Can you dance the Salsa? Classic India & Tito Nieves, “No Me Conviene”

“…Latin music is so positive, festive and optimistic. Its is made of what the USA and, indeed the world needs more of these days…”

I grew up with radio in New York City; I went to school (the right way) integrated with European Caucasians, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans (unknown to me when I was little) and other black American descendants of American slaves – there was no such thing as an “African-American” back then, by the way; they had not been allowed to assault into our shores – we had a good mix in the 1960s and 1970s!

Now that I am decluttering and finding past memories of my DJ life, I’ve discovered and am -among others – reliving the musical magic of the Bronx!

The title of this song means – according to your dialect – “That doesn’t suit me”, or ‘Its not worthy for me”. Please correct me in the comments section, if I’m off-base. Language and linguistics is king to cohesion.

Irregardless, Latin music is so positive, festive, inclusive and optimistic. Its is made of what the USA and, indeed the world needs much more of these days!

Again I implore you to disconnect from the negative #cableTV #24hour news, in-favor of quieting your mind into the peace our parents raised in us, please. Whatever will BE, will be.

Please remember to flash back to our mothership connection blog, achilliad.wordpress.com, where silence is avoiding negativity.

Time Tunnel 2022: Kool and the Gang at The Blue Note w/DJ Jimi B

Their first album, 1969

This is the second in my 2022 series of remembered radio interviews which I conducted during my heydays on music radio as a Disc Jockey for forty years.  Jersey City, New Jersey’s Kool & The Gang were, if memory serves me correctly, one of/if not thee first band my parents, who kept a tight reign on me, allowed me to go and see by myself. The timing was late by today’s “standards” but timely in retrospect.  I saw them first at the RKO Alden Theater on Jamaica Avenue and then at the Loews’s Valenca, which was across the street from the Alden.  Shortly thereafter, their first Album, “Kool and the Gang” came out on De-Lite Records in 1969.

Back in the day, my new neighbors wanted to form a band, which was the thing to do if you played a musical instrument back then.  Forced to practice the trumpet, I briefly found an outlet with those like-minded neighbors who moved into the neighborhood and had two sons the same age as I was.  Of course, we emulated Kool and the Gang’s horn-based group (as many of them were in those days – see Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Tower of Power or The Ides Of March) by learning new hits like “Chocolate Buttermilk”, “Let The Music Take Your Mind” and their title track, dance steps included!

“The Frog”

Mostly confined to the R&B/Soul/Urban or Black Music chart of the Billboard, Cashbox and Record World music industry magazines of the day, Kool, et al, would not “cross over” into the mainstream of Top 40 recognition until after “Celebration” came out in 1980.

 “Ladies Night” (1979) also took the band into the mainstream and was a very hot request during my gigs in the 1980s and ‘90s. I ended-up getting all of my early DJ Promo copies of their albums from Mr. Ted Eddy (“Mister Teddy” they called him, affectionately) from De-Lite Records’ office in midtown Manhattan, NYC thought the mid-1980s.

I can’t count how many times “Celebration” was requested at every wedding, graduation, anniversary or birthday party I spun since then – and by folks that I knew had never listened to Kool and the Gang previously! It was amusing.

Sadly, during the past couple of years, two of the founding member of the group died: Dennis “D.T.” Thomas (alto sax) and Ronald Bell (tenor sax, bass, keys), making us all feel just a little bit “older”.  Show business and longevity are not exactly compatible, in most cases.

November, 1976

I wish that the following recorded interview covered what I’ve written above, but alas, in 20/20 retrospect, maybe I was a wee bit awe-struck and I didn’t follow up my questions journalistically, while interviewing such guys as these, who I had idolized.  

 Here, backstage at The Blue Note, New York City, Kool (Robert Bell) talks about a future direction for the bank and we had five minutes of laughs.

Remember, for our non-musical musings swing over to the Mothership blog, https://achilliad.wordpress.com/

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…”

 

“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!

 

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

This is the “Second Bloom” redone version (I tried to post both but someone took the original down)

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.