*Now that you’ve seen the “Unsung” episode on Grammy Award-winning crooner Billy Paul, listen to our exclusive interviews with his songwriter/producer Leon Huff and widow Blanche Williams in the latest episode our For The Record podcast with Lee Bailey.
Each gives even more of their take on Paul’s unique talent both in front of the microphone and away from the studio. Also, Huff and Williams take a deeper dive into the origins and aftermath of Paul’s indelible 1972 hit “Me and Mrs. Jones.”
Huff expounds on the story of meeting his writing/producing partner Kenny Gamble for breakfast every morning at the same spot before going into the studio, and seeing one of his friends dining there every morning with a woman that Huff knew was NOT his friend’s wife!
“I said, ‘Gamble, that must be his side chick.’ They sat at the same table every time at that restaurant when me and Gamble were eating there, at the same time,” Huff tells EURweb’s Lee Bailey. “And she’d go to that jukebox and play the same song. And Gamble wrote it the same way, of course I collaborated on the music, but it was written the same way that they played it out.”
In part two of the podcast, hear Blanche Williams give her take on the song (considering it was about a man cheating on his woman) and whether or not she took the lyrics personally.
Williams also reveals for the first time that her late husband had a serious penchant for restoring old furniture.
Listen to the podcast in its entirety below.
Freda Payne Pairs with Johnny Mathis for Gershwin Duet ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’ / VIDEO
*Los Angeles — When Freda met Johnny – Freda Payne and Johnny Mathis, that is – chemistry and musicality abounded as they breathed delicious life into George & Ira Gershwin’s classic, “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” As a tantalizing sneak peek evidence of Freda Payne’s first project since 2014’s acclaimed Come Back to Me Love, the sound of these legends’ voices together on one mic for the first time anywhere/anytime is a treat for the ears and hearts of all, arriving just in time to warm them for the holidays…a season of love, sharing and wistfulness as special for the singers as it is their ardent fans.
“I was so happy that he agreed to do it,” Freda delights beaming! “Many singers request for Johnny to sing duets but he doesn’t grant that wish for everybody. I thought I was more honored to work with him but he was honored, too – tickled and honored. It reminded me of when David Gest and I saw his show at The Mirage in Las Vegas then went backstage with Steve Wynn and his wife to say hello. When Johnny came out to greet us, I was so in awe…but he was giving me waves and bows of playful ‘I’m not worthy!” It touched me so to see that he was not afraid to give kudos to others. So, when I saw him walking down the halls of Capitol Records in Hollywood into ‘Studio A,’ I was like, ‘He has arrived – thank you Jesus!’ It was lovely recording our vocals perched on stools side by side.”
Producer Rodrigo Rios had the idea for Freda to cover “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and to sing it as a duet with Mr. Mathis. He handled the business overtures himself and, once Mathis graciously accepted, Rios turned to Grammy-winner Gordon Goodwin to pen the arrangement and bring in his Big Phat Band to accompany them. Everything came together like hands in silk gloves – with charm and grace as the pair glided smoothly through the time-kissed melody.
“They Can’t Take That Away From Me” is a 1937 popular song with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin that went on to become a Jazz standard and a chestnut of The Great American Songbook. It was introduced by Fred Astaire in the film “Shall We Dance” singing on the foggy deck of a New Jersey to Manhattan ferry to Ginger Rogers who remains silent listening throughout. No dance sequence follows which was unusual for the Astaire-Rogers numbers (though they did dance to it later in their final/reunion musical, “The Barkleys of Broadway” for MGM in 1949). Subsequent recordings of note range from the groundbreaking Charlie Parker with Strings LP in 1950 to Frank Sinatra in 1954, and Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong in 1956.
Now Freda Payne and Johnny Mathis add their magical and heartwarming spin on the gem for a new generation to swoon over and enjoy!
“They Can’t Take That Away From Me” was produced by Rodrigo Rios, co-produced by Freda Payne and executive produced by James M. Goetz. It will be released in November via The Sound of L.A. Records with distribution, marketing and promotion handled by company proprietors Michael & Anissa Sutton.
“They Can’t Take That Away From Me” – Produced by Rodrigo Rios
source: Pump It Up Magazine
It’s All About H.E.R. Music / WATCH
*H.E.R. is a soulful R&B singer, who plays electric guitar with the style of Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Yet, she has her own style of singing and her own manner of playing the guitar.
While it is more common to see female singing recording artists playing piano during their performances, it’s a bit more of a rarity to see the combination of a female singer-electric guitarist, especially one that has designed a Fender Stratocaster for the iconic guitar maker. In essence, she is the first Black woman to have her own signature Strat, which she showcased when she appeared on “Saturday Night Live” this past October (2020).
As the show’s musical guest, H.E.R. performed her new single “Damage” and debuted “Hold On.”
During the two-time Grammy-winner’s extraordinary vocal showcase on “SNL”, it was difficult to miss her guitar brilliance and even harder to miss the uniquely designed guitar she was playing.
“The H.E.R. Stratocaster makes a statement as bold as the artist who inspired it,” said a Fender company executive.
“I’ve looked up to a lot of guitar players, but there haven’t been many Black female artists who have been in this position and have been able to represent Black women,” H.E.R. said. “The goal is to inspire with this guitar.”
H.E.R. adds that the idea of what’s she is doing as a guitarist goes beyond inspiration, as she wants to leave a legacy.
“The legacy I want to leave is just to inspire and pass the torch on to the next girls who want to kill it on the guitar,” said H.E.R.
Lakers Re-sign LeBron James and Anthony Davis / VIDEO
*Los Angeles Lakers fans are too thrilled these days because the chances of winning another championship in 2021 just got better. If you haven’t heard, the team announced on Thursday that they have officially re-signed both LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
First up was James’ deal. He inked a two-year, $85 million contract through the 2022-23 season on Wednesday. The extension will take him into his age 39/40 season, but because he’s LeBron James his age doesn’t matter. He’s still performing at an extremely high level.
“LeBron James is a transcendent basketball player and human being,” said vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka in a press release. “LeBron put his trust in the Lakers in 2018, and now this contract extension paves the way for LeBron to further solidify his legacy as an all-time Lakers great. We could not be more honored by this commitment.”
Now, let’s talk about AD, Anthony Davis. He was a free agent this off-season, but he signed his new deal with the Lakers only hours after James on Thursday morning, opting for a five-year contract worth up to $190 million. Many thought the 27-year-old would sign for two years with a player option for the third season, as that would have given him the most flexibility possible and allowed him to re-enter the market for his next deal having just met the criteria (10 years of service) to earn up to 35 per cent of the cap, reports Sportsnet.
“In the Orlando bubble, Anthony Davis proved he is one of the game’s most complete and dominant two-way players,” Pelinka said of the big man. “Now, Lakers fans get to watch AD continue to grow and lead our franchise for years to come. This is truly a blessed moment for Lakers Nation.”
With these deals done, it appears that both players expect to play a good deal (or most) of their respective careers with the Los Angeles Lakers.
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