Song: Love’s Train
Artist: Con Funk Shun
Wow!! Blast from the past, for your nerves!!! Are those memory cells burning up yet? I hope so, because I’ve got limitless classics to share with my readers! I can’t keep up. Well, it’s been a really long time since I’ve heard anything from Con Funk Shun. Do you remember them? Man I used to love how they used to harmonize together. It was as tho they were born as septuplets, singing together in harmony. Although the word “Funk” is in their name, they actually made different types of music, ranging from funk to disco.
Although Funk Is In Their Name, They Sang Different Types Of Music
However, there was one romantic song that became my absolute favorite! That song was “Love’s Train (1982).” Now, I’m a bit surprised to find out that the song hit only #47 on the R&B charts. It’s hard for me to believe that because the song was so popular growing up. I heard it on the radio all the time! But, like I said before, this goes to show you, the stations you listen to back in the day unfortunately made a bit of a difference.
Now, despite the song reaching only #47 (which technically isn’t a horrible number in my opinion, just not recognized as a top hit), in terms of streaming, this song earned the most plays of all their other songs. And that even includes across several of their greatest hits albums. Over 5+ million plays “Love’s Train” received ya’ll! The second most popular hit was this funk dance tune called “Ffun (1977).” I hate to call Con Funk Shun a one hit wonder group (although I guess technically they are when it comes to stats), but they did make some good music. I guess the other truth of the matter is that their music was also very typical of the 80s, and a lot of bands like them were producing the same funk sounds.
Song: I Love The Rainy Night
Artist: Eddie Rabbitt
Genre: Traditional Country
Well, I can say for sure, the majority of my young listening don’t have a single clue about who the late Eddie Rabbitt was. Those who did not listen to country music back in the 80s have no idea just how huge Eddie Rabbitt was. He was truly a talented hit maker! In fact, his music at times didn’t even sound like country, it sounded more like borderline pop music. I love to hear that kind of diversity in an artists music. Eddie has made quite a few popular favorites of mine. I haven’t listened to any of his music for a long time; and listening to it recently just reminded me just how fun it was to listen to his work.
My Absolute Favorite Was His Duet With Crystal Gayle!
I love his song “I Love The Rainy Night (1981),” because it’s a song for everyone, whether you’re young or old. Almost everyone can relate to it in someway. So much of country music consisted of artists singing about either a broken heart, or something they like to do on their farm or something. This song was in essence about enjoying life, and enjoying the moment. Everybody can relate to that! The song shot up to #1, and stayed there for 2 weeks.
Another deep favorite of mine, is the duet Eddie did with the legendary Crystal Gayle. A song called “You And I (1983).” I thought this was such a beautiful song. Crystal’s voice was definitely on point for this song. Man, all these great potential wedding songs, and growing up I had not heard anyone play them in my surroundings. What a shame. This song shot up to #7. Another great hit he had was called “Drivin’ My Life Away (1980).” This was a very catchy tune. This song hit #5 on the Top 100. I didn’t realize until today that Eddie passed away some time in 1998 of a failed liver. So sad to read that we’ve lost such a great talent.
Song: I Wish
Artist: Carl Thomas
Album: Emotional (2000)
🤣 You know, it’s a bit ironic, and yet hilarious that 20 years ago, when I heard an old favorite from the 80s, I’d say OH WOW!!! That’s old!!! Now, in the year 2020, I find myself saying the exact same thing about a song from 2000 🤣. It really makes me appreciate the many years of memories I had enjoying non-stop music culture. I think a relationship with music can be stronger than that of people (in general).
Carl Has An Amazingly Cool Voice
Carl has one of those amazingly smooth and sensual male voices we rarely hear. I mean, if I had a man like him and I was pissed off at him, if he sang to me like that I’d probably forget what I was mad about! Just joking 😄! But, for real, he has a really relaxing voice that is perfect for romantic kinds of music. Not only his song “I Wish” was my favorite song, it was the biggest hit of his career. Although it only hit position #20 on the Top 100, it gained first position on the R&B category. And the Black community was playing his song all the time!
Unfortunately, my feeling is his first album “Emotional (2000),” was his only good album. At least when it comes to having the most hits on a single album. “Special Lady” is a good one, “Come To Me” is good, and “Emotional” are my favorites. I honestly don’t know what happened a After that. I just didn’t care for a lot of his music after his first album. Actually, let me change that statement. On his second album “Let’s Talk About It (2004),” he had a song called “She Is (feat. LL Cool J)” I really liked. Then on his third album “Conquer (2011),” he has a song called “Don’t Kiss Me.” That title alone made me want to listen to it. “Don’t Kiss Me” was the best song from that album, and didn’t get the traction it deserved in my opinion. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me being finicky with my music listening. It doesn’t look like he has recorded an album for quite some time, but to my understanding he still performs.
Artist: Percy Faith
Genre: Movie Scores
Ok, ok, I know this post will most likely put a lot of my young readers to sleep. 🤣 However, the whole point of building this blog is to share with you all kinds of music history, and not just one type. Remember I love all kinds of music. One thing for sure, my eclectic tastes will surely have my readers discovering all kinds of interesting & historic music!
Percy Faith Was One Of The Most Prolific Composers Of His Time!
When it comes to instrumental music, there are very few composers that I literally fall head over heels for. The late Percy Faith was one of those few. Percy was like a significant step up from composers like Lawrence Welk back then. I’m not sure if I can really explain what made Percy unique other than, I guess his music had more personality in comparison to other well known composers at the time. In fact, a lot of his work crossed over into popular music categories.
Percy has made outstanding movie scores, as well as a ton of instrumental cover versions of many well known songs. But I think my ultimate favorite is “A Summer’s Place.” I believe this was a cover to Andy Williams’s original “A Summer’s Place” in 1962 (if I’m correct). Although I like Andy Williams music too, but, in this case, I do prefer Percy’s instrumental version. You can just imagine yourself being in a fancy ballroom listening to this piece.
He Was An Eccentric Composer!
Percy was also very eccentric. Music has changed so much across the board, and I really can’t think of anyone right now I could compare him to. All I can say in my opinion, he was a musical genius. I’m sure once being both a bandleader, and leading a full-on orchestra gave him the experience to try things we wouldn’t normally hear from the average composer. Checkout more of his covers made instrumental, maybe you’ve heard of some of them in a movie. Some of my favorites are “Romeo & Juliet,” “I Will Follow You,” “Tara’s Theme (which you may remember from the movie “Gone With The Wind),” “Sierra Madre,” “La Vie En Rose,” “Oye Como Va,” and lastly “Never On A Sunday.”
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!
Song: Get Up And Dance
The story of this group is so sad. This was a group that created a funky disco song that was so popular back in the day. Now, the group known as “Freedom,” is so obscure, I struggle to even find photos of them. Growing up as a child, I remember “Get Up And Dance,” being one of the most favorite barbecue dance music in the Black community.
Caleb Tyrone Armstrong and Ray Smith Formed Their Group “Freedom.”
Caleb Tyrone Armstrong and Ray Smith met in college. Their friendship grew until eventually they decided to form “Freedom.” As with many famous artist, they started their career singing gospel until eventually they turned secular. When they finally got their record deal, “Get Up And Dance” was the first song off their first album in 1979. I’m unsure of the name of their first album tho.
Sadly, and tragically, by the time the group released their third album called “Changes Of Time,” in 1981, the lead singer, Joe Leslie, was killed. Shortly after Joe’s death, the group began to split apart. Unfortunately, I couldn’t obtain the numbers for all three albums. However, today’s feature album “The Best Of: Get Up And Dance,” supposedly has their best music. So far, in addition to “Get Up And Dance,” I also like “All For You,” and I think “Set You Free,” is nice also (has an Earth Wind & Fire style to it). These were great performers, stunned by a major tragedy.
Song: Touch Me In The Morning
Artist: Marlena Shaw
Album: Go Away Little Boy (1977)
Now, I don’t mean to offend any Marlena Shaw fans out there, but her music really didn’t lit my fire back in the day. It wasn’t because I thought she couldn’t sing, she had an amazing voice. I guess it was one of those things I believed she was singing the wrong music for her type of voice (again, just my opinion). However, I do acknowledge she did some really, really good cover songs throughout her career.
She Did A Lot Of Talkin’ In Her Music
Marlena is one of those performers that did a lot of talking in her music. She kind of reminded me of artists similar to Linda Clifford (in that respect). As far as my memory goes, I think some of her best covers came from the disco genre. Her cover of Diana Ross’s “Touch Me In The Morning,” was awesome in my opinion. I don’t have access to the numbers, but I know that it was pretty big on the dance charts. I think this cover matched with her voice perfectly. It’s not easy turning a song (that was originally slow paced) into a disco hit.
Now, she did another cover of a song I thought was originally by Angela Bofill (1978), ’cause that’s who I heard my grandpa play a lot growing up. But it turns out that it was originally sung by legendary Martha Reeves (1975). The cover song Marlena sung was called “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter (1976),” from her “Just A Matter Of Time,” album. I love all three versions of the song. But, honestly guys…. This is such a beautiful song, unless you have a voice of a freakin’ frog, I think it’s pretty hard to mess up this song. For real 🤣. You know what? While I’m on the same album, check out her song “Brass Band,” it has a really nice smooth jazzy, disco beat to hit.
Song: At Seventeen
Artist: Janis Ian
Album: Between The Lines (1975)
Genre: Folk Music
I guess I can safely say that anyone under 30 years of age either don’t remember Janis Ian, or just never heard of her before. It’s understandable, because today I think that most people around the globe barely listens to folk music anymore. And by the way, I don’t think it’s because people now see folk music as “boring,” or not enjoyable anymore. My personal opinion is that a significant amount of folk music from the 60s & 70s were very political, and it was from an era that most people can no longer relate to, or the lyrics are no longer applicable to the average person’s life anymore (I guess).
In 1975, Ian Crushed The Charts With Her Only One Top 10 Hit
“I learned the truth at seventeen,” was the first lyric sung that pretty much said it all!! Ian’s hit “At Seventeen,” was a very special song in my opinion because it was a song of re-contemplation, perhaps re-assessment of who you are. The blend of mellow music and meaningful lyrics sort of forced one to re-evaluate yourself. The song was appropriately titled “At Seventeen,” because all the lyrics described what I think almost every child has gone through at least one in their life. Particularly young girls. The question of beauty. Being physically worthy of having a relationship. Wondering if whether or not one can even compete in the harsh world perfectionism and good looks.
I also believed that the song hit #3 on the Top 100 Chart, because young people resonated with those lyrics. Speaking from experience, teenage social issues were emotionally heavy stuff in my era. And if you didn’t have the kind of parents with the kind of grace necessary to help you through some of those teenage issues, you become a basket case as an adult. Maybe if you read her lyrics you’ll understand what I mean. She also had a song that almost made Top 10 called “Society’s Child (Baby I’ve Been Thinking),” it only got as far up as the #14th position. I think Ian will only be most remembered for “At Seventeen.” It’s a shame because her first album “Between The Lines” was really an amazing album I think.