Rhythm & Blues (The Original)
This category is dedicated to the true R&B artists of my time, OR new artists that has decided to keep it simple and old school. Examples are Aretha Franklin, Etta James, & Marvin Gaye. Also new artists such as Curtis Harding & Jonny P.
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
Wow!! Look who I dug up! Does any of my readers remember the legendary Jeffrey Osborne? Yes, I’ve called him legendary because, although he never had any Billboard Top Ten Hits, Osborne hit the charts hard enough that most 80s kids like me still remember him. His song “On The Wings Of Love,” was released in 1982. It only peaked at #29, but it remains one of my most favorites from Jeffrey. Interesting to note that, what I didn’t know was that Jeffrey’s version was actually a cover song 😱 !! Yup. The original song was recorded by Regine Velasquez. But, sorry Regine, I love Osborne’s version better. Turns out that Velasquez released quite a few albums; but her music is not my cup of tea. All her music sound like demo tapes! Anyway, it doesn’t stop there; the song became a cover once more; done by an artist named Kyla as part of a soundtrack to a romantic/comedy TV show. What Show? You’ve guessed it! “On The Wings Of Love (2015).”
Not having a top ten hit didn’t stop Osborne from landing a Miller Beer ad contract. I remember this ad being all over Jet and Ebony magazine. You know, it’s funny, I always laugh when I see this particular ad. Because it reminds me of his song, “Stay With Me Tonight (1984),” which hit #30 on the Top 100 Charts. I laugh because if the ad was actually a TV commercial, this song would fit right in, in a bar, and he’s with the woman he’s interested in. Don’t ask me why, it’s just one of those crazy thoughts that come in to your head. That would have been a cool commercial tho. 😄
He Still Is So Very Talented
To be honest, I’ve only listened to his old popular hits from back in the day. However, I acknowledge that Jeffrey is a very talented brotha. The dude can sing, and he still got soul! In fact, I don’t know if my readers realized it yet, but, Jeffrey just released an album last year in 2018! The album is called “Worth It All.” It has some pretty good tracks in there! I love it when veteran performers continue to make themselves musically relevant. One song I really like from the album is a song called “Just Can’t Stand It.” The song has a nice modern funk sound to it. His voice is still on point. Another song I think you should check out from his album is called, “That Man.”
Wow! Talk about a famous and popular group! When it comes to favorite groups from the soul & doo-wop combo era, The Drifters are high on my list of groups! Very high!! The drifters were formed some time in the early 50s. They were originally supposed to be a backup group for well known artist named Clyde McPhatter. Some of you may remember Clyde for a cover song he made popular called “Little Bitty Pretty One” released in 1962. The song was originally recorded by Bobby Day.
The Drifters has gone through 2 dozen members (literally). I gasped when I realized that many people didn’t know/remember that the late Ben E. King was once a member of The Drifters. Mostly because King sang what I think probably the biggest, and memorable song in the Drifters’ career, “Save The Last Dance For Me.”
The Late Ben E. King Was A Member
You know, just a side note, it’s interesting how different Kings music became after he left the group. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ben E. King’s music too. I just couldn’t help but noticed that much of his music had a Caribbean flair to it. Ok. back to The Drifters 😄 It’s difficult for me to narrow down my favorites, as there are also favorites of mine that did not make the charts. But for the purpose of my blog, I will share some of the most famous ones. They include, Under The Boardwalk,” “This Magic Moment,” “Without Love – There’s Nothing, (many singers including the legendary Tom Jones covered this song)” “Bip Bam,” and “Some Kind Of Wonderful.” So many more.. Browse more of their music when you get a chance.
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” was one of my favorite female songs of the 60s. The song was written by Carole King and Gerald Goffin. This song was so huge, it was crazy how many people covered this song! However, The Shirelles were the first honored to record this massive hit. The song hit #1 on the Top 100 Charts, #2 on the R&B charts, and #4 on the UK charts! These girls was not playing around at all! But you know what, even if there were no words to this piece, the melody was beautifully composed. The Shirelles were credited in making “girl groups” accepted in the music industry, predating Motown. Out of all the different covers of this song, I think the Shirelles’ version and Carole King’s version are my most favorites. IMDB has a really tiny bio on them
Wow! When Ray, Goodman, & Brown (formally known as The Moments) came out with this slow jam right here, I couldn’t stop listening to it. I remembered hearing this song all the time on the radio, especially stations like Lite FM. This song was so popular, I don’t know how many times I used to wake up with this song already playing on the radio. “Special Lady,” released in 1980 was #1 on the R&B Charts, and #5 on the Top 100 Charts. The Moments where best known for songs like “Love On A Two Way Street,” and “Sexy Mama.” Almost all the original members of The Moments have past on, including Al Goodman recently in 2012 @ the age of 67. Larry Winfree steps in place of Goodman. One of the last legends of the era of good music!
I wanted to quickly share with you an artist I’ve enjoyed a lot. His name is Jonny P. He released a song called “Shine On,” and I love it sooooo much. The feel of this particular song is somewhat along the musical styles of Ronald Isley & Al Green put together. His music is so unique that I can’t even really fit him in any category. All I know his music smooth and pleasant to the ear. As I seriously dig in to finding more diverse music (which is not easy believe it or not, which is why blogs are still necessary), I am stunned to find more and more younger artist that choose to produce new music with a classic flair. Not only have they taken their new music old school, there are lots of fans to go along with them. This has really restored my faith that their are new artists that value quality, and not just dump a bunch of manure on the internet (and expect to get rich). Check Jonny out on Spotify, I’ve already saved several of his albums. Lots of real talent out here guys.
Chaka Khan’s Through The Fire (1984). I immediately loved this song when it came out. You know, I didn’t think I’ve noticed until now, but take a look at all the names involved in this one song! Wow, you need several people to make a hit song? That’s why nobody can make money, because every single person involved wants their cut!! But, I digress…… Any whooooo. “Through The Fire,” became one of my most favorite Chaka Khan songs. Now, it’s funny because, chart wise, the song didn’t do that well. It hit its highest at 15th position on the Hip Hop/R&B Charts; but on the Top 100 Chart, its highest peak was 60th position. I’m kinda in disbelief, because in the Black community this song was very popular back in the day. It’s hard for me to think these numbers were that low. Maybe it ranked higher in another category?