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At His Age, the Headmaster's Still Got Plenty of Soul

British blue-eyed soul singer Nick Lowe played London's pub scene in the '70s in the band Brinsley Schwarz, produced five albums for Elvis Costello, and played with Ry Cooder and Jon Hiatt in Little Village. Now he's back with a solo album, his ninth, called At My Age, and he joins Terry Gross for an interview and an in-studio performance.


Looking Back at 'Sister Love': Lorraine Ellison on CD

Fresh Air's resident rock historian remembers soul singer Lorraine Ellison, who recorded a handful of albums and dozens of singles in the '60s and '70s; though she charted a few R&B hits, she never quite broke through to stardom.

Ellison's biggest success was with the string-saturated ballad "Stay With Me," which topped out at No. 11 on the R&B charts and has since been covered by everyone from Bette Midler to teenybopper idol Rex Smith.


Amy Winehouse Debuts with 'Back to Black'

Amy Winehouse is a 23 year-old British singer-songwriter who takes much of her inspiration from American soul and R&B. Her American debut album, Back To Black, topped the British charts and hit the American charts at number seven.


Booker T. Jones: A Life in Music

With his band the MGs, Booker T. Jones created the classic instrumental "Green Onions." But they were also the studio band for Stax Records, making music with soul artists such as Otis Redding, Ray Charles and Wilson Pickett. A new two-CD box set features Stax highlights and Booker T. is now back on tour.


Four Years of James Brown Singles

A review of a new collection of James Brown's first four years of singles: James Brown: The Singles: The Federal Years 1956-1960 (Hip-O Select). James Brown was one of the most distinctive and influential musical figures of the last half-century. He was a one-of-a-kind performer, which wasn't always something that worked in his favor.


Remembering Singer James Brown

The "Godfather of Soul" passed away on December 25, 2006. Brown is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, blending gospel, rhythm and blues, and funk. His many hits include "Get Up Offa That Thing," "Funky President," "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," "Super Bad," and "I Got You." The self-proclaimed "Hardest Working Man in Show Business" received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and was one of the first musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Return of the Original 'Soul Man'

Sam Moore, formerly of the duo Sam and Dave, is the voice most associated with the hits "Hold On! I'm Comin" and "Soul Man." His persona was the inspiration for The Blues Brothers characters immortalized by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi on Saturday Night Live. Moore has a new solo album, Sam Moore: Overnight Sensational.


Hacienda Brothers and 'What's Wrong'

Musicians Chris Gaffney and Dave Gonzalez of the Hacienda Brothers discuss their new album, What's Wrong with Right. The band, based in Tuscon, Arizona, blends country and rhythm and blues, and 'What's Wrong with Right' is a mix of original songs and covers. Their producer is the legendary Dan Penn.


Ruth Brown: Remembering Miss Rhythm

Rhythm-and-blues singer Ruth Brown died last week at the age of 78 from complications following a heart attack. Brown got her start in the 1940s and influenced an entire generation of singers including Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Little Richard and Bonnie Raitt. Her hits include "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean" and "Teardrops From My Eyes." Later, she appeared in John Waters' film Hairspray and in the Broadway hit Black and Blue. She published an autobiography, Miss Rhythm, in 1996. Rhythm." This interview originally aired on Dec. 22, 1997.


Remembering Floyd Dixon

Rock historian Ed Ward pays tribute to Floyd Dixon, a pioneering rhythm & blues singer and piano player who died this summer at age 77.


Smokey Robinson's 'Timeless Love'

On his new album, Timeless Love, rhythm and blues legend Smokey Robinson sings hits from the American songbook, including "I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Baby)," "Night and Day" and "More Than You Know." Robinson William "Smokey" Robinson recorded dozens of top 40 hits for the Motown label as a solo artist and with The Miracles.


Aretha's Little-Known Siblings

Rock historian Ed Ward profiles the early years of the Franklin sisters. Aretha Franklin is a renowned soul legend, but her two sisters, Carolyn and Erma, were also singers.


R&B from Jaheim, Van Hunt

At a time when hip-hop dominates the R&B scene, it's often easier for a rapper to achieve commercial success than a singer. Our music critic examines why that is, in his review of two new albums by R&B vocalists: Ghetto Classics by Jaheim and On the Jungle Floor by Van Hunt.


Vintage Sounds of Miami Reborn: 'Eccentric Soul'

The legendary soul scene in Miami that had its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s is the subject of a new retrospective. Eccentric Soul: The Deep City Label the imprint that discovered Betty Wright, Paul Kelly, and Clarence "Blowfly" Reid.


Giants of Soul: A New Approach

For his latest release, producer and troubadour Joe Henry worked with giants in soul music, from Allen Toussaint to Mavis Staples. It was quite a departure for Henry, whose songs include "Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation."


The Measure of Sam Cooke's 'Triumph'

Biographer Peter Guralnick's new book is Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke. Guralnick follows the life of rhythm and blues legend Sam Cooke from his roots in gospel music through his legendary career as a singer and songwriter whose hits include "You Send Me," "Only Sixteen" and many others.


Early Motown Singles Compiled on CD

Rock historian Ed Ward takes us back to the early days of Motown. The first volume of The Complete Motown Singles has just been released on Hip-O Select, with 11 volumes to come.


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