Spend a Couple Hours »R Kelly

We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!! We are seeing R Kelly live!!

God help me but I do love him.

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Posted on October 12, 2009

Songs »If I Had No Loot

While the vintage quality of the vocal stylings of Raphael Saadiq's solo career were a new discovery (and a wonderful one), this feel-good song by Tony Toni Tone (the band which Saadiq fronted) has been a favorite of mine for years and years.

I was a fifteen year old sophomore when it came out and was probably watching Dazed and Confused, eating cake batter, and hanging out with my girlfriends in one of their basements while listening to it.

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Posted on September 21, 2009

Albums »Eccentric Soul Vol 7: The Deep City Label

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.

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Posted on September 21, 2009

Songs »You Are My Rose

the room wiseau you are my roseFeatured in the only sex scene that stars a man with actual skin over his body, You Are My Rose is by far the most memorable lite-Skinemaxy song to come out of this week's incredible “film”, The Room (which I have re-watched a few times since writing my entry, and if I could, I'd go on forever).

Singer Kitra Williams is actually a quite accomplished performer, she starred in Broadway's The Color Purple and is an activist who began the Agape Academy an:

“Organization honoring youth and young adults
desiring to rededicate their gifts and talents for the Gospel sake. We cultivate the gifts of our youth and encourage them to minister messages of hope through theater, film and cartoon animation. We provide scholarships and national opportunities for their talents to be showcased at out annual Agape Awards ceremony.”

Plus, as this song can attest, she can really set the mood for spiral staircase sex.

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Posted on July 6, 2009

Albums »What’s Going On

what's going on marvin gayeWhat's Going On is an album of beautiful despair, told from the point of view of a Vietnam vet returned to a country on the wrong path. The album, which was a departure for Marvin Gaye (and his reluctant record company, which was known as a hit factory), dealt with many issues that had been bubbling just below the surface of a forgotten American dream. Poverty, joblessness, and environmental issues were a far cry from Heard it Trough the Grapevine, but Gaye was not feeling terribly hopeful and cheery in 1970. His duet partner Tammi Terrell had just died and other factors of fame had sent him into a deep depression.

The titular track is by far the album's most popular, but it's a great experience to listen to it in its entirety as each song bleeds into the next. Considered revolutionary and praised as a soul masterpiece, it's actually a somewhat subdued and simple album that derives its power from the strength of its subject, Gaye's captivating voice, and the layers of orchestration.

While I consider the album one of despair, and it seems that that's the way he was feeling when making it, there's a sense of, if not hope than at least a quiet ambition to try to make the world a better place. In many ways, as lots of the problems Gaye addressed become worse, it's still a powerfully relevant piece today.

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Posted on April 20, 2009

Albums »Beat of Our Own Drum

jc brooks & the uptown sound beat of our own drumIt's always exciting to be able to pick something created by a friend, and I'm especially tickled to recommend the latest musical venture of my friend Billy, a bouncy but all too brief album entitled Beat of Our Own Drum by JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound. Billy and I have been friends since the 6th grade (which is why I can still refer to him as Billy, long after he's become known as Bill). Even though we haven't lived in the same city since those good old days, back when he was sporting a satin Batman baseball cap and taking me to my first concert (the Steve Miller Band), we've managed to stay in touch and always have a grand old time whenever we get a chance to meet up.

As a New Yorker, my conception of an “uptown sound” is the rustle of Brooks Brothers trousers against white thighs and the click clack of old lady heels, but in Chicago “the uptown sound” seems to be upbeat, clear sounding, good natured, and lots of fun. Fronted by the charming voiced and handsome Brooks, the band works comfortably in the traditions of Motown while maintaining an off beat sense of humor.

One of my favorite songs, which lends its name to the title of the album, captures the celebratory experience of falling in love with the adorable lyric, “You make me hotter than an apple pie”. Another song claims, “Baltimore is the new Brooklyn/ Just a short train ride from where you really want to be”.

That song, by the way, has a wonderful music video where I've delighted in seeing my good friend (he's playing the guitar). It reminds me of a time he once told me about a gig that wasn't going too well. He equated the experience with Back to the Future, when Marty McFly's hand begins to fade but then suddenly it comes back and he finished with a bang, all the crowd on his side. Well, it looks like the crowds will be on Bill's side with this new project.

But I digress with friendship nostalgia. Other favorites on the album include Alright, which channels the funk of James Brown, and the provocatively titled 75 Years of Art Sex that, at least in my opinion, is begging for a disco-fied version; it already gives me visions of a Bianca Jagger/Soul Train smash.

You can experience the band live! at Southpaw next Thursday (4/16) evening. I'll be there!

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Posted on April 13, 2009

Laughs »Trapped in the Closet Videos

Trapped in the Closet Videos by R Kelly Unfortunately these are no longer available on the R. Kelly website. There is too much money to be made in DVD sales. I probably don't have to tell you how amazing this is, as it has become somewhat of a weird pop culture phenomenon. But if you have missed it, do yourself a favor and take a look.

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Posted on December 26, 2005