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”.

Compare now:

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

Jeffrey Halford and the healers: Delivering Down-home “Lo-Fi Dreams”

“At the end of the musical day, if I was still a DJ on the radio, this music would be deemed “MOR” (middle of the road) back in the 1970s. Now, I hear it is described as “Americana”? Well…”

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CHARLESTON July 29, 2017 – I have been having a party recently in my car, listening to “Lo-Fi Dreams” performed by Jeffrey Halford and The Healers [Floating Records] on its CD player.

What is this “Lo-Fi” Dream?

Hi-Fi (High Fidelity) was the 1960 predecessor to Stereo and after that came Quadraphonic audio, so does it follow that “Lo-Fi” might be back to the future after Digital?  If so,then what a groovy journey!

What I like first is that every one of the ten tunes are different.

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Track one is “Two Jacksons” and I challenge you to guess what it is about before you listen or I tell you below (don’t peek!). It is a great, very descriptive lead-off song which helps you imagine letting your mind wander while watching this healing live.  No mention of the background singers much to my lament.

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Track two leaves no doubt as to the subject matter. “Elvis Shot the Television” starts with a Jimi Hendrix playing the Star-Spangled Banner-like guitar riff and then goes on to remind of us a legendary Presley incident.   “Good Trouble” is just that and who of us hasn’t had some of it at one time or another?!   I like “10,000 Miles”, as a good behind-the-wheel tune.  Speaking of relationships one way or another throughout, “Bird of Youth” is a song of irreconcilable differences, again, like we all have experienced at one time or another. This is the music of our lifetime.

Track eight has a smooth country pace and could have been named “Refuse” or the “Diner”. Instead they went with the tale told of “Sweet Annette” which features a succulent solo guitar in the middle of this offering whose lyrics make me want to have breakfast any time of the day!  “Great Divide” is geographically separating love music!

At the end of the musical day, this music would be played on “MOR” (middle of the road) format radio back in the 1970s. Now it is described as “Americana” I guess.  I do not care much about labels, except that my research took me to the definition described by ‘The Atlantic’ as, “slang for the comforting, middle-class ephemera at your average antique store — things like needle-pointed pillows, Civil War daguerreotypes, and engraved silverware sets. In the 1990s, radio programmers coined a new, related usage: “Americana” became a nickname for the weather-beaten, rural-sounding music that bands like Whiskeytown and Uncle Tupelo were making. It was warm, twangy stuff, full of finger-plucked guitars and gnarled voices like tires on a dirt road.”  Many lyrics feature uniquely different musical takes on love and unhappiness while others celebrate connections and odd circumstances we All have experienced.

Well, not wanting to undo the diversity of this music review but, my elderly mum has similar “engraved silverware” sets to this very day, so what does this say about her “Lo-Fi Dreams”?

Whether Jeffery knows it or not, he has evolved into an entertaining diversity of sound – much like High Fidelity audio was back before “the day”.

Oh, by the way, “Two Jacksons” is about an article of men’s clothing that cost forty dollars and a flirtation situation. “You wear that jacket and I’m yours tonight! Torn and frayed, in need of repair/she was standing right there…” It should become a single hit.  I love the classic hit musik bar X formula bridge solo.

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Four of five steel guitars is my rating.

 Comments please?  Many Thanks.

A Lyrical Tune Wedgie Haunting Me, “Now, I’m The Loneliest man in town”

1972 – Black Ivory Better known for the classic, “You And I” and “Don’t Turn Around”

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1972 – Any University, metro New York; dormitory:
The Soul music singing group, Black Ivory, better known for the classic, “You And I” and “Don’t Turn Around” is heard in the hallways regularly.  However, this is a personal Kratesfullojointzmusik mission I write about tonight. Hauntingly, I share it with thee as it teases me, for your obvious non-judgmental amusement.

The best lyric of all, in my opinion and dominion is the one this post is following. Maybe because I am an elf or maybe due to my status or fungus, but it is, “Now, I’m the loneliest man in town”. None-no-fun, as we used to say back in the day.

I am often that and morosely in-perpetuity. So, what? Need a hot fox to keep me company. One with the bosom of classic actress, Ann Margaret; maybe a red head, like I saw in the supermarket yesterday. Butt (lack of ass) who knows?
They say a supermarket is the best place to meet a chick! Nyet. Please bring your discount card! Didn’t work; couldn’t think up something to say to her. Now (again) “I’m the loneliest man in town”.
And so it comes to me that I am again making new friends and acquaintances in a distant city and where the crutch is the bible belt and the women are not as forthcoming sexually.

Fast-forwardly I, the Master, came to the Carolinas to rid myself of the cold and to be near the ocean, initially. Yet it is not the main reason, because retirement looms.

I am only lonely because [use your imagination or fill in the blank] And If it didn’t, I would fly, marry her according to their rules and bring her back to the USA, so that I would finally have the companion I need to walk up to the sun together with now. Damn…

Nevertheless, Sing, Brothers, Sing! Perform my comfortless burg’s principles!

The Long-Awaited Rick Monroe EP: “Gypsy Soul”

“From one “Gypsy Soul” to another, there is certainly nothing wrong with that theme nor this diverse set of songs encompassing it…”

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June 20, 2017; Nashville, TN.  My man Rick and the band present six tunes that will linger in your musical mind long after you turn your player off. If you remember, I covered his performance in Ladson, South Carolina at the “Honky Tonk Saloon” last February (I still can’t believe there is really a venue with that name! lol)  This CD sampler dropped last month.  I mentioned to Rick that, since I do not have a CD player in my new apartment, that I could only review it while driving in the car and he said the trips might have to be short because it is an “EP”. you know what?  I took many  pleasurable “short trips” to listen again and again…

Here are the tracks. In reverse order, they are:

The bluesy and soulful with Memphis-like horns, “Rage On”; a Country-rocker, the first one I would play on my ‘Pajama Bar’ radio show, “Moment Like This”; a great title song, “Gypsy Soul”; the mid-tempo with sexy-delicious lyrics, “Ease On Down”; another C-Rocker (rock-her) in “Better” and his romantic smash from the winter of 2017, “This Side of You”.

I dig the many metaphors on “Better”!  “She’s like that first sip of coffee/that first drag on a cigarette…”  Great word-pictures! I once had one whose kiss was “like that first sip of an ice-cold Heineken” lol

Cut four is the title track, “Gypsy Soul” and some of those lyrics could be part of my personal theme song; I really identify with it! No non-rebels need apply.

From one “Gypsy Soul” to another, I believe, as a man who is nomadic as a “gypsy”, if you ask some of my peers who don’t know I know how they feel about me, there is certainly nothing wrong with that theme nor this diverse set of songs encompassing it.  I do want to mention the late, great Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions who sang the R&B hit, “Gypsy Woman” because of the title and lyrical neighborhood point of reference herein.

While Rick Monroe’s core audience is Country music, he surly can cross over into other genres.

This is a five-acoustic guitar EP5 gold guitars!  I rage that you bring on the full album, Rick! Safe travels, Pioneer.  Cheers.

(I’ll update the video when he releases the feature-length scenes, K?)

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Please leave your comments! Thank you.

(be sure to check out the mothership, https://achilliad.wordpress.com)

Today’s Musikal “Cloud” Crowd Computing

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I like to be honest  and admit that I am not perfect all of the time.  More of us should embrace this policy- especially the politicos.  Regardless,  I will let you know that I did not understand the lyrics of every hit record that sounded great, or was a hit back in the glory days which defined my youth. This is what “tune wedgies” are for!  If you have lived two score and more, these tunes will gin-up into your brain if at all you were or are musically “insane”, like I am admittedly.

A horse named “Crowd Computing” won this year’s second leg of The Triple Crown, The Preakness Stakes. It did not last long and was maybe a sore name – yet of this generation.

Therefore, as Thoreau might have said, “music is of utmost importance, the very essence of life itself. According to him, music links humankind to nature, to the universal divine, and it offers to those who listen closely the potential for transcendence.

Fast-forward with diligence to the lyrics of The Rolling Stones and even further into today, I find that we often do not hear at first all of what the singer is saying, but in due-time, The Creator marries our ears to hear the originally intended message at the appropriate time in our lives – it becomes crystal-clear (with the help of on-line lyric translations, of course, lol!)

Thus is my latest “tune wedgie” and a few British lines that I never understood until I had to get up out of a light sleep, in the middle of last night to see on my computer. It was awesomely inspired by a SKYLINE t-shirt about “cloud computing”.  So, “Get off Of MY Cloud!” racked in my mental jukebox.  It is funny how that works, a ginned-up favorite song from my comeuppance!

(Actually, I loved this song, but due to the British accent, I never knew exactly what Mick was saying!)

“I live in an apartment on the ninety-ninth floor – of my block
And I sit at home looking out the window
Imagining the world has stopped
Then in flies a guy who’s all dressed up – like a Union Jack
And says, I’ve won five pounds if I have his – kind of detergent pack

I says, Hey! You! Get off of my cloud
Hey! You! Get off of my cloud
Hey! You! Get off of my cloud
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, baby

The telephone is ringing
I say, “Hi, it’s me. Who is there on the line?”
A voice says, “Hi, hello, how are you?”
Well, I guess I’m doin’ fine
He says, “It’s three a.m., there’s too much noise
Don’t you people ever want to go to bed?
Just ’cause you feel so good,
Do you have to drive me out of my head ?”

I says, Hey! You! Get off of my cloud
Hey! You! Get off of my cloud
Hey! You! Get off of my cloud
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, baby

I was sick and tired, fed up with this
And decided to take a drive downtown
It was so very quiet and peaceful
There was nobody, not a soul around
I laid myself out, I was so tired
And I started to dream
In the morning the parking tickets were just – like a flag stuck on my window screen

I says, Hey! You! Get off of my cloud
Hey! You! Get off of my cloud
Hey! You! Get off of my cloud
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, baby

I says, Hey! You! Get off of my cloud
Hey! You! Get off of my cloud
Hey! You! Get off of my cloud
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, baby…”

Below, is the original  performance that I will always remember seeing on TV as a boy!  Remember to check out my “mothership” blog since 2009 at http://www.achilliad.wordpress.com please and Comment!

Cheers.

 

“on my cloud, baby…”

 

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