Holy sh*t!!! Give me a minute while I try to compose myself! ………… She’s got a new album called “She’s Back!” Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Dionne Warwick, but somehow, she’s the last old school artist that I would ever expect to come out with a new album! I have to tell you that, I am impressed with just the mere fact that she dared to come out with a new album, despite the significant shift in music culture. I’m scared of her! I mean, does any of her original fans realize just how old she is? Dionne is now 78 years of age! This is someone who truly has music in her blood.
Kudos For Dionne!
Now, I have to be honest, although, overall I think this is a really, really good album (considering this stage in her music career); but I also have mixed feelings about this album. While I do appreciate a producers stance on needing to keep music new, fresh, and relevant for veteran vocal artists. But I think there comes a time where, certain types of music may not be for everyone. Especially a 78 year old artist. But, then again, this is the legendary Dionne Warwick! Who the hell is going to turn down a chance to produce an album for her? I’ll say one thing, she got a number of heavy hitters doing duets with her on this project. Brian McKnight, Musiq Soulchild, and Kenny Latimore.
First, I guess it would be easier for me to go grew a few of the songs I do like from this double CD set. Yup! You read right, a double CD set! Let’s start with her cover of “How Can You Keep The Music Playing,” a duet with Kevon Edmonds). I liked the way they did this, but at the same time, it works because the melody and background music is a beautiful composition. But I don’t think the duet was a good pair. If the song was done A Capella, it would have sounded horrible. I loved how she rebooted her classic “Deja Vu,” duet with Krayzie Bone. Modern feel, yet it was still Dionne. I also love “Forever In My Heart,” duet with Brian McKnight. I hope this becomes a hit, because I think this is more Dionne’s speed. I think my favorite song in this double album is “You Really Started Something.”
She’s got more reboots of her old songs that I think sound really good. She’s even rebooted her old song “Do You Know The Way To San Jose.” She even has Celia Cruz voice on the track. I didn’t understand that at all, it just seemed like such a random thing to do. For the most part, I liked the album, but at the same time, I can’t avoid the feeling like this project was designed in away that she can keep up with the tempos, rather than a fierce music veteran and “here’s my new album.”
Today, I’d like to write about one of the biggest forgotten reggae legends! His name? The late John Holt. This man has made a lot of smooth reggae. Sweet, sweet reggae. He also used to be one of many Jamaican artists that loved to reinterpret American music; and let me tell you, many of them were really nice in my opinion. I didn’t like all his remakes, sometimes it sounded like his voice didn’t fit some of the songs he sang. But, there was one cover he did that I remember my grandfather listening to a lot on his reel2reel (I loved it too). This song was co-written by the late Brook Benton (along with two others), and recorded by the late Nat King Cole. The song was called “Looking Back (1958).” The song hit #2 on the R&B Charts.
However, John Holt’s version of “Looking Back 1972),” took the song to a whole different level. I LOVED how he put together that organ intro; it almost made the song immediately recognizable. It’s a beautiful song that talks about a man realizing his bad mistakes toward the one he loves, and he learned not to do them again. You know, I was saddened to discover that Holt’s cover version wasn’t even mentioned anywhere on Wikipedia. If I didn’t know it existed growing up, it would not be on my blog. I digress.. I tried adding him on Wiki, not sure if they’re going to approve it or not. I want you to check out two more amazing Holt songs. “A Love I Can Feel (1971),” and “If It Don’t Work Out,” also released in 1971. “If It Don’t Work Out,” is actually a cover of the Casinos’s song “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye (1967).”Save an Extra 10% on Guitar Cases and Guitar Gig Bags: Use Code TOURGUITAR
I know I’ve talked a little bit about this before, but.. I saw this article on Forbes’s website, about How Many Streams Make A Hit? This doesn’t work for old school music. There needs to be a way to mathematically convert old album sales to streaming numbers, in order to be included in the digital era (not compete, just simply included). Other wise the new generation of music lovers who like classics, could be missing out. Now that more people are using streaming, now instead of 100M being seen as a hit, now it’s over 2B. I’ll be lucky of some of the songs I write about hit 2k much less. Again, one of the many signs of our music history being lost. Not just from cultural ignorance, but because of how music streaming works. I guess also the mindset of the young too. These kids today will not listen to anything older than a month old it seems. That’s sad. Good music is good music, regardless of the year it was released. I digress.
It’s been a long time since I was able to say, I truly “love this entire album.” I’m now able to say that this morning! There’s an old artist I’ve discovered a couple of days ago named Carlton Jumel Smith; and he has a phenomenal new album out! Musically speaking this guy has got it going on! His voice, his rhythm, this entire album is perfect! When I examine his background music, his style reminds me a lot of my favorite independent artist Curtis Harding. You have no idea how much I love this style of music. I wish more people would be open to listening to it.
According to some articles I’ve read, Carlton has been making music for well over 40 years. It appears he’s been the jack of all trades. He has his own label, and performed a lot of house and techno music. Which probably means it’s more than likely I’ve already heard his work, and I just don’t remember. He also worked with a few bands singing lead. But this album is shocking, in the sense that most people don’t just switch to entirely different genres, and do well. That’s like Barbra Streisand deciding she now want to try her hand in hip hop! Very risky thing to do these days.
Is it possible that because he’s from Harlem, NYC he was able to easily transition from one genre to a genre completely different? Who knows? The first song that got my attention was “Woman You Made Me.” In my opinion, this is the best kind of romance music. Why? The lyrics are genuine, and it’s not all about a quest of getting in her pants. Another song I want you to check out is called “I’d Better.” This song has lyrics you just don’t hear, even back in the day. In essence, he sings about being so impressed with someone of quality, that he decides to make positive changes in his self to win the interest of that person. Love the rhythm to this song. When you get a chance, check out his new album “1634 Lexington Avenue.”
Another guy that didn’t fit the stereotype at first glance! Once again, we can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Even myself. As diverse as my taste in music is, even I have to be reminded sometimes. Then again, I grew at a time where there was no music streaming. You had to either buy a whole album, or hoped and prayed that a friend had the same album so you can listen to it. Or better yet, ask your friend to make a cassette tape for you! 🤣🤣 But seriously though. He looked something like my 4th grade math teacher.
No way did I perceive Rupert Holmes as a singer! Never in my wildest of dreams would I have thought that Rupert would produce one of the most popular pop songs to end the 70s with. In 1979, Rupert wrote and recorded a song called “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).” A song pretty much about a guy who’s bored with his girl, and decides to hook up with a stranger. This song not only shot up to #1 on the Top 100 Charts, it stayed #1 for 3 weeks! That was huge in the vinyl era. It almost seemed like he written this song while he was on a tropical vacation or something! He had another song called “Him” that peaked at #6. I wasn’t impressed, but people liked it. The only other song I liked from Rupert was “Get Outta Yourself.” Unfortunately, it appears that song did not register on the Billboard Charts. Shame.Eye Lash + Brow Serum – Get 5% off! use coupon code BEAU5 – Shop YelloowBeauty.com!
I have to tell yah……… The group “Free,” in my opinion, was one of the many most underrated rock bands in history. As someone who’s in to all kinds of music, I really felt that these guys could sing as a solid rock band. In London, 4 guys decided to come together and form phenomenal rock band; Paul Kossoff, Simon Kirke, Paul Rodgers and Andy Fraiser. In 1968, these 4 guys became “Free.” It’s sad that they broke up within 5 years of getting together. It is unclear exactly why they broke up. I could only imagine it was probably about creative differences.
I guess in the end, it really didn’t matter, as two of the four members died as a result of poor health and drug issues (typical). Free struck gold, with their massive mega rock hit “All Right Now (1970).” The song peaked at #4 on the Top 100 Charts. The song was so popular, it not only made it’s way to a Burger King commercial, it also made Wrigley’s Gum commercial too. Interesting interview I’ve read with drummer Simon Kirke. He shared that “All Right Now,” was actually a song written after a bad gig one night. It was then that the group decided they must increase their tempo. Out of that meeting “All Right Now” was born.
I’m saddened to say that this incredibly handsome guy had only 2 big hit to his name 😞. This is Peter Brown. At the age of only about 24 years old, this guy was smoking ♨️hot♨️ in the late 70s disco scene. His first 12 inch hit sold for over a million copies in 1977. That song was called “Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me,” off his album “A Fantasy Love Affair.” Not to be confused with Sylvester’s 1982 mega hit “Do Ya Wanna Funk.” Now, unfortunately, although “Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me” peaked at #18, I wasn’t particularly feeling this song at all. I was shocked to find out that he sold that many copies to be honest.
However, I did not go completely bananas until I heard his smash hit “Dance With Me (1977).” This was actually on the same album, but the song wasn’t a hit until mid 1978. This song was the shit back in the day. Even though I was too young to go out clubbing, when my mom or grandparents had their house parties I remember sweating to this song. This 12 inch was all dance!! I mean Studio 54 dance music! The song only peaked to #4 on the Hot Dance Charts.
Other than the two songs I’ve just shared with you, I really wasn’t feeling any other of his songs. Although there was another song called “They Only Come Out At Night (1984),” that hit #1 on the Dance Club Charts, I just didn’t like it. I think the problem was that his music started to sound like novelty. You know, like all his music were from specific 80s soundtracks; similar to “The Last Dragon (1985),” or that similar to Rockwell’s music. Such a shame his voice was phenomenal!
This very talented gentlemen is jazz musician David Garfield (man… He has a strong Steven Seagal look about him, doesn’t he?). I wasn’t really familiar with his work to be honest. I recently discovered him sometime early this year. He released an absolutely amazing jazz cover of The Police’s 1978 “Roxanne.” Wow! Wow! I love it! This reinterpretation is amazing in so many ways. First, I think when you redo a song that was incredibly popular and successful, people subconsciously expect that song to somewhat sound close to the original (in my opinion). I just think that’s something inherent in most humans.
Second, he just didn’t cover the song, he changed the way our minds interprets the song entirely. David basically took his version of “Roxanne,” a song that was in essence about a man in love with a hooker, and made that song sexy with his jazz style. I think that’s deep 🤣. Now, it appears he’s a pure instrumentalist, so I’m not really sure who exactly the lead singer of this song. There were several people involved on this single release. If I find out, I’ll update this post. Now, I have to be honest, other than his Roxanne cover, I wasn’t too impressed with his music. That’s not to say he isn’t talented, he is.. It’s just not enough to cause me to save in a playlist (other than Roxanne).