All About Love
Genre: Sweet Reggae
This was probably my most difficult handpicked playlist yet!! ? I know it seems like I say that all the time, but it really is true. These days, it’s really hard to find a good cover song. Because either the artist’s voice don’t fit the song, or the musical arrangements are just terrible. I much prefer the 80s covers and older. I know a lot of artist feel like they can sing and do anything the want. However, as a fan of music I beg to disagree. I think a true artist is honest enough to know when a song doesn’t suit them, and if you try to force sing it, it only makes it sound worse. I think the most problem I usually have is with the musical arrangements, particularly today’s cover songs from certain countries. Many cover songs today (both Reggae and some American songs) appear to have a distinct sound; tunes that sound as though the artist purchased their first Yamaha keyboard (earlier models) with artificial drum beats and other electronic “push button” flat sounds that try to mimic other natural instruments. These kind of equipment makes the end product sound outdated, karaoke*ish, and sometimes like an amateurish live performance. Therefor, I’m extremely particular about the covers I listen to.
I’m Extremely Particular About The Covers I Listen To!
So, now that I’ve aired out my pet-peeve, I’d like to draw your attention to a great female reggae artist known by one name, Fiona. Fiona recorded a few covers, but my most favorite cover she did is a song called “You Don’t Know My Name,” which was recorded by Alicia Keys. It was upsetting to know this got so little plays on the streaming platforms, because in my opinion this song is freakin’ amazing! So much great music overlooked. I guess the young people aren’t interested in true love songs anymore; they’re only interested in what they can jiggle their ass to. Another amazing cover I highly recommend you check out, is a female artist known as Natty Bong. She released a cover called “Royals,” which was written and performed by Lords. Natty Bong’s cover got over 5.5M plays from just Spotify alone. It’s a really great song! Check it out!
Enjoyable Cover Songs Are Harder To Find These Days!
Let’s go back a little further in time. 1961 to be exact, when the late Peter Tosh released his cover of a song called “Here Comes The Sun.” The late Peter Tosh recorded this song with the legendary reggae band, The Wailers. “Here Comes The Sun,” was originally written and performed by The Beatles (if I’m not mistaken). I’m shocked as to how many reggae musicians done so many covers by them. Then again, I forget that their are a LOT of British reggae performers.
The Most Shocking Was Bob Marley’s Cover!
I have to say, I think the most shocking cover I ever heard was by the late Bob Marley, when he recorded a song called “Sugar Sugar,” which is the original theme song for the 1968 TV cartoon, The Archie’s. The reason why Bob’s cover shocked me was because, of all the diverse American covers made in to reggae, I just never pictured someone like Bob Marley to do this kind of music. Perhaps it’s because my mind associated his music with political messages, and cartoon themes just wasn’t on my radar. Today, I could see it, but not then. Check out my playlist, I have plenty more surprises in it. I hope you enjoy!
Artist: Hanson & Davis
Album: Can’t Stop (c. 1988) (2010)
O-M-F-G!!!!!! Talk about obscurity!!! ? These guys were thrown into obscurity like a Barry Bonds’ fast ball!!! Then again, let’s be honest… The whole freestyle genre kind of died along with it’s cousin disco (shortly after). I don’t think that enough credit has been given to the freestyle genre. Perhaps this was because this music was predominantly produced by the poor Black & Latino communities. Make no mistake, freestyle was a money machine. Yet, you’d never know it in the 80s, because mainstream news never really gave it the time of day (unless there was no other news to report).
Great Memories Of Being In The Record Shop!
Listening to freestyle music gives me many fond memories of spending hours upon hours in the record shop. Shit, I remember being in the record shop for so long, I had back pain a many of times, because I was slouching over looking for that “gem” of a record. Back then, shop owners would play a record for you before you bought it. Some record shops even had multiple turntables with their own headphones, as each customer had an opportunity to play the music before they buy. That whole experience made music so personal, and I really really miss that. Now, vinyl records are not only a luxury, but a rare specialty that costs music fans significantly more.
I’m Dumbfounded That These Guys Aren’t In Any Greatest Freestyle Hits Album!!
I’m really devastated and shocked that these guys do not appear in any of the classic freestyle compilations. Well, at least I have never seen any. Their song “Hungry For Your Love,” was so popular! I literally don’t understand why it did not register anywhere on the top 100 charts, or even the top 200. I heard this on the radio ALL the time! Talk about overlooked talent! There was a category I didn’t even know existed, called “U.S. Club Plays,” which I guess it was the equivalent of poor people’s dance music, or music that wasn’t considered “real mainstream music.” In this category, the song reached #16th position. Other than that, they got no real recognition. The duo broke up after only about 3 years.
Song: Fast Car
Artist: Tracy Chapman
Album: Tracy Chapman (1988)
Genre: Modern Folk
I’m pretty sure that anyone under 20 years of age has never heard of Tracy Chapman. As far as I’m concerned, I most definitely consider her a classic music legend. I also consider a huge legend of the LGBT community as well. For someone of the LGBT community to receive such a positive and accepting response globally was and is still very rare. Only a handful of LGBT icons have reached mainstream level. Perhaps the most widely known are Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, K.D. Lang, and Boy George. They’ve all made music that is literally timeless! We can listen to this kind of music in any point and time, and never feel their music sounds “dated.” Artists today just don’t have that kind of skill anymore. This is what happens when your career is purely driven by money, and not by the art of music.
I Always Thought She Was A Handsome Young Man! LOL
I was about 21 years old when her album called “Tracy Chapman (1988)” came out. I think I heard her smash hit on the radio “Fast Car,” then I went around begging my friends to tell me who that person was singing on the radio. Back then, cassettes was still the preferred way to consume music. When I first saw her picture on cassette, I said to myself “wow, that’s a cute guy.” Now, keep in mind, guys still had “Tracy” as a first-name, and sometimes both guys and girls would spell it the same way. So I still had no idea he was actually a she at first. LOL I really didn’t care to be honest, I was just digging her music. “Fast Car,” reached #6 on the billboard charts. Pretty impressive for a new LGBT artist on the scene at the time.
It’s Unfortunate That Her Peak Success Only Lasted Her Second Album!
Although only one song from this album was a hit, the entire album is quite good! I consider her music a “modern folk” type music. I haven’t enjoyed good folk music like that since Jim Croce. The entire album is relaxing, and it is playable from beginning to end. This is one of those “coming to age,” type albums. Come to think of it, that kind of music was very common for the 80s. You should check out “Across The Lines,” and “Baby Can I Hold You,” are two of my favorite songs from the album. Her next huge hit would be a song called “Give Me One Reason,” from her “New Beginning (1995)” album. The song shot up to #3 on the Top 100.
Song: Owner Of A Lonely Heart
Album: 90185 (Deluxe) (1983)
Well, today’s title should not be mistaken to mean “phenomenal,” I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a joke of this band’s name. YES. I know some heavy rock fans may hate me for this, but, this was not a favorite band of mine at all. Then again, I’ve also said many times before, rock music was never a significant genre I played a whole lot of. Although, I didn’t particularly care for their music at all, they produced one massive hit that became my one and only favorite by them.
There Was Only One Major Hit As Far As I’m Concerned!!!
This song was huge enough that I’m sure even the most mediocre music lover has heard of. The song was called “Owner Of A Lonely Heart.” The song reached #1 in America, and remains to be their biggest hit here. I should mention that they do have several hits under their belt, they’re just not in my taste. Songs such as “RoundAbout (1972),” and “I’ve Seen All Good People (1981).” Maybe I should also mention that this group comes out of the England/UK. I’ve always been really particular with music that comes from the UK. I like UK music almost as little as I enjoy rock music (in general). You know, I always used to get confused when I heard “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” on the radio back in the day, because this particular song reminded me so much of “The Police.” It sounds very much like the kinds of music The Police would do.
Song: Let Your Love Flow
Artist: The Bellamy Brothers
Album: The Bellamy Brothers (1976)
Of all the genres I’ve written about, this is probably about the second country band that fell in to the black obscure hole. Well, at least to those who may not be serious country fans. I think folk who like country music tend to have a better memory of obscure country artist than any other genre (I think anyway). I can’t say that I was really in to The Bellamy Brothers’ music very much. However, I do think they were talented tho. If I heard them on the radio I’d listen and usually enjoy, but I wasn’t moved enough to buy their records.
The Bellamy Brothers Where One Hit Wonders!!
However, I was hooked on one song they recorded called “Let Your Love Flow.” I was about 8 years old when this song came out. The song not only shot up to #1 on the American Billboard Top 100 Chart, it also did well in Canada and Australia. Spotify has them registered as over 61M plays. Understand (well, at least in my opinion) that that number is huge, when you consider there was no music streaming in the 70s or 80s.
Their Love Definitely Flowed Directly To Their Bank!!
There is no question that “Let Your Love Flow” was the song that catapulted their career (in my opinion). From the little information I gathered from the Billboard Charts, it looks like this was their only official number one hit. Only two other songs registered on the charts. A song called “Satin Sheets (1976),” which reached #75th position. And a song called “Hell Cat (1976),” and reached #70th position. All 3 were actually on the same album. “Hell Cat,” was actually a great song. It’s a shame it did not claim hire than it did.
Song: I Think I Love You
Genre: Young Pop
Wow, I guess I’ve been blogging and tweeting for so long, I can’t even remember if I’ve written about certain artists anymore ?. But, who cares? There will always be someone who didn’t see, and what you don’t see is still considered “new” in my opinion. I’m almost willing to bet that I can’t find at least 10 of my young readers who know about the legendary Partridge Family! Which is a shame, because although many young people today might not connect with classic music artists, kids in my era did watch a LOT of TV. You’d think that more young people would remember something of their parents playing or watching The Partridge Family.
You Should Remember The Partridge Family, We’ve Watched Too Much TV Not To!
You know, growing up, I never really liked guys with very long hair. But, I discovered that some are the exception to the rule (I guess). Perhaps it’s that “swagger” that my elders used to speak of? Some guys are born with a particular kind of energy that can get away with doing things that others can’t. David Cassidy’s swagger added to his sex-appeal, which is why he had hoards of female fans. I mean, girls screamed for him in the same way they did for Elvis. In the 80s, girls were still drooling over him. Back then, guys like him were called “Heart Throbs.”
David Cassidy Was The Group’s Bread Winner!!
If I remember correctly, none of The Partridge Family were actual professional musicians with the exception of David. In fact, David was the only one who knew how to actually play an instrument. Even the scenes with the young Brian Foster or Suzanne Crough (I can’t remember which) that played the drums on the show, all of that was fake. They did it in such a way that it looked realistic. I’m not sure of their singing though, since David has always been lead singer since I can remember. Sometimes it’s hard to figure those things out. For all we know, the family’s faces could be on the album purely to associate it with the show.
Only David Was The Real Musician!
As to whether these guys are legendary music artists is debatable. I guess depending on who you talk to, and which category you put them in, either actors or performers. Regardless, there’s no question that they’ve played a role in music history tho. Their biggest hit is a song called “I Think I Love You (1970).” I can’t find the billboard position for this song, but Spotify alone shows 15M streams just on this album. To my understanding, the song was so successful that almost immediately after, he started working on a solo albums. He did a cover of a song called “Cherish” which was originally recorded by a group called “The Associations.” It was very well done. It actually sounded a lot like the original. Another favorite of mine I think you should checkout, his song called “I Woke Up In Love This Morning.” I used to play this song all the time. Unfortunately, David died in 2017 of liver failure.
Hope all my readers are doing well. I decided to create a great playlist today, highlighting some of the most popular Black R&B hits of 1962! As always, this playlist contains a total of 20 handpicked extremely rare and hard to find hits! I think it’s safe to say that my young readers most likely never heard these songs before; but I do hope that you take a listen because they are all a part of our Black music history! The kind of music I think your parents would be proud that you’re now exploring ?
Forgotten Black Music For Sure!!
So, the first highlighted songs on this awesome playlist, is an extremely rare song called “Tear After Tear,” performed by the legendary Pattie Labelle and The Bluebells. They were recorded live at the Apollo, a time when the establishment was at it’s peak in popularity. They sang the shit out of this song! Now, you may say that their music in this era were no different than say, a Mary Wells type music, however, Pattie’s voice gave this song it’s own identity (sort of speak). I hadn’t been born yet when this song was recorded, and I hate to say I never saw Pattie perform live in person before. However, every person who told me they had seen these girls perform before, they’ve all said to me it was a sight to see!
Limbo Rock, Was One Of The Biggest Global Ethnic Songs Ever Made!!
The song called “Limbo Rock,” was one of the most popular songs I remember growing up. It was so popular, it was almost as though, if you were a musician, and you did not perform things song, you weren’t shit! In fact, I dare to say that it was even bigger than what a lot of 30 year olds may remember a song called “The Macarena (1996),” that stayed on the charts for a whopping 60 weeks!! Herb Albert’s genre really isn’t R&B, he’s music is more along the lines of movie score type music. But, I really liked his interpretation of “Limbo Rock.” I think he pulled it off well, since it seems a lot of his music was inspired by Brazilian culture. I think Herb’s reinterpretation of this song was severely underrated. I love his piece because he sort of kept it’s original form. However, Chubby Checker recorded the first vocal version in 1962, and it exploded! Chubby’s interpretation hit #2 on the Top 100 Chart, and although it only stayed number two for only about 2 weeks, the song eventually became a household party novelty. That’s correct! “The Twist” wasn’t the only major hit Chubby was known for.
Limbo Rock, Eventually Became A Household Novelty!!
I love me some Esther Phillips, and “Release Me,” is probably my favorite of all her songs. I would consider her the queen of R&B personally speaking. When I hear her voice, she reminds me a LOT of the late Nell Carter, they both have that nasally type voice (but a good soulful sound rarely heard). You know when I hear songs like Esther’s “Release Me,” I understand why streaming services want to do away with genres, and more towards “mood music (if you will).” Because hearing this for the first time, I hear R&B, but in reality this is a country song. I think it was Ester’s unique voice that turned the song soulful. Check out my playlist. I think you’ll enjoy it.
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.