Artist: Johnny Nash
Genre: Soul Music
Oh my goodness! I had forgotten just what a beautiful voice Johnny Nash had. You know what? Listening to him sing “Don’t Take Away Your Love,” was almost like listening to Sam Cooke in a way. Are any of my readers familiar with Sam Cooke? He was another great singer too. This is such a beautiful romantic song, and I think it’s a great song to slow dance to as well. Although this is an American song, I’ve chose to put this in my “sweet reggae” category, because growing up about 85% of the music I listened to by Johnny were reggae. Interestingly enough, he was born in Houston Texas, USA. Even more interesting, he was the first non-Jamaican singer to record reggae music in Kingston Jamaica! And had many, many hits!! How’s that for awesome!! 👍
I Do Recommend That You Investigate Johnny’s Music
My grandpa and I REALLY loved Johnny’s music. Although, with this particular song, I don’t recall hearing my grandpa ever playing. But, there’s no doubt in my mind my grandpa would have not only loved this song, he would have played it to shreds!! 🤣 Now, I’m not sure the name of the original album, but also I’m thinking it may be possible it was released as a single. I’m making this assumption because Spotify has it as a single, and all other albums the songs appear in, are more recent re-releases.
Some of my most favorite Johnny Nash music I remembered my pops playing were songs like, “I Can See Clearly Now,” “Stir It Up,” his remake of this American classic “Cupid,” “Groovin’” “Hold Me Tight,” and my most favorite of all is “Guava Jelly.” Johnny has a lot of NICE music under his belt, but I think the music I just shared with you were/are is ultimate best in my opinion. I mean, not only was his voice on point, the reggae beats were just sick!! Well, you can just judge that for yourselves! To my understanding, this now 78 year old hit maker is still kicking it on the mic!
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.”
Song: Y Hubo Alguien
Artist: Marc Anthony
Album: Contra La Corriente (1997)
Genre: Latin Salsa
You know, as a blogger, it’s kind of scary when you write about some of your favorite artists, then you have that realization that…… “Oh shit, this song is over 20 years old!” So many songs I write about feel like it’s been only yesterday. I guess this is one of the many reasons people in my age group experience a massive culture shock (in regards to today’s music). What young kids today see as musically “hot,” is most likely not our cup of tea. On the other hand, if their parents wasn’t musically cultured, it’s inevitable that the kids isn’t going to have anything to compare what music to.
He Truly Loves Music
When I think about old school Latin artists, like the late Celia Cruz,the late Tito Puente, Willie Colon, Johnny Pacheco, or even younger artists, such as La India and perhaps Gloria Estefan. They all posses a certain special magic in their music that very few artists have today (not even J Lo, sorry to say). There’s a huge difference between being a performer, and being a musician. I’m not sure if I have any words to explain it. Then again, I’m sure the love of music is hard to explain because it’s very much part of emotion; and if you can’t connect on an emotional level (musically), I don’t believe we can truly explain it. It’s one of those things you have to see them perform, see their interaction with the audience, the expressions on their faces as the feel the music, etc.
I think Marc Anthony is one of those important, and still relevant musicians that posses that magic. If I had to pic one important quality about these people, I think it would be their ability to attract music lovers of all generations. And I think very few musicians accomplish this, because of not only the lack of culture, but today everything is done via keyboard! Marc Anthony has such an incredible voice, a distinctive voice, a voice with lots of vocal range. Marc could probably sing a whole album, with no band, and it would be a mega hit.
Ok, I’ve Babbled Enough LOL!
To be honest, most of the music I’ve liked by Marc Anthony have been in English. However, “Y Hubo Alguien,” I have to admit is a real favorite of mine. This song was so hot, I’ve even heard disc jockeys play this on English radio stations. Another Spanish old school I recommend is “Tu Amor Me Hace Bien (2004).” One of my favorite English Marc Anthony songs are “You Sang To Me (1999),” “I Need To Know (1999),” and “My Baby You (1999).”
Artist: Toussaint McCall
Genre: True Soul
Sooo many forgotten artists. Toussaint McCall is in that pile of many who’s been forgotten; even more so because he was a one hit wonder. It’s bad enough his music is obscure, almost nothing is written about this man. Honestly I’m not even sure if the McCall is still alive. It seams I can’t even figure out who written today’s song choice. It’s a shame because I do believe the man could sing, although there were a couple of songs I’ve heard from him that sounded like his voice wasn’t strong enough or something. He kind of had that “first starting out church voice,” where it almost sounds unstable in the beginning. However, with “Nothing Takes The Place Of You,” his voice seemed to be on point. Not sure if that means he written the song, or he developed an emotional connection to this song. Either way, it became one of the most romantic heart felt songs I’ve heard in a really long time back then.
He Kept Recording Despite Only Having One Hit!
McCall’s song “Nothing Takes The Place Of You,” hit #5 on the R&B chart, and #52 on the Top 100. In terms of TV and radio, it seemed as though he literally vanished after the success of his first album. It wasn’t until he made a cameo appearance in the Johnathan Waters crazy comedy “Hairspray (1988),” starring the late Divine and Rickki Lake, did people remembered once again who he was. Despite only having one major hit song, he kept recording several records after that. He must have had very good connections in the music industry, because even back then, if you did not produce any sales after the third album or so, the label would have usually dropped you (contract or no contract).
Artist: Blue Magic
Album: Blue Magic (1974)
The Blue Magic was an incredibly talented group that formed close to the beginning of the 70s. Still performing by the way; however I think all the original members has passed on. I could be wrong about that, but I do know (to my understanding) the lead singer, Rod Wayne, died awhile back. I know we all have differences of opinions (that’s why it’s called opinions), but this group deserved more credit than they got.
Another Great Group Silenced By The Disco Era!
Perhaps we can make an argument that the Blue Magic came to the music scene at the wrong time. It’s been said that the disco hurricane destroyed a lot of music careers during the 70s. Now mind you, I’m not saying that music from groups like Blue Magic wasn’t good enough. However, disco was one of those rare genres that wasn’t just a “genre” it was also a movement. Disco was such an obsession that it over shadowed many talented groups. I saw a documentary discussing how disco grew so large, that there were riots in some neighborhoods by those who resisted disco’s domination. I believe it was in cities like Chicago (if I’m not mistaken). Thank goodness that never happened in my neighborhood, but that must have been a sight to see.
Listening to Blue Magic was kind of like listening to a second version of
The Spinners The Stylistics in a way, with Wayne being that lead romantic falsetto. The song “Sideshow” became their biggest hit single of their career. It hit #1 on the R&B chart, #8 on the Top 100, and the album itself reached #4 on the R&B category. There was no better album after this one. In fact, “Sideshow” was such a popular song, it appeared on many of their other albums released and re-released on digital.
Two More Popular Songs!
There were two more popular songs. “Stop To Start,” wasn’t exactly my favorite song, but it was a popular one, and hit #14 on the R&B chart. Now, technically, this last song wasn’t a hit per-say, but it was a great song. It happens to be on this same album. It’s actually a cover of The Main Ingredient’s 1973 hit, “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely.” What a shame this song never got any traction (at least as far as I can tell). It was one of those severely overlooked remakes that was performed amazingly.
Song: Various Songs
Artist: Various Artists
Album: K-TEL: The Elite (1981)
Genre: Easy Listening
Hi guys!! I hope all my readers had a safe and enjoyable xmas! Today I put together a nice playlist for you guys. Question: Do you remember a label called “K-TEL?” I don’t remember what it actually stands for, but K-TEL International is actually a company that sells products through infomercials and other various marketing techniques, but it’s usually by way of television. K-TEL also owned a record label, and focused on re-selling chart topping hits. In my opinion, back in the day K-TEL was actually vital to music collectors. When we had no other choice but to buy our records, although they were cheaper than they are now (physically), it still cost us a ton of money to purchase whole albums (and even singles if you wanted a lot of songs).
K-TEL was “heaven sent” for most of us die-hard music fans. What was nice about companies like K-TEL was that they compiled all the biggest hit songs we missed, and put them all on one album. Buying these albums were like buying collections from Time Life. The only real difference between K-TEL and Time Life, was that Time Life offered half hour detailed infomercials, and usually promoted several albums/cassettes at a time. Actually, K-Tel’s music choices for their albums were slightly different (if I was to be quite honest). I really loved K-TEL, I can tell that whatever committee responsible for selecting the songs for each album knew what they were doing. Most of the albums they released had very good songs on them. At least 10-12 good ones out of maybe 16-18.
Even for the artists I didn’t necessarily like, usually the best of their songs were selected. An example of that was Diana Ross. I never thought Diana had an amazing voice, she was just lucky to have good writers and producers under her belt (and I guess having a relationship with Berry Gordy didn’t hurt either). “It’s My Turn (1980),” theme from the movie “It’s My Turn,” I felt was a really nice song. Not only did she sing this song well, it was one of the very few songs I’ve heard where you actually hear a story in it. Another great classic song on this album is “The Logical Song (1978).” In the US it peaked at #6 on the Top 100. The song actually did very well around the world. This album also has my only second favorite from Boz Scaggs called “Look What You’ve Done To Me (1980).” Scaggs’s ballad was so huge, you couldn’t turn on the radio without it already being played. The song hit #3 in Adult Contemporary. The type of songs selected throughout all their albums, almost became their signature trademark. Enjoy!!
Song: Ohh Baby, Baby
Album: Uptown Festival (1977)
Wow! This goes to show you just how much good classic music exists. I have been a long time fan of Shalamar, and I don’t recall ever hearing their cover of Smokey Robinson’s “Ooo Baby, Baby,” c 1965. What was an even bigger shame was that, according to one source I’ve read, the song actually reached #1 in the US. Not sure what chart that was on, but I’m banking on the fact that it had to have been at least the R&B category. Unfortunately, sometimes categories could make a difference as to where you hear certain songs on the radio.
This Was An Awesome Cover Song That Slipped passed My Ears!!
Not knowing the specifics of the song, I’ve read enough material to get a sense that the album “Uptown Festival” did very well back in the day. But honestly, out of all of the tracks I’ve heard on this album, “Ohh Baby, Baby” was the best one. I would have played the hell out of this song. It was a nice surprise finding this, cause honestly I wouldn’t have looked for it. However, the other thing was, Shalamar has changed so much other the years. They’ve swapped/replaced so many members, it became a choice of what version of Shalamar you liked best. That sometimes became a headache when looking for their music too. Even with music streaming, as results given are usually only the popular searches.
Song: Rising To The Top
Artist: Keni Burke
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Oh, I think I have a nice one for your guys today! My young readers don’t know anything about this man here! Keni Burke is a songwriter, singer, and producer. Keni started his career some time in the mid 60s. Damn! I had no idea he was around for that long 😜. Burke first joined the band called Five Stairsteps around ’67, they’re probably best known (if you do remember them) for their hit song “O-o-Child (1970).” After about two albums, the group disbanded. Well, you may not remember his name, however if you’re Black, I can say with almost full certainty that you’ve heard at least one of his works.
You May Not Remember His Name, But You’ll Recognize This Hit!!
Unfortunately, this is another example where I have trouble finding chart information 😡. All I can tell you is that today’s song “Rising To The Top” was perhaps the biggest song in his career, especially in the Black community. The song was sampled several times by big names. Probably the most memorable (I’m assuming) was done by the Mary Jane Girls, with “All Night Long (1994),” which hit #8 on the Dance Charts, and #11 on the R&B Charts.
Old school rapper Doug E. Fresh also sampled a little bit of Keni’s song with “Keep Risin’ To The top (1988).” Also, Big Daddy Kane with “Smooth Operator (1989).” Several other well known names has sampled Keni’s song. My young readers just don’t know how popular this beat was in the Black community back in the day. I’m dumbfounded I can’t find the stats on Keni’s song. I don’t know if there are technical issues on Billboards site in regards to Keni’s music? I don’t know…. Whatever….. There you have it… Another example of a master, lost in music history!