soul cities

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Soul Cities’ Last Roundup: Los Angeles

Down to Nawlins, up to Chi-Town – for the last several weeks Nelson George has zig-zagged around the country, celebrating the impact of African American culture on certain metropolises. Tomorrow night, Tuesday, December 16 at 9 pm, Soul Cities comes to a conclusion on the West Coast, examining historic and modern aspects of L.A.

He begins with explaining the importance of Berry Gordy‘s decision to move his Motown headquarters from Detroit to the Sunset Strip, and he gets his hair cut at the High Line Barbershop, a place where Magic Johnson or Andre 3000 might walk in for a trim.? The show spills forward from there: a chat with Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds about 80s groove music and 00′s business logic, a plate of fried chicken at? Aunt Kizzy?s Back Porch and Roscoe?s Chicken n Waffles, a tete a tete with Angie Stone where the singer discusses the spirits residing in in Marvin Gaye?s studios, and a connection with Al B. Sure, New Jack Swing hero and current radio jock, talking about the city’s R&B lineage.

And as he does in ever episode of Soul Cities, George goes crate-digging, this time at Amoeba Records where he declares Gaye’s I Want You to be the “best in-the-basement record ever.”

Facebook members can see photos from all the Soul Cities shoots on Nelson George’s page.

Watch a playlist of videos from soul artists associated with Las Angeles.

Check the full list of Team George’s L.A. stops, and see extra clips (Angie Stone and Amoeba Records) after the jump.

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Soul Cities Gets Gritty in Memphis

Nelson George says it right up front. “Country, gospel, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll all claim Memphis as home turf, but you know what? Memphis is a soul city.” There’s no question about that. While George tours the very funky town that borders the Mississippi, he highlights some very cool spots, like Beale Street, which Rufus Thomas called the “black man’s heaven.” He checks out W.C. Handy‘s house, hits a Baptist church to explain the impact of the black congregations, swings by the Gibson guitar factory to describe B.B. King‘s instrument and sits down at Ernestine & Hazels to have a soul burger and listen to the haunted jukebox.

Al Green‘s Green Is Blues disc, the Stax label museum, the 4-Way Grill (where Martin Luther King ate regularly), the Lorraine Motel (where King was assassinated), Isaac Hayes’ legacy, Hustle & Flow director Craig Brewer – lots of important stuff in this episode. Watch the clip above, check the whole show on VH1 Soul this Tuesday at 9 pm.

Watch music videos by Memphis artists right here.

Facebook users can check pictures from the Memphis episode on Nelson George’s page.

Check extra clips and the list of the spots that Team George visited in Memphis after the jump.

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Soul Cities Heads South: Hello, New Orleans

This week on Soul Cities Nelson George swings south to sing the praises of New Orleans, from the origins of jazz to the rise of Lil Wayne. Along the way he bounces through all the hippest spots, chatting with Irma Thomas and Raheem DeVaughn in the French Quarter and connecting with trumpeter-composer Terence Blanchard. He tips the hat to the city’s Essence Music Festival, calling it the “Black Lollapolooza,” and drops into Olivier’s restaurant for a Creole spin on a rabbit, crawfish, and gumbo dish. Oh yeah, when you see him building a po-boy at the Praline Connection, you might feel a bit hungry. Ditto for the way trumpeter Kermit Ruffins shakes up some street sausage.

Check the above clip for a sneak peek at the full show, which premieres Tuesday, December 4 at 9 pm on VH1Soul.

Here’s a playlist of New Orleans artists to put you in the mood.

A full list of all the places Soul Cities visited in New Orleans is after the jump. So is a clip of Kermit Ruffins in action.

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Soul Cities: Bay Area Blackness

In the last couple weeks Nelson George has taken us through Philly and Chicago. Tomorrow night, Tuesday, November 25, the host of Soul Cities heads out West for a stroll around Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco. Watch it on VH1 Soul at 9 pm ET.

Nelson drops into the Museum of the African Diaspora, waxes sentimental about his boyhood hero Willie Mays, gives shout outs to local author Ishmael Reed while visiting the black-owned literary center, Marcus Books. Don’t worry, he manages to hit some hip restaurants, too.

As with all episodes of Soul Cities, there’s plenty of music. We catch Raphael Saadiq (who says “music is my PlayStaion, my XBox”) during a rehearsal, and Robin Thicke explains his definition of soul backstage at local club. As usual, Nelson also rolls through some of his favorite albums when he hits the Groove Merchant shop on Haight Street. For a full list of all the places team George hit, and sneak peek clip of this week’s episode, make the jump.

Here’s a list of music videos from Bay Area artists

Robin Thicke’s Favorite Videos

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Soul Cities Hits Chicago: Tuesday Night!

VH1 Soul’s latest show is getting lots of buzz because it’s so much fun to follow host Nelson George as he moves through America, celebrating the specifics of the African-American culture. There’s lots of black history in each metropolis he visits; seems like every time he plants his flag in a new spot, there’s some learning going on.

This week George and team hit Chicago. He clues us in on the town’s Haitian founder, the migration of Southern blacks during the mid-20th century, and drops us off at the Negro Leagues Cafe in the Bronzville neighborhood. The restaurant celebrates the historic achievements of black baseball while serving up collard greens and mac ‘n’ cheese. George also roams from Hyde Park (Barack Obama‘s turf) to Michigan Avenue (and its Chicago Defender offices, founded by John H. Sengstacke). Other interviews include singer LaLah Hathaway, who says she’s rather sun bathe on the shores of Lake Michigan than the Pacific Ocean. He also samples soul food at Army & Lou‘s, and tries to make a deep dish pizza. House music, blues, Chi-town stepping, and Nelson’s tribute to Curtis Mayfield all make this episode a must-see.

Check Soul Cities every Tuesday at 9 pm ET on VH1 Soul.

Watch our play list of artists who hail from the Windy City.

Check Nelson George’s Facebook page for photos from the Chicago episode.

After the jump is a full list of all the spots visited in Chicago.

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Soul Cities: Take a Tour of Black America

The best way to find out about a subject is to jump in and drill down, right? Travelers know that the “drill down” part is the most fun when visiting various locales. You can’t get a full taste of New York or Paris by hanging at the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower – you’ve gotta get to where the people actually live and the culture is created.

Nelson George created Soul Cities with that in mind. For the next several weeks VH1 Soul is airing a string of episodes that finds the author, screenwriter, and music critic roaming through six of a the hippest towns in the U.S., including New Orleans, Memphis, Chicago, L.A., and the Bay Area. He creates a portrait of the artistic, cultural, and political vibe that help define each location.

Philadelphia is first (the show premieres Tuesday, November 11 at 9 pm ET on VH1 Soul). George chats with Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff about classic Philly R&B, swings by Geno’s to wolf a cheese steak, drops into Ms Tootsies soul food restaurant for an interview with LaBelle, talks politics and music with ?uestlove from the Roots, browses the ultimate R&B record store, and lots more.

Check our music video playlist of R&B artists associated with Philly.

Facebookfiends should check out the photos associated to each episode that live on George’s profile page.

For another glimpse into his world head to his Web site.

Check the specific addresses of the Philly sites after the jump.

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