Black Music Tribute-Blue Eyed Soul

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Hi Readers,

Thanks for joining me again as we continue our tribute to Black music.

As a 42 year old woman with a southern heritage, Blues was the dominant genre that appealed to my fellow Mississippians-especially the older adults.

However, classic 70’s Soul was the music that fed me spiritually.

Forgive me; I know I must sound like a broken record because I have waxed poetically about my love of this genre of music along with some of the most esteemed soul singers.

While I love and will continue to honor and praise iconic African American R&B legends, I want to give credit to white singers who made (and continue to make) valuable contributions to Soul music.

That something in R&B which sets your soul on fire has the power to transcend race as evidenced by the vast number of white Soul artists past and present.

Readers…….

I remember many warm days rocking to the soulful grooves of Ms. Teena Marie.

The Original Blue Eyed Soul Sister!!!!!!!!!!

Fire and Desire………

That is what she conjured up in a listener’s mind when she paired with funk superstar Rick James.

I especially love Ooh La La La.

It’s the way that you feel when you know it’s real.

She sang this song on Soul train and really rocked the place. I swear, fans and critics alike would have been forgiven for mistaking or believing Teena was a real sistah-just on the light side.

To me she is a true blue soul sister!!!!

RIP Teena.

Some of my Teena Favorites

Ooh La La La

Portuguese Love

If I were a Bell

Deja Vu: I ‘ve Been Here Before

Lisa Stansfield-Incomparable, Peerless, a true original!!!!!

I was 18 or 19 the first time I heard Lisa.

Oh yeah, as I said, I am 42.

Not showing my or Lisa’s age.

Just showing how timeless she is.

Anyway, I remember going to the store and requesting Been around the world by a singer named Lisa Stansfield. Her record had been receiving serious airplay on Black radio.

Well, imagine my surprise when I saw that she was White!!!

But hey, please believe that didn’t stop me from driving everyone around me crazy because I played that song to death….

Assuming that she was a one hit wonder or just sang one soulful song on an album composed of less stellar hits, I was pleasantly surprised when she consistently had one hit after another that topped the Black charts!!!

I’m All Woman

Been Around the World

Change

The Longer We Make Love with Barry White

This is the Right Time

Her pairing with Barry White on The Longer We Make Love is one of those classic soul ballads that generates a sizzling sexuality-definitely grownup music!!!!!!

Simply Red……

For some reason, I remember very well the lead singer’s fiery red hair.

Irish..

Soul with an accent….

The Politics of Soul…

The American Black….

The Oppressed Irish….

Could this be why the group’s signature sound so resonated with me and the R&B audience?

Their remake of Harold Melvin and the Blue note’s If you don’t know me by now transports the blues tradition of a man’s frustration with the breakup of a lifelong love affair into another culture-thereby making R&B universal.

Boz Skaggs

For the longest darn time I always thought Boz was a Black dude.

Only in recent years that I discovered that he was White!!!!

Boz and that Dirty Low down.

Listening to Boz singing that Dirty Low Down is an experience akin to listening to Johnny Taylor.

Yes, that is how delightful he is to listen to.

Boz can also rock that guitar to accompany his soulful voice.

That guitar. That is the most memorable aspect of this song.

This recording is meant to be rocked in those blues clubs that dot the southern landscape as well as the urban North.

Dirty Lowdown is one of those magical 70’s throwbacks that sound as if it was just recorded.

Billy Vera….

He came into my consciousness as a teenager.

It was on an episode of Family Ties.

It was the episode when Michael J. Fox’s character breaks up with his girlfriend.

Vera’s song At This Moment underscored the pain and sadness of this breakup.

I was left breathless when I first heard the song.

No kidding, the song played in my head continuously.

I could not shut off the play button.

Like Skagg’s Dirty Lowdown, At this moment is still relevant to Black music and audiences.

Michael McDonald…..

With this artist Soul really does not recognize color.

Let’s see…

His teaming with Patti Labelle on On my own was and still is a hit.

For me McDonald’s legacy in the Black music tradition was solidified with his duet with James Ingram on the hit Yamo be there.

Slang for I am going to be there.

Michael serves notice that not only can he rhythmically sing Black, but can talk in the Black tradition!!!!

A tribute to Blue Eyed Soul singers would not be complete without legends Hall and Oates.

What I love most about Hall and Oates is their ability to combine R&B/Soul with Rock.

This unique combination made that old school Soul sound more appealing to a contemporary generation.

In turn it made rock (with a softer edge) appealing to a whole new generation also.

The result was magnetic for the MTV generation!!!!!

Hall and Oates is still one of my favorite Rock-N- Soul Groups of all times….

The Bee Gees

Soul with an Australian accent!!!

Some of my favorite Bee Gees hits….

Emotions

More than a woman

How deep is your love?

This group brilliantly captured that distinct 70’s style with a mix of psychedelic and disco.

In all honestly, some of the songs by White singers trying to capitalize on the brief popularity of Disco sounds contrived and diluted.

Not so however with the Bee Gees.

Their late 70’s and early 80’s songs are still worthy of emulation on the Black charts and Black radio today.

Thanks readers for another nostalgic trip as we play tribute to Black music.

Join me later when we honor 70’s R&B Divas.

Until next time……

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“Sir” Isaac

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Last night I saw a broadcast on TV One about Isaac Hayes.

For me, Isaac represents the real deal of what Soul is in America.

The show Unsung is interesting because it highlights Black musicians who are unsung or under appreciated.

I never felt that Isaac was unsung.

In fact, he was one of those rare Black singers who I felt never abandoned their roots.

His earlier hits with Stax music had that gritty deep soul sound tinged with gospel.

You can almost feel the soles of your feet burning under the hot Tennessee sun.

You can also feel the pain in your back as a result of long hours spent bending over picking cotton.

Instead of distance which sometimes comes as a result of fame, I felt that he was very accessible.

I can just as easily picture him hailing from my small town in Mississippi in the heart of the Delta.

His soulful tunes had a religious feel to it.

I especially loved his ability to take a pop tune and turn it into a soulful ballad such as Never Can Say Goodbye in which the Jackson 5 covered and Walk on by originally by Dionne Warwick.

Whew!!!!!

Out of Sight!!!!!

If I had to pick a favorite Isaac Hayes tune it would be By the time I get to Phoenix.

Isaac was a sex symbol before the whole bald and black phenomenon that seemed to grip Urban Black America circa the 1990’s.

That deep baritone voice had a lot to do with his raw sexuality also.

In the era in which Black pride was taking hold in the psyche of African Americans, no doubt Isaac was the image of Black Pride come to life.

This was especially so when he assumed the persona of Black Moses.

And those chains?

They added to his image of the Black fierce warrior!!

He soared even higher into the Black stratosphere with Shaft-the sound track of the Blaxploitation hoopla!!!

I was very proud when he later collaborated with Barry White on the single Dark and Lovely where they paid homage to African American women.

Isaac never lost his charisma even on his last project-the movie Soul Men.

Slightly older, we had a chance to see this legend still bringing his A game.

And like a true native son, he made his transition in the state of his birth that spawned a wealth of other soul greats.

We still love you Isaac!!!!

Until next time….

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Marvin Gaye Live!

Marvin Gaye Live! (Photo credit: thejcgerm)

I consider myself an avid music lover although there are some genres that I prefer over others.

For me music is a very heart felt passion. More than any other human activity, music is the one that has sustained me in all facets of my life.

That being said, Soul music has been my life line. And, the ultimate purveyor of Soul to me is the late, great, legendary troubled man himself-Marvin Gaye!!!!

Marvin first worked his way into my consciousness on a Soul Train broadcast. I remember it clearly. He was accompanied by his young daughter Nona Gaye. She introduced him and he sang perhaps his signature hit-“Distant Lover”.

Needless to say, I was hooked. I think at that moment I became a Marvin Gaye fan for life.

Please know dear readers that fan is short for fanatical. Believe me, when it comes to Marvin, that is exactly what I am!!!

Through the years I have become the unofficial expert on all things Marvin. I can probably chronicle his entire discography.

For me the most compelling and fascinating aspects about Marvin transcends his music.

I absolutely love the way he was able to channel his painful life experiences into his music. I have always had a deep empathy for the outsider or underdog. Without a doubt, Marvin was the ultimate underdog.

I think he really came into his own in the early 1970’s after his masterpiece What’s Going On. No matter how many times I listen to a song on this album or the entire suite of songs, I am overtaken by what can only be described as a near religious experience.

“Mercy Mercy Me” brings out the activist in me.

In “What’s Happenin Brother” I can preach on the realities of the returning Black soldier to a world in disarray.

Whenever listen to “Flying High in the Friendly Sky” I experience a symbolic narcotized high.

Marvin’s musical compilations have the power to take the listener through the entire gamut of human emotions. Through his music I have experienced every one of them.

How can you not be seductively hypnotized by “Let’s Get It On”? Especially with this line-“If the spirit moves you let me groove you let your love come down”.

Ooooh, please don’t forget the I want You album. He took the art of seduction, foreplay and copulation to another level.

Marvin’s most unsuccessfully commercial album is my all-time favorite. Here My Dear was originally conceived as a ploy in order for Marvin to pay his then wife Anna Gordy back alimony. He originally planned to purposely record a substandard album. However, the resultant album was a stunning musical autobiography of love lost and found.

As well noted Marvin was a chronic drug abuser for more than half of his life. Conventional wisdom states that drug use is a form of self-medicating in order to deal with emotional pain and scars.

With this in mind, I remember one of his last arrangements on a post Motown era album. It was a cut titled “It’s Madness”.

The lyrics….

World, I’m not the same. I can’t remember my name half the time. I took a walk, I thought I’d get some air but was really not aware of what I said or what I did.

I never see the dark of night or the light of day. I took a walk into the park and never saw the children play. Everything I see is a crazy kind of mystery to me I’m flirting with the mother of insanity Oh, babe, where is my mind?

Since you left me it’s been hard to find. Oh where, where is my mind? It started to rain, and I felt insane
But one thing’s for sure It’s going to rain forever more until you come back to me Please, baby

World, I’m not the same I go somewhere and can’t remember how I came I’m completely turned around, lost in space It’s your face I see constantly
I never know from right or wrong, or anything I’m like a desperate man, see me try to cling to the only other parts you’ve left to me I’m flirting, I’m flirting with insanity

Oh, bring back my mind since you left me, honey I can’t find it Ooh, honey, bring back my mind
Oh, I’m slipping’ away more and more every day. Please release my soul give me back control of my mind. Only you can save me!!!!

On a greatest hits album of Marvin’s work, a critic who was a personal friend reminisced that he was very sadden by Marvin’s passing but then realized that Marvin will live forever through his music. He concluded that listening to Marvin’s music was very cathartic and totally eliminated the need to seek conventional therapy.

On that I am inclined to agree.

Sorry beloved reader for the long post, but waxing poetic about this musical Soul legend is one of my favorite pastimes.

I hope it is a joy for you to read as it has been a joy for me to write!

Marvin Gaye – “What’s Goin On?” (antoniosiqueira711.wordpress.com)

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