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I know that probably a few may not agree, but I think En Vogue’s first album entitled “Born To Sing” was their best album of their entire career. It’s not to say that they didn’t have a couple of hits (here and there) with their later album “Funky Divas (1992);” but the fact remains, they’ve had more hits on their first album than all their other albums.  I honestly don’t know what happened? They have the talent, but for some reason their career tanked. The sad part is that so many groups mimic them back in the day, it wasn’t like people weren’t in to their style of music anymore. I like mostly everything on the “Born To Sing,” except the song called “Time Goes On.” I find that song quite annoying “ticktock, ticktock” through out the song.. LOL. My favorites, and probably the most well known are “Hold On,” “Just Can’t Stay Away,” “Don’t Go,” and I love their rendition of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” was very cute.

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04.22-The-Mighty-Sparrow1Today, when people think of calypso music, they think of jumping up and party, dancing, good food, and lots of eye candy! However, calypso music is also about world issues and politics (very much in the same way that reggae is. The Caribbean music has always been about raising awareness! The Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco) was no exception when it came to political awareness. In 1958 Sparrow was the only person to have a triple win in the same year during the “Carnival Road March.” The first song was called “P.A.Y.E” which talked about the importance of paying taxes in Tobago and Trinidad.  The second song was “Russian Satellite,” which talked about cruelty to animals. The last song was called “Theresa,” which in essence was a song about a gold-digging woman. This was the first time in Sparrow’s career that he sang both English and Spanish. Actually it was still mostly in English, I guess because bilingual music wasn’t really performed, people was crazy in love with the song.

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As I’ve always said, I am really not a fan of rap music. I can’t recall any rap record I’ve listened to where I liked the entire album. However, every once in awhile I come a cross one or two songs that I liked, provided that it was “bubble gum” in nature. Although for this particular album it has an advisory on it, the beats are very bubble gum. This was the era when every rapper in the world was trying to mimic Run-D.M.C. In fact, LL sounded so much like Run-D.M.C., if I didn’t know better I would have said his album was them. To be honest, I love LL more as an actor than a rapper; but I managed to find two classic gems from him on this album. They are called “Bad,” and “I need Love.” I think what attracted me to “Bad” was the beat really. Even if you didn’t understand what LL was rapping about, you couldn’t help but to move your feet to the “Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse” tune. “I Need Love” was a tune that made just about every girl melt from the start of the first note. This is probably the only real song I liked from LL (that I can remember). I think it was because it sounded more of a serenade than a rap “song” (if you want to call rap that).

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Anita Baker at Austin Music Hall on February 12, 2010

The 80’s songstress had a warrant out for her arrest, because of failure to appear in court. Back in 2011-12, a contractor sued Anita for 15,000+ for work work that was done to her home, and she never paid. Anita claimed that she was never served the subpena, and had no knowledge of the charges. The Judge granted a dismissal for the warrant. I also read  somewhere that someone else took her to court for an expensive painting she got at an auction; she never paid them either.

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I’m sure I’ve written before, of how much I love The Mamas & The Papas. In my opinion, they had the most beautiful and unique voices of their time. I can’t remember any other sound like theirs. The only group that could somewhat come close is “The Fifth Dimensions.” The Mamas and The Papas group formed just at the beginning of the folk music era; and during the huge success of The Beatles to my understanding. I really loved how they harmonized; all four of their voices were so different and yet they blended beautifully. I found it interesting how Mama Cass had such a powerful and dominant voice, yet it never over powered the other three.You know, even though they’ve been put in the “folk” category, I never viewed their music as folk. To me, their music was more like very, very soft rock kind of; the kind of “easy listening rock” of their time. This group was so talented, it saddens me when I think about how drugs spoiled their career. They broke up around 1968. The Mamas and The Papas “Gold” album is a collection of their greatest hits. My favorites are, “Monday, Monday,” “Do You Wanna Dance,” “Go Where You Wanna Go,” “California Dreamin,” “”Dedicated To The One I love,” “My Girl,” “Creeque Alley.”

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2012-10-26-musicstreaming-624x420-1351279641Music has changed so much since the first phonograph was invented. iCloud and streaming services has permanently changed music forever. In fact, not only has music changed, but how we get our movies too! We’ve gotten to the point that, as soon as bandwidth becomes faster (actually we have the ability, but the ISPs don’t allow it), movie theaters just may be a thing of the past (especially as good HDTV brands have become extremely affordable now).  These days you can build a little mini theater right in your home, and don’t have to worry about someone else uncontrolled kids; or have to worry about someone’s big hair disrupting your view of the movie. I dream of the day, that we no longer have to worry about the high priced popcorn and snacks at the counter; dealing with rude employees;  and saving money on travel. Even if I had to pay a little more for a movie, I recon it will still be cheaper than a trip to the theater. LOL I feel very sorry for people who still procrastinate learning technology; These are the very same people who would pay high prices for Pay-per-view.

However, as much as I love this new technologies and the new way we receive our entertainment, I realize we’ve also lost a lot as well. As a collector, things like “limited edition memorabilia” will practically be extinct. But even more importantly, because we are now in the age of “licensing to hear a song (or movie),” and more and more companies like Rhapsody have gone solely subscription, if a license has expired on an old song, you no longer have an option to purchase that hulu-netflix-plus1song. The only thing you can do really is write a request for that song or album again, or hunt for it on the internet, and hope you find it. This can actually create another huge problem. We all know the music industry is a bunch of greedy wolves, all the CD’s for popular classic artists will all magically become “imports.” The word “import” will allow the music label to charge you 50x more the CD’s value. A good example is Donna Summer. I’ve seen a couple of her CD’s that said “import” on it, however when you look at the text on the packaging, it will say NY, NY.; for this they are allowed to change an insane price. Not only that, when Donna died, one of her albums called “Another Place In time (1989),” could not be found anywhere on the streaming services (not even iTunes had it at the time). The CD was insanely priced; and it wasn’t until the news of her death died off, the album was made available for streaming and iTunes. We can’t blame the artists for this! You want to support your artists, but the music industry is fucked up towards the fans.

I’m pretty sure there will become a time when streaming services will be the only way we receive our entertainment, and it will literally put piracy to a full halt. Using torrents will one day be seen as primitive and nonsensical. I never had a problem purchasing my music and movies, so long as it is of good quality, the price is reasonable, and extras such as, sound/pdf/movie clips, etc.

I got to be honest though, in terms of movies, there is so much CRAP on television that cable companies should be ashamed of themselves changing the money they do for these dumb as reality TV shows. Honestly, it’s probably better to just get basic cable, and you’ll come out cheaper with both HULU and Netflix together; and choose what ever movie you want, when you want it, and how much you want it. Lets just hope the streaming services will stay affordable; Otherwise people will be recording movies off their TV using their cellphones… LOL

 

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checkernewsI found a big piece of news in the “Pittsburgh Courier” of 1966,  on the singer Chubby Checker. During the dance craze of the early 60’s, Chubby Checker hit the jackpot, for his sensational hit “The Twist (1960),” it was so popular, that the following year he re-recorded “let’s Twist again (1961).” He also made a song called “pony time (1961),” which the melody still sounded like the twist a lot. I know he’s made many other records, but as far as I’m concerned, he’s a one hit wonder.

So, I have never heard of this before. But then again, I wasn’t even born yet when this happened. Mr. Checker (born Ernest Evans), who was then 24 years of age at the time, was charged with three counts of “contributing to the delinquency of a minor,” shortly after a performance in some night club. He was released on $500 bail. This happened after a mother’s daughter claimed that she stayed in chubby’s hotel one night. The mother then filed a formal complaint against checker. Chubby acknowledged the mother’s daughter, but denied any sexual relations with her.

At the same time, his wife was also taking him to court for desertion, because according to this article, he left the home since Jan 12 (the article was published in feburary), and she was asking for support for her and their 4 children at the time. Not only that, the wife was looking for full ownership of their home.

Hmmmm.. It seemed to me that either Chubby was a victim of fame, or he was “twistin again,” in every other female’s bed too. I just thought this was interesting, cause when I was growing up, I never heard this at all about him. I guess by the time I became of age, he was irrelevant. © 2014

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I know I am late with this news, but better late than never. DJ house music legend Frankie Knuckles died at 59 years old this past week. He was a well known 80’s DJ, who has remixed some of the hottest music, as well as DJ’d at some of the most hottest clubs, including the Warehouse. Some of his biggest mixes include “The Whistle Song (1991),” “Hot Stuff (Donna Summer remix),” “Work Out,” and “Move Your Body.” It was said that he was responsible for creating the foundation for trance and electronic music. Knuckles suffered a long time with uncontrolled diabetes, which resulted in the loss of his foot around 2008. On Monday March 31st 2014,  Mr. Knuckles died from the complications of his diabetes.

-Yogi

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I was thinking about how we’ve come a long way in terms of radio. Everything about radio has dramatically changed since it’s inception. Since about the early 1910-1920’s ’till now, we have started from one radio broadcast, to literally millions around the world today.  OTR (Old Time Radio) back then consisted of mostly news, and “made for radio” variety shows & television shows that were specifically redesigned for radio; this was important, because they had to account for sounds and gestures that could not be seen via radio.

In my opinion, this probably was one of the best time in our history, because before television, radio allowed us to use our imagination. Talented actors and actresses were now getting work to “act” on radio. It also brought families closer together, the entire family would all come together at a specific time to listen to their favorite radio show. Radio was that one important element used as an excuse to create good quality with their family (unfortunately this doesn’t really happen anymore, it’s as though quality time, teaching your kids morals and respect is now a legend).

radio2Today, we have all kinds of content available on mainstream radio, from celebrity interviews, stations dedicated to specific genres of music, College radio, and stations solely dedicated to sports. We then emerged out of the “dark age” of traditional radio to Satellite radio. Satellite radio blew my mind, because first off, I never could understand the concept of “paying for radio” when I could easily get it for free somewhere else. However, as advertisements grew and became more and more prevalent amongst all radio stations, suddenly the thought of paying for the privilege of not having to be bombarded with heavy unwanted ads every 10-15 minutes was very attractive to me. Many years back, I was with a friend in his car, and I was playing around with his Sirius Radio device. I’m not going to lie, I absolutely loved the fact that companies such as XM and Sirius Radio had great commercial free stations with great selections of music, however, it also gave me a headache, because it appeared that there was too much of a selection. I found myself flipping through channels even more, just to hear what the other stations were playing.

pioneerNow, we are in the age of “Internet Radio” (not to be confused with music on demand). As a person that comes form the older generation, I find it very interesting how “skips” are a big concern in terms of Internet radio. Because traditionally speaking, “real radio” didn’t allow you to skip or choose songs, we had to just listen to what was offered. Today, if a radio Internet provider states “unlimited skips”, that could be a huge motivating factor as to whether someone signs up with them or not.

The other interesting thing is, even when you look at traditional radio from the past I’d say 20 years, they’ve been using computerized playlists just like Internet radio. However, the one true benefit that Internet radio can provide that traditional local radio doesn’t, is international access to many other stations around the world. Another great benefit with Internet radio is that, it truly allows us to not only discover new music, but you can view the full name of the artist and album cover, and or easily purchase the song from your computer or phone. As a music lover, I can definitely say that both computer and Internet technology has changed the way we view and receive our entertainment for the better.

© 2013 Yogi / VintageNewscast.com

 

 

 

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Almost a week ago, I was listening to an old album I have of Aretha Franklin called “Aretha Franklin – Live at Filmore West.” I have to confess that this was not one of my favorite albums from her. I’ve heard much better albums. Then again, it’s rare that I enjoy live albums; I’d rather see a performance on video rather than hear it (that’s just me). Well, despite the fact that I was not feeling most of the songs in this album, one song stood out. The first song (don’t remember if it was side A or B) was Dr. Feel Good. I love hearing her sing it on this album, not because it was “good,” but because it was hilarious!! In fact it was so hilarious, it is the only real reason I ever listen to this album. When you hear her sing “Dr. Feel Good” on this album, you can tell right away that she was obviously TOASTED!! When you first hear her sing it, I guarantee that at some point in the song you’ll be thinking at least one of these things…. Did she just faint? Or, Is she bugging out on cocaine? Or, is she being abducted by aliens? Or, is she screaming because she thumped her toe???? Your thoughts will go all over the place with this song.

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41Yn2Gky3dL._SL-1As a kid, I remember having house parties at least a minimum of 4 times a year. The parties usually would take place at our house or my grandpa’s house.  If it was not a holiday, it was someone’s birthday, or wedding, or communion celebration. We didn’t have much growing up, but what we did have is a lot of love, and LOTS, and LOTS, and LOTS,  of music. Literally every week we’d go out and buy a new album, or 45,  or 8-Track. If I did not have money for that latest song, I would spend hours next to the radio, on the look out so that I can record them. I used to always curse at the dj’s when ever they would talk over the song being played LOL. In terms of music, based on my age, technically I guess you can say I was more an 80’s child. However, I also grew up listening to a lot of music  form the 50’s through the 70’s as well. Music from the likes of, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons; Neil Sedaka; Brooke Benton; Carla Thomas; Herbie Mann; Ken Boothe; Peter Tosh;  and so on. I really missed that era, and I really wish todays music had that same essence that the 60’s/70’s did. Now, todays definition of “real” music, is all about wailing, moaning, and howling, about how bad a guy want’s to get in girls pant.  Actually, according to most young kids today, as long as it has a good beat, they couldn’t care less what the lyrics say. Hmmm then why have lyrics at all if that’s the case? I guess that’s a whole nother Oprah Winfrey Topic huh?

vpi_classic_turntable-1Growing up (it’s hilarious looking back), I remember when we always had a full house of guests dancing. It was like watching a stampede of some kind, because no matter how many quarters you put on that damn turntable needle, it would still randomly jump all over the place. I remember my grandma usually yell “don’t dance so hard”! Then shortly after, it would appear that our guests would start dancing on their tipi-toes… LOL. The limitation of using vinyl really took the fun out of dancing and having a good time. You’d spend so much money on turntables that promise a “bounce free” experience, but they never worked.

Now we are in the digital age. Sometimes I have a hard time accepting the fact that most of this generation has never seen a record player before. Makes me feel even more old 🙁 . For those of us who cherish our oldies, we have a lot to thank digital technology for; or at least it has given you another reason not to be so scared of technology. Technology has allowed us to once again, hear and see all those old music and movies we’ve thought were gone for ever. You know that old favorite album you’ve lent to your cousin and you’ve never got back? Or your favorite Michael Jackson album you’ve lent your best friend, and by the time you’ve got it back, it was far less than mint condition? Damn if you were lucky enough to play it (with all the scratches on it)? Today, not only can you find and play all your old music again @ affordable prices, music that were once out of print, came back in to circulation as the direct result of digital technology. In addition, sometimes you can find special extended versions of the same songs you already love, movies have been re-digitized and enhanced with stunning quality. Most importantly, you never have to worry about your needle jumping anymore, or fiddling with your TV controls to get a better picture LOL. However, I guess there is that drawback of a collector not being able to physically purchase the original album/film; but then again, the shear volume of music and movies that are now available to us, we don’t have the space to contain them all anywayz.

I am not always able to find all of my treasures on line, but hopefully one day we all will.

©2013 Yogi / VintageNewscast.com