*The story of psychedelic soul band Sly and the Family Stone kicks off a new 8-episode season of TV One’s “Unsung,” the NAACP Image Award-winning series celebrating the lives and careers of successful artists or groups who, despite great talent, have not received the level of recognition they deserve or whose stories have never been told.
Also set for this summer are episodes on R&B songstress Angela Bofill, rap collective Arrested Development, the late Gerald Levert and 70s band Con Funk Shun.
TV One Executive Vice President of Original Programming and Production Toni Judkins states: “While we have now produced several dozen episodes of Unsung, it t is remarkable that we have no shortage of incredibly talented candidates for new episodes – and our audience continues to want more. The winter 2012 season of Unsung was our highest-rated, most-watched season ever, and we look forward to celebrating with our viewers more amazing stories of great talent this summer and helping to paint that richer portrait of black music in America.”
Rounding out “Unsung’s” summer slate are rapper Kool Moe Dee, soul icon Lou Rawls and Motown group The Marvelettes.
View the schedule below:
Sly & the Family Stone (June 25)
Angela Bofill (July 2)
Con Funk Shun (July 9)
Kool Moe Dee (July 16)
The Marvelettes (July 23)
Gerald Levert (July 30)
Arrested Development (Aug. 13)
Lou Rawls (Aug. 20)
*Gospel and R&B singer James Phelps, who performed with such legendary soul artists as Lou Rawls and Sam Cooke, has died in Los Angeles. He was 78.
Elder Lee M. Harris, who co-wrote an autobiography of Phelps (pictured below), said the singer died Tuesday at a Los Angeles hospital, apparently from complications of diabetes, reports the Associated Press.
Phelps was born in Shreveport, La. In his late teens he moved to Chicago, where he performed with several gospel groups including the Gospel Songbirds, the Holy Wonders and the Soul Stirrers. It was with the Holy Wonders that Phelps performed with Rawls. He met Cooke while a member of the Soul Stirrers.
Phelps was a founder of the group Clefs of Calvary and had a hit single “Love is a Five-Letter Word” in 1965 with Chess Records. [Listen below.]
*Bobby Hebb, whose pop song “Sunny” crossed racial and genre lines to become a huge hit, died Tuesday at a hospital in Nashville, officials said Tuesday. He was 72.
A spokesman at Nashville Centennial Medical Center did not disclose the cause of death.
Hebb, the son of black musicians who played city streets as “Hebb’s Kitchen Cabinet Orchestra,” wrote his signature song after his brother was stabbed to death in a street fight in 1963. The song was also recorded by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown and others, and was covered by the Beatles on their final U.S. tour.
Hebb, born Robert Von Hebb on July 26, 1938, in Nashville, was the only African-American presence on the Grand Ole Opry in the early 1950s, integrating RoyAcuff’s band and touring the South. He danced, sang and played guitar, trumpet, percussion and piano, and recorded his own music in Nashville studios.
Later, Hebb co-wrote “A Natural Man” with Sandy Brown which won a Grammy for Lou Rawls.
Hebb issued the album “Love Games” in 1970, and then withdrew from the spotlight.
*A man has admitted setting fire to the offices of Philadelphia International Records, though his attorney says he was too drunk to remember doing it.
Christopher Cimini pleaded guilty Tuesday to arson and related charges, reports the Associated Press.
The former label home of Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls and the O’Jays was owned by legendary producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, who created the Sound of Philadelphia and produced classic hits for Patti LaBelle, the O’Jays and Teddy Pendergrass to name a few.
The fire was confined to a 3rd floor area, and luckily, the classic records are kept in a vault off of the premises. But much of the memorabilia from those golden years were lost in the blaze.
Investigators have said Cimini was drunk and likely thought he was somewhere else when he broke into, vandalized and set a fire in the downtown building Feb. 21.
Cimini’s lawyer Gina Capuano said Tuesday that his blood-alcohol content was four times the legal limit for driving. Sentencing is Sept. 10.