Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Oldie Of The Day: Spring Again

Howdy everyone! Yes I've not posted anything since March, which is just about the time my life because incredibly busy. I had the wonderful opportunity to be the music director yet again for a high school musical production. The highs, the lows, the tears, the profanity....dontcha love theater? I'll write more about it at a later date I'm sure.

Anyways, today is an absolutely gorgeous day. It seems that the shortlived spring is here in these parts.  Hopefully we won't dive headlong into a Dante-like summer anytime soon. Which reminds me to take my car in for freon.  In honor of the wonderful weather, which I hope you're enjoying too, here's the late Lou Rawls, Spring Again.  Definitely an oldie feel-good song.

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Oldie Of The Day: Mazel

While I don't always agree with some of the politics espoused on public radio, the one reason why I will continue to listen, particularly to NPR, is because I always learn something new. It's kinda like what Bill Cosby said in the Fat Albert intro: "This is Bill Cosby Coming at you with music and fun, if you're not careful you may learn something before it's done". Dang I loved that show.

Anyways, sometime before Christmas, this episode of NPR's Fresh Air program discussed, of all things, Jewish American music after World War II. I thought, "hmmm that's random, let's see what they say". One of the points brought out was how, as is usually the case, there was one man that promoted this music among Jewish Americans, but also attempted to make the music more mainstream. One tactic he used was to have various artists, including African-American R&B groups, record these cultural songs. The oldie today is one example, "Mazel", as recorded by the doo-wop group, The Ravens.

Mazel tov!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Randomness

It's been two weeks since the last entry; I think maybe I've been a little busy. Also, I was a bit uninspired, and I feel like if I don't have anything to say, then I should just be quiet. Hence - 15 days w/o a posting.  And now, a few random statements and songs....

  • For some reason I never knew Bruce Springsteen did "Hungry Heart"? Where have I been?  

  • I found this track - Kenny G w/Darryl Hall, "Baby Come to Me" - and am somewhat disturbed that I actually like the sax playing.  I'm sorry, but normally I can't stand Mr. G.  

  • I am still in mourning over Whitney Houston.  The funeral was beautiful, and did anyone else pick up on Piers Morgana being totally blown away by the experience. Piers, go to church every once in a while.  Even so, as everyone's been playing Whitney's music, I still can't believe her voice has been silenced. As I've been saying for the past few days: first Luther, then MJ and now Whitney. Dang.

  • For the record, Nancy Wilson is the smoothest diva ever.  When I grow up I wanna sing like her.

Feel free to leave any comments.  Have a great Monday!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Blues

Yep Friday blues. Not like I'm sad - although quite perturbed at the sudden artic quality of weather around here. I mean blues, like some southern rock, Memphis blues.

Last week I heard this great song on public radio (I told y'all I was a nerd), I don't remember which show it was. Anyways I heard the coolest song, and immediately SoundHound-ed it, and discovered the North Mississippi AllStars.  They've been around for a while, but I've never heard of them, but they have a pretty impressive story and body of work. I won't go into it here, but check out their website.  These guys make me want to try picking up guitar again. 

Here are two songs for today - "The Meeting" (Mavis Staples) comes from their latest album, Keys to the Kingdom.  The song "K.C. Jones" comes from an earlier work, Shake Hands With Shorty. 

Blues music always has the best and most unique titles.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Oldie Of The Day: I Wanna Be Where You Are

Today - cold-ish, gray-ish, and boring-ish. For some reason "I Wanna Be Where You Are" has been running through my mind this afternoon.  I think I'm longing for summer road trips.  You should hear me screeching to hit MJ's "OOH!". Hilarity.  Also comedic - overhearing me use the bit of Spanish I remember from high school to sing along with Jose Feliciano's version.

Anyways, both of them make me smile on this cloudy day. Hope you enjoy them too. Do the bump with somebody as you listen :)

Oye Jose!

Monday, February 6, 2012

RIP Soul Train Conductor

First Heavy D., then Etta James, now Don Cornelius, the creator and original host of the famed Soul Train.  Children of the 70s are mouring everywhere.  Nothing could strike up fun, belly-busting laughter, and TERROR like the Soul Train line at the local party/wedding/family reunion.  Fun - because it's dancing to the best grooves. Laughter - because someone is gonna do the bump, some gray haired person is gonna yell "see y'all don't know nothin' 'bout dis here" and then proceed to look crazy. and Terror - because you had to come up with a good move or people were going to laugh at YOU.

Don Cornelius opened the window to let the country view African American culture, fashion, and just plain gorgeous people on national TV.  Soul Train was the mark of success for the up-and-coming artist trying to make it in the business. It was a way to get music out to the masses for the established artist. 

When Soul Train went into syndication in the 80s and 90s, I was finally old enough to watch. One Saturday I was forced by my mother to take a nap. I woke up hours later in a cold sweat, terrified that I'd missed the ST episode for that day. What did little Cheray do? She ran crying hysterically to her daddy, who was baffled (as I'm sure he was many times in this house full of women). He tried to calm me down and find out why his first-born had completely lost it. The conversation went something like this: "Was it a nightmare?" "No." "Are you hurt?" "No." "Well what's wrong baby?" "I MISSED SOUUUUUUUUULLLL TRAIN!!" "Girl sit down, it hasn't come on yet!"

Today's clips are a few Soul Train moments:

Soul Train was known for having musical guests lipsynch their performances (cuz it's kinda hard to boogie down AND sing well at the same time). But I did find this clip of the O'Jays mixing live singing with a track:

Mariah Carey, back in the day (when she was good). She also breaks the mold and performs live with a track.

Quick example of REALLY bad lip-synching - David Bowie, the first white artist to be featured on Soul Train. 

Clip from The Fresh Prince - GO CARLTON!

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Latest Country Fave...

I haven't posted many country songs featured on this blog yet, probably because country is the the most recent genre added to my music library.  Honestly, I did not care for country AT. ALL. growing up.  Upon moving to the glorious - where am I, Midwest? Southwest? - I found myself s u r r o u n d e d by country and country lovers.  Like, get-in-your-face-and-beat-you-down-for-not-listening-to-country type of country lovers.  So I thought, hey try just a few songs to get started.  After all, I liked Hee-Haw and Dukes Of Hazzard when I was a kid.

Thankfully, over the past 10 years or so I've grown to appreciate country quite a bit - to the point of one country station actually being on my radio pre-set and owning a couple country cds. Not a lot mind you, but yeah, 1 or 2.  And as an aspiring songwriter, how can I deny the power of a song like "He Stopped Loving Her Today".  Holy smokes.

The Zac Brown Band is one of the latest groups to burst on the scene, and seem to bridge country and mainstream.  Note the serious James Taylor influence in the middle of today's song, "Keep Me In Mind".

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oldie Of The Day: The Impressions

I had to go waaay back for this one, back to the days of doo-wop, men standing on the corner making amazing harmonies together.  Whether you're talking about gospel quartets, barbershop groups, or doo-wop, there is something just appealing about men singing together. Especially a capella.

Which, I'd love it if we'd stop saying "A capoco". That joke is done. Let the dead bury dead. Jeez.

Anyways, enjoy this selection by The Impressions, "Say That You Love Me". I believe this is when Curtis Mayfield was still their lead singer.  And meet me at the ice cream parlor, where we'll put a dime in to listen to the latest hits :)

Happy Baby Friday!