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: She Don’t Know Me
Genre: Pop Music
Ok guys…. I know… I know… I’m probably came late to the party! But, I literally just found out about this song about 2 weeks ago. Now, I acknowledge that my more older readers probably may not connect with this song. However, to those of us who are a little more flexible with their music tastes, particularly the dance genre, I think it’s a great song to check out.
Doesn’t Appear His Music Reached The Billboards Yet
You know, I don’t know if my readers can agree with me or not, but I really think he’s the “new aged blue eyed soul,” for this generation! This young man has some real vocal skills in my opinion. He enunciate every word exactly to each fast paced beat. Not too many people who can do that. Despite this particular song hit almost 1.5 million plays, and being a certified hit, the song has not hit anywhere on the Billboard Chart. Having said that, I also discovered that he still isn’t signed to any label yet, which could explain why his music didn’t reach Billboard status.
But that doesn’t mean that he’s not being talked about around the internet. Despite being around since 2016? Give or take? I can’t seem to find any full albums. But you know what also? In my research, I discovered something I never knew before. Did you know that there’s a such thing as “The Unsigned Awards?” Yes, in 2016 he won an Unsigned Award! That is so inspiring. How wonderful that an organization recognizes talent not in mainstream media. I haven’t found any awards ceremonies since 2018, I do hope they’re continuing with the project. Mullally doesn’t appear to have made any full albums. He has about 4 releases on Spotify.
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.
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: Grooving Out On Life
Artist: Hopeton Lewis
Album: Grooving Out Of Life (1973)
Genre: Sweetest Reggae
Actually, this entire album is an extremely rare gem. I doubt a whole lot of people have this album, and that includes myself. I’m sorry to discover that Mr. Lewis passed away not too long ago. He was truly a sweet reggae legend in my opinion. I first written about him on my old blog a few years ago. You may remember the late Mr. Lewis by one of his hit songs used in a travel commercial (don’t remember what company), the song was called “Take It Easy (1967).” Man, that tune was so catchy, it was stuck in my head for awhile. LOL Something interesting, I discovered that there are two different versions of “Take It Easy.” This album has a much mellower version. I personally prefer the faster one, which was used in the commercial.
This Album Is A Must Add To Your Streaming Library!
Today’s song “Grooving Out Of Life,” for some reason reminds me a lot of a song called “Girl Watcher (1968),” performed by The O’Kaysions. Remember that song? That was some great music too. Not sure what notes exactly reminds me of the song. Anyway, “Grooving Out Of Life” did not get that many plays. However, it makes sense, since reggae was not huge at the time in America. Shit, even with the major success of Bob Marley, reggae still didn’t scratch the surface (in my opinion). But, “Grooving Out Of Life” is an awesome song in my opinion, an unheard gem indeed!
Lewis had some very nice covers on this album. I think it’s worth listening to his cover of Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.” Although Tina had many people cover this song, I don’t recall ever hearing a reggae version. Lewis took me off guard with his rendition, but I think it sounds really good. Another cover I think is worth listening to is Express Yourself, which was originally done by Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. The last cover I think you should listen to is “Love Is A Beautiful Thing.” I don’t remember the original group that sang this, but my earliest memories was a group called The Rascals. Lewis performed it nicely. This could have been a huge Motown like hit if America was more receptive to reggae artists back then.