Classic Music & Movie Reviews/MultiCultural Blogger
What I’m Listening to?
The group called "The Fifth Dimension" had a harmonic sound equivalent to "The Mama's and The Papa's." The only real difference between them was that "The Fifth Dimension" had more soul in their music (in my opinion). One reason I loved The Fifth Dimensions, was the fact that they sang a range of different types of music; including jazz. The lead singer was Marilyn McCoo. She had one of those distinct voices; when she sang, you knew immediately who it was. To my understanding, McCoo left the group in the mid 1970s. Interesting that all of my favorite hits seem to all have Marilyn McCoo in them. My number one favorite is "Aquarius (1969)," "Up Up and Away (1967)," "Wedding Bell Blues (1969)," "(Last Night) I Didn't Get To Sleep At All (1972)," and "Go Where You Wanna Go (1969)".

The group called "The Fifth Dimension" had a harmonic sound equivalent to "The Mama's and The Papa's." The only real difference between them was that "The Fifth Dimension" had more soul in their music (in my opinion). One reason I loved The Fifth Dimensions, was the fact that they sang a range of different types of music; including jazz. The lead singer was Marilyn McCoo. She had one of those distinct voices; when she sang, you knew immediately who it was. To my understanding, McCoo left the group in the mid 1970s. Interesting that all of my favorite hits seem to all have Marilyn McCoo in them. My favorite number one hits are the following: "Aquarius (1969)," "Up Up and Away (1967)," "Wedding Bell Blues (1969)," "(Last Night) I Didn't Get To Sleep At All (1972)," and "Go Where You Wanna Go (1969)".

Though Joe Simon had quite a few hits in the 70's, I only liked very few of them. His rhythm is the same for almost all his music it seemed.  I used to confuse him a lot with Percy Sledge, because both of their voices sounded so much a like. The only difference between them I think is, when Percy tries to hit those high notes, he sounds like he is singing from the back of his neck (I hated that). However, Joe Simon actually sings, and he doesn't necessarily try to over do it for his audience; and that is the kind of performance I can appreciate. My favorite songs are "Chok'n Kind (1969)," and the theme song for the movie "Cleopatra Jones (1973)." I really love Cleopatra Jones I guess it's because it came from the blaxploitation era. There also was a song called "Music In My Bones (1975)."

Though Joe Simon had quite a few hits in the 70's, I only liked very few of them. His rhythm is the same for almost all his music it seemed. I used to confuse him a lot with Percy Sledge, because both of their voices sounded so much a like. The only difference between them I think is, when Percy tries to hit those high notes, he sounds like he is singing from the back of his neck (I hated that). However, Joe Simon actually sings, and he doesn't necessarily try to over do it for his audience; and that is the kind of performance I can appreciate. My favorite songs are "Chok'n Kind (1969)," and the theme song for the movie "Cleopatra Jones (1973)." I really love Cleopatra Jones I guess it's because it came from the blaxploitation era. There also was a song called "Music In My Bones (1975)." © 2014 / Yogi

I loved Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. Actually, I should say, I loved Teddy Pendergrass in HM & TBN. Having said that, I realized two things I took issue with concerning this group. First, whilst the group was officially called "Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes", Teddy Pendergrass has always been the lead singer for 90% of all their hit songs.  Second, They never really acknowledged him in any of their albums (that I'm aware of); they didn't at least print the words "featured Teddy P" on any of the albums I own. I guess that's one of the reasons Teddy went solo. Not that the entire group wasn't talented, but, let's be serious here, after Teddy left the group, it was curtains for the group entirely. I shouldn't be surprised. The Commodores career died the same way after Lionel Ritchie left the group. Thank goodness they have all those royalties to  fall back on. My most favorite, and probably the their biggest hit is called "Bad Luck (1975)" and "If You Don't Know Me By Now (1972)" and "The Love I Lost (1973).

I loved Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. Actually, I should say, I loved Teddy Pendergrass in HM & TBN. Having said that, I realized two things I took issue with concerning this group. First, whilst the group was officially called "Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes", Teddy Pendergrass has always been the lead singer for 90% of all their hit songs. Second, They never really acknowledged him in any of their albums (that I'm aware of); they didn't at least print the words "featured Teddy P" on any of the original albums I own (not including the best of). I guess that's one of the reasons Teddy went solo. Not that the entire group wasn't talented, but, let's be serious here, after Teddy left the group, it was curtains for the group entirely. I shouldn't be surprised. The Commodores career died the same way after Lionel Ritchie left the group. Thank goodness they have all those royalties to fall back on. My most favorite, and probably the their biggest hit is called "Bad Luck (1975)" and "If You Don't Know Me By Now (1972)" and "The Love I Lost (1973)". © 2014

To be honest, I've never really been a Nat King Cole fan, his music just wasn't my cup of tea. His style of singing was more like a Black version of Lawrence Welk. Although I was listening to one song today I forgot he sang, and it appears to be the only song from him I really like, and it's called Unforgettable (1954). This song "unforgettable is clearly nostalgic, and each time I hear it I go through childhood flash backs when my grandpa used to listen to it. The only other music I used to like from him was his xmas music. Come to think about it, that may have been the problem as to why I didn't like his music; I've always associated his voice with xmas. He could have sang a song about a bicycle  and it would still sound like xmas.

To be honest, I've never really been a Nat King Cole fan, his music just wasn't my cup of tea. His style of singing was more like a Black version of Lawrence Welk. Although I was listening to one song today I forgot he sang, and it appears to be the only song from him I really like, and it's called "Unforgettable (1954)". This song "unforgettable" is clearly nostalgic, and each time I hear the song it invokes childhood flash backs when my grandpa used to listen to it. The only other music I used to like from him was his xmas music. Come to think about it, that may have been the problem as to why I didn't like his music; I've always associated his voice with xmas. He could have sang a song about a bicycle and it would still sound like xmas. ©2014/VintageNewscast

I absolutely love James Taylor's music. His music is the kind of music you would listen to, to relax your mind from a ruff day. I consider his genre of music "easy listening/modern folk". The mood of his music and tempo is similar to Jim Croce.  James Taylor is another artist that looks nothing like himself as he got older. However, he still has that same smooth soothing voice. James has been around musically for a very long time, and continues to have a long successful  career. If you're not a member of Rhapsody or Spotify, your better off finding one of his greatest albums. My favorite hits are "Carolina In My Mind (1968)", "Fire And Rain (1970)", "You've Got A Friend (1971)" (I also like Carole Kings Version too), "Handyman (1977)", "Shower The People (1976)", and "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You (1975)"

I absolutely love James Taylor's music. His music is the kind of music you would listen to, to relax your mind from a ruff day. I consider his genre of music "easy listening/modern folk". The mood of his music and tempo is similar to Jim Croce. James Taylor is another artist that looks nothing like himself as he got older. However, he still has that same smooth soothing voice. James has been around musically for a very long time, and continues to have a long successful career.
If you're not a member of Rhapsody or Spotify, your better off finding one of his greatest hits albums.Please note, if you're not in to folk music, chances are you will not like James Taylor's music. My favorite hits are "Fire And Rain (1970)", "You've Got A Friend (1971)" (I also like Carole Kings Version too), "Handyman (1977)", "Shower The People (1976)", and "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You (1975)"

I could be wrong about this but, I'm going to be bold enough and say, anybody younger than 20 years of age probably never heard of the Osmonds. According to Wikipedia, the Osmonds started performing around 1958, and still continues to perform today. To be honest, I only like 3 songs out of their entire career, but I think these songs are great enough to mention on my blog. When they started performing, they started off with "Lawrence Welk" type of music (which I find very BORING unfortunately), but when Donny Osmond was added to the group, they obviously became the "Jackson 5 sound-a-likes". When they released a song called "One Bad Apple (1971)", every single person (even till today) mistaken them for The Jackson 5. Later on, I guys as Donny grow older and passed puberty, he no longer had that same "Jackson 5 magic", then the next thing we new, the Osmonds were singing country (and pretty much been their type of music ever since). I remember as a young kid, I used to watch their TV show called "Donny & Marie" in the late 70's. Unfortunately, thi show was boring as all hell. This show was so boring, I would not even tell you to rented on Netflix, it's that boring. I've noticed that Marie is like a male version of Dick Clark, this bitch will not grow old for nothing LOL! She still looks fabulous after all these years, and I don't remember reading about any plastic surgeries either click here. Well, after they gone country, there were only two other songs I liked from them, and they were "I'm leaving It Up To You", and "Love Me For A Reason".

I could be wrong about this but, I'm going to be bold enough and say, anybody younger than 20 years of age probably never heard of the Osmonds. According to Wikipedia, the Osmonds started performing around 1958, and still continues to perform today. To be honest, I only like 3 songs out of their entire career, but I think these songs are great enough to mention on my blog. When they started performing, they started off with "Lawrence Welk" type of music (which I find very BORING unfortunately), but when Donny Osmond was added to the group, they obviously became the "Jackson 5 sound-a-likes". Yet when we watched them perform on TV they looked more like the first Menudo. When they released a song called "One Bad Apple (1971)", every single person (even till today) mistaken them for The Jackson 5. Later on, I guys as Donny grow older and passed puberty, he no longer had that same "Jackson 5 magic", then the next thing we knew, the Osmonds transitioned to singing country (and pretty much stayed with that genre of music ever since). I remember as a young kid, I used to watch their TV show called "Donny & Marie" in the late 70's. Unfortunately, this show was boring as all hell. This show was so boring, I would not even tell you to rented on Netflix, it's that boring. I've noticed that Marie is like a male version of Dick Clark, this bitch will not grow old for nothing LOL! She still looks absolutely fabulous after all these years (better than all her brothers), and I don't remember reading about any plastic surgeries either click here, in fact she almost looks like Valerie Bertinelli (from One Day At A Time). Well, after they gone country, there were only two other songs I liked from them, and they were "I'm leaving It Up To You", and "Love Me For A Reason". Update: I couldn't find any official news on Youtube so far about any work done to her face, but I read a few articles on the net about face lifts. I'm skeptical because a lot of them came from gossip sites and "plastic surgery sites" which are notorious for making celebrities appear to endorse something. The other thing is, she had a tremendous weight loss, which can alter facial features significantly, as well as make you look younger. I did see a video that stated she had an obsession with trying to look younger, so I guess it is likely she had something done. If she did have something done, thank goodness she didn't go overboard. there are some celebs that have faces that look like plastic now. ©2014

Yes guys! Believe it or not, I like Paul Anka's music too! Like I've said I'm musically diverse. I bet my younger blog fans probably have never heard of Paul Anka (unless you've heard your grand parents play his songs). Mr. Anka was one of those teen heartthrobs that girls used to scream their heads off for. Personally, I didn't think he was all that handsome, but I did and still do like some of his music. If you see the way he looks now you would never think he was the same person. Growing up, I remembered my grandfather  jamming to a long called "Diana". This was a very catchy and infectious tone back then; and even as a small child, I remember singing this all over the place. There were two more favorites of mine, the first is called "Put Your Head On My Shoulders", which was a huge hit in 1968. The other song is "Puppy love". © 2014

Yes guys! Believe it or not, I like Paul Anka's music too! Like I've said before I'm musically diverse. But how many of my younger blog fans actually heard of Paul Anka (unless you've heard your grand parents play his songs maybe)? Mr. Anka was one of those teen heartthrobs that girls used to scream their heads off for. Personally, I didn't think he was all that handsome, but I did and still do like some of his music. If you see the way Mr. Anka looks now you would never think he was the same person. Growing up, I remembered my grandfather jamming to one of his songs called "Diana". Here is the first original version, however, I like his remake better when he was older. This was a very catchy and infectious tone back then; and even as a small child, I remember singing this all over the place. There were three more favorites of mine, the first is called "Put Your Head On My Shoulders", which was a huge hit in 1968. Also song "Puppy love" and "Lonely Boy". I liked only boy, because it was one of the few sad songs you heard that had an up beat tempo. © 2014

I really love the temp of many of Gregory Isaacs's music. R.I.P. Although his sometimes nasally voice in some of his music gets a little annoying at times. However, one of his biggest hits called "Night Nurse (1982) was the exception to the rule. I love this song so much. I also think he did a remake with Lady Saw. I don't like Lady Saw's music at all, but I loved the collaboration with this particular song. Gregory has been around musically for a long time, and has had a long healthy music career before his passing a few years back. Some of these hits were "No Speech (1991)", "Each Day (2001)", and "Willow Tree (1995)" just to name a few. Just to give you a fair warning, a lot of his very early 70's reggae albums tend to sound a lot a like. However, I think my older Caribbean blog members can appreciate his music.

I really love the temp of many of Gregory Isaacs's music. R.I.P. Although his sometimes nasally voice in some of his music gets a little annoying at times. However, one of his biggest hits called "Night Nurse (1982)" was the exception to the rule. I love this song so much. I also think he did a remake with Lady Saw. I don't like Lady Saw's music at all, but I loved the collaboration with this particular song. Gregory has been around musically for a long time, and has had a long healthy music career before his passing a few years back. Some of these hits were "No Speech (1991)", "Each Day (2001)", and "Willow Tree (1995)" just to name a few. The "Willow Tree" has been remade by so many reggae artists, but I think the original singer was Elton Ellis. Just to give you a fair warning, a lot of his very early 70's reggae albums tend to sound a lot a like. However, I think my older Caribbean blog members can appreciate his music.

Rap is one type of music I rarely listen to know-a-days, because the quality of rap has really tanked over the last 20+ or so years. We've gone from "saying no to drugs" to glorifying anything that degrades women, and total disregard for respect, and a host of other things. I will say this, I will not get in to a long winded speech as to whether or not rap is an art form or not. I think this is a separate issue in terms of the quality of rap being played to day, and the o' so willing record companies willing to promote negative rap. I digress. Now, don't get wrong, rap was always about the rappers telling their story about the streets, however, it was very different in the 80's. In terms of rap, I don't really listen to anything else past bubble gum 80's, and maybe a few 90's stuff. Lately, I have been grooving to a old 2 man group called EPMD. One of the two named Erik Sermon wasn't particularly handsome, but he had beautiful eyes. It kinda kept me watching their videos, because his facial features were so unique. I kinda forget just how long they've been around. The first rap they did that drove me crazy was a song called "It's My Thing (1988)". This song had a sick beat, and most importantly, I understood what he was saying! It had a funk/James Brown kinda beat that I absolutely loved. Other favorites are "You Gots To Chill (1988)", "The Big Payback (1991)" and Your A Customer (1991)"

Rap is one type of music I rarely listen to now-a-days, because the quality of rap has really tanked over the last 20+ or so years. We've gone from "saying no to drugs" to glorifying anything that degrades women, and total disregard for respect, and a host of other things. I will say this, I will not get in to a long winded speech as to whether or not rap is an art form or not. I think this is a separate issue in terms of the quality of rap being played to day, and the o' so willing record companies willing to promote negative rap. I digress. Now, don't get wrong, rap was always about the rappers telling their story about the streets, however, it was very different in the 80's. In terms of rap, I don't really listen to anything else past bubble gum 80's, and maybe a few 90's stuff. Lately, I have been grooving to a old 2 man group called EPMD. One of the two named Erik Sermon wasn't particularly handsome, but he had beautiful eyes. It kinda kept me watching their videos, because his facial features were so unique. I used to mistaken Parrish Smith for Coolio a lot. I kinda forget just how long they've been around. The first rap they did that drove me crazy was a song called "It's My Thing (1988)". This song had a sick beat, and most importantly, I understood what he was saying! Other favorites are "You Gots To Chill (1988)", "The Big Payback (1991)" this song had a funk/James Brown kinda beat which I loved, and everyone could dance to this rap too, and "Your A Customer (1991)".

Monthly Archives: October 2009

By Doug Levine
Washington
© 2009 VOA

Howlin’ Wolf, in a publicity photo from Chess Records

Some of the greatest blues musicians of the 20th century made their mark in Chicago, Illinois. Among them, music pioneers Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon. The memory of these and other modern blues maestros lives on with a new tribute album titled Chicago Blues: A Living History. When blues musicians from the Mississippi Delta looking for work gravitated north to cities like Chicago, a more polished, urban style of blues was born. Caught up in the city’s fast pace, they traded their acoustic guitars for electric guitars, and turned up the volume with a full ensemble of amplified harmonicas, thumping bass guitars and drums.

Leading the tribute to their hometown heroes are four veterans of Chicago’s ever-growing blues scene, guitarists Lurrie Bell and John Primer, and harmonica masters Billy Branch and Billy Boy Arnold. Producer Larry Skoller, who recruited the all-star lineup, assembled the backup band and handpicked the songs, explains how the arrival of Muddy Waters in 1940 signaled a whole new era in Chicago blues.

“The Delta blues musicians, notably Muddy Waters who came from the Delta to the north for work and for better living conditions, went to Chicago, which had lots of opportunities,” Skoller says. “And, people would go up through Kansas City and St. Louis; and Chicago was the big center. It attracted a lot of people from the south, and when people like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf came up from Mississippi, Muddy Waters was pretty much the person, if you had to pinpoint one bluesman from the Delta who really electrified the music, and really was the foundation and link between it, it’s Muddy Waters.”

“We, of course, couldn’t pay tribute to everybody that had an influence on the music, but we really picked the ones we felt were the most important people in sound innovators,” Skoller adds. “Without question, Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon were two of the giants who really had, on multiple levels and for multiple reasons, had just an amazing influence and (were) probably the most important among them; certainly, Willie Dixon (who was known) for his songwriting and the kinds of songs that he wrote, and his producing abilities and his ability to bring people together for Chess Records.”

Chicago Blues: A Living History spans the years 1940 to 1991, beginning with the band’s version of John Lee Williamson’s “My Little Machine.” It continues in chronological order with tracks by Elmore James, Lowell Fulson, Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy and other “Windy City” legends.

VintageNewscast.com has received permission by the author to republish this article.

Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor

Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III (December 2, 1940 – December 10, 2005) was an American comedian, actor, and writer. Pryor was known for his unflinching examinations of racism and customs in modern life, and was renowned for his frequent use of colorful, vulgar, and profane language and racial epithets. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style. He is widely regarded as one of the most important stand-up comedians of all time: Jerry Seinfeld called Pryor “The Picasso of our profession”; Bob Newhart has called Pryor “the seminal comedian of the last 50 years.”

His body of work includes such concert movies and recordings as Richard Pryor: Live and Smokin’ (1971), That Nigger’s Crazy (1974), …Is It Something I Said? (1975), Bicentennial Nigger (1976), Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979), Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982), and Richard Pryor: Here and Now (1983). He also starred in numerous films as an actor, usually in comedies such as Silver Streak, but occasionally in dramatic roles, such as Paul Schrader’s film Blue Collar and roles like Gus Gorman in Superman III (1983). He collaborated on many projects with actor Gene Wilder. He won an Emmy Award in 1973, and five Grammy Awards in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1981, and 1982. In 1974, he also won two American Academy of Humor awards and the Writers Guild of America Award.

Born in Springfield, Illinois, Pryor grew up in Peoria in his grandmother’s brothel, where his mother, Gertrude Leona (née Thomas), practiced prostitution. His father, LeRoy “Buck Carter” Pryor was a former bartender, boxer, and World War II veteran who worked as his wife’s pimp. After his mother abandoned him when he was ten, he was raised primarily by his grandmother Marie Carter, a violent woman who would beat him for any of his eccentricities.

He was expelled from school at the age of 14. His first professional performance was playing drums at a night club. Pryor served in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960, but spent virtually the entire stint in an army prison. According to a 1999 profile about Pryor in The New Yorker, Pryor was incarcerated for an incident that occurred while stationed in Germany. Annoyed that a white soldier was a bit too amused at the racially charged sections of Douglas Sirk’s movie Imitation of Life, Pryor and some other black soldiers beat and stabbed the white soldier, though not fatally. According to Live on Sunset Boulevard, when he was nineteen, he worked at a Mafia-owned nightclub as the MC. On hearing that they would not pay a stripper, he attempted to hold up the owners with a cap pistol. The owners, amazingly enough, thought he was joking and were greatly amused.

During this time, Pryor’s girlfriend gave birth to a girl named Renee. Years later, however, he found out that she was not his child. In 1960, he married Patricia Price and they had one child together, Richard, Jr. (his first child and first son). They divorced in 1961.

In 1963, Pryor moved to New York City and began performing regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. On one of his first nights, he opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone at New York’s Village Gate. Simone recalls Pryor’s bout of performance anxiety:

“He shook like he had malaria, he was so nervous. I couldn’t bear to watch him shiver, so I put my arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down. The next night was the same, and the next, and I rocked him each time.”

Inspired by Bill Cosby, Pryor began as a middlebrow comic, with material far less controversial than what was to come. Soon, he began appearing regularly on television variety shows, such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show. His popularity led to success as a comic in Las Vegas. The first five tracks on the 2005 compilation CD Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966–1974), recorded in 1966 and 1967, capture Pryor in this era.

Open Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Pryor

 

By Will Pfeifer
GateHouse News Service
Copyright © 2009
The biggest folk hero in modern American film is the serial killer. Cold, calculating and above all cool, the serial killer is always one step ahead of the law and constantly working on new and imaginative ways to dispense with his victims. Most of this popularity can be traced to Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter and his Oscar-winning portrayal by Sir Anthony Hopkins. But in the decades since “Silence of the Lambs” we’ve seen plenty of imitators: John Doe in “Seven,” the entrepreneurs in “Hostel” and the mechanically minded villain (hero?) of the “Saw” franchise.

Here’s the thing, though: There are serial killers in the real world, but they’re not cool, cold or calculating. They’re disturbing, desperate men who take innocent lives. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good serial-killer thriller, but every so often, you should sprinkle a bit of reality in with all that fantasy. Two recommendations:

“Manson”: Released to cash in on the 40th anniversary of the Manson murders, this History Channel production combines slick re-enactments with interviews of actual participants.

Prosecutor (and “Helter Skelter” scribe) Vincent Bugliosi is present, along with Manson family member Linda Kasabian, who was there the night of the Sharon Tate murders. Tate’s sister, Deborah, also comments on the crime, and it’s her input — along with the gruesome crime photos — that convey the horror of what Manson and Co. did.

As for the re-enactments, they’re a bit too slick. Adam Wilson, who plays Charlie, can’t compete with the genuine article (or, for that matter, with Steve Railsback’s portrayal in the 1976 TV movie). He’s too smooth and handsome — and not nearly crazy enough. It is fascinating to watch him try to buddy-up to Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, though, and you do hear a tantalizing clip of Manson singing a folk-rock song. If only his music career had taken off …

“Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer”: This 1986 film (just released on Blu-Ray) is fictional, but it manages to feel more horrifyingly real than the re-enactments in “Manson.” Inspired by the crimes of Henry Lee Lucas and Otis Toole, “Henry” follows a quiet, deliberate murderer (Michael Rooker in a chilling performance) as he moves in with his buddy Otis (Tom Towles, even creepier) and Otis’ innocent sister, Becky (Tracy Arnold).

There’s not much plot; Henry just kills people, talks about killing people, then goes and kills more people. Eventually, of course, Otis and Becky get involved in very different ways, and — spoiler alert! — the film does not end on a happy, life-affirming note.

Thanks to the actors’ dead-on performances and John McNaughton’s low-budget, low-key direction, “Henry” is terrifying because it seems so real, as if McNaughton just happened to catch footage of these screwed-up souls when they weren’t looking. It’s not fast-paced, and it’s not fun, but it is one of the most chilling, most disturbing movies I’ve ever seen. Watch it at your own risk.

Will Pfeifer writes about new DVDs on Tuesdays and older ones on Fridays. Contact him at wpfeifer@rrstar.com or 815-987-1244. Read his blog at blogs.e-rockford.com/movieman/.

VintageNewscast.com has received permission by the author to republish this article.