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You know, one of the main things that makes what I do so fun, is that rummaging through my old collections is kind of like looking through an old family photo album, and saying “wooooaaaaahhh!! That’s old!” LOL. Then, you’re sharing a piece of your history with friends, and they learn something they would have never known otherwise…. Since the time I was aware of Tony Orlando, I’ve never known him to sing anything other than mushy love songs and ballads. So, I totally forgotten about a disco record he recorded called “Don’t Let go,” in 1978. What’s nice about this song is, he didn’t change his style of singing; he still maintained that “Tony Orlando” we knew. It’s actually a pretty good record, and I think had the tempo been a little more faster, it would have been the kind of music you would have heard @ Studio 54 back in the day. From this same compilation, I recommend also checking out this instrumental disco version “Love Hangover,” by Touch. As you may remember, this song was also done by the legendary Diana Ross; this was one of her many monster cult classics. Two of the best songs from this album.

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It is my opinion that when it comes to music crazes of a particular genre, they usually have a life span of about 10 years. For instance, 60’s was our Black rhythm and blues, 70s was disco, and 80s were the decade of heavy metal, and long blonde hair rock groups. However, “dance crazes” seemed to have a longer time period, I’d like to say, from the 50’s through the 80’s (as far as I can recall). But the 50s appeared to have been the most prevalent. It seemed as though every week there was a new dance to learn. To give you a sense of what it was like in the fifties/sixties, I’d like you to rent “Hairspray (1988),” from Netflix. It stars Rickie Lake and the legendary Devine.  Now there are other versions of this movie, but this movie was directed by Johnathan Waters is the best version in my opinion; in terms of comedic delivery and a more accurate environment for that era. Today I’d like to share with you an extremely rare and forgotten song named after a dance craze called “The Duck (1966),” and it was sung by Jackie Lee. This song peaked at #14 and stayed on the Top 100 for 14 weeks. I miss these songs and the era they were in; because they represented innocence and truly enjoying yourselves. Now, it’s all about groping. 🙁

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Sheila E. was (and still is), one of my most favorite female performers of the 80s. Sheila is unbelievably talented! She is like (what I call) a hip hop version of country singer Barbra Mandrell; in that it appears she can play every instrument you can think of. Most people know Sheila as being a drum player; however, she’s also a guitarist, and master percussionist. Although I first learned of Sheila in the 80s, she actually started her career about 1974-1975 in a group called “The George Duke Band.” Then her career skyrocketed once she met Prince. Prince wrote a song for her album “Romance 1600” called “A Love Bizarre (1985),” and it is one of the most unique songs I’ve ever heard, yet it is unmistakably a Prince song. ” The song shot up to #11, and stayed on the Top 100 for about 23 weeks. This song was one of two mega hits that defined her image and career. The second one was a song called “The Glamorous life,” from her album “The Glamorous Life (1984).” Sheila, who’s now almost 60 years of age, still looks amazing, and still beating the hell out of those drums.

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Here is a rare classic by The Pointer Sisters! “Yes We Can Can,” was a hot soulful, funk charged mix of positive energy. It’s a song about encouraging us to treat each other with respect. One way to get a political message across Black people in the 70s, was to put it to danceable music! The song hit #11 on the Top 100 Billboard. It was originally written and performed by Lee Dorsey in 1970. However, it was originally called “Yes We Can.” It is my understanding that The Pointer Sisters, recorded this as a demo in order to get a record deal. I wise decision that turned out to be. The Pointer Sisters consist of lead singer, Anita Pointer, Ruth Pointer, Bonnie Pointer and June Pointer. Sadly, the youngest member of the group, June Pointer died on April of 2006, at the age of 52 from cancer. The sisters have had a long career with huge hits such as, “I’m So Excited,” from the sound track “Beverly Hills Cop II (1987),” and “Neutron Dance,” from the sound track “Beverly Hills Cop (1984),” and many, many more…

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On the Jackson 5 album titled “ABC,” there is a cute song rarely heard called “2-4-6-8,” released in 1970. It is strange that I don’t remember hearing this one the radio. Maybe it’s because I was only 3 years old when this song came out? But usually you’d continue to hear a major artist’s song off and on at least 3 years once it’s been on the charts. So even at age 6 I’d think I would remember. Not sure… The first time I heard this song, was actually when I was watching their cartoon special called “The Jackson 5ive.” I was so tickled, because it was my first time ever watching a cartoon character really dance. I believe this was the first time I ever saw a “Black” cartoon; and “Fat Albert came soon after. “The Jackson 5ive” was a fun cartoon where all the Jackson characters get in to all kinds of mischief. There were many other big hits from this album such as “I Found That Girl,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” and finally “I Don’t Know Why I Love You,” which was originally written and performed by the legendary Stevie Wonder.

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The song called “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” was released in November of 1968. Within about two months, the song shot up to #2 on the American Billboard’s Top 100 Charts; and also peaked #3 on UK’s single charts. It’s hard to believe that a song that was once popular as it was, is virtually unheard of by most, if not all the current generation of music lovers. This song was HUGE, not just because it was a hit, but because the song was sung by two of the biggest acts under the Motown label. This was one of my very favorite songs growing up. The song was written by Kenneth Gamble and Jerry Ross, and was originally recorded in 1966, under Mercury Records by Dee Dee Warwick, Dionne Warwick’s sister, and cousin of the late Whitney Houston. Dee Dee’s recording of the song peaked at #13 on the R&B charts.

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It’s been a while since I’ve heard anything new from Ziggy Marley. Today, I was listening to some of my old iTunes music, and discovered a song I forgot I had. It is a cover Ziggy did (along with the “Melody Makers”), of a song called “Drive (1984),” and it was originally produced & performed by a group called “The Cars.” “The Cars” song peaked at #3 on the American Billboards. Now, I always loved this song, but I absolutely LOVE the way Ziggy sang his version. It is one of the very few true romantic reggae songs (from 2000 on) in my opinion. Ziggy did the cover “Drive (2004)” as part of a sound track, to the movie called “50 First Dates (2004),” starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Unfortunately, because of licensing, Spotify doesn’t have Ziggy’s original cover, the copyright holder wants you to buy the entire sound track album for this song. So this is one of the rare cases I shared a YouTube link. If you want to listen to “The Cars” original version, you can listen here with Spotify.

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Switching back to dance music of the late 80s. I want to draw your attention to a club music group called “Raze.” Vaughan Mason, a member of Raze, written a song called “Break4Love,” which became one of the most memorable classics in 80s house music. “Break4Love,” was released in 1988, and risen to number #24 on the American Billboard charts, and reached #28 on the UK music charts. This song was really weird to me in a way. Why? Because he sang the song as if he was trying to sing for the first time. Or like, you know people who can’t really sing, but they want you to help them identify a song, and they try to sing a verse from that song? That’s what he sounds like! LOLOLOL. Yet, the music seems to go with his voice. It’s a nice, consistent danceable beat that anyone can dance to. There have been so many remixes done of this song by different dj’s, I can’t even remember them all. I’m really surprised this was allowed to become such a hit personally, because in my opinion it was at the borderline of becoming porn music, which it would have been banned a long time ago, if it were deemed so.

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Awh! What a cute couple right? NOT……… It’s amazing…. How they were able to put out an image of being this awesome couple, yet the reality was, Ike was an absolute monster! Having said that, I also feel that it’s also so ironic that a song like “Bold Soul Sister,” gives us a clear impression that she’s in control. With lyrics such as “I do what I wanna do,” and a mean funk beat, we’d think that life could not be any better for her. I also made not of similarities of how close she came to mimicking the late legendary James Brown. The song peaked @ #59, and stayed on the charts for 8 weeks. On the same album, there’s a song that was written by the late Otis Redding and Jerry butler in 1965, and performed by the late Otis called “I’ve Been Loving You Too long.” Now, I absolutely LOVE Otis Redding’s music, however I have to say I like Tina’s interpretation of “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” slightly better. She really sang that song from deep, deep down inside. It’s very possible all the pain and turmoil she had dealt with, concerning her late husband Ike, came through this song. On the American Billboards, it hit #68, and stayed on the top 100 for 7 weeks.

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I love the movie “The Last Dragon,” starring Taimak & Vanity (of Vanity 6). The movie was released in 1985. Although the movie is essentially about martial arts, but because it has a music element to it, within the first minute of watching this movie, you’ll immediately realize it’s so 80s 😂. Not only was this movie wildly popular (and to be honest, I think that was due to Vanity being in the movie), the soundtrack had a lot of hits as well. Such as “Rhythm Of The Night” by DeBarge (which hit #1 in the U.S.), and “Peeping Tom” by Rockwell (which peaked @ #21 on the dance chart). But there was one song from this great soundtrack that did not get much credit (in my opinion). “First Time On A Ferris Wheel,” which was song by Smokey Robinson and Syreeta. This was, and still is an amazingly beautiful song. It reminds me of one of those “new teenage love,” kind of songs. By the way, the way Syreeta sings, she reminds me of Deniece Williams a lot.

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Peabo Bryson is an awesome singer, and has made major hard hitting hits. That includes duets with people like the legendary Regina Belle; with their hit theme song to the movie “Aladdin (1992),” called “A Whole New World.” Peabo was born in South Carolina, and grew up to be a distinguished performer, with two Grammy awards under his built. Besides doing movie scores, he’s also a R&B, soul, and a pretty good jazz singer. A couple of days ago, I heard a song from him on an Internet radio station I totally forgotten about. It’s called “If You’re Ever In My Arms Again,” released in 1984. The song reached #10 on the Top 100 billboard charts, and stayed on the chart for 25 weeks. This is such a beautiful love song we just don’t hear anymore. These kinds of music is less likely to be discovered on YouTube. I don’t know if it’s a rumor or not, but it is said he’s supposed to come out with a new album in 2018. If so, I’m interested to see what he has to offer. It will be his first album in a looong time.

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Today, I thought I would change gears and share some Latin Jazz. I’d like to share an artist with you named Cal Tjader. Tjader was a Latin jazz composer, and his choice of instrument was usually the vibraphone. His piece called “Soul Sauce,” on the album “Soul Sauce,” reached #52 on the top 200 Billboard, and stayed on the charts for 22 weeks. This composition is composed of so many different cultures, that technically this piece can be placed in a number of Latin/Cuban categories. However, with a name like “Soul Sauce,” you’d think that it would make you move your body; but in fact the piece is very mellow; almost like listening to “dinner music.” It is enjoyable though. In the 70s, this type of music would be considered “elevator music.” Yes, many business actually had either per-recorded music, or the radio playing through speakers in an elevator. Copyrights destroyed all that unfortunately. LOL

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