CLASSICS: RHYTHM AND BLUES
Today, I felt we must pay homage to Rick James’s protegees, The Mary Jane Girls! I loved these women, they had a LOT of major hits in the 80s. You know, they were so famous, I heard a rumor that they harbored some jealousy for one group member, because she seemed to have gained more attention from male fans then the other girls. Wow, imagine that!?!? Judging by how many times I remember hearing it back in the day, their song called “All Night Long,” released in 1983, under Motown Records, was the most popular. It was written by the man himself, Rick James. This was not only a perfect grove song, it was one of those “make out” songs at the same time. LOL
But, actually, although I still liked “All Night Long,” it really wasn’t my favorite jam. My most favorite jam from MJG was a song called “Candy Man.” Not to be confused with the movie “Candy Man.” LOL This song was also written by Rick James, and I like it because it was one of the very few popular “sexy” songs done by females that didn’t make them appear like sex objects only. How ironic, since it is alleged that Rick used to beat the women he went out with. I digress. There was another favorite of mine that I think didn’t get as much credit. It’s a song called “You’re My Heaven.” I think they sang the sh*t out of this song. They were truly a talented group, and harmonized perfectly with each other, despite whatever personal gripes they had of each other.
Before Curtis Mayfield became the solo legend he was, he was in a musical group called “The Impressions.” In addition to being a singer and songwriter, like many performers at the time, he was also a political activist. Akin to Bob Marley in many ways, in the beginning Mayfield’s music was all about social consciousness, and it showed in his album art. In the 60s and 70s, it wasn’t just singing and dancing to music that told the stories of Blacks in poor communities; they visually showed the harsh realities in their art work. Which by the way, I can’t help but to reflect on the extreme difference in album covers between then and now. Back then it was about reality. Today, it’s about showing your Photoshop skills, and finding an excuse to publish any kind of T&A (the bigger the better) (especially in hiphop).
I can’t help to notice, when I listen to his song “Stay Close To Me,” On the album called “This Is My Country,” I am immediately reminded of Pharrell Williams. I guess because most young people don’t have a damn clue about classic music, young kids think Pharell’s style is all originally his. Anyway…… Unfortunately, I can’t find the stats to this song, but I think it’s a really nice love song. However, I do know the song called “This Is My Country,” from the same album hit #5 on the Top 100 Chart, so I’m taking a guess that “Stay Close To Me” did at least mediocre. This album was published under Rhino Records.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about this song, however, she tore the sh** out of this song!! This is Barbara Brown, and her brother and sisters make “The Browns.” Their genres are R&B, as well as gospel. The song “If I Can’t Run To You I’ll Crawl,” is not only a powerful song about the deepest love you can have for a person, but the lyrics clearly explain the kinds of relationships we used to have way back in the day. If this song was re-recorded, I don’t think it would have received any accolades, simply because I don’t think most of today’s culture could relate to this kind of devotion. Let’s be real, in today’s world, the average person (especially a woman), can love her man to death, but she’s not crawling to anybody. That’s just my opinion. The song was recorded (then) under XL / Sounds of Memphis label. I actually recommend that you listen to the rest of the album; although my favorite is “If I Can’t Run to You I’ll Crawl,” the album as a whole is pretty bad*ss. There is very little information about Barbara and her siblings. But I do know she stopped recording early in the ’70s, and she died about 2010. She was in her late seventies.
How do I describe the group called “After 7?” Well, their music is kind of like in the style of, New Edition. But their vocal styles are sometimes more like Tony, Toni, Tone. In 1989, After 7 produced what would become a favorite song of mine called “Ready Or Not.”The song was from their first self-titled album, under Virgin Records. This was one of the very few true romantic songs I’ve heard from a male group. On both Adult Contemporary Charts & The Hot 100, it reached #7 (WOW). However, on the R&B Charts, it reached #1. A great love song for you 80s Babies. There was also one more amazing song from the album, it’s called “Can’t Stop.” A wonderful love song that talks about how much the girl of his life made him happy. “Can’t Stop” also reached number one on the R&B Charts. Their self-titled album remains their best selling album to date. I loved this kind of music back in the day.. *Sigh* Well… That’s all over now…
Son of Jewish business man Sy Kravitz, and the very famous actress Roxie Roker (you may remember from the hit 70s TV show “The Jeffersons”); this morning’s artist is none-other than the legendary Lenny Kravitz. Damn, he was handsome back in the day! LOL. Lenny Kravitz is successful singer, songwriter, producer, and some say “actor.” And I’ve used quotes because I never thought of him as an actor, because the little films I saw him in were more like cameo appearances. Kravitz is also another one of those talented performers, where his music is almost impossible to categorize. It seems as tho he incorporates elements of every major genre & style into every song. However, tonight’s song falls in to the category of R&B. My all time favorite from Lenny is a song called “It Aint Over ‘Til It’s Over,” from the album “Mama Said,” released in 1991 under Virgin Records. Oh my goodness! I thought this was one of the most beautiful and romantic new songs from a male performer at the time. Everything including the music was well composed. I also love the fact there was an old school element to the song’s melody. I actually searched for months thinking it was a remake, but as it turned out, it was all Kravitz. The song hit #2 on the billboards and stayed relevant for 19 weeks.
Lenny has been performing since the very late 80s. He was married to actress Lisa Bonet, and they both had daughter together named Zoe. They later divorced, and I was soo happy after that!! LOL. I know some of you may think I’m mean but…. Have you guys seen her lately? Oh my goodness!! I’m telling you guys, she looks awful!! Go here and see for yourself guys. I am almost positive she is abusing drugs; she has that “look” that many heavy “users” have. I’ve sift through too many photos to be wrong about that. Granted, I couldn’t find any proof that she is/was on it, but that’s not good when both your ex and daughter look healthier than you do. Just sayin’. I just saw an article that she’s reportedly a “vegan.” Maybe she’s not consuming enough protein, because sometimes she looks emaciated. But, I still say something is going on with her. Shucks, Lenny still looks hot for his age (53).
I just have one question? What the hell happened to Tevin Campbell? I haven’t heard anything from this b*tch in ages! First off, for those who never heard of him before, he was and still is one of the very few male voices in music, that has the widest vocal range! Let me tell you, he is one of the very very few artist I consider to have one of the best voices in music entertainment. Now at age 41 he still maintained that golden voice! I became a huge fan of his music the first time I heard his song “Can We Talk,” released in 1993 under Warner Brothers Records. This particular song is on the album titled “I’m Ready,” and it seems like it was almost entirely produced by Babyface. I’m not going to lie, I laughed at this song at first, because there was an instrument on this song (and don’t know what it’s called), that sounded like water coming down from a leaky pipe in a bathroom. But when I heard his voice……. I was done… I became a fan from that day on. The song peaked @ #9 on the billboards, and sold a little over a half a million copies. The song was nominated for best R&B song of the year.
The “I’m Ready” album was one of those very few albums I can honestly say I liked all the songs. With Banging songs like “Don’t Say Goodbye,” and “I’m Ready,” he was not playing around. Tevin’s parents must have musically trained him as a kid, because by the time he came out with his first album, his voice sounded like a veteran. Like a said, very few males have the kind of range and control of their voices the way he did, and still does. “Tell Me What You Want Me To Do,” was another fierce song I loved. So many of the songs Tevin were singing seemed so beyond his years, but then again, the average child didn’t have his voice either. Tevin released a single last year called “Safer On The Ground,” which I like a lot, but you can’t help but acknowledge that it is a 180° turn from the music we were used to hearing from him. Although I like this song, it didn’t appear to hit anywhere in the charts. To my understanding Tevin is doing well today, and has even done some Broadway.
Clarence Carter was another phenomenal performer, songwriter, and record producer. Carter primarily sings blues and soul music. He’s in his 80s now, so I’m not sure if he’s still performing. One of my favorite songs from him is a song called “Slip Away,” released in 1968, for Atlantic Records. I remember hearing this a lot on the radio. I just loved the sound of the type of guitar he used; it gave the song that “signature blues sound.” But this wasn’t just any o’l blues song, it was also very danceable; which allowed the song to reach #2 on the R&B charts, and #6 on the pop charts. From this same album, there’s another song I like called “I’m Qualified.” The rhythm of this song reminds me of Otis Redding’s music. But his second biggest hit I believe, was a song called “Patches,” released in 1970 (which is also a favorite of mine). The song was originally written and performed by General Johnson, lead singer of a group called “Chairmen Of The Board.”
Hello oldies family! I have a really nice classic for you tonight. The artist’s name is King Curtis, and the song “Memphis Soul Stew.” Memphis Soul Stew was released in 1967, and although its highest peak was only #33 on the charts, the song will still make you move your feet. I remember hearing this a lot on the radio as a kid. It has a smooth sound, and is one of those easy songs you can dance to that doesn’t require you to breakout in a sweat. In Kurtis’s short life, he wore many hats; he was a record producer, composer, music director, and played many instruments. At the moment, I can’t recall of King having any #1s, however, I think it’s safe to say that he was most remembered for “Memphis Soul Stew.” Oh, yeah, King also reinterpreted an instrumental version of one of my old favorites that didn’t get much attention. The song was called “Groove Me,” and I really do recommend you check it out. Today it would be considered “Modern Jazz.” Originally song was performed by King Floyd.