Song: I’ll Take You There
Artist: The Staple Singers!
I have to be honest, I didn’t listen to a whole lot of music from the Staple Singers (at least their earlier music anyway). I don’t think there was any particular reason for it (I think). Then again, when my elders played any sort of christian music, it tend to be more traditional music, whereas the Staple Singers’ music seemed more secular. Come to think about it, even @ the beginning of their early music carrier, some people may say it’s gospel, but a lot of the music I heard were more borderline hint of rock music. Almost comparable to a softer version of what Fats Domino would perform. That was a no no for many christian folk when I was growing up.
Their Music Commanded Your Attention!
Unfortunately, because I wasn’t really into a whole lot of christian music growing up, I really don’t have a feel for the scope of their success in the christian world. However, I would imagine they were pretty huge, because in the secular music world, they exploded like a megaton bomb! They would later produce songs with heavy funky beats that would not be ignored! There biggest hit that I remember growing up was a song called “I’ll Take You There (1972).” Fifty years after it’s vinyl release, and into the age of streaming, on Spotify alone they’ve racked up over 83 million plays. In my opinion, that is huge, especially since we’re in an age of short-term memory.
No Doubt, Their Music Has Immortalized Them, Even By Non-christians!
I mean, you either never heard their music before (if that’s possible), but remember their name; or you hear their music and get a rush of nostalgia! There’s just no way you can hear “I’ll Take You There,” and not get an urge to move your body. Even if you don’t like to dance, you will move your body just because of the sheer fact that the song played a major part of our history. At the Cash Box, R&B Chart, & Hot 100, all at #1 placement. In South Africa, the song reached #7. It is incredibly rare that a song hits #1 in so many categories. A christian song at that. Very rare indeed.
They’ve Also Produced A Hit Song To A Soundtrack!
Another song I really loved by them was a song called “Let’s Do It Again (1975).” It was a soundtrack to the movie comedy “Let’s Do It Again,” starring Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, and Jimmy Walker. I was actually taken back by this song. When I listened to the lyrics and compared them to their other music, I would have never expected them to perform something like this. Both songs are super super secular. Another huge favorite of mine was “Respect Yourself (1971).” I loved songs like these growing up, because even back then, we knew the powerful effects that music had in our lives. If Black artists wanted to give a reminder to their fans about certain negative behaviors in our community, or just share political awareness, the best way to do it is put it in our music! “Respect Yourself” reached #2 on the R&B chart, and #12 on the Top 100.
Song: To Where You Are
Artist: Josh Groban
Album: Josh Groban (2001)
Genre: Easy Listening
Wow! 😮 Throughout my music listening life, I’ve been exposed to many, many different type of voices and singing styles. It is extremely rare that I discover beautiful male voices such as today’s pick. Sometimes you come across talent to where there are no other words to describe them, but to say “he has the voice of an angel.” Funny, because (at least in America) when we use phrases like that, it’s usually in reference to a female. Perhaps, indirectly, our attitudes about male culture has subconsciously effected the way most male performers perform.
Josh Possesses Incredible Vocal Control!
I’ve been racking my brains trying to figure out who can I compare his music to, and he’s so unique that I just can’t at the moment. But, if I where forced to make one, he’s almost like what Barbra Streisand may have sounded like if she was born a male singer. In my opinion, I think that is a fair statement. When I first discovered Josh’s music, I was working in a very well known electronic retail store decades ago. Back then, many retailers had prerecorded paid advertisements that would play on the loud speaker, on a loop! Actually, it was more like listening to customized radio recordings designed to sell to the customer. The recordings were a mixture of commercials and new music (pre-release).
The First Time I Heard Josh’s Voice On Speaker…!
I completely forgot what I was doin’, but I’m pretty sure I was organizing store products on gondolas or something like that, when I heard Josh’s voice for the first time. The store was playing his then hit song “To Where You Are.” I said to myself, who the f**k is that? I fell in love with his music ever since. It was the only time I didn’t mind hearing the pre-recorded tracks on loop, because I looked forward to hearing his song again. Back then, music streaming really didn’t catch on yet, so I had no idea that he had quite a few albums before hand.
I’ve Heard Quite A Few Of His Televised Performances!
I’ve seen many of his live televised performances, and let me tell you, his voice is a force that cannot be reckoned with! Again, some of the best male performers I’ve heard don’t posses the vocal control he has. There is no question he has been classically trained. Some other songs I recommend you check out are, a duet with Barbra Streisand called “All I Know Of Love,” and a solo called “You Raise Me Up,” is a wonderful inspirational song (very heart felt). He also did a wonderful live duet with Celine Dione, with a song called “The Prayer.” Like I’ve always said earlier, I normally don’t like to listen to live recordings, unless I’m also watching it. But, they both did a wonderful job the this song. By the way, since I’ve mentioned Celine Dione, you should check out her duet with Andrea Bocelli, also singing “The Prayer.” Absolutely beautiful.
Genre: Various Pop Music
Coming at you with another diverse handpicked playlist. Lots and lots of great music we were exposed to during the year 1977; but only a fraction of those songs made it to my playlist! Oh, no! It wasn’t because I didn’t like the majority of them, it’s because I don’t believe in random song dumping!! You’re getting the best of my personal favorites from the year 1977, in an easily digestible playlist. As I was researching, I realized that 1977 seemed to have been a good year for Rock ‘N’ Roll music. Rock music that I actually liked! And I said before, I am very picky when it comes to rock music.
You know, 1977 Seemed To Have Been An Excellent Year For Rock Music!
A good example of some good rock ‘N’ roll hits that came out of 1977 was Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.” The song peaked at #10 that year. Although the song was already a popular hit, I don’t think it really became more well known, until they hooked up with rap legends Run-DMC. It was a big deal, because Run-DMC became the first rap group to merge hip hop and rock. A year before, they had an even bigger hit I’m sure most of my readers remember, called “Dream On (1976)” that peaked at #6 on the Top 100 Chart. You know, a lot of people make fun of Steven Tyler’s looks. But, the fact of the matter is, that man has an exceptional voice that was made for rock music, and has pumped out a lot of hits for the band.
Run-DMC Was The First Rap Group To Merge Rock With Hip Hop!
The song “I Wanna Get Next To You,” by legendary band Rose Royce, in my opinion, is one of the most romantic and sexiest music that ever came from an all Black band. Back when I was growing up, we called this kind of music, “Baby Makin’ Music.” 🤣 The song reached #10 on the Top 100. Yesssss!!! Surprise!! They’ve got other hits besides “Car Wash.” Although, it appears that their album “Car Wash,” seemed to be their one and only best album (comparatively speaking at least).
We Called It, Baby Makin’ Music Back In The Day!
Another great song I’ve added to this playlist is called “The Rubberband Man,” by the legendary group, The Spinners!! I’m not sure the hell why, but every time I heard this song, it always reminded me of The Harlem Globtrotters. The song has absolutely nothing to do with them, but I have no idea why my mind is associating this song to the legendary Harlem Globtrotters. Perhaps it was used during one of their games? Maybe, I don’t know 🙄. I loved The Spinners. They’ve had hits after hits, after hits. Highly recommend that you look up their music. I’ve chosen 20 amazing hits for this playlist. I do hope that it jars some memories for you guys. Enjoy!
Song: Love Come Down
Artist: Evelyn Champagne King
Album: Get Loose (1982)
She was once the queen of dance/funk music. But, today, people barely knows who she is. Perhaps they may vaguely remember hearing one of her tunes, because they heard their mother or father play it once, or maybe twice. It’s hard to accept that fact that there was a time her music burned across dance-floors in just about every club in NYC, and now, Evelyn who? Strange that I don’t even remember hearing her music in many 70s parties 🤔. In fact, she was one of the few music performers (along with perhaps the Mary Jane Girls) that helped to make hair beads extremely popular in the Black communities (med/late 70s).
She Was The Queen Of Dance, 70s and 80s!
Now, as far I can tell, Evelyn never had a number one hit on the Top 100 List. However, on the dance categories she has had 2 number ones, and 6 Top 10 hits. Perhaps her biggest and most memorable hit (I think) was a song called “Love Come Down (1982).” Despite the fact that I haven’t personally heard any classic radio station play her music since the mid 80s, fans continue to show her support on streaming services. “Love Come Down” alone accumulated over 40M streams! That’s pretty cool considering the major culture shift America has been undergoing for years.
Evelyn Had More Hits Under Billboard’s Dance Category!
Another huge favorite of mine was “I Don’t Know If It’s Right (1979).” I was surprised to find out it reached only #25 on the dance chart. I played this record on practically every family party back in the day. It had an unusual (and still distinct) recognizable beat. Another hit I used to shake my ass too was “Shame (1978).” This song was my sh*t back in the day! This was one of those songs that sounded so good, you didn’t care how crazy you looked on the dance floor 🤣! One last song for ya. Check out her #1 dance hit called “I’m In Love (1981).” I totally forgot about this song. This was my sh*t too. I highly recommend you skim through her music. She’s totally worth investigating! Seems that Evelyn (now in her 60s) hasn’t come out with a new album in quite some time. But, according to wiki, she is still actively performing.
Artists: A Variety
Genre: Ska & Rock Steady
Since playlists are so incredibly important, I decided to do another one this week. Today, I want to focus on a forgotten music label called Trojan Records. Coming from a family of heavy music lovers and performers, growing up, I can safely say that Trojan Records for reggae artists was the equivalent to Motown for Black American artists. In terms of the hits they pumped out, and the tremendous contributions they’ve made to Black music in general. I really don’t think, not just Americans, but other countries around the world would have ever known what reggae was, if it were not for labels like Trojan Records.
Trojan Played A Pivotal Role In Reggae Music!
Like Motown, Trojan employed many hit makers such as Toots & The Maytals, Bob Andy, Peter Tosh, John Holt, Marcia Griffiths, are just a very small fraction of the very talented people they had on their raster. Trojan is actually a British label, that was formed some time in 1968. As far as I know, the label has strictly dedicated itself to ska & rock steady type of reggae. To be honest, I can’t even recall ever hearing calypso from Trojan (at least when I was a young boy anyway). Today I’m not really sure if the label is producing new music. I can’t really find a whole lot of new stuff, with the exception of re-releases of their old music. Traditional reggae is such beautiful music! It just hurts my heart that it’s become “an old fad” in America. Almost never to be listened to again, as if it ran its course. Huh! Again, just like Motown! When Berry Gordy sold Motown, when last have you heard any advertisement for anything Motown? They had no interest in keeping the memory of Black music, only to own the value of it’s name.
Trojan Is Actually A British Label!
Trojan is now under Sanctuary Records. It doesn’t appear that Sanctuary has produced a lot of (or if any) new reggae under their name either. Please think about this for a moment. Trojan was affiliated with more than 30 other Black reggae labels (which I’m sure Sanctuary also owns or have license to), and I’m having difficulty finding new Black reggae music from them. However, they’re offering imports of their old music for extraordinary amounts of money. Another reason why music streaming is so important! So that poor people who can’t afford that kind of money for those rare reprints/originals, still have another way to access our history for practically free!
Reggae Music From Trojan Records Almost Feels Extinct!
Ok, a little about my new hand-picked playlist😄! The process of putting together this playlist was sort-of difficult. Because it is not an American label, I can’t find chart information as easily as I’d like. Most if not all don’t even have chart information. I had to really rely on my childhood memories, my mom’s vinyls and my late grandpa’s reel2reel tapes and vinyls, and pretty much start diggin’ through several hundred music streams 😜. Out of about 800 Trojan tunes I’ve curated, I’ve narrowed them down to 40 treasures for this playlist. I really think people from the Island around my age will enjoy this list most definitely; and hopefully it will jar some memories for you too! Yes?
After Hours & Hours Of Listening, I Made The Perfect Classic Trojan List!
Soooo, some of the great artists I have on this list includes the great Desmond Dekker & The Aces, with their hit called “Shing A Ling.” This wasn’t Dekker’s biggest hit, but I loved this song anyway. You’d probably are more familiar with one of his bigger hits, such as “007 (Shante Town) (1967).” By the way, I wish I was able to find more information about the above photo with Dekker in it. I noticed the sign in the photo mentions Byron Lee (not pictured (although I’m sure it’s the guy with his head turned the other way, but I’m not certain)). My late grandfather absolutely loved Byron Lee. Byron was HUGE in the reggae world. In my opinion, he was like the reggae version of Tito Puente 🤣. Speaking of Byron Lee, he was also on the Trojan label. One song by Byron my late Grandpa used to play a lot was called “Only A Fool (with Sparrow)(1977).” Ahhh, this was such a beautiful record. Byron also had another huge hit called “Tiney Winey,” and I believe it was released in 1984. Now, I know I said early in this article that I hadn’t heard any calypso music out of the Trojan label. But here’s the thing, with songs like “Tiney Winey,” artists often change labels, sometimes labels get taken over, sometimes they’re also under sub-labels that specialize in a specific genre. It’s really hard to know what’s what.
Byron Lee Was Almost Like A Reggae Version Of Tito Puente!
Next, I have the legendary Millie Small, who many Americans would be shocked to find out she was actually from Jamaica! Unfortunately I never considered her to have a really talented voice. However, she exploded in the music scene when she released her one massive hit “My Boy Lollipop (c.1964).” The song hit #2 on the top 100 American Billboard. Unfortunately, Millie past away in early 2020, at the age of 72. A lot of famous artists on the Trojan label also made some awesome covers of American music. “Help Me Make It Through The Night,” by John Holt; “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” by my girl Marcia Griffiths; “Don’t Play That Song For Me,” by Derrick Morgan; and plenty more on this playlist. I hope you enjoy!!
Genre: A Variety
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve made a playlist, huh? I think I need to make more of an effort to create them. Putting together a quality playlist can be just as much work as writing an article (believe it or not) 🙄. It takes a lot of thought, research, and knowing how to blend songs that go with one another. Anybody can copy and paste random stuff; but a bloggers playlist is the one you’re more then likely to enjoy. I’m not quite sure why I picked the year 1984 for today’s playlist. However, it happens to be one of the best years for memorable pop music. It’s funny, the 80s has made such an impact for many of us of this era, but I can’t even remember what I was doin’ when each of these songs came out.
Can You Remember What You Were Doin’ When These Songs Came Out?
Now that I think about it, in the 80s I considered myself a club kid. So, I can associate dance music with a club I might have went to back in the day (because I was physically there). For all other music genres, perhaps I was listening to them during mundane activities 😄. Well, I didn’t realize there were a LOT of hits that came out of 1984. However, I had to narrow them down to 30 amazing songs in this playlist. Pretty mixed genres in this new playlist (you know how I do).
I Just Know That Most 80s Babies Will Love This Playlist!
So, let me talk a little bit about what’s on this playlist. One 1984 song that was an absolute must for this playlist, is a song by one of my most favorite 80s pop band. The Miami Sound Machine’s “Dr. Beat,” a wonderful mix of disco infused pop! By the way, did you know that Gloria Estafan has a new album coming out? She released a single for the album called “Cuando Hay Amor.” It is a Brazilian inspired album. According to an article I’ve found, the full album is expected to be released on August 13th. Another great song I have on this playlist is “Careless Whisper,” by the late George Michael. I’m telling you, with all the hits that man pumped out, I think “Careless Whisper” is the one song people will forever remember him by.
Side Note: Gloria Estefan Has A Brand New Album Coming Out Soon!
Then I have “It’s Raining Men,” by two vocal powerhouses called, The Weather Girls!” Marsha Wash, and the late Izora Armstead, were hot in the 80s. “It’s Raining Men,” was not only a great and fun song, it seemed to appeal to everyone! Whether you were young, old, gay, or straight, on any given day you can usually catch someone singing this song while walking down the street! Another favorite of mine on this list is a song from Elton John, it’s called “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues.” You know, Elton is the only performer I can think of, that can turn a song that would normally be sad as hell, and make it upbeat and desirable to listen to. He truly has that gift of music. For more songs, click on my playlist above, and enjoy!!
Song: I’m Dreamin’
Artist: Christopher Williams
Album: New Jack City (1991)
Genre: Hip Hop/New Jack Swing
Girls!! Girls!!!!!! To simply say that today’s old school artist was just “good looking,” would be an extreme understatement. This dude was foooinnneeee!!! OMFG!! 🤣💯 One thing is for sure, if he did not make it in the music industry, I’m pretty confident he would have made it as a model for one of those high class magazines or something!! Unfortunately, Christopher Williams is another forgotten artist. Even during the prime of his career, I felt he was extremely underrated. In many ways, he reminded me a lot of Johnny Gill, in that their voices doesn’t match how they actually look. One thing that unique about his music, there wasn’t too many artists that possessed a soulful voice performing New Jack Swing type of music. New Jack Swing music (in my opinion), seemed almost exclusive to young males, dancing & harmonizing kind of groups.
Can You Guess Who Christopher Williams Is Related too?
Al B. Sure, and Christopher Williams are actually cousins! Come to think about it, they look so much alike they can actually pass for brothers in my opinion. However, Al B. Sure did not have Christopher’s soulful voice! I don’t see a whole lot of current information concerning Christopher, yet alone his relationship with Al B. Sure. At this point I think it’s safe to say that Christopher just feakin’ lost it. And when I say lost it, I don’t mean that figuratively either. If you’ve ever seen recent pictures of Christopher, he has totally lost whatever good looks he had left. I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that he is on drugs. Please note, I’m not being judgemental per-say. Anyone who has lived in the hood knows, street drugs accelerates the aging process, and does f*cked up things to people’s faces. Now that he is older (52), he looks horrible! Absolutely horrid. Sh*t, he was married to Stacy Dash for a couple of years, that alone could have screwed his life. 😳
Christopher Williams, Busted!!
My suspicions of his drug use was further confirmed, when he was busted and arrested for stealing a $100 headphone! And because I know automatically, most of you will not believe me, check out TMZ‘s article. This happened ruffly about 3 years ago. What a damn shame!! A voice like that; a man that was reported to have a net worth of about 5 million; caught stealing a $100 JBL headphone. WTF?
Sadly, Christopher Lost The Magic That Made All The Girls Go Wild!
It appears that the last album that Christopher recorded was in 2001; the album was called “Real Men Do.” I gotta be honest, although I can still hear the talent in his voice, I think he lost that 90’s magic he had. I just don’t hear it anymore. However, he did release a couple of singles in the recent past. There’s one I really like called “Proud 2 Long (2018).” I think “Proud 2 Long” is a really nice song, and is probably the best we’re gonna get out of Christopher (compared to his heydays). Well, despite never having a number one hit, or at least a Top Ten on the Hot 100 category, he most definitely had a #1 voice.
Song: Back Together Again
I’m pretty sure I remember writing extensively about the late Donny Hathaway on my old blog. However, I don’t believe I shared one of my biggest favorites by him. His amazing duet with Roberta Flack “Back Together Again,” was a megaton hit as far as the Black community growing up. This song was “Black barbecue” worthy music! Released in 1980, the song reached #8 on the Top 100 Charts. Interesting that (according to the billboard chart) the song also reached #8 on the R&B charts as well. I thought this should have been number one, as the song practically became an anthem in the Black community.
Duets Seemed To Have Been Her Specialty!
You know, in my opinion Roberta Flack is amazingly talented (at least in the studio, I’ve heard quite a few of her live performances and they were boring as hell (sorry to say)). However, I couldn’t help but to notice that about after her third album, a lot of her well known hits seem to have been duets. And she’s done quite a few of them! I find that interesting as well, because she must have had good professional relationships with people in the industry. Artists normally don’t get to do duets with huge names unless you’ve been in the industry for decades (with more than one or two major hits under your belt). I guess her three #1 singles “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face (1969),” “Killing Me Softly (1973),” and “Feel Like Makin’ Love (1975)” were big enough to make everybody want to work with her! LOL Although, it doesn’t appear she’s written any of those 3 songs.
I’d Say, Roberta Has Sung Some Of The Most Romantic Music Of Her Time! Without Any Exaggeration!
You know…. Even today, when I listen to Donny’s old music, I’m still in complete shock that he lived with mental illness all those years! Performed for millions and millions of people, yet he was mentally impaired. In someways it’s fascinating to me how as an artist he was able to access the creative side of his brain, yet separate the mental illness (or at least kept it at bay for as long as he could). We truly lost a phenomenally talented man in my opinion. Imagine if medicine knew then what it knows now, I think he’d still be a live. No reason he wouldn’t be.
Sooooo Many Covers Of This Great Song Was Done!
“Back Together Again,” was such a great song, unless you had absolutely no talent, there was no way you could have messed up this song! 😜 So many covers by so many different artists it was not funny. Check out some of my favorite cover versions by Maxi Priest, Tony Mombrelle & Chantae Cann, Tony’s house remix of this song is hot too! Also check out the legendary Freddie Jackson, and finally, listen to this smooth jazz cover by Gordon James.