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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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Let me start off by saying, I’ve never been a fan of hardcore hip hop. That isn’t a statement to put down people who do, it’s just a matter of musical taste. The kinds of hip hop I used to enjoy was I guess what you would call “Bubble Gum” rap today. Anything past Will Smith, Queen Latifah, Dug E. Fresh, Chub Rock, and sometimes Rakim isn’t my cup of tea. How I feel about hip hop today, is like how I feel about R&B. After Berry Gordy sold Motown, the quality of music has slowly went down hill after that. Sorry, just my opinion. Anyway, the reason why I’m writing about Easy E, is because someone posted a photo of him on a Facebook group I belong to. Now, please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying, I don’t think people should always think negative about celebrities. However, every time I see someone mention anything about Easy E., it’s always about how great his music is….. Fine…. But why do my people from my generation almost totally over looked the fact that he rocked the rap industry, when it was revealed he had A.I.D.S.

I mentioned this because this was also a huge part of Easy E’s life that we shouldn’t ignore or forget about. It taught a huge lesson to both the rappers and the fans of rap, because this was at a time where it was thought of as impossible that a rapper can get A.I.D.S. Rap was and still is anti-gay, and the mentality was (and sometimes still is) that only gay people got A.I.D.S. Which kind of opens a segway in to what a really wanted to talk about, which is the attitudes the rap industry still have about women. Unfortunately, there also exist women who are all so eager to entertain the degradation of other women, never seeing the importance of demanding respect. I digress…… Actually, after the announcement of both Easy E. and Magic Johnson’s status, the rap industry appeared to have put all sexual activity on lock-down. It’s a shame that Easy didn’t have the money that Magic Johnson had to stay alive, but then again rap had not reached its peak yet. Today, I can’t recall anyone that was just as famous as Easy E. who contracted the virus. However, I just wanted to say that straight woman are just as much of a victim of this deadly disease as gay men, and I just wished that there was still messages from the hip hop community about protecting themselves while “getting their freak-on.”

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Let me start off by saying, I’ve always loved Donna Summer ever since I’ve heard her song “Try Me, I Know We Can Make It (1976).” I was about eight years old then. I remember one day in my grandparents house, sitting in one of the rooms with my little tape player, and singing all of side A and side B of Donna’s “On The Radio (1979)” cassette. After I finished, I would turn it over and do the whole tape again, as if I were performing a concert. As young as I was, her music really connected with me on so many levels. I naturally connected with her. As I got older I’ve discovered almost every gay person on the planet loved Donna Summer! LOL. You know, over the years I’ve always questioned her fashion choices 😀 I said to myself, Donna I love you, but what they hell are you wearing!?!?!? When I saw this album, I said to myself WTF??? If I didn’t love her so much, I don’t think I would have purchased this album.

This happened to be one of my many favorite albums from Donna. There aren’t many artists that we can say that spits out a lot of albums were we love almost ALL their songs. Donna has been pretty consistent, but then again, she’s re-released a lot of her same music too. Witch is quit interesting when you think about it. Why? There has been only one other artist I can think of, that can put out so many re-releases and still make money from them, and that’s Barbra Streisand. This speaks to the level of dedicated fans she had, now even more after death. I think my most favorites from this masterpiece is #1 “Loves About To Change My Heart,” it’s such a beautiful song, Donna’s voice made it so romantic, yet the danceable beats made it fun to listen to. #2 “Whatever Your Heart Desires,” another romantic and danceable tune. #3 “This Time I Know It’s For Real.” And lastly #4 a song called, “Another Place And Time,” which is a much more mellow song, and is one of those reflective songs (after the fact) I always speak of. Listen to her album on Spotify!!

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I would like to pay a little homage to little known about, Rebbie Jackson. Rebbie Jackson is the oldest sibling, born in 1950. In my opinion, out of all the Jacksons in the family, Rebbie is the most talented Jackson (vocally) than all the other Jacksons. Unfortunately, she only made about 4 albums before she decided to called it quits. I was so disappointed, because I know had she stuck to it, there is no doubt in my mind she would have been joining the ranks of her brother MJ. Her biggest hit she is remembered for is an 80s song called “Centipede (1984).” If I’m not mistaken, Michael actually written the song specially for her. The song starts off seductive and sexy, and by the end of the song, you get to hear a glimpse of the true power of her voice. I have to be honest, Centipede was the only song I ever liked. I was not impressed with the albums that came after.

I think that’s what pissed me off the most! the fact that she had the most powerful voice out of all the Jacksons, yet she could not seem to take her career to the next level. If I didn’t know any better, it was almost as though it was done on purpose, to make sure she didn’t outshine Michael. Well, it wouldn’t totally be a crazy idea, since Joe Jackson (very controlling and manipulative) was still managing them at the time (I think). Joe Jackson saw Michael as the cash cow (or more accurately “The Jackson 5” brand). Another clue as to the politics that went on in the family, was how Janet broke away from her father Joe. It was the theme of Janet’s 80s album “Control.” It was a big deal when the Jacksons started to fire their father one by one. Again, don’t interpret what I’m saying as no other Jackson can sing; I’m just saying dynamically, Rebbie had more range and power. I guess there’s also that possibility that she didn’t want to be in show business, and she was just doing it out of pressure. “She’s a Jackson, let’s see what she can do!” Listen to Rebbie’s Centipede, or listen to her “Reaction” album here.

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Ok guys! We have to take a moment to reflect on another forgotten group, The Delfonics. The Delfonics was a Philadelphian group, and had tons of hits spanning 1965 to about 1979. The group originally started with Randy Cain, William and Wilbert Hart, and Ritchie Daniels. Randy left the group and was replaced with Major Harris (Love Won’t Let Me Wait). In the early 70s Cain had a hand in putting together the Blue Magic.  Today, to my understanding what’s left of the group is still performing on special occasions from time to time. Their last recording was sometime in 1990, and at that time, music has changed so much, it did not do well as their earlier albums.

Not too long ago, a badass song came on the radio. Wouldn’t you know it, it was from The Delfonics, and it was called “Ready Or Not, Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love).” I absolutely LOVE this song, it truly is badass, from the lyrics down to the musical composition. This particular song is a huge change from the typical “I’m begging you please, baby, baby” songs that plagued the radio in the 60s/70s. This song said, I’m not begging no one, I’m coming to get you, and you’ll be mine! This song was with purpose, instead of whining and hoping to get the girl. I almost forgot to mention that I liked how Lauren Hill added the bridge medley to one of the songs to the Fugees first album (I believe). Some of my other great favorites from this group are, “I’m Sorry,” “La La Means I Love You,” “Didn’t (I Blow Your Mind This Time),” and “Hey Love.” Listen to The Delfonics on Spotify.

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I was thinking, when was it the last time I actually purchased an album, or a CD? Wow! I really couldn’t remember! The best estimate I can make is some time about the beginning of the 1990s, which is still a pretty long time. Now, this goes to show you how technology has effected all of us, especially me. When I think about the kind of person I am, in terms of being a heavy fan of the classics, I almost never gone a month without buying something, even if it was a single or a remix of something. The 80’s were huge for me, because I used to buy a lot of both records & CDs of disco, club, and acid-house music. Now because of digital technology, I can only remember making 2 physical CD purchases since the 1990s, and that was only because they were a replacement to music I used to have. I must say technology has also changed the way I think of memorabilia too. Now, I just prefer to purchase all my entertainment on digital where it can be stored. Cassettes and CDs really do appear to be a hassle now (in terms of traveling). Wow, I just laugh when I think back on how I used to bring cases of CDs with me everywhere I went, because I never knew what musical mood I was going to be for that day. However, I don’t miss my cassettes being tangled up though. LOL 😀

You know, the one thing I am extremely happy about (at least when it comes to music), because of music streaming and how the music business is now setup, it’s pretty hard to do anything illegal. I mean although I complain about YouTube a lot, the reality is there are many factors as to why YouTube is one of the very few entities that are allowed to getaway with a lot of things. However at this stage, it doesn’t really matter what those factors are, the end result is that people can listen to music free, and as a listener you have absolutely no outwardly known legal obligations, or bound to any contract (other than not illegally RIPping the song straight off YouTube, but if it’s free already, why would you even bother doing that? It’s more work than it’s worth). Just listen and share on social media and the artists (and sometimes songwriters) get paid and marketed at the same time, though the power of fandom. I know I’ve said this a number of times before, but it’s so true, “if you still use torrents to download music illegally, you’re pretty much out dated and doing it because of habit and not necessity.” While the streaming world isn’t going to have every classic music (and for obvious reasons they will never have), to be able to go on Amazon and find that one song you want for download, and only pay just $1.29 at the most for that song (I’ve seen some classic songs for as low as .69¢), that is a steal! Then enjoy everything else  on Spotify or YouTube. The music industry has made a complete 360° turn around, sad to say though, it was done not because they wanted to do right by fans, it was to save the industry. Finally, music is for ALL fans of music, and not only for the elite who can afford it. Now, we just need to work on the movie industry.

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I don’t know about you guys, but I LOVE me some Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The string of hits they produced back in the day was just astounding. The had a distinct sound (which in my opinion was more like a doo-wop and pop mix), and I can’t recall anyone at the moment that duplicated their distinct sound and harmony in that era. The only group that kind of came close were the “Beach Boys,” but they sang surfer music, and appealed to a specific kind of audience. The Four Seasons have been performing since the 60’s, and they have been so successful, that a Broadway play was produced about their life called “Jersey Boys.”  I really hope to see “Jersey Boys” live one day (big named tickets are so very expensive here in NYC (unless you’re going for off, off, Broadway)).

Throughout The Four Season’s career, it appears they have switched/replaced more members than the Spanish group Menudo. However, the most recent names have been, Frankie Valli (lead singer, and at age 82 I hear he still has a strong falsetto), Todd Fournier, Brian Brigham, Brandon Brigham, Landon Beard, Gary Melvin, Keith Hubacher, Robbie Robinson. Now that I think about it, it’s a testament to the magic of this group, to have so many hits despite member turnarounds. If you’re a 4 Seasons fan, I’m pretty sure that many of the songs I love you’re also familiar with. On the top of my list is “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Stay,” “Let’s Hang On,” “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore),” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” “My Eyes Adore You,” “Swearin’ To God,” “Who Loves You,” “December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night),” and lastly from the motion picture “Grease (1978),” “Grease.” Listen to this group legend on Spotify.

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lipps

Lipps Inc. was a very popular dance musical group during the early 80s. They were a hit all over the world including Hong Kong and Australia. You may remember them by one of their biggest hit of their career called “Funkytown (1979).” The song “Funkytown” catapulted their carer in the same way that “Rapper’s Delight” did for “The Sugar Hill Gang.” The beautiful thing about those two songs is that, both are remembered, and both are likely to drive guests crazy at any old school party! And unfortunately, both songs were so popular that they overshadowed any other work they have done. It’s so sad, this was yet another group I would have loved to see where their career would have gone. Culturally mixed groups that played disco music was so difficult back in the day on so many levels; not that it’s not difficult now, but the landscape has changed.

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The song I would like you to draw your attention to, is a song called “All Night Dancing (1979),” it was on the “B” side (45) of “Funkytown.” This is sch a nice song, and it did not get nearly as much attention as “Funkytown.” It has a great beat, danceable pace, and a great melody. It kind of reminds me of the ethnic dance movie themes that exploded all over the 80s. You know, movies such as “Flash Dance,” “Beat Street,” and “Breakin’.” When you listen to the lyrics, it’s about having a good time on the dance floor, however, the whole feel of the song still reminds me of a young innocent girl who has positive dreams of stardom in the industry. Definitely an 80s period song, pointing to a specific era. This is the 12 inch version, I think it’s a little bit too long in my opinion for this type of song, but it’s still a really nice one. Take a listen with Spotify.

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