Austin City Limits Music Festival 2011 – Saturday

On Saturday, I started the day with the cosmic cowboys vibes of Phosphorescent. I especially liked the song “Nothing Was Stolen (Love Me Foolishly)” off their album Here’s To Taking It Easy. Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros performed songs from this new solo release Alexander. As Alexander the hippy guru brings folksy grooves like the opener “Awake My Body.”

Alison Kraus with the voice of an angel and bluegrass band from heaven performed a sweet set of classics. The band Union Station includes the fantastic pickers Jerry Douglas and Dan Tyminski.  Tyminski sang the crowd please “I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow,” the hit track from the Cohen Brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Alison Krauss and Union Station’s set list also included my favorites “When You Say Nothing At All,” “The Lucky One,” and “Let Me Touch You for Awhile.”

From the soft bluegrass of Alison Kraus to the ear crushing dubstep of Skrillex was a nice juxtaposition. Skrillex’s wobbling sounds and remixes included samples from Damian Marley and Major Lazer. This was the youngest and most energetic crowd I have seen in a long time. It reminded me of the grunge rock shows of the 1990s in an odd way. Skrillex has a punky feel in a in your face type of way. The music literally fucks with your brain. The crowd responded with gusto to the hit single “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites.” 

Cee-Lo followed Skrillex with a poppy soul set that included the summer banger and middle finger to the world jam “Fuck You.” He also performed the Gnarlz Barkley smash hit “Crazy.” The real musicianship though was under the tent where the Del McCoury Band joined forces with the Preservation Jazz Hall Band playing songs like “I’ll Fly Away” and “Jambalaya from their album American Legacies.

The evening concluded with a magnificent set by the king of Motown Stevie Wonder. “Superstition,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours),” “Sir Duke,” “For Once In My Life” and “My Cherie Amour” were all on the set list.  The funky politicized jam “Living For The City” rocked the park while the reggaefied funk of Master Blaster (Jammin’) brought people to their feet. My favorite song of the day was Stevie’s high powered “Higher Ground.”

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Austin City Limits Music Festival 2011 – Saturday

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2011 – Friday

The 10th Anniversary of the Austin City Limits Festival brought together a diversified lineup from dubstep deejay Skrillex to bluegrass angel Alison Krauss to motown king Stevie Wonder to west Texas songsmith Ryan Bingham. As always I began my first day with the western swing revivalists Asleep at the Wheel. They opened with “Miles and Miles of Texas.” Ray Benson and his band of accomplished musicians played Bob Wills standards like “New San Antonio Rose” and songs about Bob like the Waylon Jennings classic “Bob Wills Is Still The King.” The Wheel played their hit “Hot Rod Lincoln” and a new song originally performed with Willie Nelson called “Hesitation Blues.” On the set list appeared “Get Your Kicks on Route 66,” “Bump Bounce Boogie,” and “Boogie Back to Texas.” The Wheel brought the sounds of western swing alive.

I caught the end of the Theophilus London set. Banging beats, fresh rhymes, and creative samples impressed this particular listener. For example, London looped a sample of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” over a fat beat dropping science in the rain. London also played his hit “Love Is Real.” The juxtaposition of hip hop with the sweet sounds of the Secret Sisters, in my opinion, is the beauty of a good festival. Diversity is essential.

The Secret Sisters played their hit song “Tennessee Me,” but it was their song selections from past country legends Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, the Everly Brothers, and Patsy Cline that really hit the spot. Take for example, their cover of “Why Baby Why,” which was soft and pure sweetness. These sisters from Muscle Shoals, Alabama strike a sentimental chord in me. The Southern ladies also played the Rufus Wainwright tune “Do You Love An Apple.”

We followed Secret Sisters with the electronic soul man James Blake. The Englishman opened with “Unluck” and “Give Me My Month.” For the most part the talented composer form London stuck with songs from his debut album James Blake, including the tracksI Never Learnt To Share,” “Lindisfarne I,”and “Lindisfarne II.” I especially liked his Fiest cover Limit To Your Love.” And, he spaced out “The Wilhelm Scream,” which concluded a nice set.

Big Boi from the Outkast crew brought Dirty South bounce and swagger into Zilker Park. Unlike many of the recent hip hop shows I’ve seen lately, Big Boi’s flow was exquisite and the sound clear. The set included tracks “General Patton” and “Follow Us” from the new album Sir Lucious Left Foot…The Son Of Chico Dusty. But the afternoon also saw a fair share of classics like the “cooler than a polar bear’s toenail” track “ATLiens” and the harmonica banger “Rosa Parks.” Big Boi proved he had a deep catalog with crowd pleasers “So Fresh, So Clean” and “Ms. Jackson.” He also brought rock and roll rap fusion with the protest song “B.O.B.” And, I was very pleased that the Atlanta native unleashed my personal favorite Outkast gem “The Way You Move.”  Nas & Damian Marley followed the Atlanta native rapper making this a lively stage.

Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley entered the stage as the flag bearing the red, gold, and green and the Lion of Judah flew. “As We Enter” kicked off the set. One of my favorite things to do is to see a Marley brother in Austin. Mr. Marley brought the reggae magic while the rhyme-smith Nas dropped serious science. In reality both of these cats are amazing lyricists and when done in tag-team fashion over dope beats booties commence to shake. “As We Enter” the lead track off the excellent Distant Relatives album is a great example of the combination of danceable sounds spiced with tangling hip hop and patois rhymes. The hard-hitting “Nah Mean” kept the vibe alive displaying the perfect marriage of reggae dancehall, African culture, and American rap.

Then Nas unleashed one of my favorite old school rap gems “If I Ruled The World (imagine that).” Following on the heels of the rap standard the Africanized “Dispear” brought down the house. Rebellion drips from this tune. I love it. The fevered pitch of the pounding “Dispear” was cooled off nicely by the roots reggae jam “Land Of Promise.” This Dennis Brown infused track is modern reggae at its best. Positive messages entwined with earth crushing roots reggae sounds made for a perfect evening. Jr. Gong’s “More Justice” from 2001’s Halfway Tree kept the show on this track.

Marley played several songs from his popular album Welcome to Jamrock. “Move!” sampled Bob Marley’s “Exodus” merging classic reggae and new ragamuffin styles and phrasings. Similarly the title track “Welcome To Jamrock” mixes Ini Kamoze’s “out in the street they call it murder” sample and a riddim straight from Kamoze’s “World A Music” into the biggest reggae hit of the 2000s. Marley and Nas then displayed their skills on the “Road To Zion,” which I believe  set the original mood for the Distant Relatives collaboration. They closed with the Bob Marley smash hit “Could You Be Loved.”

Mavis Staples performed under the tent producing a revivalist feeling in the middle of Zilker Park. Civil Rights, spiritualism, and good music swirled under the tent, take for example, the songs “Freedom Highway” and “Creep Along Moses.” Staples made everyone dance and sing to the soul classic “I’ll Take You There.” To experience the best of soul music and to get a taste of what soul music was like in the 1970s go see Mavis Staples. The energy is extraordinary! We concluded the evening with the English rock group Coldplay. “The Scientist” and “Clocks” made the set list, while an Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” set up a very nice “Fix You.”

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2011 – Friday

World of Reggae Music Collection: Hippy Music inna Reggae Version

Hippy Music inna Reggae Version

In this edition of the World of Reggae Music Collection the selector explores reggae versions of hippy songs. Jamaicans know good music when they hear it. Whether it is Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, or Donovan, a good tune is a good tune! From the British hippy rock bands Led Zeppelin, The Kinks, the Beatles,The Rolling Stones, and The Who to the American hippy groups like The Hollies, Simon And Garfunkel, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young to the great American jam bands Phish and the Grateful Dead, many of the great reggae stars covered the tunes of the Hippy era. In this collection of songs, hippy music is played inna reggae version by the legendary Burning Spear, Jimmy Cliff, Gregory Isaacs, Black Uhuru, and many more.

Junior Jazz & Easy Star All Stars – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Luciano & Easy Star All-Stars – With A Little Help From My Friends

Luciano, U-Roy, & Easy Star All Stars – With A Little Dub From My Friends Dub

Maxi Priest – Wild World

Chalice & Yellowman – Bouncing Around The Room

Dennis Brown – Black Magic Woman

Gregory Isaacs – Mr. Tambourine Man

Gregory Isaacs – Mr. Tambourine Man Dub

Burning Spear – Estimated Prophet

Jimmy Cliff – Wild World

Rootz Underground – Baba O Riley

The Wailing Souls – For What It’s Worth

Max Romeo – Hotel California

John Holt – My Sweet Lord

Sugar Minott – 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)

Joseph Israel – Teach Your Children

Pat Kelly – He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother

Chalice – Paint It Black

The Israelites – Come Together

Eek A Mouse – Dyer Maker

Dollar Man, Gary “Nesta” Pine, & the Easy Star All-Stars – Money

Matisyahu – Watching The Wheels

Capleton – Love the One You’re With

Alton Ellis – You Make Me So Very Happy

Toots & the Maytals – Squeezebox

Michael Rose, Mennie More, & Easy Star All-Stars – A Day In The Life

Black Uhuru – Hey Joe

Bob Andy – Waste

Bob Andy – Waste (Dub)

The Wailing Souls – Casey Jones

The Gaylads – Fire and Rain

Beres Hammond – Just Like A Woman

Beres Hammond – Just Like A Woman Dub

Killer Bees & Cyril Neville – Groovin’

Big Mountain – Baby, I Love Your Way

The Gladiators – Time Is On My Side

Sugar Minott & Easy Star All-Stars – When I’m Sixty Four

Maxi Priest – Crazy Love

Rootz Underground – Makisupa Policeman

Rootz Underground – Makisupa Policeman (Dub)

The Wailing Souls – Love Her Madly

Steel Pulse – Franklin’s Tower

Easy Star All-Stars & Frankie Paul – Us And Them

Big Mountain & Utah Green – I Can See for Miles

Luciano – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Luciano – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door Dub

The Waling Souls – Mountain Song

Max Romeo & the Easy Star All Stars – Fixing A Hole

Joe Higgs – Uncle John’s Band

Ken Boothe – Brown Sugar

Steel Pulse – Farmhouse

The Abyssinians – Blowin’ in the Wind

The Wailing Souls – Tomorrow Never Knows

Satta – Behind Blue Eyes

Gregory Isaacs – Wild Horses

Max Romeo – Sexy Sadie

Garnett Silk – Let It Flow

Cas Haley & Tanya Stephens – Wolfman’s Brother

Cas Haley & Tanya Stephens – Wolfman’s Brother Dub

Chalice – Fire on the Mountain

Matisyahu & the Easy Star All Stars – Within You Without You

Steel Pulse – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Luciano – Won’t Get Fooled Again

Apple Gabriel – The Times They Are A-Changin’

Apple Gabriel – The Times They Are A-Changin’ Dub

Frankie Paul & Easy Star All Stars – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

The Mighty Diamonds – Touch of Grey

Toots & the Maytals – Back On The Train

Sugar Black – Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Chalice – Who Are You

The Wailing Souls – Like A Rolling Stone

Ranking Roger & the Easy Star All Stars – Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!

Satta – Gumbo

Freddie McGregor – Eyes of the World

Toots & the Maytals – Start Me Up

Billy Mystic – A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

Billy Mystic – A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall Dub

The Mighty Diamonds – The Kids are Alright

Tessanne Chin – Free

The Wailing Souls – Love The One You’re With

Michael Rose – Wharf Rat

Kirsty Rock & Easy Star All Stars – She’s Leaving Home

Earl “Chinna” Smith & M – Slave to the Traffic Light

Rhytmation – Bargain

Toots & the Maytals – Maggie’s Farm

Toots & the Maytals – Maggie’s Farm Dub

Rula Brown – Everyday People

Steel Pulse & Easy Star All Stars – Good Morning Good Morning

Easy Star All-Stars – Sgt. Pepper’s (Reprise)

Wayne Armond – Let My Love Open the Door

Rootz Underground – Boogie on Reggae Woman

Marcia Griffiths – Don’t Let Me Down

Toots & the Maytals – Catfish John

Gregory Isaacs – My Generation/Magic Bus

Wayne Armond – Bug

Lasana Bandele – Cassidy

Tessane Chin – Reign O’er Me

Glen Ricks – Honky Tonk Women

Rita Marley & the Soulettes – Let It Be

Wayne Armond – Eminence Front

Andrew Francis – Under My Thumb

The Mighty Diamonds & the Easy Star All Stars – Getting Better

Hugh J. – Waiting on a Friend

Keeling Beckford – Cecilia

Michael Rose – Wharf Rat

Jacob Miller – I Shall Be Released

NEED

T.T. Ross – Imagine

The ParagonsBlack Birds Singing

Ernie SmithYou Won’t See Me

Joe the Boss – Hey Jude

John HoltEverybody’s Talking

Ernest Ranglin Everybody’s Talkin’

Chosen Few – Hang on Sloopy

Dawn PennHere Comes The Sun

Barry Briggs Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)

Desmond Dekker Blackbird

Nicky Thomas Lola

The Beatles, Ras Pidow, & the Bombist – Because

Funky Brown African People (Indian Reservation)

Byron Lee & the Dragonaires Live And Let Die

Bob Andy & Marcia GriffithsIt Ain’t Me Babe

Susan Cadogan Something

John Holt Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

The MaytalsGive Peace A Chance

The Heptones – On-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Denzel Dennis People Got to Be Free

Jackie RobinsonIn My Life

The Pioneer All-StarsIn My Life (Dub)

Del Davis A World Without Love

Lloyd Charmers – California Dreamin’

Tarrus RileyKing Of Pain

Dobby DobsonCarry That Weight

Horace Andy Invisible Sun

Lee “Scratch” Perry Invisible Dub

BushmanOne Tin Soldier

World of Reggae Music Collection: Hippy Music inna Reggae Version

The World of Reggae Music Collection: Soul inna Reggae Version

In this edition of the World of Reggae Music Collection the selector explores reggae cover versions of soul songs.  Reggae legends Ken Boothe, Toots & The Maytals, and Delroy Wilson have lots of soul and listeners can really hear that on some of these classic tunes. It makes sense that these Jamaican superstars paid tribute to the icons of soul music. The reggae greats often covered Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Bill Withers, and Otis Redding. This collection includes the covers of old school crooners like Motown sensations Smokey Robinson and Four Tops to 80s soul diva Whitney Houston to the neo-soul singer John Legend. Tarrus Riley, Alton Ellis, and John Holt take on these mighty artists, turning soul gold into reggae gold. So “Let’s Get It On” with the best of soul inna reggae stylee!

John Legend & Buju Banton – Can’t Be My Lover

Ken Boothe Let’s Get It On

Tarrus Riley – Human Nature

Toots & The Maytals – (I’ve Got) Dreams To Remember

James Hunter – People Gonna Talk

Courtney John – Have You Seen Her

Pat Kelly – I Wish It Would Rain

Amy Winehouse – Cupid

Jimmy Cliff – I Can See Clearly Now

The Neville Brothers – Rivers of Babylon (KGSR Live Broadcast)

Bruce Ruffin – Are You Ready

Chosen Few – Tears of a Clown

Courtney John – I Want To Next To You

The Deltones – I’ll Take You There

Amy Winehouse – Our Day Will Come

Delroy Wilson – Baby I Need Your Loving

Don Campbell – You Remind Me

Jah Boys – I Can’t Get Next To You

Steel Pulse, Mojo Morgan, & Easy Star All-Stars – The Girl Is Mine

The Soul Messengers – Do It (Till Your Satisfied)

Ali Cambell – Being With You

Elephant Man & Harry Toddler – Dis Scare Dem

Jackie Edwards – In The Mood

Teddy Brown Midnight Train to Georgia

Tarrus Riley – Cum Get Your Ish

Cornell Campbell – Only Sixteen

Amy Winehouse – Just Friends

B.B. SeatonLean on Me

Alton Ellis & Phyllis Dillon – I’m Just A Guy (Soul Style)

Inner CircleRock the Boat

Al Brown Love and Happiness

Pat Rhoden Boogie on Reggae Woman

Junior Murvin – Just My Imagination

Toots & the Maytals – Pain In My Heart

Byron Lee & the DragonairesExpress Yourself

Barry BiggsI’ll Be There

Frankie Paul  – Stuck On You

Chosen FewI Second That Emotion

Horace AndyAin’t No Sunshine

Darker Side of Black – War

I-Tones & RAM – Walk on By

Chosen Few Everybody Plays the Fool

Fiona & Stevie Face – Baby Come To Me

Bruce RuffinOoh Child

Alton Ellis – What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)

Tomorrow’s ChildrenSister Big Stuff

Pat Kelly – (I Love You For) Sentimental Reasons

Luciano & Easy Star All-Stars – Billie Jean

Toots & the Maytals I Heard It Through The Grapevine

Byron Lee & the Dragonaires – Green Onions

Chosen FewDo Your Thing

Delroy WilsonThis Old Heart Of Mine

The Aggrolites – Pop The Trunk

Alton Ellis It’s Your Thing

Derrick Harriott & the Chosen FewSince I Lost My Baby

Mike Dorante – You Keep Me Hangin’ On

Zap Pow If You Don’t Know Me By Now

John HoltKilling Me Softly with Her Song

Junior Byles Fever

Carl Dawkins & the WailersCloud Nine

The Wailing Souls –Whiter Shade of Pale

Chosen Few Theme from Shaft

NoiseshaperKung Fu Fighting Feat. Carl Douglas (Noiseshaper Remix

Lloyd CharmersJust My Imagination

UB40The Way You Do The Things You Do

Ziggy Marley & the Melody MakersPeople Get Ready (LP Version)

Toots & the MaytalsHard To Handle

Alborosie – Soul Train

The PioneersPapa Was a Rolling Stone

Lukie D & M’Lonie – No Air

Jimmy RileySexual Healing

Alton Ellis – La La (Means I Love You)

Chalice – Master Blaster (Jammin’)

Don Campbell – Tired of Being Alone

The Neville Brothers – Sitting In Limbo

George Nooks – If You Don’t Know Me By Now

Pat Kelly – In The Midnight Hour

The Aggrolites – Funky Fire

Slim Smith & The Uniques – Build My World Around You

Cas Haley & Easy Star All-Stars – Human Nature

Chaka Demus & Pliers One Nation Under A Groove

Alaine – You Are Me

Michael Rose & Easy Star All-Stars – Beat It

Charlie Chaplain – Killer

Don Carlos – Too Late To Turn Back

L.U.S.T. Just As I Am

Lionel Richie – Stand Down

Marvin Gaye – Third World Girl (Raggae)

Pam Hall – Why We Sing

Jimmy Cliff – Outsider

The Aggrolites – Jimmy Jack

Frankie Paul – The Girl Is Mine

Slim Smith & The Uniques – Gypsy Woman

Roland Alphonso – (Straighten Up And) Fly Right

The Shades – Never Gonna Give You Up

Sean Paul & Spanner Banner – Ladies Night

Spragga Benz, Mikey General, & Easy Star All-Stars – Thriller

Toots & The Maytals – Missing You

Smokey Robinson & Ali Campbell – Hallelujah Time

Leroy & Junior – Break Up To Make Up

Frankie Paul – Sarah

NEED

Jackie EdwardsI Want A Love I Can See

The Heptones My World Is Empty Without You

Slim SmithA Place In The Sun

Derrick Harriott The Girl’s Alright With Me

The TechniquesSince I Lost You

Pat Kelly The Tracks Of My Tears

Slim SmithMy Girl

Jimmy RileyIt’s Growing

Ken Parker My Girl Has Gone (When You Were Mine)

Bob Andy Since I Lost My Baby

Busty Brown Don’t Look Back

Delroy Wilson I Can’t Help Myself

The Heptones Born To Love You

The HeptonesBorn To Dub You

Delroy WilsonEverybody Needs Love

Pat KellyGonna Give Her All The Love I’ve Got

The Uniques – The Love I Saw In You (Just A Mirage)

Slim SmithFor Once In My Life

Ken Boothe & B.B. Seaton(It’s The Way) Nature Planned It, Parts 1 & 2

Inner Circle Your Kiss Is Sweet

Lloyd Charmers Let’s Get It On

Byron Lee & the Dragonaires Way Back Home

Hopeton LewisGod Bless Whoever Sent You

Norman BrownJust My Imagination (Running Away With Me)

Alton Ellis It’s A Shame

A Darker Shade of BlackBall Of Confusion

Bob & Marcia The Onion Song

John HoltYester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday

Byron Lee & the Dragonaires Message From A Black Man

Desi Young Don’t Know Why (I Love You)

Roman Stewart & the Tennors The Whole World Is A Stage

The Techniques You’re My Everything

Roland AlphonsoA Whiter Shade Of Pale

Slim SmithAin’t Too Proud To Beg

The Harry J All StarsMy Cherie Amour

Lloyd Charmers & the Soul Leaders Come See About Me

Denzel Dennis Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

Robin Thicke & the Bombist – Lost Without You

The Soul LeadersMother’s Advice (Shop Around)

Derrick Harriott Reach Out (I’ll Be There)

Roger RobinApologise

Carl BradneySlipping Into Darkness

Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing (Jay Dusty Smith Remix)

Jackson 5 – I Want you Back (Natty Dread Riddim)

Murvin Gaye – Hear Me Through the Grapevine

John Legend – Ordinary People (Stranger Riddim)

Al Fingers – What’s Going On? (Truth and Rights Remix)

Smokey Robinson – Going to a Go Go (Slimmy Taylor Remix)

Al BrownAin’t No Love In The Heart Of The City

Jimmy London I’m Your Puppet

Denzel DennisHaving a Party

Pam Hall I Will Always Love You

Dennis BrownNever Can Say Goodbye

The Upsetters – Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)

The Untouchables – Tighten Up

Slim Smith & the Uniques – That’s the Way Love Is

Yami Bolo – Isn’t She Lovely

Duane Stephenson – You Are Not Alone

Delroy Wilson – It’s The Same Old Song

Delroy Wilson – Ain’t That Peculiar

Derrick Harriott – You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me

John Holt – Wherever I Lay My Hat

Bob Andy & Marcia Griffiths – Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing

John Holt – The Further You Look, The Less You See

The World of Reggae Music Collection: Soul inna Reggae Version

The Human Nature of Michael Joseph Jackson

Smokey Robinson opened the service reading condolence letters from Diana Ross and Nelson Mandela. Watching the Michael Jackson memorial I was struck by Mariah Carey’sI’ll Be There.” And then Queen Latifah read a poem “We Had Him” written about Michael Jackson by the famed poet Maya Angelou. Lionel Richie performed “Jesus Is Love.” Berry Gordy of Motown Records gave a stirring memorial detailing how little Michael Jackson blew him away in Detroit as part of the Jackson 5 and then blew him away again with the moonwalk at the 25th anniversary of Motown Records when Michael broke off on his own and went solo with “Billie Jean (Single Version).” Gordy called him “simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived.” Following Gordy, Stevie Wonder made his way to the piano to thunderous applause and performed “Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer.”

Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson addressed the crowd. Magic Johnson recalled his experience starring in the “Remember The Time” video and sharing a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken with Michael Jackson. Magic thanked Jackson for “opening doors” for African Americans across the world. Jennifer Hudson then performed “Will You Be There.” Al Sharpton spoke of the working-class Jackson family with nine children coming up and out of Gary, Indiana and Michael Jackson’s ability to breakdown racial barriers. “There’s nothing strange about your Daddy” Sharpton told the children of Michael Jackson, and then he thanked Michael Jackson for never stopping.

John Mayer performed “Human Nature” letting his guitar lead the song. After the weeping guitar solo Brooke Shields spoke of her friendship and bond with Michael Jackson. Shields claimed Michael Jackson’s favorite song was “Smile” written by Charlie Chaplin. Jermaine Jackson then performed a heartfelt soulful rendition of “Smile.” Bernice King and Martin Luther King III, the children of Martin Luther King, Jr, remembered Michael Jackson and spoke of loss and of the way that Michael Jackson reached out to Coretta Scott King. United States Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, Texas spoke of the healing power of music making me proud once again to be a TEXAN. She talked about the message in Michael’s music. “Beat It (Single Version)” was about beating the violence and “Man In The Mirror” asked men and women to really take a look in the mirror at themselves. Congresswoman Lee reminded us that Michael Jackson visited wounded troops at Walter Reed Hospital.

An emotional Usher performed “Gone Too Soon.” Smokey Robinson recalled Michael Jackson singing the hit “Who’s Loving You” written by Smokey, but sung so wonderfully by Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 that it became a huge Motown hit and many assumed it was Michael’s song.  The child singer Shaheen Jafargholi then performed “Who’s Loving You.” The performers from the upcoming tour sang “Heal The World” and “We Are The World” with the memorial guests. 

I’ve been listening to Michael Jackson and Jackson 5 albums this week. The guy could sing. And when you see the videos the man could dance. Can’t believe MC Hammer ever challenged Jackson to a dance contest. Jackson would have slaughtered Hammer on the dancefloor. I’ve also been listening to remixes and different versions of his hits. Tarrus Riley’s version of “Human Nature” is one of the best reggae covers of a Michael Jackson song that I have heard.

The Human Nature of Michael Joseph Jackson