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All About Love

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Yesterday, I found one of my old favorite Barry Manilow cassettes. Yay!!! You know, I can’t imagine anyone walking around with a cassette player these days; if someone did, I’m pretty sure that most people around them would be in shocked and puzzled 😄. I consider Barry Manilow the king of love ballads! This little Jewish guy was a hit machine in his prime. However, he really hasn’t made any big hits since the 80s. Tho, it’s wonderful to see that there are millions that still love him and remember him. I decided to create a 19 song playlist of my most favorite hits!

Barry Manillow - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

What’s in my new Barry playlist? How about his massive 1978, 12 inch disco hit “Copacabana!” How about his ballad “I’ve Made It Through The Rain (1980),” I loved this song!! That song was like my late grandfather’s personal anthem, he used to hmm this song ALL the time 😄. Another great song he produced was a song called “Bandstand Boogie,” which later on became the theme song to Dick Clark’s show “American Bandstand” some in c. 1976 I believe. Many more memorable songs this awesome playlist.

Dionne Warwick!!

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.

The legendary Dionne Warwick - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

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.”

Dionne Warwick - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

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.”

The late John Holt - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

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.

The late John Holt - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

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).”


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Carlton Jumel Smith - SpotifyThrowback.com

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.

Carlton J. Smith - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

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. 

Carlton J. Smith - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

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.”

Rupert Holmes - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

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.

Rupert Holmes - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

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.


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Peter Brown - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

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!

David Garfield - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

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.

David Garfield - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

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).

Kenny G - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Oh, my goodness! How’s this for back in the day nostalgia? I love me some Kenny G. It’s funny, if I didn’t know who Kenny was, and I was blindly looking for a good instrumental album to purchase, judging from this album cover I don’t think I would have picked up this one. Which always reminds me of that ol’ saying, “never judge a book by it’s cover.” This same album happens to have one of my favorite Kenny G pieces called “Silhouette (1988).” Kenny seems to have this strange and unique ability, to almost make his instruments romantically sing to you! If that make sense.

Kenny G - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Another great tune from this same album is called “All In One Night (1988).” In my opinion, Kenny G is one of the very few instrumental artists that not only managed to break through mainstream music, but continued to keep the interest of a wide range of music lovers. That’s pretty impressive, considering that most people today are  very picky with their musical tastes.

Kenny G & the late Miles Davis

Kenny’s musical writing, and performing style is like no other.I think my ultimate favorite came from his first or second album. The piece was called  “Songbird (1986).” Do you guys remember this one? Tell me this is not one of the most romantic saxophone sounds you’ve ever heard? Songbird hit #4 on the Top 100 Charts. Another beautiful piece I recommend you should check out is “Forever In Love (1992).” Absolutely a beautiful (in my opinion). This is a perfect song to have dinner with someone special. Definitely! Kenny has been around a long time, since ’73 to be exact, and he’s still performing all around the world. Even if we don’t hear his music anymore, he’s still a very accomplished musician.


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