Manchin Musical Greetings By Paul’s “Salutations”

I dined upon and digested “Salutations” by Canada’s Paul Manchin during the spring 2017 holidays and I must admit that the feast was a smorgasbord of gourmet sounds upon a diverse continental musical menu, unlike any in recent memory. This is not to imply that I loved every utensil on this table setting, however. Then, his CD got stuck in my car radio player for many days, causing me to do even more research on how to free it again so that I could recite these titles to you!   Relatable…very. For me, this is a whole De Ja Vu experience with Paul again.  I first reviewed Paul’s “Truth” and “Expression” while writing for someone named “DJ Ron” who edited About.com/dancemusic circa 2006.  His voice and approach still reminds me of jazz singer, Michael Franks.

Leading with “Take A Ride”, you will hear a concept that anybody can relate to via its narrative description. Who among us hasn’t felt the need to take a car ride to try and forget a failed romance, unrequited love or just to keep from arguing?

“One”, cut two, is the first modest danceable number on the album and my favorite overall.  I play it on “repeat” mode.  Its beat conjures up a combination of the late Aaliyah’s, “Rock The Boat” and the Hues Corporation smash of the 1970s, “Rock The Boat”, just a tad slower [song title coincidence not planned, dear reader]. He bills this as a song “dealing with grief”, yet I do not hear it as dark as that. It is the best pure song on the album and Paul should develop his next effort around this style of “cha-cha”. As many of this effort it ends cold, leaving you wanting more.  I prefer the “vamp to fade”.

The rest of this CD seems to wax and wane between up and downtempo instrumentals with an occasional introspective classic, quiet piano piece interspersed.  You can find yourself in deep thought while listening to these songs and I wonder if the inspiration for some of this music is personal Paul Manchin angst?

So, is Paul an accomplished pianist? No, according to him, he composes and has other musicians play the keys.  I was hoping that it was he on some of those classic tickling the ivories moments like on “Are You Mine?” /featuring Gabriele Tosi.

I heard a mixed bag of intros and themes . For example, track three, “King”, has a familiar dance club intro only to flat-line into a mid-tempo love (?) song. Something strange going on here, methinks…

“I Think I Care” is really slow; “Let U Go” has a much bigger sound, ahead of three, mostly percussive jams – “Personal Space” with the most Afro-electronic beat – and then back to forlorn love on the 100% acoustic guitar, “I Want You To Know”.

Paul adds a couple more nice and promising short, instrumental interludes, including a very soulful instrumental theme on “Coming My Way”, before we bump to the disco beat of the very suggestive sucker, “Lollipop”!  Oh, NOW I am awake! An it’s a good thing because the next selection continues the 4X4 club beat with “spinning/spyros poulos mix. I had to ask, what is a “poulos”? Maybe a Greek DJ remix thing?

Track fifteen, “Down”, is a definite dance club and Rhythm and Blues number – but what is he saying?  “Life” is a good road trip theme song to drive to – if only it were longer. “Exitus” is very listenable and has the same beat of Freddie Jackson’s “We’ve Only Just Begun”.  And Uh-oh, Wow!  I fear the short classic horror movie organ on the title cut, “Salutations”! Which Edgar Allen Poe or Vincent Price character is going to jump-out next?!

To call this album “schizophrenic” might sound “mean” in today’s quasi politically-correct times, and yet it does have two personalities!  Maybe it is more like “Cybill”, lol

“Salutations” is a study of contrasts among twenty tasty tracks. Even though I obviously listened a lot in my car to this, I give it   theater-masks-illustration-representing-three-mask-three-different-facial-expression-happy-angry-sad-37790143    3.5 melancholy face masks out of a possible 5 due to the shortness of the instrumental tracks which seemed like padding.  I would have also liked to have heard those tune play longer and move towards a statement.  Finally, I cannot wait to hear this album on my full-out home music system, instead of in a car, this summer.

Comments welcome.

Check out my mothership at www.achilliad.wordpress.com

Pupon The Don: “Fuel 2 My Fire” Cuts The Mustard

…“You say its love/But you keep throwing stones/You keep on throwing stones…”

 

Pupon The Don

[Los Angeles, March 16, 2016]

Even an “ole skool Gee” like me, from the Frankie Crocker-fueled, 107.5 WBLS FM days, can groove to the Brotha, Pupon The Don and his lament, on “Fuel 2 My Fire” [All Natural Records], which I would like to listen to, one day, on CD!

The bed is a spicy gourmet blend of Trap, Teardrop, synthesized metallic bracelet, strumming Mexican guitar and Reggae sounds with a splash of the dry desert heat of a “High Plains Drifter” riff-feeling musical hook.  Pupon touches all bases with “Fuel 2 My Fire”.  It is part of yet another morph of the sound of Hip Hop in the twenty-first century.

“Fuel 2 My Fire” is about a relationship where one significant other’s constant accusations aggravate the other to the point that he will not take it anymore, yet turns it on its “muthaf**in” head into poetic motivation; “You say its love/But you keep throwing stones/You keep on throwing stones…”

I like the dope way it fades in and then, using slowdown feature, pauses before riding into the fire of independence.

Last year, “…The Don” established his own record label, “All Natural Records”.  There he is connecting with fellow rappers like Swavy Mac and No Cence.  What remains to be seen is whether Pupon The Don will impact the world as not only a recording artist, writer and producer, but as a successful Activist upon his utopian goal of “creating music the whole world can build their future on”.

I have heard that same utopian ideal from several Millennials in the past week, alone – even from my own generation. I pray music can be an offensive weapon that helps to smite the negative barbarians who try to upset our peaceful world these daze.

There is no grey (Pupon) area! The Don cuts the mustard on this single and I look forward to the album and video (which I will add below in the future) soon.  Since it is now my latest mental “tune wedgie”, I rate this track with‘four dropped mics’ out of five.

stage466_ht6

Please feel free to leave your comments.

(if you are not familiar with the idiom “Cut the Mustard”, click here) http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Doesn%27t+Cut+the+Mustard

Hellooo, Southern Halo!

“…The more I listened to their close-with-a-modern-edge storylines and harmonies, the more I realized that they are poised to become the latest legendary singing sister trio! The Andrew Sisters and my friends The Pointer Sisters immediately came to mind…”

Halo

 

I received a CD in the mail with a little handwritten note on the back of an invitation flier asking me to please enjoy and review their album after I listened.  It was from Natalia, Christina and Hannah, the ladies of Southern Halo, who hail from Cleveland, Mississippi.  I am thinking that maybe they were named after the famous thoroughbred race horse, since the sister’s bio mentions horses a part of the pets they love and care for.

The more I listened to their close-with-a-modern-edge storylines and harmonies, the more I realized that they are poised to become the latest legendary singing sister trio!  The Andrew Sisters and my friends, The Pointer Sisters, immediately came to mind.  The album features a family affair of catchy song concepts and lyrics which reflect their regional realities and grow on your ears with each listen.

You will really hear and feel the church bells “ring-in’” the album as the trio are cantillating “Little White Dress” which is a wedding day song.  I imagine all three marring simultaneously, but then again, they are not “triplets”, so that might not work. A great lyric here is, “My Daddy says I’m a handful, I’m just a little bit wild and free…” Every time I heard them sing, “fun, fun, fun” I had a Beach Boys moment. I kept waiting for “’til her daddy takes the T-bird away” lol

unnamed (2)

As they move into the intro of “Rewind”, you’ll hear a soulful organ in the background.  I love the ballad”, I don’t Wanna Move On”, which I would subtitle, “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight”. It climaxes sweetly with a nice instrumental interlude.

“Over You” has a unique hook and it took many listens to try to figure-out what I was hearing in-order to describe it for you and the best I can glean is, ‘Ohh-ver you.” (maybe a lyric sheet needed on their website?).  Is it, “I’m now, ow, ow, ow, ooo-ver you for the last time…”  I’ll look for your translation in the “Comments” section below. There is good background guitar and instrumentation work on this selection especially.

“Moonshine”, cut number six, is my first favorite upon initial listens in my car one sunny day. A standout lyric is, “And he’s kissin’ on me and I’m lovin’ it.” Aww.

Remember that little note I received?  It mentioned that the “latest single is “Living Like That”.  Well, it too is a rocker, not as energetic; might grow on the fans and they can do better – like the very next song, the amusing and descriptive poetry of “Cowboys”, featuring more, crisp percussion from Nick Buda per the CD liner notes! I’m a little more confused as their press release denotes Christina on drums.

Finally, I like the last hard rocking good Southern USA Country rock of cut of track ten, “I Ain’t Crazy (But My Daddy Is)”, which is another take on the shotgun wedding tradition, in my opinion.

southernhaloprofile1

There is not much that hasn’t been said or written about Southern Halo, whose sound is full of feel-good fun and charming southern comfort.  Compromise will continue to be the straw which stirs the showbiz togetherness drink with the group going forward.

I give them Three Acoustic guitars out of five for this 2015 release, while praying for more big things to come for these growing siblings, who are on their way to perform in London U.K. as I compose this review.

lot0018

“Bon Voyage” Ladies!!, “knock ‘em dead” and “Y’all come back now real soon, to do more new music, ya hear?”

Be sure to check out my original blog for more older “My Vinyl” posts at www.achilliad.wordpress.com 

Both Sides of Rick Monroe Music – “This Side Of You” – Recorded and “Live!” Nu Music Revu!

” I think that “This Side Of You” could be used as background theme during the love-making scenes of the recent movie, “Deepwater Horizon”!’

img_1372

It took a few days, but now this song is officially another “tune-wedgie” that plays as added to my mental jukebox rotation of hits.

“Gypsy Soul” is the forthcoming new album by the amazingly well-traveled for such a youngster, Rick Monroe, who should be a diplomatic Ambassador, having just read a lot of his biography. Maybe it is a future career move, but for now he happily calls Nashville, Tennessee his home.

I saw Rick Monroe for the first time, when he arrived from the behind the stage entrance of the club and when he recognized me, I saw in the smile that broadened his face a very engaging, friendly and approachable rising star.  It was as if we were old acquaintances. I instantly got the feeling that he and I could have kicked it about music and radio for hours, but he had only moments before he had to take the stage; maybe next time, for that conversation and a more in-depth interview; so we had one of his band mates take a couple photos!

img_1374img_1375

When I mentioned reading about the new album, he talked glowingly about his co-producers, Jason Duke and Ryan Griffin, and the genesis of the current hit single, “This Side of You”, which he played early during his first set and some of which I caught on video (below).  I think that “This Side Of You” could be used as background theme during the love-making scenes of the recent movie, “Deepwater Horizon”!

Rick Monroe has a good, self-deprecating stage-presence and he kept the songs moving without a whole lot of endless “blah-blah-blah” between selections.  The venue’s sound was not the best sometimes.  I could not understand some of his segue way between songs comments often and maybe that was due to whoever was mixing his sound from the DJ booth or maybe it was more tuned for the line dancing warm-up hour’s clientele?

While Rick commands the center-stage, his three other men support the sound without upstaging him.  They seemed in-sync and well rehearsed without sounding stilted. As a former drummer, I found his a very solid and tight percussionist. They displayed good stage action and choreography spontaneously.

Suddenly, my own audience interaction is interrrupted as apparently some radio station promotion prize winners invade the VIP with me. I leave the area to shoot more Rick Monroe video.  He leaves stage at one point to briefly mingle and orchestrate amongst the crowd without missing a beat.  I almost missed it, having glanced away to the radio contest winners.  Speaking of “radio”, “This Side of You” is His set featured an assorted a mix of southern rock and folksy blues-style Country Pop, which really impressed me when they surprised my ears by covering one of my all time Allman Brothers favorites from 1970, “Midnight Rider”. Well done!

Rick plays a Framus acoustic guitar, whose design feature makes its body look bigger than most I used to see in Nashville!  Is this true or just my vision?

As an aside, from being in the din of the Saloon that night, I must reiterate that sometimes we speak the same language, yet have to slow-down to really listen to each other (especially with loud music playing in the background),  in order to understand across regional spoken colloquialisms and accents.

Thank you again and major props to Martha Moore, who set me up with this opportunity and also praise God for placing me in the area at this time.

Major Props to his Manger, Andrea and Bob who managed the Saloon that night and to the whole din of Honky Tonk Saloon (that is really the name of the place!), in Ladson, South Carolina, at the end of February in 2017. Who knew, a year ago, I would be in Charleston, just twenty minutes from one of SoMuchMooremedia’s artists in order to cover this event??!  I saw everything from Line Dancing, a “Billy Jack” lookalike to guys in Hells Angels jackets representing states all over the USA while I waited meeting the positive and country-cool Rick Monroe.  I would love to add the physical CD of this album to my collection when it drops.

Here is a studio preview that runs about the same length as my live shot, lol

I rate “This Side Of You” with four, slow-dancin’ “geetars”.  four-electric-guitars-t-shirt-men-s-premium-t-shirt

 

(Please check out my other, random about anything blog, http://www.achilliad.wordpress.com)

Valentine’s Time for Revisiting “Refections”

“As I peer – through the window – of lost time -looking over my yesterdays – and all the love I gave in vain….”

(Classic Holland-Dozier-Holland genius lyrics…)

I can dig it thoughout my own unrequited love story. Happy “Valentines’s Day”.

il_340x270-433234925_f27d

There are times in all of our lives when we need to meditate and reflect. Some now use the complicated verb “to chill” to describe the same need.   It is healthy for mind, body and soul.  I am in one of those periods now, which probably spawned my latest phantasmagoric “tune-wedgie”, “Reflections” by The Supremes.

Speaking of “soul” , that is what this music was labeled as back in the 1960s in America in Billboard magazine and on the radio..

When the record, “Reflections”, first came out in 1967, the intro sound was markedly different than their earlier, more melodious hits like the 1965 smash, “I Hear A Symphony”.  The intro was electro-spacey and Star Trek psychedelic for The Supremes, who had by then become known as Diana Ross and The Supremes.  Maybe it was at the same time that The Temptations’ “Psychedelic Shack”attacked the charts.  The sound of Motown was evolving.

Ms. Ross’ stage presence evolved as well. In the first performance below, in living “black and white” television, she was shyly portraying the song.  By the time of the next video, you can see her confidence and showmanship grow, exuding a playful and sneaky self-depricating smile that endeared generations of listeners and fans to this very day, in my opinion (IMO).

Check out, enjoy and compare these three performances:

and the outfit changes!

I love how Ms. Ross’s funky confindence grows into this song each time she sings it and how she seems to do the “boogaloo” between verses (a little neck movement thing and the dane of the day when you had to know how to do the latest dance in order to be hip and party hardy!) Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops did a similar jig.

This is the best one, IMO and Ms. Ross et-al get really into it as the song-story progresses!

See the confidence Ms. Ross and the ladies have in the second and third ones?  Mary, why did you hide behind her at one point? lol

Ross is so cute at 1:46 when she is into it and gives a little ad lib “Hoop!” Nice.

This is Hall Of Fame and lifetime favorite music that I want to remind the world, especially the ” millennials” I worked amongst recently about.

Always take time to “reflect” and pray because the music will heal your brain and your prayers will be answered.

 

 

Janey Streets Side Of Paradise

And now the album my previous EP revu teased has dropped!

Janey Street’s “My Side of Paradise” [BER 1020 Blu Elan Records]

If you would talk to Janey Street, you would never know that she is a singer because she is just a natural, typically loquacious chick with a regular speaking voice that has a slight New York City treatment. What I think it allows for is a variety of pitch within this collection, which ranges from rock to funk along her blues street in paradise. The concept of this album measures today’s social mores.

The album begins like I thought it would with initial drummer rim shots.

We listen to a collection of very well written songs.  I emphasize “well-written” lyrics and performed by Janey Street who has apparently paid enough blues dues to earn a shot to fulfill her dreams, proving that we must keep on keeping on (to borrow a title from the late, great Curtis Mayfield) because it is never too late as long as we have breath in our bodies and a strong pulse to actualize them. Many of these heartfelt songs will end up rambling through your mind as soothing tune wedgies, long after your first listen to the album.

Janey

What I love about the first two tracks, which are my favorites, is their Motown-esq funky band feel that even features one of my favorite instruments, the baritone saxophone which made so many hits of the 1960s and 1970s so ballsy and timeless! It kicks in about midway into “Among The Missing” and staples it until the end. They keep that horny horn into “Good Side” and even lead with the baritone which becomes integral from the outset and throughout! The next tune and ballad, “Bring it On”, brings in the orchestral strings and I think I heard a cello at one point!  It is a bit strident at times as occasional vocal overreach stretches Janey’s vocal range. What I found curious is how she pronounced the word, “stubborn” during this song. It sounded more like “stubbren”. No phonics?

“House Of Mirrors” is a storytelling funhouse rocker that is reminiscent of many 1980s Top 40 hits.  The next tune, “Situation” you already know how I feel about its succinct relevance from my prior writings. Events are oft not as hideous as we worry about them being at the end of the day.

I have another line for song number six, “Tears Taste the Same”, ‘they taste like whatever you been drinking, they taste like Beer…’  Nice, cold ending, by the way.

The advanced EP single, “I’m Not The Girl I Used To Know”, cut number seven, has actually grown on me since I reviewed it in June of this year. Maybe it is because of its context position midway through this album and because I can see how it speaks to some inner truth many people might feel even though I am the boy I used to know – and then some!   The next rock’em socke’em “End” seems like a family feud of funk. I hear a wedding gone awry amongst rollikin organ notes, shouts and harmonica riffs.

“Grand Delusion” takes on the perceived illusion that the internet and social media creates in this, the future that is now, if you do not know how to use it correctly. “Rose-colored glasses made for the masses…” Her treatment makes this global technology dysfunction seem almost pleasing – but as good as it is for song, they are off the mark in-reality, which is a debate for another post.

“Radar” mellows it out like a Joni Mitchell song from the seventies.  “Scat Like Ella” is the best possibility for a “tune wedgie” as it is catchy and will linger in your music mind for all times. It is a really good concept song that Ms. Street performs to the max and conveys the message succinctly.  Again, the lyrics carry part of the day as she mentions so many of the giants of legendary Jazz music.  I left it believing that she really does want to “scat like” Ella Fitzgerald after hearing her give us a sample. Now I think I want to scat like Cab Calloway!

At the “End of the Day” is a finale, mostly acapella and well-positioned wrap song for the album, which, maybe, with the exception of “I’m Not The Girl…”, tells a kind of revolutionary story about the times within we reside in toto.  I like Blue`lan’s packaging of the CD, which includes a lyric booklet. My final question is how to get  a ticket onto that train to Janey’s Side of Paradise – or is it an island?  As a songstress/storyteller, Janey Streets consistently paints a beautiful word-picture throughout the effort that defies any one music genre catagorie, in my opinion.  I bless it with Four out of a possible Five Guitars.

guitars

Please add your comments or revu of this music, khorosho? OK?

Tune wedgie: “Hey Western Union Man, Send a Moneegram…”

“…still my favorite Jerry Butler jam. From the old Mercury Records label, circa 1988, it mysteriously returns to my musical mind from time-to-time. Maybe because I am still lonely and without a soulmate at my ripe old age…”

CS2039661-02A-BIG

 

This is still my favorite Jerry Butler jam. It is a powerful hit record. Powerful. Did you know that he and the late Curtis Mayfield were together as part of the dynamic 1960s- early 1970s group, “The Impressions”?  From the old Mercury Records label, it mysteriously returns to my musical mind from time-to-time. Maybe because I am still lonely and without a soulmate at my ripe, old age.  A wealth of music in the mind is a tortorous thing sometime. I remember practicing my drum kit to its funky beat. I am going to estimate that this song came out in 1968.  Please correct me in your comments. Two minutes and forty-five seconds of powerful, masculine vocal, soulful funk. The way it SHOULD always be.  Can you bend your knees and lift this kind of music today?  If not, get back to the damn gym!  I like when early at :46 in the tune he sings, “Send a telegram, send a telegram, HURRY UP, to my baby-bay…”

Now, I made a slight modification to the title due long-distance relationship experience and a dream I had after a recent surgery.  Must have been the pain meds, but the epihinany was that why doesn’t WU use the fact that most ppeople who use their services now wire money as a marketing campaign and change the NAME and use “The Iceman”, Mr. Butler’s fame?  Instead of “send a TELEGRAM, why not, “Send a monegram, to my Baby…”  Notice I changed the spelling of “moneygram” because I think that American Express uses that for,. However, I am sure that Western Union’s legal team can find a way to market “monEgram” without infringement and make it happen.

Heck, I will even do the voice-over for FREE!  All in ALL, a classic and timeless soul song lives on and is still relevant, no matter the purpose.

There is a “live” version of this from 2012 that I wanted to post with these semtiments, until I watched it go way too long. Jerry Butler was never one to do an active, dancing around flamboyant stage act, but now in his Senior years, that version went on for about three minutes too long, which turned it into an agonizing display like, “just let the man leave the stage already!”

“Oh, Western Union man send a telegram to my baby
Send a telegram, send a telegram, oh
Send a telegram to my baby
This is what I want you to say

I want you to tell her that I’m all alone
I tried to call her on the phone
Tell her I’m in misery and think she’s avoiding me
And if the telegram don’t do
Send a box of candy too an maybe some flowers

Tell her that I miss her for hours and hours
Send a telegram, send a telegram
Hurry up, send a telegram, man, to my baby
Do you hear what I say?

Oh, Western Union man, send a telegram
Oh, send a telegram to my baby
Western Union man, hey, send a telegram, oh
Send a telegram, send a telegram, oh
Send a telegram, man, to my baby
This is what I want you to do

Listen, tell me, have you got a boy you can send?
This is what I want him to do
Put him on his bike right away
See if he can get my message through
Maybe tomorrow but mail it right away

I want the girl to know that I missed her
Something like yesterday
Send a telegram, send a telegram, oh
Send a telegram, man, to my baby
Do you hear what I say?

Oh Western Union man why don’t you send a telegram?
Well send a telegram to my baby
Western Union man, send a telegram
Oh send a, send a telegram, send it
Send it, send it, send it, right on to my baby
Do you hear what I say?

Hey Western Union man, send a moneegram, oh
Send a moneegram to my baby, hey”

Songwriters
BUTLER, JERRY / GAMBLE, KENNETH / HUFF, LEON