Artist: Stevie Wonder
Album: Uptight (1965)
Today’s recommendation comes from my 45 collection. You know, Stevie Wonder has got to have been one of Motown’s most successful popular artist. I remember watching an interview that talked about how Stevie demanded a significant higher pay (upon first contract). Everybody thought he was out of his mind. But, Motown eventually gave in. I’m sure Motown never expected that Stevie would not only be so successful, but well loved by millions. Stevie’s song “Uptight” not only hit #1 on the Top 100 Charts, it stayed #1 for 5 weeks! Some of the most talented artists never got that!
I’d like to apologize to everyone for the three day lag. It was unavoidable. Unfortunately. So, during that time, I was thinking about (on a deeper level) just how music streaming has permanently changed the game, for both new artists & fans of music forever! While there exist so many things that the streaming industry has done right, there are so many other things that has gone wrong!
The Growing Disappearance Of Music Labels, Turned Today’s Musicians In To Spam Hustlers
You know, I’ve always had mixed feelings about music labels. Although I disliked the fact that they’ve cheated both artists and fans for over a half a century, I also could not deny the reality of how much it actually cost to manage an artist or band. It’s not just getting up on stage and singing. It used to be that an artist needed a publicist, wardrobe planner, studio rentals, coaches, travel expenses, and even an office to handle their revenue and taxes.
Although the music labels were crooks, they also took on all of those responsibilities (and then some) previously mentioned for the artist. Suddenly, the artist realizing not just how much work it is to be a musician, but the financial strain of becoming a successful one. It’s also quite obvious how hip hop is hitting hard on social media, to the point of becoming spammers. Especially when it comes to Facebook. I think it’s important to note, once you start looking like a spammer, people eventually ignore you, and many times block you. Almost all artists are using automated bots. Most have no personal websites with their own music. Most don’t have a bio. The mindset is, get your music on Spotify and watch the money roll in. When it doesn’t, the artist blame Spotify.
Real Talent Needs To Interact With Fans, Bots Can’t Do Everything For You!
This is why, despite what many foolishly think…… The reality is we still, and will forever need music bloggers. Although albeit, technically you don’t need us to review music anymore, ’cause people can just look it up on YouTube and listen to the artist themselves. However, music bloggers can point you in the right direction, provided that our musical tastes are similar. Bottom line, the problem with YouTube is that you still need to know what you’re looking for before you can find it. But, the other problems is, many people want everything instant, and don’t want to take the time to read, or take time to see what bloggers offer. It’s a behavior that makes our web presence difficult, but it’s the reality we live in. You just have to work harder to find venues that attract people that are still in love with music, and venues that attract the kinds of fans you’re looking for. The same goes for music bloggers. This is why it’s important to do it because you love it, not because you have dreams of making millions of dollars with Spotify; because the landscape has changed.
Maybe it’s the blogger in me, but I’ve often wondered…. If streaming existed 50 years ago, would legends such as Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and Jose Feliciano, be the legends they are today? Or perhaps let’s go 50 years further with men like, Willie McTell or Leon Payne, would they have been just as successful? I haven’t seen any real write ups on this, and this subject matter has drummed up quite a few interesting questions for me. As YouTube grows and becomes even more powerful every day, how is it that we’re not seeing not only talented visually impaired musicians, but any musician with disabilities today making a statement on the web?
I guess, someone could just as easily make the argument that I’m perceiving this in the wrong way. That is, if we use examples like Andrea Bocelli, who not only has an incredible voice, he has worked with some big names in his career. We’re talking Celine Dion, Tony Bennett, Edith Piaf, and has even worked with today’s mainstream artists such as Jennifer Lopez. But, this still doesn’t explain the lack of presents of disabled musicians today; especially when we consider the level of technology now available. AND considering artists like Andrea, Stevie, etc, made their mark before streaming. How could we begin to even measure this?
Then again, I also thought to myself, this could also be due to how streaming works now, in terms of being an independent artist. Indirectly, it would take an incredible amount of additional time for promotion alone. Which also means, a lot of money would be involved to trust someone to do these things for you. This I guess is one of the unfortunate downsides of the growing extinction of music labels today. I’m sure that there are many other factors I haven’t thought of, but it would really be an interesting subject, and I wish there were in-dept articles about it.Barbasol Ultra 6 Plus Premium Disposable Razor Value Pack Bundle (3 Packs/9 Total Razors)
You know, I am absolutely ashamed to find out that there exist people who don’t believe that there is a such thing as a female reggae legend. It’s kind of aggravating to know that (with the exception of female hip hop today (it appears)), there still exist sexist attitudes concerning women in music. As someone who consumes a lot of music since childhood, I emphatically disagree with this sort of mindset. Especially in the area of reggae love songs. Throughout history, no matter where you come from, it’s always been an unsaid standard that romantic songs came from men. But, I’ve heard some of the most beautiful reggae love songs from women. The late Cynthia Schloss was one of them, and she earned the right to be called a reggae legend in my opinion.
The Late Cynthia Schloss Is A Forgotten Legend Of Love Songs!
The late Cynthia Schloss was very beautiful, and had a smooth delicate singing voice. The first song I think I can recall hearing from her, was a song called “Send Me The Pillow (c. 1982).” The song was actually written by a guy named Johnny Tillotson sometime in the very late 50s. “Send me the pillow that you dream on. Maybe time will let our dreams come true.” Rarely have I heard lyrics like these, that are so sweet and genuine. There’s another song I think you should hear called “Looks Like Love (1983).” Both my late grandparents played this song A LOT!! Many of Cynthia’s music is probably far too mellow for today’s young listeners. However, they’re notable music that is part of both Jamaican and American unknown music history.
No doubt! In my opinion, Will Smith is either “The King Of Bubblegum Rap,” (or at least one of). To my recollection, I don’t think I’ve heard the slightest bit of profanity in any of Will’s music. Will definitely had his own unique style, and he made his rap music fun to listen to. He was one of the few young rap artists that took control of the images he was projecting out in the media. Not too many rap artists cared, or even understood the long term impact of negative imagery within hip hop.
Gave Strong Positive Messages To Our Youth Without The Profanity!
As many of my long time readers my know already, when it comes to rap music, almost anything that was not considered bubblegum, and or anything past the 80’s time line was a no-go for me. I wasn’t really attracted to most rap music beyond that. However, as a kid I’ve listened to my fare share of late 70s and 80s rap. Having said that, when I look at rap documentaries, or read articles about rap’s GOATs, I don’t understand why Will Smith is never mentioned.
Sometimes I think this is so because the younger generation doesn’t think rap is good unless there are at least 15 expletives in a single rap verse. To be honest, I’m really not sure what people use as a criteria to figure out who and what music are the “greatest of all time.” Once again, I’ll admit, this could be of my own ignorance of the scope of rap history. However, the fact remains, even his music that didn’t make the Top 200 Billboard Charts, such as “Ya’ll Know (1997),” was extremely popular on Black radio stations.
Not only that, I don’t think there has been any other rap artist, turned actor, who has taken their acting career to the level he has. I know many rap fans consider LL Cool J as being a GOAT (in terms of rap to acting); however, Will Smith has been in pretty big budget films. From “Independence Day (1996),” to “I, Robot (2004),” to “Men In Black (1997).” Those films were nothing to sneeze at. Will has not done a rap album in about a decade and a half. Some of my favorites are, “Switch (2005),” “If U Can’t Dance (2005),” “Miami (1997),” and “Wild Wild West (1999).” You know, the beauty of watching Smith’s career is that, he was one of the few rapper turned actors that wasn’t typecasted. He can literally play any character. Both Hollywood and fans accepted Smith as a true actor, and didn’t pigeonhole him into one type of role, simply because he was a rapper.
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I almost forgot to share with you guys! Last week, I was walking through Manhattan and spotted this amazing digital ad, featuring the legendary Calypso Rose! I was just shocked & stunned. It took me about 10 minutes before I realized my jaw hit the grown! Understand that I have not seen anything physical that pertained to Calypso Rose since I was a little boy in the seventies. No album, no magazine article, no nothing! A lot of Jamaicans and West-Indians I’ve encountered in my life time claim they love calypso music, & know music history, yet did not appear to have ever owned a Calypso Rose album, or have trouble remembering who she is. Fire In Me Wire (c.1967) was one of her biggest calypso hit of her career. Every party my family thrown together always included Calypso Rose’s music. Damn, thinking about this makes me miss my grandpa all over again. Anyway, I was elated to see that she is honored in this way. Maybe now as we advance in to digital technology, we can see more of our lost culture!
Song: Strangers On The Street
Artist: Mamas Gun
Album: Golden Days (2019)
Genre: Blue-Eyed Soul
If you love the sound of classic Blue-Eyed Soul music, then I highly recommend that you take a listen to this entire album. This sh*t is GOOD! “Mamas Gun,” is a five member band from London. They’ve formed about 10 years ago, and has performed all around the world. If I am not mistaken, this is their 4th album so far, and I am really loving it. There seems to be two release dates, 2018 & 2019. I think it’s safe to assume 2019 is the digital release. Andy Platts, the lead singer of the band, has an amazing voice. It was almost like listening to a younger version of Paul McCartney. In fact, when I listened to the band’s first album, “Routes To Riches (20019),” There is a song on there called “Finger On It,” which almost felt like I was listening to a funk/rock version of a new Beetles of sorts.
Album: Tasty (2003)
I’m not sure if her “milkshake” is still bringing all the boys to the yard; but back then, this song was the sh*t in the Black community. I absolutely loved the video to this song, I thought it was freakin’ hilarious as hell!! 🤣 It’s been about 15 years since this album first came out; I think her milkshake is more like yogurt by now! 🤣 😜 You can just imagine all of the things happening in that video happening for real in the hood, I guess that’s what makes it so hilarious to me. But you know what? This was actually a pretty good album I think (for the most part). This album has a lot of good cuts I haven’t heard before. Check out “Trick Me (WARNING! HAS PROFANITY),” also check out “Protect My Heart,” it reminds me a lot of Toni Braxton’s style of music. Almost the whole album is pretty nice (I think).