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I am the proud owner of 2 blogs. The first is called VintageNewscast. The primary purpose for this blog is to help my visitors rediscover rare & perhaps out of print classic music and film on digital format; the kinds of music & film that usually are NOT promoted in the digital realm! This includes most internet radio, “On Demand” audio/video streaming services, printed magazines and advertisements for DVD’s and Blu-Rays, and online entertainment (especially non-collector) stores. My blog is about cultural diversity! So, if you’re expecting to see only one type of music or movies here, this is NOT the blog site for you! :-) I am one of the very few multicultural bloggers of color to own one of the most diverse classic music/movie blogs in cyberspace. Here, you will see many genres of music and movies from 1995-ish and older. I also try to keep my fans/visitors informed as to the direction of music and film within digital technology.

The second blog is called ShadesOfSepia. My goal there is to capture history, culture & our community through my camera lens. In essence ShadesOfSepia will serve as my photographic diary; telling stories of New York City with my camera; taking photographs all over; sharing subjects I find to have beauty, or of special quality. Creating an historical archive of the people of New York City. I also like to share my photographic art, mostly derived from my photo taking. I am attracted to many different types of photography, and I hope you enjoy my photographs. Please don’t forget to bookmark both my sites. I think you will grow to enjoy and love them both; as I work hard to give you the best content not seen anywhere else. Thank you!

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Hi guys, I’d like to draw your attention to an issue that no one appears to be talking about; the growing problem of what I call “Playlist Monopoly,” especially in regards to social media. What is “Playlist Monopoly” you ask? Well, as far as I see it, there are two entirely different issues that creates one problem. Let’s talk about the social media aspect of it, such as sites similar to Facebook (primarily I think). Groups that are dedicated to music streaming on social media, appear to be made up of mostly desperate artists looking to get followers. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the “hustle” to make money for your work, however, I think this is the wrong way to go about it. First issue, lets talk about the content many of these artists are pushing. A lot of the content I see are predominantly badly written hip hop music, while also promoting porn on their album covers. Ninety nine percent of new hip hop circulating on social media would never be in my playlist. So, because we now have an open platform, meaning you no longer need a record label to produce and distribute your content, the quality of music has really gone down hill. Many of these people have had no training, or strong background in making music. In turn, it makes it harder for music lovers like us to find music we like, because new music now are so poorly produced. Quite honestly, I’ve heard hip hop from the Creative Commons platform that sounds better. Now, having said this, there is no emoji for “it sounds ok.” You either give it a thumbs up, or none at all. If I’m nice enough to give you a thumbs up, that’s not a queue for you to bombard me with “follow me and then I’ll follow you” messages. No one is going to make me feel obligated to follow your music, especially if I’m not feeling it. I’m the type of person that ALWAYS skim through profiles before I follow it. You must have something of value before I follow you.

Second issue is, the number of followers on a playlist. If a playlist has thousands and thousands of followers, some artists will even try to contact the playlist creator, and attempt to pay that person to have their music place in said playlists. Yes…. They do that. In fact, I’ve heard people offering to purchase the actual playlist. This is why I am always skeptical of playlist with 20,000+ followers, and over 2,000+ songs. That is a huge red flag people need to watch out for. This is not a playlist created out of love for music, it’s often times a playlist filled with garbage for the expressed purpose to promote. I really don’t understand this approach; what would make you logically think that an indivdual would listen to a singular playlist with several thousand songs? Who has time for that? Are you f**king nuts? It’s entirely possible that maybe some of you feel you just want to “help struggling artists out/give them support.” The problem with that is, the way many algorithms work on streaming services. If you thumbs up, like, save as an album/playlist/follow, or play enough of garbage, it’s going to effect the kinds of music your streaming service will try and help you find in the future (ie, playing radio, featured music, & suggestions, etc). Music discovery is one of the most important features of a true music service; it’s not just about how large their library is (one of the many things YouTube is not good at/designed for). Something that I strongly suggest that you consider. Don’t follow anybody’s playlist you don’t want to follow. It is better to cherry pic the songs you do like, and throw away the rest. Also, don’t listen to a significant amount of music from one particular genre if you don’t like it! If you do, it’s going to take a long time before your service’s algorithms recalculate/realign/readjust (whatever you want to call it) to the kinds of music you really do like. Remember (if you do save/follow) the smaller the playlist, the better. Not only that, you’re not spending hours sifting through a bunch of dead/expired songs, because the playlist is nothing but a dumping place, without any kind of maintenance.

In my opinion, rather than finding music on social media (playlists), I think it would be best to go someplace like Topsify or something like that. Or even personal blogs such as mine. Shit, even former president Obama has a playlist! LOL. There are actually plenty of playlists sites you can go to. Playlists sites consist of music fans (apposed to music promoters) who spend a lot of time and love putting together playlist they feel people would love. Therefor; you’re listening to the best of their taste in music, as well as adding culture to your musical heart. You’ll quickly notice a huge difference between the playlists on social media, and the playlists on private blogs and playlist sites made by fans, for fans. Doesn’t mean it’s not impossible to occasionally find garbage on playlist sites, but, your chances are far greater of finding quality music there.

If you see a playlist name that says “Best songs on the planet,” or “1,000 of the Internet’s biggest hits,” or something to that effect, don’t even bother. Trying to find even 80s playlists can be difficult, because if you’re cultural like I am, you’ll realize most if not all songs I already have. Don’t forget Shazam is a great resource to discovering music too.

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I found this amazing remix of Luther’s old classic “Never Too Much (1981).” Believe it or not, I don’t recall ever hearing any house mixes of Luther’s music. Now that I think back, it’s kind of absurd, since I have been in the club scene in my late teens to mid 20s. Believe it or not, we had a lot of remixes even then. LOL. Then again, we were exposed to all kinds of music in the cubs. Then friends were always introducing us to new music in addition to that. Music was such a different experience 30 years ago, an experience that kids exposed to this new digital age will never know. Wow, looking at Luther’s side profile, I didn’t realize he was that big. I miss him a lot, the days of his music is over, pretty much.

A hand picked curated collection (by yours truly) of some of Al Green’s most forgotten music, as well as some of his biggest hits I remembered growing up. Al Green’s unique style of organ sounds and funk beats has given him a distinct sound back in the day, making him one of the most memorable old school artists in Black music. Sit back and enjoy 27 of my most favorite Al Green songs such as “Full Of Fire (1976),” ” I Can’t Get Next To You (1971),” “Oh Petty Woman (1972),” and “I’m Glad You’re Mine (1972).” Listen On Spotify.

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Hey guys! This is my Spotify collection of old school hip hop, hip house, and hip dance music. This is the only time were I will probably break my own over 30+ rule. Only because I don’t think I’ll be doing another rap playlist for quite a while. These are some of my most favorite hip hop songs from back in the day, when hip hop was about dance, rocking crowed, and friendly lyrical battles. It was a time when female rappers (that had real talent) were emerging and fighting for equal spotlight; a time before young women were only used purely for their bodies in rap videos. This collection includes Eric B. & Rakim’s “Don’t Sweat The Technique,” Chub Rock’s “Treat ‘Em Right,” and D-Nice’s “Too Tha Rescue.” There are a lot more artists on this playlist that I think any TRUE old school rap fan will enjoy. Check it out on Spotify!

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Well, it took me awhile to figure out what playlist I was going to start with. I guess it is because this is my first. I wanted to do something different; then I though, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of playlists of female love songs. Even when I was growing up, when people thought of  love songs (both male and female), usually people automatically gravitate to a male performer before a female. So this playlist is to honor classic female artists that have made great love songs, or just songs that admire the male form. This short Playlist includes mixture of genres from artists such as Stephanie Mills’s “The Comfort Of A Man,” Miquel Brown’s “So Many Men (although technically this isn’t a love song, it represented a time of the non-vulgar innocence of the 80s),”  Diana Ross’s “Muscles,” Labelle “Touch Me All Over,” Teena Marie’s “I need Your Lovin’,” and more….. Listen on Spotify. Enjoy.

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Tito Puente was one of many true musical legends. He was in command of every instrument he played, and could bang a congo drum like none I’ve scene before. He’s performed with many other artists, including La Lupe, and Celia Cruz . “Oye Como Va” was a very, very popular song, and has been reinterpreted by many. It’s just a wonderful tune that has been long forgotten. Listen to “Oye Como Va” on Spotify.

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I’ve heard many different opinions about Sparrow’s music. Personally, I just think a lot of his music sounds too identical, so identical I’m shocked he was able to sell so many albums. It was as if he was preparing for the same Carnival over and over again. But, love him, hate him, he’s been around forever, and has been called by many of his peers “the calypso king.” Sparrow has made tons and tons of albums over his long career. He’s in his 80s now and doubt he’s still performing. Listen to this classic on Spotify.

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Like many old school fans, I still have quite a few old cassettes from back in the day, when I used to tape off the radio. Now that we have such amazing technology today, I’m glad I didn’t actually through away all my old cassettes YET. I’ve been shazaming a LOT of my tapes over the years, which allowed me to get rid of a significant amount of cassettes. Now, I’m not the type of person that would tell a stranger to throw anything away that has sentimental value to them (especially if it’s a vinyl album or something like that). However, I do recommend using Shazam to help you retire those old tapes to make more room for other things. Manly for three important reasons. First, finding a good cassette player has become hard to find. I’ve purchased a number of cassette players and they all sound like crap. In fact, a couple of them ruined a few of my tapes. And I’m not willing to spend upwards of $300 for a “good cassette deck,” when I know I’m only going to use it for the purpose of Shazam’n’.  Second good reason to Shazam your cassettes, you don’t have to hear the dj bable anymore.. LOL. I used to hate when they’d talk through the song I liked. But I knew they did it so that we can buy the album. Thirdly, Once you Shazam something, and or save it to your Spotify, it stays there forever! Even if the license on a song expires, it’s still listed! The nice thing about that is, if you can’t find it in any other album, you can just purchase it from Amazon or Google (DRM free). At this point I Spotify will ALWAYS have free accounts, so I really really doubt you have to worry about anything. Oh yeah! One more thing, you don’t have to run around asking friends if they know the name of a song!! 😳

Some of the songs I’ve Shazam’d lately are, “Touch Me (All Night Long) by Cathy Dennis,” “Sweet Love by Anita Baker,” “Midnight Blue by Melissa Manchester,” “Don’t Turn Around by Owen Gray,” “Let It Whip by The Dazz Band,” “Jungle Love by The Time,” “What Is Love by Haddaway,” “Broken Wings by Mr. Mister,” “Suavecito by Malo,” and “I Can Dream About You – Dan Hartman.” Those were just a few of several thousand Shazams, and tons of tapes 😫 😐; but it was all worth it. If I were to throw them all away, that would have been music I wouldn’t ever hear again. Mainstream radio doesn’t play music from my generation anymore period. One thing you’ll learn, even when it comes to streaming services, hand picked music is not the same as a computer generated playlist based on habits and algorithms. But, it’s good for the young kids who don’t yet have a musical perspective.

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I love Rita Coolidge. I love her singing voice, it’s so smooth and so relaxing. She has one of those voices you can listen to while relaxing on a beach somewhere. I know I really shouldn’t have her under the “One Hit Wonders” category. However, there isn’t an album that she’s produced where I’ve like nearly the entire album either. But, when she got a hit, I usually loved it! The one song that has always stuck in my head, was a song called “We’re All Alone (1976),” and it remains one of my favorite songs from her throughout her career. Now, there are a few other songs I love from her. “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher,” which I believe was first song by the legendary Jackie Wilson. The next song is another interpretation she did of a song called “Fever,” which was first song by Little Willie John in 1956. I also love the song she did called “All Time High,” which was the theme song to one of the James Bond movies, called “Octopussy.”

Rita was born 1945 in America, and she’s is both singer and songwriter. Although she’s a decent songwriter, unfortunately she hasn’t had a hit since the 1980s. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, her last truly big hit was in 1977 when “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher” hit number 2 on the American pop charts. She was married to Kris Kristofferson, and has actually written a lot of songs with him to my understanding. You may remember Kris Kristofferson, from the movie “A Star Is Born (1976),” co starring along side Barbra Streisand.

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From left to right: Keith Wilder, Mario Mantesse, Ernest Berger, Johnny Wilder, Rod Temperton and Eric Johns outside a place called the “Sands,” which if I remember correctly, it is a casino joint in Las Vegas. The band Heatwave was arguably one of the most popular bands of the 70s. These forgotten musicians have earned the right to be called legends! I feel what made Heatwave so successful, is each band member’s unique cultural and ethnic backgrounds, coming together to produce their unique sound. People don’t realize how important this group was, not just musically speaking. In a world where people still prefer to focus negatively on our differences, this ethnically diverse group came together because of their differences to create awesome music. Their signature song that put them on the map was a song called “Always And Forever,” and today is arguably the most played song at weddings and 70s parties.

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It’s been about 4-5 years since the announcement of Shazam and Spotify partnership. This is a partnership that can only be best described in my opinion as “A marriage made in heaven.” Very rare do you find two products that come together, and work nearly flawlessly! As far as I’m concerned, Shazam is truly Spotify’s “companion application.” Also, not only did it make business sense, both companies made the integrated features fully functional to free users. One of the many things that make Spotify unique to Shazam than all the other partnered companies, is that you can actually save Shazam’d songs directly to any of your Spotify playlist. Shazam also allows you to play the full song using Spotify’s player, from within the Shazam application.

Visiting family can’t get any easier. You’re relaxing and all of a sudden, your relative decides to pop on some vinyl on the old spinner. Oh, oh! All of a sudden you hear that favorite song you haven’t heard in 15 years! You’re dancing and grooving…. You feel yourself about to ask that relative the dreaded “let me borrow that album.” Da 🎵 ta 🎵 ta 🎵 da 🎹 !!! LOLOL. Then you catch yourself! “Wait a minute! I got Shazam and Spotify!” Oh great! It found the song! Now I can easily add it on my Spotify playlist! And even better, you’ve just saved yourself from getting that “hell no!!” look from that relative that knows you’re not going to return their album the way they gave it to you (if at all). The world is back to normal. 😀

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Was looking through my old albums yesterday and found one of my favorites from Jimmy McGriff. Jimmy was a very talented jazz-organist. However, his music was more than just jazz, it was a mixture of bop and funk that has you dancing through almost all his music. On this particular album “Let’s Stay Together,” which I also call his “remake album,” remake in a good way. The entire album is instrumental, with some sick beats I think any jazz fan would love. His reinterpretation of Isaac Hayes’s iconic theme “Shaft,” was a masterpiece! The beat is so smooth and rich with base. I love base in jazz music. Absolutely! Listen to it on your Spotify app here.

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