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REST IN POWER: TEDDY PENDERGRASS | American Soul and R&B icon, Teddy Pendergrass (1950 – 2010), passed Wednesday night, 01.13.10 at the age of 59, after a pro-longed 8-month recovery from colon cancer surgery,  in a hospital in his native Philadelphia with family present.

Pendergrass had been paralyzed from the waist down since a 1982 car accident, though he had returned to recording and occasional performances within 1 year, and launched his non-profit organization, The Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, whose mission is to encourage and help people with spinal cord injuries achieve their maximum potential in education, employment, housing, productivity and independence.  DONATE HERE: http://www.teddypendergrassalliance.org/

After performing and recording as a drummer and singer with famed 1960’s Do-Wop group, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Teddy embarked on a solo career in the 1970’s that would make him the 1st black male vocalist in history to record 5 consecutive multi-platinum, multi-Grammy-Award-nominated albums, becoming a legendary ladies’ man and inking his stamp on the Philly Sound, made famous by producers Gamble & Huff.  His hits such as “Life Is A Song Worth Singing” and “When Somebody Loves You Back” are staples in Classic, Soul, R&B, and American music collections the world over.

— Jocelyne Ninneman for Fusicology.com

Get “The Essential Teddy Pendergrass” on Amazon.com


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YELE HAITI: The devastating 7.0 earthquake that rocked Haiti on 01.12.10 officials fear may leave over 100,000 – 500,000 people dead or severely wounded. Still recovering from the damaging hurricanes of 2008, the unique and struggling Republic of Haiti, as Fusicologists know, is one of the most impactful centers of Soul and Roots music culture.

Grammy-nominated, Haitian-born musician Wyclef Jean‘s non-profit organization, Yele, which funds efforts year-round in his home country, has set up a bonafide donation program via their website and via cell phone: Text YELE to 501501 to donate $5


The Haitian Alliance, Inc. is another non-profit organization to which you can donate now via their Transform Haiti website.

Fusicology – Atlanta associate representative, Jodine Dorce, is currently looking for her father and baby sister, who were in Haiti working at their family’s school, and from whom the Dorce family in Atlanta have yet to receive any communication. Help Jodine find her family here.

— Jocelyne Ninneman for Fusicology.com

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Charlotte, NC native, Anthony Hamilton has been wooing the ladies and even catching co-sign from the dudes for a few years now.  2007’s cameo in the smash hit film, “American Gangster,” performing the song he did for the soundtrack certainly solidified his cred in this rough and tough industry.  But Hamilton has been back in the studio again knocking out his 3rd album and doing live shows, like any stand-up, 6-time Grammy Nominee would.  Because inquiring minds want to know (well, at least the ladies), Fusicology sat down to chat with Anthony during CMJ week in NYC to hear more about “The Point of It All”…

Blue Jean Lean

Blue Jean Lean

10.21.08

Fusicology: So the 1st single off the new album is “Cool” featuring David Banner.  For those that might not be familiar with Banner, tell us a bit about him and how this collaboration came to be?

Anthony Hamilton: Well, I think most in the Hip Hop world should know who he is, or at least be familiar – he’s a Mississippi rapper that I’ve known for a little while who I connected with during press time at this year’s BET Awards… and it just came together from there.

F: Speaking of collaborations, now we Fusicologists are a breed of liner-note readers, especially since the dawn of the era of The Producer – with the acclaim brought to Pharrell and Dilla and others – where the people “behind” the music are starting to get the same attention as the vocalist.  You have been working with the famous James Poyser (The Roots, Erykah Badu, Common) for some time now – a name not unfamiliar to us – as well as Mark Batson and Kelvin Wooten… but how did the new producers on “The Point of It All” come into play?  Did you seek them out, or did they come to you?

AH: It really wasn’t totally one way or the other.  It’s one of those situations where we had respected each other’s work for some time and this was just a long time coming… finally we got together to make something happen.

F: Now, one pair of these new producers for you is the Avila Brothers, who have produced Usher and Mariah Carey, while another new sound was conjured up by Jack Splash, of Alicia Keys and John Legend fame.  Would you say that enlisting producers with well-gleaned Pop chops was one of the ways in which you say you “want fans to hear [your] growth” and “also want to open up the ears of those who don’t know about Anthony Hamilton” ?   Is that to say that you are purposely inserting a bit more straight Pop appeal with this album?

AH: No, I wouldn’t say that.  I simply want to be able to try different sounds and reach as many people as possible.  But I mean, of course the more familiar sounds you use, the more people you are going to appeal to.   And Pop is always where you’re gonna find the mainstream – that’s where you’ll always catch the youth, that’s where you can grab them.  I just want to give them something they can learn from.  I want to produce a body of work that can travel any street – you can touch more people that way.

F: Recently, you said of your new project, that you “don’t always want to be known as the sad cat.” – that you “like to have a good time, too.” – So, “now we’re going to boogie in the name of the Lord.” What did you mean by that?

AH: {laughs}  Yeah, what I meant was that too often in popular music you are made to feel as if you have to be nasty or negative to have a good time.  I’m here to show you that we can have a good time without being degrading or nasty – women don’t have to feel like hoes and guys don’t have to feel violent or like they gotta have a lot of money to have a good time. You know, like when MC Hammer came out. {laughs}  I mean, we can have a clean good time with this music – it doesn’t always have to be about sex, sex, sex or anything.  You can dance to this, you can dance to Obama, you can dance to Sarah Palin, or whatever floats your boat.

Music Is the Weapon of the Future...

Music Is the Weapon of the Future...

F: Well, whatever “The Point of It All” brings, one thing your fans can say for sure is that you have that sound – that raw, gritty, old Soul feel – like if we closed our eyes and had never seen what you looked like, we could easily guess you were 60 years old and your tunes were on 45’s.  Where do you think that comes from?

AH: It comes from getting hit in the head with an 8 Track and getting slapped in the behind with a 12”.  {laughs}  No, seriously, I’m not tryin to be anything but me – that’s just who I am, what I feel.  You know, it also has to with what I heard comin up, like when my Mom would put on James Cleveland or Sonny & Cher, you know.

F: They say that some people are just “old souls” – that they’ve been here before, and storytelling just comes easier to them…

AH: That’s it – yeah, that’s it, that’s all it is.  I’m not sure if I’ve been here before, but what I do know is that if I had, I would have cleaned up a lot better. (!)

F: Another thing we can all attest to is that you’ve got the love song down pat.  Hands-down you got that – happy or sad, you got the love song down.  So given that, is there anything new or different we can expect to hear on the new album – any specific topics or issues or stories we can expect to learn about?

AH: Not really, I mean, I just write about whatever’s goin on today.  It’s just me.  What I know.  I ain’t tryin to create no science fiction or anything, that’s for sure.  You won’t hear any futuristic stuff.  Well, there is one song I cut with Jack Splash, called “Fantasy Girl,” that probably won’t make the album, but I’m thinking about putting it out as a bonus track or something somewhere…

F: Word!  You know we love anything bonus or exclusive – bring on the remix contest!

AH: Oh yeah?  Maybe I will.  We’ll see.

F: Well, you know we heard that you did background vocals for D’Angelo on the “Voodoo” tour… and I think everyone wants to know; do YOU know where D’Angelo is?!

AH: Who told you that?!  {laughs}  Naw, I’m just playin.  In the studio.  He’s in the studio right now, man.  Not to worry.

F: We all also loved your cameo in last year’s “American Gangster” film, and we understand that you’ve done the title track for the forthcoming movie, “Soul Men,” with Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes.  Now that both of them are no longer with us, and given the context of the film’s story, what does this movie mean to you?

>>> “Soul Men” debuts in theaters nationwide this Friday, November 7th – starring Samuel L. Jackson, Bernie Mac, and Issac Hayes, with the title track by Anthony Hamilton!

AH: Well, first of all, I haven’t seen the film yet, so I can only speak from my place as a songwriter for the title track and given the basics of the story, I would just say that it’s about what music means to you… you know, here’s two guys that haven’t been together in a while, and wanting to get back together even though they might not be at their best – it’s about what it means to you at the end of the day.

F: So can we expect a tour this Winter in support of the new album?

AH: Ha!  I’m always on tour. I’m doing dates this week and next.  As long as I can walk, eat, sleep, breathe, and travel, I’ll be doing live shows. How else do you get to go to the Waffle House so often?  That’s how you stay out of the Awful House.  {laughs}   No, but starting November 5th I’ll be doing 6 weeks straight, so keep checking www.anthonyhamilton.com for my tour dates, and all the other news.

—Interview by Jocelyne Ninneman for Fusicology

>The album is “The Point of it All” due out on Zomba/So So Def Records this December 2nd, 2008.

>Listen out for “Cool” featuring David Banner, already in rotation, and the video also due out in November.

>As always, check Fusicology.com for Anthony’s tour dates, which begin November 5th.