WBEZ | James Brown http://www.wbez.org/tags/james-brown Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Navy Pier's future facelift has to strike balance http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-13/morning-shift-navy-piers-future-facelift-has-strike <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Navy Pier - Flickr - Bernt Rostad.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>With Navy Pier headed toward a re-design in the next couple years, can the design continue to attract so many tourists? And, Matteson, Illinois, officials are closing Lincoln Mall. What does this imply about the future economy of the south suburbs?&nbsp;</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-42.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-42" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Navy Pier's future facelift has to strike balance" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Tue, 13 Aug 2013 08:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-13/morning-shift-navy-piers-future-facelift-has-strike Captured: The Live Album http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/captured-live-album-101877 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe frameborder="0" height="250" src="https://rd.io/i/QX9-5DNOpp8" width="500"></iframe></p><p>Forty years ago, Neil Diamond released the legendary live album&nbsp;Hot August Night, which went on to sell millions of copies and solidify his icon status. Host Tony Sarabia and WBEZ&rsquo;s Richard Steele play tracks from some of their favorite live albums and talk about what makes them exciting for some and frustrating for others. And, <a href="http://www.sammoore.net/">Sam Moore</a> of the 60s R&amp;B act Sam and Dave stops by to talk about his career in music, in advance of his Thursday and Friday shows at the City Winery Chicago.&nbsp;</p><hr /><p><strong>Tony Sarabia:</strong></p><p>Forget for a moment<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIAQaReXzB0"> Will Ferrell&rsquo;s hilarious skewing of Neil Diamond</a> and look at the man for what he is: a kitschy showman with a fondness for glitz. Oh wait, isn&rsquo;t that the Neil Diamond as portrayed by Ferrell? Well yes, but beyond the façade is a talented songwriter who gave us a number of hummable tunes such as &quot;Holly Holy,&quot; &quot;Solitary Man&quot; and &quot;Red Red Wine.&quot;</p><p>40 years ago this Friday, Diamond took the stage with his 13 member band and about two dozen string players, for one of a handful of sold out concerts at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. That show was captured on tape and a few months later the double live <em><strong>Hot August Night </strong></em>was released.</p><p>There are a couple of things that make this album noteworthy: it spent 29 weeks at number one on the Billboard charts and the show format would lay the foundation for Diamond&rsquo;s future concerts. It was an important moment in pop history that Diamond himself has recently revisited at the same theater.</p><p>There are memorable moments on the album: the slow funk burn of &quot;Solitary Man&quot; and the gospel inflected &quot;Red Red Wine.&quot; Having never seen Neil Diamond perform live, <em>Hot August Night</em> allows me to imagine me in that audience back in 1972 well before he was parodied by Will Ferrell.</p><p>I&rsquo;d argue that&rsquo;s one of the purposes of the live album; think of all those college aged Bob Marley fanatics who close their eyes and put themselves in the audience at that 1974 show at the Lyceum in the UK. The live album provides listeners a connection to an artist/group they aren&rsquo;t able to make in real time.</p><p>The live album can also serve as a moment of change whether planned or not.</p><p>This week, in light of the 40<sup>th</sup> anniversary of that Neil Diamond show that resulted in the double live album <em>Hot August Night</em>, Richard Steele and I delve into the live album and consider why our picks merit special attention.</p><p><em><strong>David Live</strong></em> was David Bowie&rsquo;s first official live album and he&rsquo;d be the first to tell you that it was not a good outing. He even commented on the album&rsquo;s cover shot of him saying it looked like he had just stepped out of the grave. He also joked the album should have been titled, &ldquo;David Bowie is Alive and Well and Living Only in Theory&rdquo;.</p><p>Criticism of the album ranged from poor sound quality to lackluster performances by Bowie and the band. One of the songs (the original release contained 17 songs while a 2004 CD re-issue included 22) is the 1966 Eddie Floyd soul hit &quot;Knock on Wood.&quot; Mick Jagger called Bowie&rsquo;s take &ldquo;awful&rdquo;</p><p>Jagger also had this to say about the album&rsquo;s reception by critics: &quot;if I got the kind of reviews that he got for that album, I would honestly never record again. Never.&quot;</p><p>Good thing Bowie didn&rsquo;t heed his friend&rsquo;s advice because one of the things <em>David Live</em> represents is another one of Bowie&rsquo;s musical chameleon moments. Bowie has said <em>David Live</em> was the death of Ziggy Stardust and although most of the tracks featured are culled from<em> Ziggy Stardust</em> and <em>Aladdin Sane</em>, those songs are re-worked to reflect Bowie&rsquo;s growing fascination with American soul music; more specifically the Philly Soul sound of the Gamble and Huff years.</p><p>So instead of the 1:38 second glam rock of his <strong>&quot;All the Young Dudes&quot;</strong> you hear on the Ziggy Stardust and the <em>Spiders from Mars </em>Motion Picture Soundtrack from two years earlier, you get a four minutes plus doo wop/ blues inspired take complete with saxophone and piano. It&rsquo;s almost as if Bowie&rsquo;s channeling not soul music but his earlier Hunky Dory days. His voice is smokey and more laid back and it does reflect some of what&rsquo;s heard on Diamond Dogs, the album that was released a few months before David Live.</p><p>But again, it was soul music that was on Bowie&rsquo;s mind and that infatuation would lead him to record his &ldquo;plastic soul&rdquo; <em>Young Americans</em> album in mid-tour, renaming the tour Philly Dogs.</p><p><em>David Live&nbsp;</em><strong>-</strong> like many live albums - has its ups and downs, but it&rsquo;s an important release in the rock genre because it serves as an historical document in Bowie&rsquo;s long career.</p><p>Talk about a comeback! And even the album cover is a work of art ( I have a reproduction hanging in my living room). The&nbsp;<em><strong>Judy at Carnegie Hall&nbsp;</strong></em>concert comes six years after her triumphant screen portrayal as Esther Blodgett in the 1954 movie <em>A Star is Born</em>. But lots had changed for <strong>Judy Garland</strong> since that stellar performance; by 1959 she was &nbsp;more heavily into drugs and booze and she had become overweight.</p><p>She decided to hire a vocal coach and get back into shape physically and mentally. So by the time she hit the stage at Carnegie Hall on the night of April 23<sup>rd</sup> 1961, she sounded in top form, with a new maturity to her voice. That evening has been called the greatest night in show business history. It&rsquo;s been noted the success of that night was not only due to Garland&rsquo;s superb voice but her ability to connect with the audience. Even Hedda Hopper, the hardnosed gossip columnist, said, &quot;I never saw the likes of it in my life.&quot; <em>Judy at Carnegie Hall</em> includes what I think is the tour de force from <em>A Star is Born</em>,<strong> &quot;The Man That Got Away.&quot;</strong>&nbsp;She brings the listener back to that little nightclub in the movie. Wow, what a performance!</p><p>Judy Garland was the first female artist to win a Grammy for Album of the Year and <em>Judy at Carnegie</em> was the first live album to snag a Grammy.</p><p>In 2006, Rufus Wainwright paid homage to Judy Garland and that special night in 1961 by recreating song for song that the Carnegie Hall performance.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4716407789_84ab1805c9_z.jpg" style="float: left; height: 225px; width: 300px; " title="Johnny Cash's 'Folsom Prison Blues' (Flickr/Peter Renshaw )" />As you can hear from June Carter&rsquo;s comment at the beginning of <strong>&quot;Jackson&quot;</strong> from the 1968 live album <strong><em>At Folsom Prison</em>,</strong> this wasn&rsquo;t the first time Johnny Cash and his crew had played Folsom State Prison in Represa California. Cash loved playing for the inmates. He said they were the best crowd to play for because of their enthusiasm and you can certainly here their appreciation during this rousing take on the Cash hit.</p><p>The lead off tune on the album is Cash&rsquo;s 1955 hit &quot;Folsom Prison Blues.&quot; The live version hit the Top 40 charts and along with favorable reviews of the album, Cash&rsquo;s waning career was revived with him once saying, &quot;That&rsquo;s where things really got started for me again&quot;.</p><p>By August 1968, <em>Folsom</em> had sold over 300,000 copies; two months later it was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Cash&rsquo;s 1969 follow up &ldquo;At San Quentin&rdquo;, would be his first to hit number one on the Pop Chart.</p><p><strong>Richard Steele:</strong></p><p><strong>Sam Cooke</strong> was a stand-out vocalist whose dad was the minister of a South Side church. Cooke&rsquo;s early successes were the result of his commitment to gospel music. But in the mid-&lsquo;50s, he made a very controversial switch to R&amp;B music with the monster hit &ldquo;You Send Me.&rdquo; Cooke&rsquo;s music was mostly mellow and well-suited for the pop music charts. His 1964 album called&nbsp;<em>Sam Cooke</em> <em>at the Copa&nbsp;</em>became a No. 1 hit.&nbsp; Critics weren&rsquo;t very impressed: They said his performance was &ldquo;Sam Cooke light&rdquo; to please the mostly white audience at the Copa.</p><p>His live session,&nbsp;<strong><em>One-Night Stand! Sam Cooke Live </em></strong>at the Harlem Square Club, was recorded in 1963, which was about a year before the Copa album, but it wasn&rsquo;t released as an album at the time. In 1985, RCA went deep into its vaults and released it. The consensus from both fans and critics was that this was one of the best live R&amp;B recordings ever made. As you listen to Cooke&rsquo;s performance, it&rsquo;s obvious that the soul sound critics thought was missing from the Copa recording was in full force at the Harlem Square Club in Miami. First you&rsquo;ll hear a short introduction by the club emcee, and then Cooke does a thumping version of &ldquo;Feel It.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue&rdquo; by Duke Ellington and his orchestra with a fabled tenor sax solo from Paul Gonsalves&hellip;from the album&nbsp;Duke Ellington at Newport.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Duke Ellington </strong>was one of the most celebrated bandleaders of the 20th century. The orchestra had fared well thru the &lsquo;20s, &lsquo;30s and &lsquo;40s, but by the mid-1950s, the new thing was rhythm &amp; blues and rock and roll. Large jazz ensembles were just about passé. The Ellington Orchestra had been reduced to playing a skating ring gig. Then along came the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. What happened there with Duke&rsquo;s orchestra was the stuff of legends. On the final performance one night, they played a charged-up version of <strong>&ldquo;Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue,&rdquo; </strong>which included a 27-chorus solo by tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves.</p><p>The 7,000 people who caught that performance went crazy! They were so pumped up that the festival promoter feared there might be a riot. Duke Ellington was back! There&rsquo;s an ironic twist to this story.&nbsp; There were some technical problems with the recording and a few other things that Duke was not happy with, so they went into the studio the next day and re-recorded some performances with dubbed-in canned applause, simulated live ambiance and reverb and also recreated announcements. So in reality, the album was only partly live. It was many years before most fans knew the truth &hellip; but for most, it didn&rsquo;t matter. It was still a great recording.&nbsp;</p><p>The l<strong>ate James Brown</strong>, known as the &ldquo;Godfather of Soul,&rdquo; created an R&amp;B legacy that very few performers can match. His first hit record was&nbsp;<em>Please, Please, Please</em>&nbsp;in 1956. He followed that up with 50 years of great music and spectacular performances. Back in 1962, he wanted to record his live show and produce an album from it. His record company thought that was a dumb thing to do because there wouldn&rsquo;t be any new material on the album. Brown&rsquo;s position was that he wanted to capture the intense crowd response at his concerts. The answer was still no, so he put up his own money to do it, and the rest is history.&nbsp;<em>James Brown Live at the Apollo</em>&nbsp;was a smash and is still considered a classic. You can hear his fans really get into it while James does this version of&nbsp;<strong>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll Go Crazy.&rdquo;</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/349218110_9b06157547_z.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px; " title="(Flickr/Chris Olson)" /></p></p> Wed, 22 Aug 2012 14:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/captured-live-album-101877 Happy Birthday to Metro http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/happy-birthday-metro-100993 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/5378034349_7d825accf2_z.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Metro on Chicago's North Side. (Flickr/vxla)" /></div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe frameborder="0" height="250" src="https://rd.io/i/QX9-5DNPc_8" width="500"></iframe></p><p>Bob Dylan, R.E.M, James Brown, Nirvana, Iggy Pop and Prince:&nbsp;Those are some of the big names that have graced the stage of Chicago&rsquo;s venerable independent music venue Metro Chicago over the past three decades.</p><p>I should be able to say I saw one of those bands, but I didn&rsquo;t and here&rsquo;s why: When R.E.M. played Metro back in 1982, they were hardly a household name. In fact, the Athens, Georgia band was an opener that night for the British band Gang of Four. That was the band I was excited to see; having just purchased their seminal Entertainment! record at Val&rsquo;s Halla in Oak Park. So I didn&rsquo;t even bother trying to make it for the R.E.M. set. At that time, their music was a bit too mellow for me compared to the jagged punk funk of Gang of Four.</p><p>Even before that show, there was Depeche Mode and Ministry sharing a bill at what was still called Stages Music Hall; I had never seen a group of guys singing to recorded music before that. The reel to reel tape machines were on stage behind them! What did we care? We were 18 years old and had gotten into a 21 and over show dancing to one of our favorite bands. And Ministry was in its earliest incarnations.</p><p>Black Flag, Skinny Puppy, Naked Raygun; those were some of the shows I&rsquo;d seen during the early days of what was then called Cabaret Metro. By the late &#39;80s through the early &#39;90s, my excursions to that great big music room had dwindled considerably due to fatherhood and a busy work/school schedule. But by the late &#39;90s I was back and one memorable show was the acid jazz ensemble The Greyboy All-Stars; funky!</p><p>It&rsquo;s amazing when you look back at the history of this place and realize all of the bands that have played Metro. So I tip a glass and toast the main man behind all my fun at Metro &mdash; Joe Shanahan. Here&rsquo;s to your dedication and love of music and of course, your curiosity and courage to take chances on so many artists.</p></p> Wed, 18 Jul 2012 08:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/happy-birthday-metro-100993 Chicago photographer Eric Werner honored at the DuSable Museum http://www.wbez.org/story/culture/art/chicago-photographer-eric-werner-honored-dusable-museum-85266 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-15/jesse.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>“He’s always had a humanitarian side. He loves being loved,” Toussaint Werner said of his father, the photographer Eric Werner. This Sunday at the <a href="http://www.dusablemuseum.org/">DuSable Museum of African American History</a>, Werner's work will be featured in a fundraising event entitled <a href="http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Lifetime-Tribute-to-Eric-Werner-this-Sunday-at-the-DuSable-Museum-.html?soid=1011282548019&amp;aid=AihEcLNdczE"><em>Chronciles of Black Chicago: A Lifetime Tribute to the Life and Works of Eric Werner</em></a>. Latoya James, the Membership Manager and Development Assistant at the museum, said that featuring Werner’s work “was just a natural tie in with what we do here.”</p><p>Werner has been a photographer in Chicago since the mid-1970s. Born in Riverside, California, he moved to the South Side when he was three years old. His interest in photography started when he was in his teens, and was spurred by reading <em>The Sweet Flypaper of Life</em> by Langston Hughes. Werner was captivated by the photos taken by Roy DeCarvara: “The images represented the African American people with a level of sensitivity that he had never seen at that time,” said his son.</p><p>Werner’s burgeoning passion was put on hold, however, when he went off to serve in the Vietnam War. But Toussaint pointed out that “in Vietnam he realized he could die at any moment, and he didn’t want to spend his life doing what he didn’t want to do." So, upon returning to Chicago, Eric Werner began to work as a public relations photographer.</p><p>At the time, there were very few black photographers making a steady living photographing life in Chicago. Back then, Werner was considered “probably the premiere black photographer in the city,” his son recalls. A large portion of his work documented community movements and organizations, such as Operation PUSH (now know as the <a href="http://www.rainbowpush.org/">Rainbow Push Coalition</a>). He also covered Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr.’s campaign for president, and captured images of music greats such jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie and soul legend James Brown. Toussaint noted that his father’s shot of Brown was far more revealing than the typical one seen of Brown’s cape being draped on his back at the end of a show. “It is definitely a documentation of beauty,” he said.</p><p>Werner’s work has remained relatively consistent throughout his life; the wealth of his career has been spent doing public relations photography. “He loved being a documentarian, but he had children to feed,” Toussaint said. “He approached most of those PR events as an artist.”</p><p>Several years ago, Werner <a href="http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/biography.asp?bioindex=351&amp;category=ArtMakers&amp;occupation=Photographer&amp;name=Eric%20Werner">was honored</a> by the HistoryMakers Organization for his body of work. His son spoke of how, when he walked up to get his award, he took his camera and began “to shoot the event as if he was working it, rather than basking in the award.” Werner has remained humble, and though he is living in hospice care at his son’s home, his work in the African-American community still resonates.&nbsp; According to Toussaint, some 700 visitors have come to see him during the month and a half since he has been in hospice. “Everyone from street thugs, to the heads of corporations,” he notes.</p><p>“He has been engrained in the movement of the people since I’ve been on this earth," Toussaint remarked. His vast and varied body of work give us a story of Black Chicago that might otherwise have been untold.</p><p><em>Chronicles of Black Chicago: A Lifetime Tribute to the Life and Works of Eric Werner</em> will be at the DuSable Museum this Sunday, April 17, from 3 to 5 pm.</p><div class="daylife_smartgalleries_container" style="border: medium none; margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; overflow: hidden; height: 400px; width: 600px;"><iframe class="daylife_smartgalleries_frame" src="http://galleries.wbez.org/gallery_slideshow/1302899223249?width=600&amp;disable_link_to_hosted_page=0&amp;height=400&amp;show_related=0" style="border: medium none; margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; overflow: hidden; height: 100%; width: 100%;" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></div></p> Fri, 15 Apr 2011 20:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/culture/art/chicago-photographer-eric-werner-honored-dusable-museum-85266