A beer manufacturer named Corona kept running this commercial all day today; and the tune they used got stuck in my head. It’s a very catchy tune called “Take It Easy (1968),” by Hopeton Lewis, originally released under Merritone records. Recently, this album was digitally re-released last year. You know, the song does seem perfect for that commercial, see for your self here. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a whole lot written about him. But I do know he was born in Kingston, Jamaica; he had many hits during the 60’s; and started out as a background vocalist. There are two other songs I liked from this album, they’re called “Rock Steady,” and “Cool Collie.” Very smooth beat and easy to dance to. If you’re a fan of Ska and Rock Steady music, you’ll like most of the songs on this album. Check it out on Spotify.
My absolute favorite from this album, is the song called “The Boss.” I know a lot of my young readers don’t have a clue about this song. You’ll probably hear different opinions about it, but as far as I’m concerned this was the biggest hit of her career! Well, at least in the gay world, “The Boss” was once the anthem of the SGL community back in the day. It’s not that I don’t acknowledge her other music, it’s just this album has a special place in the “unsaid history.” This album catapulted Diana in the club and disco scenes. If you knew absolutely nothing about Diana Ross’s music, chances are you’d recognize “The Boss” immediately; this is how popular the song was. It was written by the late Nick Ashford, and wife Valerie Simpson. The song was so huge, there wasn’t enough hands to count how many remixes and LPs that existed then.
For some strange reason, I am having difficulty trying to pinpoint the exact stats to this album. I don’t know how accurate it is but, according to some sources I’ve read in 1979, it peaked #10 in the R&B charts, but I can’t find how long. I also had difficulty finding when it hit number one and it’s duration. Fans will enjoy this album, because it includes the extended version of “The Boss.” Unfortunately, the only other hit that came from this album was “My House.” Back from that, this album did not fancy me. Listen on Spotify.
You know I was thinking….. I think that in this day and age; where digital technology is here to stay; it’s absolutely hilarious that we are still using the word “albums” to describe non-physical medium. We we’re still using the word “albums” even for CDs. This goes to show you how much of an impact that old school still has on our society as a people (and not even know it). I think that we’ll still be using the word “albums,” long after albums eventually become extinct. Can you imagine a great grandfather trying to explain to his great grandchild what an album was? LOL… I would love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation. I know that would be funny as hell! By then then I truly hope that every single piece of history has been preserved on digital; and easily accessible by all; without “elite membership prices.” You need to help support and fight for the digital archiving of our history; because once it’s gone, it’s gone (even if it exists, it’s lost).
Does anybody remember the Partridge Family? This was a television show based on a real life group called The Cowsills. The stars of the show were Shirley Jones and David Cassidy. Other casted family members were Danny Bonaduce, Jeremy Gelbwaks, Suzanne Crough, Dave Madden, and Susan Dey. I’m not sure if all of them were real musicians, I know that for most if not all of the show, they pretended to play instruments. However, I do know that David Cassidy was an actual performer. Girls went goo goo gaa gaa for David. You’d think he was a Beatle or something. I didn’t listen to a whole lot of their songs, but one popular one that I liked was a song called “I Think I love You.” The song reached to number one, on Nov. 21, 1970. It’s basically an up beat song about young school love. Check the greatest hits collection on Spotify.
You know, I’ve probably said this before but; it is my opinion that some of the most beautiful music in the world comes from Spain/Mexico. I say this as a person who has an affinity to music, and as someone who has always been exposed to many many types genres. There are quite a few old school music that comes from Spain, that are so beautiful to listen to, you don’t need to understand a single word the performer is singing, just because the emotion in the music is often enough to understand. I’m particularly attracted to guitar compositions. I’ve heard music from Spain that are so beautiful, it can make you cry. On this post, I’d like to focus on my most favorite Carlos Santana music composition ever. It’s called “Europa.” It’s a combination of music from classic Spain and American soft rock.
Many, many artists have reinterpreted Santana’s Europa, and I’d like to share with you some of my favorites with you. The first beautiful interpretation of Europa is from Guitar Romantica, and the album is called “Beyond Borders.” Second musical interpretation of Europa is from an album called “Panorama: Trumpet Prism,” and the composer is Vaughn Nark. And the third interpretation of Europa I like is from an album called “Soft Sexy Jazz,” unfortunately, the only thing in the artist description is “Various Artists.” So, I’m going to assume that this album is a collaboration of lesser known artists. These guys deserve a lot of credit, because they’ve done a wonderful job. Actually, you should check out the entire album, most of them are pretty good. I think you’ll like their interpretations of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” The last interpretation of Europa I like is a very mellow flute composition, from a guy named Bradley Leighton, and the album is called “”Just Doin’ Our Thang.” There are many other interpretations out there, and I encourage you to find them.
I think you true disco fans will appreciate this album. This is from a guy we DEFINITELY do not hear about anymore, Van McCoy. His music was huge back in the 70’s. If ‘m not mistaken, his biggest hit was “The Hustle (1973).” Everybody got up and danced to this song, whether you were young or old! The tempo wasn’t too fast, and it wasn’t to slow. This was the perfect dance tune even if you couldn’t dance, because all the beats were pretty consistent. Another hit I love is an instrumental called “Love Is The Answer (1979).” I’m making an assumption that McCoy originally composed this for the Stylistics first in 1974. Unfortunately, shortly after the instrumental version was released he died of a heart attack, he was only 39. Listen with Spotify.
As you guys know, I love to write about my thoughts on music and film. But rarely do I insist that anyone listen or watch a particular video. I think “Before The Music Dies (2007),” is an exception. This is an outstanding documentary, put together by Andrew Shapter and Joel Rasmussen, who are on a quest to find answers concerning the dramatic change of the music industry, and where it’s heading. Of course, radio also had a lot to do with the demise of quality music. This documentary is phenomenal! It was far beyond what I expected. I highly recommend that very young music lover watch this documentary especially. Many of the things in this documentary I’ve already mentioned in various places on my blog. And to some it up, it really talks about the loss of our music culture; and a lot of it was the result of the greed and corruption of the music industry bottom line.
Many people were interviewed including Erykah Badu. Although I don’t listen to her music much, I admire her so much. You can tell she is so down to earth. What she shared was, “back in the day, you didn’t have to alter your body, like get butt implants to have a record deal!” Real artists didn’t have to sacrifice their creativity in order to sign a record deal. Badu stresses the importance of artists being able to be themselves, and not feel they have to compromise who they are, because of unrealistic visions of a record label.
Bonnie Rait talked about the repetition of music on radio. There was no real diversity. Everything was about ratings and numbers. This caused a host of problems not even discussed in this documentary. The music industry feels that this is the formula in which they need to operate to make money. But in reality, if you feed our young people mental garbage, then that’s what they will eventually gravitate towards. Not everybody has a parent that is musically cultural, who can expose them to different types of music. The art of music slowly became the business of music. This film gives you a greater appreciation as to why so many artists like Janet Jackson started their own music label, and why artists like Jay-Z starting his own streaming service (although I think his service is not any better than crook labels that are crying broke right now, but I digress).
The film also talked about music streaming, and how it changed music forever. I think that streaming services actually saved the music industry single-handedly; because people were not going to continue paying the high cost of albums (especially in this economy). Music streaming has also exposed music fans to lesser known artists who are just as talented. In addition, music streaming has made it possible for people who can’t afford collector albums, and or access to music that is out of print, and listen to them for pennies or nothing at all.
One artist felt that music should be free. I’ve heard and read a lot of artists who feel this way. However, many people are divided on that issue. In my opinion, I guess it can be free like Spotify, if more companies with money are willing to sponsor other music services like it. But there aren’t many. But even if it could happen, we have the issue of the P2P mindset. Even though using Spotify and other services like it are so much easier, safer, and convenient; there are people who will never stop using torrents. On the other hand, because Spotify offers free music, many people think Spotify is illegal. The average non-technical person is so misinformed. But I guess, why should we be informed? The point of music is to enjoy it, not to worry about the legalities of listening to it. At the same time, it would be nice for us to talk about it more! Because the bottom line is, it’s not just about rebelling against the greed of the music industry, it’s about supporting our artists. Especially artists of color. Please watch it on Hulu.
“Two Tons O’ Fun,” also known as “The Weather Girls,” first album (pictured above) was in 1980 I believe. A two woman group consisted of Martha Wash and Izora Armstead. Their music was mostly disco, club, and high energy dance music. I remember my mom playing this album all the time. I know I’ve written about this album before I think, but I wanted to post it again because it’s one of my favorite albums from them, and if you’re a true old school person like I am, I’m sure you’ll appreciate this album. On the original album there’s only 8 tracks. Rhapsody has three additional tracks for this album (not sure why, maybe they are bonus tracks). My favorite songs are “Do You Wanna Boogie, Hunh?” “Just Us,” “Got The Feeling.” Martha Wash is still performing, however, Izora Armstead was sick and past away in 2004. Listen on Spotify.