Archive for December, 2016


Sadly, WordPress apparently is not offering its Bloggers a Year in Review for 2016.

To me, this is yet another example of one of the little nice things in our lives that our online corporate administrators, like even YouTube, and Google or Amazon, who are increasingly changing on us, to the civilian detriment, while withdrawing the ease of use after getting us used to them! It is classic “bait and switch”.

It Sux and is not about the “statistics”. Nyet, it is about the creatively fun way that WordPress.com presented this yearly gift to us, lo these past years, since I began to blog in 2009.

If you know of another blog platform that has not thrown the “baby out with the bathwater” and still is fun, please let me know because maybe it is time to take my writing “business” elsewhere it is still appreciated and FUN. Here is what a beautiful job they did last year. Attempts to contact “Support” directly only lead to frustration – and we have enough of that on a daily basis not to want to pursue it – what they must count upon.

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Click this link please and then leave a comment!

https://achilliad.wordpress.com/2015/annual-report/

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As Barbara Streisand and the late Donna Summer (I still cannot believe Donna died so soon…) sang back in 1979, “Enough is Enough“ with these losses, but somehow, I do not think they will end with the conclusion of 2016. 1859

OMG! What a tragic year for us who have lived via our stars like Prince, Glenn Frey, David Bowie and many more!! Is it our supernatural Baby Boomer karma catching up to us? All of this reinforces my reckoning with our human mortality. And you?

At the rate that our musical stars are dying I might be next!lol Even though I was only a Dee Jay on the radio, who played their hits!
I have experienced many strange events by being part of the media. For example, I was working the board on The Zone, 104.5FM, which was only one hundred yards away from the scene where the NFL’s Tennessee Titan’s legendary quarterback, Steve McNair was murdered by his extramarital lover. I digress; this article is about 2016!
Can we dig deeper into this? Is there a conspiracy about that is suddenly taking away American icons rapidly via some diabolical plan? Is it “ISIS”-related? Most likely, Nyet.

On the heels of learning about Colonel Abrams from the list I link later in this blog, I peruse it again, in order to do a possible year-end summary of the many important stars and musicians we lost this year, when I come across the name, “David Mancuso”. I’d skimmed this list many times during the past week and saw his name only this evening now, over a drink, while at a lonely, hidden bar in a southern town. This trend may well continue into 2017! I hope not…

I remember the shiny cobblestoned streets, often moistened by a recent rain as I, the still a bit shy, baby DJ, freshly graduated from Adelphi University, crossed to visit him at 99 Prince Street, the home of David Mancuso and the first Record Pool I ever belonged to which was responsible for many of the vinyl 12” DJ versions I own. Sometimes I left with just a couple big, album-sized envelopes and other times, I could hardly walk to the subway station, if I hadn’t driven there, parking several blocks away as parking was difficult in that part of “the Village” in Manhattan, New York.

David was kind of “scary” to the 1970s me. Not in the mean sense of the word, but just the kind of fun, strange cat that I would likely become! He briefly would chill with me, imparting heavy conversation sometimes [I didn’t always understand, but pretended to] and schooled me about stuff that I had no idea about though I now still relate to as “an old Black American Hippie”, which is, at my core, who I am! Many other Baby Boomers are similar to me, but will not admit it because of the un-corporate connotation of “Hippie”. I say “f-ck that!” Be who you are (another famous, educational song lyric!). David would agree. I wish I was him sometimes now!

David Mancuso was mysterious to me. I remember always wanting to smoke a joint with him! Ha! Maybe we did once, or I smelled it while copping my sides. “I can’t remember”, lol Those were the daze. How I came to find him, I cannot really recall. It must have been via one of my major record company Promotional contacts, my own research, Billboard magazine, or word-of-mouth via other DJs…I apologize for being so vague about this, which I am usually so succinct – at the time of this writing, but I do not have all of my belongings with me to research into my past, as it used to be when I began to blog. ‘Working on changing that asap! I always left there feeling part of the greater DJ game! I knew I was a real “player” and party motivator! All of that started, by the way, in my senior year at the now defunct, Andrew Jackson High School in Cambria Heights, Queens, New York City and going forward from there (as was mandatory in those great days) as an undergraduate DJ on the campus of Adelphi University in Garden City, Nassau County on Long Island.
This is as close to the David Mancuso that I remember:

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And as I write this, I receive the news that naughty, inner-conflicted “Wham” boy Gorge Michael died over Christmas weekend. He cheated death many times as attested to here:
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/rob-sheffield-on-why-george-michael-was-a-true-pop-visionary-w457788

Again, this is a summary inspired by the passing of my 99 Prince Street Record Pool Founder, David Mancuso; yet another “nail in our collective coffin” during twenty-sixteen. Is there a larger message that we should be hearing behind these passings? I think so!
To encompass all of the disappointing hurt in words of this year’s losses is difficult. And again, as I write this, the news of Carrie Fisher of “Star Wars” (the original) fame now passing-away at only the age of sixty (60)! WTF?? 160421142237-people-we-lost-april-2016-medium-plus-169

How did the passing of Gene Wilder, Prince, Craig Sager, Ron Glass, Alan Thicke, Maurice White, George Kennedy, Patty Duke, Merle Haggard, Pearl Washington, Billy Paul, Muhammad Ali, Morley Safer, Bobby Hutcherson, Hugh O’Brian, Bobby Vee, Gwen Ifill, Clarence Reid or Florence Henderson and others you can view on the link below, impact you this year? We all have our “heroes”, right? There is no shame in claiming them.

http://www.syracuse.com/celebrity-news/index.ssf/2016/01/celebrity_deaths_in_2016_famous_photos.html

Please share in the “Comments” area in remembrance…of them. I pray upon the souls of all these giants we’ve lost and that some of what I have written in hommage has educated you and made sense.

**PickHitt: and just as I clicked “Publish”, the news of another beloved of my lifetime and mother of Carrie Fisher (I didn’t KNOW that!), Debbie Reynolds joined the parade of 2016 stars leaving the physical world. “Wow”…again.

colonel-a

Again, I am late to the Wake. I just learned, via chronicling the unprecidented number of music star and celebrity deaths in 2016, that my friend and sharer of some great stages in metro New York back in the 1980s, Colonel Abrams passed away twenty days ago, on Thanksgiving Day, 2016. Wow. Another one on the list, and as they say on the radio, “And the Hits just keep on coming…!”

I met Colonel Abrams (Colonel was his real name, by-the-way) by dint of getting records as a DJ when I made my rounds, from Michael Halley, then of MCA Records Promotions and because I was a DJ in clubs and mobile parties and on WBLS FM, New York, the WBLS FM Promotions Department, under Janie Washington (“where are they now” candidate) I think, who assigned me as the driver of one of the “Juicemobiles” (promotional vans dressed-up) to dove-tail his appearances in Westchester County’s New Rochelle and a club called “The Palace!”, which must have been a huge account at the time.
The Colonel was a large, tall, strappen Franken kind of a presence. Almost larger than life but not pretentious, he loved the spotlight with a kind of humility that is rare. He was very demonstrative on stage.

Actually, my first Colonel Abrams vinyl is a 45rpm, “Leave A Message Behind The Door” on Streetwise Records. I think I received it while the Program Director of WBAU FM, Garden City, N.Y. – but don’t quote me on it! Somehow it got mixed-in by dint of my many record comapny door-knocks. As a ballad, it went largely unplayed at first on the commercial radio stations. I like it to end my show, “last call”-style, late at night.

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This dance track is one of my favorites from him and was a wickedly huge hit record!

Behind the scenes, Colonel Abrams and I plotted to hang out and catch some ladies. Once he asked me to be his Manager but I had no clue as to how to do [it]. He was just a gentle giant with talent of the times in House Music that really fit on stage and over the airwaves. Long, tall and lanky he was party coordinated and positively infectious! The Colonel Abrams I knew is in this Soul Train video form 1986! He became part of the House music party, not a standoffish performer, but one of the most energetic party people of those great ole days of the eighties!

I am really chagrined that I never again got to run into him per chance, and even more deeply shaking my head at the news that he went out homeless, ill and broke. Nobody told me there was a Crowdfunding campaign for him – I am good at that and would have helped. Why do our connections in this physical life become so distant and trite?

2016 has been a very depressing year because of the many superstars we have lost. From David Bowie to Prince, Florence Henderson and Robert Vaughn, to Vanity and another friend, Mr. Billy Paul, this past year is one for the kind of Record Books which we do not want to celebrate.
As you know if you know me (or NOT) I am a House Music junkie and DJ since the Larry Levan days and this next video, “Speculation” (“do-do-do-dooo”) is classic jammin House music from Colonel Abrams:

It is so scary to read of how he ended up because I am only a stones-throw from such a fate, IMO. Those of us who totally committed to show business, no matter it singing, radio, television or other glamour professions, are all at the mercy of “here today, gone tomorrow” because of “How Soon We Forget” [our heroes and stars]. Once your health fails and if you have not saved nor have insurance, one can be on the streets in a heartbeat.

I love the little keyboard-scraping piano or synth intro to that one the best of all of his super jams. I do not understand why he died broke and I pray that MCA Unversal did not rip him off in typical Artist versus big record label with tricky contract-fashion!
I searched him and found this image…is this what he looked like at the end?

at-the-end-colonel

Want to know the POWER of Colonel Abrams’ music? Listen to how this track (below) samples his riffs:
I’m So In Love!” is Colonel Abrams.

‘So sorry we didn’t get to reconnect, my friend. This is yet another fatal blow to my life of missed reconnections. Colonel, I know that you would have smiled, in that genuine way that you always did,we’d have hugged big ole manly bear-hugs upon seeing “Jimi Bruce” again. Your albums and 12″vinyls are cherished classic “children” in da krates, among My Vinyls collection. Cheers.

I had the exceptional honor of interviewing Ms. Leslie Gore, who was born as Leslie Goldstein, in her suite at the Hilton hotel on Avenue Of The Americas in the spring of 1992. She was in town for performances, of course, and I got wind of it and reached out to her.  Oh…my..God!, she granted me this talk maybe because I was jocking the seven pm until midnight shft at an oldies station, WXNJ 94.3 in Avalon, New Jersey at the time. It is one of the highlights of my life as a radio on-air talent! I mean, this was a real recorded interview on a cassette tape and if I can ever get my life together again and retrieve it/process and reproduce it, I will share it again with the world via YouTube, maybe!

Known for the smash, “It’s My Party”, Leslie Gore’s body of musical work encompassed many more Top 40 hits with bullets [to number one status]. I didn’t know until recently that she was produced by the legendary Quincy Jones and that she had turned “femenist/gay”. Yet even those personal choices, from her music, it did not sway me. That is rare for me, an “old school G”. Many have been burnt and mischaracterized by that kind of mentality – including family members.

from Wikipedia I read, “The lyrics of “She’s a Fool” tell of a romantic triangle.[5] The singer is upset that the boy she likes is being treated poorly by his current girlfriend.[6]Allmusic critic Richie Unterberger believes that the success of this song was crucial to Gore’s career because it was dissimilar lyrically and musically from the two singles with crying themes that preceded it, and thus she was able to avoid being typecasted”.

Whateva. I had no hint that she was gay. I think she even flirted with me. It is all so silly and confusing with that shit. lol
Leslie was a great interview and I think that if I’d been brave enough to ask her out for a post-interview drink, she would have said “yes!” with enthusiasm. I always hear her music in my mind from time-to-time, or randomly sampled on some commercial, as they do these days in the twenty-first century of media advertising.

I began this post upon the news of her death in February of 2015. I am sorry that I let it lay dormant in my “drafts” until now. Please forgive me, Ms. Gore. When I think of my old transistor radio that I would keep under my pillow, so that my parents could not hear me listening to MusicRadio77 WABC when I should have been asleep on school nights, I cannot help but hear you singing, “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want to…”

By the way, for more of my musical musings, check out my burgeoning music-only blog, https://achilliadsmyvinylrecordshoppe.wordpress.com/

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