Billboard Bits: R&B Foundation Awards, Fruitgum Co, Blue October
Soul singers Ashford & Simpson, Jerry Butler and singer/guitarist Bonnie Raitt are among the stable of presenters for the 14th R&B Foundation Pioneer Awards. Hosted by Smokey Robinson and PattSoul singers Ashford & Simpson, Jerry Butler and singer/guitarist Bonnie Raitt are among the stable of presenters for the 14th R&B Foundation Pioneer Awards. Hosted by Smokey Robinson and Patti LaBelle, the ceremony will take place June 29 at the Park Hyatt Bellevue in Philadelphia.
Honorees include Chubby Checker, Bettye LaVette, Barbara Mason and producer Thom Bell. The DelFonics and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly will collect pioneer awards, while Motown Founder Berry Gordy will receive the Lifetime Achievement honor. The late Otis Redding will be honored with the Legacy Tribute.
Each individual honoree will receive a $10,000 honorarium and groups will share a $15,000 stipend. The Rhythm and Blues Foundation is a non-profit that aims to increase awareness and appreciation of notable R&B artists. For information on award show tickets, visit the organization's official Web site.
-- Clover Hope, N.Y.
The reunited 1910 Fruitgum Company has re-recorded five of its late 1960s hits along with as many new original songs. Led by original members Floyd Marcus (drums/vocals) and Frank Jeckell (guitar/vocals), the bubblegum pop group tracked "That Was Then, This Is Now" in March at Doc Holiday's Power Plant Studio in Hampton, Va.
The "That Was Then" half of the disc features remakes of "Simon Says," "Indian Giver," "1,2,3 Red Light," "May I Take a Giant Step" and "Goody, Goody Gumdrops."
The latter "This Is Now" half introduces the group -- rounded out by Mick Mansueto (vocals), Glenn Lewis (bass/vocals), Mike Edell (keyboards/vocals), Bob Brescia (keyboards/vocals) and David Marcus (guitar) -- as FGC with the new cuts "You Don't Have To Touch To Feel," "I Had a Dream," "Set Me on Fire," "Take Me the Way I Am" and "I Don't Want To Play These Games."
The set was produced by Holiday and Marcus and is available at select retailers on Holiday's Global International Records label and will soon be sold through the band's Web site.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
Texas rockers Blue October have rescheduled several of its summer tour dates after delaying the outing three weeks ago due to an injury. The new dates run from June through August.
The band postponed shows in May after frontman Justin Furstenfeld tore a ligament in his right leg while the group was running the bases at Brighthouse Field in Clearwater, Fla., following a concert in Tampa. Tickets that were purchased for the cancelled dates will be honored in June and July, according to the band’s Web site.
Blue October will also perform at Lollapalooza August 4 in Chicago's Grant Park before completing the tour in Maryland Heights, Mo., the following day. For a list of rescheduled tour dates, visit the band's Web site
-- Clover Hope, N.Y.