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The Soul Show: Wonder’s ’71 @71; Soulful Femme; GSH, Turner, Preston inductions

For this Stevie Wonder 71st birthday week, The Soul Show spotlights the 50th anniversary of Stevie’s first breakaway album, “Where I’m Coming From”. It was 1971 when the Motown prodigy had his chance to present the future, mature vision of his music.

1971 was also the year of Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On,” and The Soul Show presents an early peek at the WYEP testimonials to that album.  Stevee Wellons, the vocalist of duo Soulful Femme, provides reflections on WGO when it shook her teenage life.

I’ll debut the brand new Soulful Femme CD on Three Rivers at Three. Stevee Wellons gets two nods today.

The RRHOF induction of Gil Scott-Heron is a big deal for The Soul Show.  I celebrate with some favorite tracks.  I’ll also present early Billy Preston music from the Sam Cooke SAR label. Also, a big induction congratulation to Tina Turner, with something from her transformative ‘Private Dancer’ and another from her Herbie Hancock collaboration.

TSS features new singles from Hiatus Kaiyote and Navy.


Sa-Roc’s ‘The Sharecropper’s Daughter’ is my album pick this month in Pittsburgh City Paper. Both editions of The Soul Show dig into this release so you can hear for yourself.


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The Year 1971, Vibin’ debut on 5/10, Mother’s Day

The Year 1971: 2021 marks the 50th anniversaries of many great albums. Last week, The Soul Show featured the entire Side B of Mandrill’s eponymous 1971 debut. This weekend, I’ll do the same with Earth, Wind & Fire’s sophomore release, ‘The Need Of Love‘: no Philip Bailey, Jean and Doug Carn guesting, a funky cover of Donny Hathaway’s ‘Everything Is Everything,’ a Jewish pseudonym in the lineup, Sherry Scott preceding the short-lived Jessica Cleaves on female vocals. The spotlight begins at 4pm Eastern on 5/8, WYEP.

TSS celebrates Oleta Adams, James Brown and Philip Bailey birthdays. I’ll delve more deeply into ‘The Sharecropper’s Daughter’ by Sa-Roc. Bonerama horn-blasts their way through a Zep cover, and recent CMU grad Jaron Crawford represents on Three Rivers at Three. I’ll play dreamy music from the unlikely pairing of jazz B3 specialist Lonnie Smith and punk godfather Iggy Pop. As I feature the second track from these gentlemen, it’s clear that the formula is working.

3R@3, the regular Pittsburgh-centric feature, features solo music from Marcels front man Walt Maddox. Check out the press kit from 1970.

And there’s Mother’s Day. I’ll play Cody Chestnutt, J5, Aretha, The Suffers and, yes, The Intruders (“You only get one, you only get one, yeh-ahhhhh).


George T., a veteran substitute on The Soul Show and Grand Groove Radio, introduces his very own Vibin’ show on Monday night. Today I’ll talk about how I met GT and encouraged him to bring his musical Rain Man talents to WYEP.

Vibin’s host producing Episode 1 at Electric Geo Studios
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Vandross at Seventy, Prince at Five, Funky Drummer, Worrell

There are a lot of milestones to cover on The Soul Show this week.

Luther Vandross, whom I think of as The Last Soul Crooner, would have had 70 candles. I’ll swing through his musical life that included David Bowie work, his early self-named band, and the first big album.

Bootsy Collins, the James Brown and Parliament Funkadelic bassist, honored his bandmates Clyde Stubblefield and Bernie Worrell in birthday posts. Clyde is the fabled Funky Drummer who created a whole new template, and Bernie brought classical training to the synthesizer. When Clyde passed in 2017, the great drummer Poogie Bell stopped by the WYEP studios to explain how Clyde brought swing to funk. You’ll hear that narrative today.

Poogie Bell reminiscing about Stubblefield (soulshowmike image, 2017)

Bernie Worrell’s music will span Parliament Funkadelic, his own Orchestra and the one-off Socialybrium project.

Bernie Worrell with the Bernie Worrell Orchestra, 2014 (soulshowmike image)

I interviewed rocker Nona Hendryx in 2016, shortly after her New York fundraiser for Bernie’s medical treatments:

Prince died 5 years ago, and The Soul Show invited co-founder Stef Chatman to share reflections. I excerpted segments of that 2016 episode to share with you. Also, there’s a brand new Prince release for you to hear.

TSS co-founder Stephen Chatman (soulshowmike image)

WTJX US Virgin Islands, Rhode Island Public Radio and other markets carry the syndicated edition of The Soul Show. This coming week, I’ll play that new Hiatus Kaiyote and Dawn Richard, play some more Prince, and feature Tuff Lion reggae from the USVI.

I was interviewed on the TJX daily talk show Analyze This. It was great to connect with host Neville James, an old schoolmate I hadn’t talked to in decades. Also, hearing the listener calls flowing in was special.

Enjoy the shows!

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The Soul Show’s Prince Tribute, Revisited

Five years ago, long after Stef Chatman had left TSS, and before George T. became an established WYEP host, the three of us came together to honor Prince. Stef dialed in to the WYEP production room, and George and I recorded a three-way conversation that wove through topics and musical selections. The 4/23/16 presentation was a mix of live broadcast and the pre-produced pieces.

With the intensity of the event, I forgot to initiate the archive recording until 15 minutes in. The original archive posted on Mixcloud has had that gap all of these years, but I’ve now replaced it with a full 3-hour splice of WYEP archive tape and my own. It was time to get this done for the 2021 anniversary of The Purple. It is also poignant, of course, because it revives memories of Stef’s great energy.

Enjoy.

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Songs For Our Times on The Soul Show

On The Soul Show on WYEP this afternoon, it’s time for some more songs for our times. Marley’s “Johnny Was,” Khris Royal’s “Song for Trayvon” and others will set the tone in the second half of Hour 2.

A-Money & The Downtown City has a new single, and I’ll continue the track-by-track dive into Afro Yaqui’s acclaimed 2021 release. Also, more from George Heid’s sophomore album. That’s all on Three Rivers at Three, 1500 Eastern.

I’ll highlight the birthdays of Robeson and Hancock. Herbie turned 81. We did a big tribute last year, but every landmark for him is special.

The City Paper featured my monthly Soulshowmike’s Album Picks this week. The editor asked if I had any interesting ties to offer for the annual Marijuana issue. Of course there was a story to tell. The story on TSS will weave from Neil Young to The Isley Brothers. I think you’ll enjoy.


The syndicated edition of The Soul Show is chock full of new music this week: Esperanza Spalding, Zo!, Gramps Morgan and Hiatus Kaiyote. Check out the broadcast grid to find a good time to air or stream.

WTJX US Virgin Islands was the first station to pick up the syndicated Soul Show. Next week, their daily morning show Analyze This will interview me. The host is a former member of the VI Legislature and a St. Croix schoolmate. Check it out.

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BB Dickerson, co-founder of War & Lowrider Band

On Saturday’s WYEP episode of The Soul Show, I’ll pay tribute to BB Dickerson, founding member of the acts War and Lowrider Band. His bandmate and uncle, Howard Scott, will tell about the bassist’s contributions to the music.

Howard Scott of Lowrider Band, Heritage Blues Festival (Wheeling, WV) 2015
soulshowmike image

MLK’s birthday is always celebrated. April 4th, the anniversary of his young death, must also be recognized. There is music from Marcus Lewis Big Band and Gil Scott-Heron.

WYEP is recognizing National Siblings Day, and The Soul Show will have some fun with that theme. I planned to sprinkle some brother/sister acts into the mix, but got carried away (of course).

Brian Edwards and Geenpool represent Pittsburgh artists in the Three Rivers at Three segment. Also, MG’s alum Steve Cropper will get a spin of his 2021 release.


The syndicated edition of TSS on the African American Public Radio Consortium follows the style and shape of the original WYEP show, but provides an entirely different playlist each week. Afro Yaqui Music Collective and Jon Lucien represent two of the cities that broadcast the AAPRC show. Other highlights: I’ll play Valerie June with Carla Thomas, Chicago Soul Jazz Collective, Carla with Otis Redding, Raja Kasis of Antibalas, Speech Debelle, Amp Fiddler covering Jimi, Ashford & Simpson.


The archives for all recent broadcasts are posted in the Archives for your on-demand enjoyment.

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The Soul Show on Saturday Afternoon

The Soul Show on Saturday afternoon returns to “regular” programming after eight weekends of BHM and WHM. In case you missed any, the archives are available for your on-demand pleasure.

That was then, and this is now. On Three Rivers at Three, I’ll debut Kenny Stockard’s new single and Afro Yaqui Music Collective’s 2021 “Maroon Futures.” Also, Jon Batiste’s full “We Are” release has dropped, so now we can go beyond the introductory single. We’ll celebrate a Marvin Gaye birthday.


The syndicated edition of TSS on WTJX and Rhode Island Public Radio will present a brand new Teri Tobin track and something from Spirit Finger called “Inside.” I’ll play a 2021 release from Angelo Moore of Fishbone. It’s a bit more peace-and-love than some of his other solo material with The Brand New Step. In fact, it reminds me of Cameo’s late-career socially conscious work.

Then there’s a beautifully dark and vivid gangland story told by Ghostface Killah and Adrian Younge. I’ll play consecutive tracks from “12 Reasons To Die.” I call this Black Gotham. It’s crazy.

Representing southern NE, Tavares is on tap for the WTJX listeners.

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The Soul Show, WHM Wknd 4: Wood, Brass & Steel

Brandee Younger at Pittsburgh Int’l Jazz Festival 2019

The Soul Show on Weekend 4 of WHM carries the theme “Wood, Brass & Steel.” It’s all about women on instruments, like Brandee Younger on harp and Sister Rosetta Tharpe on electric guitar (long before Hendrix). Weekends 1-3 went like this:

Weekend 1All Day Women (just like it says)
Weekend 2Second To None (women who emerged from backup singing roles to center stage)
Weekend 3Bloodlines (women of musical families)

Check out these shows on-demand in Archives.

Today we’ll also pay tribute to the great Paul Jackson, Jr., co-founder of the Headhunters. The self-titled release, performed with Hancock, Maupin and Summers, became the best-selling jazz album of all time. I’ll play a track from that and another from the post-Hancock era. It’s one where Jackson plays bass and sings.


On the “other” Soul Show, airing on WTJX and other national stations during the coming week, I have a lot of new music to present. “Jazz Is Dead 6,” this time a Younge/Muhammad collaboration with Gary Bartz, was made available in late March. Marlon McClain sent both his latest and that of his niece, vocalist Whitney McClain. There’s also new Tim Bowman and Angelo Moore. Perhaps the most intriguing new entry is a Valerie June duet with fellow Memphian and Stax queen Carla Thomas.

On top of all of that, there will be the ongoing presentation of the classics. There’s everything from Stevie Wonder to Mandrill to The Outlaw Gang.

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Women’s History Month Wknd 3: “Bloodlines”

On WYEP, The Soul Show’s theme for Weekend 3 of WHM is “Bloodlines.” We’ll feature women and members of their musical families, like Akina Adderley and her grandfather, Nat Sr.; Taka Boom/Chaka Khan; and the Hathaways. Toshi Reagon, daughter of Sweet Honey in the Rock’s founder, is also part of the presentation. If you’d like some background, check out my 2019 interview with her.

Lalah Hathaway, August Wilson Center, Novemeber 2016. soulshowmike image

I’ll play more music from Gayelynn McKinney, daughter of the great jazz musician Harold. I selected her album ‘Zoot Suit Funk’ as a March album pick in my Pittsburgh City Paper column.


On Saturday night, the syndicated edition of TSS will feature a bit of new music. IZY of Australia has an album named ‘Irene’ that is already feeling like a 2021 Top Ten candidate. I’ll dig deeper into ‘Nocturne Unplugged’ by David Walters. Lenora Zenzalai Helms’ ‘Love of Big Band’ release will get a play – it was also written up in my City Paper column. New music from Str4ta, a Brit-funk side project by Bluey of Incognito, will be introduced. Midnite represents the Virgin Islands; Jeffrey Osborne & L.T.D., Providence; and Leaky Faucet, the city of Pittsburgh.

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