All About Love
Song: The Air That I Breath
Artist: Simply Red
Album: Blue [Expanded] (1998)
Genre: Slow Pop
I absolutely love me some Simply Red. In my opinion, this is a really talented group, and lead singer Mick Hucknull is a true blue “blue eyed soulster.” I mean, based on his look, when you see Mick, you’d never think such power and feeling would come out of his mouth. I’ve always been a huge fan ever since they came out with “Holding Back The Years (1986),” and “Money$ Too Tight (To Mention) (1986).” The first time I discovered them was when I was watching MTV late one night. At that time, I was hypnotized because I just never heard any other White guy sing like that (other than Tom Jones, but his music was totally different). “The Air That I Breath” is a 1974 cover song from a group called the “Hollies.” I feel that Mick has done such a wonderful job, I didn’t even realize it was him, because it sounded just like I was listening to a remix of the Hollies and their song. Check it out.
Artist: Candi Staton
So, let me start off by saying…… Again, this is one of those moments I am grateful to be using streaming services like Spotify; because they allow me to stream entire albums that are now considered obscure; and let me tell ya, it’s a lot more work searching through YouTube for each song that came with an original album. Not only that, that’s not guaranteed that YouTube would even have it, as YouTube relies on members to upload them. If you’re only interested in “popular music,” then in my opinion, you’re missing the point of what it is to be a fan of “good classic music.”
I Had Absolutely No Idea!
When I heard the smash hit “Victim (1978),” it was the first time I’ve came to know of Candi Staton. That song was the sh*t back in the day! I wasn’t old enough to buy records, so when I heard it on the radio, I cherished every moment it was on 😄. The song hit #3 on the Dance Chart, but no where to be found on Hot 100, or Billboard 200. That really pissed me off. You guys have absolutely no idea how huge this song was in the Black community & Dance clubs. This is why sometimes I think the Billboard charts sucks! I don’t even understand why I even look on there; but I guess sometimes it’s necessary to give young folk some perspective on the oldies I post.
Another huge hit that Candi was known for, was a song called “Young Hearts (1976).” Here is where I think you’ll get mad too. This magnificently popular song back in the day, reached #129 on the Billboard 200 Chart. That was downright disrespectful as far as I’m concerned. That song literally immortalized Staton! How dare the Billboard! Something wasn’t right there. This woman had such a natural talent for singing, there was no need for what I used to called “vocal acrobatics.” All she really had to do was simply open her mouth, and we heard the soulful voice of an angel.
OK. Let’s Talk About This Album Now
Her album “Evidence: The Complete Fame Records Masters (2019),” was like listening to her long lost archives! I had absolutely no idea that Candi Staton’s career extended so wide, and went that far back! I would have never had the opportunity to hear all these gems, if it where not for music streaming services. She started her career in gospel music, which may or may not have been the reason I haven’t heard so many of her music. I say that to mean, although gospel is a huge industry, it wasn’t necessarily mainstream either (relatively speaking).
I really liked her song “Evidence.” It’s not your typical “are you leaving me?” Seventies type of song. This was more of “I got proof your ass is with another woman!” 🤣🤣 I was also surprised that she did a cover of Tammy Whynette’s slow country hit called “Stand By Your Man (1971).” That’s the kind of song you’d never expect one would want to turn in to a soulful melody. Also check out her song called “Slipping Away.” She sang the shit out of this song! I really did enjoy the entire 48 song album, and I really do recommend classic music lovers (particularly those who love soulful blues) take a listen.Up to 70% Off at TouchofModern. Including Cross Pens! Ends September 24th 12PM PDT
Song: Walking In Rhythm
Artist: The Blackbyrds
Album: Greatest Hits (1989)
This was a badass group right there!! I loved a lot of their music!! This was another one of those groups where it is difficult to put them in any sort of category. There are so many different sounds and cultures within one song. Sometimes it’s funk mixed with African beats, sometimes R&B with touch of psychedelic, sometimes something crazy infused with disco. Indeed they were an eccentric group back in the day, and perhaps an acquired taste. The Blackbyrds are the kind of old school group, you’ll have to sift through their songs, like being in a vinyl store before you find some masterpieces.
However, the one thing we can say about this group is, these guys can sing! I can’t recall any group right now, that harmonized so well, while doing their type of music. In fact, a couple of their songs I’ve listened to reminded me very much of the O’Jays. If it were not for the fact that The Blackbyrds’s music was so different, I could easily mistaken them.
The Blackbyrds Knew How To Harmonize
A perfect example of their vocal skills, was their hit song “Walking In Rhythm (1975).” This was one of my FAVORITE R&B, disco infused song. I used to dance my ass off as a kid. I was only 8 years old when this song came out. It hit #6 on the Top 100 Chart, and #4 on the R&B chart. I’m sorry, that song should have been number one; I can’t think of any song that was more rhythmic and danceable from that year.
There are a few songs from the Blackbyrds I recommend taking a listen to. “Rock Creek Park (1976),” is another dance groove song I think you’d enjoy. Sadly it only peaked at #93 on the Top 100; and #37 on the R&B Chart; but, screw that Billboard, that song is still hot in my opinion. Moving up to something a little more recent, they have an album called “Gotta Fly (2012).” There’s a soft house mix I really like called “No Stopping,” you should check out. With the exception of “No Stopping,” the album is mostly geared towards modern jazz. It’s a pretty good album, and very relevant in my opinion. Check out “Ride,” they almost got that “Kool & The Gang” sound goin’ on. By the way, looks like they’ve added a female to the group? Her name is Theresa Hall. I’m having trouble figuring out if she’s a new member, or just a guest on the album. Hmmm Whoever she is, she sounds good.
Song: Best Part
Artist: Marcus Johnson
Album: Ballads: In My Voice (2019)
This is a wonderful piece I’ve heard not too long ago. “Best Part” is actually an instrumental cover of a song from a Canadian brotha by the name of Daniel Caesar, and an American female artist that goes by the name of H.E.R. (Gabriella Wilson). I love both versions actually. The original song hit double platinum, and reached #1 on the R&B category. I know you’ll love Marcus’s version, it is the perfect easy listening piece to start your morning off mellow, with some hot coffee.
Song: Juicy Fruit
Album: Juicy Fruit (1983)
I don’t remember if I’ve written about them on my old blog, but.. Oh well. With so much music out here, it’s humanly impossible to keep track of everything 😜. Growing up, the song “Juicy Fruit,” was one of those must have songs in every barbecue, or every other major Black “get together.” I loved this song. It was unique. It wasn’t fast enough to be a dance club song, but it wasn’t slow enough to be considered a romantic love song. It was smack right in between. The song only reached #45 on the Hot 100 Chart; but hit #1 on the R&B charts; and stayed there for 8 weeks! Awh, charts can be so misleading. By the way, this song was so popular, I read last year that James Mtune sued Sony for the music rights to “Juicy Fruit?” Read it here. The group had other hits, however, “Juicy Fruit” remains my ultimate favorite by them.
James Mtune Sues Sony For The Rights to “Juicy Fruit.”
It was kind of an interesting read that he’s suing Sony. Not that I don’t he has the right to; but from what I can tell, after the group recorded about two albums, they haven’t been active since the mid 80’s. Maybe there’s a hope of a “reboot’ of the song? You know, in many ways, a lot of their songs kind of reminds me of a group called “Parliament,” not sure if my readers are old enough to remember that group. Mtune also had a #2 hit on the R&B charts called “You, Me and He,” which a lot of people liked but….. I personally didn’t care too much for it.
Song: Lean On Me
Artist: Bill Withers
Album: Still Bill (1972)
I don’t think there are any words in the English language that exist, that could describe exactly just how phenomenal I feel Bill Withers is. He has produced some of the finest music. He is a unique musician that has produced his own brand of music like no other. The only other famous artist with that same unique genius (I can think), is Al Green, in my opinion. In fact, Bill’s talent is so unique, I had trouble figuring out a category for him. I’m sure most of the music industry has him under R&B; but to me, he’s more Black folk (if there was such a category). By the way, to all the Bill Withers fans, did you get a chance to see his documentary “Still Bill (2009)?” I highly recommend that you watch it if you have not already. It’s very interesting I promise you! One of the things I’ve learned in that documentary was that Bill was a stutterer. What a beautiful voice, I would have never suspected him of having a speech problem. I remembered how he cried sharing what he went through; but don’t worry, the documentary isn’t a tear jerker. At age 81 now, as far as I can tell, his last performance was in France last year. Go head with your bad self Bill!!
“Lean On Me” was the biggest song in his career. It reached #1 on the Hot 100, in 1972. A group called “Club Nouveau” did a cover version of “Lean On Me,” and believe it or not, it also hit #1 in 1987! From the same album, Bill had another super hit called “Use Me,” which peaked at #2. I loved that song, it has sick beat to it, and it matched the attitude of the song. In 1981, he recorded a song with Grover Washington called “Just The Two Of us,” and it reached #2. The dude was smokin’. A lot of artist sampled this song it was so popular. In my opinion, the his albums “Just As I am (1971),” and “Still Bill” are of his best works. However, if you love his music, listen to his “Essential Album.” It has practically all his most popular music, and some nice ones you may or may not have heard before.Save Up to 77% On Select Musical Instruments and Accesories
Song: In The Midnight Hour
Artist: The Silvertones
The song “In The Midnight Hour,” was another one of many reggae favorites of my late grandfather and I. It was released in 1968, I believe in the U.K. It was a cover of Wilson Pickett’s 1965 version of “Midnight Hour.” Wilson’s version hit #21 on the Top 100. Despite Wilson’s song being almost 55 years old now, Spotify alone has it registered at over 34M plays. Grandpa and I used to listen to both versions all the time. I don’t believe he ever owned a Silvertone album, however, I remember hearing him play their song on his big reel2reel player. Back in the day, poor folk saved soooooo much money on music by taping each others albums. I don’t know what the stats are for Silvertones’s “In The Midnight Hour,” but streaming appears to be less than 60k plays. It certainly was a hit in my house growing up. Lost reggae legends indeed. Check out another favorite of mine, “Young At Heart.”
Artist: Janet Jackson
Album: Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
We all know that Janet comes from a family where talent is in their genes. I think it’s safe to say that, there’s no question, for most people, at least half of Janet’s music we love. She’s done house, pop, romance, you name it! Janet has done just about every kind of music except country (that I’m aware of LOL). I’m so glad I hadn’t heard any country songs from her; because back in the day, once a known pop artist come out with a country album, usually it’s a bad sign that your career is dying. Not sure if that’s still true today but… Just sayin’… Out of all my many favorites, “Alright” has been on the top of my list. It may also be because of her music video, the whole “film noir” setting. One thing I’ve always loved about both Janet and Micheal, they always pay tribute (in someway) to classic film. “Alright (1989)” hit #4 on the Hot 100 charts! The entire Rhythm Nation album in my opinion is number one. I think both her Control & Rhythm Nation is her best work. Unfortunately, this single remix album is out of print. However, you can find it on Discogs.FragranceNet.com’s Best Selling Men’s Fragrances