Rhythm & Blues (The Original)
This category is dedicated to the true R&B artists of my time, OR new artists that has decided to keep it simple and old school. Examples are Aretha Franklin, Etta James, & Marvin Gaye. Also new artists such as Curtis Harding & Jonny P.
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: Baby I’m For Real
Artist: The Originals
Album: Baby I’m For Real (1969)
Genre: Soul Music
Ladies…. If you were to tell me that you wouldn’t want your man to sing this song to you on your wedding day, I’d say you are a liar, a straight up liar! Unless of course, if your man can’t sing to save his life ?. In terms of classic music, I doubt you could get any more romantic and heart felt than this gem right here. I was just shy of two years old when this song came out, and even when I became a teenager, I felt the intensity and emotion of this song.
It Was Almost Like Listening To The 4 Tops!
Today’s group is called “The Originals,” and I’m not talking about the vampire TV show either! ? A beautiful classic ballad that literally slipped away from the radio waves, is still kicking ass on music streaming! 50 years after the release of “Baby, I’m For Real,” is still remembered by millions! By just looking at Spotify alone, the song picked up almost 6 million plays! This does not include other legal streaming services, internet radio, and YouTube! That is incredibly impressive for a song that is now considered obscure, at least when it comes to mainstream radio. As a blogger who’s trying to save our music history, this makes me feel very good.
The group made several albums, but “Baby I’m For Real” was their biggest hit that cemented the group’s career. The song hit #1 on the R&B charts, and #14 on the Top 100. A year later, they produced another major hit called “The Bells,” which hit #4 on the R&B chart, and #12 on the Top 100. These guys were extremely talented, and I’m shocked at the fact that despite being signed to Motown, they didn’t pump out more hits. The Originals sang all kinds of music, including disco. If you’d like, check out their “Very Best Of The Originals” album.
Song: Ohh Baby, Baby
Album: Uptown Festival (1977)
Wow! This goes to show you just how much good classic music exists. I have been a long time fan of Shalamar, and I don’t recall ever hearing their cover of Smokey Robinson’s “Ooo Baby, Baby,” c 1965. What was an even bigger shame was that, according to one source I’ve read, the song actually reached #1 in the US. Not sure what chart that was on, but I’m banking on the fact that it had to have been at least the R&B category. Unfortunately, sometimes categories could make a difference as to where you hear certain songs on the radio.
This Was An Awesome Cover Song That Slipped passed My Ears!!
Not knowing the specifics of the song, I’ve read enough material to get a sense that the album “Uptown Festival” did very well back in the day. But honestly, out of all of the tracks I’ve heard on this album, “Ohh Baby, Baby” was the best one. I would have played the hell out of this song. It was a nice surprise finding this, cause honestly I wouldn’t have looked for it. However, the other thing was, Shalamar has changed so much other the years. They’ve swapped/replaced so many members, it became a choice of what version of Shalamar you liked best. That sometimes became a headache when looking for their music too. Even with music streaming, as results given are usually only the popular searches.
Song: Light My Fire
Artist: Jackie Wilson
Album: Do Your Thing (1968)
Ok.. Jackie Wilson is another perfect example of what I call a musically complicated singer. Care must be taken for artists like Jackie (in regards to music choices), because he doesn’t have a common singing voice. I liken his voice similar to singers such as Boz Scaggs, or actually, his voice probably sounds closest to Chubby Checker. In fact, when I was little, I used to confuse their voices quite a lot because they were so similar.
This Song Did Not Fit His Voice
Don’t get me wrong, Jackie had a phenomenal voice that allowed him to produce quite a few successful hits! However, at the same time, he had one of those voices that sounded like he was sort of singing from the back of his neck. The problem with that was, if the right song wasn’t picked for him, he can easily windup sounding like Warner Bros.’s Marvin The Martian. ? It may sound a little petty, but, I’m very particular about the quality of music I listen to.
Now, “Light My Fire, (if you don’t know)” was originally recorded by a legendary rock group called “The Doors” sometime in 1966. It seemed as though every artist on the planet covered this song. In 1967, The Doors not only took this song to #1, it stayed number one for a whopping weeks! So, I never really liked Jackie’s voice on this song, I just never thought it was a good fit for him. However, I decided to share this song with you guys anyway, because in terms of the musical background arrangements, I think it’s hot!! They literally converted this rock song in to a heavy soul beat. I would have played the sh*t out of this if it were only instrumental.
Song: Tell It Like It Is
Artist: Bettye Swan
Album: Bettye Swan (2004)
Before you think it, let me quickly say that the above photo is NOT Aretha Franklin! ? I forget how much Bettye Swan looked like her, by a LOT! In fact, some of her songs she kind of sounds like her. When I tell you a forgotten legend….. Ms. Swan is definitely one of them. Unfortunately, she never had a number one hit, nor did she at least make the top ten (almost); but she had the voice of angel in my opinion. “Tell It Like It Is,” was a song written by George Davis, and originally recorded by falsetto superstar Aaron Neville in 1966. It reached #2 on the Top 100 chart. The song was covered by several other artists.
Sorry, But I Loved Ms. Swan’s Version Better.
I almost fainted when I discovered that Swan’s cover of this song didn’t make it anywhere on the charts as far as I can tell. Growing up, my grandpa only played Aaron Neville’s version, so I never knew any other artists cover until I got way older. The fact that she was so vocally talented, and the sheer popularity of this song, this should have been at least on the bottom #200 chart. Boy, I was so shocked. Although I have an attachment to Neville’s original, I think Swan did a much much better job. That’s just my opinion.
I guess this also means that, unless you’ve already been a Ms. Swan fan, this song would have been lost and unknown if it were not for Spotify and other streaming services. Her biggest and most popular song of all her music, is a song called “Make Me Yours,” which peaked at #21 on the Top 100. What’s interesting is that this song really didn’t showcase the soul in her voice, yet it got more attention than many of her unknown songs. Check out “I Think I’m Falling In Love,” she definitely had that “Motown sound that all these female groups were trying to mimic back in the day. See how you groove to this forgotten song called “Ain’t That Peculiar,” this was originally recorded by Marvin Gaye. Ms. Swan’s career only lasted about 15 years. She left her music career after the death of her husband sometime in 1980. She decided to become a teacher, and is now enjoying her life at age 74 (if my math is correct).Designer Fashion Fabric
Artist: Candi Staton
Album: Evidence: The Complete Fame Records masters (2019)
So, let me start off by saying…… Again, this is one of those moments I am grateful to be using streaming services like Spotify; because they allow me to stream entire albums that are now considered obscure; and let me tell ya, it’s a lot more work searching through YouTube for each song that came with an original album. Not only that, that’s not guaranteed that YouTube would even have it, as YouTube relies on members to upload them. If you’re only interested in “popular music,” then in my opinion, you’re missing the point of what it is to be a fan of “good classic music.”
I Had Absolutely No Idea!
When I heard the smash hit “Victim (1978),” it was the first time I’ve came to know of Candi Staton. That song was the sh*t back in the day! I wasn’t old enough to buy records, so when I heard it on the radio, I cherished every moment it was on ?. The song hit #3 on the Dance Chart, but no where to be found on Hot 100, or Billboard 200. That really pissed me off. You guys have absolutely no idea how huge this song was in the Black community & Dance clubs. This is why sometimes I think the Billboard charts sucks! I don’t even understand why I even look on there; but I guess sometimes it’s necessary to give young folk some perspective on the oldies I post.
Another huge hit that Candi was known for, was a song called “Young Hearts (1976).” Here is where I think you’ll get mad too. This magnificently popular song back in the day, reached #129 on the Billboard 200 Chart. That was downright disrespectful as far as I’m concerned. That song literally immortalized Staton! How dare the Billboard! Something wasn’t right there. This woman had such a natural talent for singing, there was no need for what I used to called “vocal acrobatics.” All she really had to do was simply open her mouth, and we heard the soulful voice of an angel.
OK. Let’s Talk About This Album Now
Her album “Evidence: The Complete Fame Records Masters (2019),” was like listening to her long lost archives! I had absolutely no idea that Candi Staton’s career extended so wide, and went that far back! I would have never had the opportunity to hear all these gems, if it where not for music streaming services. She started her career in gospel music, which may or may not have been the reason I haven’t heard so many of her music. I say that to mean, although gospel is a huge industry, it wasn’t necessarily mainstream either (relatively speaking).
I really liked her song “Evidence.” It’s not your typical “are you leaving me?” Seventies type of song. This was more of “I got proof your ass is with another woman!” ?? I was also surprised that she did a cover of Tammy Whynette’s slow country hit called “Stand By Your Man (1971).” That’s the kind of song you’d never expect one would want to turn in to a soulful melody. Also check out her song called “Slipping Away.” She sang the shit out of this song! I really did enjoy the entire 48 song album, and I really do recommend classic music lovers (particularly those who love soulful blues) take a listen.Up to 70% Off at TouchofModern. Including Cross Pens! Ends September 24th 12PM PDT
Song: Lean On Me
Artist: Bill Withers
Album: Still Bill (1972)
I don’t think there are any words in the English language that exist, that could describe exactly just how phenomenal I feel Bill Withers is. He has produced some of the finest music. He is a unique musician that has produced his own brand of music like no other. The only other famous artist with that same unique genius (I can think), is Al Green, in my opinion. In fact, Bill’s talent is so unique, I had trouble figuring out a category for him. I’m sure most of the music industry has him under R&B; but to me, he’s more Black folk (if there was such a category). By the way, to all the Bill Withers fans, did you get a chance to see his documentary “Still Bill (2009)?” I highly recommend that you watch it if you have not already. It’s very interesting I promise you! One of the things I’ve learned in that documentary was that Bill was a stutterer. What a beautiful voice, I would have never suspected him of having a speech problem. I remembered how he cried sharing what he went through; but don’t worry, the documentary isn’t a tear jerker. At age 81 now, as far as I can tell, his last performance was in France last year. Go head with your bad self Bill!!
“Lean On Me” was the biggest song in his career. It reached #1 on the Hot 100, in 1972. A group called “Club Nouveau” did a cover version of “Lean On Me,” and believe it or not, it also hit #1 in 1987! From the same album, Bill had another super hit called “Use Me,” which peaked at #2. I loved that song, it has sick beat to it, and it matched the attitude of the song. In 1981, he recorded a song with Grover Washington called “Just The Two Of us,” and it reached #2. The dude was smokin’. A lot of artist sampled this song it was so popular. In my opinion, the his albums “Just As I am (1971),” and “Still Bill” are of his best works. However, if you love his music, listen to his “Essential Album.” It has practically all his most popular music, and some nice ones you may or may not have heard before.Save Up to 77% On Select Musical Instruments and Accesories
Song: Between The Sheets
Artist: The Isley Brothers
Album: Between The Sheets (1983)
Oh shit!! Could those pants have been any tighter?! ? The material that was used for many “stylish” clothes for men back in the day, was so uncomfortable and non-flexible. Just trying to sit down was a problem for me. Honestly, I don’t know how I made it through the 70s ? Anyway, I was gonna pick a dance song, until I came across these legends. Surely a forgotten group, as far as I can tell. They’ve had more hits than I can think of. “Between The Sheets” hit #3 on the R&B charts, and has gained the status of “baby makin’ music” in the Black community. If I’m not mistaken, “It’s Your Thing (1969)” was their biggest hit of their career, landing at #2 on the Top 100 Chart. Although, if someone said to me “off the top of your head, think of an Isley song,” I’d probably think of “Between The Sheets” first.