Ralfi Pagán was truly a phenomenal musician. Has any of my readers heard about him? As we walk through music history and our heritage, the late Ralfi Pagán is one musician that is worthy of remembering. Pagán was a bilingual salsa performer, born in Bronx, NY of Cuban and Puerto Rican Parents. Not only was Ralfi an amazing artist, he was one of the very few artists I heard growing up, who was fluent in both languages on all his albums.
He Was Signed To Fania Records
Unfortunately, Ralfi died very early in his career; we never got a chance to witness his full potential. Although they say he performed traditional salsa music; I heard a lot more Cuban influence in his albums. Perhaps Cuban mixed in with in with blues rhythms. That I’m aware of, he only completed a total of 4 albums. Out of those 4 albums, only one song actually made the charts.
The one song that registered @ #32 on The Billboard Charts was “Make It With You (1971).” This song was a beautiful cover of Bread’s 1970 original, written by David Gates. Oh my goodness, listening to Ralfi sing this song, was like listening to a very mellow Little Anthony. Honestly, the only two vocal versions of Bread’s song I really loved, were from the late Nancy Wilson and from the late Ralfi Pagán.
Even though Ralfi never had a hit #1 record, the fact that he made it on the charts was a huge accomplishment. Here are some songs I recommend that you check out. “Up On The Roof,” which by the way, is another cover from a group called “The Drifters.” “Don’t Stop Now” is another smooth romantic song. He sang a cover of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles’ “Ooh Baby, Baby.” Also check out a song I know was popular enough I actually remember hearing it. It’s called “Pelao.”Free Shipping on all orders over $9.99 at Sam Ash Direct
You know, I was reading a recent article that discussed the issue of “The Death Of The CD And Optical Drives.” Actually we can add the old standard HDD drives that will also become obsolete very soon. From the standpoint of being music collectors, I think this is an important discussion we should have (especially people who are non-technical). While the article presents valid points, there are some issues I’m worried about that doesn’t seemed to be addressed.
The Eventual Extinction Of Backup CDs.
A lot of people may not care about making backup CDs, because even back in the 90s, almost no one made them! Then people would get mad because they had to pay a $150 fee for a Geek Squad employee @ BestBuy fix their computer. Backups were so important because if you did not take the time to create the backup CDs, if your HD died, the manufacture would charge you about $125 for the OEM discs. In fact, some of the lesser expensive laptops/netbooks were not designed to create backups. They were literally “as is.”
So, having said the above, here’s why I think this is relevant to music collectors. Simply put, eventually there will no longer be any mechanisms to digitally archive our personal history. Not just music, but our family photos, or artwork you don’t want uploaded anywhere. People are increasingly relying on cloud based systems. The problem with that is, the legal aspect! The legal aspect of saving copies of your purchased music on the cloud (your possible liability); and from the standpoint of you saving your photos on a cloud service, and it gets hacked (company liability, but there is no company liable to you, because when you clicked “I Agree” before using it, you freed that company from any financial responsibility). There are so many companies and third party entities tracking your habits, collecting all sorts of browser data on you, and then profiting from you by selling that information to other companies; I think it’s worth it to fight for the continued existence of optical media. Optical media is the only permanent storage that is least likely to malfunction. When and if CD media do become extinct, the law should require manufactures to have OEM recovery available on line for free download. Which probably means you would have to save it on a USB drive (hopefully that will still exist). All of this adds to the very real reality that we are facing a significant loss of our music and cinematic culture.
Sorry guys for not having a post yesterday. My computer died on me. You know how that goes 😞 Yesterday, I heard a song I didn’t hear in ages! It was as song by the late Joe Cocker. First, let me start off by saying that Joe Cocker’s voice may be an acquired taste. However, I personally found a lot of his music to be very enjoyable; and relevant I may add. I’ve never saw him perform in concert live (other than television). My first impression of Cocker was that he was a raving lunatic, but had soul.
I’m Thinking…. What The Hell Am I About To Hear!
I remember seeing an old live 70s performance he did on TV for the first time (I think it was one of those PBS specials); out walks Cocker, almost looking like a mini version of Andre The Giant (with the wild hair and all). Never in a million years would I have ever thought this man was a singer. However, the moment he opened his mouth, and I heard him sing what later on became my favorite song of his “You Are So Beautiful (1974),” I was absolutely stunned!
Let me tell you guys something. Generally speaking, you may not like his music, but the way that man performed that song, there is no question that he put all his heart and soul in to that song. After I heard him sing this, he earned the right to be called “Blue Eyed Soul.” I remembered my mom had his album on 8-track tape, and I used to sit down on the floor, and repeat track 4 over and over again. Mind you, 8-track tapes where not like the cassettes most people are familiar with today; there was no such thing as rewind (that I could remember).
Believe it or not, “You Are So Beautiful” was written by the legendary Billy Preston, and Bruce Fisher. Billy released this song on the B-side of one of his singles. That same year, Joe Cocker released his cover version, and the song hit #5 on the Top 100 Charts. It remains to be one of his most memorable hits of his life. By the way, check him out performing this song live with Pattie Labelle. You may also remember him for another huge hit called “Up Where We Belong (1993),” featuring Jennifer Warnes. This song peaked at #3 on the Adult Contemporary Charts. Another hit was “With A Little Help From My Friends (1969).” This song reached #8 on the “Hot Rock Songs” category. You know, it’s interesting. Cocker abused his body so much with drugs, that I don’t think that it was no coincidence that he chose to cover this Beatles song.
I found what I believe to be a really hot song by singer Michelle Lawson. Other than the fact that she looks like Lynda Carter (kind of), there isn’t a whole lot of juicy information on her around the internet. The most significant thing I found out was she is (or was) on a show called X-Factor, produced by Simon Cowell. X-Factor is a British talent show similar to “America’s Got Talent,” and “American Idol.”
Best Known As A Contestant On X-Factor
I’ve seen little snippets here and there of X-Factor on YouTube, but I’ve never seen an entire show. Having seen Simon be a judge on American Idol; knowing Simon has an overbearing obnoxious attitude; I know X-Factor had to be an unbelievably difficult talent show to be on. But from what I heard so far, I know she nailed it every time, if not most of the time.
The song I think everyone should give their ear to is “Looking For Love.” The single was just released this year, distributed by Rhythm Records. It’s a dance/club song with a lot of rhythm and a wonderful flow. Personally I think she nailed this song; and every note that came out of her mouth was precisely on key with the music. Now, I don’t believe I’ve heard of her until now; but as I look on Spotify, she’s had some albums out since 2003. Her voice is reminiscent of Mariah Carey (with Michelle having more control over her voice (if you ask me)).Great Perfume Gifts at Sale Prices Under $25 at FragranceNet.com
In my opinion, I think these guys are indeed one of the many most forgotten reggae duos ever! Keith Barrington Rowe and Phillip Texas Dixon, or simply known as “Keith & Tex,” grew up and met in Kingston, Jamaica. They are most remembered for their massive smash hit “Stop That Train,” which was published in 1967 by Island Records. This was another one of many songs I used to hear my grandfather hum to himself all the time. It was strange because, most of the songs I heard my grandfather sing, I’ve usually heard him play before. But, I do not recall actually hearing this particular song until I got much older. I always thought he mistaken the song for Al Green’s “Back Up Train,” which coincidentally, was released in that same year. I stood corrected 😍
Although it appears that I can’t find any stats for “Stop That Train,” I do know enough that it was one of the most popular songs in Jamaica. This song was covered, dubbed, and sampled so many times back in the day; it was wonderful to read (when it comes to outside America), fans remembered them enough that after decades they are touring around Europe and Jamaica.
Keith & Tex Met As A Result Of Their Mutual Interest In Soccer!
How funny that a mutual interest in sports brought these two music legends together! They met playing in the soccer field and became close friends. Shortly after, they discovered they also had a strong mutual interest in music as well. Transitioning from sports to music sensations was not easy. Studios in Jamaica were very critical and judgemental. They had to practice with a vengeance, until everything finally paid off. For their first recording session, they performed “Stop That Train.” The studio loved it!
The second song the duo performed/recorded in the studio (which later became a hit as well), was called “Tonight.” The studio praised both songs, and the rest was history! Both enjoyed huge success at the young ages of about 16 & 17. Allow me to direct you to another great song they did. It’s a cover of one of the Temptations songs called “Don’t Look Back,” released in 1968.
Absolutely No Doubt!! The group called “No Doubt” was one of my many classic bands! I’m not prepared to say they’re forgotten about; but we’re just not hearing their music on mainstream media. You know, I used to confuse them a lot with a Swedish group called “The Cardigans.” By the way, The Cardigans had only one hit I liked, and it was called “LoveFool (1996).” Their lead singer, Nina Perssons sounds EXACTLY like Gwen Stefani.
I Used To Confuse Them With The Cardigans!
No Doubt is an American group from California, and they got together around the mid 80s. They’re uniquely stylish and eccentric in many ways. I think it’s safe to say that Gwen is one of the many female performers, who have decided to channel that Marilyn Monroe persona, which eventually became part of her trademark for awhile.
I can’t believe it’s been about 25 years already. It seemed as tho it was only yesterday since I first fell in love with their music. One of the things I really like about this group back then, was you can immediately tell how comfortable they are with each other. In other words, despite the change in band members over the course of their careers, you can tell they have that magic that creates close friendships. Friends in a band makes great music! Well, most of the time 😂
Now, as I’ve said before, No Doubt is an eccentric band, and it took me awhile to warm up to their music. I’m sorry but, on their first couple of albums (no disrespect) Gwen sounded like she was having seizures or something. I didn’t start liking their music until after about their third album I think called “Tragic Kingdom (1995).” On this album, they released an awesome song called “Don’t Speak,” which shot up to #1 on the Top 40 Charts! I was really diggin’ this song. Yeah, the lyrics are sad as hell, but it’s a great song that we can relate to, and we can listen to it without getting depressed 😂 Another great song from this same album is called “Just A Girl.”
Now, They Were Cookin’
From the album “Tragic Kingdom” on, they were cookin’. If I were forced to pick a favorite all-time No Doubt song, it would have to be “Underneath It All,” (clean version) featuring Lady Saw. I also think that “Hey Baby,” is a cute song too; it has a mixture of pop with dancehall beats. Today, No Doubt has got together with a group called AFI to form Dreamcar! But, I have to be honest, they’ve definitely lost that “No Doubt” sound. Now, the band’s music sounds like an upgrade to a dated 80s rock sound. Clearly you can hear they’re trying to rekindle the old parts of the band, and it’s not working for me. However, maybe you guys like it! Check out the new group Dreamcar on Spotify.
ny time we talk about rock legends (for those of us who are old enough), what are the names that usually pop up immediately in our heads? I think it’s safe to say that the one name that’s always on the top of that list is Elvis Presley, you agree? Maybe another name that would probably pop up is, the legendary Chuck Berry? Or perhaps I should drop one more name. How about Bill Haley & The Comets? Although their probably only known today (if any), by their massive global hit, “Rock Around The Clock (1973),” which was the opening theme song to the TV cult classic “Happy Days.” It was a pretty good show I may add. Who would have ever thought that Ron Howard would move on to be a big time movie producer huh?
Although I’ve just named some good ones, there is one major rock legend that (in my opinion) seems to slip from many people’s memories. That is Jerry Lee Lewis. Jerry was like a one man Beatle(s), that’s the easiest way to describe just how popular this man’s music was, to those who are not familiar with him. This guy has published so many albums, he can literally have his own library. Although he’s best remembered for his rock ‘n’ roll, he also done a lot of country music as well. In fact, quite a few of them rose to #1. However, to be quite honest, I much preferred his wild “Chuck Berry” style of rock ‘n’ roll. Most if not all his country put me to sleep (and you guys should know by now, I love me some classic country music, but I’ll have to pass on Jerry’s country 😂). Now, I could be wrong with what I’m about to say, but I am just going by my memories of actually listening to his music growing up. I’m going to say that based on my opinion that Jerry’s song “Great Balls Of Fire,” released in 1957 was one of his (if not the) biggest memorable song in his entire career. I say this because out of all the other songs I’ve heard by Jerry, I remembered this one to be the dominant song on the radio. It reached #2 on the Top 100 Charts, and #1 on the Hot Country Charts. It was ranked 96 as the greatest song ever made according to Rolling Stone Magazine.
So, it’s kind of difficult for me to find out just how many hit songs Jerry actually had, because some songs of his I personally would categorize as rock, is actually under country. So I’ve obtained a few numbers, I’m just going to assume they include all his hits. O.K., I have the following; 4 Number Ones, 23 Top Tens, out of a total of 55 songs that actually made it to The Billboard Music Charts. This was impressive, considering his career could have been completely destroyed, after a scandal that broke about him marrying his cousin. Americans didn’t tolerate those things in the 50s (still don’t), and it’s quite shocking that he found venues to even perform after that. Now imagine the public rage, when the story broke about director Woody Allen married his adopted daughter. Jerry’s scandal was 10 times worse.
Jerry is now about 83 or 84 years old, alive and kicking. I’ve read some sources that say he’s still performing. Other songs I’ve enjoyed were “What’d I Say,” which was originally song by Ray Charles I believe. Finally a song called “Jailhouse Rock,” which I believe Elvis sang this song as well. Despite Jerry’s scandal somehow he still managed to achieve legendary status in rock music. If not for his music, he still would have been legendary for the scandal. Either way.Save up to 94% off cover price on your favorite magazines
ueen of Hip hop, MC Lyte! You know, despite the fact that I felt MC Lyte was too ruff as a rapper, and the fact that she used a lot of profanity in her music, she was one of the very few rap artists I liked growing up. She had some hot beats that rivaled many rappers in the game back then. But, I couldn’t understand the “hardness” that many of the female rappers were projecting to the public. It wasn’t until much later that a I realized that there was so much stigma regarding female rappers, that I now believe that that “hardness” served as a representation of being just as good as a male rapper, in a male dominated rap culture. When I’ve watched “hip hop documentaries,” I’ve never saw one that mentioned the contributions to women in hip hop. Despite the success of people like Niki Minaj, it’s quite obvious that even today, there’s still a lot of sexism, misogyny, and homophobia (I may add) within hip hop.
Out of the blue, I happened to find a YouTube video of the Rev. Al Sharpton interviewing MC Lyte. It was aired on MSNBC, and the segment was called “Rap Legend MC Lyte Talks Rap Artists’ Importance In Time Of Donald Trump.” It was an interesting conversation about the vast contrast between hip hop then, and hip hop now. Lyte talked about how rap was extremely political when it first started out; how rap told the story of what was going on in the poor Black communities; and the videos for those songs helped to paint a picture of reality in the streets. It’s only a short 9+ minute interview, I highly recommend watching it.
Here’s my take on this tho. We’re not dealing with the same set of young people now as we did then. Back in the day, rap wasn’t just political, fun, and indirectly educational. Educational from the standpoint of forcing kids who wanted to be rappers to eventually move away from Ebonics, and actually pick up a dictionary.
I Still Say, Most Of Today’s Hip Hop Is All About Tits & Ass!
In the interview, Lyte talked about how rappers like KRS1 and Public Enemy are still doing their thing, helping the young to be more socially conscious. She also noted some newer artists are helping to carry that same torch, such as J Cole. However, I still say that the vast majority of hip hop’s young audience today is only interested tits and ass, because that’s the era they grew up in. Keep in mind, I’m not the only one saying this; people that’s been in the game forever is saying the same thing I am! The music industry help to glorify sex and violence in order to make money for so long; you can’t just undo all of that so easy after being exposed to that everyday, and every hour on the hour. I’d also like my readers to consider the real fact that the faces of hop hop has changed. Hip hop is no longer about “Black street music;” or telling the story of what goes on in the poor Black communities. Having said that, I’m really not sure if what people like MC Lyte are doing can really make an impact in the same way they once did today; ’cause of the cultural differences, and the fact that a lot of young kids only care about the beat (or can they twerk to it).
A last thought I have to share. Again, as a blogger, I’ve paid very close attention to the new hip hop artists coming up in the new streaming era. A lot of these guys are putting out a lot of garbage; and I’m not calling it garbage because hip hop isn’t my preferred genre; I’m saying this because many of the people putting this music out really don’t have any talent and or possess anything of value to contribute. All I see being talked about is “how you can make money on Spotify or Youtube.” That’s it! Nothing about the art of creating music, just buy a bunch of beats and spit of bunch of crazy shit into the mic, and watch all the billions of plays you’re supposed to get. These are not the kinds of artists that are interested in social consciousness and or being political.