According to this document made available by the University of Michigan called, “What Is Soul?” and “What Is Soul Music;” “The word soul found its way into the discourse of American popular culture initially through music and spread out from there. African American essayist and playwright Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) notes that in the 1950s the word was used by jazz musicians and critics alike to characterize a movement within jazz to reclaim and revitalize a musical tradition that had been repeatedly co-opted by mainstream and corporate culture.”
I could be wrong but, in my circles (at least) when the seasoned folk talk about Rose Royce, the first thing that pops into their heads is a song called “Car Wash.” I think that’s largely because of the hit movie that’s associated with the song. However, on that same album, Rose Royce had a TON of hits. One of my top favorites from the soundtrack is called “I Wanna Get Next To You!” You can’t find a song more romantic than this one. I mean, this would be a nice song to be played at any wedding (I think). This was one of many Black baby making music that came out of my generation.
I have to make a confession to you guys. Ever since I saw that Whole Foods commercial with this song in it, I’ve gone crazy I think.. I absolutely love this song. This 1963 song was a huge hit 4 years before I was born. I’ve listened to such a variety of music growing up, I can’t say for sure I’ve heard it before. But man…. If this was out on a 45rpm record to day, I would have certainly played this to the ground. LOLOL It has a catchy tune. This girl group is loud, yet talented. Their harmonization on this record reminds me a lot of groups like The Bluebells. I highly recommend my followers check the song “Every Beat Of My heart.” In fact, I’ve heard quite a few of their music since then. Look for them on your favorite streaming service.
Now, first off, I never heard of Lee Fields and The Impressions. Surprisingly, they’ve been around since the late 60’s, and I’m kind of a shamed that I never heard of them, ’cause their music is darn good. I guess this only proves just how vast our music culture actually is. You know, his music and sound reminds me a lot of Charles Bradley (in fact, he kind of looks like him too). I’ve searched hard on the net, and I can’t seem to find any of his songs on the billboard charts. However, I did see an article written about him on the Billboard website. That is such a beautiful thing, this can only mean that he has worked with a lot of big names in the business, and the fact that Billboard recognizes his contribution (a long with his band) to music is huge (despite not landing anywhere on the charts)!
I 🖤 the fact that he kept practically all his albums’ vibe Black old school!
I love the fact that he kept his vibe old school. In fact, I had no idea that most of his albums in the last 10-15 years where not 70s music. The classic authentic(ness) was unreal! The soul in his voice was so present… It was phenomenal guys. I’m not sure if my young followers could understand. But, this was what people of my age group considering real talent, real soul, and real voices. I don’t even have a song to recommend, because I’ve liked so many. If you love jazz and soul music, definitely listen to these guys album, “Big Crown Vaults (2020)” The first song, “Two Timer,” I really loved. But, I think I’ve enjoyed the entire Album. Check it out!
Well, I don’t know if this was Teddy’s greatest album, but certainly no doubt it was one of his popular ones. One of the biggest songs I remember from this album is “Love T.K.O.,” this song was almost anthem like in the Black Community. This was a song that almost everyone enjoyed listening to when I was growing up. It’s a shame, we lost an incredibly talented voice at a young age. This is why it’s important to keep our Black music history alive. Oh, yeah, check out “Feel The Fire,” another huge hit for Teddy.
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.”
Song: Back Together Again
I’m pretty sure I remember writing extensively about the late Donny Hathaway on my old blog. However, I don’t believe I shared one of my biggest favorites by him. His amazing duet with Roberta Flack “Back Together Again,” was a megaton hit as far as the Black community growing up. This song was “Black barbecue” worthy music! Released in 1980, the song reached #8 on the Top 100 Charts. Interesting that (according to the billboard chart) the song also reached #8 on the R&B charts as well. I thought this should have been number one, as the song practically became an anthem in the Black community.
Duets Seemed To Have Been Her Specialty!
You know, in my opinion Roberta Flack is amazingly talented (at least in the studio, I’ve heard quite a few of her live performances and they were boring as hell (sorry to say)). However, I couldn’t help but to notice that about after her third album, a lot of her well known hits seem to have been duets. And she’s done quite a few of them! I find that interesting as well, because she must have had good professional relationships with people in the industry. Artists normally don’t get to do duets with huge names unless you’ve been in the industry for decades (with more than one or two major hits under your belt). I guess her three #1 singles “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face (1969),” “Killing Me Softly (1973),” and “Feel Like Makin’ Love (1975)” were big enough to make everybody want to work with her! LOL Although, it doesn’t appear she’s written any of those 3 songs.
I’d Say, Roberta Has Sung Some Of The Most Romantic Music Of Her Time! Without Any Exaggeration!
You know…. Even today, when I listen to Donny’s old music, I’m still in complete shock that he lived with mental illness all those years! Performed for millions and millions of people, yet he was mentally impaired. In someways it’s fascinating to me how as an artist he was able to access the creative side of his brain, yet separate the mental illness (or at least kept it at bay for as long as he could). We truly lost a phenomenally talented man in my opinion. Imagine if medicine knew then what it knows now, I think he’d still be a live. No reason he wouldn’t be.
Sooooo Many Covers Of This Great Song Was Done!
“Back Together Again,” was such a great song, unless you had absolutely no talent, there was no way you could have messed up this song! ? So many covers by so many different artists it was not funny. Check out some of my favorite cover versions by Maxi Priest, Tony Mombrelle & Chantae Cann, Tony’s house remix of this song is hot too! Also check out the legendary Freddie Jackson, and finally, listen to this smooth jazz cover by Gordon James.
Song: It’s Mashed Potato Time
Artist: Dee Dee Sharp
Genre: Dance Grooves
Shamefully, although I remember this artist as though her music was out yesterday, however in the music world today, she has drifted towards the vacuum of obscurity. This woman was once one of the hottest acts of the 60s! She could have easily been another Mary Wells as far as I’m concerned! Her biggest hit came during the 50s-60s dance craze era. The song was called “It’s Mashed Potato Time!” The song was released in 1962, and became an instant hit! It reached #2 on the Top 100, and #1 on the R&B charts, making it the biggest song of her career! This song was so popular, she had the nerve to come out with another song called “Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes).” Now that I think about it, it was completely hilarious.
Mashed Potato Time, Was The Biggest Hit Of Her Career!
Now, just think about it for a minute. This song was released more than 5 years before I was born, and remembering hearing this song even as a very young boy, tells me just how majorly popular this song was! Come to think of it, I never did learn how to do “The Mashed Potato.” Even if I wanted to, there were just too many dances goin’ on to keep up with all of them anyway. These dance crazes were so important for the Black community back then. It was one of the very few things that helped us deal with the massive racism.
I Never Did Learn How To Mash Potato! ?
Despite her big dance hit, I think she was also extremely underrated as far as her other music. Dee Dee had an incredible voice! I am just dumbfounded that (at least when I examine the music charts) music lovers only responded to her dance music and not her ballads. I guess it is possible that fans were so moved (hard) by her dance music, they really didn’t want to hear any other type of music by her. However, I highly recommend that you check out some of her ballads. She’s made some incredible covers too!
I Highly Recommend That You Check Out Her Ballads!
One badass song I think you should check out, is a song called “I really Love You (1965),” the musical arrangements for this song was perfect! As far as I’m concerned, this was an ignored gem, barely reaching #78 on top 100. Also listen to her cover of Jerry Butler’s 1958 hit “For Your Precious Love (c.’60s),” a lot of people refuse to believe we are losing our culture; her cover of this song doesn’t appear to be listed anywhere on Wikipedia. Even on discogs I had trouble finding (had to use advanced search! WTF?). So sad, it’s an amazing song. Listen to her cover of 10CC’s 1974 hit “I’m Not In Love (1975),” you know the way she sings this song, she reminds me a lot of the late Nancy Wilson. Lastly, check out her cover of Jackie Wilson’s 1958 hit song “To Be Loved (1963).” At the age of 74, she is still performing!
Song: When You Are Who You Are
Artist: Gil Scott-Heron
Another forgotten phenomenal musician! Well, perhaps forgotten in the mainstream world, but in the world of Funk and Jazz, I think he’s well remembered. In my opinion, in terms of musical status (or popularity if you will), I considered him among the same ranks as Jimmy Hendrix. Keep in mind, I mentioned “popularity,” not meaning to infer that their music are similar. I think their paths were obviously very different.
Gil Scott Was Very Politically Conscious!
The late Mr. Gil was very politically conscious. Growing up, none of my family (that I can recall) had any of his music. However, if I heard him on the radio or on TV I savored the moment and just enjoyed what I heard. I was too young to fully understand half the sh*t he said, but some how I knew there was some serious messages in his music. I admired him so much because he wasn’t just a politically conscious Black musician, he was one of the few well known music figures that actually went in to the communities and literally showed you the challenges of the Black communities. Very few musicians I can think of right now that were that passionate about educating the Black community. The only person that comes to mind at this moment is James Brown. And even then I wonder? Mind you, not saying James did nothing for the community, but there’s a difference between showering the Black community with money, and actually being in the Black community. Not to disrespect the late entertainer, but the more I reflect as I get older, I felt that James was motivated by pure fear (after the assassination of MLK) rather than “helping the community.” Fear in a selfish way. After the assassination of MLK, I felt that he was more concerned that it would have effected his ability to perform in the Black neighborhoods. I could be completely wrong about that, but….. Just my opinion.
Well, enough of my soapbox. During America’s political climax of the 60s-70s in regards to Black Americans, probably (I think) the most well known song (or perhaps technically not really a song) was called “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1971).” I know some of my young readers may not like to pay attention to lyrics, but I do recommend that you take the time to listen to that song. It is a true direct representation of what Blacks were going through in the seventies, and in many ways still going through. Shifting the topic a little, there’s a song Gil did that became one of my favorites, and it’s called “When You Are Who You Are.” I think what attracted me to this song was, lyrically speaking, it was one of the very few songs I’ve heard where the male artist sings loving someone for who they are, and not having the need to try so hard to impress him. The lyrics are just beautiful, as well as the music being nice and funky!
Song: Kiss And Say Goodbye
Artist: The Manhattans
Album: Kiss And Say Goodbye (1982)
You know, The Manhattans were such a major popular group in the seventies, I didn’t even realize they only had a couple of hits during their entire career. This amazingly talented group was born in NJ, about 1962. An interesting fact I never knew about The Manhattans, was that each and every one of them joined the armed forces. To my understanding, the pretty much formed the group almost immediately after they were discharged.
They All Listed In The Armed Forces!
Their signature song “Kiss And Say Goodbye,” reached popularity beyond all expectations. I can’t even begin to find the words as to just how popular this song was. I don’t think I can describe to even if I tried. This song cemented their names in music history. It appeared that almost every house party we had growing up, had to end with that song playing. Almost every person of color had this album, or the 45rpm (bear minimum). If you didn’t own this album back in the day, people would look at you in total shock! Yet, at the same time, this was one of those weird things I never understood about my elder generation. Because this is really a breakup song, yet people danced to this as if it was a happy romantic song. Maybe it was all in the rhythm? I have absolutely no idea! ?
“Kiss And Say Goodbye” reached #1 in 1976 on the Top 100, and stayed on the charts for about 25/26 weeks. The song also hit #1 on the R&B category, #1 in Canada, and #1 in Netherlands, and #4 in both Australia and the UK. That’s how significant this song was, everyone from every age and walk of life responded to this amazing song! Their next and last huge hit was a song called “Shining Star (1980).” The song peaked at #5 on the Top 100, #2 in New Zealand, #6 in Canada.
Artist: Checkmates, Ltd.
This is an EXTREMELY rare, obscured indeed! The Checkmates, Ltd., to my understanding was a group discovered by the late Nancy Wilson. This was a very talented group in my opinion, it was such a shame that they broke up just barely a year after forming the group. Their biggest hit was a song called “Black Pearl (1969),” which was written and produced by the infamous Phil Specter. The song reached #13 on the pop charts. The also had some success with a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary.” BTW, no….. Everybody assumes this was Tina Turner’s original, it’s not. Around 2008, Universal Studios suffered a major fire, and many original recordings were completely destroyed. Unfortunately, that included almost all works by the band, and many more artists as well. Check out this lost treasure album, I think it’s really nice piece of forgotten history.
Song: You Sexy Thing
Artist: Hot Chocolate
Album: Hot Chocolate (1975)
Ok guys, I have to be honest. The only Hot Chocolate I liked actually came from Nestle! But when it came to the band, not so much. Unfortunately, despite having several hits under their belt, I have to put them in my “one hit wonder section.” Simply because for whatever reason, I wasn’t attracted to their music. I don’t know what it was. Their style, their voice, the equipment they’ve used? It just sounded like most of the music I’ve listened to them all sounded like cheap karaoke songs. I hate karaoke music, especially since most of us had to pay for our music back then.
Unfortunately, I Had To Place Them In My One Hit Wonder Section!
The only song throughout their entire career I felt was solid (in my opinion), and it also turned out to be their biggest hit of their career (numbers wise), was called “You Sexy Thing (1975).” The song shot up to #3 on the Top 100 Chart in 1976. This song played EVERYWHERE! And that included many commercials too. The only other song I somewhat had feelings for, was a 1973 cover they did from a band called Story. The song was called Brother Louie, from on their 1974 album called Cicero Park. I loved the Blaxploitation feel of the song. It’s a shame that it doesn’t appear anywhere on the charts. It was a decent reinterpretation. The group has changed a lot. Some have moved on, and others have died. Although the group is still performing to my understanding, they haven’t had a major hit since the late 70s.
Song: Touch Me In The Morning
Artist: Marlena Shaw
Album: Go Away Little Boy (1977)
Now, I don’t mean to offend any Marlena Shaw fans out there, but her music really didn’t lit my fire back in the day. It wasn’t because I thought she couldn’t sing, she had an amazing voice. I guess it was one of those things I believed she was singing the wrong music for her type of voice (again, just my opinion). However, I do acknowledge she did some really, really good cover songs throughout her career.
She Did A Lot Of Talkin’ In Her Music
Marlena is one of those performers that did a lot of talking in her music. She kind of reminded me of artists similar to Linda Clifford (in that respect). As far as my memory goes, I think some of her best covers came from the disco genre. Her cover of Diana Ross’s “Touch Me In The Morning,” was awesome in my opinion. I don’t have access to the numbers, but I know that it was pretty big on the dance charts. I think this cover matched with her voice perfectly. It’s not easy turning a song (that was originally slow paced) into a disco hit.
Now, she did another cover of a song I thought was originally by Angela Bofill (1978), ’cause that’s who I heard my grandpa play a lot growing up. But it turns out that it was originally sung by legendary Martha Reeves (1975). The cover song Marlena sung was called “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter (1976),” from her “Just A Matter Of Time,” album. I love all three versions of the song. But, honestly guys…. This is such a beautiful song, unless you have a voice of a freakin’ frog, I think it’s pretty hard to mess up this song. For real ?. You know what? While I’m on the same album, check out her song “Brass Band,” it has a really nice smooth jazzy, disco beat to hit.
Artist: Toussaint McCall
Genre: True Soul
Sooo many forgotten artists. Toussaint McCall is in that pile of many who’s been forgotten; even more so because he was a one hit wonder. It’s bad enough his music is obscure, almost nothing is written about this man. Honestly I’m not even sure if the McCall is still alive. It seams I can’t even figure out who written today’s song choice. It’s a shame because I do believe the man could sing, although there were a couple of songs I’ve heard from him that sounded like his voice wasn’t strong enough or something. He kind of had that “first starting out church voice,” where it almost sounds unstable in the beginning. However, with “Nothing Takes The Place Of You,” his voice seemed to be on point. Not sure if that means he written the song, or he developed an emotional connection to this song. Either way, it became one of the most romantic heart felt songs I’ve heard in a really long time back then.
He Kept Recording Despite Only Having One Hit!
McCall’s song “Nothing Takes The Place Of You,” hit #5 on the R&B chart, and #52 on the Top 100. In terms of TV and radio, it seemed as though he literally vanished after the success of his first album. It wasn’t until he made a cameo appearance in the Johnathan Waters crazy comedy “Hairspray (1988),” starring the late Divine and Rickki Lake, did people remembered once again who he was. Despite only having one major hit song, he kept recording several records after that. He must have had very good connections in the music industry, because even back then, if you did not produce any sales after the third album or so, the label would have usually dropped you (contract or no contract).
Song: Cry Baby
Artist: Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters
Damn!! I can’t stay away from blogging for too long it seems. But that’s ok, because my reader base gets the benefit of rediscovering what I perceive as good music. ? You know, that reminds me… Now that the holidays are quickly approaching, I’m sure that many of you are going to eventually invite family over for good food and drink, etc. Depending on our moods, sometimes picking songs, or a good playlist can be a challenge for some. If you’re unsure of what great classics to pick, just skim through my blog! I literally have over 280 posts now, you’re sure to find something to share with your family.
One Of My Many Favorite Songs My Late Grandpa Introduced Me To!
I remembered my grandpa playing this song through his cassette player a lot. Garnet Mimms could sing his *ss off!! OMG! Have you ever listened to a song as a kid, but you didn’t realize how talented someone was until you heard it again as an adult? Well, that was my experience with his music. This is also one of the beautiful things about re-listening to nostalgic music, we not only reminisce on the days when we were younger, we also get a greater appreciation for particular artists and their music. In fact, I dare to say the music often brings stronger emotions then they did when we were younger. Don’t you think?
Garnet (now 86), was one of those male performers that didn’t hold back any part of his vocal abilities. It is a shame that he only had 1 top ten hit, which was called “Cry Baby (1963).” The song peaked at #4 on the Top 100, and probably his most memorable. With the exception of one other very favorite song called “For Your Precious Love (1964).” This song kind of makes you cry, simply because you can sense the notes came from the depths of his soul. It only peaked at #26, and I think it should have been much higher than that!! You know, so many artist covered this song, however, in my opinion, the best versions of this song were done by Garnet Mimms, and Jerry Butler. By the way, if I’m not mistaken, Jerry Butler originally recorded the song first, close to the end of the 50s.Shop Skincare at Fragrance.com and Save Up to 80% Off Retail Prices
Artist: Alice Clark
Album: Alice Clark (1972)
Holy shit! Talk about a lost talent! Brooklyn born Alice Clark was so underrated it wasn’t funny. It’s really upsetting to learn just how much power these record companies had back in the day. Alice had rhythm, she had soul, and she sang her ass off. There was absolutely no reason why these record companies could not had promoted her a little more. In my opinion, her style and caliber was similar to Gladys Knight. There was no excuse for this labels. Such a damn shame. Listen to the song “Never Did I stop Loving You.” She tore this song up! Alice only produced one album as far as I can tell. There is a second album floating around, but that was a special edition/ vinyl reissue. Which means it probably costs a pretty penny.
Song: MacArthur’s Park
Artist: The Four Tops
Album: Four Tops Now (1969)
You know what? I totally forgot about this song. The song “MacArthur’s Park” was written by Jimmy Web, and first recorded by Richard Harris in 1968. Man, talk about dozens and dozens of redoes! This song was covered so many times by so many people, It’s not even funny. But, I have to say, Sammy Davis Jr., version of the song is boring as fuck!! And you know I’m open to all kinds of music. This song is not for everybody. You’ll probably more likely to like the original if you like classical music. Honestly, I think my ultimate version of this song, was when the late disco queen Donna Summer turned this in to a disco cult classic! Loved the 12 inch, on her “Live And More album.”
However, did you know that the legendary Four Tops recorded this song in 1969? The song peaked at #38 on the Top 100 Chart. I was only 2 years old then. I can’t say that I love it as much as I do Donna Summer’s version, but I really enjoyed it a lot. When you listen to how it was originally sung by Richard Harris, and the way song was was structured, almost immediately I said in my mind, this kind of music was out of their league! But, The Four Tops actually did a wonderful job. Not only was the song soulful, they managed to preserve the original essence of the song. Check it out when you get a chance. You may like it. By the way, it wasn’t until I was about 18 or 19 did I learn that the song was actually about snorting cocaine! ? But, I bet you’re going to listen to it closer now, aren’t you?!?!?
I really do wish I discovered this guy earlier. Have my readers ever heard of Charles Bradley? Honestly I don’t ever recall listening to his music until about a couple of years ago. I really loved his soulfully funk sound. I was devastated to find out that he had died of stomach cancer shortly after I discovered who he was and his music ?. He was 68.
This man (who I feel in many ways has a striking resemblance to the late Nipsey Russell btw), sung his ass off!! Oh my goodness, when Bradley sung a song, all his emotion emanated from each and every performance. His type of performances are just not seen anymore (relatively speaking). To hear his music, or to see him perform on video, was not only breathtaking at times, it was also refreshing to see real blues music performed like that, then in 2016.
The first album I heard by Bradley, was “Changes (2016).” I think this entire album is awesome to be quite honest. This album is so authentically 70s, that there is absolutely no hint of modern flair I could detect. I think most blues fans would like at least half of the songs on this album. If I were forced to pick a favorite song, I would have to go with “Things We Do For Love.” My goodness. If I didn’t know any better, I would have said this was recorded in the old Motown Studio or something.
There’s another album I think you should check out. It’s called “Black Velvet (2018).” I really liked the song called “Can’t Fight The Feeling.” I haven’t found a whole lot of juicy information on Bradley, which leads me to believe that either Bradley started his musical career late, or he was discovered late. Having said that, I’m kind of insecure as to the actual copyright dates to his songs. Often times when someone dies, the music label often re-releases music of a popular artist, and you wind up with a new copyright/release date. In any event, I think that Bradley’s music is worth exploring if you’re a blues/funk fan. I recommend that you watch his very short, but powerful interview on YouTube. Very humbling.Save an Extra 10% on Guitar Cases and Guitar Gig Bags: Use Code TOURGUITAR
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.
Today’s topic is, “An Artist’s Magic In The Background.” I guess, unless you’re an actual musician, the average person doesn’t know who Michael Anderson is. Michael has had a couple of R&B hits, one song is called “Take Me I’m Yours (1978),” which unfortunately although it hit #6 on R&B charts, it only got as high as #88 on the Top 100 Billboard. That was a shame because the man can sing. By the way, I think this song would be a perfect for this coming Valentine’s Day.
Henderson Reminds Me So Much Of Ray Parker Jr.
Back in the day, I just couldn’t get over the uncanny resemblance between Henderson and fine ass Ray Parker Jr. I’ve been going crazy trying to find any evidence that Henderson is Parker’s brother. However, I could not find anything, so I guess it’s just a coincidence. But, interestingly enough, Henderson has worked with many artists in the background, and that included Ray Parker Jr.
In addition to Henderson being a talented vocalist (although I think he doesn’t project his voice enough), he’s also an accomplished bass player. As a result, he’s been able to work with lots of very famous people, such as the late Miles Davis, Bob Seger, Phyllis Hyman, and even Adele. The list goes on and on. He is very much sought after.
Probably one of the biggest projects (that I can remember) Henderson has been a part of, is his collaboration with Norman Connors. Henderson was featured on the #4 R&B hit “You Are My Starship (1976).” Another great collaboration was with the legendary Phyllis Hyman, on the song called “Can’t We Fall In Love Again.” The song hit #9 on the R&B charts; but only #57 on the Top 100 Charts in 1981. Great song! Check it out.
“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.
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.