Love, love, love this song…. Today’s group is called The Paragons (along with Tommy McCook and The Supersonies), and their song “Only A Smiling Face,” under Trojan Records. At first, the song kind of fools you, because when you hear them sing “Only A Smiling Face,” you may automatically think it’s a beautiful love song. However, if you listen to the very short lyrics, the song is about a not so nice woman. It is interesting that, this is the only song I’ve heard that complained about a lover, but never explicitly sung what the person actually did. But whatever she was doing, must have been really messed up for two guys to leave her back to back. Of course, because it’s Caribbean/classic reggae, I can’t find any chart information. I’m not even gonna try anymore. Just trust me when I tell you it’s a hit.
There are other hits on this very album (“On The Beach With The Paragons”) as well. One song I’ve heard reinterpreted by so many reggae musicians called “Mercy Mercy.” Another favorite of mine is “The Tide Is High,” which was reinterpreted by America’s (then) biggest 70s/80s Rock band called Blonde. The song “Yellow Bird” was also a very popular song. I’ve heard many, many reinterpretations of this song; sometimes it seems as though there are a million of them. My most favorite unfortunately is the one that is out-of-print, by the steel band called Belltones, from the album “In The Mood.”
I absolutely fell in love with an old classic, that was produced by a group called “Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds.” In 1975, under Playboy Records (however, the rerecorded version was distributed by Purple Pyramid Records (not sure if related)), they released a song called “Fallin’ In Love.” The song was written by band member Dan Hamilton. This is the perfect kind of song to play, when you’re trying to rekindle a broken relationship, and your both on a picnic/beach vacation together. Although the rerecorded version sounds ok, I still prefer the original. It only reached up to #24 on the R&B Charts, but this was one of my biggest favorites from the group. The second song I love from this group is called “Don’t Pull Your Love (1971).” This song reached #4 on the Adult Contemporary Charts, and stayed relevant for about 12 weeks. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more songs I like from them, or at least songs that are worth listening. I believe the two above were their only hits throughout their career.
It was really difficult for me to pinpoint the release date for my next song; apparently the song was so popular that it had several re-releases. I think “Soul Of The Man,” was the original album where the song “I Get My Groove From You” was first recorded. There’s no billboard information for this song, so I’ll just assume that this wasn’t on anybody’s radar. Unfortunately, this great artist didn’t have any major hits. In fact, the highest he ever gotten on the charts was #36, for a King Floyd (sort of) styled dance song called ” T.C.B. or T.Y.A.” in 1969. So, anyway…. The song I’m introducing to you today, “I Get My Groove From You,” I feel is sooo underrated. This is a very nice music piece, with the perfect voice to go with it. In fact, I am hesitant to believe that this wasn’t a hit; but, as I’ve always said, the history we are losing isn’t just the music itself, but searchable and document-able history. So, I can’t prove it was, or wasn’t 🙁 All I do know, is that I think this is a badass song!
This is an example of the kind of music my grandfather introduced me to when I was a baby. I clearly remember listening to Brook Benton’s music on my grandfather’s ginormous Reel2Reel. “Rainy Night In Georgia” still remains to be one of my favorite childhood songs of all times. His voice was so smooth, calming, and enjoyable. Benton was one of the very few artists that reminded me of the late Nat King Cole; because they both had that added (what I call) xmas texture to their voices. The song was originally written and produced by a guy by the name of Tony Joe White. I didn’t particularly care for Tony’s original. Brook’s voice added that romantic magic to the song, that took it to #1 on the R&B Music Charts, and stayed relevant for 14 weeks. However, long after the song fell off the charts, Brook’s version continued to play both on the radio and our homes for decades later after it’s release. Another favorite song of mine from this same greatest hits album is a song called “Kiddio (1960).” Kiddio reached #7 on the Hot 100 Charts, and stayed relevant for 17 weeks. Also Check out “It’s Just A Matter Of Time,” and “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes),” a duet with Dinah Washington.
I absolutely loved this song back in the day. I think this may have been a one hit wonder, cause I’ve never heard any other song that I’ve liked from Mr. Mister. “Broken Wings,” from their album “Welcome To The Real World,” was released in 1985 for BMG records. This song reminds me a lot of the band “Sting.” Although this love song was composed brilliantly in my opinion, the lyrics kind of sends a mixed message. It almost sounds like he’s saying, I know I emotionally broke you to shreds, now take your “broken wings,” learn how to fly again, so we can get back together again, and I’ll screw up (without saying he was responsible in the first place). LOL.. “Broken Wings” reached #1 on the Hot 100 Billboard Charts, and stayed relevant for 22 weeks.
O.K. guys, this has got to be my most favorite 80s club remix of all times!! Well, I know I must have said this quite a few times on quite a few songs, but this song is very high on my list. Oh, this song takes me back when I hear it. I am literally transported back to the days when I used to hang out in the village. It was a very different time then, the culture, type of clothing, and the music compared to today, are “night & day.” Unfortunate, Spotify does not have the license for “Instinctual,” by Imagination. So, this is one of those rare instances I have to use YouTube to share my memories. This song hit #1 on the Dance Charts, and stayed relevant for about 10 weeks. But I have to be honest, I love this remix 100x more than the original release.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about this song, however, she tore the sh** out of this song!! This is Barbara Brown, and her brother and sisters make “The Browns.” Their genres are R&B, as well as gospel. The song “If I Can’t Run To You I’ll Crawl,” is not only a powerful song about the deepest love you can have for a person, but the lyrics clearly explain the kinds of relationships we used to have way back in the day. If this song was re-recorded, I don’t think it would have received any accolades, simply because I don’t think most of today’s culture could relate to this kind of devotion. Let’s be real, in today’s world, the average person (especially a woman), can love her man to death, but she’s not crawling to anybody. That’s just my opinion. The song was recorded (then) under XL / Sounds of Memphis label. I actually recommend that you listen to the rest of the album; although my favorite is “If I Can’t Run to You I’ll Crawl,” the album as a whole is pretty bad*ss. There is very little information about Barbara and her siblings. But I do know she stopped recording early in the ’70s, and she died about 2010. She was in her late seventies.
O.k. Today….. A lot of you maybe squeezing your brains trying to remember exactly, who the hell is Colonel Abrams! This Detroit Michigan born musician, was best known for his club music. Throughout his career, he’s had about 3 #1 dance tunes. Out of those 3, the only one I really loved, was the song called “Trapped.” The song was originally released in 1985, under Universal Music. I believe it was only released as a single. I remember this song was playing a lot in the clubs back in the day. I couldn’t even remember his other #1 hits; “The Truth,” and “I’m Not Gonna Let You.” The only one I really remembered us dancing to was Trapped. Unfortunately, Abrams died from complications of diabetes, and other health issues in 2016.