Archive for November, 2010


Now for the one-year Anniversary blog post!  In November of last year, I felt so down, betrayed, alone and cut-off from the world due to a cornucopia of  events that I began this blog at long last upon the urging of a couple of my alumni amigos from thirty-plus years ago at the University.  I’m not rehashing; if curious go back and read the first ones….pathetic, LOL
Leftovers

A year later tonight, I still have yet to figure out how to “make money” doing this, like that person suggested that I could; heartily THANK the over twenty-three hundred pair of eyes who have visited and read my words, and basically feel that this is an exercise in a type of therapy that is unique to the kind of personality and skill set that I possess.  If you would have told me that I would compose almost ninety original articles a year prior to this upstart, I would have had your head examined.  As my Dad would sometimes amusingly say, “Who woulda THUNK it??”

I hope you had a good and refreshing “Turkey Day” – I spent mine with a new crew of people this year, and the resulting conversations were enlightening and entertaining.  Football was on in one of the rooms, but didn’t want to miss the networking opportunities, so I ignored it except in-passing.  I gave silent thanks for a few positive events and people who happened into my life during the past twelve months, yet still feel that I’m being somehow punished for my “sins” (whatever those are) because I am not as financially well off as I thought I would be at this age.  Trying stay creative and follow my own advice to think “outside the box”, I am buoyed that I am only days away from previewing for publication my first-ever book of original poetry (“Sad Face King” – as a little paperback – still going for the eventual  hardcover versions though)!  It will soon be followed by my memoir of my days in professional commercial radio as a on-air personality.

Pickhitt: The following three topics are open for your discussion: 1. I hope the media leaves the late Princess Diana’s son, Prince William, and his fiancee` alone enough to have as normal a courtship and wedding as possible for two people who are as famous as they are.  I pray the news media remember that their allies, the paparazzi, were largely responsible for Lady Di’s premature death, and back-off.  2. Now we know that at least one  of the guys President Obama plays basketball with is, what we used to call thirty years ago, a “butcher” LOL.  I wonder if the guy who threw the elbow is worried about his job?  I know I would be, Ha!  Do ya think the Prez maybe stuck his mug in there too close while guarding this chap?  Guess the Jay Lenos of  the world will leave us in “stitches” commenting on the incident.

Finally, since when does the USPS (Postal “Service”) close at noon on the Friday after Thanksgiving without publicizing it in-advance??  I wasn’t the only one in the parking lot of the local P.O. with a bewildered look on my face early on Black Friday afternoon – it was freakin’ WEIRD!!  What would have made more sense would have been for them to open at noon since most of us who do not have to get up early after getting stuffed, etc, choose to sleep-in a bit longer before joining the fray.  ‘Guess we are lucky we got mail delivery at the house on black Friday, and don’t they only work one-half a day on Saturday anyway??   No wonder that they are always crying that they are going broke!!   Watch-out, here comes another stamp rate hike!! 

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During the past year, a few of you have commented on my rants, but not enough for a real worldwide discussion, and so, my pupils, please kick the comments UP a notch as I continue this blogging journey, or I’ll have to raise the retirement age :-J

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  Today, on this forty-seventh anniversary of President Kennedy’s Dallas assassination, I heard confirmation of what I’ve always felt about the present “war”, and that is that these lunatics who try to send bombs on airplanes from places like Yemen are crazy like the fox, and not just interested in maiming people.  Their wins are coming in the financial arena.  They aim to break the bank of “the west”, especially the United States and are succeeding with every expensive adjustment we make, and every day we pour billions into Afghanistan.

It is amazing to me that our government doesn’t seem to notice this, nor want to correct it.  “AQAP” or Al-Qaidas in the Arab Peninsula, is winning the war every time they make us change our free society way of life and take money out of our coffers that could be used to improve our lives, create employment or for medical research, etc.  And housing those clown in Guantanamo only hardened them against the U.S. – hardly rocket science to draw that conclusion, and I said it when the Bush Administration set that whole camp up.  Counterproductive to put it mildly, and all of those weirdos who don’t mind dying for a fantasy want to get some payback now more than ever after we ship them back over there to conspire with their brethren.  It was just plain stupid to create and exacerbate that situation like that.  Pertinent reading here: http://www.npr.org/2010/11/18/131423965/for-yemen-terrorists-targeting-u-s-it-s-personal

It is as if none of our leaders ever read a story that I read as a child back in the late 1960s; The Trojan Horse,

 or studied any of the lessons contained within the tale – not just physically does it still apply, it applies to the methods and mindset of these enemies.  When will we stand firm like I heard this country did against the Japanese in WWII following the Pearl Harbor attacks?  The  al-qaidas of the world have a similar mindset to the Japanese kamikaze pilots, and I don’t recall the US changing its lifestyle by not, say, walking outside for fear that a pilot might crash his plane down upon you.  Wouldn’t it be ironic if we were the ones who have to “nuke” somebody like these terrorists long before Iran or North Korea have the ability to do so? We would if I were the first real Black American President, because they are bragging about it, “naa, na, na, na, naaaa” style.  

If I had to fly this week – I wouldn’t, but when I do again, I’ll reluctantly opt for the scanner so those closet homos on the TSA staff can get their cheap thrill off my limp bisket – until our “leaders” stand-up to the cowardly bombing bastards, and for our free way of life again.  How do you see it?  Do you remember where you were when you heard the news of JFK’s assassination?

Now…let’s Dance to “Feel Up”! 

       I don’t want to wait until one of the members of this group dies or something similar to do this one. 

 I have avoided most R&B music ever since having a traumatic termination experience at the last R&B radio outlet I diligently performed on, and tirelessly worked for getting exceptional “ratings”, when I was literally “fired” as the individual who hired me, (the GM) used a load gun in-hand while he dismissed me. Seemy book, “He’s In A Meeting…” for how it played-out thereafter. However, today I shot a promotional video, where I had creative control, and in one of “those” moments, it came to me that this particular O’Jays song was the perfect background theme song.  “As luck would have it”, I have now pulled my whole O’Jays catalog from me library to me desk, Mon.  Let us see what we have here….

Hailing from Canton, Ohio, I believe and named after one of my favorite and much-missed radio disc jockey inspirations, the late Eddie O’Jay, these cats have been part of the fabric of my life since their first big album dropped in 1972 as I was a freshman in college.  I first listened to Eddie O’Jay on Newark, New Jersey’s WNJR AM where he scatted such cool gibberish as “So cool, docaroo; eh-tu, me and you, sabee-doo!” LOL as part of his daily sign-off the air.  For a long time I didn’t connect the group with the radio personality – “Duh??”  Just like I didn’t know they were originally a quartet that included Bobby Isles – my parents tried to keep my from what they described as the “gut-bucket music” R&B table; what can I say except, that I broke free in college, rapido-style, in order to catch-up.

Last I paid serious attention, The O’Jays are/were Eddie Lavert, William Powell and Walter Williams.  They came to hit status due to the writing prowess of Leon Huff and Kenny Gamble in the early 1970s and to me, their signature is the almost rough and churchy- energetic vamping of lead singer, Mr. Lavert.  He is the male standard for “bringing a song home”!  He knows how to put the “beg” on the woman in-song,  is smooth and soft; or “nice and rough” as Tina Turner once described their “Rolling On The River”.  Moreover, do not get it twisted, all three of the O’Jays can carry the lead.

  My oldest O’Jays vinyl is “Backstabbers” which featured the classics ‘Love Train”, “Sunshine”, “Time To Get Down”, and of course the title track that became a euphemism for me and my college mates back then when it became known that another man was after “your’ girl – he then dubbed was a “Backstabber (what they do!)”.

Thanks to the promotion people I remember at CBS Records (the “black rock building”  like Jackie Thomas, Elaine Valentine and T.C.  Tompkins, I own about seventeen O’Jays vinyls.  Of course, growing up in music within the sound of Frankie Crocker’s “total Black Experience In Sound, ” WBLS FM radio station did not hurt my O’Jay education nor catalog.  I remember him “running” the hit “For The Love Of Money” over and over again! This was an era prior to “remixed versions” that are just part of the music machine fabric nowadays. My second oldest  is “The O”Jays in Philadelphia” which includes “‘One Night Affair”, which was my first 45rpm by them from the local record shop on Neptune Records.

Then there is the classic (another one!) “Ship Ahoy”, where in addition to “Money”, I always dug “Put Your Hands Together”, “People Keep Telling Me” and “Now That We Found Love” which the reggae group Third World made a smash out of too!  Next is “The O’Jays Live In London” which, when released, was kind of a first.  A reverse Beatles moment when an American “soul” group went across the “pond” and “wowed” the Brits! (I couldn’t find any video for that appearance, sadly)

Next are my vinyls: “Family Reunion”, featuring the love classic “You and Me” as well as the sometimes over-played, IMHO, title track, the cool “Living For The Weekend”,  McFadden and Whitehead-written “She’s Only A Woman”, and a little ditty called “I Love Music” which became a disco classic upon remixes by the likes of yours truly and other selectors of the day.  Positioning that track last on that album was genius!  Next I have the “Survival” album featuring “Give The People What They Want” and my personal fave, “How Time Flies”; next 1976’s “Message In The Music” featuring the ultimate dance floor-filler classic of it’s time, “Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love)” – I still have the 12″ versions separate from the rest, LOL. You just heard it here (and I dedicate it to my Ukrainian, Nina, by-the-way).

Following that platinum success the guys were ‘Travelin’ At The Speed Of Thought” (an interlude in their discography) until they discovered they were “So Full Of Love” which included their first real “crossover” sure shot into the mainstream of Pop music, “She Used Ta Be My Girl”.  I can name THAT tune in the first several guitar riff notes and it always reminds me of my first commercial radio riff on WFLB AM in 1978.  “Identify Yourself” took the stage on Philadelphia International/Mighty Three Music in 1979 where “Forever Mine’ was the star song.  In 1982 my collection features the non-descriptive “My Favorite Person” album, which was only saved by the title song and the  Womack connection on the first song, “I Just Want To Satisfy You” which played big in New York City radio because of Crocker and Sonny Taylor.  Play it again, “Sam”!  A rare dud for the group was the  vinyl, “When Will I See You Again”, and I knew that they should take a powder for a while after it.     Sure enough, the came back in 1984 and 1984 with “Love and More” and did  a little bit better on “Love Fever”, but still not up to their previous standards until the album that inspired this post, 1987’s “Let Me Touch You”.  This effort showcases all the styles, spectrums and signatures of  The O’Jays as exemplified by a Latin-funky “True Love Never Dies” on one  song and then a heartfelt “Still Missing” on the next.



So which one is my  favorite album or cut?  Well, there are way too many to mention!  I love “Darlin’ Baby” the same way I dig “Lovin’ You”  or “When The  World Is At Peace”.  I am sure , and at least HOPE that they are still making music and albums/CDs.  I am not in the “loop” anymore with their labels like it was easy “back in the day” to keep up, and I want to cry about it. 

 Not the “Old Jays” as I recently heard some young homies disrespectfully refer to them, but still the O’JOINTS!   Ya know, “True love” really “never dies”. We Love you Eddie Lavert! 

So what are your favorite O’Jays songs or concert moments?  Or had you ever even heard of them until you read this?



                        ONE of my “correspondents in the field”, who usually masquerades as an email political pundit on the state of America, sent me a link to this story that made it to early morning television.  I thank him, since I haven’t had television in eleven months (and do not miss it by the way, my cutting-the-cable wound has healed fine, just like my navel! LOL)  

Apparently in India the monkeys are on the verge of harassing President Obama the way the Obstructplikans did during the lead-up to the “mid-term election”.  I know he is thinking, “Can’t a Brotha catch a break even overseas??”  I wonder if he sees like a monkey with the face resembling Senator Mitch McConnell, or one with the features of  Ohio Congressman John Boehner? Maybe one aggressive monkey that the Indian police had to rapidly thwart was the Sarah Palin female monkey!  I think she is the one that bit someone ;-J

It made me think of whether this person sent me this to infer that our President is “monkeying around” with the body politic?  Or worse, is he using that tired old simile that implies species of Simeon primates and people of African descent relate closer than other human beings?  Oh, no, he wouldn’t be that tacky – not with me, anyway :-J  

It gave me pause to recall another infamous monkey gaff or “coincidence of speech” and a dance from early in my vinyl history;  the time in September of 1983,  the late sportscaster Howard Cosell said, in describing footballer Alvin Garrett returning a kick, “Look at that little monkey go!” LOL  I really don’t think he meant it in a derogatory manner because this is the same Cosell who was, amusingly through those same years, the main cut-up foil of Muhammad Ali on-camera.

So let’s reminisce.

Watch-out Mr. President, you better learn to “do the “Cow Bell, Yeah!” – as in India, do as the Hindus!  “Do” you have a comment?

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