All About Love
I don’t remember if I wrote about him on my old blog but.. What the hell.. Today I’d like to quickly write a little about Johnny Kemp. Johnny was a talented Bohemian singer who started his music career in the late 70s. He had a unique look and a unique sound. Johnny did not hit it big until about ten years later, when he released his smash hit “Just Got Paid (1988).” The song shot up to #1 on both R&B/Hip Hop & the Dance Charts. This song was made for Johnny, I never thought that anybody could thing that song the way he did. Also, seeing him dance to this song on his music video was electrifying in my opinion. By mid video, it reminded me a lot of the original “Fame (1980)” soundtrack video.
“Just Got Paid” was the biggest hit of his career. In fact I think that was his only #1. On The same album, he had a #5 dance hit called “Dancin’ With Myself (1988).” I didn’t particularly like that song, but a lot of people did. After shaking my ass to “Just Got Paid,” it seems like this song was a downgrade or something. It just didn’t seem danceable to me. However, I did love his 1986 song called “Just Another Lover.” The song only peaked at #26 on the Dance Charts.
Johnny died in 2015, at the young age of 55. As far as I can tell, I still don’t think there was an official cause of death. According to what I’ve read, he fell over a cruise ship he was actually scheduled to perform in. I’m not even sure if they knew exactly how he fell. I guess for most, it was written off as a freak accident.
I’d like to introduce young folk to the late Joe Tex. He was another favorite of mine I used to listen to all the time. I think that in this era of music streaming, young folk who are starting out in the music business today can learn a lot from knowing about artists like Joe Tex. The reason is because he only had a total of 27 songs that registered somewhere on the Top 100 Billboard Charts; however, only 3 of them reached Top 10 status.
Why is that important? Because the longer I blog, I’ve begun to clearly understand that numbers don’t always equate with someone’s true talent. Even more complicated than that, sometimes an album could be on the low #200 position, but a song on that same record could reach Top 10 status. Despite Joe only having 3 Top 10 Hits, his other music was so popular that even the singles that didn’t make good sales, were played very much on radio and clubs. So, there was no question about his vocal talent.
One of my very favorites growing up was a song called “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (with No Big Fat Woman) (1977).” It only peaked at #12, but this was the sh*t back in the day. I don’t remember not hearing this song on family parties and barbecues. You know, when you listen to the lyrics of this song, it was innocent yet hilarious! But, a song like this would never be made again in this day and age; every single “fat” activist would have overwhelmed both the artist and label with accusations of fat shaming. Great song tho.
Another popular favorite was “I Gotcha (1972),” which reached #2 on the Top 100 Charts. I absolutely loved this song, because it had a very Blaxploitation feel to it. Sounded like it could have came straight out of a Cleopatra Jones soundtrack. Now, Joe didn’t only sing dance music; he sang a many of wonderful ballads. At #5 “Hold What You’ve Got (1965),” was a very popular song that contained a lot of true wisdom about love and relationships. Another beautiful ballad (but never made the charts); was called “Green Green Grass Of Home,” originally sung by Johnny Darrell. However, I only remembered hearing Tom Jone’s version. In fact, Joe kind of sounded like Tom a lot. My late grandpa used to play this a lot too. So many interpretations by many artists, but for the life of me I can’t find when Joe originally released this version. My best guess is around 1978. This wonderful and talented man was taken away from us at the age of only 49.Allure Best of Beauty Award Winner – Chap Guard, Great Barrier Coco Herbal Lavender For Skin And Lip
Hey guys, Today I’d like to introduce to you a guy I consider a master guitarist from back in the day. His name was O’Donel Levy. I’ve been playin’ him all day for the past week. I thought to myself, I need to blog about him before the week is over. The late O’ Donel Levy had an incredible album called “Breeding Of Mind (1974).” Sh*t! This album is freakin’ amazing! If you love instrumental jazz R&B (maybe a little of easy funk too), there’s no doubt in my mind you’d fall in love with this album as I did. It’s a cryin’ shame that I saw no meaningful information about him on Billboard. Then again, I’m not surprised.
Music aficionados would call Levy’s music modern jazz today. His style reminds me a lot of legendary George Benson. In fact, at one time, he actually toured with both George Benson and Jimmy McGriff. Levy’s album is filled with absolutely brilliant reinterpretations of well known classics. My strongest favorite is his rendition of The Carpenter’s “We’ve Only Just Begun.” I hate using words over and over, but this piece is amazing! This is what I call relaxing smooth jazz! It’s the kind of music you can play while chatting & brunching with friends.
I also encourage you to check out two more pieces from this album. His rendition of Carole King’s “Too Late, ” and The Jackson 5’s “Never Can Say Goodbye.” Both are absolute masterpieces as well in my opinion. His music creates a very smooth atmosphere. Legendary O’ Donel Levy died in 2016. We lost an amazing jazz talent.
I don’t think I would be out of line, if I said only true club heads from back in the day would remember these guys. In the early 90s, when club music was still a major genre, a guy hot on the club circuit named Lidell Townsell (pictured in the middle) (who produced Chicago style house music), got together with a two guy group called M.T.F. (Martell and emcee Silk E) and produced one of my favorite 90s mixes of all times!
This Song Made Them Massively Popular
“NuNu (1992),” was released from their “Harmony” album, distributed by Mercury Records at the time. On the Billboards, the song reached #2 on the Hot Dance category. I never really been a fan of songs that only talks about getting a girl in bed (throughout an entire LP). But the beat to this mix was hot as hell! Almost everybody my age (then was about 23-25) played this song, particularly the ones that also liked freestyle. This song was so hot, both straight and gay clubs were playin’ this.
But, you know.. As much as I loved this song, after all these years I never actually heard their full album. But through the magic of Spotify I finally have. It’s a damn good album! I enjoyed the whole album very much! Lidell knows how to lay down some dance music lovely! Before I forget, there was also another massive dance hit from this same album called “Get With You,” which reached #4 on the Dance Charts. There was another favorite of mine that didn’t seem to register anywhere on the charts. The song was called “So Fine,” again from the same album. I’ve read that Townsell is still active, however, I haven’t been able to find any recent activity, or any information health wise.
You guys need to check this dude out as soon as you can! Oh….. My….. Goodness!!! This man has a voice on him!! I can’t remember hearing any other Caucasian artist (at least in this generation) that deserves the title “Blue Eyed Soul.” Soul music is being reborn before my ears! 🤣 Kelly Finnigan is a lead singer of a group called “Monophonics,” which is an indie band. Finnigan just released a solo album that sounds awesome. Just like my new favorite independent artist, Curtis Harding, Finnigan has captured the spirit of classic soul, and brought it back in today’s time line. The essence of soul is so authentic, if I did not google him, I would have sworn up and down this was something from the 60s.
I haven’t found a whole lot of juicy information about Finnigan to share, so I’ll just leave you with some of his new music I absolutely love. First off, check out my top favorite from his new 2019 album called “I Don’t Wanna Wait.” You can’t get more new age soul than this song right here. You wanna know what else is special about this song? Not only is it authentically soul, he written this song from scratch! Actually, I think his entire album was written by him. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!! Also check out “Catch Me I’m Falling.” Another great masterpiece!! It looks like he released only the first song from his new album to Spotify; and the second song (which was released last year). If you’re interested, you can get his music on Bandcamp. I’m a little aggravated that he didn’t offer more samples of his music. However, I’m really digging his music so far, and I may buy/pre-order his new album anyways.20% Off 3-Pack. Use Code: TRIO20
For today, I planned on randomly digging up an album from my collection. But then I heard this classic masterpiece! It totally escaped my mind that there is a reggae cover of this song. How could I have forgotten? This made history in both film and music media. “To Sir With Love (1967),” starring Sidney Poitier, was an UK & USA mega cult classic, that I doubt any of today’s younger generation knows anything about. There’s no surprise that a talented reggae band would eventually reinterpret this song.
An awesome reggae group called Lynn Taitt & The Jets, done an instrumental cover of the theme song “To Sir, With Love.” Unfortunately, I’m having a bit of trouble finding their original release date, because all that seems to be available is the “digital release dates.” However, I don’t think that it could be younger than c. 1970. Island people of my age bracket are going to love this song (I think). It’s funny, listening to the way Lynn picks his guitar, reminds me a lot of an American group called The Ventures. You know, now that I think about it, it’s weird that as popular as the movie was, I never heard the complete sound track (after all these years). I guess I should look that up. Here is Lulu’s original version of “To Sir, With Love (1967).” Rent the movie if you haven’t already! It’s a tear jerker, but worth it.
Not sure if many of my blog fans remember an old group called “The New Birth?” (Not to be confused with “New Birth Brass Band”) They were a funk & R&B band from Detroit. This was a gigantic band back in the day. They probably were about the same size (in numbers) if not larger than Earth Wind & Fire. Ha! Those days of big bands and BoysIIMen performers are gone. Your group would have to be pretty spectacular for any label to sign a group of equal size.
I have to say that although I was not turned on by most of their music, that’s not to say that they weren’t a talented group. I wouldn’t hold them under the same candle as Earth, Wind, & Fire, but they were good! They’ve made more than several albums throughout their career, and managed to produce 3 top 10 hits. Their first song to hit #1 was a song called “Dream Merchant (1975).” #4th position was “I Can Understand It (1975).” Their 3rd top 10 hit was ok “It’s Been A Long Time (1974),” which peaked at #9. Unfortunately, I wasn’t particularly drawn to those songs despite being huge hits.
However, that changed when I heard a cover they did of one of my absolute favorite songs by Perry Como, “It’s Impossible.” It’s Impossible only reached #12 on the Hot R&B Charts in 1971. You know, even if you didn’t like that kind of music, the lyrics to this song is absolutely the sweetest I’ve ever heard. Also check out their cover of Michael Jackson’s “Never Can Say Goodbye (1971).” Lastly, listen to their cover of Hamilton, Joe Frank, & Reynolds’s classic “Fallin’ In Love (1976).” I guess it appears that all the songs I love from them, were all covers.Save up to 30%. See what’s on sale!
I wonder out of curiosity, how many people remember Tracy Ulman? I would think not that many. Tracy was born in the UK, and she was an extremely successful 80s actress and singer. She had her own TV show, called The Tracy Ulman show. It aired from 1987 thru 1990. It was funny as hell in my opinion. I think she’s talented both as an actress and as a singer. One of my favorite songs she sung (which I also believe (if my memory is correct) was the theme song from that show) was “They Don’t Know (1983),” It was from her debut album “You Broke My Heart In Seventeen Places.” The song hit #8 on the Top 100 Charts. The album was actually cute, it has a 60s sound to it. I don’t think she has made an album in quite a long time. Most are just re releases of her old stuff. Although I think her music was cute, honestly I think I liked her better as an comedian.