R & B Singer, Natalie Cole, daughter of Nat King Cole, passed away this week at the age of 65.
Remembering Natalie as a significant part of my musical landscape during my teens and twenties, I wanted to honor her passing with a song here. I couldn’t decide between the joyous and danceable, This Will Be, or I’ve Got Love On My Mind, two of her more recognizable hits, so I decided to play a song that I don’t remember well, but that I’ve seen friends post on social media these past few days.
Like the posthumous duet she created in the early 1990’s with her Dad, Natalie, and her contributions to pop and R & B, will continue to be Unforgettable.
Here’s Natalie with I’m Catching Hell:
www.youtube.com, Natalie Cole, I’m Catching Hell, posted by aimeedus
She’s back! Missy Elliott is better than ever in this video, WTF (Where They From).
Missy, Pharrell, killer dance moves, and, wait for it…marionettes! It’s been too long for this woman of great talent and substance, and with over 15 million views on YouTube after two weeks, seems a lot of other people are happy to have Missy on the scene again, too.
www.youtube.com, Missy Elliott, featuring Pharrell Williams, WTF (Where They From), posted by Vevo
I heard this 70’s soul anthem, while out on my morning walk, plugged into my Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes Pandora station. While I usually opt for my 80’s and 90’s Hip Hop, my MJ (of course!), Prince, or at times my Bhangra station, to get me moving faster along the path, on this crisp, sunshiny morning, I took it easy with some classic soul.
Bloodstone, originally named The Sinceres, formed in Kansas City, Missouri in 1962, gaining more attention and fame after moving to London and signing with Decca Records. Most popular in the 1970’s and 80’s, the hit, Natural High, definitely a part of the soundtrack of my youth, reached the Billboard 100’s Top Ten in 1973 when it was released under the album of the same name.
I get a natural high from my morning walks, from listening to Marvin Gaye loud in my car with the windows rolled down, and from that feeling of pining away for that person you just met, or locked eyes with, and in your mind and your heart, you begin to imagine what Charles Love, vocalist and guitarist for Bloodstone, sings of. Because, really, if you think about it, aren’t we all looking for our own natural high?
www.youtube.com, Natural High, by Bloodstone, posted by J Ausaru
I witnessed a historic theatrical event Monday night–the world premiere of the One-Minute Play Festival’s Every 28 Hours at Trinity Repertory Company here in Providence.
The One-Minute Play Festival is a theater company out of New York City that produces one-minute plays which aim to tell a neighborhood’s story through community engagement. Every 28 Hours is the current festival theme, and is based on the events surrounding the killing of Michael Brown, a black teenager, by a white police officer in the summer of 2014 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Every 28 Hours stands for […]
This is a kind of culture, too, right? little sister, Darla, (left), Leni, essay author, (right)
I was glad when my daughter Leni told me that her 10th grade English teacher gave her class an assignment to write an essay, titled “My Cultural Identity.” I’ve heard white people say many times that they feel like they don’t have a culture. That to be white is to be bland,to be a white American is boring. That to be anything else but a white American is more interesting–that people born in other parts of the world, who come from people with a more ancient history, have richer traditions, foods, and manner of dress. I’ve been guilty of this myself. White people sometimes use words like “exotic,” “intriguing,” and “fascinating” when describing cultures different from theirs, and can have a difficult time defining their own culture or even believing that they have one. I’m told this “othering” of people of color is typical when one is a member of a dominant group.
I know that the color of one’s skin doesn’t define one’s culture, and that ethnicity is only one element of culture, though again I’ll admit that growing up I thought […]
It’s been a while since I posted a song and I was thinking I’d post a song from The Jungle Brothers to explain the reason why, but then I heard that A Tribe Called Quest is reissuing a remastered version of their classic 1990 debut album, People’sInstinctive Travels And The Paths of Rhythm, and I had to honor that with a song of theirs.
MC Q-Tip and his childhood friend, Phife Dawg, or Malik Taylor, grew up in Queens, New York, and joined together with Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi White, to form A Tribe Called Quest. The group was a part of what was called The Native Tongues Posse, a collective of rappers including De La Soul and The Jungle Brothers. The Posse differed from the more hard-core and strictly socially conscious rappers of the late 80’s and early 90’s by producing a blend of a more conversationally, fun, lyrical and somewhat socially conscious sound, that incorporated jazz samples into their work.
So many classic cuts on this album, like I Lost My Wallet In El Segundo and Bonita Applebaum, but for today here’s Can I Kick It? Looking forward to hearing the re-released 25th Anniversary album!
Charles Blow delivers John Hazen White lecture at Brown University, September 18, 2015
Last Thursday, I was fortunate to attend the John Hazen White Lecture at Brown University given by The New York Times journalist, and author, Charles Blow.
Mr. Blow, 45, who began at the Times in 1994 as a graphics editor, later went on to gain experience there as a journalist covering stories on the war in Iraq, as well as on 9/11. As a current Op-Ed writer for the Times, Blow focuses on […]
I saw via Okayplayer that July 22nd marked the 28 year anniversary of LL Cool J’s I Need Love, so I had to pay respect and feature it on WJSS Weekend Sounds. Plus, I need love.
I remember when this came out, thinking how smooth LL was, but I didn’t realize that I Need Love actually gave birth to the rap ballad, allowing LL and many rappers who followed, a chance to shed their hardcore personas for a softer, more romantic side.
No more to be said about this classic song and video which truly reflect the time in which they were made. You only have to watch and listen.
SOURCE: www.youtube.com, I Need Love, by LL Cool J, posted by LLCOOLJVeVO
Just back from a week-long vacation to Jamaica with my two daughters, and friends. I’ll be posting about the awe-inspiring–on many levels–trip in the coming week, but thought it fitting to play a Jamaican hit song popular here in the U.S., all over Europe, and of course, in Jamaica. The song is Cheerleader by Jamaican artist, OMI.
I first heard the song while driving in the car with my daughters right before the trip. Darla called out, “oh, it’s the Cheerleader song!” A few days later as we sat at the outdoor bar at the waterfront Luna Sea Inn in the small Jamaican town,Bluefields, (part of the Westmoreland parish), the personable bar manager, Norris, called out in the very same way Darla had, “…it’s the Cheerleader song..” Darla and her friend Sophia in their seats, and the inn staff milling around, started to sing and bop along to the upbeat tune.
I learned from Jamaican newspaper, The Gleaner, (which the artwork I purchased by local artist Jah Calo, was wrapped in–more on Jah in my upcoming blog post) that Cheerleader first came out as a ska song in 2012, but didn’t gain it’s popularity until German music producer, Felix Jaehn, remixed the song, adding African drums, a saxophone interlude, and speeded up the tempo. Believe it or not, it’s the first Jamaican crossover hit to break the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 since Sean Paul’s 2003 hit, Get Busy.
Bob Marley and the Wailers, other Marley family members, and Jamaican reggae artists of conscious, ska, and dancehall music have entered the Billboard Top 100 charts, and/or have held a big place in fan’s hearts over the years, but as far as commercial, crossover success, it’s been a long time coming. Jamaicans are proud of their fellow artist, and fans the world over are getting to better know the music of OMI because of Cheerleader.
Cheerleader by OMI, the Felix Jaehn Remix
Cheerleader, by OMI, the original 2012 ska version
www.youtube. com, Cheerleader by OMI, posted by OMI Music Online, 2012
www.youtube.com, Cheerleader by OMI (Felix Jaehn remix), posted by Ultra Music, 2015
The Gleaner, OMI Breaks Billboard Hot 100 Top 10, June 20, 2015
I loved, loved, loved The Brothers Johnson, and used to dance to their albums all the time in high school. I am not musically inclined, and never played any instruments, but I still say if I could learn how to play one instrument it would be the base because I’d get to bang out all those funky beats.
Louis Johnson, aka “Thunder Thumbs”, of The Brothers Johnson played those funky beats alongside his brother, guitarist, George “Lightning Licks” during the 70’s and early 80’s, before parting ways to work on separate projects. Louis was always in high demand to work on other artist’s albums, including George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Michael McDonald, Steve Arrington, and was the bassist on Michael Jackson’s, Billie Jean. He is also said to be the originator of the slap bass method of playing the instrument where one ‘slaps’ the strings with the right thumb and ‘pops’ with the right hand fingers, giving a percussive characteristic to a note’s sound.
Sadly, Louis Johnson passed away on May 21st, 2015 at the age of 60.
I have to play two songs of The Brothers Johnson because while the first is I think my favorite, it doesn’t show the fierce funk that Louis was capable of. So, here is Strawberry Letter 23, followed by Get The Funk Out Ma Face.