Have you guys ever heard of the late LaVern Baker? Woooweee! I love her vocals! In a way, she reminds me a lot of Etta James, in that she was feisty when she sang. Or perhaps if she was a gospel singer, she would sound closer to someone like Shirley Caesar. Most definitely, LaVern was not scared of the microphone. When the mic was in her possession, she meant business.
LaVern was born in 1929. The moment she opened her mouth as a child, “that’s all she wrote,” as my elders used to say. Long story short, she eventually signed on to Atlantic Records, and then history was born. She was one of the many artists responsible for showcasing the original R&B music. I’m dumbfounded to find out that she only had one top ten hit in her career. That was a song called “I cried A Tear (1959).” But unfortunately, I have to tell ya, this wasn’t my favorite. My favorite is actually a song called “Love Me Right (1960).” It looks like the song didn’t even make the charts at all. But you know, I thought to myself, maybe this makes sense, as technically this song was very raunchy for those days 😂. I recommend that you try to research her music.
Let me tell you guys something. You couldn’t mess with Martha Reeves and The Vandellas! They were one of the hottest girl groups at the time (next to the Supremes). This amazing girl group started around 1957. What I didn’t realize was that the group was first called “The Vandellas,” and Martha Reeves was not included in the group until a few years later. Eventually she ended up lead singer.
These legendary Motown girls had many classic hits we all know and love. Songs like “Dancing In The Streets (1964),” “Heatwave (1963),” “Nowhere To Run (1966),” and of course we all know “Jimmy Mack (1967).”
But There Is A Forgotten Song You Need To Hear!
There is an outstanding song that Martha performed with the Vandellas called “Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things) (1966).” Martha ripped this song to shreds! This song gave me a whole new respect for Martha as a singer. Unfortunately, the song only hit #70 on the Top 100 Chart, and only #22 on the R&B Chart. Are you kidding me? This song was amazing! My opinion is that compared to all their other songs, this should have been on at least the top 10 list.Shop for Makeup at FragranceNet.com…Low Prices Plus Free Shipping Over $59
Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces is an extremely rare band. In fact, at this point I’m sure most classic music enthusiast would consider this group obscure. If you’re lucky enough to find any of their physical songs/vinyl, it would most likely be on a compilation (and I do mean IF). However, a UK label called Jazzman Records, released a compilation of their most popular hits for digital streaming, and luckily Spotify has it.
Most, if not all the original band members, including their bandleader Bobby Moore are now deceased. Despite the band’s music not being played at all on mainstream radio or internet streaming, I was please to find that the band still exists and performing. Now that’s what I call longevity! To be honest, I am unclear as to just how many albums they’ve produced, because so little is written about them. But what I can say is that they’ve had one major hit on the R&B Category.
One Major Billboard Hit!
The band’s song “Searching For My Baby,” released in 1966, peaked at #7 on the R&B Charts! Now, I know for a fact this was a popular hit, because I remember hearing this a lot on the radio when I was still just a baby. This very short, 2+ minute song has a groovy rhythm and kicking bass.
The band formed in 1952, and performed a variety of music. I believe they started playing mostly New Orleans style music. Listen to their version of “Cheek To Cheek,” with then bandleader Max Collie. I’ve heard the do some crazy sweet reggae music too. Check out “Return Of The Bullet,” with Rico Rodriquez. Eventually they progressed to performing funk, rock, until finally mostly soul music. I’d like you to check out one last song I think you’ll enjoy. It’s called “What Is That You Got?” This is an amazing song! Lots of rhythm to groove with!10% off your purchase with code LNK10. Excludes clearance.
“If I Ruled The World (1968),” was brilliantly performed and recorded by James Brown and his long-time band, The Famous Flames. The beautiful song was composed by Leslie Bricusse and Cyril Ornadel. The song was originally from a Broadway musical, turned TV movie called “Pickwick (1969).” I guess no one saw it, because IMDB has zero ratings!
James Really Poured His Heart
Many artists performed this song throughout the years. However, with the exception of Stevie Wonder, in my opinion, I don’t think there were any vocal artist that performed this song as well as James Brown. James really poured his heart in to this song. When I think of James’s tireless contribution to the civil rights movement, and I listen to him sing this song, be it live or in a recording, I know he meant every word sung in this song.
Both Black & Whites Owed James Thanks
If I’m not mistaken, I think “Living In America (1986)” was James’s last hit song before he died. The song shot up to #4 on the Top 100 Charts. I remembered seeing that live performance on TV. I’m thinking to myself; everyone is watching a great old performer that “still got it.” Or maybe you’ve made fun of him like many people did when his incarceration photo showed up all over the internet. But few people knew that if it were not for James Brown, we could have had a blood massacre the world has never seen!
James Brown Prevented A Blood Massacre
“What Do You Mean, When You Say Blood Massacre?” Well, I’m glad you’ve asked! In 1968, the same year “If I Ruled The World” was released. Martin Luther King was assassinated. Also keep in mind that this is now 50 years after the fact, which from my perspective was not long ago. When MLK was assassinated, 100s of cities turned to rioting. Neighborhoods were destroyed and many casualties. Despite the cries for a peaceful protest by the late MLK’s colleagues, it went on deaf ears.
It Was James’s Love For His People
James Pleaded with the Black community to stop the rioting. More and more people were getting hurt, killed, and communities were being destroyed by their own. Our then, 36th president, Lyndon B. Johnson, called a state of emergency, and ordered armed guards throughout the city to try and take control in order to reduce the violence. Long story short, James held an unforgettable concert performance in Boston. The concert was so powerful and moving, it literally shifted the mindset of the Black community. Now, this is not to say other Black leaders were not, or could not do anything; but James’s music and presence was a very very powerful influence.
Wow! When Ray, Goodman, & Brown (formally known as The Moments) came out with this slow jam right here, I couldn’t stop listening to it. I remembered hearing this song all the time on the radio, especially stations like Lite FM. This song was so popular, I don’t know how many times I used to wake up with this song already playing on the radio. “Special Lady,” released in 1980 was #1 on the R&B Charts, and #5 on the Top 100 Charts. The Moments where best known for songs like “Love On A Two Way Street,” and “Sexy Mama.” Almost all the original members of The Moments have past on, including Al Goodman recently in 2012 @ the age of 67. Larry Winfree steps in place of Goodman. One of the last legends of the era of good music!
Tommie Young is another one of many forgotten soul artists in the industry. Damn! Even today, when I listen to er voice, I would have sworn to you, all up and down that this was Aretha Franklin. Other than Aretha’s sister, Erma Franklin, I can’t remember hearing anyone that sounded so much like Aretha. Tommie, now in her 70’s, performed at a time when soul music was REAL soul music. I mean, it was soul because artists actually wrote more of their own songs from personal experience. Back then, artists didn’t need an arsenal of people to write one song, to a single artists, who can’t relate to what they were singing about. “Do You Still Feel The Same Way,” was not a chart topper, and it should have been. The song only peaked at #28, and this woman tore this song to shreds in my humble opinion. Also, on this same album, check out “Hit and Run Lover.” It’s a pretty decent album I think.
Damn, Chuck Jackson was gorgeous when he was young, wasn’t he? It’s unfortunate that Chuck never had a number one hit (according to what I was able to find on Billboard). However, the one song I remember hearing all over the radio growing up (even though I wasn’t born yet, it was still popular long after its release, I still heard it a lot on the radio, and my grandpa used to play it a lot too), it was called “Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird),” released in 1962. The song only peaked at #23, but it still was a very, very popular song, and it has remained one of my favorites all these years. It’s a beautiful song, asking the one he loves not to leave him in the form of a poem. This music I would put in the category of true soul music! Hardly anybody knows about this kind of music, unfortunately.