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“Dee Jay Applebee”

“…imagine my pleased perspective when, while chillin’ at my newest Applebee’s location, a DJ party erupted!”

I am an Applebee’s finder and pretty much love the 38 year-old casual dining franchise chain.

In the several states my radio DJ career took me and since, I always found a friendly Applebee’s Bar and Grill restaurant as my initial watering hole to settle my world and meet new locals, while I got the “lay of the land”.

So, imagine my pleased perspective when, while chillin’ at my newest Apples location, a DJ party erupted! They didn’t move the furniture or rearrange the booths, as a real, live selector set up and began to rock the house!  He calls himself DJ Marc J and I empathize with him taking his blends seriously and using a small variety of today’s DJ tools.  There were only a couple of guys who were dancing in the isles, most just head noddin’, boppin’ to the beats from their seats while sippin’ and kickin’ convo.

Marc J I

Marc J mixes a musical cocktail of uptempo jams.  From R&B remixes to reggaeton, club, pumpin Pop, techno, electronica, hip-hop (without all the cursing and n-words, by the way), with a splash of Chutney Soca, Afro-beat, Reggae Fusion, southern soul, jazzy juice and dance-Pop.  Marc J II

Kudos to this Richmond, Virginia Applebee’s management for always having a nice classic soul, R&B mix playing in-general on the “Muzak” system, friendly waitstaff, bartenders and in-particular for featuring a live disc jockey on Thursday nights!

Marc J IV

 

It was “eatin’ good in the neighborhood, 2.0″   and as a fellow Selector for over forty years, I feel qualified to rate DJ Marc J: The night I listened to him, he was blending perfectly, although I would like to see him mix vinyl, talk on the mic a little bit and run a dance floor club, but at “Club Applebee’s on Laburnum” that night overall, he earned 4.5 stars! download

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pickhit: remember to swing over to my mothership blog for all things mostly not about music, http://www.achilliad.wordpress.com – now going on ten years of blogging this month!

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“Super Hit” Radio Station Music Surveys From The Past” – What Were You Listening to 48 Years Ago this month?

“This music station preceded FM radio, which at the time was in an experimental stage. They were the WABC AM 77 of black music.”

This is a new category for the blog!  Reuniting with some of my history from my storage pod recently, I came upon some masterpieces, preserved  to now share with you.

When I was growing up and just starting to get into music, I’d stop by the records shops on the way home (anything to stall going back there) to pick up the hottest 45rpm record my allowance allowed and the latest hit ‘survey” sheets that all of the local radio stations put out regularly, listing what they were playing , by who and what was bubbling-up to be a smash soon! My parents didn’t even want me to listen to this music.  I remember my mother asking me, “What are you doing listening to that gut-bucket music?!”  I think I was listening to some Motown on my record player at the time. My folks and their relatives used to act all bourgie sometimes.  In retrospect, seeing it for what is was, typical generation-gap disrespect, I guess. We all are subject to do it, poo-pooing the fashions or new trends of those that follow us – if we keep a closed mind.

This survey was right on top of the pile when I opened that now falling-apart file; from forty-eight years ago this month and at the time New York City’s number one “Soul”  and R&B (Rhythm and Blues, if you don’t know) music station, waaay down at the end of the AM radio dial on 1600, WWRL.  The mainstream “Top 40” stations were the powerhouse “Musicradio 77WABC” and at the other end of the dial WMCA AM 570, featuring “The Good Guys”. Theonly other “competing soul stations were WLIB AM and over in New Jersey, WNJR AM, but they had weaker signals with more static. All of this was pre-FM radio.

WWRL 10.71

Do you remember any of these songs, or maybe the versions other groups and bands did as covers of them? And the gentlemen on the right-hand column were some of the guys who made me want to be a radio DJ too (though at the tine I didn’t know it).  I even got to hang out with all of them except Enoch Gregory (top) who, if memory serves me correctly was the morning disc jockey at the time.  All but a couple are not with us in the physical world anymore, but not forgotten.

Turn the page and you’d see:

WWRL 10.71B

I remember going to Alpha Distribution when I started DJing back in 1972 to get promotional copies that were free for us to play at parties!

On the back, “Jack” you’d see two more places to get the latest vinyl:

WWRL 10.71C

I’m so happy to have found these in great condition and as the month go by, I will share more from those same past months with you. Ironically I still own much of these records and they are still very playable (secret: never lend records to anyone)!

Please comment on anything here that moves you or, if you are too young to have known these records, feel free to email and ask me about them.  I am here to educate and connect the musical “dots” for you, unlike so many people on the air fail to do these days. This is positive history; after all…its musik !

As always, be sure to flash on over to the mothership  blog which spawned this one, www.achilliad.wordpress.com for mostly non-music content and diary ramblings now going on ten years of blogging!  Thank you.

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End of Summer, Beach Bummer…

“…I rock to and fro like Ray Charles at the piano, as their trademark harmonies grow…”

As a lover of summer (as long as there is silently cool a/c at night to sleep in), the start of Autumn can be a bummer, which is one reason I love a  South Carolina beach, where I’ve enjoyed surf and sandy days in October!

That is as far south as I plan to trek ; maybe someday, I’ll buy a house there with an ocean-facing deck. September somehow also makes me always want to hear The Beach Boys.  Maybe because as a disc jockey, I’d never play them again in a typical year until their Christmas song.

This tune from their Holland Days (sauce) sessions, with new singer for the time-being, Blondie Chaplin is my Fall folly anthem.  It took me a “minute” to realize it was them singing it too!  Part of the problem was that it was played on Rock stations and the jocks rarely back-announced it; same for the Pop stations of those early 1970s days.   Still a smooth Indian Summer groove and its those trademark, in-unison background “ooos” and “ahhs” that ultimately give it away to my ears as a classic “Beach Bums” jam.  I rock to and fro like Ray Charles at the piano, as their harmonies grow.  Just like good vibes, fun, California Girls and T-birds, for my every summer, they sing the last words of inspiration:

“Seldom stumble, never crumble Try to tumble, life’s a rumble Feel the stinging I’ve been given Never ending, unrelenting Heartbreak searing, always fearing Never caring, persevering Sail on, sail on, sailor…”

 

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“Hold ON!” Eddie Money and My First Real Radio DJ Gig

“I can still see the four or five Harris cart machines in front of me and behind the suspended microphone on 1490, WFLB AM, where I first played “Baby Hold On To Me” in 1978…”

Here is my DJ story about Eddy Money, who we lost this week at 70 years young:

I “met” Mr. Money when I had to play his song, “Baby Hold On To Me” in-rotation, as I jocked “The Midnight Express” (a title I inherited from the previous jock who had moved on to 15WLAC, Nashville) radio show on Top 40, WFLB AM 1490, Fayetteville, NC in 1978.

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I was just getting used to strictly formatted radio and we were part of the ABC Contemporary network.  I would listen to other overnight jocks in major markets, like Viv Roundtree, in cue during long songs because I was so starved for material and bored.  Very homesick – my first time a long way from home after college – and at the time, engaged to marry my college sweetheart, who I’d left behind in Long Island, New York, it was my first commercial gig on the air after my college station years.

Every time I’ve heard of Brooklyn’s own, Eddie Money during the ensuing years, I am back in that second floor studio, behind and overlooking the the McDonald’s restaurant takeout window on Bragg Boulevard, thinking and hearing “Baby Hold On”, its cold ending and the following record I would front-announce.  What a strong song!!

We played music on “carts” back then in radio; they resembled 8 track tapes.  I can still see the four or five Harris cart machines in front of me and behind the suspended microphone on ‘FLB AM, where I first played “Baby Hold On To Me” in 1978.  The Program Director, “Dr. Larry Cannon” had taped a sign whose phrase I carry with me to this very day.  It read, “Communication Is The Key“.

RIP Eddie Money; I hope you finally got at least one “Ticket To Paradise”!

 

Be sure to check in over at my mothership blog, achilliad.wordpress.com for op-ed musings and other content.  Thank you and please leave your comment!

 

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Yuliya Fowler, “Faith Family, Fitness” 3 Workouts on 1 DVD

Coming out promo

Here’s a new twist: An exercise video to spiritual Christian music with Yuliya Fowler, an enthusiastic Ukrainian-American instructor.

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Most exercise shows and videos feature mostly electronica 4/4 beat music in the background.  If your rep rates depend on that rhythm scheme, then you may not achieve your desired heart rate from some of the easier Christian-Country sounds on this DVD.  Nevertheless, Yuliya on “Faith, Family, Fitness” [Platinum Planet Records] conducts a pretty believable and effective workout with the best of the genre during her eighty (80) minute session and makes it a family affair with her two children joining in on the set. I noticed that she doesn’t reverse-count down the seconds required of the movements however.

As a man with experience dating Slavic ladies, I love her cute Ukrainenglish accent, as she gives her commands, but it can be a bit of a challenge to understand for the non-experienced ear. More accurately, she sounds like my first Slavic girlfriend, Eleanor, who I met in Nashville, where this video was produced, coincidentally.

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Yuliya makes the case that her inspiration for the genre of her musical selections was going to a gym where she was working out to songs about adultery.  I’d like to know what those songs were, as most gyms play a variation of prerecorded music from contemporary Top 40 Hits to Rhythm & Blues or instrumentals like on the classic ESPN 2 series of the 1990s, “Bodyshaping”.  Musically herein, you have eighteen well sung tunes as background to inspire you inside and out.  Most notable are “Yada, Yada, Yada”and “Jump Back”, which are uptempo enough to raise that heartbeat level, “Just Grace” and “Dance Our Lives Away”.  Two of those feature local Nashville songwriter/musician, Steve Rupe along with Justin Peters, who produced the media overall. Here “E” = not only exercise, it = enthusiasm.  хорошо.

Four out-of-five stars. four of five stars

(I couldn’t find any samples on Youtube, so I produced this little excerpt, so you can get an idea.)

 

 

[Please flash over and check out my mothership blog, https://achilliad.wordpress.com  for (mostly) non-music material.]

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Route 66, My Natural 2109 Theme Song

This is truly “full circle” stuff and this post is now where it really belongs, here on my musik-ONLY satellite blog after making its debut over on the Mothership.
I took a midnight shower in early June, after penning this post.  Needing to try to breathe in the shitty house I moved into which smells of mildew, mold and who-knows what other toxins which my sensitive, bronchial Asthma lungs detect.  Go fund me outta there, here I come!

You see, At this juncture in life, I cannot take much bullshit. I act outside the “box” pro-actively as a Baby Boomer must, whenever I can!
I am now traveling on Route sixty-six,
and
Need to give you youngsters
A quick educational ride;

Like it or not.
The song brakes too quickly!

Hop on and maybe knowing I played for you,
Will help me sleep better.
This jam is jazzy!

You can always rewind this tape and escape or revitalize
As we did happily back in the 1960s with this classic TV show.
Yet, I just want you to know about it.

Go to Youtube or the library and check out the DVD,
So you can get into this TV episode;
These two guys didn’t take no s***
That is, if you are reading this and
Too young to already know.
My sixty-six is just the right time
To go young if she is hot and solo.

Tatoos are a flagrant fad these days.
No need back when only sailors did it.
In the days of surly tough times,
Straight talk and problem solving
Raised upon classic nursery rhymes.
Non politically correct;
I might get one before I sink,
All along Route 66.

Just dig the music over and over again;
Keep looping it!
The horny horns;
A flirty la flirty piano,
His groovy guitar.

Today I am its number and claim my theme song;
At long last.
Listen now and forget to remember
Or remember when to forget who you think you are.

“Play it again, Sam”

 

…and for non-musik-related content, visit “the Mothership blog” at www.achilliad.wordpress.com  Thank you and please leave comments.

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A Real “Rochelle, Rochelle” Musical!

“Imagine what you’d get when you marinate a down-to-earth, fine cut of talent with a sprinkle of Dolly Parton, a smidgen of Maureen McGovern, a dash of Stevie Nix, and a teaspoon of Cher…”

Rochelle front

Richmond, Virginia, April 21, 2019 – One of the great things about traveling the Airbnb way is that you meet some very interesting people, on an almost neighborly and intimate level, in a short period of time! I have gotten to cook in some very well-stocked kitchens and love to taste and cook gourmet dishes to chow on with a smorgasbord of sound in the background.  Check out my latest, recipe:

Imagine now, what you’d get when you marinate a down-to-earth, fine cut of talent with a sprinkle of Dolly Parton, a smidgen of Maureen McGovern, a dash of Stevie Nix, and a teaspoon of Cher?  Mix all into a bowl with her lead-guitar husband “Boz”, funky horns (including a baritone sax), Hammon organ and solid percussion.  Don’t let it simmer too long before firing it up, and you get medium-well done and tasty to your ears, the rangy Rochelle Harper (and her Mississippi band) jammin’!

She told me her music is “Americana” and while defined as contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues and also often uses a full electric band, to debate categorization is a whole other post.  I’ll highlight the tunes that swooned me on recent road trips, transcending mere categorization.  If you must narrow, I’d play several of the songs on my Contemporary Hits, Top 40 and jammin’ music radio stations!

Her 2014 solo effort, “Lilt” is in a class by itself, while her band showcases and performs under a more funky, free-form umbrella.  The first song from “Lilt” is a mid-tempo rocker called “Bittersweet”. Its soulfully fulfilling because the lyrics are realistic and hook repeated often,  “You’re the thing I shouldn’t do, but I know I wanna do anyway…”  Next is “Stars Out” which brings Fleetwood Mac to my DJ mind. They could have changed the ending to a vamp-to-fade and gone on longer, IMO.  I kept hitting ‘repeat’, trying to keep the feeling!!!

 

At this point,  I am needing to reach for a lyric sheet because, like most great crooners, we mortals cannot always understand the heartfelt words!  One of those occasions where, sometime in the future, you hear a cut and suddenly understand what they were singing all along!  Rochelle rear

The disc settles-down after that, into “Cajun Wind” and “Say”, two tracks that let her explore forks in her vocal road that may be more in-tune with that “Americana” thing; she sounds like Cher here, for the first time on my drive (she will again on “Angelina”), and I am just crossing the South-to-North Carolina border on I-95!

Suddenly, there I sat, while the road was closed for a still inexplicable reason – I-95 used to never come to a standstill as I remember it – I shut the music off, in frustration while we sat still for at least sixty minutes. There went my ETA of the day.

When we began to move fast again, Rochelle helped me find my favorite and a-pro-po jam, “Highway One”!  Becoming a tune-wedgie, I’ve played it again and again.  The guitar solo sounds a bit like that of Redbone on the classic 1971 song, “Maggie” and its brass from the outset gave my trip momentum like the legendary Memphis Horns section. Rochelle also covers Bobby Gentry’s “Ode To Billy Joe” on this album.  I’d had enuff of that one growing up, but it might be insightful for a younger audience to listen to.  On “Comin’ Home Again” we are happily greeted by Randall Bramblett’s Hammond B3, and throughout this poppin’ buster, his presence is prevalent like pew prayer in church.

Finally, Rochelle’s signature message song, I suspect, after having talked to her a few times at our AIRbnb Inn, is the reggae-rocker, “Universal Love” whose lyrics – and she wrote eight of the eleven songs – identify her as a strong “Rasta” goddess voice in a body of a natural Gulf Coast girl. Major props to Blair Shotts, whose solid drumming caught my ears, as a once-upon-a-time drummer.  He does Motown accents really well!

Rochelle jacket

When she first introduced herself to me I thought of Seinfeld’s “Rochelle Rochelle!”  With wishes to hear newer success and happier for having met this couple, my rating is  four-out-of-five, “Peace Within Music” signs, (like Rochelle’s Hippie pants) peace-sign-1066713_960_720!

** Next post,  I will revu the separate Band album, Mississippi Hippie Blues.

This video is a sneak-preview:

 

**Sureshot: Please remember to check out my other Rochelle-related review and other topics at the Mothership blog, achilliad.wordpress.com

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Marvin Gaye Finally Has His Own US Postal Service Stamp! I Wonder What He’d Say…

“‘Did you hear you have your own postage letter stamp, Mr. Gaye!?  Naw Man, I’m “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby”.’..

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Would he ask, “What’s Goin On?” Or say, “What’s Happenin’ Brother”?  Maybe he would have suspected this day would come and say “Oh I Heard It Through The Grapevine”… followed by, “I’ll Be Doggone” upon looking at it for the first time!  ‘Did you hear you have your own postage letter stamp, Mr. Gaye!?  Naw Man, I’m “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby”.’

Or, maybe he would not like the likeness of himself and have the “Inner City Blues” (Make Me Wanna Holler)”.  And by-the-way, why didn’t they use a red wool cap on his head like on the “Lets Get It On” album cover?

Or he might say nothing much, like in “Trouble Man” or “T” Plays It Cool…

 If he went to the Post Office and tried to get a mat of them, and the postal worker at the counter didn’t recognize him and asked for “$8.18, please…”, Marvin might go, “Oh, Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)”.     

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If they asked him to advertise the stamp, he could say to all of us, “Come Get To This!”, even.

He might be overjoyed and say, “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You”, Postal Service!  Marvin might view the honor with “Joy” and consider it the “Dream Of A Lifetime”. He’d say that you “Got To Give It Up” to the mail carriers and message the Postmaster General, “You’re A Wonderful One”!

 

He might suggest a “Diana & Marvin” stamp to bring the honor “All The Way Around”. “Gates” as we called him, would certainly have thought a stamp dedicated to “Save The Children” would be more appropriate.

The philosophical Marvin might reply to the interview question about how it feels to be honored with a postage stamp with, “That’s The Way Love Is”.

In his soft-spoken way he might advise, if you write a love letter with hopes of getting a little “Sexual Healing”, that you seal the deal by using his stamp on the envelope…

On behalf of Marvin, I thank the USPS Musical Stamp Director for “Your Unchanging Love”.

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*Remember to check out my mothership blog, achilliad.wordpress.com for more general topics and opinion.  Thanks for reading and commenting!

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My Vinyl: James Ingram Impressions

“…James Ingram and Jeffrey Osborne shared the same era in Urban soul music, competing for chart position in Billboard and other music industry trade magazines and papers of the day…”

I never, “Just Once”, met nor saw James Ingram “live” in-concert during my on-air disc jockey career travels from radio station-to-station. He wasn’t high on my list because he kind-of never rose to the level of Luther Vandross,, Lionel Richie or Al Green, but I dug his honest, loving sound and liked talking-up or back-announcing his records. He was maybe, too “clean”?

When “One Hundred Ways” came out in 1981, on Quincy Jones’ “The Dude” album (“the black album  cova”), I recall using that song to impress the lady of my desire who I was dating back then as a punctuation to a Valentine’s Day or anniversary day surprise.  It worked!

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It is interesting how “Q” (Quincy Jones) always manages to find previously undiscovered voices and bring them to the fore successfully.

James Ingram and another similar R&B crooner, Jeffrey Osborne shared the same era in Urban soul music, competing for chart position in Billboard and other music industry trade magazines and papers of the day in the early 1980s.  I recall waking up to it in the middle of many afternoons when I was an overnight DJ – I was hooked by the soap opera, General Hospital at the time and somehow it became a theme song – I guess it was Luke and Laura’s love song…

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I can still hear the late Frankie Crocker announce, “Patti Autin…James Ingram…Baby COME to Me….on 107.5,WBLS…” circa 1980.  

I have no special relationship between my vinyls of James Ingram.  They are just tools in his song catalog which, upon opening recall hints of past romance and love for me during that era.

 

 

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There’s No Waning Mark on Glasmire, Thru My Eyes (and ears) 

[Nashville, Tennessee, December, 2018] Proving that you can put a new slant on tried and true formats, is listening to the new album by Mark Wayne Glasmire [Traceway Records MWGCD 2018-1] who “Can’t Be Denied” stardom.  Take out your neatly included little lyric booklet, so you can follow along with me…

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From the first snare drum accents of “I’ve Got A Feeling”, this album captivates you into the professionally gleaned clean sound of “MWG”.   Hark! I think I even hear a friendly banjo pluckin-away and soulful, groovin’ organ on that first track! Yes! Checkin’ one of the SoMuchMooreMedia press advances, I read that we are hearing wonderful Wanda Vick on banjo, fiddle and mandolin (I so wanna see her, upon hearing this!) and Dennis Wage on the Hammond B3. It all comes so-together from start-to-finish on this record musically;  the band is tight.

Next in line, the very relaxing ‘Those Nights”, my first-favorite song here and reminiscent of The Eagles in the the late 1970s/early 1980s of my early Top 40 DJ days on the radio.  It changes the pace of the former by starting with a three-note piano flair, the bluesy, plaintiff organ and then midway through a classic Country music piano/guitar solo interlude. I frown my face up to keep from cryin’ with joy.  The more you listen, the more you’ll love it.

I have a feeling that Mark “Can’t Be Denied” consideration for a CMA award.  This tune continues the feel of the former, flowing naturally next; great song positioning! I love the unique way the guitar’s three note progression becomes the hook!  Tracks four and five play in the same key and “Alysia” is the best of that hook-up. This song is somehow reminiscent of “Spanish Lei”, an instrumental on the late Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra’s “White Gold” album.  Mark sings to and the guitar workings, (“bling, bling,bling…”) reveal her Latino roots. “Hey Alysia, (strum, strum, strum), You’re inside my [musical mind] heart …” It must be the mandolin; all they need is a marimba to complete the south of the border groove!  She also mixed into my head magically, on other songs of the album as I went about my daily chores in recent weeks while working-up this review.

The sixth song, “Borderline”, is a bad-ass story of waking up to a bad day, a card game gone sour and attempted escape, only to cross that final ‘borderline”, that we all must at some point.  Shades of Kenny Rogers on this one and I like that kinda storytellin’.

With so much to describe on this album, I don’t want to leave much out nor bore you because I “Feel Your Love”, as Mark so cleverly works real talk lingo into the lyrical mix. You have to hear how he hides the last word in this (paragraph) to know what I mean,  “I guess that I could walk away and hang it up with dignity and class/But I would rather swing away and tell them all to kiss my…aaaaa-asss!”  I smile out-loud, every time I hear it.

Unfortunately, we all know someone  “Gone Too Soon”  these days.  A a nice fiddle interlude contributes perspective within the complimentary guitars and a Glen Campbell-style feeling throughout.  “This Too Shall Pass” is a sobering ballad towards the end of the album, that addresses earthy, serious topics in all of our lives and its so philosophically introspective that I almost teared-up again, here at the end of a oft-sobering 2018 year. “Sometimes I sit back and wonder/How I made it this far/Nothing to show for the battles I fought/But the pain and the loss and the scars…”  

Honorable mentions to check out are, “Deep Inside” for your traditional uptempo Country music jam-party foot-stomper and “Frying Pan Into the Fire” to hear some of our elders favorite admonitions when we were going up, in-song.  ‘I’ve got a feeling’ that Mark will be heard at the upcoming 2019 CRS in Nashville and wish I could spy it.

This is cool, traveling and radio ready – even in radio’s current configuration – music.  An Adult Contemporary, Americana or Country Music Director would have to be deaf not to add these tunes; yet, use’em sparingly, because the album can last a long time. With a glossy CD cover that spells label commitment, I couldn’t even make notes on it with a sharpie!

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Congratulations, Mark! Major Props on producing music that truly touches all bases and produces potential dreaded “tune wedgies” at every other track. Five-out-of-five Country acoustic guitars is my rating.  5 gold guitars

Thanks for reading, please comment, if you wish and remember to check back to my “mothership connection” blog at www.achilliad.wordpress.com anytime for non-music  opinion.

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Paul Manchin Pools a “Swim”

“Paul has a penchant for adding a few instrumentals late in the game/ I wonder if he will revisit those tracks on his next album – but this time with lyrics added seeing how he sounds when the majority of songs are new originals…” 

When you listen to a Paul Manchin album, you are guaranteed variety of sound, increasing, Michael Franks-style vocal creativity and his own, slightly quirky arrangements which transcends genres – even if not intentionally. He seems a slightly  sad and solitary soul who expresses his sullen longings via these vacillating tracks.

“Swim”, complete with sound effects, is the first song and if you’ve seen the “Lift” video, you know that he is stroking in his pajamas, dreamlike. It needs not be weird – yet is surely and slightly thus.  Pull your swimsuit drawstrings tight for the ride!

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The next pool dip is “Lift” (you make my day) and then the jazzy “What Makes People Happy”, followed by a remake of a song from his previous, “Salutations” album, “Take A Ride”; another cut is the same, but with a funky beat.  Are we in Remix City, Paul?

On track five, he explores Madonna’s 1980s smash, “Like A Virgin”, a totally different way.  I teased him that Madonna is going to come after him and, to my surprise, he replied that he secured permission from her!  Apparently this isn’t the first time Paul has covered it either. He did so back during his Fly-Life days on the 2011 album, “Prolific”.  Hmm.. This time it blends into “Blackjack”, another cut from his last collection.  “Power of Love” is a beautiful piano solo ballad. “Fly”, my favorite and representative of how I first met Paul Manchin, is a nice dance club number with breakbeat-into-the-mix possibilities for DJs.

I really love his respectful, guitar-only cover of Elton’s “Your Song” (track nine).

Tracks ten and eleven, “Chance” and “Decline” respectively, are both big beat instrumentals and “Trinity” is basically sfx and a pure question mark for this listener. Number fourteen, is really jazzy, while “Promise” takes us back to Paul’s penchant for adding a few curious instrumentals late in the game.  Any chance he will revisit those tracks on his next album – this time with lyrics added?  “Want” sounds like a piano soundtrack from a horror movie!

Track sixteen, “Wonder” is my second-place favorite here.   It also apparently has two remix versions, inside an overall retro theme, taking us back to the 1960s “British Invasion” sound of the likes of The Dave Clark Five on one; the next remix is ten years hence from the former. What is very troubling is that in the video for this song, he burns and acoustic guitar! What did this have to do with the lyrics?  Why not put out the album version and then the remix version as a single and video?!

Just snorkel-spy “Try”, and listen to an introspective guitar monologue.  “One” is also from the previous ‘Salutations’ album; this time with a different beat.  How bout more original new fare and fewer remixes, Paul?  Some of the blends and revisits seem random and are confusing to those listeners who desire a more consistent thematic approach to their listening.

That being said, this bath is the most listenable Manchin album throughout that I have enjoyed by him.  Four out of five stars for listenability ( the burning guitar almost makes me deduct a point).  I want to see how he sounds when the majority of songs are new originals – even if fewer overall – in the deep end.  Please do not drown us in remixes next time!  four of five stars

 

Please remember to stop by the ‘mothership’ blog, www.achilliad.wordpress.com to read what is currently goin’ on.  Thanks and please keep the dialogue going with a comment.

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As my years pass, this song stops by sometime for perspective.

“As mortality creeps and years pass, sometimes my jukebox DJ mind plays the last four lines of this theme…”

[With Credit to Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and genius.com]

There was once [circa 1971] a popular Broadway show called, “Fiddler on the Roof” whose most famous song, “Sunrise, Sunset”.  It took place during the wedding of  characters Tzeitel (Tevye and Golde’s daughter) and her childhood friend and tailor, Motel. The whole Jewish community of Anatevka celebrates with them, and everyone watches as the couple have the ceremony.

The first half of the song has Tevye and Golde as they wonder how time flies, whilst the second half has Hodel – Tevye and Golde’s second daughter – and Perchik wonder about their own future, hopefully together.

A beautiful and melodic musical number, “Sunrise, Sunset” encompasses many of the important themes of Fiddler on the Roof: community, religion, time, tradition, family, and, of course, love.  As mortality creeps upon moments and years passing, sometimes my jukebox DJ mind plays the last four lines of this theme.

 

[TEVYE]
“Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?[GOLDE]
I don’t remember growing older
When did they?[TEVYE]
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?[GOLDE]
Wasn’t it yesterday when they
Were small?[MEN]
Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze[WOMEN]
Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears[TEVYE]
What words of wisdom can I give them?
How can I help to ease their way?[GOLDE]
Now they must learn from one another
Day by day

[PERCHIK]
They look so natural together

[HODEL]
Just like two newlyweds should be

[PERCHIK, HODEL]
Is there a canopy in store for me?

[ALL]
Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

(and here is my favorite lyric because it is relevant, the older we get.)

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears”

[Please be sure to hop on over the my Mothership blog http://www.achilliad.wordpress.com and see what’s hot.]
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New Countrytime musikal lemonade revu: Sylvia “Second Bloom – The Hits Re-Imagined”

“I’d never heard of her previously, apparently these songs were originally released three decades ago!  Wow, they are still fresh and relevant.  From the first orchestral notes of the album, “Drifter” paints a story…”

 

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June 8, 2018 saw the reincarnation and rejuvenation of ten tunes by Country/Pop and Adult Contemporary singer, Sylvia, entitled “Second Bloom – The Hits Re-Imagined” [Red Pony Records RPR-1104].  Since that date, she’s been holding court at Country music conventions and hosting radio shows! All grown up now since her early 1980s debuts of these tunes, Sylvia (Hutton) croons often about romantic heartbreak.

I’d never heard of her previously, apparently these songs were originally released three decades ago!  Wow, they are still fresh and relevant.  From the first orchestral notes of the album, “Drifter” paints a story that could be a cowboy plains rider or old USA western-style movie – Pause! “Country & Western” is what people used to call this music! images

The proof is on track three, when she tells her friend, “Tumbleweed”, “you live in a cowboy’s dream…”. Initially sounding like a yodel, that track grew on me!

Slightly sad but not depressing, Sylvia sings about the quirks in romantic relationships from a woman’s perspective; often unrequited with cheatin’ involved like on “Nobody”, a cute play on the word, and often-used tactic by the writers.  I can hear why these were hits – and they still are!

Sylvia’s selections are delivered in typical blunt Country music style,but without the raw edges and always with a lesson. You get ten songs, 70% of which are instant tune wedgies and 60% penned by the duo of Fleming and Morgan.   718oyIXF2kL._SX522_

I dig the fiddle and arrangement on “Fallin’ In Love”!  I like how she handles the boyfriend assuming the posture of “oh she’s just a friend” on “Like Nothing Ever Happened”and the catchy little ditty, “Snapshot”, track eight, which is a different kind of “hold it, say cheese…” as in “caught ya cheatin’!” This version is more mature-sounding that the 1983 original, which had a bubblegum feel to it.  Its “you’re busted, Dude” story-line and playful melody will entrance you instantly! No wonder that the song originally rose to #5 with a bullet from her third album.

“Sweet yesterday” is almost acapella at times and showcases her perfect pitch.  Later, you get a wee taste of easy Caribbean island flavor on “I love You By Heart”.

Professional, crisp and clearly enunciated polished singing, Sylvia is a natural with excellent phrasing like on “Cry Just A Little” which begins with a nice acoustic guitar intro of a few licks. How can we not love this music?

Finally, there once was only one “Sylvia” in my musical life, the late Ms. Robinson, head of Englewood, New Jersey’s R&B label, All Platinum (“Pillowtalk”).  Now, I am happy to add another. Therefore, unequivocally I give this four-out-of-five western boots to “Second Bloom” and you should add it to your collection.   ls

Compare the “blooms” for yourself and watch for any new videos of the re-imagined…

 

and the “Second Bloom” version

Check out her website!  www.SylviaMusic.com  and as always, check in with my mothership www.achilliad.wordpress.com    Thank you and please leave comments.

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Southern Halo, the sequel: “Just Like In The Movies”

 

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The sister trio who I wrote about in 2016, Southern Halo [Southern Halo Music] , is back with their sophomore effort, “Just Like In The Movies”.   Sibling in-unison harmonies fall into the southern rock, indie and country pop categories, .

Flying high on stages and in-studio, the trio consists of Natalia {“Nata”) on guitar/lead vocals, Hannah on bass and  “Tinka” who really bangs-out the beat on those drums –She is hard workin‘! (Reminds me of  the late John “Jabo” Starks of the James Brown’s band! lol)

All of the lyrics are interesting, true-to-life and written against the prism of them having grown up in Mississippi, while listening to blues, rock and country stylings, which has translated into an initial regional appeal-gone-slightly international.  This is especially accurate on “Anything Is Possible”, which was the first single released.

For best songs, “Tom Girl” is recommended because of its movin’ tempo; if only it had a fade ending like the only cut which does, “Notice Me”, also a standout. Cold endings mostly leave me…”cold”.

Eldest lead sister, Natalia Morris says of the recording, “the most important thing is that it’s a concept album. All of these songs are like pieces of a puzzle that all fit together”. That concept is their fantasy world, born of a dream that they have a successful and long musical career, which may happen, “Just Like In The Movies” has fourteen songs and there is even a title song to go with their “Southern Halo” theme on track one.

I prefer to listen to a couple of these tunes out of the total context for best enjoyment – otherwise it became a bit trite.

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Personally, their sound is not my cup of tea but I appreciate their family-affair effort, which isn’t always easy in life.  Their sound doesn’t groove with my multi-format disc jockey mind – and I dig a lot of country and blues music – it may be that it is too lovely, and I like “bad” girls. Or maybe this is more the “musical” genre of stage.   Regardless, their “movie” is “G”-rated and I prefer at least a “PG’ or an “R”.  My inner “Siskel and Ebert” likes more drama in its cinema and rates the “movie” with two-and-a-half stars. TWO-AND-A-HALF-rating

Having said that, they will likely be the next number one sensation, lol

 

 

 

[Check out my Mothership blog for book reviews and other commentary/random bachelor diary notes and more at https://achilliad.wordpress.com/  ]

 

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Who Sang That?!

Its a game I play in my musical DJ mind as songs randomly “play” at any time of the night or day.

So last night as I lay,

In bed trying to fall asleep.

The light was off and the room darkest, when suddenly I heard, “And my feet begin to crumble…”  and couldn’t remember most of the rest except, “And that’s the way, that’s the way its meant to be/Our love will never die…”  Where’d that come from?  I asked myself and then began to play the game, “Who sang that!?”

Trini Lopez came to mind first because I could “hear” the Spanish guitar and rhythms. Often I amaze myself with the accuracy with which I remember blasts-from-the-past!  I knew this song was a hit on Top 40 radio back in my teen days.  Not wanting to get up and re-fire up the computer, I turned on my night light and scribbled what I remembered onto a sticky note pad.

Today, while researching something else on YouTube, it came back to me and I grabbed that note to see if I’d won my contest; went to Ask.com and just typed into the search field, “my feet begin to crumble” and “viola!”, I see the name Eddie Rambeau.  (“Wa,wa waaa”)   Hmmm, that doesn’t look or sound familiar, but I played the video and yes, it’s that song!  And the title?  I could have never guessed in a million tries, “Concrete And Clay”.

I would write more background on Eddie and this record, but this video gives it all to you first-hand.  Click on the YouTube logo in the lower right-hand corner for more 411 from the poster of this legendary tune.  With that, please Listen, Read and En-joy….

 

 

Do you remember it?

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The Return of Chaka…

“I’ve followed her career since the ’70s when I was a baby DJ in college.  She even sat on my lap backstage in the dressing room of The Blue Note jazz club in New York City one evening…”

One of my favorite bartenders, who knows I like to write about music from time-to-time, shared with me that he’d recently seen Chaka Khan during a trip to a concert in Florida! Not that she ever went anywhere in my musical mind.  That is especially good to hear since last I heard, rumor had it that she had gone to dry-out in “rehab” or something like that.

I consider her a friendly acquaintance and kindred spirit, since we are of the same age and I’ve followed her career since the ’70s when I was a baby DJ in college.  She even sat on my lap backstage in the dressing room of The Blue Note jazz club in New York City one evening back in the early 1990s, as I was trying to get an interview with her.  She called me “cute”, like a royal Queen would compliment a young squire she might want to toy with and signed my copy of the “Rufusized” album. The late Natalie Cole was also in the room as well as Miki Howard.  One of my all time favorite, wall of fame nights.

It’s strange how I think of songs with my jukebox/DJ mind and then hear about or see that recording artist soon thereafter – if only I could perfect that talent with lottery game numbers!  I’d been thinking of this favorite tune from (what I call) “The Sweet Thing” album recently, “Little Boy Blue” playing in my mind.  Here are the lyrics:

“Time comes down
You got to take it on yourself
You got to give up your past
You got to give up what came last
World goes round
You got to leave it all behind
You got defeated at last

Little boy blue
With the feelin’ in your soul and the gypsy in your eyes
Little boy blue
You got to leave this song behind as it passes by

Yeah, yeah
Life goes on
You got to catch it if you can
You must believe it will last
You can’t remember what went past
Tide comes in

This fog will surely roll away
It can’t leave, it will stay

Little boy blue
Tootin’ on your coke and takin’ a toke
In a lazy haze
Little boy blue
Got to leave this song behind as it passes by”

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Chaka was appearing with The Roots apparently.  This is great news and I pray our paths cross again.

What is/are your favorite song[s] from the Rufus featuring Chaka Khan or Chaka Khan as a solo singer era?  Let us know in the “Leave a reply” box please.

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Fave Recording Artists Who Passed in 2017

eight_col_2017_RIP

 

The thing about when musicians, singers and recording artists pass away to join that grand band in the heavens is, we mortals left behind can continue to hear them on our vinyl, CD, tape or virtually forever.

Having said that, the following are my notables who I will miss seeing “live” as they left the physical world in two-thousand and seventeen:

 

Chuck Berry – the rock and roll pioneer who I blogged about on the Mothership, www.achilliad.wordpress.com right after it happened.

Fats Domino – American blues pioneer and legend

Al Jarreau – not a personal favorite (his style distracted me) but he was widely popular and always a good request to play on my early Top 40 radio shows.

Mel Tillis – The Country music legend

Gregg Allman – backbone of The Allman Brothers, one of my best rock bands of all times

J. (Warren) Geils, Jr. – of the J. Geils Band, another fantastic rock group.

Tom Petty – What can I say about this favorite who was introduced to me during my early years as a Top 40 radio DJ; Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  The first record I played by them on WFTQ AM, Worcester, Massachusetts was “Don’t Do Me Like That”, followed by the classic, “Refugee”.  Sad irony is that he died during the same hours of that tragic and horrific Las Vegas concert massacre on October 1st.

Joni Sledge – I think the oldest of the hit family group, Sister Sledge (Atlantic Records), one of my all-time favorite female aggregation. In spite of the commercial success and longevity of “We Are Family”, my favorite Sister Sledge songs are the ballad, “How Can I Believe”? and the Chic-produced (Nile Rogers, et al) “Lost In Music”.

Cuba Gooding, Sr. – Last, but not least on this list, best known as the lead singer of the R&B smash hit group, The Main Ingredient.  After I first interviewed him at Manhattan’s Sweetwater’s, he became a friend and hang-out partner at bars and after-hours clubs we frequented back in the 1980s and 1990s. I will write more extensively about him here, once I am reunited with my music library collection.  We have “stories”!  A great guy who I am saddened to learned died where he did. ‘Nuff said 4 now.

 

This is not, by any means, the whole list, but just a few who came to my jukebox-like mind yesterday, New year’s Eve.  Who are your favorite performers who we lost in 2017?  Tell us in “comments”, please.

Happy Musikal New Year, from KratesfullO’Jointz Musik!

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Janey Street, “In My Own Skin”

“Janey doesn’t look especially happy on this album cover.  Ummm… So I think I will get under her “skin” to find our why.  Oh!  A musical album again!!

Nashville, Tennessee – August 31, 2017 Naphtali Jimi – Freelance Writer

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Ok, gang…“let’s listen!…”

This twenty-seventeen summer was not a bummer because Janey “Blues” Street dropped some coolness from within, on an album entitled, “In My Own Skin”.  Fresh off her award-winning tour and being voted LA Music Critic’s award “Best Rock, Best CD and an Icon Award in Hollywood, Smooth and easy Janey unabashedly continues to croon and apply a tender touch to her guitar, like she always does, with this fresh set about life, love, sex and music.  I have listened to this CD often during my car travels this summer and apologize for the late write-up, which, however,  is just in time for some introspective, romantic, Autumn leaves listening. Its never too late for nice music.

Janey Street’s latest album is like when you visit a friend’ house to grill and chill many a tasty feast, from seafood to tasty meats.  With just the right spice, a beverage and deep flavors, you will know that Ms. Street can be depended upon to deliver musically.  Upon initial listen, frankly I was underwhelmed until I heard cut number eleven, “Dignity”, with its hip-hop bridge, “Tryin’ to work a 9 to 5 to make a livin’/bills just keep on coming, they keep takin’ with no givin’…” then and there I put the brakes on, as the hairs on my own epidermis stood up.  I had to revisit the album, to hear what I had previously missed.

My ears found that, track two, “When You Are Loved” is the most appealing and heartfelt song on this album.  It brought tears to my lonely eyes several times because of its relatability.  Many hurting humans can relate to it and it would even garner today’s radio program directors’ airplay as the first single, IMO.

The whining, “woooo”, bluesy organ on “Guilty Pleasures” and her Marvin Gaye-ish over-dubbing vamp-to-cold ending vocals make this tune my second favorite one. “Undone” is UNder the radar, not a cover of The Guess Who, (although I wish it were) and the most blusey-County music-leaning tune on the album.      IMG_1732

No track is like another one on this, her sophomore album with Blue Elan, which includes this neat song lyric insert to the right!  There is something for almost everyone. The most fun tune is one from her distant past, Queens, New York City roots entitled, “Under the Clock”. Compare the first and recent videos about it.

Even more entertaining to my double entendre` radio DJ mind from the pre-corporate radio daze, are a few songs like “Sex Is Easy, But Love Is Hard”, “Wrap My Mind Around You” (really?) and “I Wanna Love You Deep”, all of which are getting my brains hard.  I can rework all of those lyrics amusingly, in a sexual healing heartbeat! (towel needed) Get some, Janey!

Bottom Line: Ms. Janey Street can leave a musical legacy like Janis Joplin, given proper promotion and support by great, pro-active public relations, an out-of-the-box thinking label, consistent touring and supportive mass media. Otherwise, her efforts may go down like track nine, “Wreckage”, which is not what I want to see. Therefore, I bestow three-and-a-half out of five, skinny stars for this album.  3-and-one-half-star-rating

We would have liked to have seen her also on this 2017 version for a grownup comparison! Alas…

Please leave your opinions in the “comments” box. Thank you for reading and remember to check in with “the Mothership” at www.achilliad.wordpress.com