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 …”

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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/

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…”

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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