Classic Groove Music
Groove Music, is a category I’ve created for music that isn’t necessarily club, disco, or slow jams. These are music that fit in between those three genres. These are the kinds of music that will at least make you bop your head, or may make you do a little wiggle at the hips (just a little). ?
Man! Talk about an outstanding blend of funk and disco! This was my groove back in the day. as a matter of fact, I think this was the very song they used, when Michael performed the “robot dance” to the world for the first time. I don’t remember what show it was tho. I’m guessing it had to be between Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, or Soul Train. I think every boy in America imitated him for years after we saw him do this. The song Dancing Machine was #1 on the Hot Soul Singles category, and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. But, as fast as it became popular, it became for gotten just as quickly (relatively speaking). It’s fascinating how songs that once had considered to have immortalized a band/singer, still become not only obscured, but out of the airwaves of our current music culture.
Seeing Michael Jackson dance the robot to this song, caused a dance frenzy. Everybody was doin’ it (young and old). These were the days when music was fun and innocent.
From the 50s ’till about the 70s, we’ve had a steady stream of dance crazes. However, I think this was the best of all time (next to “The Buss Stop”). Even when I listen this song today, its almost a guarantee it will be a sweat-athan. This single song alone (not the album), sold over a whopping 3 million copies. Years later, the song was sampled by several other artists. Including, Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, and Paula Abdul, just to name a few. If you were ever wondering what’s a good old school tune to play for a 70s party, Dancing Machine should definitely be on the top of your list!
I remember listening to this album quite a bit growing up. As I’ve said before, Al Green had an incredible unique musical style. When we hear the first note of one of his instruments on his record, we instantly know it’s Al Green. Been listening to this album a bit recently. My favorite is “Tired Of Being Alone,” and “I Stand Accused.”
Artist: William DeVaughn
Wow…. I wonder how many people remember this guy? When I was growing up, he had a massive unforgettable hit that invaded Black communities everywhere! I doubt anyone under the age of 40 has any knowledge of who he is (unless their parents were cultured enough to play music like his). William DeVaughn, now 73, is an R&B/Soul singer with a 50+ career in music. However, as far as my memory goes (and what I see in my research) he only had one hit within that fifty year time span. What an eerie and strange coincidence, that his one and only hit song was called “Be Thankful For What You Got,” as if to say the song itself is what he should be thankful for. ?
His Curtis Mayfield Like Grooves!
It is very clear that Curtis Mayfield had an influence. I’m not sure if that means he literally had a hand in it, or the song was inspired by Curtis’s music. What’s interesting is that he worked in government at the time, and paid almost $1,000 dollars for studio time to record the album. Various members of MFSB helped with background music. I think this is interesting because rarely have I heard about someone working in government, turned hit musician. I guess he also had connections on some level as well. Usually stories like these are told about celebs who were waiters, fast food workers, etc.
“Be Thankful For What You Got,” climbed to #4 on the Top 100 Charts, and #1 on the R&B Chart, as well as selling over a million copies. According to what I’ve read, Williams had another hit called “Blood Is Thicker Than Water (1974),” from the same album. The song reached #10 on the R&B Charts. I don’t remember ever hearing this song before, but as I listen to the song on YouTube, it sounds too similar to “Be Thankful For What You Got.” I really hate it when record companies used to force artists to literally recreate replicas of various songs. Not only does it actually cause the artist music to become boring after awhile, it becomes harder for fans to find their music, because we couldn’t figure which album to buy.
Song: Till You Come Back 2 Me
Artist: Jeffery Osborne
Album: From The Soul (2005)
Genre: Contemporary Jazz
I don’t know how the hell I missed this. On my old blog, I talked about how so underrated Jeffery Osborne is. I know he’s had a lot of hits, but still it just doesn’t seem people appreciate his music like they would someone like Peabo Bryson. But… I guess that’s just me. But, anyway… I came across an Aretha Franklin cover he did, and I don’t recall ever hearing it before! It’s her old cult classic “Till U Come Back 2 Me.” Now, I don’t remember if I shared with you guys how finicky I can be when it comes to male artist covering a song that’s been originally recorded by women. But when I heard Osborne’s cover I was so impressed! I must have listened to it at least about 6x consecutively before I moved on to the next song. He sang it at just the right tempo, with just the right octave level. When it comes to songs like these, I feel that a man choosing the right octave level is important, because you can easily run the risk of sounding like you’re straining your voice just to keep up with the original vocal arrangement. Please guys… Listen to it, I think you’ll enjoy it.
Song: Our Day Will Come
Artist: Fontella Bass
Album: The New Look (1966)
This is another perfect example of why we need more older classic music fans of color blogging. Or at least some sort of national record database, independent of Billboard. Although I eventually found out my answer, but it was only because of some faint memories I had, and some smarts. Let me explain what I mean. You see, growing up as a child, the song “Our Day Will Come,” sung by Fontella Bass was one of my favorite songs. Problem? The version of Fontella’s song is completely different from how I remembered it.
Even Recording Studios Make Mistakes.
I may not always remember lyrics, or names of artists, but I am usually very good with remembering tunes and melodies. I had an old cassette tape with various artists on it, and one of them on it was Fantella, singing “Our Day Will Come,” the version I remembered. I can no longer find that tape, however, I now have Spotify. Looked her up, and the song is completely different from how I remembered it! Well, long story short, the cassette that stated the version of “Our Day Will Come” is from Fontella Bass, was actually from Ruby & The Romantics, recorded in 1963. I’m not sure if they were on the same label, and this was printed by mistake? Or there was an even bigger error. Now, both versions are actually nice, but I think I like Ruby & The Romantics’ original version slightly better. I could just imagine how easy arguments and disagreements made because of that mistake among fans who purchased that same cassette I did. You might also remember Fontella by her second biggest popular hit called “Rescue Me (1966),” from the same album. By the way, I absolutely LOVE Amy Winehouse version of the song. I still haven’t gotten over the fact she’s gone now. I’m so pissed. What a talent, and a power badass she was!
Song: Juicy Fruit
Album: Juicy Fruit (1983)
I don’t remember if I’ve written about them on my old blog, but.. Oh well. With so much music out here, it’s humanly impossible to keep track of everything ?. Growing up, the song “Juicy Fruit,” was one of those must have songs in every barbecue, or every other major Black “get together.” I loved this song. It was unique. It wasn’t fast enough to be a dance club song, but it wasn’t slow enough to be considered a romantic love song. It was smack right in between. The song only reached #45 on the Hot 100 Chart; but hit #1 on the R&B charts; and stayed there for 8 weeks! Awh, charts can be so misleading. By the way, this song was so popular, I read last year that James Mtune sued Sony for the music rights to “Juicy Fruit?” Read it here. The group had other hits, however, “Juicy Fruit” remains my ultimate favorite by them.
James Mtune Sues Sony For The Rights to “Juicy Fruit.”
It was kind of an interesting read that he’s suing Sony. Not that I don’t he has the right to; but from what I can tell, after the group recorded about two albums, they haven’t been active since the mid 80’s. Maybe there’s a hope of a “reboot’ of the song? You know, in many ways, a lot of their songs kind of reminds me of a group called “Parliament,” not sure if my readers are old enough to remember that group. Mtune also had a #2 hit on the R&B charts called “You, Me and He,” which a lot of people liked but….. I personally didn’t care too much for it.