October 21, 2008
Labelle [Verve Records] *** CDS Well, it's better late than never. The last time Labelle, the legendary trio of Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash, recorded an album together was in 1976. The year before, after toiling on the rock and R&B circuits for more than a decade, the powerhouse threesome topped the pop charts with the disco-funk classic "Lady Marmalade." But the sudden success proved to be too much. So the longtime friends hung up their famed space-cadet get-ups and went their separate ways.
September 4, 2008
Patti LaBelle thought the magic was gone, so she didn't want to do it at first. Besides, too much time had passed. More than 30 years ago, the soul diva and her longtime girlfriends Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash - collectively known as Labelle - were among the hottest, strangest groups in pop. They were three black women dressed in outrageous drag (feathers galore, mile-high platforms, even metal breastplates) belting full-throttle, in-your-face songs about sex and politics. The trio's biggest hit was 1975's "Lady Marmalade," a funky ditty with a memorable French chorus about a New Orleans prostitute.
May 29, 2008
Just announced Patti LaBelle -- Pier Six Pavilion on Sept. 6. 410-547-7328 or ticketmaster.com. Rick Ross & Friends -- 1st Mariner Arena on June 20. 410-547-7328 or ticketmaster.com. Deanna Bogart Band -- Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis on July 26. 410-268-4545 or ramsheadtavern.com. All Time Low -- Rams Head Live on July 18. 410-244-1131 or ramsheadlive.com. emmet swimming -- The 9:30 Club in Washington on June 28. 800-955-5566 or tickets.com. Still available Kenny G -- Wolf Trap Barns in Vienna, Va., on June 12. 410-481-6500 or 800-955-5566.
May 7, 2008
IN A way he is a modern breed of film star. A man as interested in the business of show as he is in performance. An amalgam of magnetism and marketing savvy. Talented and shameless. A charming control freak. George Clooney minus the smugness. Arnold minus the skeeve. Tom Cruise minus the crazy. Ryan Seacrest, if Seacrest were a man." That's Alison Glock writing in Men's Journal about Dwayne Johnson, formerly known as pro wrestling's "The Rock" and later as a tight-jawed, heavily muscled action hero in over-the-top projects such as The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King.
March 13, 2008
On the playlist this week, I check out two new compilations: one from an early muse for the Neptunes, the other from the architects of the Philly Soul sound. Kelis, The Hits: --When this Harlem native broke onto the pop scene in '99, I dug her right away. Her music -- anchored by the noisy rock textures and propulsive, ricocheting beats of the Neptunes -- was a sonic bag of Skittles. Kelis' first hit single, "Caught Out There," stood out on urban radio at the time with its screaming chorus: "I hate you so much right now."
August 5, 2007
Where do you go to find out about the history of gospel music? You can try the Internet. However, Bil Carpenter, who has done promotions work for such artists as Baltimore's Jonathan Nelson, the Staple Singers and Shirley Ceaser, has put together Uncloudy Days (Backbeat), a gospel music encyclopedia about more than 650 artists and personalities from 1900 to the present. Carpenter, a Washington resident, says he began the project because of his interest in history. He got into gospel music as a youth and started to collect information about the artists.