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.
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
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!
Have any of my readers heard of Tracy Hamlin? Speaking for myself, I have never heard of her until recently. According to my research, she’s been around for quite some time. She started out performing in a modern jazz band called “Pieces Of A Dream.” The band has been around since 1976, however, Hamlin didn’t join the band until the mid 80s. The group was best known for their hit “Fo-Fi-Fo.” The song reached #15 on the R&B charts in 1984.
The Best Remix I Heard In A Really Long Time!
Well, Miss Thing came out with a new dance remix this year. It’s a cover of Randy Edelman’s song called “Isn’t It A Shame (1975).” Now, I didn’t know who the hell Randy was either. I discovered that he’s a composer for a lot of movie soundtracks such as Anaconda, and TV Shows, such as MacGyver. Unless I’m mistaken, this song really wasn’t well known until girl group Labelle covered it in their album Chameleon (1976).
Well guys, I found an unexpected gem. Tracy’s version of “Isn’t It A Shame,” released this year in 2019, blew my socks off!! The song was mixed by DJ Spen & Thommy Davis. Girl friend hit those notes like it was absolutely nobody’s business. 🤣 A dance mix that was very nicely done. I really appreciate her not trying hard to sing like Patti Labelle. She sang the song beautifully using her own style. Please do check out her single. Spotify only seem to have Randy Edelman’s movie scores available. But here’s a YouTube video performing his own original song “Isn’t It A Shame,” published in 1975.
Ralfi Pagán was truly a phenomenal musician. Has any of my readers heard about him? As we walk through music history and our heritage, the late Ralfi Pagán is one musician that is worthy of remembering. Pagán was a bilingual salsa performer, born in Bronx, NY of Cuban and Puerto Rican Parents. Not only was Ralfi an amazing artist, he was one of the very few artists I heard growing up, who was fluent in both languages on all his albums.
He Was Signed To Fania Records
Unfortunately, Ralfi died very early in his career; we never got a chance to witness his full potential. Although they say he performed traditional salsa music; I heard a lot more Cuban influence in his albums. Perhaps Cuban mixed in with in with blues rhythms. That I’m aware of, he only completed a total of 4 albums. Out of those 4 albums, only one song actually made the charts.
The one song that registered @ #32 on The Billboard Charts was “Make It With You (1971).” This song was a beautiful cover of Bread’s 1970 original, written by David Gates. Oh my goodness, listening to Ralfi sing this song, was like listening to a very mellow Little Anthony. Honestly, the only two vocal versions of Bread’s song I really loved, were from the late Nancy Wilson and from the late Ralfi Pagán.
Even though Ralfi never had a hit #1 record, the fact that he made it on the charts was a huge accomplishment. Here are some songs I recommend that you check out. “Up On The Roof,” which by the way, is another cover from a group called “The Drifters.” “Don’t Stop Now” is another smooth romantic song. He sang a cover of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles’ “Ooh Baby, Baby.” Also check out a song I know was popular enough I actually remember hearing it. It’s called “Pelao.”Free Shipping on all orders over $9.99 at Sam Ash Direct
Oh, my goodness! Have you guys heard of Marc Martel? Holy sh*t! He did cover of Queen’s legendary classic Bohemian Rhapsody very recently. I never even heard of this guy until I found him by accident yesterday. I saw so many people posting photos of the late Freddie Mercury all over twitter, and I said to myself WTF? It must be his birthday or something. Come to find out, they have a new movie out called “Bohemian Rhapsody,” starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. You remember Rami? The one from that TV show Mr. Robot? Ok. Let me tell you guys something….. To be fair, I have not seen the movie yet…. But…… Girrrrrrrrlllllllllllllsssssss After I heard Marc Martel sing his version of Bohemian Rhapsody, I said to myself HE should have been casted to play Freddie Mercury instead. However, at the same time, I guess it doesn’t matter, because with Marc’s new cover, it’s perfect timing. When interested fans search for either Bohemian Rhapsody or Queen, Marc will probably show up in the results somewhere! Guys, the song sent chills through my spine! It was like Freddie Mercury rose from the dead…. I’m telling you…. Very rare have I ever heard a song where it laterally left me speechless. I’m sure with a good makeup artist, they could have made Marc in to Mercury. I think that would have frightened a lot of people, cause damn if it didn’t freak me out. I’m hearing mixed messages about the movie documentary. I think I’ll wait a bit before I see it (depending on what more people say). Or maybe I’ll wait for Netflix. OMG!!!!