Song: Take A Message
Artist: Remy Shand
Album: The Way I Feel (2002)
Genre: Neo Soul
As I sift through my collection, my eyes pop wide open. I completely forgot about Remy Shand! Actually, I’m sure a lot of people forgot about him too. It’s such a wonderful thing to have a way to save our memories in digital form, otherwise we’d forget about all this shit. No matter how good of a memory we have. As far as I’m concerned, Remy was one of those explosive one hit wonders, then we never hear from them again. You know, sometimes I think when these guys get too famous, the attention is too much for them. Next thing you know, they’re “low key,” like writing songs in the background, or specializing on the mixing board.
Remy’s Music Is An Acquired Taste Tho!
I have to say that a lot of Remy’s music is an acquired taste. In fact, to be honest, I haven’t met too many people who are genuinely into Neo-Soul, unless you’ve been exposed to different music growing up. The one and only song that hit the American Billboard charts was “Take A Message.” Unfortunately, my favorite song out of the whole album only reached #89th position. However, in Canada, the album itself did very well, it actually reached #1. Go figure?
Remy Won For Best Album Of The Year In Canada 2003!
I really love his almost Curtis Mayfield & Marvin Gaye style in his music. Personally speaking, I think he should have stayed along those lines. To my understanding he’s still actively performing, but hasn’t really made a good album in a really long time. A couple of songs I want you to checkout. Listen to “Rocksteady,” and I also like “The Mind’s Eye,” which is a relaxing instrumental piece.
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.
Song: Leaving Me
Artist: The Independents
Album: Discs Of Gold (1974) (2010)
This is an extremely rare and obscure group, and I recommend that you research them out. Unfortunately, they’ve only made a couple of albums. They did stay with each other long. Believe it or not, they broke up after being together professionally for only 3 years! Their only biggest hit was a song called “Leave Me (1973).” Although it only reached up to #21 on the Top 100 Chart, it hit #1 on R&B. The song sold over a million single copies, and has won the Gold Award. Because they’ve only stayed with each other for barely 3 short years, almost nothing is written about them. This is so sad that a talented Black group such as this one had become lost. Also check out their unknown song “In The Valley Of My Own World,” it’s instrumental melody reminds me of “Love Jones,” by Bright Side Of Darkness, a lot. This whole album was nicely done actually. They harmonize beautifully. I think most oldies fans will enjoy listening to them!
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.
Artist: Ronnie Dyson
Ronnie sang what became one of my favorite childhood songs growing up ever!! You know, I perceived Ronnie to be very androgynous back in the day. When I first heard him sing my ultimate favorite, “(If You Let Me Make Love To You) Then Why Can’t I Touch You” as a child, for a very long time I thought he was a woman. Unfortunately, the face of my 45rpm record was damaged, and I had not learned his name yet. Even after years later when I finally saw his picture, I still was not sure, as there were many female artists that performed with male energy. I perceived him with a Nina Simone type energy. But, it didn’t matter to me because all I knew was, I loved this song!
For Quite Some Time I Mistakenly Thought Ronnie Was A Woman
I guess what drew my attention, was the slight caribbean background sound. The song reached #8 on the Pop Chart, and #9 on the R&B chart. Not sure where the song fell on the Top 100/200. I would imagine it would have been in the top #10 – #30 range. This was one of his most memorable hits in my opinion. Another popular hit of his was a song called “I Don’t Wanna Cry (1970).” Very nice fast paced and rhythmic beats. Honestly, I don’t remember hearing this song growing up, but I really love this as well.
There is one last hit that I do remember. I heard my late grandpa play this quite a few times too. The song is called “The More You Do It (The More I Like It Done To Me) (1976).” This song was the sh*t back in the day! But once again, Ronnie’s voice fooled me again. He had such vocal range that I thought it was a completely different person singing this. The high notes made me think it was actually Billy Paul or someone like that. The song reached #6 on the R&B Chart. Unfortunately, Ronnie passed away from heart failure at the age of only 40 years old, on November 10th, 1990.
Artist: Nell Carter
Album: Not Found (On YouTube)
Genre: Pop Music
Again, this is one of those moments were it’s hard to believe a certain artist have become obscured. I really try to be mindful and not sound like a broken record. I just hope that at least some of my readers can understand, it’s not until you’re older that we really have a concept of just how fast time moves. Then, the next thing you know, you’re talking to a generation of people who don’t have a clue as to who you’re talking about. The late Nell Carter was a phenomenal actress and comedian, who also happened to be a phenomenal singer too!
Her Work Extended Beyond Her Hit TV Show!
If you ask an 80s baby, most will probably tell you that they only remember Nell Carter (if any) for her popular hit 80s TV show “Give Me A Break (1981-1987).” The theme song was so catchy, it was impossible to not at least be aware of Nell Carter, even if you never watched the show. Personally, I’ve watched quite a few episodes growing up, and I found it quite enjoyable too. Dealt with all kinds of subject matter, the kinds of subject matter that today’s writers would probably see as too politically incorrect or controversial for young children/family to watch. Nell really had a gift of acting. She knew how to deliver a joke right. But I really would have like to have seen her really expand her vocal career.
long before her hit show “Give Me A Break,” she was made famous for another hit. But, it wasn’t a TV show. It was actually a play. A musical play called “Ain’t No Misbehavin’.” I believe the play was first opened in 1978. She started as a featured actress, and the phenomenal performance she gave landed her a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award! Check out her live performance of a song called “If I Can’t Sell It (I’ll Keep Sittin’ On It),” from the play “Ain’t No Misbehavin’ (1999).” I also discovered that she was also in the Broadway play called “Annie,” around the very late 1990s close to 2000. Unfortunately, there are very, very few recordings of Nell singing. They’re almost non existent if you ask me. She had such a unique voice that was unmistakably hers.
She Appeared On Many Shows!
I didn’t realize just how many special TV appearances she’s made! That includes “227,” “Amen,” and “Ally McBeal.” She even had a small role on one of the day-time soap operas called “Ryan’s Hope” back in the day. It’s so hard to believe that Nell started out singing in coffee shops, to then become a superstar! She was a great person, and humanitarian woman to my understanding. Such a shame that her name has drifted away from the lips of most American people. Nell Carter 1948-2003.
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.