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 …”

Advertisements

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:

with

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

and this one with full French orchestra in back…Awesome.

This is Hall Of Fame and lifetime favorite music that I want to remind the world, especially the ” millennials” I worked among recently, about. History is important, whether is it conquering territory or music, the latter being much more soothing.

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

 

 

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