Song: Get Up And Dance
The story of this group is so sad. This was a group that created a funky disco song that was so popular back in the day. Now, the group known as “Freedom,” is so obscure, I struggle to even find photos of them. Growing up as a child, I remember “Get Up And Dance,” being one of the most favorite barbecue dance music in the Black community.
Caleb Tyrone Armstrong and Ray Smith Formed Their Group “Freedom.”
Caleb Tyrone Armstrong and Ray Smith met in college. Their friendship grew until eventually they decided to form “Freedom.” As with many famous artist, they started their career singing gospel until eventually they turned secular. When they finally got their record deal, “Get Up And Dance” was the first song off their first album in 1979. I’m unsure of the name of their first album tho.
Sadly, and tragically, by the time the group released their third album called “Changes Of Time,” in 1981, the lead singer, Joe Leslie, was killed. Shortly after Joe’s death, the group began to split apart. Unfortunately, I couldn’t obtain the numbers for all three albums. However, today’s feature album “The Best Of: Get Up And Dance,” supposedly has their best music. So far, in addition to “Get Up And Dance,” I also like “All For You,” and I think “Set You Free,” is nice also (has an Earth Wind & Fire style to it). These were great performers, stunned by a major tragedy.
Song: She Don’t Know Me
Genre: Pop Music
Ok guys…. I know… I know… I’m probably came late to the party! But, I literally just found out about this song about 2 weeks ago. Now, I acknowledge that my more older readers probably may not connect with this song. However, to those of us who are a little more flexible with their music tastes, particularly the dance genre, I think it’s a great song to check out.
Doesn’t Appear His Music Reached The Billboards Yet
You know, I don’t know if my readers can agree with me or not, but I really think he’s the “new aged blue eyed soul,” for this generation! This young man has some real vocal skills in my opinion. He enunciate every word exactly to each fast paced beat. Not too many people who can do that. Despite this particular song hit almost 1.5 million plays, and being a certified hit, the song has not hit anywhere on the Billboard Chart. Having said that, I also discovered that he still isn’t signed to any label yet, which could explain why his music didn’t reach Billboard status.
But that doesn’t mean that he’s not being talked about around the internet. Despite being around since 2016? Give or take? I can’t seem to find any full albums. But you know what also? In my research, I discovered something I never knew before. Did you know that there’s a such thing as “The Unsigned Awards?” Yes, in 2016 he won an Unsigned Award! That is so inspiring. How wonderful that an organization recognizes talent not in mainstream media. I haven’t found any awards ceremonies since 2018, I do hope they’re continuing with the project. Mullally doesn’t appear to have made any full albums. He has about 4 releases on Spotify.
Song: Touch Me In The Morning
Artist: Marlena Shaw
Album: Go Away Little Boy (1977)
Now, I don’t mean to offend any Marlena Shaw fans out there, but her music really didn’t lit my fire back in the day. It wasn’t because I thought she couldn’t sing, she had an amazing voice. I guess it was one of those things I believed she was singing the wrong music for her type of voice (again, just my opinion). However, I do acknowledge she did some really, really good cover songs throughout her career.
She Did A Lot Of Talkin’ In Her Music
Marlena is one of those performers that did a lot of talking in her music. She kind of reminded me of artists similar to Linda Clifford (in that respect). As far as my memory goes, I think some of her best covers came from the disco genre. Her cover of Diana Ross’s “Touch Me In The Morning,” was awesome in my opinion. I don’t have access to the numbers, but I know that it was pretty big on the dance charts. I think this cover matched with her voice perfectly. It’s not easy turning a song (that was originally slow paced) into a disco hit.
Now, she did another cover of a song I thought was originally by Angela Bofill (1978), ’cause that’s who I heard my grandpa play a lot growing up. But it turns out that it was originally sung by legendary Martha Reeves (1975). The cover song Marlena sung was called “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter (1976),” from her “Just A Matter Of Time,” album. I love all three versions of the song. But, honestly guys…. This is such a beautiful song, unless you have a voice of a freakin’ frog, I think it’s pretty hard to mess up this song. For real 🤣. You know what? While I’m on the same album, check out her song “Brass Band,” it has a really nice smooth jazzy, disco beat to hit.
Song: At Seventeen
Artist: Janis Ian
Album: Between The Lines (1975)
Genre: Folk Music
I guess I can safely say that anyone under 30 years of age either don’t remember Janis Ian, or just never heard of her before. It’s understandable, because today I think that most people around the globe barely listens to folk music anymore. And by the way, I don’t think it’s because people now see folk music as “boring,” or not enjoyable anymore. My personal opinion is that a significant amount of folk music from the 60s & 70s were very political, and it was from an era that most people can no longer relate to, or the lyrics are no longer applicable to the average person’s life anymore (I guess).
In 1975, Ian Crushed The Charts With Her Only One Top 10 Hit
“I learned the truth at seventeen,” was the first lyric sung that pretty much said it all!! Ian’s hit “At Seventeen,” was a very special song in my opinion because it was a song of re-contemplation, perhaps re-assessment of who you are. The blend of mellow music and meaningful lyrics sort of forced one to re-evaluate yourself. The song was appropriately titled “At Seventeen,” because all the lyrics described what I think almost every child has gone through at least one in their life. Particularly young girls. The question of beauty. Being physically worthy of having a relationship. Wondering if whether or not one can even compete in the harsh world perfectionism and good looks.
I also believed that the song hit #3 on the Top 100 Chart, because young people resonated with those lyrics. Speaking from experience, teenage social issues were emotionally heavy stuff in my era. And if you didn’t have the kind of parents with the kind of grace necessary to help you through some of those teenage issues, you become a basket case as an adult. Maybe if you read her lyrics you’ll understand what I mean. She also had a song that almost made Top 10 called “Society’s Child (Baby I’ve Been Thinking),” it only got as far up as the #14th position. I think Ian will only be most remembered for “At Seventeen.” It’s a shame because her first album “Between The Lines” was really an amazing album I think.
Song: Put It On Me
Artist: Ja Rule
Album: Rule 3:36 (2000)
Genre: Hip Hop
Ok, I didn’t intend on blogging today, but I was trying to figure out who was I gonna write about for my next article. I hadn’t written about a rap artist in a really long time, but I also informed my readers I wasn’t really a rap fan either (relatively speaking). I got to thinking about Ja Rule. Let me start of by saying, I definitely wasn’t attracted to his voice as a rapper. I looked at him and would never think he’d possess that kind of voice. His voice just seemed out of place for the rap genre. Again, I don’t claim to be a rap blogger extraordinaire; nor have I ever declared myself as some sort of “rap oracle.” It’s difficult to find a whole lot of rap I really liked after about 1980s. I’ve met many people who are heavy in to rap and hip hop who feel the same way I do.
Just On His Beats Alone, He Should Be At Least Considered One Of Many Rap GOATs!
Now, let’s be honest. If you were to hear Ja Rule rap with no music, you’d probably say, nahhhhhhh. Next!!!!! But, somehow the background music produced really worked with his voice, it just seemed to change everything. I don’t know if he produced all his music, but he pumped out a lot of sick hits he should be acknowledged for. If I’m not mistaken, “Rule 3:36” was his second album. The first song off this album I thought was cool was, “Put It On Me.” I don’t think it was one of his finest beats, but I liked it, despite him sounding a little like a thousand year old revived caveman trying to court a lady. You know what? I also liked “It’s Your Life,” featuring Shade Sheist. It had a slight reggae bit that was cool.
I really started liking his music about a year after. I really like “Mesmerize” featuring Ashanti. Also I liked “Always On Time,” still featuring her. I didn’t think I would like the songs so much, since I cannot stand Ashanti! Sorry, I never thought she had a talented voice. I never heard a solo album by her I could tolerate. I’d rather listen to a whinny lama before I listen to her solo music. Oh, man!! I almost forgot! My favorite Ja Rule song was “Holla Holla (1999),” I believe this was from his first self titled album “Ja Rule.” Do you guys remember a soundtrack project Ja Rule did along with Nate Dogg for Mariah Carey’s bombed movie “Glitter (2001)?” The song was called “If We.” It was one of the very few things good that came from that movie. Actually, the soundtrack was the only good thing about that movie.
Are People Even Into His Music Anymore?!
You know, I don’t remember the details, but I was partly listening to some radio show, that was discussing how Ja Rule was invited to some kind of benefit/function (something or another). And Ja Rule got up on stage and yelled “Are you Ready for some 90s music!” One of the radio host said it was almost dead silence! I think this was the video they were referring to. I really didn’t understand that. Ja made some good crowed jumping beats! Did he say something the audience didn’t like? No way the audience should’ve treated him like that. I don’t think Ja is one of those washed up rappers. I feel he’s very talented. Give him the credit he deserves!
Song: Come And Get Your Love
Maybe I’m wrong? Or maybe I’m right? But, I think I’ve shocked the shit out of my readers on this post! To those who are shocked, what did you think when I said that I love all kinds of music? What did you think I meant when I said that I am culturally diverse when it comes to music? If anything, I hope you’re visiting my blog to gain insight into great classic music that existed, and not simply scrolling down my posts until you see an artist you know. If you do, what’s the point of “discovery” if you’re not looking for it? I digress.
Their Massive One Hit Immortalized Them!
It is unfortunate that if today you’d ask an American contemporary rock fan, “who did they think was the best 70s rock band (or perhaps who did they think had the most popular song)?” Off the top of their head, what do you think would be the likelihood of them picking a Native American band? I would almost bet on zero. Although, I’m really not familiar with each individual band member’s heritage, my understanding is that most were mixed/descendants of a Mexican family tree. Thus, they’ve chosen to call themselves “Redbone,” a Cajun word meaning mixed race. Only 3 of 5 band members are still alive. Peter DePoe, Arturo Perez & Butch Rillera.
To simply say that their song “Come And Get Your Love” was a popular hit, would be a gross understatement in my opinion. The song peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 Charts in 1974. Now, even today, Spotify alone has this song at 132 million plays! And guys, that’s just this single! There are more plays because the same song is on different streaming albums. Do you realize how rare that is, to see a classic song streamed that much? A lot of the most popular classic artists don’t get streaming numbers like that! It really wouldn’t surprise me if we combined all the streaming services and include YouTube, and saw that they’ve amassed 600+ million streams. Seriously, this was a great song! I used to stop and listen to this on the radio all the time.
Album: 112 (1996)
I’m sitting here grinding my teeth, as I am forced to consider that this song needs to be placed in the old school category. Not because I don’t feel this wasn’t an awesome song back in the day, but because it feels like only yesterday! It was 24 years ago this song hit the radio waves. Yet, how many 30 or 35 year olds are playing their music today? Well, I guess the reality is (like I’ve mentioned numerous times before), with the new age of music streaming, there’s just too much music we now have access to, and I believe this is at least 50% responsible for the loss of Black music history. In fact, just the loss of overall American classic music in general. The other half is households simply not playing enough classic oldies. We’re not so far in the future where no one possesses vinyl records anymore! Shit, I still own a lot of cassette tapes from my teenage years for goodness sake!
They’ve Made Many Collaborations!
Their song “Only You,” is probably my most favorite hit from the group. It reached #4 on the Hot 100 Chart. Personally speaking, I definitely feel this song has earned the right of being “barbecue cookout worthy!” 112 has done many, many collaborations with other artists/groups. However, I felt they were so talented, they really didn’t need to. This was probably my biggest pet-peeve when the 90s came along in regards to music. Every new and up coming artist was encouraged to collaborate with another to better promote themselves. I hated that because I saw how easily a group/person can become other artist’s “sidekicks.” Or even backfire, and be seen more of a backup singer, or an extra of some sort.
But, I’m happy to say that a lot of those hookups with other artists proved to be extremely beneficial. My most favorite song was a cover they produced along with a group called “Allure (remember them?).” That song was called “All Cried Out,” originally performed by Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam. Man, I played this song so much, I’m surprised my CD did not turn in to dust. I was pissed to find out it only peaked at 18 on the Hot 100 Chart. I’m sure it had to have been at least #1 on the R&B chart. Spotify alone has it at 5.5M plays, and keep in mind this was long after streaming was even a thing.
Their Biggest Collaboration?
I’d have to say their biggest collaboration in my opinion has to be Puff Daddy, with the release of “Missing You (1997),” a tribute to B.I.G. Another huge hit by 112 you shouldn’t forget is “It’s Over Now (2001),” which reached #6 on the Hot 100 Chart. Over creative differences, the group left Puff Daddy’s label and signed with Def-Jam around 2002. But, I don’t believe these guys had repeated the same level of success under Def-Jam as they once did under P. Daddy’s label. Although they did have a top 40 hit called “Hot & Wet (2002)” featuring Ludacris, but that was about the extent of it (I could be wrong about that). Honestly, I think Puff had his hand on this song too. Puff really was the golden producer of his time. They should have stayed with Diddy.
Artist: Ragan Whiteside
Album: Reminiscing (2019)
Oh, my goodness, so many good artists, and so little time to write about them! Yo, I don’t know if my readers have ever heard of Ragan Whiteside before; but she’s one of the best female flutists I’ve heard in a like time. I mean, she’s a badass bitch boooooyyyyyy! You know, come to think of it, relatively speaking, there aren’t that many female instrumentalists out here (yet a lone a flutist). I’m not quite sure if this is something females are usually not particularly interest in, or perhaps this is one of the few genres that are still male dominated. I guess I’ll have to research that one. Not really sure, but I think it’s an interesting topic.
She’s Kind Of A Chaka Khan Look-A-like!
I really do encourage that you research her music. Well, not too long a go last year she released a single called “Reminiscing.” It happens to be an instrumental cover version of one of my most favorite seventies songs by the Little River Band, from their 1978 album “Sleeper Catcher.” After all these years I still love listening to that song. Anyway, Ragan did a beautiful job with this piece. She added a new modern take on a very old classic. I love her above album cover too! It kind of reminds me of those old 60’s album covers with various artists on them. Question, why did almost all of those types of albums had to have both women (usually with high skirts) and cars on it? It was the oddest thing. 🤣
I’m not sure where her rendition of “Reminiscing” landed on the charts (or if it did), but I don’t care because I love it. However I do know she came out with another recent single called “Jam It (2019),” that made the top ten jazz category. It sounds ok. But check out “Corey’s Bob (2017),” and “Mystic Vibrations (2017).” Both are on her album called “Treblemaker.”