Derivation of Dirty South

“What chu know about the Dirty South?” Aside from being a track and infectious refrain on Goodie Mob’s 1995 debut "Soul Food," the term has devolved in spelling (Durty Souf?) and evolved wildly in connotation.

Broadcast from the Bluff: Atlanta’s open-air heroin supermarket

After WABE-FM reporter and weekend anchor Jim Burress finished grabbing sound for Stuck in The Bluff: AIDS, Heroin and One Group’s Illegal Quest to Save Lives, a 30-minute documentary that airs tonight, he drove home, crawled into bed and stared at the ceiling for hours. “I could not wrap my head around everything that I saw,” he recalls of his day chronicling the work of the nonprofit Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition’s needle exchange program. “There’s the drug use and the drug sales, the nonprofit doing this work and the neighborhood itself. Spending time there forces you to ask: ‘Is this a forgotten land? Are these people basically being sentenced to a neighborhood like this because that’s the easiest solution?’ No matter what side of this issue you fall on, you’re going to be challenged as a listener hearing the stories of these people. This is a deep, complex and troubling issue.”

A mysterious tower and a towering rivalry

Q. What's that large phallic symbol on the east side of the Connector with the word "Corey" on its side?Known more politely as the Corey Tower, it was originally a Georgia Power steam plant facility that provided heat to Downtown in the sixties and seventies. Eventually outmoded, it was purchased in 1994 by local entrepreneur Billy Corey, whose company specializes in billboard and airport advertising.“The ‘Power of the Tower’ i

Barnstorming days at an end for one B-52’s member

When the Athens-birthed B-52's rang in the new year on stage at Harrah's Cherokee Casino this week in North Carolina, one of the group's founding members was noticeably absent. After 35 years, guitarist Keith Strickland has opted to get off the long and winding road with his bandmates for a quieter life at home in Key West pursuing his passion for photography. The band and Strickland posted his announcement to fans on the band's website and on his Facebook page.

Bow Hunting in the Suburbs

Willie Johnson’s dirty Toyota pickup rolls to a stop in a Walmart parking lot near I-285. Overhead, a jumbo jet howls. Johnson has to shout to be heard above the roar. “It’s not far,” he yells. “I’m thinking that we can cut through the parking lot instead of going out the main road.”

Q&A: Djimon Hounsou at the Atlanta screening of Guardians of the Galaxy

Arriving at Tuesday’s advance screening of Guardians of the Galaxy, the latest superhero summer popcorn movie from Marvel Studios, two-time Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou didn’t duck out for dinner with studio reps once the lights went down. Instead, Hounsou donned his 3D glasses, and settled into a seat with a large bottle of water and a bag of popcorn to watch the two-hour intergalactic comic book come to life. Hounsou is part of an ensemble cast that includes Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker, Lee Pace, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close. Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel lend their voices to the flick, portraying mutant, mouthy raccoon Rocket, and Groot, a walking, talking tree with a severely limited vocabulary.

Q&A with Greg Phillinganes

As a session keyboardist and arranger, Greg Phillinganes's work with the Jacksons spans thirty years. He played on all of Michael Jackson's solo albums, including "Off the Wall," "Bad," and 1982's iconic "Thriller," and served as musical director for the late pop star's "Bad" and "Dangerous" tours. He serves in the same capacity for Cirque du Soleil's "Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour," set to play Philips Arena June 29 to July 1.A lot of this show remains cloaked in mystery. What can you reveal about we might expect? Expect a very high quality show with a lot of the familiar elements of Cirque as far as dancers and acrobats but with no clowns and no fake Michael. You will definitely feel Michael in the room though.How do you set about achieving that, given that Michael Jackson was one of the most electrifying live performers in pop music history? This show started out with the vision of Jamie King, who is the writer and director of the show. Jamie had a direct working connection with Michael, starting out as a dancer for him (on Jackson's 1992 "Dangerous" tour) and then as a choreographer and now he produces all the megaconcert tours for artists including Madonna and Rihanna. He brought along Kevin Antunes who serves as the show's musical designer. Thanks to Sony Music's assistance, Kevin had the enviable job of going through all of Michael's original recordings and creating specific arrangements based on Jamie's ideas.You've spent more than three decades playing on various Jackson recordings from the Jacksons' 1978 "Destiny" album to Michael's 2009 posthumous recording "This Is It." What made you and Michael such solid collaborators? I was first brought on to work as an arranger for Michael and his brothers on the "Destiny" album. There was a kinship, a mutual respect, but most of all, it was fun. One night after a session on the album, I talked most of the brothers into going to Magic Mountain, an amusement park outside of L.A. with me. No security guards, no cops, it was just us. But this was early, early on when they were making the transition from Motown to [CBS Records].In the early 1980s, when you were in the studio with producer Quincy Jones and Michael creating "Thriller," were you aware the material had the potential to have the kind of cultural impact it ended up making? No. You can't ever know that. It's just impossible. And yet, maybe Steve Jobs knew he was going to revolutionize the world when he created the iPhone. You can't go into a studio to create music thinking that you're going to change the world. Having thoughts like that can actually get in the way of the creative process. All you can hope is that if you create something that gets you excited, a whole lot of other people will feel the same way. Quincy and Michael just wanted the best songs possible for the album. That was the goal when we went in, and it ended up becoming the game-changing event it was.When casual music fans ask you to point out one specific Greg Phillinganes musical moment on the "Thriller" album, which of your many contributions do you point them to? Probably the title track "Thriller" written by Rod Temperton. There are just layers and layers of keyboards on that. There's so much ear candy on that song. I did the synth bass part, those high-pitched synth parts, I did the Rhodes [keyboard] part and even did the pipe organ that Vincent Price does his rap over. It was crazy! When I listen to it now, I just think about all the fun we had creating all those layers in the studio.You bring a lot of credibility and a personal connection to Michael to this Cirque production. What elements of Michael t

Caught Up: 40 years later, Millie Jackson recalls creating a classic

The album cover consisted of a sticky spider web entangling two dazed women and their confused man. The salacious image told listeners everything they needed to know about Caught Up, R&B singer Millie Jackson’s epic 1974 “soul opera.” The only thing more shocking than dropping the needle on Side One to hear a collection of songs from the perspective of the "other woman": Flipping the 12-inch piece of vinyl to discover Side Two and songs from "the wife."

Johnny’s Hideaway

Nothing much has changed at Johnny’s Hideaway, the cougar bar buried in the strip mall homogeneity of Roswell Road. Not the disco ball or the parquet floor or the glamour shots of dead and dying celebrities. Divorcées in tight jeans and halter tops still troll the perimeter. The oldies soundtrack is the same, though founder Johnny Esposito, “Mr. Nightlife,” passed away in April at age seventy-nine. Chris Dauria, the son of Esposito’s partner Mike Dana, has run the place for years—still guarding the door with his entourage of big, bald bouncers, as if something valuable were inside. And maybe, in this age of disposable bars, there is.

After a hellish marriage to Otis Nixon, Candi Staton returns with Life Happens

Describing her tumultuous two-year marriage to former Atlanta Braves outfielder Otis Nixon, Candi Staton doesn’t sugarcoat a thing: “It was hell on earth. My God, it was the most terrifying and devastating time in my whole life. I was going through the fires of hell trying to figure out how to live with him and then how to find a way out of that crazy marriage.”

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