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Marvin Gaye

Teena Marie: Singer and songwriter who became Motown’s most

Teena Marie wasn't the first white female singer signed to Berry Gordy Jr's legendary Motown label – the Californian Chris Clark and British vocalist Kiki Dee preceded her in the 1960s – but she certainly had the most impact, blazing a trail for many of the crossover R&B to pop artists who followed.

Album: José James, Blackmagic (Brownswood)

Sounding more confident, soulful and sexy than on his debut The Dreamer, NYC vocalist José James teams up with hip nu-jazz producers including Flying Lotus and Moodyman on 13 original tunes where the minimal backings emphasise his debt to Marvin Gaye rather than Gil Scott-Heron.

Album: Laura Nyro & Labelle, Gonna Take A Miracle (Rev-Ola)

Singer-songwriter Laura Nyro was renowned for blue-eyed soul standards such as "Stoned Soul Picnic" and "Wedding Bell Blues" when, in 1971, she decamped to Philadelphia International studio to record this album of soul covers with the PI production team of Gamble & Huff, taking along her new friends Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash.

Teddy Pendergrass: Philadelphia soul singer who had hits with 'If You

At his best, Teddy Pendergrass was an unsurpassable soul singer and such performances as "If You Don't Know Me by Now", "Don't Leave Me This Way" (both made with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes), "Close the Door" and "Love T.K.O." will endure as long as records are made. Unfortunately, he often recorded mediocre material and spent too much time cultivating his "ladies only" repertoire.

Album: The Gossip, Music For Men, (Columbia)

If you're only gonna have one trick, make it a good 'un. The Gossip's template – Beth Ditto's almost absurdly soulful vocals set against an urgent rock-disco backing – hasn't altered significantly on their Rick Rubin-produced fourth album.

Album: Raphael Saadiq, The Way I See It (Columbia)

When he joined his brother and cousin in R&B trio Tony! Toni! Toné, Charlie Ray Wiggins sensibly decided he could do with a more exotic name, but only acquired it in stages, becoming first Raphael Wiggins before achieving a more persuasive cachet as Raphael Saadiq, the name under which he has become one of R&B's most sought-after producers.

Album: Leon Ware, Moon Ride, (Stax)

Leon Ware did the bulk of the production work on Marvin Gaye's 'I Want You' album, so if you're familiar with that achy shimmer of silky soul, you already have some idea of what 'Moon Ride' sounds like.

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