Dance Tunes

Damn!!! Another great album that reminds me of how old I am. I can’t believe it’s already been 20 years ago since Deborah Cox’s album “One Wish,” released in 1998. This woman can sing her *ss off. But let me start off by saying, a lot of people may not know that she’s not just a talented singer, Deborah was also a model as well! She also hosted a show called “Vanity Insanity,” where she discusses our obsessions with beauty and looking good. When she released her song called “Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here,” I instantly fell in love with the song. It had strong background vocals, and a great beat to support them. But when I heard the club mix version from Hex Hector, I lost my mind. Hector took the same voice track and not only transformed it in to a new song, it seemed as though she put more in to it, but in actuality it was the same voice track. Wow… That’s a talented DJ. The song eventually hit #1 on the Hot 100 Charts, and stayed relevant until 32 weeks. I can’t say that this was my ultimate favorite that year, but, it’s high on the list. BTW, I also highly recommend that you check out “Things Just Ain’t The Same,” also remixed by Hex Hector.

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Maze, Featuring Frankie Beverly: Before I Let Go (1981)

Let me tell ya’ll about this song…. LOL… This song by Maze (featuring Frankie Beverly) was the biggest, and most popular song of the 80s (in my opinion); at least when it came to the Black community. I remember this song being played in almost every single birthday party, every single picnic, and every single barbecue in my community. When people heard this song come on; automatically hands go up, people start screaming “ooooohhh that’s my sooooooong,” and 5 seconds later people started groovin’. I’ve also realize that although the song was released in 1981, there was an (before 1981) “old school nature” about the song “Before I Let Go” that made it so great. It had to have been that groovy baseline. They don’t make great music like this no mo’, fo sho. 😀 This iconic song was written and produced by Frankie Beverly himself, under Capital Records. It peaked at #7 in the U.S. and #13 on the R&B Charts.

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Roberto Roena: Coro Miyare

Was sifting through my digital collections and look who I’ve found! Do you remember Roberto Roena? You should! Because he was one of the biggest in Latin music of the 70s at the time. Well, I must admit, I’m exposed to so much culture that even I can’t always remember names a lot of the time. However, I know we all have got to remember his signature song “Coro Miyare.” YO!!! Guys, this song will force you to dance! You put this on your turntable, and the music would literally take over your legs and make you dance! By the time the record finishes, you’d see puddles of sweat dripping all over the floor. I’ve seen it so many times; if a guy could not keep up with this song, nobody would dance with you. Long story short, Roberto started off with a group called El Gran Gombo; busted out some hits and then joined a band called “El Apollo Sound,” busted out a few hits with them; then eventually moved on to join the group “Fania All Stars.” It was with this group he recorded his iconic song “Coro Miyare,” under the Fania Record label in 1971.

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Just who are these handsome men? They were a well known instrumental group; and the backbone of that group were Isaac “Redd” Holt who was the drummer, and Eldee Young who was the base player. There was actually a third person, piano player Dan Walker that made a trio. Together they’ve produced a song called “Wack Wack,” released in 1966, under Burnswick Records. The song had mediocre success. I do remember this piece used in a commercial, just don’t remember for what company. All I remember, it was some Black guy dancing in his underwear. And I think the commercial was all B&W.

In 1968, Dan Walker was replaced with piano player Ken Chaney; and they composed my very favorite called “Soulful Strut,” and I think still under Burnswick Records. The piece was an instant hit reaching #3 on the Top 100 Charts. Shortly after lyrics were added with the help of singing sensation Barbara Acklin, and the song was called “Am I The Same Girl.” BTW, while I’m still on the subject, check out Winsome’s reggae version of the song. I think Winsome’s version is the best reggae version I’ve heard thus far (and there’s quite a few of them). “Soulful Strut” hit gold, selling well over a million copies. But unfortunately, it was their only big success. They eventually broke up about 5 years later. It’s a shame because their sound is somewhat comparable to “Booker T. & the M.G.” (but at a much slower rhythm in my opinion), and B.M.G made pretty good music back in the day.

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Double Dutch Bus

How do I explain Frankie Smith? Well, I say he is the Black cowboy version of Wolfman Jack (that is if you can remember that far back!) 😀 He was made famous by a song he did called the “Double Dutch Bus,” Released under Unidisc Music. Let me start off by saying, this wasn’t just an ordinary hit song, this song also represented a very serious movement in the 80s. Guys……. In terms of athletic activities that were traditionally for young girls, AND also closely associated with dance such as Cheer leading; Cheer leading has always been known as a very serious and cut throat competition in just about all High Schools. However, before the success of break-dancing, there was another form of athletic activity that emerged in a huge way from the Black poor communities. That was something called Double Dutch.

Double Duch Bus

Double Dutch was serious business in the 80s (actually, we were doing it before the 80s). It wasn’t just something that poor Black girls did in the ghetto to keep themselves out of trouble, and away from boys. Tournaments were created specifically for Double Dutch. Thousands from all over would come to see these girls do their thing with their jump ropes, in the same way they would a football or basketball game. Schools would challenge each other and get the chance to win big trophies and other prizes. Mind you, many of the girls I’ve seen doing Double Dutch were heavyset girls, and they were just as good as the thinner girls. Yet there’s an attitude that people still have, that people from poor communities are not active? Bullshit! These girls did stunts and acrobatic moves you wouldn’t believe!! And of course you don’t, so you’ll have to take my word for it and just Google!! Frankie’s hit song brought attention to the world of Double Dutch competitions. Now both girls and boys are doing Double Dutch, and incorporating hip-hop along with their fancy moves. “Double Dutch Bus” reached #1 on the “Hot Soul Singles Chart,” and #30 on the Hot 100 Chart.”

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Ok guys this morning we have to pay a little tribute to the legendary Linda Clifford. This lady was the sh*t back in the day. When Linda took hold of that microphone, she showed the mic who was in control. When she sang, she meant business and she wasn’t fooling around, at all!! Although she’s known to be the reigning disco queen of the seventies, you could hear the soul in her voice, which blended beautifully with her dance music. Her first two big #1 hits came from her “If My Friends Could See Me Know” album, released by Curtom Records in 1978. The first song was called “Runaway Love,” which hit #3 on the R&B Charts, and #1 on the U.S. Dance Charts. Literally, every time I walked outside my door, people were blasting this song out of their car. Almost every single radio station was rotating this song every hour it seemed. I remember every barbecue get-together had this song playing. I loved how Linda told her man off toward the end of the song. The second #1 hit on the U.S. Dance Charts (which I also love) is a remake she did of a 1966 Broadway musical classic “Sweet Charity.” The song is called “If My Friends Could See Me Now.” The original Broadway play version was sung by Gwen Verdon. In 1980, she sang a song for the original movie soundtrack “Fame (1980),” Starring the legendary Irene Cara. The song is called “Red Light,” under the RSO label. This was a badass song right here! This was another song she sang, where you know she meant business. “Red Light” put her once again, on the #1 spot on the Dance Charts. There’s a song I recommend listening to, and it’s called “You Are, You Are,” which is on the late Curtis Mayfield’s album called “The Right Combination,” released in 1979 for Rhino Records. I can’t find any stats on the song, but it’s a badass song, check it out!! On This same album, she also made a slow jam that I really love. It’s a duet with Curtis Mayfield called “Between You Baby And Me.” To my understanding, at age 69, she is still performing and doing her thāng.

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Ahhh, talk about lost treasures!! This was a very talented group called “Honey Cone.” Unfortunately, like many acts back in the day; sometimes they don’t get to use their voices to it’s full potential; because of poor songwriting; or sometimes bad marketing. Honey Cone, I feel falls in to that category. If they had the right management team, their fame could have been “up there” along side “The Three Degrees” in my opinion.

They’ve made several albums throughout their career. But they’ve only had 2 number ones, and one that reached number 5. The first massive hit was everybody’s favorite; a song called “Want Ads,” from the album “Sweet Replies,” under “Margate Entertainment Records, released in 1971. The song was an instant hit, and reached #1, and stayed on the charts for 16 weeks. This one single sold well over a million copies after public release. The second number one was “Stick-up.” It hit number on the R&B Charts. But to be honest, I never cared for it too much for this song. However, the girls sang their *sses off this song. The third massive hit was a song called “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show.” I used to play this song so much, it was a shame. I’m surprised that 45 didn’t turn in to dust LOL. This song reached #5 on the R&B Charts. I thought this was a badass song!!

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I want to try and quickly kill two birds with one stone. One of my many favorite 80s songs is from the late Donna Summer, and it’s called “She Works Hard For The Money.” It was released exactly on Mar 10, 1983, under Mercury Records. This song went #1 for 3 weeks on the Hot R&B Charts. It was her first #1 hit since several songs on the “Bad Girls” album, and her #1 duet with Barbra Streisand, “Enough Is Enough,” just 4 years prior. This was a significant song back in the day; not because it happened to reach number one; but because it was in essence a tribute to all the hardworking, low income, female service workers. Donna co-written the song, and she wrote about an actual encounter she had with a restroom attendant (which to me is a fancy way of saying a female porter). The woman was even said to be pictured on the back of the album. Well, I have this album, and I don’t see her photo, neither did I remember seeing it in the protective sleeve cover. But I do remember both Donna and Mercury records giving the woman public acknowledgement in the news, promos, etc.

The second song from the same album I wanted to draw your attention to is, is a song called “Unconditional Love.” The song is a duet with a group called “Musical Youth.” Musical Youth is best known for their massive hit “Pass The Dutchie,” which reached #10 in the US, and #1 in UK and Canada. Unfortunately, “Unconditional Love” did not do well in the United States, peaking only @44. That was disappointing to read, as I thought this was a very cute song. But you know what? I think that maybe they should have had the group sing with Donna, and not use them as background chorus, I’m sure it would have been a larger hit. Sometime in 1985, Musical Youth broke up, with only one major hit to their credit, which was “Pass The Dutchie.” It was said that, two of the old five members got back together to continue their music career in 2011. However, I can’t seem to find any newer music from them. Maybe they’ve changed their group name.

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