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It’s not often that I make the trip to San Francisco. Nothing against the city – in fact my former L.A. roommate Chuck lives there so I go visit from time to time and almost always make sure I stop by Medium Rare Records to see my friend Michael, who runs it.

I didn’t need much persuasion to make the trip this past weekend. When my Rhythm & Blues Foundation colleague Bonnie Raitt mentioned that she would be performing with Carlos Santana and other artists in a benefit for Angela Bofill, I didn’t hesitate.

Angie suffered a stroke a couple of years ago and then another one this year: she and I go back to her first GRP/Arista album in 1978 so my concern for her well-being has been personal. Working with the R&B Foundation, we were able to take actions that definitely impacted Angie’s situation and at Soul, we sold copies of a Live In Manila CD as another way to provide much-needed financial support.

The Saturday night December 8 at San Francisco’s impressive Grace Cathedral was put together by producer Narada Michael Walden who worked with Angela on some of her Arista albums (in fact, two of the previously unissued tracks from those Arista sessions are on our new Soul CD, Dedicated To Soul).

As is the case with most multi-artist concerts, the show was a little long – but performances by my girl Bonnie (who is always on point musically) and Mary Wilson (who provided the evening’s emotional highpoint with a brilliant reading of Shirley Horn’s “Here’s To Life”) were outstanding.

Of course the appearance of Angela herself made the whole event very special. Although she was in a wheelchair, Angela looked well, given the seriousness of her condition. The human spirit is an amazing thing: Angie showed that even the physical challenges she’s faced, she has retained her sense of humour! When acknowledging Narada, she described him as a ‘sexy man’ and after the audience responded with a roar, she countered, ‘Hey, I’m not dead!” After introducing her daughter and sister (who were there with her mother), Angie treated us to a verse from a nursery rhyme to show her determination to regain her vocal skills. Amazing.

I did get a chance for a brief one-on-one chat with her and simply holding her hand and letting her know she was truly loved meant so much to me. I know with all the energy and love that was expressed that special night by all those who participated – artists and audience both – Angela’s back on track on the road to recovery. Just happy I made the trip in person…

About the Writer
David Nathan is the founder and CEO of and began his writing career in 1965; beginning in 1967, he was a regular contributor to Blues & Soul magazine in London before relocating to the U.S. in 1975 where he served as U.S. editor for the publication for several decades and began being known as 'The British Ambassador Of Soul.' From 1988 to 2004, he wrote prolifically for Billboard, has penned bios, produced and written liner notes for box sets and reissue CDs for over a thousand projects. He returned to London in 2009 where he has helped create Records as a leading reissue label.

Mary Wilson Sings "Here's To Life"

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Angela Bofill - Unsung
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