CLASSICS: RHYTHM AND BLUES

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.

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LOL, I keep forgetting which one is James/Bobby, but the guy on the right cracks me up, because for whatever reason, he reminds me of Jay-Z. Don’t they look like they could be related some how? 🤣 Anyhow, James and Bobby Purity really hit it big with their hit “I’m Your Puppet (1966).” The song peaked at #6 on the American Billboard’s Top 100, and stayed on the charts for 14 weeks. Growing up, I remembered just about every Black household playing this record. Everybody bopped their heads to this song. In fact, you know what? They reminded me a lot of the duo “Sam & Dave.” The only difference is Sam & Dave did a lot more soulful ballads I think. Definitely a good choice for any seventies party! Another hit you should check out from this same album is called “Let Love Come Between Us (1967),” which was another huge hit for them. Although this song only peaked at #23, it’s still a great song.

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Now, this is a badass song from the legendary Nancy Wilson. Her song “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am,” was released in 1964, and ran all the way up to #11 on the American Billboard charts, and stayed there for about 11 weeks. In 1965, the entire album received a Grammy for best R&B album of the year. I love everything about this song; the musical composition; the sharpness of the violins; together with Nancy’s voice made it the perfect song. From this same album, I also loved her rendition of “Boy From Ipanema,” which was a very popular song, sung by many artists, including Frank Sinatra.

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I love this song, “Space Children” by Labelle, released in 1975. This song was during the peak of Pattie Labelle’s career. Indirectly, this song represented the music culture in the seventies. Why, many artists (Black artists in particular) that were considered under the category of rock, wore a lot of space suits and really outrageous outfits to out do each other. This included acts such as Bootsy Collins, The Commodores, George Clinton, and perhaps we can add Afrika Bambaataa to that list as well. But this was a time when music was fun! Watching a concert was almost like watching a circus and musical performances at the same time. Of course, I had loads of trouble trying to find good stats for “Space Children.” However, I know this had some success, because included on this same album were the 2 hugely successful songs “Lady Marmalade,” and “What Can I Do For You;” Marmalade probably being the biggest hit out of this album; yet what a shame I’ve never heard it in most seventies parties (unless it’s the redo with Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, and Pink (I hate that version)).

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The fine and talented Ginuwine! Although, I have to be honest, when I saw his first music video (I can’t remember the name of the song, all I remember he was dancing in the rain (or some thing like that)), I said to myself, he’s going to be a huge success! But, after that first video, I quickly realized that Ginuwine, was not really genuine at all. 😅😅 You see, although I thought he was a great singer, and a very talented dancer, a significant number of his music videos looked too much like he was trying too hard to be like Michael Jackson. So much so it was almost impossible to separate the two, because his movements seemed like Michael. In fact, I think I do remember watching an interview with him, and he did state that Michael was a huge influence. But in my opinion, he wasn’t just an influence, he was almost a copycat. Proof of this is when I heard him record a remake of Michael Jackson’s “She’s Out Of My Life.” Not only that, I said to myself, why would you pick the saddest song Michael has ever made? Anywayzzzz…..

Ginuwine worked with many producers that give him some of his greatest hits. And most of those hits probably came from Timberland. Ginuwine’s birth name is Elgin Baylor Lumpkin, and is almost as old as I am. He was born in 1970. His career took of once he hit around twenty years of age (ruffly the early 90s). He started with a group called the Swing Mob, also sometimes known as “The Basement Cru.” From there he developed good work relationships with the likes of Missy Eliot and many more. This group was his stepping stone to a good music career. There are many songs I love from him, and recommend that you find a “Best Of,” or “Greatest Hits” CD. If you have music streaming, I think “100% Ginuwine” is good to start off with. It has most of the hits that I really like. Such as, “What’s So Different,” “So Anxious,” “Two Sides To A Story,” and finally “Same O’l G.” Listen to this album on Spotify!

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I’ve always liked Bobby Brown’s music believe it or not. But I felt that it would be more appropriate to write about him after I felt the shock of Whitney and Bobbi-Christina’s death died down. Why? I’ve heard way too many people blaming Bobby for Whitney’s addiction; rumors circulated for decades that Bobby got Whitney hooked. But, as we found out, Whitney had been hooked long before Bobby and Whitney met. Although it didn’t help that Bobby was on it too, but let’s be serious, when you have the kind of money Whitney had, do you think that just telling someone to quit drugs will stop them? We’ve seen this over and over with now deceased celebrities that had addictions.

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Some have even claimed that Bobby used Whitney’s fame to capitalize on his own career. I disagree with this, because if you don’t have talent, I don’t care who you know, you’re not going to have the long career that Bobby had if he didn’t have at least a little bit of talent. The rumors probably started just after he left “New Addition.” It was said that Bobby was such a “bad boy,” that the group really couldn’t handle him any longer, he always wanted to do things his way. Don’t quote me, I think that was one of the reasons Johnny Gill joined the group. Well, Bobby leaving the group really seemed to have paid off for his career. I really do believe he would have made it with or without Whitney.

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There were many chart topping hits that eventually became my very favorites. I think his first big hit was “My Prerogative.” Actually, if my memory serves, I think this was a song specifically written because of his relationship with Whitney back then. There’s also “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Roni,” and I  “Every Little Step.” All the beats are consistent, easy to dance to, and he knew how to carry a tune. I don’t know if he still sings as good as he used to, but his oldies are still goodies to me. Here is his greatest hits on Spotify.

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I’m not going to tell you know lie, I used to think Al B. Sure was fine as hell back in the 80’s. He sort of reminded me a lot of Christopher Williams in a way (they do look alike). I’m going to take a wild guess and say that most people probably remember him for his hit song “Night And Day (188).” I used to LOVE that song, it had such a unique sound to it, I no other musician’s music that I can think of compared to it at the time. “Night And Day” was probably his biggest hit, judging by how much I remembered hearing it on the radio. However, he actually had a few more hits, which happens to be on this same album above. One of them was a song called “Off On Your Own.” Let me tell you, when I saw the video to this song, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a video where the girls in it had skirts so high and tight, if they farted they’d be in trouble. LOLOL. The next song from this album I really liked was called “Rescue Me.” I really liked this song, the lyrics were fun and the beat was danceable (although the beat is reminiscent of “Off On Your Own” with different vocals LOLOL). I do like how he redid “Killing Me Softly.” Unfortunately, this was the first and only album from him I liked. Listen to his album here.

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