Prince - Lets Go Crazy 
(Let me know if the links need to be reupped. :) )

Friday, April 1, 2016

Abstrac' - Abstrac' (1989) and M&M - Get Ta Know Ya Betta (1992) DOUBLE POST!!

Recently I downloaded the 12" single mixes of the song "Right And Hype" by R&B trio Abstrac'.  I had not heard the song in a very long time and was surprised by how good it was.  I was curious to hear the album again, so I searched furiously through my collection and finally located the CD.  One listen convinced me that I had to share it on the Isle.  The trio consisted of Alvina "Topaz" Del Bettis, Mary Brown and Marsha McClurkin, and was formed by Gene Griffin and Teddy Riley. In the late 80's, Griffin and Riley started perfecting what would become known as the New Jack Swing sound, which took the popular-at-the-time pop-funk R&B sound of producers like L.A. Reid & Babyface and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and gave it a more street sound, mainly by adding hip hop flourishes.  Encouraged by their extremely successful collaboration with Johnny Kemp, "Just Got Paid", they started working, both separately and together, with different acts.  The first all-female act that they worked with together was Abstrac'.  (Riley had had experience producing another female trio the previous year on the track "Wishing You Were Here" by The Gyrlz.) The three ladies of Abstrac' were unknowns, yet they managed to get an album deal with Reprise Records.  The self-titled album was mainly written and produced by Griffin along with Riley's brother Markell, with three tracks written and produced by another New Jack pioneer, Bernard Belle.  Riley focused on the keyboards, mixing and arranging.  The first single was "Right And Hype", and it managed to dent the Billboard Hot 100 at #89. A promo was released for the second single, "You Are The Party (I Am The Fun)," but it failed to make an impact and the group was dropped.  However, three years later, Marsha and Mary reemerged as the duo M&M and released the album Get Ta Know Ya Betta on Atlantic Records.  By now the New Jack sound was in full swing (pun intended) and while Abstrac' had still held on to the dance-funk sound, M&M was full on New Jack R&B. The ladies also had a lot more involvement in the writing of the album's material, along with its main producer, Herb Middleton. Unfortunately for the ladies, their new incarnation was even less successful and their two singles, "Talk To Me" (which was remixed by Markell Riley) and the album's title track, floundered on the charts and they were again dropped from a major label. (As a side note, two of the ladies from the aforementioned trio The Gyrlz also later formed a New Jack duo a year later, Terri & Monica, and they were moderately more successful. Perhaps they will be featured in the Isle at some point in the future...) The writing experience on the M&M album ended up being a godsend for Mary Brown, however, as she later found great success as a songwriter, most notably with Destiny's Child's "No No No". Fortunately I have been meaning to feature the M&M album for a couple years now and had it on hand, so when I unearthed the Abstrac' album I thought it was finally time to share it with you all as well, and therefore I've presented them together. Enjoy!

Video for Right And Hype

Download Abstrac'

1 Lookin' Out For #1
2 I'll Be Your Friend
3 Sleaze
4 Right And Hype
5 Make Me Sweat
6 Strategy
7 Trust Me
8 Buggin' Over You
9 You're My Kind Of Guy
10 You Are The Party (I Am The Fun)

Download Get Ta Know Ya Betta

1 Feel No Shame
2 We're Falling Apart
3 Talk To Me
4 Never Let Go
5 My Way
6 Get Ta Know Ya Betta
7 Losin' Control
8 If I Give My Love To You
9 Go On
10 You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Various Artists - Lambada: Set The Night On Fire (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1990)

In my Vanity post, I mentioned that I read that she was supposed to star in the movie Lambada: Set The Night On Fire and was supposed to record the song "Gotta Lambada" for the soundtrack. This got me thinking about the soundtrack again, which I only ever had on cassette.  I remember loving that soundtrack (even though I've never seen the movie), so I had to find and buy the CD immediately. While only once before have I featured a compilation, this one seemed to fit the Isle perfectly, since some current and future postees and people they've worked with are on it. So here it is.  The film was based on the Afro-Brazilian dance called the Lambada, which was a sexy partner dance that became popular in the 1980s.  It was also referred to as "The Forbidden Dance" because of its suggestiveness. In 1989, the French group Kaoma released their version of the Los Kjarkas' Bolivian song "Llorando Se Fue" from 1981, translating it to Portuguese and renaming it "Lambada".  The song instantly became a worldwide hit (it even reached #46 on the Billboard Hot 100) and a dance craze.  Looking to capitalize on the craze, as well as rekindle the success of 1987's Dirty Dancing, two American films based around the dance were quickly made.  Vanity was reportedly tapped to play the lead female role in Lambada: Set The Night On Fire, but was unfortunately soon replaced by Melora Hardin. likely due to personal problems.  The two films, Lambada: Set The Night On Fire and The Forbidden Dance, were both released on March 16, 1990.  The Lambada craze was already waning by then, and Lambada: Set The Night On Fire, while both commercially and critically the more successful of the two, was still far from a hit.  (Looks like Vanity dodged a bullet there!)  It also had the better soundtrack, in my opinion.  Three promo singles were released from the album.  The first, the title song "Set The Night On Fire," was recorded by the R&B/funk trio Sweet Obsession, which consisted of sisters Keena, Kimmala and Michelle Green. The trio released two modestly successful albums in 1988 and 1991 (download them both at The Music Spectrum), and two less successful but funkier albums previously, but under different monikers - Razor by Greens III in 1984 (which included "You Want My Body", which was their 'interpretation' of Vanity 6's "Nasty Girl") and Set Me Free as Foxx in 1986.  The second promo single was the song supposedly originally intended for Vanity, "Gotta Lambada," which ended up being recorded by R&B duo Absolute, consisting of backing vocalist Tiara Le Macks and Carolyn Griffey, who was the daughter of Solar Records head Dick Griffey and disco singer Carrie Lucas, who also had a track on the soundtrack, the Lambada-ish "I Like The Rhythm".  "Gotta Lambada" was produced by one of the men behind Isle postees The Day Zs, Freeze. Absolute released the album For All Seasons and the single "Cheap Shot" that same year, though neither was a success. (Griffey would later replace Jody Watley in the reformed Shalamar in 2003, much to Watley's chagrin.)  The third single was "Perfect" by rapper Dina D, who released the album Never Seen A Rapper Like This (And I'll Betcha) and single "Groove With Me" in 1991, to little fanfare. Also included on the soundtrack were Tony Terry, who'd had a minor R&B hit with "On The Strength" with Isle postee Flame; Isle postee Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge fame; freestyle and pop diva extraordinaire Brenda K. Starr; and Bill Wolfer, the producer behind Vanity's amazing solo album Wild Animal.  The soundtrack is more dance-pop than Lambada-esque, and though it and the singles didn't do that well, it is a solid dance workout and, in my opinion, an overlooked gem. So download it now and set your night on fire!

Download Lambada: Set The Night On Fire

1 Sweet Obsession - Set The Night On Fire
2 Absolute - This Moment In Time
3 Dina D - Perfect
4 Tony Terry - Tease Me Please Me
5 Kathy Sledge - Lambada Dancin'
6 Absolute - Gotta Lambada
7 Carrie Lucas - I Like The Rhythm
8 Johnny Thomas Jr. - Rock Lambada
9 Bill Wolfer - Wes Groove
10 Brenda K. Starr - Sata
11 Judette Warren - Give It Up

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Vanity - Vanity 6 (1982), Wild Animal (1984) & Skin On Skin (1986) TRIPLE POST!!!

It is with a very heavy heart that I make this latest post.  In case you haven't heard yet, my idol Vanity aka Denise Katrina Matthews passed away at the age of 57 due to kidney failure on February 15, 2016.  It has taken me a few days to deal with this, but now I feel I must honour her with a (very lengthy) post, a post that has been requested by several of you over the years. Vanity was the reason I started this blog nine years ago.  Like so many featured on this blog, Vanity was an unsung pop star who was forgotten over the years yet deserved recognition.  She did have a higher profile, at least in the 80s, than many acts featured here, which is why I resisted doing a post on her then.  But she was my initial motivation, as I was a huge fan of hers from the moment I saw her and she remained my ultimate diva.  I had even originally named this blog after her first major film, Tanya's Island, which she made before she was known as Vanity and was using the moniker D.D. Winters.  Even my 'Nasty G' name comes from the Vanity 6 song "Nasty Girl".  Much has been written about her over the past few days, so her past is well documented on the internet and I won't go into too much detail here.  For that you can also check her Wikipedia page. But I do want to share my personal memories of her.  The first time I laid eyes on her was in 1984 when I was 14 and she appeared on the Canadian music TV show The New Music.  They were doing a feature on Prince's female protegees.  At the time I was a casual Prince fan and had just become a Sheila E. fan, so I was curious about these other women.  The moment they showed an image of Vanity I was smitten.  She was the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes upon (and still is) and she had an irresistible magnetism just through that one image that drew me in forever.  Then they showed some clips from her music videos and I was all hers.  The fact that she was a fellow Canadian was a huge bonus.  This was around when she released her first solo album Wild Animal, and it was the only thing I cared about receiving for Christmas that year, which I did. I adored the album (despite family and friends insisting that she couldn't really sing) and I practically wore out the cassette the first week!  I was consumed with finding images of her after that and snatched up every magazine that she was in, from Right On to Playboy to Creem, The photos went on my wall immediately.  I also scoured the television for appearances by her, though back then we had limited channels and only video cassettes to capture things on.  But I wore out those video tapes as well whenever I was able to capture anything Vanity, especially her "Pretty Mess" video.  She was always a coquettish and magnetic presence in both her performances and interviews, with undeniable charisma.  Soon after a family friend managed to find a vinyl copy of the Vanity 6 album and I was in heaven!  The sexuality and naughtiness of both albums were just the kind of rebellion I needed as a lonely, overweight, awkward teen.  I delighted in shocking everyone around me with her lyrics and image.  Her outlandishness empowered me.  I remember my father watching the "Nasty Girl" video and dismissing her after she claimed that she needed "seven inches or more", clearly intimidated by her beauty and sexuality, as he fancied himself a Casanova but knew he'd never have a chance. This pleased me even more.  Soon her movie The Last Dragon was being promoted and I longed to see it, but living in a small town with a two cinema theatre, it was never shown, so I had to satiate myself with the soundtrack and soundtrack poster, which I begged to have from the only record store in town.  Obviously I immediately adored the song "7th Heaven" from it.  Luckily our theatre did show Purple Rain and I had become a bigger Prince fan because of it, as well as a fan of Apollonia, who had replaced Vanity in the movie after Vanity, having realized that Prince would never love and focus only on her, pursued the independence that could make her career flourish.  Unfortunately Apollonia (who is also featured on the Isle) paled in comparison to Vanity in my eyes, lacking her extreme magnetism and sensuality - though I do still adore Apples. As Apollonia herself admitted this week, Vanity was a tough act to follow. ;)  I wished at that time that Vanity had stayed with Prince, as everyone's career who was connected to him was blowing up.  (Though she managed to do quite well on Motown and had two Billboard Hot 100 hits.)  Teenagers being complicated and fickle, I was soon distracted with my awkward social world.  That, combined with the extreme difficulty in tracking anyone's career in those pre-internet times, led to my surprise when I came across her second album Skin On Skin. Of course I snatched it up, though while I adored the first single "Under The Influence", the rest of the album was a bit of a let down.  It lacked the extreme electro-funk and sexuality of  Wild Animal, and while she wrote and co-produced all of the material on Wild Animal, she was barely present in the creation of Skin On Skin.  Though her vocals had noticeably improved, it seemed a lot less personal. Of course, I still loved the album, and songs like "Animals" and "Ouch!" kept up that sexy silliness. The album didn't seem to get as much attention, however, and Vanity showed up on TV less and less. During that time she was also starring in many movies like Never Too Young To Die and Action Jackson (I adored the Jesse Johnson produced track "Undress" from it and was thrilled she was in the video for the Pointer Sisters' "He Turned Me Out", also featured on it), though of course they never made it to my two cinema town, and it took years before anything new came out on video back then.  These things combined to take my focus off of her.  There was one time in 1989, however, when she was filming an episode of the Friday The 13th TV series in Toronto entitled 'Mesmer's Bauble'  (in which she starred alongside Isle postee Robey), that a friend's brother was lucky enough to be at the filming, and he came back regaling me with stories of her.  I was extremely jealous.  She had been so close! But soon I was off to university and was distracted by my new academic and social life and all that that entailed.  I thought of her occasionally (like when I randomly scored a publicity poster of her as "Miss Audio-Visual 1984", and when I used "Strap On Robbie Baby" to shock a sociology class), but she fell to the back of my mind and became a bit of a teenage embarrassment.  In 1990 I did hear that she was filming a movie called Lambada: Set The Night On Fire and was extremely excited about the new song she was to record for it, but it was soon revealed that she dropped out of the film, and the song, "Gotta Lambada", ended up being recorded by female duo Absolut instead.  She did appear in the TV movie Memories Of Murder that year, which was the first Lifetime movie ever, but of course I didn't get Lifetime. After that she was totally off my radar until 1992, when she appeared in the Jackie Collins TV mini-series Lady Boss, which I watched with a sort of sentimental melancholy.  Around that time rumours were surfacing that she was a born-again Christian, and she then shockingly (to me, at least) appeared on The Joan Rivers Show that same year, renouncing her past and emphatically preaching the word of God.  It was very jarring and, I confess, made me very uncomfortable.  She talked about how she detested her carnal identity as Vanity, and discussed her addiction to smoking crack, which led to extreme kidney damage, a kidney transplant, and almost death!  It all came as a shock to me, though looking back it suddenly seemed obvious that she was on drugs in many of her early interviews and performances. I have to admit that this new Vanity, or Denise Matthews, as she now wanted to be called, frightened me, and like one of Joan's audience members suggested, it seemed to me that she had just substituted one drug for another.  She was an extreme literal bible thumper and even spoke in tongues!  It was all too much for me, though I felt ashamed for wishing that the old Vanity would return.  It seemed like a freak show, and I chose to turn my back on it.  Then, in the later 2000s, I started to feel nostalgic and began listening to all of the older music again, Vanity most of all.  Now that the internet was everywhere, I sought out copies of her old movies and finally saw many for the first time, including the extremely controversial Tanya's Island - now I finally knew what the song "Wild Animal" was about!  I introduced her into my new world and forced her on my friends and especially my boyfriend, who was (and still is) a huge Madonna fan, but he eventually warmed up to her as well.  I pulled out old pics and posters and put them up.  I joined forums and met friends while talking about her, and created several monikers for websites derived from her various aliases, songs and films.  I made her my computer and phone wallpaper and screen savers.  I was again entrenched in the world of Vanity. Only after she passed this week did I realize just how much of her physically surrounds me in all aspects of my world.  I did check up on the real Denise Matthews at times, visiting her website and Facebook page, and I was happy that she had found happiness through religion, even if I didn't get it myself.  I felt horrible for her continuing illness, and the revelations of her abuse as a child and adult.  I read Nikki Sixx's Heroin Diaries, about his drug addiction in the year 1987, when he was dating Vanity and she was going through an equally destructive drug addiction.  She wrote several passages in the book, and I got a better idea of what she went though.  But, though Denise preferred it, I couldn't let Vanity go, and I created a Facebook page dedicated to her. I was thrilled at the response from followers and realized that I was far from alone in my love for Vanity.  Then a year or two later, I got a Facebook message from Denise Matthews herself!  In it she asked that I take the page down, as she no longer wanted her old self to be celebrated.  She asked me to call her so we could discuss it and gave me her phone number.  You can imagine my delight and horror!  Out of respect I immediately removed the page, but I could never call her.  I don't want to meet my idols, and I was also wary of her possible attempts to "convert" me.  Now that she is gone, I regret that decision.  I had no idea that she was so ill in the past months, and though I knew she was lucky to have lived this long, I was still so saddened by her death.  And though I know that she did not want people to celebrate Vanity, and I do also celebrate the amazing woman that was Denise Matthews, I need to post this tribute to her and share the music that made me so happy all of these years.  As I told her when we corresponded about the Facebook page, though she was regretful about her personal life the years she was known as Vanity, she should not dismiss or forget the joy that her music and films gave so many of us.  Without her, I would not be who I am today, which I'd like to think isn't so bad, as for some undefinable reason she instilled in me a strength and sass that I desperately needed as a teen, and I'm not sure that I would have discovered that without Vanity.  I am sorry that her life was often so sad, but I think in the end she was truly happy to go to the God she loved so dearly, and that is how I'll remember her.  Please celebrate and enjoy her work and life!

Video for He's So Dull

Video for Nasty Girl

Video for Drive Me Wild

Download Vanity 6

1 Nasty Girl
2 Wet Dream
3 Drive Me Wild
4 He's So Dull
5 If A Girl Answers (Don't Hang Up)
6 Make-Up
7 Bite The Beat
8 3 x 2 = 6

Video for Pretty Mess

Live performance of Samuelle

Live performance of Pretty Mess & Wild Animal

Download Wild Animal

1 Flippin' Out
2 Pretty Mess
3 Samuelle
4 Strap On "Robbie Baby"
5 Wild Animal
6 Mechanical Emotion
7 Crazy Maybe

Video for Under The Influence

Live performance of Romantic Voyage

Live performance of  Under The Influence & Animals

Download Skin On Skin

1 Under The Influence
2 Manhunt
3 Romantic Voyage
4 Confidential
5 Animals
6 Skin On Skin
7 Gun Shy
8 Ouch
9 In The Jungle

Friday, February 12, 2016

Smart E's - Sesame's Treet (1992)

Surprise!!  Finally, a new post after forever.  Luckily I have a spare moment, and thought you all deserved a little Valentine's Day "treet".  While most of you likely remember the theme to the children's show Sesame Street, how many of you remember the rave remix by Smart E's? In 1992 their song "Sesame's Treet" hit #2 on the UK charts and managed to hit #60 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying in the charts for 16 weeks. The group was formed by DJs Christopher Howell (aka Luna-C) and Tom Orton (aka Mr. Tom) and producer Nick Arnold.  The three were heavily into breakbeat hardcore music, the music of choice at raves, which were huge at the time.  The boys decided to take samples from the film Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and put them over a breakbeat track, releasing "Bogus Adventure," backed with "Fuck The Law", which took samples from the film Nightbreed.  "Bogus Adventure" caught the attention of local DJs and this encouraged the trio to record another sampled novelty track, this time using the theme from Sesame Street.  This was one of the first "happy hardcore" tunes, which focused on upbeat and childlike themes and samples, which appealed to the drug fueled rave crowds.  The song quickly caught fire and ended up debuting at #2 on the British charts, which was a first at that time.  The boys were snatched up by Big Beat Records and quickly put together an album.  Most of the album maintained a similar vibe to their previous tracks, using fast techno beats and many samples.  They also enlisted vocalist Jayde to add diva vocals on some tracks, including the next single "Loo's Control". The album failed to capitalize on "Sesame's Treet"'s success, however, and it was largely panned by critics as garbage.  It also led to many copycat acts who used samples from various child-centric sources, and the influx of similar tracks is said to have hurt the rave scene as a whole.  They did release one other song from the album, "Love Is Blind," though this was released under the moniker Echora, likely to distance themselves from the Smart E's name.  Also, the track was quite different from the rest of the album, as it was a straight-forward house number featuring the soulful vocals of Jayde.  It was also given many R&B remixes to appeal to the urban market.  It didn't do well on the charts, however.  The group split after this and all went their separate ways, though they all continued to release their own spin on dance music.  Howell probably had the most success, both with his solo music as well as numerous releases under different aliases, and also ran his own record labels.  Arnold released music under several aliases as well, the most successful likely being the happy hardcore group Bang!, who released two albums.  Initially Orton assisted with Bang! and then also went on to release tracks under different aliases and as part of various groups.  But they will all likely best be remembered for "Sesame's Treet," for better or for worse.

Video for Sesame's Treet

Video for Loo's Control

Download Sesame's Treet

1 Apollo (Lunar Mix)
2 Magnificent
3 Make It Happen
4 Sesame's Treet
5 Love Is Blind
6 The Law
7 Charlie
8 Loo's Control
9 A Most Excellent Choon
10 Intruder Alert
11 Bizzarely Odd
12 Time Out
13 Beautiful Noises

Friday, July 10, 2015

Nu Civilization - Nu Civilization (1993)

Emerging from a very modest upbringing in Brooklyn, Glenn Toby began his career in music in the burgeoning genre of hip hop. Known as Mr. Sweety "G", in the early 1980's he released a couple of underground rap hits, "At The Place To Be" and "We Want To Get Down". By the mid-80's he'd moved on to house music, most notably doing featured vocals for producer Winston Jones, recording under the name Cultural Vibe. Though he had dabbled in hip hop production, Toby's first notable foray into house music production was on the 1987 song "I Can Tell" by MSG, for which he also performed lead vocals.  Over the next few years he released more house tracks under aliases like Private House, The Klub and Kustom Made.  But it was the 1990 release of "Wake Up (Shay-Ama)" under the moniker Nu Civilization that got the attention of the world.  Released on Toby's own label Permanent Records, it started as a local club hit but blew up over the next couple of years, especially here in Canada.  UK label Vinyl Solution signed Toby to an album deal, and the album was released in the UK three years later (and on SPG Music Productions in Canada).  The album featured Toby on vocals on most songs, though he also included several other vocalists, most notably club divas Tafuri, Channelle and Chandra Simmons. While "Wake Up" was a huge club hit in Canada, the follow up singles, "When Will I Be Free," "You Are" and "Destiny", met with less success in Canada and elsewhere.  Over the next couple of years Toby deserted the Nu Civilization name but produced and recorded a few more songs, and he also co-wrote songs with Sybil, including her minor 1993 hit "You're The Love Of My Life".  In 1998 he put music aside when he founded the Book Bank Foundation, which provides tutoring and education in order to encourage literacy in inner city youth.  He then formed Glenn Toby Enterprises, a marketing, management and business development company with a focus on the entertainment industry, which he still runs to this day. Now, instead of making music himself, he's helping others get their music out there.

Download Nu Civilization

1 When Will I Be Free?
2 I Need Someone
3 You Are (Featuring Tafuri)
4 Street Jazz (Featuring Dwayne D. Kerr)
5 New Breed (Featuring Disciples Of Sound)
6 Follow Me Now
7 The Way
8 Destiny (Featuring Chandra Simmons)
9 All Of Me
10 Life Still Goes On (Featuring Chanelle)
11 I Still Believe
12 Revelations
13 Wake Up (Shay-Ama)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Ruby Amanfu - So Now The Whole World Knows (1998) and Smoke & Honey (2003) DOUBLE POST!!

Here we have an artist who, like so many other lost pop stars, was a victim of record label turmoil and interference. Ruby Amanfu was born in Accra, Ghana, and as a small child moved to Tennessee, where she honed her songwriting and vocals and, while attending high school, recorded and released her debut album, So Now The Whole World Knows, on an indie label (Thanks Liz!). She then attended Berklee College Of Music in Boston, but soon moved back to Nashville to attend Belmont University and worked on promoting the album. Ruby was compared to artists like Tracy Chapman and Jewel due to her thoughtful lyrics and folk sound. She was soon snatched up by Polydor - but in the UK. It's actually not that surprising, as Ruby comes off as a cross between two once popular British singers, Gabrielle and Samantha Mumba. She was teamed up with a slew of popular Nordic producers, some who worked with artists like Britney, Dannii, Geri, and Sophie, and also on other albums featured here like Stella SolielJuliette, and Lene, who recorded Ruby's song "Surprise" for her solo album. The resulting album contained very soulful pop laced with rock. The first single "Sugah" became a huge hit in the UK and Europe. The second single, "Chocolate Pie", did not. But by this point Ruby was back in the US, tired of label pressure and strife. She asked to be dropped, and the album never made it over the pond. She then pursued an independent path, writing songs for others (one - The Duhks' version of "Heaven's My Home" - was even nominated for a Grammy in 2007) and also hooked up with longtime friend Sam Brooker for the folk duo Sam & Ruby in 2005. They have released one album on Rykodisc and two EPs since, and they also joined Nashville vocal group The Collective and appeared on Season 3 of The Sing Off, coming in eighth.  In 2011, Ruby toured with Jack White and did vocals for his album Blunderbuss, and she released her EP The Simple Sessions the following year. She also sang co-lead vocals on the single "Love Interruption" with White, which they performed on the Grammy's in 2013.  That year she also released the single "I Wonder" with Brittany Howard, the lead singer of Alabama Shakes, on Jack White's label. Most recently she appeared on Jack White's second album, Lazaretto, and has been touring with indie sensation Hozier and appeared with him on Saturday Night Live in 2014, so clearly she is still going strong and the best is likely yet to come...and it has!  Ruby released a new album at the end of August, 2015!  Check out Standing Still on iTunes!!

Download So Now The Whole World Knows

1 Crybaby
2 Sleeper And The Gong
3 Hide Away
4 Aaron
5 Mr. Cunningham
6 Empty
7 Because Of Love
8 Simplicity
9 Release
10 True Love

Video for Sugah

Download Smoke And Honey

Chocolate Pie
Just Until
Know You Better
Different Is Good
Work It Out
For Life
I Will Pray
Whether You Fall
You Can't Use Me
Bless You
Ying To The Yang