Songs »You’ll Lose A Good Thing, Barbara Lynn

lose1by Barbara Lynn (1962)

Barbara Lynn played guitar like a boss, wrote her own songs, and gave us the wonderful You’ll Lose a Good Thing. She’s like a hero I never knew before and her hit song is the kind that makes the world stop for a few minutes then seem like a better place when it ends.

lose2

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Posted on March 25, 2013

Albums »Purple Rain

by Prince (1984)

Prince has been filling our apartment with his grooves. From his self titled album and even the Batman soundtrack Van and I have been enjoying his oeuvre.

One of his most fully satisfying albums is the Purple Rain Soundtrack which features so many huge hits that we all know from growing up in the 80s:

The raucous Let’s Go Crazy, the poppy I Would Die 4 U, the amazing titular slow jam (which is a toss up for my favorite) but the incomparable When Doves Cry would have to be my favorite. There’s no way, just no way, to listen to this song and not feel elated.

But this king of soundtracks isn’t just top forty – there are less played songs just as deserving of note.
Darling Nikki is one of Prince’s most joyfully, profoundly dirty while Computer Blue makes me want to star in a roller skating movie or strut a catwalk wearing a mini skirt power suit.

It’s no new news that this is an exceptional album (although people are getting younger all the time and know nothing!) but it’s fun to revisit albums, even those we know by heart especially if it gets a toddler to dance wildly.

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Posted on February 24, 2012

Songs »Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)

by Monica (1995)

90′s radio R&B is one of my favorite genres and Monica’s Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days) is one of the best examples.

I love that it feels like a teenage girl wrote the lyrics, its incredibly catchy and no one makes hit songs about their sensitive BFs getting all whiny anytime a lady needs her space.

Girl’s got to get cranky sometimes!

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Posted on February 22, 2012

Songs »Ain’t Leaving Without You

by Jaheim (2009)

Synchronicity is a wondrous thing. Van’s obsessed with our clock radio, so decides he must play with it the very moment the R. Kelley-esque Ain’t Leaving Without You is on Hot 97.

I would have otherwise probably never heard it.

Jaheim, a Jersey native, presents here a passionate tale of a man in a club enraptured with a woman’s sexy body. Well worn territory for an r&b song? Perhaps. But I promise you’ll still enjoy it.

Jaheim, a Jersey native, presents here a passionate tale of a man in a club enraptured with a woman’s sexy body.  Well worn territory for an r&b song? Perhaps. But I promise you’ll still enjoy it.

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Posted on January 9, 2012

Albums »Marvin Gaye Live in Miami

by Marvin Gaye

I was excited to broaden my horizons with Spotify. Friends know that give or take a few artists I am hopelessly ignorant of most new “cool” music (LCD Soundsystem, Beirut, Animal Collective… the list goes on and on and on).

I also have a lot of catching up to do with bands from the past (was curious to finally give a good listen to XTC, Husker Du, Mission of Burma… again the list goes on and on).

So what do I do with the few hours of work time I have to discover a new album? Spend it grooving to Marvin Gaye Live in Miami. What can I say, I know what I like and may just be stuck in my ways more than I’d like to admit.

I can’t find much information about these performances which seem to be cobbled together from several dates. Even the year is unclear, though a very touching medley sung for Tammi Terrell indicates its after her tragic death in 1967.

The recordings themselves are not very professional, they’re noisy and muffled but Gaye is vibrant, charming, and heartfelt.

He ends Let’s Get It On with a plea to turn the lights off and get busy that aches with sexed up desperation and woos the crowd by taking breaks to sip honey tea and asking women from the audience to dance with him.

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Posted on September 12, 2011

Songs »The En Vogue Hit Trilogy

by En Vogue (1992)

Daughters of the nineties (and particularly sassy sons too), please don’t tell me I am the only one whose inner Funky Diva was let loose when En Vogue hit the airwaves.

With My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It), Something He Can Feel, and Free Your Mind, the Oakland foursome invaded suburbia and no girl was left without day dreams of herself sashaying down a disutopian runway in a push up bra top, or seducing dapper boys in a push up bra top, or denying boys your love in…a push up bra top.

Oh and sampling In Living Color? Hipster bands wish they had thought of it first!

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Posted on June 8, 2011

Songs »Round the Way Girl

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Twenty Seven: Best Song for Summer Strutting Through Queens:

Round the Way Girl by LL Cool J (1991)

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Posted on May 27, 2011

Songs »Tyrone (live)

30 Day Song Challenge – Day Twenty Four: Best Song for Kicking Your Man to the Curb:

Tyrone (live) by Erykha Badu

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Posted on May 24, 2011

Albums »Raphael Saadiq Live at SXSW

at NPR

Having not found a babysitter (and honestly, being ok not leaving Van with a stranger) we probably do not have a Raphael Saadiq concert on our horizon (though fans, take note! – he will be playing Webster Hall May 10th).

Lucky for us NPR came to the rescue with this SXSW set that includes rocking tunes from the new album Stone Rollin, some from his breakout solo hit Instant Vintage and a couple from that loveliest of soul revival albums, The Way I See It.

The showmanship is lively, exciting and perfected. Do enjoy!

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Posted on March 24, 2011

Songs »Natural High

by Bloodstone (1973)

While Bloodstone might sound like a current goth pop outfit, it’s actually a Kansas City R&B, funk soul band who hit a career high with Natural High. The doo wop ballad is lovely and surely got lots of girls to go to the back seats in 1973.

Van and I were grooving to this on a classic soul internet station called Got Radio R&B Classics. It is probably well known from its inclusion in the Jackie Brown soundtrack. You have to admit Tarantino knows how to put some good tunes together.

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Posted on March 2, 2011

Songs »Pimps Don’t Cry

by Jon Brion, Cee-lo and Eva Mendes (2010)

It used to be I didn’t know this Jon Brion, then I saw him perform and I loved him, now I am ready to take it to what ever the next step is, because his Pimps Don’t Cry, performed by Cee-lo and Eva Mendes is fabulous.

Is it weird that some of my favorite songs are “parody songs” (see One Track Lover and other Matt Berry, see Reggae Man, see the Nashville soundtrack, see Higher and Higher)?

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Posted on February 5, 2011

Albums »Let My People Go

by Darondo (1973)

Darondo led an unusual life: according to wikipedia “Later he traveled the world collecting interesting artifacts, became the king of Bay Area cable with three shows per day, and worked as a physical therapist coaxing patients to walk again” this was after a brief but brilliant stint as a soul singer which left us Let My People Go, a solid, hip swaying album.

You’ll hear hints of James Brown, Prince and Al Green among these nine songs and some will surely become new favorites for any other lovers of the genre out there. Didn’t I, which brought Darondo back into the spot light thanks to radio play, is one of those favorites and the whole album starts off with a great bass line bang with the title track.

It took years for this virtually forgotten artist to get a rerelease – but I can’t claim I found the album having any knowledge of the history. I was just browsing emusic (a site I am sure to tell you about soon) and was struck by the album cover, that featured, to my mind, possibly one of the coolest men on earth. Lucky for me, judging a book by its cover worked out (I actually find it often does) because I found some excellent new music that I can’t wait to share with friends.

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Posted on December 30, 2010

Songs »Too Close

by Next (1998)

I love that the late ninties dance hit Too Close by Next is an ode to getting a boner while grinding a girl. It brings me back to my Jr. High years where my class had the dubious distinction to be the first to cause a scene with the lude dance craze. Like the girls singing in this undeniably catchy tune, “Step back, your dancing kind of close, feel a little poke come through, on you” we weren’t ever more than slightly giggly, grossed out and pitiful of the constant occurrence. I was about to write that the R&B trio had no other hits, but wikipedia informed me of the inferior “Wifey” which has nothing to do with the Judy Blume novel.

Click here for the rest of Too Close

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Posted on May 9, 2010

Songs »Sweet Lady

by Tyrese (1998)

Sweet Lady, won’t you be my sweet love for a life time? I have no idea why I know this song so well, but when it popped up on the radio while I was dining the other night, I was instantly singing along.

I’m more familiar with Tyrese from his modeling, VJ-ing talents, but if this late nineties single is any indication, he should quit his day job.

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Posted on April 18, 2010

Songs »Pony

Ginuwine-Ponyby Ginuwine (1996)

In the entire genre of juvenile, sexual innuendo-packed, raw R&bBgrinding music, there is simply none better than Ginuwine‘s mid-nineties cleverly uninventive (lyrically) ode to really, really wanting to have sex: Pony. If what I have just written is untrue, I beg you to show me the song that bests it. And, word of advice, if you have yet to get married, you will want to remember to put this on the dance play list when you do.

By the way, the images below/after the jump are what comes up on a google search for this song.

Click here for the rest of Pony

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Posted on January 24, 2010

Spend a Couple Hours »Eccentric Soul Review

eccentric soul reviewAt the Williamsburg Hall of Music

A concert is never more enjoyable than when the performers seem to be having just as much fun as the audience, and I’ve never seen and more mutual enthusiasm than at The Eccentric Soul Review at the Williamsburg Hall of Music. Several one-time soul artists who peaked in decades past were there to share the stage with each other and today’s voice of soul from Chicago, JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound.

Both Brooks and Eccentric Soul will be familiar to regular readers of this blog, so of course I was quick to get a ticket. Also, as I may have mentioned before,  a great friend of mine (since my long ago elementary school days) plays guitar and masterminds the Uptown Sound; it’s always a delight to see him strutting around the stage.

The show, which was quite crowded with eager, hip faces, began with my favorite act of the night, Renaldo Domino, who’s signature pleading song Not Too Cool to Cry is still playing in my head. Next out was Harlem rapper Miss Missy Dee who slammed through a brief performance with her MC and was once a rare female voice during the birth of hip hop.

The Notations, a white suited four man band who had a pretty big hit with the song I’m Still Here, came next and wowed the audience with their charisma and me especially with some impressive a capella.

JC Brooks, who really has a dynamite presence on stage, along with the band, which backed all the acts, delivered some particularly electric performances.

Syl Johnson was the headliner of the night, though, and he was one wild cat. Seemingly drunk, though I’ve since been assured that his rambling exuberance is simply his signature performance style, he sang many of his oft sampled hits, occasionally repeating just who sampled him (the words Wu Tang clan came up again and again).

The finale was a rousing rendition of You Can’t Always Get What You Want featuring everyone back on stage. It got the crowd so psyched that the artists had to return for one last song: The Tighten Up, originally by Archie Bell.

Click here for the rest of Eccentric Soul Review

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Posted on November 15, 2009

Albums »Eccentric Soul Vol 7: The Deep City Label (Best Album)

Here's what I had to say on the 21st of September:

At Numero Group, “The mission was simple: to dig deep into the recesses of our record collections with the goal of finding the dustiest gems begging to be released from their exile on geek street.”

For all their endeavors to bring forgotten soul to my ears, I am eternally grateful.

Eccentric Soul Vol 7: The Deep City Label
compilation has brought me so much joy in the last few days. I found it after my old friend Billy said he was touring with the Eccentric Soul Review (which comes to New York in November). I downloaded this volume because it features one of my personal favorite obscure soul singers, Betty Wright, whose two songs Paralyzed and Good Lovin' are particular stand outs in the amazing collection.

Other exceptional tracks are “Am I A Good Man” by Them Two, Paul Kelly's “The Upset”, and “I am Controlled by Your Love” by Helene Smith. Also love the lyrics from “Stay Away from My Johnny”: “There's only two kind of girls that he loves and I'm both of them”.

Numero describes the label as “Possibly the most influential of all the 60s Miami soul label's, the Deep City sound not only changed the Metro-Dade area, but set the tone for disco powerhouse TK's impressive run in the 70s.”

That none of the singers featured ever gained substantial fame is a shame. That Numero has several more compilations to dig through is a blessing.

RUNNERS UP:
Blackout
Crime and Dissonance
Fleetwood Mac Live
Amadeus
L'Homme a Tete de Chou
The Way I See It

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Posted on November 2, 2009