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Monday, June 29, 2009

BET Synonym for Black Embarrassing Trash

Okay. I did it! I took a sneak peek at the BET awards via YouTube. Of course, I regretted it right away. What the heck, was that supposed to be?
Witnessing Beyonce's mutilating the [i]Ave Maria[i] made me wanna strangle her. She has a pleasant enough voice, but she should leave any remotely (vocally) challenging material alone.
I must say, though, she looked gorgeous in her corsette and with well compressed thighs. But -- they should have hired Susan Boyle to sing the Ave Maria. Beyonce is capable of putting as much emotion into her songs as my washer into its swish-swashs.
The highlight of the (three) clips I tried very hard to watch from beginning to end -- to no avail -- was -- I didn't believe my eyes: Bobbie Brown! Does he really think it is possible to turn back the hands of time? His appearance was embarrassing. No more, no less.

Okay: Here's my (absolutely unimportant but) heartfelt rating of the three clips I've seen:

(out of 5) Please add the one at the beginning of the post!

It not only hurt my eyes to see some old guys pretending they are teens again, but it also hurt my ears to listen to such bad singing. Do they really have to make clowns of themselves? That's how icons destroy their legacy ...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

No new posts until Monday

Since Michael Jackson posts are to be found everywhere in the blogger world, and I decided not to add another one, I will resume regular posting from Monday on.

Until then, I keep quiet in honor of one of the greatest entertainers ever.


Does the road wind uphill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labor you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yes, beds for all who come.

Christina Rosetti (1830 - 1894)


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gone For Ever: Michael Jackson dead at age 50

I just heard it on the radio. Michael Jackson is dead. He was found at home unresponsive and according to EMS he was not breathing when they arrived despite resuscitation attempts. He died at a hospital in Los Angeles.

Rest in peace, Michael! You'll always be the icon of perfect entertainment.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Benny Johnson Album: "Visions of Paradise"

I couldn't find any info on Benny Johnson, and I would appreciate any input whatsoever. So, if there's someone out there who knows what happened to Benny Johnson or what he's doing nowadays, please let me know! (I doubt, however, that the visitors of this blog actually will say something someday! I'll keep hoping, though.)

Anyway ... Benny Johnson's voice reminds me of Bill Brandon's and on some tracks, he sounds a little like Al Green. Nevertheless, he definitely is an accomplished vocalist who knows how to use his own, very soulful voice without trying to imitate other singers.

Benny's Album, Visions of Paradise, from which today's two cuts are taken, originally was released in 1973. I like all the tracks on the album -- but I really love Give It Up, Please Come Back, Absolutely, Positively, Baby and the title track Visions of Paradise.

This album should have been a huge seller!

Mehr Blues -- bitteschoen!

Mein Howlin' Wolf post gestern in meinem Soul Blog hat mich natuerlich total auf Blues eingestimmt. Diese Stimme ist einfach so gewalting, dass sie einen nicht mehr loslaesst, hat man sie erst einmal gehoert. Beim Rumstoebern auf YouTube fand ich diesen Trailer des Films Cadillac Records, den ich sehr interessant finde. Ob Wolf wirklich so war? Eins ist sicher: fuer mich war er mit Abstand der beste Bluesmann -- ever!

Bill Brandon: "Just Can't Walk Away", "Can't We Just Sit Down And Talk"

Ich habe vor einiger Zeit schon einmal ueber Bill Brandon berichtet und dachte eigentlich, dass ich nichts mehr an Material von ihm aufstoebern koennte. Doch siehe da! Bei meinen zahllosen Streunausfluegen ins www bin ich auf eine weitere CD des Kuenstlers gestossen.

Ich muss jedoch gestehen, dass ich nicht so recht weiss, was ich davon halten soll, dass diese CD bei fuer den stolzen Preis von $148 angeboten wird. Es bricht mir das Herz, dass Bill Brandons Karriere nie von Erfolg gekroent war -- so viel ich weiss, endete seine Laufbahn als Wirt -- und nun wird seine Musik zu solchen Preisen verkauft. Traurig. Wirklich traurig.

Ich hoffe aber, dass meine Blogleser sein Talent zu schaetzen wissen und seinen songs mit der gleichen Liebe fuer gutes Singen zuhoeren wie ich das tue. Can't We Just Sit Down And Talk ist ganz einfach wunderschoen: ausgewogenes Arrangement und perfekter Gesang. Dieser Titel hat bereits seinen festen Platz unter meinen Lieblingssongs.

Die beiden Titel stammen von Bill Brandon einer Import CD aus dem Jahre 1977.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Some Blues on Monday: Howlin' Wolf

Sometimes the best way to chase away the Monday Blues is listening to some real great Blues. And who do you think could accomplish the task better than anyone else?
Howlin' Wolf, of course. It's got to be Howlin' Wolf ...

"Uho the train I ride on ... " Smokestack Lightning (1964) Howlin' Wolf

Meet Me In The Bottom

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Reggae Sunday!

Let's All Reggae!

Dirty Streets -- The Paragons
Bla Bla Bla -- Toots & The Maytals
Peace -- I-Roy
Theme From Shaft -- The Chosen Few

Friday, June 19, 2009

Carl Hall: "You Don't Know Nothing About Love", "Change With The Seasons"

Every so often I find an artist without a history, so to speak. Carl Hall is one of them; there is virtuually no information on him available. He is nevertheless a remarkable singer, reminding me of O. V. Wright: same pitch, same intensity.
Carl Hall is said to have begun his singing career with the gospel group The Raspberry Singers. He also has been a theater actor and appeared in diverse Broadway shows. He recorded both with The Raspberry Singers and as a soloist. Nowadays his solo material is experiencing an increased demand by collectors.
If anyone out there knows a little more about Carl Hall, please let me know, and I'll be happy to spread the word. A singer like Carl Hall deserves more attention -- no matter how long overdue it may be.

You Don't Know Nothing About Love

Change With The Seasons (correctly linked now) 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jimmy Castor

"Jimmy Castor," according to his biography is not only a "singer, songwriter, saxophonist, percussionist," but also a "producer, arranger and humorist."So, what do you think? Does he deserve his nickname, The Everything Man?

On top of it, he was that kind of kid who wrote "I Promise To Remember," a million seller for Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, before having even finished junior high school! I think we're dealing with a typical "Wunderkind"case here.

This short clip of a presentation of Troglodyte is simply hilarious!
Some scientific studies claim that Troglodytes are an extinct species -- but a recently conducted field research study by FLAT (Foundation of Ladies Against Troglodytes) clearly proves that they're still very active. So, girls be careful!

The Jimmy Castor Bunch song most of us remember best probably is Bertha Butt Boogie. Goodness -- I never had a butt worth mentioning, but I was definitely boogying to that song ...
A softer side of the master reveals itself in One Precious Word. Who would have expected something like that from Jimmy?

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Bag o' Eddies

While I was looking for some Eddie Kendricks tracks today, I noticed that there were quite a few singers with that first name in my playlist, and I thought a bag o' Eddies should do for a mid-June Monday in Texas. It's going to be hot, hot and hot again today ... so I'll take the lazy way out!

Eddie Kendricks -- Any Day Now
Eddie Lovette -- Stuck On You
Eddie Gray -- Someone Who Cares
Eddie and Ernie --Time Waits For No One
Eddie Floyd -- Consider Me
Eddie Holman -- It's Over

Sunday, June 14, 2009

In Memory of Birgit

Three years ago, today, my sister died on her 55th birthday. This post is in her memory.
Rest in peace!
Memories - The Temptations
Memories Don't Leave Like People Do - Johnny Bristol
Please Remember Me - David Sea
And I Remember Your Face - The Softones
Crying - Rose Royce
The Dead
These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
Washed marvelously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset, and the colors of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved, gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this ended.
There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
Frost, with a gesture, stays the winds that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night.
Rupert Brooke (1887 - 1915)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Back When Singers Were Still Singing: Freddie North

Nashville vocalist Freddie North was a prolific disc jockey on WLAC during the years that it was a premier R&B radio station. North also worked in sales and promotion for Nashboro Records, a prominent gospel label. He moved into the performing end in 1971, cutting some singles for Mankind. "She's All I Got" was a Top 10 hit in 1971, while the follow-up, "You And Me Together Forever," made it to #26. (allmusic)

Since there is not much written material about Freddie available, I'll stick to posting his songs. The man had a marvelous voice!

The Hurt
You And Me Together
My Whole World Ended (David Ruffin's version may be better known)
Cuss The Wind

Friday, June 12, 2009

Temptations Friday

I always loved the American anthem. Just because it is a beautiful piece of music. But sung by The Tempts, it turns into a piece of glory itself. Only one note on the side: the guy (whatever his name is), who is chewing his gum like a grazing cow while listening, deserves a kick in the butt!

If there's one song that may be considered representing The Temptations' music, it is My Girl. I cherish this version of the hit because it is the most authentic version I've seen/heard so far. Sing David! Singgggggggg!

Here comes Eddie, the man with the soul-warming falsetto voice.

Elegant as a group can be! Dancing, singing -- everything with style and class.

Of all the various groupings that constituted what I call the "post real Temptations" Temptations this one was an outstanding formation. Having a lead singer like Ali-Ollie Woodson was the best thing that happened to Otis Williams (co-founder and sole surving member of the original Temptations.)

Enjoy a very temptationing Friday!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Trains ...

Hubby and I are planning our trip to Germany later this year, and I was talking to my cousin in Munich about taking a train to visit her and the family. Of course, that conversation ended up being yet another inspiration for a post!
First song that came to my mind was Riding On A Train by The Pasadenas. Some how that song captures my excitement about the trip. Lots of friends waiting, good German food -- and wine of course, too.
I'm counting the days already!

Love Train, The O'Jays
This Train, Bob Marley and The Wailers
Steam Train, Lee Fields
Put On Train (What Comes Around), Gene Harris
Come On Train, Don Thomas

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ol' Raggedy's Expedition Into the 90's: Solo

The music I am posting today is not from the 60' or 70's. In fact, it's not even from the 80's! Don't let that scare you away, though. The songs may be from an album made in 1995 -- but the group could be straight from the 60's.
Of course, I didn't stick my neck out of my nice and cozy 70's corner to find these guys just because. Nope. It was ((Sawyer)) again, who made me curious. He sent me a video clip by Solo, the group I'm talking about.
These guys re-instituted the art of harmonizing (I talked about it in my Tavares post). The lead voice is reminiscent of Sam Cooke's, I think, and the music is a far cry from the usually horrible synthesized sound of the 80's and 90's. In short -- listening to Solo is a delight!

If you can, get their 1995 album Solo. It'll be a worthy addition to any soul collection. The group really showcases some fine acapella work on that album.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tavares: "Don't Take Away The Music", "Let Me Heal The Bruises", "I Wanna See You Soon"

Tavares does not sound like a group from New Bedford, Mass. Do they? They've got the golden sound of California or maybe Florida (or sunny Texas?) all over them. The 5 Brothers are best known for their heavily Disco flavored hits of the late 70's, especially the 76 smash hits Don't Take Away The Music and Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel. What made the group great was their flawless singing, though. Anyone else could have sung these tunes, hitting the charts. But what makes these hits so special are these unforgettable voices that blend to the exciting sound so typical for Tavares.
Anyone who can manage to listen to a Tavares song with a focus on the vocal arrangements instead of the music will agree with me. That's perfect singing. No less!
Let Me Heal The Bruises is a slow song with top notch background harmonizing whose melody is somewhat reminiscent of Feelings in my opinion. Another less often heard song by Tavares is My Love Calls from their Madam Butterfly album. Just listen to the background vocals ... I love them. Finally, Got To Find My Way Back To You is a prime example of a cheapy turned into something good by the singing alone. I mean that song is basically a boring clap-clap, stomp-stomp tune. If it weren't for the Tavares Bros. high carat singing, it wouldn't stay on my hard-drive longer than 45 seconds ... Wonderful, on the other hand, resides there -- backed up twice! On I Wanna See You Soon, they team up with another exceptional vocalist: Freda Payne.

Okay now, see for yourselves what these guys have to offer!

Monday, June 8, 2009

All Dos ... No Don'ts ...

Well -- Who could say "No" to Eartha Kitt's invitation to ... do it, and fall in love?

Do It Now, Bessie Banks
Let's Do It Again, Eddie Drennon & The BBS Unlimited
Let's Do It Again, The Staple Singers
Let's Do It Over, Joe Simon
Let's Do It (Before We Get Sleepy), Clarence Carter

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Emotions: "So I Can Love You," "Flowers", "Me For You"

Leider gibt es nur recht wenige live Schnitte dieser Gruppe aus den 70ern, und dieser clip ist zugegebenermassen schlecht. Dafuer ist aber die Lebensfreude und Energie, die Die Emotions ausstrahlen unumstritten und einzigartig finde ich. An diesem Video kann ich mich weder sattsehen noch -hoeren. Viel Spass!

Disko ohne die Emotions? Einfach undenkbar. Das duerfte wohl jedem klar sein, der diesen clip sieht. Die girls konnten singen. Deswegen mussten sie sich auch nicht ausziehen, um ueberhaupt auf eine Buehne gelassen zu werden. (Sorry. Ja -- das war ein Seitenhieb in Richtung Beyonce, Rihanna und ihresgleichen.) Wer den girls richtig zuschaut, der sieht, dass fuer sie singen ganz natuerlich war. Keine gekuenstelten Augenaufschlaege und verzweifelte Hueftakrobatik . Na ja. Das waren eben die Siebziger.

Okay. Die Emotions kamen aus Chicago und waren urspruenglich drei Schwestern der Hutchinson Familie. (Ueber die Jahre wechselte die Besetzung, kehrte aber am Ende zu ihrer Originalbesetzung zurueck.) Sie sangen (natuerlich) schon von Kindesbeinen an. Dafuer sorgte ihr ehrgeiziger Vater, der sie in den Gospelchoeren auftreten liess. Dass die drei damals die Hutchinson Sunbeams genannt wurden wundert mich nicht. Wie man in dem clip sieht, besitzen die Maedels auch noch als Erwachsene eine sonnige Ausstrahlung.

The Best of My Love war ihr groesster Hit. Er wurde von Earth, Wind and Fires Maurice White produziert und stand 1977 fuer 5 Wochen auf Platz 1 der U.S. pop charts.
Ihr erstes Album, dessen Titelsong So I Can Love You, geschrieben von Sheila Hutchinson, schaffte es zu einem ersten, wenn auch bescheidenen Single Hit. (Ich mag diesen Titel sehr.)
In Zusammenarbeit mit Earth, Wind and Fire kam Boogie Wonderland zustande, ein Titel, der es 1979 in die Top Ten schaffte. (Die Earth, Wind and Fire Beziehung sollte jedoch nicht rein professioneller Art bleiben; Jeannette Hutchinson hatte mit Philip Bailey einen Sohn, Pili.)

In den 80ern waren die Emotions fuer kurze Zeit bei Motown unter Vertrag. Davor wurden sie fuer Stax Records von dem Giganten Isaac Hayes produziert. 1976 kam unter Columbia Records ihr Album Flowers heraus, das es auf #5 in den R&B Charts schaffte.

Ein weiterer Emotions-Lieblingssong von mir ist Me For You, der durch und durch 70's ist.

Nachschlag: Natuerlich konnte ich nicht eher ruhen bis ich einen besseren clip des Trios gefunden hatte. Diese Aufnahme ist eine live Aufnahme eines Gospels bei der die drei Stimmen pur, wenn man es so nennen mag, zu hoeren sind. Einfach gut und voller emotions!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Birthdays Are Happy Days!

Today's my birthday -- and that's why I've picked some happy tunes by

The O'Jays,
The Trammps,
Billy Paul,
Earth Wind & Fire,
and my favorite French vocalist Mike Brant.

... persoenlich zum Geburtstagsstaendchen sind erschienen:

Mr. Bob Marley and the Wailers
Mr. David (mein David) Ruffin und die Temptations und
Mr. Johnny Taylor

... und zu fortgeschrittener Stunde tauchte auch noch Mr. Pickett auf!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Dells: "O-O I Love You", "My Pretending Days Are Over", "Stay In My Corner", "The Love We Had .."

Die Dells, von ihren Fans auch die Mighty Dells genannt, darf man als eine ungewoehnlich langlebige Gruppe ansehen. Sie sind schon seit mehr als 50 Jahren im Showgeschaeft, und das soll ihnen mal einer nachmachen.
Als sich die 5 high school Freunde aus Harvey, Illinois 1952 zusammentaten und die El-Rays gruendeten, konnten sie das aber noch nicht ahnen. Ihre erste Platte fuer Chess Records liess auch nicht darauf schliessen, denn die war ein Flop. Doch schon zwei Jahre spaeter -- nun unter dem Namen The Dells -- nahmen sie fuer VeeJay ihren ersten Hit auf: Oh What A Night. Der song war ein Riesenerfolg fuer die bislang wenig bekannte Gruppe und erreichte #3 in den R&B charts -- gleich hinter Elvis und Fats Domino.
Doch dann hiess es erst einmal kleine Broetchen backen und mit den grossen Acts auf Tour gehen. In den 60ern begleitete die Gruppe solche Groessen wie Dinah Washington und Ray Charles. In diesem Zeitraum begann sich auch ihr Stil zu aenderen; die Gruppe favorisierte sanftere, mehr melodische Titel und integrierte auch Jazz in ihre Songs.
Ende der 60er hatten sie mit ihrem ersten Hit Oh What A Night eine erneute #1. Stay In My Corner und Give Your Baby A Standing Ovation wurden zu Millionensellern. Mit diesen Erfolgshits hatte die Gruppe endlich den Sprung von der Vorgruppe grosser Stars zur eigenstaendigen Hauptattraktion geschafft.
Ausserdem diente die Geschichte der Gruppe zur Vorlage fuer den Film The Five Heartbeats (sehr empfehlenswert), der 1991 erschien. Der Song A Heart Is A House For Love aus diesem Streifen bescherte den Dells nicht nur eine weitere # 1, sondern auch die Aufmerksamkeit der juengeren Generation von R&B Liebhabern.

A Heart Is A House For Love zu Szenen des Films The Five Heartbeats

Zusammen mit dem unvergleichlichen Bariton Marvin Juniors praegte der unverkennbare Tenor John Carters den Sound der Dells. Wer die beiden Stimmen einmal gehoert hat, vergisst sie nie wieder. Verne Allison, Michael McGill und Charles Barksdale lieferten die erstklassigen background harmonies.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Die Stimme der Chi-Lites: Eugene Record "Love Don't Live By Sex Alone", "Here Comes The Sun"

Kaum zu glauben, dass es sich bei diesem Videoclip tatsaechlich um eine Live-Aufnahme handelt. Einfach erstklassiger Gesang des Leadsaengers und der backups.

Wer kennt sie nicht, die Stimme der Chi-Lites. Sanft und einschmeichelnd stahl sie die Herzen der 70'er Generation.

Eugene Records Solokarriere war aber nicht annaehernd so erfolgreich wie die mit den Chi-Lites. Fuer die Chi-Lites schrieb er solch unvergessliche Songs wie Have You Seen Her und Oh Girl. Jackie Wilson und die Dells sangen seine Kompositionen und wurden von ihm produziert.

Mit der Warner Music Group veroeffentlichte er 3 Alben als solo artist . Von einem dieser Alben, The Eugene Record, stammen die beiden Titel, die ich heute poste.

Eugene Record (23.12.1940 - 22.7.2005)