Dance Tunes

I have another totally forgotten dance craze for you today! This one is by a two man group known as “Bob & Earl.” They recorded a song attached to a new dance craze that caused dance fans to go absolutely bananas!! The song was called the “Harlem Shuffle.” I loved this song, and even though I was not born when the song came out, it was still popular enough that I remembered hearing it a lot on the radio around 6-7 years of age. If there existed an official “Hair Spray Playlist,” this is exactly the kind of music that would be on it (or at least on Tracy Turnblad’s playlist). So, I’m a bit confused…… According to the American Music Billboard, the song only peaked at #44, and stayed relevant for about 11 weeks. But there’s also a Harlem Shuffle in the UK released in 1969, that has peaked @ #7, and stayed on the UK charts for about 13 weeks. I don’t find any different versions on YouTube, and I can’t listen to Spotify’s UK link because of copyright restrictions. F^$&^%$^%!!!!! So, there you have it guys, copyright red tape at it’s best. It can be a blogger’s nightmare. It is possible that either the song didn’t catch on in the UK until later; or it could have been re-released in the UK later on, or because there have been several changes in terms of group members, it’s possible there was a different version with a different duo. I’m just not sure to be honest. In any event. It’s an awesome  and groovy song from back in the day.

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You know, I just love the internet sometimes!! Because there are very few things I can’t find (at least when it comes to American music). I’ve learned something new today. For many years growing up, I just naturally assumed that “Inner Life,” was actually another music group. However, upon researching I discovered that they were actually a music project. But then again, it was really hard to keep track of that stuff; because it was very common for performers to literally change groups like their clothes. Sometimes many of them would decide to go solo, then if it doesn’t work out, they come right back to their old groups as if nothing ever happened. LOL

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Inner life was only active for about 5-6 years. If I remember correctly, they disbanded sometime in 1986. For most (if not all) of their albums, Jocelyn Brown has been the lead singer. The biggest hit that Jocelyn sang for the group was a song called “I’m Caught Up (In a One Night Love Affair),” released in 1979. The song hit #7 on the U.S. dance charts, and it also hit #22 on the R&B charts. I was kind of shocked to see such a low number for R&B, considering just how popular the song was in the Black community. Other than that, the project didn’t produce any more big hits really. I have to be honest, I re-listened to several of their old albums after the “Caught Up” album, and their music really sounded like the same ol’ regurgitated disco albums that everyone else was putting out. In fact, it’s probably what killed disco in the first place, it was too much repetition. Jocelyn is so talented, I was happy when she broke away from that group.

Being that I am much older, and grew up in an entirely different generation, I still find it hard to call this song (or group for that matter) “Old School!” However, the fact of the matter is, it is old school. Could you believe this song is already 20 years old? Wow!! But, let me also say that, by my standards, it’s not just old school because it’s now 20 years old, it’s old school because it’s real good music with great harmonies by three amazing male voices. Next was a very talented group; and I say “was,” because R.L. was “kicked out of the group,” according to R.L. himself. And that’s a shame, because 80% of their songs I like and remember, R.L. was their lead singer, so it’s just not the same. Listen to the interview he did for VladTV. You know, for a long time I mistaken Robert “R.L.” Huggar (far right) for Guy’s Teddy Riley.

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I have to say, “Too Close,” released in 1998, I think is my most favorite song from Next, hands down. It has a nice steady rhythm, and people of all ages can get their dance on when this was played. In addition, it has that element of old beat (almost like R&B disco (if there is such a thing)) that appeals to many people in my age group. The song shot up to #1 on the charts, and stayed  relevant for a whopping 60 weeks!! There was another cute song that was also popular, and it’s called “Wifey,” released in 2000. “Wifey” hit #4 on the R&B Charts, and stayed relevant for 10 weeks.

This was and still is one of my favorite albums from the seventies. If there’s ever a disco album you should listen to, this would be one of them!! When the original album cover came out in 1976, it was one of those fold-out albums (single vinyl tho). The lady above only had that black Salsoul t-shirt on, and absolutely no pants. The t-shirt covered most of her butt 😂 . Now, as an adult, if I saw this album for the first time, I would have easily got the wrong impression that the album had filthy lyrics, or lyrics that send the wrong message about women. Actually, the photo alone would make me look the other way, you guys know I ain’t in to that 😂 . However, let me tell you, as I said before, this turned out to be my most favorite album growing up. One of my favorites, and one of the most popular songs called “Nice ‘N’ Naasty,” actually isn’t “naasty” at all, as the name suggests. However, the beat and the lyrics allowed you to use your imagination without being “pornographic,” or gross. The song was tasteful, and nicely done. Then again, it was a different era we were in. The song peaked @ #30, and stayed on the charts for 14 weeks.

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There are tons more favorites of mine from this album like “Ritzy Mambo,” and “It’s Good For The Soul.” Salsoul Orchestra was a House Band for Salsoul Records. Very much in the same way MFSB was to Philadelphia International Records. In fact, most of the original musicians from MFSB worked for Salsoul Orchestra,” so the band was pretty mixed in nationality. You could just imagine what a close-knit family they were. Although Salsoul Orchestra did mostly Latin disco, they’ve also done soul and pop music. They’ve diversely worked with many other artists you may remember, such as Jocelyn Brown, and Loleatta Holloway. Salsoul Orchestra sadly broke-up some time in 1982. Such a shame, they’ve made some awesome music during their existence.

France Joli was one of many disco dance queens that ruled the 80s. Hands down, she was one of my favorite singers from that era and genre. Joli was born in Quebec, in 1963. She started her musical career at the age of 6, doing all kinds of commercials, talent shows, and TV appearances. Joli got her big break, when she performed a concert in New York City. To my understanding, in 1979, she was a replacement for Donna Summer that night. She sang a song called “Come To Me,” which was already released that year under Prelude Records. That concert gave her song the exposure it needed. The song became popular enough to hit the billboard music charts, and eventually peaked at #15, and stayed on the charts for about 3-4 weeks. To this day, this song remains to be one of my favorite disco songs from her. I love how it starts off really really slow, and by the time you get to the middle of the record, it’s full on disco! In 1981, Joli would release another favorite of mine called “Gonna Get Over You,” under a company called Unidisc Music Inc. The song reached #2 on the American Billboard Charts, and stayed on the charts for a whopping 17 weeks.

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This little Canadian lady had a talent for disco that rivaled others. Joli, now 54 is still performing! In fact, she’s performing in Westbury New York this December. More tour dates for 2018 is TBA. She’s had many many other hits through out her career, and there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll love her just like I did. Check out her Greatest Hits album. You’re gonna love it.

I know I’ve tweeted this album a couple of times already, but this album is worthy of a blog post. If you’re a Santana fan, and you’ve never heard this album before, I recommend that you take a listen. Now, I have never been a fan of live albums, but of all the music I’ve consumed in my lifetime, I can honestly say there were only two live albums I ever loved. The first was Donna Summer’s “Live And More (1978),” and the second album would be Santana’s self titled 1969 album. Santana’s album sounds so good, it doesn’t even sound like a live album (maybe that’s why I like it). My two favorite songs from this album are “Jingo,” and “Evil Ways.” When I hear Jingo, it literally transports me back to the late 60s; listening to the guitar solo on this piece was so amazing, I didn’t need to watch it on TV! I just closed my eyes and I was there. There were times listening to this album made me feel like I was in Woodstock! I was forced to insert this article in the “World Music” category, because there are too many cultures mixed in this album. Rock, jazz, Latin, the album is a musical gumbo. On Amazon, I found a great Santana concern on Blu-Ray! Could you believe it? There aren’t too many classic performers we find on Blu-Ray. It’s called Santana: Live at Montreux 2011. All the big names play in Montreux.

Musically speaking, one of the many things I loved about the seventies, was that artists used to literally turn any classical music into a new disco song! 🤣 I really, really missed that. That was a time when we were more culturally connected to our music. Anyway, an composer by the name of Walter Murphy reinterpreted Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5,” aka, more popularly known as “A Fifth Of Beethoven,” for the “Saturday Night Fever” movie soundtrack. He not only reinterpreted it, he turned it in to a disco masterpiece. First of all, let me start off by saying, how lucky all of the artists were who participated on this soundtrack. The album went 15x platinum! Do you realize how few movie soundtracks have accomplished this? The only other recent soundtrack (that I can remember right now) that hit big like that was, the late Whitney Houston’s “Bodyguard (1992)” which shattered SNF with over 18x Platinum. Every single artist that was on this album became cult legends, and was forever associated with this album. The enormous success and exposure with “Symphony No. 5” allowed Murphy to enjoy 40+ prosperous years doing what he does. Murphy has written music for “The Tonight Show” starring Johnny Carson, “Family Guy,” and even for the TV show “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.” If you’d like to listen to “Symphony No. 5,” how it was originally composed, go to Spotify here.