I’d like to share with you guys my thoughts on the difficulty of finding good music (more so new good music). Let me tell you, I tip my hat to all the new young bloggers out in the cyber-sphere who write new music reviews. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it is for some of these bloggers, in terms of finding quality music they deem worthy of writing about. Having said this, services like Spotify are even more important than ever. YouTube, or even google for that matter isn’t enough! I would imagine that for those who didn’t use legal streaming services to do their blogging, they’d have to rely purely on “word of mouth.” By the way, I’m not underestimating the power of word-of-mouth, but I am questioning whether that method still work as efficient as it once did 20-30 years ago? We didn’t have YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook (or they were at their infancy). The sheer amount of music that are being pushed to the public via social media are sometimes not only overwhelming, fewer and fewer of them are worth listening to.
For the past few months, I’ve been trying really hard to find new good music on Facebook groups (both Spotify and non-Spotify groups); and I was just disappointed with the heavy pushing of really, really, REALLY BAD hip hop. Granted, I’ve stated that I don’t care for today’s hip hop; but at the same time, I know a good beat, and a good lyricist when I hear one. These new hip hop artists that are getting on Spotify are just awful. Not only are most of them awful, they all copy each other, sounding like exact replicas. How can one call themselves an “artist,” or a “writer,” when very few are original? I may not know everything about the inner workings of the music business; but as a fan of music; we’re not interested in copycats; we want to hear something different, and music that makes sense. So, if you’re trying to grab our attention, really really focus on that. Copying from other artists, doesn’t mean you’re necessarily learning anything from that artist.
If you don’t want to do the right thing and use legal services like Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, or Internet Radio, that’s your prerogative. But understand without these services, finding music that fits your personal taste could be a lot harder for you. Even playlists I find difficult to tell you the truth. Why? Because often times they’re not hand picked. They’re just thousands of random music dumped in a list. I think a better strategy, is to find a blogger, or user where you match tastes with each other. This is the one thing I kind of miss when I was on Rhapsody/Napster. Napster gave you a numeric percentage of music compatibility between you and another user. Although Spotify’s algorithms are on point, you’d still like to know what other human beings are listening to.
You know, I agree that the music labels were all greedy *ssholes, that took advantage of music fans around the world; and the fact that they were so powerful they actually controlled what we listened to on the radio. However, looking back, censoring what we listened to back then, now doesn’t seem like it was a bad thing anymore. I know a lot of people would disagree, but think about it. No record label back then, would introduce to the public an artists, they didn’t spend a sh*t load of money grooming, preparing, and trained to do their job first! Because that artist or group is representing that label. Today, because labels are pretty much defunct at this point (with the exception of many of the older labels), there is no longer a filtering system. Therefore finding good music can literally be a nightmare.
This is one of my favorite classic 60s-70s CD. This should have been called “The Greatest Hits” CD, because it includes some pretty big songs from back in the day. Starting from Rufus & Chaka Khan’s “You Got The Love,” Jean Knight’s “Mr Big Stuff,” King Floyd’s “Groove Me,” and ending the CD with Brenda & The Tabulations’ “Right On The Tip Of My Tongue.” All of the songs on this CD were high ranking songs on the Music Billboards. This CD illustrates what true R&B was back in the day. Back in my time! All are the original songs the way they sang them. No redoes…. Check it out on Spotify.
The Trammps were not only one of the biggest musical groups of the 70s, they were also one of my favorite soul & disco infused groups ever. First off, let’s talk about their outfits back in the day. Look how boss they look above! These were the perfect color; I mean, the people who took the time to design and make these outfits were talented beyond belief. Now, a group like The Trammps didn’t really need fancy clothing, cause they were talented on their own. However, when they did perform with outfits like these, it made their act even more exciting!!! I miss this era so much.
Their album called Disco Inferno, released in 1976, under Atlantic Records, is chuck full of amazing hits. When The Trammps released this album, they laid down the law, and they hit hard! Almost every single song on this album was a powerhouse hit! Starting with my favorite song (which happens to be the same title of the album), “Disco Inferno.” This song offered 10 minutes and 59 seconds of pulsating disco beats, and vocals that meant business. Within the first 3 beats of this song being played at a party, we all immediately knew what song it was. That’s how popular! When “Disco Inferno” was put on the 4 album deluxe “Saturday Night Fever” sound track, it immortalized the group as the album became 16x platinum.
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard anything from singer and actress, Thelma Houston. I forgot what a talented singer she really was. I may be wrong, but, it doesn’t look like she has had any hits, or released any albums since the late 70s. The last CD I saw released was 2010, but unfortunately, it only had her old hits on it. Thelma, is best known for her iconic cult classic, reinterpretation of “Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes'” 1975 version of “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” released in 1977. The song instantly went to #1. Now, today’s song though, is about another reinterpretation she did called “I Got The Music In Me,” released in 1976. The song was originally performed by Kiki Dee in 1974. This was what I called “WTF” kind of song 😀 The reason why I say this, is because if we listen to the lyrics, I can’t make out what the song is actually about.
Ain’t got no trouble in my life, No foolish dream to make me cry. I’m never frightened or worried, I know I’ll always get by. I heat up (I heat up) I cool down (I cool down) When something gets in my way I go round it. Don’t let life get me down Gonna take life the way that I found it. [Chorus] I got the music in me, I got the music in me, I got The………
I think to myself, is the song talking about drowning her sorrows in music? Is she actually talking about the struggles of the music business? I never had a clue. Every once in a while we get one of those WTF songs, and this is one of them for me. However, It was a great song to dance to. Thelma was named “Best Female Artist” in 1977. She is still performing today in her early 70s. Rock on Thelma!!!
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.
I wonder if any of my readers remember a guy by the name of Malcolm McLaren? Well, he was a musician and songwriter from London. He was also a very well known promoter, and at one time managed a group called “The Sex Pistols!” What a name for a group LOLOL 😀 Now, to be honest, I don’t particularly care for a lot of his music. I don’t mean that to be cruel, it’s just a lot of these London cats love to make a lot of weird experimental shit. LOL.
Anyway, I think he is worthy of writing about, because he produced two very huge hits that I’m sure most of us remember, one is called “Buffalo Gals.” Remember that? The song was a major top 10 hit in the UK. According to a number of articles I’ve read, Buffalo Gals only did mediocre in the united states. However, I remember the hip-hop community completely embracing this music mix. Maybe they just expected more since they killed it in the UK. The other major hit he produced in 1989, actually became #1 here in the states on the Dance Songs Chart, that song was called “Deep In Vogue.” I believe this was the start of the Vogue dance craze. However, just to let you straight people know, Vogue was around loooooong before it was made in to a fad in the late 80s.
A year after, Madonna came out with her smash #1 hit “Vogue,” which was recorded on her “Dick Tracy” inspired album. Interesting that a song like that would be on a comic book inspired album. If you’re interested, here is the video for “Vogue.” Boy!! How did I get from writing about Malcolm McLaren to Madonna!! See how many things are often tied together? Malcolm died in 2010 of stomach cancer.
How many of you classic music fans knew that, in 1959, the legendary late Dinah Washington recorded the unforgettable song, “Unforgettable?” This is why I love blogging; because sometimes while researching, we come across interesting things we never knew! The song was written by Irving Gordon in 1951. The song peaked at #17 and stayed on the charts for about 13 weeks. I really love Dinah’s version of the song, although she sang almost every song as if she was on a Broadway stage. But that’s not a bad thing.
Now the interesting part of this is, originally Nat King Cole recorded Unforgettable in 1951, the song hit #12 on the billboard. Dinah’s recording did very well, she was only 5 positions shy of Nat’s, yet I don’t recall ever hearing Dinah sing this song on the radio. Now granted, it’s impossible to remember everything, but at the same time, this is considered a “song standard.”
In 1991, through the magic of audio technology Natalie Cole was able to sing with her late father again. Natalie paid a touching tribute to her father by recording “Unforgettable.” In 1992, she gave a stunning performance on the Grammy awards, with coordinated video of her late father. It was beautifully done. Surprisingly, her reinterpretation of the song didn’t do as well on the charts as I thought it would have. However, interesting enough, in terms of album sales, the album “Unforgettable: With Love” hit #1. I have a feeling the reason the song didn’t do well had to do with the fact, the song was a personal tribute (in comparison to her other work).
Wow!! This is an OLDIE!! I totally forgot about Ms. Nicolette Larson! Believe it or not, Nicolette was a very talented performer. But, unfortunately, she only had one hit to her career. It was a song called “Lotta Love.” The song was written by Neil Young, and recorded under Rhino/Warner Brothers Records. “Lotta Love hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary Chart, and stayed on the charts for about 23 weeks. Even after the song dropped off the charts, people were still requesting this song on the radio. The song seemed to have appealed to mostly teenagers with new relationships.
Nicolette, appeared to have lived a pretty wholesome life. In many ways she reminded me a lot of a younger Juice Newton. She performed on many TV shows, and the first I remembered was a show called “Solid Gold.” Nicolette recorded so many albums and it’s a shame she only had one major hit, because I think she was really vocally talented. She probably just needed some better songwriters/producers; being that she was under Warner Brothers, I’d think she would have. “I’ll Fly Away (Without You) (1982),” from her album “All Dressed Up & No Place To Go” I thought was a nice song. But, I can’t even find it on any charts. But, that could have been simply, the labels did not push the song to the radio stations. Sadly, she passed away in 1997 from liver failure.