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!!

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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

Brighter Side of Darkness – “Love Jones”

“Just those first French horny notes, Da-da-daa, Da, da, da,daaa”, would cause men to rush to find that special lady …”

The epitome of a slow jam to me is still “Love Jones” by The Brighter Side of Darkness.

Back when I thought that a career in radio as a DJ would lead me to my promised land, I developed a show concept called “The Pajama Bar”.  I was encouraged to pursue novelty in Top 40 radio as opposed to becoming just one of the bunch in Urban or “Black Radio at the time by my mentor.  In retrospect, I realize that was partly because my expert Mentor analyzed my speaking voice and style, which was not typical (what we now call “Ebonics”) of most Black American guys on the air. Sure, I could and can break-off the slang with the best of my boyz from the Hood, but he heard that what came natural to me, due to my upbringing, was that I “sounded like a white boy” sometimes to the untrained, naked ear.

I specialized in evening and overnight shift radio. Part of my rap on the air was that I brought you music from the “brighter side of the darkness we call ‘night’”.

The Brighter Side of Darkness were four kids out of the “Windy City”, Chicago and were the precursor to the black American kid groups like New Edition, twenty years later. One of the first times a very young boy voice, in the person of 12 year-old Darryl Lamont was a featured R&B lead, reminiscent of The Five Stairsteps and little “Cubie”.

Just those first French horny notes of “Love Jones”, Da-da-daa, Da, da, da,daaa”, would cause men to go rushing across the room to find that special lady that they had their eyes on during the party, in order to catch that up-close slow dance.

I lost this album to the WBLS, New York City music library and then Music Director, Mae James, during my brief days there from 1984 – 1986 because my personal music library was even more deep than theirs and I brought my own records in sometime, to help enhance their sound. I liked Mae, but I shoulda just lent the 45rpm, but they didn’t have the album version, which featured a longer ending with additional monologue, more “ooh-ahhs”” and signature of this song, brassy French Horns and full orchestra in-tow all along to the extended vamp fade to the ending!

Back when groups had strict choreography, this was the same 20th Century recording sound studio and some of the same full orchestra that produced the late Barry White’s legendary hits like “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe”.  The lyrics were almost comical, “What baby? What is a Love Jones?/like last Friday in class, when Mr. Russell was giving us the test. I was sitting up staring at you. I know I failed. Huh, a test paper, with nothing but my name on it?”  but the term “love jones” quickly made its way in the lexicon of romantic dating linguistics.  If you’ve comprehended anything I’ve written then all I want to hear from you in the comments, Doll, is that you too, have a “Love Jones”.

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Remember, check out my mothership blog for more serious topics at https://achilliad.wordpress.com/