Aretha Franklin

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Bobby Womack

March 4, 1944 — June 27, 2014 

 Bobby Womack, one of the last great legends of soul music, has passed into lore, leaving an incomparable legacy a generation will long remember. They don’t make music like this anymore, haven’t for quite some time, and quite likely never will again. Bobby Womack, a.k.a. “The Preacher,” harked from an era when dyed-in-the-wool artists honed their craft and cut their teeth the hard way, paying their proverbial dues in bars and clubs, creating a distinct sound in the recording studio. Without benefit of big-money backers and engineering gimmicks, groundbreakers like Bobby Womack made history. He came up under such seminal figures as Sam Cooke and James Brown, backing up his lifelong hero Cooke on guitar and vocals, playing the Valentinos a.k.a. The Womack Brothers on tour with the James Brown Revue. Continue Reading →

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This Week’s Entertainment Spotlights


Chastity Brown 

Sun., Mar. 9, 11 am

Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis

Call 612-276-6523 or go to  

 Joe Louis Walker 

Fri., Mar. 7, 8 pm

Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, 1010 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis

Call 612-332-1010 or go to  


Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole 

Sun., Mar. Continue Reading →

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Lorber and company wow Dakota crowd

Jazz and R&B heavyweights come together for “special show”


By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Last week was the first time I attended a Dakota Jazz Club late show. Several patrons that attended the earlier Jeff Lorber, Everette Harp, Shawn LaBelle, and Stokley Williams set on August 28 told me that I wouldn’t be disappointed. They weren’t wrong. Billed as “a special show featuring four of the biggest names in contemporary jazz and R&B,” the four veteran artists easily could have done a solo performance at the downtown Minneapolis club, but as a quartet, they nonetheless rocked the house. LaBelle, who plays keyboards and bass, assembled the quartet: “It means a lot to have all these guys come in. Continue Reading →

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Legendary guitarist still going strong with new CD — Self-taught virtuoso has recorded over 30 albums



By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer



Earl Klugh’s 60th birthday is this coming September. As a result he is celebrating with his first solo record since 2006. “A birthday gift to me? I didn’t think of it that way,” admits Klugh on HandPicked, his first CD release by Heads Up International. It is his third solo effort, but his first “with multiple original solo guitar pieces.” The 16-track set hit stores on July 30. Continue Reading →

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Respect the tresses

How many times have you combed your hair or watched someone comb their hair so hard the head shakes like one of those bobble-head dolls? That, my friends, can produce major stress to the scalp and hair, creating hair damage. As Diana Ross & the Supremes would say, “Stop! in the name of love,” followed up by Aretha Franklin…RESPECT. Yes, respect the curls. Continue Reading →

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Sandra Robinson Hodges speaks with MSR about her starring role in Mahalia



By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer


Going backstage to the dressing room, congratulating Sandra Robinson Hodges on her triumphant turn as Mahalia Jackson at the Old Log Theater, you’d never guess she’s Twin Cities’ gospel royalty, not from her unassuming manner.  She greets you with a warm smile, “Just call me Sandy,” and is fairly shy about accepting compliments. For the record though, if she did have a swelled head, it’d be hard to blame her. For one, she has worked and recorded with her more famous brother, Robert Robinson, most notably at the well-renowned Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir, where she succeeded him as artistic and executive director.  Among her accomplishments in the area, she performed as both lead and background vocalist on albums for the Sam Davis Gospel Ensemble, Minneapolis Gospel Sound, and Excelsior Choral Ensemble.  Nationally, she has performed with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Jermaine Jackson, and Prince. There’s considerably more, including her present tenure as choir director at Park Avenue United Methodist Church and chapel choir director at Bethel University.  Suffice to say, illustrious singer Sandra Hodges (SH) indeed is an entity of considerable consequence.  During the run of Mahalia, where she shared the stage with gifted performers Dianne E’Laine and Sam Reeves, she granted the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder an email interview to reflect on her artistry.  

MSR: How did you come to do this role?  Were you in the premiere? Continue Reading →

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Old Log’s Mahalia delivers in song



Old Log Theater’s Mahalia, starring Sandra Robinson Hodges with Dianne E’Laine and Sam Reeves Old Log Theater is flaws and all, a winning ticket. This is the second go around for the production, which premiered at Old Log in 1994. Ironically it’s a slice of African American theater, indeed, a page from Black history, running way out in the middle of White suburbia. And well worth the trip. Local gospel luminary Sandra Robinson Hodges is a natural to play Mahalia Jackson, the music immortal, civil rights activist and cultural icon. Continue Reading →

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Redistribution needed when the rich reap what the poor sow

“I know there are some who believe that if you simply take from some and give to others, then we’ll all be better off. It’s known as redistribution. It’s never been a characteristic of America… I believe the way to lift people and help people have higher incomes is not to take from some and give to others, but to create wealth for all of us,” said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently. Of course the formula that Romney describes has worked quite well for the one percent. That is exactly how they have enriched themselves: They have taken from others and given to themselves. Continue Reading →

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