Arts and Entertainment Dusty, Heard Them Here First

Various Artists, Ace: An entertaining and inspiring collection

My Secret Life: Rob Ryan, artist, 47

My parents were ... straightforward, fairly no-nonsense Paddies.

Album: Plan B, The Defamation of Strickland Banks (679)

Like Eminem, the rapper whose example first gave him the impetus to start his own hip-hop career, Ben Drew has devised a second alter-ego to work alongside his Plan B character.

My Fantasy Band: Bashy

Vocals - Bob Marley
When you watch his performances you see he was a genuine star. He was socially aware and all legendary artists usually stand for something or break the mould in some way. He really raised Jamaica into the worldwide consciousness.

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 Don't Know Me by Now' and 'Close the Door'

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: Various Artists, A Complete Introduction to Tamla Motown (Universal)

I'm not sure about the use of the term "complete" in the title, which effectively writes cheques which can't really be cashed by the content of this four CD set.

Ways to say goodbye

Corinne Bailey Rae's new album is suffused with sorrow over the death of her husband. Vini Reilly has recorded apaean to Factory Records legend Tony Wilson. The pain of bereavement can be heard in music, says Chris Mugan

Album: Mariah Carey, Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel (Mercury)

Once upon a time, Mariah Carey's albums had infantile titles like Butterfly, Rainbow, Glitter and Charmbracelet – sickly-sweet enough to be some pre-teen cartoon superheroine line-up.

David Van DePitte: Arranger of Marvin Gaye's epochal album 'What's Going On'

The arranger, composer and music director David Van DePitte played a crucial role in the creation and recording of Marvin Gaye's epochal concept album What's Going On.

DVD: Flight of the Conchords: Series Two (15)

If you've not heard "Business Time", a song vaunting the pleasures of getting it on in as hormone-pumping a manner as Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On", then check out the second outing from New Zealand's fourth most popular folk parody duo.

Spoof cinema ad leads to pants proposal

A romantic music fan hired out a cinema to screen his own spoof video as part of an elaborate proposal to his girlfriend.

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.

My Fantasy Band: Dave Matthews

Vocals Marvin Gaye

I don't think there's ever been a better singer than Marvin Gaye. I'm a fan of his from top to bottom.

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.

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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

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Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
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Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

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Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
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Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

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George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

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