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PERFORMERS (A-H)

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This remains to be my most favorite album from Carole King. If I am not mistaken, this was also her very first album. Carole is a composer, and a songwriter. She has snatched lots of Grammy Awards, and had been inducted into the songwriter’s hall of fame. Carole’s music is sort of what I call, modern folk music; very similar to James Taylor. In fact, Carole and James performed together quite a few concerts. On the original album, there is only one vinyl. However, since the digital release, they have added an extra bonus album with 11 extra live performances. This album has the kind of mellow music that is perfect to listen to while you’re reading, or perhaps while relaxing in the park. This album is packed with what remains to be her most greatest hits (in my opinion). She released this album throwing some hard punches with 6 huge hits, starting from the first three tracks back to back. “I Feel The Earth Move,” “So Far Away,” and “It’s Too Late.” The piece “So Far Away” is so beautiful, I believe if she would have made it an instrumental only, it still would have become a huge hit anyway; the entire composition and the base is just wonderful. There is also “You’ve Got A Friend,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman.” Yes, that song is actually Carole’s song, not Aretha’s. Carole has written that song along with two other composers. Please listen With Rhapsody.

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I absolutely LOVE Bill Withers’ work! In my opinion, he is a musical genius that hasn’t gotten as much credit as he deserved during the prime of his career. His music is so unique, and his voice is distinctive. The only other musician that has almost a similar style of music is probably Al Green (in my humble opinion). Although, I think Al’s music tends to be a little slower “church” sounding tempo, whereas Bill’s tempo is more of a mixture jazz and funk. Mr. Withers story is inspiring; before he became internationally known, he suffered from stutter. You’d never know he had a problem with stuttering after listening to some of his music. He actually talked about this in his video biography called “Still Bill.” I highly recommend this video! The video gets in to detail about his life growing up, but it’s also a history lesson. If you are a Bill Withers fan like I am, rent it from Netflix. Bill has so many hits that I felt it was best to pick-out a greatest hits album. This album has A lot of his great hits I love, including “Harlem,” “Grandma’s Hands,” “Who Is he (And What Is He To you)?” “Use me,” “Lean On Me,” “Lovely Day,” and “Just The Two Of Us (with Grover Washington).” There are quite a few other hits that are not on this album, so I recommend that you search for them. Listen with Rhapsody.
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CeCe Peniston had a lot of great hits throughout her career. However, this is my ultimate favorite album. I’ve been shaking my booty to many of these songs in quite a few clubs back in the day. Her voice matches perfectly with the songs on this album. I’m not sure how old she was when she made this album, but I liked it because it sort of represented a combination of coming out of adolescence and high school. It’s a very fun album, and continues to make me want to dance. I think the 80’s babies will like this album too, or at least make you bop your head at best. My favorites are “Finally,” ” We Got A Love Thang,” and “Keep On Walkin’.” I’ll be honest, there were a couple of slow songs I didn’t like; “Inside That I Cried” was one of them. But overall, it’s an excellent classic to play at your next old school gathering. Listen with Rhapsody.

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You know, I don’t like speaking for other people; however, I think it’s safe to say that if you’re a Donna Summer fan, this album was the best album of all times! I can be sure of this not just because she is one of my favorite disco queens; but because when this album was released it hit triple platinum, and sold over 8 million copies! How’s THAT for your nerves! LOL. But you know, I’ve noticed something that I’ve never heard or read anyone talk about. Donna reminds me a lot of Barbra Steisand in a way; in that she was one of the very FEW artists who could drop about 6-8 albums, and within all those albums have repeat songs, and still make money! How crazy is that! Pay attention to the songs in this album; you’ll notice that several of these songs are in several other albums! That’s OK though, because I love both Donna and Barbra equally. I’m not going to begin to attempt to list all of my favorite Donna songs, cause the list is just too damn many.  But I think the “Bad Girls”consists the heart of many of my favorites, as with most Donna Summer fans. They include “Walk Away,” “Dim All The Lights,” “One Night In A Lifetime,” “All Through The Night,” and “Sunset People.”

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cymande

This is an extremely rare album, and I’m sure not too many people know of this group (unless you were a fan). Cymande is actually a British band, with a jazz and funk sound to their music. They actually make very good music in my opinion. However, this album was my first album (I believe this was their first release as well), and remains to be my most favorite from them. There are two songs from this album that I remember became really big hits. The first is a song called “Zion I,” which has heavy drum rhythms deeply connected to traditional African culture. The second song is called “Bra,” I remember hearing this song a lot over the radio, you can’t get any closer to jazz funk than this song. They have reunited some time in 2011 to produce a new album that was released in 2014. They have made a 360 degree turn; this album is nothing like the work they’ve did in their early career. It is almost all hip hop.

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[Repost]

I think this was the first album I ever saw from Gladys Knight & The Pips. I was about 6 years old then. This continues to be my favorite album from them. However, this particular album Gladys Knight & The Pips: Imagination, is a special expanded edition on Rhapsody & on Spotify here. That I can think of, absolutely no one has Gladys Knights distinctive voice. During the peaks of her career, the power in her voice was definitely a force that could not be reckoned with. My favorites are “Every Beat Of My Heart”, “Midnight Train To Georgia”, and “I Don’t Want To Do Wrong”. Also, her rendition of Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were” was jaw dropping (if you can get a hold of her 1977 live performance, it will knock you off your feet). Below is a link to one of their greatest hits albums.

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