Easy Listening

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The Clovers - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Song: Blue Velvet

Artist: The Clovers

Album: Down In The Alley: The Best Of The Clovers (1991)

Genre: DooWop

In my opinion, The Clovers were a very underrated DooWop group. In many ways, their sound reminds me a lot of The Coasters. I think the only differences were that The Coasters were more on the R&B side. I discovered something interesting. As a young boy, when I first heard “Blue Velvet” on the radio, I only remembered hearing Bobby Vinton’s version (which by the way hit #1 on the Top 100 Charts in 1963). But, much to my surprise, I discovered that this song was originally performed by a famous jazz vocalist named Tony Bennett. His version of “Blue Velvet (1951),” reached up to #20.

In My Opinion, The Clovers Were A Very Underrated Group!




According to some sources I’ve read, The Clovers’s version of “Blue Velvet (1955)” reached #14 on the Billboard’s R&B charts. However, when I tried verifying that, I could not find it on Billboard’s website. Now, perhaps there were  so many changes within the group, there are no stable search criteria that could be used? I’m thinking. The song did not appear to register anywhere on the Top 100/200 Charts (as far as I can tell). This is one of the many perfect examples of how artists and their music become obscure & erased from our memories.

The Clovers - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

I loved how The Clovers performed this song. Perhaps they sang the song too mellow to attract the tastes of most music goers in the Black community. I say this because by the time the 60s came along, Black music appeared to have made a 360° turn around. Our music became more soulful and grooveable. Well, you may not remember The Clovers for their cover of “Blue Velvet,” perhaps you’ll remember them for their one and only popular hit called “Love Potion No. 9 (1959).” The song only reached #23 on the charts, but it was extremely popular, and covered by many other artists.

Everything But The Girl - SpotifyThrowbacks..com

Song: Troubled Mind

Artist: Everything But The Girl

Album: Amplified Heart (Deluxe Edition) (1994)

Genre: Easy Listening

“Everything But The Girl.” What a name for a group huh? I actually discovered these guys way back when I was on Napster. The moment I heard the song “Troubled Mind,” I loved it! The song and composition is just perfect with her voice. Really really relaxing music. A lot of their music really should be put in a “Modern Folk” category, but I’m not sure if that’s an official genre? Well, music has evolved so much (culturally) in the last 50-60 years, we can literally place music in any number of categories. Even hip hop has so many sub-genres it can get quite confusing if you ask me.

I Thought I Never Heard Of This Group Before!




If Joan Baez was in her 20s again, I think this is what her music would sound a lot like, “Trouble Mind” today. I played this song so much, and at first, I really thought I never heard of Tracy Thorn & Ben Watt before. But I was wrong. They’ve actually been around since the early 1980s. Not only that, they had another hit song I was totally unaware was them! The song was called “Missing (1994).” That song took this London singing duo to #2 on the American Top 100 Charts! Also, for whatever reason, it was strange that I didn’t remember hearing the original hit (or radio edit). The only version I remember hearing of the song was the legendary DJ Todd Terry’s remix of “Missing.”

Everything But The Girl - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Looks like I’ve really took these guys for granted. Sometimes that does happen when all of a sudden you have access to almost the world’s entire music collection on your smartphone it seams! It just never occurred to me at the time to seek out more of their music. Now, according to some sources, I’ve read that they stopped performing in 2000, but I saw a couple of albums re-released. Not sure what that means. Sometimes when albums get re-released it means a reunion shortly after. So far, it doesn’t appear that they’re doing anything (at least in the US). I’m going to flip through more of their music soon. Check out this nice smooth house mix they have called “Wrong.”

Song: Baby, Now That I’ve Found You

Artist: Alison Krauss & Union Station

Album: Live (2003)

Genre: Country

I don’t remember if I shared with my readers, the fact that I hate most live records. I just don’t think a great deal of them were produced well. Then again, someone can make a legitimate argument that “well, you haven’t heard every live album!” Although that would be a true statement; but at the same time, I’m also one of the very few people on this planet that can say, I’ve heard enough variety of music throughout my life that, I can say there are really only a few live records that exist that are really good (relatively speaking).

I Really Liked How She Performed This Song!




Now, I must admit, although I love country music, I wasn’t interested in her music. Actually, her music appears to lean towards a specific kind of country music called “Blue Grass,” or what I used to call “hillbilly music. That was the other genre I hated just as much as heavy metal. ? The featured song today is actually a cover from the group called “The Foundations.” A very popular song hit #11 on the Top 100 Charts in 1968. Unfortunately Alison never had any Top 10 or a number one hits. In fact, this cover wasn’t anywhere on the charts. However, I really, really liked how she performed this song. That’s a shame ’cause she truly did a wonderful job. She literally converted this rock song in to a beautiful romantic ballad.

Frankie Valli - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Song: My Eyes Adored You

Artist: Frankie Valli

Album: Closeup (1975)

Genre: Easy Listening

What a shame! Kids today never even heard of the great Frankie Valli! Not only that, I doubt they ever heard of The Four Seasons either! Frankie Valli was a massive hit maker, yet, not even internet radio is playing their music (and let me tell you, I’ve heard some pretty obscure music on internet radio). Shame on any parent who has not introduced their kids at some point to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons! The Four Seasons sounded as though they were meant to be an A cappella group instead a pop band. Frankie had such a distinctive voice (still has). Nobody in my opinion could sing their music as good as The Four Seasons. The songs were simply made for them.

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

In my opinion, they sang some of the most romantic music of their time, be it an actual ballad or a pop song. It was not always about the voice either, it was about the lyrics. “My Eyes Adored You,” is a perfect song to play at any wedding or reception. The song was also another major favorite of my late grandfather. I remember any time this song came on the radio or something; it didn’t matter what my grandma was doing; my she could have been in the middle of preparing dinner; my grandpa made her stop what she was doing to dance with him to this song. Definitely, men don’t come like that anymore.

Looking For Special Romantic Music For Your Partner? Choose Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons!




There are just too many of their great music to list all of them. So, I’m going to share with you some of my ultimate favorites I remember growing up! In addition to listening to “My Eyes Adored You,” I also recommend songs such as, “Sherry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Let’s Hang On,” “Grease,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” “Swearin’ To God,” “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night!),” and “Searching Wind.” Those are my most favorite childhood songs from Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.

Manu Dibango - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Song: Soul Makossa

Artist: Manu Dibango

Album: Soul Makossa (1972)

Genre: African Jazz

If you are lucky enough to own this album, you own a part of Africa’s forgotten history. This is my favorite album of all times from Manu Dibango! And in my opinion, this is his greatest master piece! You will play from beginning to end! Depending on where you go, there appears to be digital variations of this album. This may or may not be because the album was released in many parts of the world, including Japan, Brazil, and France. And from what I observed in situations like this, quite often I’ve noticed slight edits to original music for different countries. If you cannot open your heart to this kind of music, you can’t call yourself cultural, or even diverse.

Manu Dibango - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Americans never heard of Manu before, much less his music. But that all changed in 1972 when he released “Soul Makossa,” from his 1972 album called (you’ve guessed it) “Soul Makossa.” This song (well mostly instrumental) was a huge international hit! Although it reached only #35 on the Top 100 Charts (I still consider that a huge accomplishment, since most Americans were not listening to this kind of music (let’s be real about that)), it hit #11 on the American R&B Charts. Just imagine how huge that was! This incredibly talented, badass saxophonist from Cameroon, located in Central Africa, managed to rattle many music cultures around the world with his brilliance! While at the same time, forcing people to listen to music they would have never listened to otherwise. That’s deep.

Manu Dibango - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

However, today’s featured album is called “Gone Clear (1980),” which has a piece called “Reggae Makossa,” which is a remix of his original afro-beat hit “Soul Makossa.” It’s just a more smoother dance groove. In my opinion, this album is worth searching for, especially if you’re in my age group from the Island. I know you’ll enjoy it. Spotify doesn’t have the original album, but they do have the original songs scattered through out his other albums. My very top favorites from this album are “Doctor Bird,” “Goro City,” and “Full Up.” Manu is now about 85 years young, and much to my surprise, he is still performing! That is a man that loves music. Very few people are this dedicated. Off the top of my head, I can only count on one hand artist with that level of dedication. Celia Cruz, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Orbison, and Tito Puente, all of those people practically performed until their last breath.

Burt Bacharach - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Song: I’ll Never Fall In Love Again

Artist: Burt Bacharach

Album: Make It Easy On Yourself (1969)

Genre: Easy Listening

I know for most of my readers, they’ve never heard of this man, and I think his music is worth remembering and celebrating. Burt Bacharach is genius musical composer (and occasionally, singer), who produced some of the most popular hits of his time. He started on his path to success writing hits in the fifties all the way through the 80s. He has done everything from pop music to huge movie scores & movie themes.

Long Time Professional Relationship With Dionne Warwick




I’m going to make an assumption that, those that do remember Bacharach, probably remember him because of his association with Dionne Warwick. Burt has written some of Dionne’s biggest hits, including “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again,” “What The World Needs Now,” “Do You Know The Way To San Jose,” and “Walk On By.” As I delved more in to Bacharach’s work, I discovered something I didn’t know. Burt produced the famous cult classic “Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head,” which was performed by B.J. Thomas.

Burt Bacharach - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Now, I have to be honest, although Bacharach has produced a ton of hits; I think the musical styles of many of his hits are just way too broad; meaning, many of them have not reached mainstream despite being cult classics. Having said that, I don’t think there’s enough of his music that reached mainstream to warrant creating a playlist. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I feel at the moment. So rather than putting together a playlist, I’ll just focus on his most popular music in hopes you’ll likely remember them. In addition to the songs I’ve shared in the last paragraph, also check out the following: “The Look Of Love,” “Always Something There To Remind Me,” “I Say A Little Prayer,” “Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do),” “They Long To Be) Close To You,” “Alfie,” “Any Day Now,” and “One Less Bell To Answer.”


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The Slickers - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Song: Johnny Too Bad

Artist: The Slickers

Album: Johnny Too Bad (1971)

Genre: Sweet Reggae

Ok… I know, in general we shouldn’t judge people. But, I’m betting almost any amount of money that, unless you’re an old school Jamaican, or West-Indian (with age, or “seasoned” as we used to say),  it’s likely you don’t know this group at all. The even sadder part is, there is so little written about this obscure group that there is little chance of discovery, unless you come from a family connected with reggae history. The Slickers was a Jamaican group that performed mostly rock-steady style of reggae. The Band’s career in music was extremely short (around 10 years give or take).

Only Well Seasoned Folk Would Know About This Group!




It’s unclear to me why they disbanded. It’s a shame because their song “Johnny Too Bad,” literally catapulted their career in ways we could not imagine. I mean, they were in fact talented, there was absolutely no reason why their career could not continue. I couldn’t even find an original album for this song. Almost every work I found from the group have all been released as singles. Now, this could also be possible that if there were more albums, they may have been released only in the UK.

The Harder They Come, The Harder They Fall - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

If after listening to this reggae gem, you still can’t remember, or figure out where you’ve heard this song from. “Johnny Too Bad,” was on the hugely successful soundtrack to the movie called “The Harder They Come (1972),” starring legendary singer Jimmy Cliff. You know, I’ll share with you something interesting about the movie soundtrack. Growing up, I’ve always assumed that Jimmy Cliff was the only artist that sung “Many Rivers To Across,” just because I never recalled anyone else covering it. However, while searching for more of The Slickers’s music, Lo’ and behold, they have an UK album called “Many Rivers To Cross (1976).” Wow, it was strange listening to someone else sing this song. I really like the Slickers’s version of “Many Rivers To Cross,” but, I don’t know, if felt a more emotional connection to Jimmy Cliff’s version. Maybe I’m just a little bias ’cause I love Jimmy’s music. What you guys think?

Elvis Presely - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Song: Playlist

Artist: Elvis Presley

Album: Elvis Presley’s Greatest Hits

Genre: Rock

You know, It’s a shame.. In this day and age, if anyone were to play any of Elvis’s music, someone would probably scream “turn that shit off!” ? But, seriously. Elvis wasn’t some ordinary street dude who got hooked on drugs. Elvis was a brilliant performer that racked up 7 number one songs, and 25 top 10 hits! Do you really know how incredibly hard that is to do? Not only that, he acquired these things within 20 years from the start of his music career. In my generation, that was literally damn near Michael Jackson status (if not equivalent). It’s so heartbreaking to know that sad stories like Elvis’s life were so common, and still is.

Now, Elvis Is Just A Novelty!




It’s really mind-boggling to me, how someone who was a mega superstar, someone who reached greater heights than most performers of his time. Yet, after his death, our memories of him had shifted from being the greatest hit maker of the 50s, to a straight up novelty act, and that includes his likeness. I don’t think there is/was anyone else on this planet, that has been not only impersonated the most, but where people have made a livable career out of it, other than Elvis.

Elvis Presely - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

I also think it’s kind of sad that even those performers who imitate him (a large portion of them), whore costumes that projected (what I interpret to be) the worst points of Elvis life (towards the end of his career/life). Make no mistake, Elvis was a hot tamale when he was young. Maybe I’m viewing this the wrong way. But, when I was younger, I felt there was a fine line between entertaining the public, and making fun of Elvis after the fact. The playlist I made for you has many of his #1 hits, some redoes, and songs you may not have heard before. It has 26 of what I considered his best recordings. I think ultimate favorite is a song called “Suspicious Minds,” released in 1969.


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