Tag Archive: entertainment


I went to a party on Labor Day Friday in New York City.

I used to love parties;

Used to play music for parties for many decades!

Maybe that is part of the problem with this poem.

I felt like an alien or elder on the outer limits,

Unable to dance and awed by the “DJs” spinning.

I felt like an alien on a darkened once familiar foreign planet

Only for moments did this DJ pioneer allow himself,

To enjoy the throng of heaving bodies to the music.

None of the chicks were fine enough for me to ask them a dance,

My legs this night were not in-shape to freak anyway;

One burned by boiling water the previous week,

The other with a sudden calf strain.

I gotta get back on my bicycle!  

A Life unhinged since I relocated back east.

It sucks here generally when not amused by the New York accents.

 

I’ve been a fool.

Fooled and failed so many times,

While searching to find the ONE female companion

With whom to spend the rest of my living days…

You know if you have visited previously that

I believe that I have found her.

But hurdles keep appearing in-front of us.

Now I think to fund-raise again…

To help her Mum come to America

For better health care than in Ukraine;

Life is strange.

Some of us never know

The purpose for which we came to be;

The only constant is that,

TIME passes whether we achieve or not.

 

Some will counsel:

“Life is too short” to get upset over disappointments.

I will counter that if we don’t get perturbed;

Crying-out like the infant who needs milk,

Then we never will get fed fulfillment and success!

 

I went to a birthday party last night,

Wishing all the while my far-away fiancee` was there with me.

I ordered  a cocktail.

One part patience, 

Stirred into a pint of deception tonic,

Shaken and sipped through the straw of long-awaited finally.

 

They played and pumped CDs with wordless beats.

They mixed magically as I taught them to unbeknownst.

 

Abashedly concerned I press-on,

Will there ever be any fun in life again?

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In my veteran musical experience, I have noticed that very, very often the simplest, most logical themes catch-on when put to music and they become hits. We saw this with the “bubblegum” era, circa The Jackson Five and New Edition, The Bangles or more recently, Carly Rae Jepsen and many other acts and singers. However this new edition to the Country genre, “God Save Us All From Religion” by the up-and-coming Jay Jolley, not only opens the dialogue for cultural discussion and real everlasting change, but is yet another example of something so obvious that needed to be said, that it finally became a song! “Let us pray” that it becomes a terrorist-defusing, calming worldwide anthem! I smiled confidently when I first watched and listened to the video…

Written by the legendary Charlie Daniels, Kim Williams “the hit-maker” and songwriter/producer, Doug Williams, “God Save Us All From Religion” speaks to my choir because I have long said that religion has been and is responsible for most of the political disputes, land-grabbing and eventual wars on earth. Mankind must now step back and get over this anew.

I spent over a decade in my newly-adopted hometown of, Nashville, Tennessee, and I miss the place dearly for many reasons. And while it was not all “gravy” (see my book, “He’s In A Meeting…Adventures In Getting Past Gatekeepers…” [Create Space/Amazon] ), I embraced a newfound appreciation for struggling songwriters with a dream, the plethora of guitar players there, and Country music in-total as I met many of the biggest artists at the annual Nashville music and radio industry convention, “CRS” on-behalf of Michelle Jasko and Nashville Radio Syndication.

The Martha E. Moore’s “so much MOORE media” press release tells us some more about this creative country upstart, “[he is] a pianist with a soulful touch and singer with incredible range and passion, Jay Jolley has risen from the endless ranks of the regionally-successful to an up-and-coming contender on the national Country scene. Jolley has opened shows (with his own band, as lead singer forThe Notorious Johnnys or as frontman and keyboardist for the band2XL) for top-tier acts like The Black Crowes, Sass Jordan, Rick Springfield, Burton Cummings, John Alec Entwistle and UFO. Currently based in Rochester, Michigan, this singer/songwriter enjoyed previous chart success with his previous Country single, “It’s a Friday Thing (A Little More Country).”
Wow, his time is now! The lightheartedness of his approach appeals to me. I really dig and lol with the first lyric, “He was building a beer can castle at the end of the bar
He said ‘Bud we better get wiser … ’cause we’ve gone too far…”

Pickhitt! New Video as of September 30, 2013!

The thing about a lot of Country music is that it is culled from true-life, down-home or back woods family drama, but simultaneously you cannot take it too seriously even as if you identify with the song’s scenario. So it is and I advise you to approach Jay Jolley’s appeal here. I just had this conversation with several new associates over beverages during recent days – religion and politics, as well as the 24-hour cable TV news cycle, are the most divisive forces in media these days – and it must stop. That’s what’s UP.
I stopped watching “the news” on TV in 2008! My overall well-being is much the better for having made that decision, thank God.
I give Jay Jolley three-and-a half out of five “bold-one” stars for “God Save Us From Religion”. I admire the writers, theme, message and the music.

Check out Jay’s comments here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPRhYl3cmUk

I agree with Jay when he says, “If we could all put aside our anger and prejudices and just talk then the world would be a much better place.Preaching to the choir again, Jay!
Can I get an “Amen!?”

Comments?

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I have known about Mark Tara since 2006, when I was first assigned his single, “Different Love” to review by my then Editor at www.about.com/dancemusic, Nashville’s “DJ Ron” (Slomowicz).

Since then I learned much more about Toronto’s Mark Tara and his varied talents which include being very astute as a creative website developer.

 

“Creative” is the adjective I can use multiple times to describe Mark’s latest musical release, “Number One”, which is now available for your ears.  The proof is in the first sentence of his press release, which describes the single as “the perfect blend of talent and technology”.  This alludes to the virtual collaboration with co-producers, The Netherlands’ Matt Pop, who commented, “It’s always a pleasure working on a strong tune with great vocals – that was very much the case with Number One.” and the Klubjumpers of the USA, whose Dan Matthews added, “It was great working with Mark Tara on Number One. Very appealing lyrics to the song with Mark’s great voice just adds life to [The KlubJumpers] remix. ‘Sure to be a Hit on many DJ’s Radio Mix shows Play List.”

 

Number One” is sparkling and brilliantly fierce as dance tracks go these days! I am so happy that Mark thinks enough of me to have sent me the advance video and colorful follow-up finished track.  I like the way the video opens with a curtain going up on a stage and then the multi-boxes of Tara performing marquee-style – it ends with the curtain going down on the show. Great stuff!  

 

“We live in days of making dreams come true,” says Mark Tara. With the advent of WE TRANSFER, a website allowing users to email files as large as 2 gigs, (Wow!) digital distribution sites and DSLR camera technology, which means that the future is indeed here, allowing musicians like Mark to present his unique talents to a global market – or even the musical gift anthem to the US President and Supreme Court in the aftermath of their recent apparent affirmation of “gay marriage’- strange bedfellows, indeed!  Mark is a kinder, gentler and prettier ‘RuePaul’, if you will allow the analogy. Sometimes it seems that Mark’s moves in the video are a parody of female singers, but as with many things these days her in ‘the future which is now’, it IS what it IS.

 

I could loop this song and listen to it or play it in my club over-and-over again, ad infinitum! As Toronto-Trinidadian Mark revealed in one of my prior music critic interactions with him, “”You Rock!” I give this song four lucky stars out of five, remembering that this is just one song of an anticipated forthcoming album (I hope).  And I will say this, without the video, like back in my younger days of just having a 45rpm vinyl or a 12” vinyl or single CD first, this might just be “another dance cut” vying for attention.

I just “liked” it on my You Tube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/mooseydeucytarget=”_blank”> and you should too!  Большое спасибо, Марк!

 

Check out Mark Tara’s Official Website: http://marktara.com for more VIP treatment.

 

 

 

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During the decade of the 2000s, I penned many music reviews for my friend DJ Ron of Nashville and the site About.com. Warming you up for another original here on my blog this 2013 Fourth of July weekend, here is one of them from 2008 with proper respect and appreciation to the aforementioned people in this paragraph.

Once upon a time there was a musical that I never heard about called Damn Yankees which inspired Mark Tara to compose “Lola” as an homage. “The record Lola was actually going to be more of a spiritual record”, Mark explained to me, “Hence the bonus tracks “The Beginning”… (Which I think should have lead the album because its fantasy-driven lyrics really get your attention) “Then the style of the record totally changed and I fashioned it after Donna Summer’s classic album Once Upon a Time which tells a story.”

Oh, now I understand!! Image

Hmmm, I remember Damn Yankees, but it is just the start of spring training as I write this, and I never claimed to be all-encompassing, musically, anyway.

Along with the album is a two-song sampler disc which includes “Live Your Life”, the best of the duo, which is a message song for whomever and whatever battle or demon you are fighting along with another “Lola” reprise. But why do a separate CD when there is no discernible remix or difference from the album version? There are so many versions of “Lola” that it almost makes the theme hackneyed.

Mark told me, “I saw the movie Kinky Boots where the main character does the song “Whatever Lola Wants” which is from the musical Damn Yankees. As I was watching that scene a thought popped into my head that I could totally do that song in a dance vain and well.”

Figuring Out Who Lola Is

So let us see what we can glean about “Lola” (who I thought might be his latest love interest – NOT). It has taken me longer to get into, and I’m not sure I’m feeling this song from Tara as much as “Different Language,” his last track that I reviewed. However the single definitely has its musical moments. Track four, “Sexduction” where he uses the vocoder effect to perfection, is one of the album’s best. It has a great pace and should fit satellite radio’s dance format. The next jam, “Where You Live” is another boss musical toss! There is a very good remake of the Imagination dance club classic “Just An Illusion” on here – complete with the piano solo!

When I asked Mark who this “Lola” person on the cover is, he replied, “The pic is me taken by a photographer friend of mine. I wanted to tell a story of seduction and the emotions that go along with it, this seduction has to do with me – LOLA – being in lust with a straight man and how I cast my spell on him. Gender bending – I’m totally into that – blurring the lines between male and female and what we find to be sexually appealing.” A friend of Tara’s, Stor Dubine, did a cute caricature of him for the back cover CD art.

Maybe Lola is an AlterEgo?

Now we are getting a feel for who Mark Tara really is; I then thought that “Lola” might be his alter ego, but I was wrong again when he told me, “Its not an alterego, the picture is just me. The record tells a story and I think the most telling song is “Something” which encapsulates the record as a whole”

“Sometimes” is a whispery, introspective, mid-tempo piece with am edgey touch. The song is part of an almost middle-of-the-road trifecta here in the middle of the album that ends with a made for adult Contemporary radio track “Someone To Love” which sounds like an N-Sync record circa 1999.

Tara wants to be known as “The Queer Of Pop” just like Madonna is the “Queen of Pop” and Michael Jackson is the “King of Pop.” He clarifies, but by no means do I compare Mark to these two mega-artists – they are both legends in my eyes. (This review really has taken some interesting twist and turns, lol)

 

In the finial analysis, Tara is a masterful musical storyteller with a message. This album, like the previous one Different Love flows in movements like a symphony does. There is one more nuance to our musician as he relays, “Here in Canada gay marriages are now legal and have been for the past few years – YEAH! – Just think of growing up knowing that you are gay and that you can indeed get married to someone of the same sex – I think that totally rocks!”

Aren’t those the words with which we ended the review of “Different Love” last time? Therefore the terminus is nigh, and its time to abate words and urge you to listen for yourself happily ever after with a genial three stars bestowed.

Released November 2008 on MarkTaraMusic.

You may comment on this review!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

look-back-on-2012-752x483

This was the year that “was” because most of the celebs who kicked the bucket were either ones I grew-up watching on (old black and white) television, or who I met during the past twenty years.

Ok, lets name them in no special order: Chuck Brown (“the Soul Searchers” and composer of “Bustin’ Loose!”), Sherman Hemsley, Whitney Houston, “Heavy” D (who actually passed late in 2011 but makes this list anyway because it was so close to the “holidays” one year ago), Don Cornelius, [the Bee Gee’s] Robin Gibb; Donna Summer (shocker), Bob Welch, Mike Wallace [CBS TV], Donald “Duck” Dunn, (NFL footballer) Junior Seau [suicide by gun], Dick Clark, Jimmy Ellis (The Trammps lead singer), Davy Jones [The Monkees], Gary Carter (former Met and Montreal Expo baseball catcher), Etta James, Richard Dawson, Andy Williams (ok, he was “up there” in age), Phyllis Diller (what an incredibly wacky laugh she had, lol); Larry (“Major Anthony Nelson”/”J.R. Ewing”) Hagman [I was a HUGE fan of his], Marvin Hamlish, Chad Everett [Medical Center] and so many more stars of my comeuppance on TV, movies and in music that left us behind here in the physical world in 2012.

I still cannot believe I live in a world without an alive Donna Summer! That one blindsided me – didn’t it you? As did Dwight “Heavy” D’s demise. At one point early in the year, it was like stars close to me were dropping by the day…or week! I felt like a fighter on the ropes getting pummeled by a right, then a left, then another right-hand punch!! “Wow…”

I met “Heavy D” (Dwight Arrington Myers) while an Attendance Teacher at Mt. Vernon (NY) High School, where he, and other budding Hip-Hop stars like Pete Rock and Al B. Sure also attended in the early 1990s. I happened to have his “yo, you better show-up for a few more classes so that you can walk the [graduation day] stage” letter. It was part of my job to hand-deliver these letters to the homes of pupils in danger of “not graduating” for lack of a class or two and I got to ring the Myers doorbell that early June morning. Going on about my life and business of getting back into radio, the next thing I knew, I was getting his 12-inch vinyls on the MCA label in my DJ record pool promo packages! $(KGrHqNHJDUE+O,FNWnYBP24O-zuVg~~60_35

I analyzed the death of (which did not surprise me) and reminisced about the time I met and dance with Whitney Houston in a blog in this space last spring, shortly after it tragically happened. You can revisit it here: <a href=”https://achilliad.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/the-night-i-danced-with-somebody-who/” target=”_blank”> Nope, the real surprise singer death for me was that of my ole college roommate’s schoolboy crush, Donna Summer! As I have stated many times (like in an above paragraph here), I still cannot believe I live in a world without an alive and singing Donna Summer! There was no hint of illness leaked to the “TMC”‘s of the media, just she was suddenly DEAD! I remember flying back to Nashville from NYC on a Southwest flight in the spring of 2002 when I found myself engrossed in a conversation with her drummer on many of her greatest hits! I can’t recall his name, but I can see him plain-as-day; a white cat who was the first to tell me that Ms. Summer had a home in Nashville of all places and to my surprise at the time! “MacArthur Park”, indeed. Here is the cover of “Once Upon A Time”, one of my absolute faves of her double-pocket albums on the Casablanca label:

I also wrote about another, even sadder stunner of a death; that of Don Cornelius, former host and creator of the “Black American Bandstand” as we used to call it in our college dorm of the early 1970s, “Soul Train” https://achilliad.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/i-might-have-to-pull-a-don-cornelieus-on-you/ from the perspective of self-deliverance by Black American men at the time. Looking back and for this year in musical deaths review, the only eerie thing about the soft-spoken Mr. Cornelius’ death to me personally is that he was in love with and had an apparent failed relationship with a woman from Ukraine…”Shut up!” lol 225870-viktoria-chapman-cornelius She wasn’t worth killing himself over and the man did suffer from brain cancer which must be a bitch! Check the look on his face, lol!—>

Which segue-ways oddly into; and finally, the “hits” just keep on coming” as the Top 40 radio DJs used to say, right til the end of 2012. This one hits me personally, as the news arrived from my beloved Russian/Ukrainian bride-to-be, that her Daddy passed away a few days ago here in December. I am not only sorry for her and her surviving Mum, but that I never got to meet this man who was so great as to instill in Nina a fantastic appreciation for American Blues music! He is already greatly missed – although we are relieved that he is out of his physical misery and pain.

Here is a GREAT blog that lists famous 2013 deaths: http://www.ranker.com/list/celebrity-deaths-2012-famous-deaths-list/famous-celebrity-deaths-list?page=7&format=BLOG

Overall, 2012 feels like an unsuccessful year to me as I am still not under the same roof with my sweet darling dear. At least I am geographically closer to her and it must be the very uncomfortable step I suffered to take to get where I need to be ultimately – with Nina – I had to leave Tennessee. However, until we reside in the same zip code, no year will be a “good” year so it absolutely must happen in 2013; however, I digress…

So, which celebrity death hit you closest to your heart in 2012?

UnleashTheWhip

Privet! Hey its me, the modern-day reluctant music critic! lol “Sigh”…

Back when I was stuck and loving it independently in Nashville, Rob Redding, America’s Independent Voice, came across my job-networking radar as a young man who, ironically, had listen to my toils on legendary New York City radio stations, WBLS-FM, WWRL-AM, and 98.7 Kiss (WRKS)-FM. His notice of me was and still is very flattering in all of my humility.
Therefore, it is with great honor that I espouse upon his latest shifting of gears by stepping out of his character as a political talk radio host with a DANCE music album release entitled “Unleash The Whip!” [ Crystal Castle imprint via Amazon.com, iTunes and Redding’s Web site ReddingNewsReview.com] (I hope I got that title right, lol). I am shocked that he even sought to send me these tracks because I have been forced-out of the music industry and after resisting the warnings of the late Sonny Taylor, et al I accepted and retired from the ill music industry for many years now.
I got tired of being thought of a a one-dimensional, part-time “DJ”! Then two-and-a half years ago, a great Ukrainian woman came into my life and I happily smelled the java, made the transition into Sales of other items and machines that could much more likely earn me the real money for me to marry my soul-mate, Nina, and fade into the new horizon I have planned for us.. Thanks for trying to bring me back out to write this, Rob!

I liked tracks # 4 and # 5 initially, and then the rest.
Not sure I am “comfy” with this whole “Whip Him” concept which reminds me of the days chronicled in “Roots”; yet I try not to take things too seriously in-general.
Also reminds me of (thematically because of title) “Let It Whip” [Dazz Band] and a one hit soul radio wonder of the 1970s called “C’mon Everybody and Do The Whip!”lol Good production on these over the internet cuts – but I still rather hold a CD in my hands or a vinyl 12′, Rob!

So, what we have here is seven semi-contrived dance tracks; great production on the versions provided by Rob Redding’s surprising international producer contacts in the dance music production world, such as Swedish producer, the 25 year-old Audio Paradyn and Kalim Stavros, who is 46, sampled and dubbed-over, under and throughout his musings about racial politics in the United States. I love the international aspect , as you know if you’ve followed this blog at all (“Cafe` Skype”).
Whether this sells or hits the charts high on the dance floor charts is far from my waning abilities to predict such. My equipment is in-storage as are my once acute acumen to “program” music from the gut like my radio inspirations did. Rob would have been Inhotep Gary Byrd back in the early 1970s! So, who is next, Rush Limgaugh’s greatest hits over Rush??
Therefore, do not be surprised if “Unleash The Whip” isn’t a
stupefactional, superfluous hit! “Where’s the whip?” Here it is in video:

I “bless”it with three-and-a half ***s – but what do I know at this stage?
Pickhitt: Rob the flogger has penned three Amazon Best Sellers this year and they are, “Where’s the Change?: Why Neither Obama nor the GOP Can Solve America’s Problems” and “Resurrection: A Historical Anthology of two African-American Philosophers” and “Disrupter: Pathway to Political Independence.”

You can please chime-in with your opinion with a musical comment while I go back to the financial district. “Whip” THIS!
!

I penned this for www.about.com/dancemusic back in 2007 and it is now here on my blog…at “home” where it should be. “Hi, Chaka!!”

Long before people began anointing every singer with a big voice a “diva”, I noticed the slightly different lead singer of a band called Rufus back during my college radio days. Guys all over campus, including yours truly, fell in “love” with everything about this new star. From her big hair to her kind of cute, quirky-jerky dance movements between lyrics on stage (hear “Better Days” and “Ain’t Nobody”), we were all smitten. If you’ve ever seen her perform, then your mind will imagine her moves to the groove as this CD opens up with “Back In The Day”, a chronicle of her early Chi-town upbringing.

Yet, as I look back to the days of “Tell Me Something Good” (remember the heavy breathing?), it is probably precisely at this point that none of us could have even gotten close to that “Angel” who might have been “inconsistent, flying blind most of the time”, as portrayed on track four of this, her latest album/CD. Oh yes, she gets it real without wasting time, like saying “Funk This” [Burgundy Records 88697 09022 2], so let me tell you my story! This album has the mark of how reconciled with life’s trials Chaka is; knowing it is the right time for this long promised propitiate to her fans. It also occurs to me that the first song is an ode to her recognizing that singing became her salvation.
Next you’ll see what she’s up to here, mixing new songs and covering timeless hits when she re-classics the Dee Dee Warwick smash “Foolish Fool”.

This is not a greatest hits compact disc, but her sound flavored with the seasoned sensations of her career and life. Having been in the orchestra seats to witness many of her performances, I ask myself, “Where has the time gone?” Well, the Chaka Khan of Rufus fame is back on this one, and appropriate props are due to the sensitivities of the Jam and Lewis production duo too! She pays homage to one of my inspirations, Jimi Hendrix on “Castles Made Of Sand” (I couldn’t believe it was the same song when first I read the title on the back cover), your mind will play the trick of having you think the Experienced one came back just to play for this track. Here she talks about the album!

“Disrespectful” features Mary J. Blige, and the lively, funky beat reminds me of the 2005 jam by Amerie, “1 Thing”; I’d love to see them perform it “live”; Hell, I want to see her do all of this live, and just in – this is the track spawning smokingly funky remixed versions, for all us club DJs!

Right after we beautifully relive the magic of the “Pack’d My Bags”/ “You Got The Love” medley where it is happily noticeable to me that she has reunited with her former Rufus guitarist Tony Maiden, it becomes really time to soulfully groove as Chaka pays homage to her good friend Joni Mitchell on “Ladies Man”.
I love the background singers on that one, and speaking of accompaniments, imagine the trademark Carly Simon smile towards Michael McDonald’s duet with Chaka to her “You Belong To Me” here as well.

“Super Life” has my vote for the best single. Chaka’s material is so relatable here in the future that is now.

That this is vintage Chaka is to evoke one of those clichés that I despise, so I will say that this is refreshing funk and so necessary against the backdrop of today’s so often lame and laboriously slow “neo” R & B, and it is pure Chaka Khan, wide-ranging vocals from the gritty to the signature shouting extended vamp notes.
I believe that you will want to listen repeatedly in various situations and moods to this familiar musical friend.

Once anointed, and often referred to on the air as “lips and hips” by my friend, the late WBLS New York City programmer (and on of my reluctant radio mentors) Frankie Crocker, I feel that she is and always has been much, much more complicated that that – but we all had fun playing to that fantasy once upon a time. If there is a category for it, this album would win the comeback Grammy of the year. After meeting her backstage at the Blue Note in New York City back in 1992, and briefly hanging out with her (my date made an exit, stage right, so I could hang – a night I’ll never forget), I always knew she would bless us with more excellent music. So in a way, my original dream from college days has almost come true. As I wrote this, Ms. Khan was to make her Broadway debut in early 2008 as the character played by Oprah in “The Color Purple”, Sofia opposite BeBe Winans.? What ever happened wit dat? lol

Check out her myspace page for some contest details. No point deduction for a well thought-out and timed return equals five tasty Chakalatte stars in my guest book.

Here is one of my favorite Chaka and Rufus from the past, “Little Boy Blue” in video!

Your comments about Chaka Khan, Please? “Pajulsta”? Пожалуйста?

My Vinyl: The Trammps

[March, 8, 2012 is when I began this post. I apologize that it took so long to complete, as such is everything a brain can manage and so full of nothing fun as my life is early this year – JB]

Now!…


I know…we all have to “go” at some point, but what saddened me about this particular musical talent’s separation was to learn that the lead singer of one of the most baddass-male-singing disco/r&b group of the 1970s and ’80s, The Trammps’, Jimmy Ellis (above in the picture at the far left) passed away at 74 years old on March 8, 2012…in a nursing home! My first thought was , “Oh My Godd, why was this guy, whose music hits must have sold millions, apparently broke like Joe Louis, the boxer, at the end of his life and in a nursing home?” Surely the other members of The Trammps knew of his decline and could have helped him!? Were/are they, like so many of us who pretend to be “friends until the end”, in truth are only “crabs in the barrel”?

Analysis of My Vinyls’ collection of The Trammps from the stacks (“my children”):
The Trammps: Earl Young, Harold Wade, Stanley Wade, Robert Upchurch and Jimmy Ellis became a Hall of Fame disco group from a slightly mundane R&B/Soul situation. I first remember them as warming-up for the likes of James Brown when I first started hanging-out in Manhattan, NYC clubs like the Cheetah – not saying exactly that I saw them there, but maybe I DID and that is the kind of act The Trammps were – until they covered the old Judy Garland, “Zing Went The Strings of My Heart”. Even then when I heard it, the song was kind of hazy and in the background except for the guy with what became one of their trademarks, that deep bass (“timbre” as Inna writes to me) voice.
Even when I heard of Mr. Ellis’ passing, I visualized the Trammps as just the original five guys. It wasn’t until I pulled all of my vinyls by them that I realized that around 1975, the group’s number doubled! Suddenly they became an aggregation known as the Trammps! lol The musicians like the late Ron (Have Mercy) Kersey became as integral to the sound as the basic vocalists! Some of that metamorphosis had to do with the record label politics of the day as they graduated from Buddah to their own “Golden Fleece” before being bought by Atlantic Records, who would profit the most from their brief in the larger scheme of musical vinyl and otherwise things. My early favorite Trammps jams were “Love Epidemic” and “Where Do We Go From Here” with ________ and his deep bass voice!
The Trammps arrangements embodied the epitome of the discotheque club experience while ignoring the “disco is dead” proclamations by the jealous of black music success’ haters of the day. I lived in Manhattan clubs like “Othello”, “Justine” , The Raspberry Freeze” and so many others back then and it was such a natural musical appreciation for our group as we were recent college grads out on the scene. When “Where Happy People Go” came out, I had one of the first two copies from my contact, Gunter Hauer, at Atlantic Records so I could double-mix them, back-to-back and over-and-over on the set! it really never dawned upon me that the group’s numbers multiplied. Either I thought, “Gee there’s a lot of dudes on this album cover this time – must be trick photography” lol or that the extra cats had always been there, but now they let them shine on the cover!
“Where Happy People Go” took them to another level; six of the seven cuts were such smashes, that to this day it is difficult for me to choose a favorite! The seventh, “Love Is A Funky Thing”, is one of their trademark instrumentals that they’d include on various albums! “Tom’s Song” from the “Zing” album comes to mind as another of those.
I remember that I mixed “Can We Come Together” over-and-over again as did radio at the time (Johnny Allen, WKTU FM) and I love “Disco Party (Dance, People Dance!)”. “Hooked For Life” s among my special DJ 12″ pressing collection and a very special song with a lover’s message; ‘Ninety-Nine And A Half” was the late Wilson Pickett’s original funky soul hit redone so you’d almost not know it unless you knew that and the title track “hooked” your ears from the first five very recognizable-to-this-day (after this lavish and classical piano interlude) brass and guitar notes! “Bold” and male is what The Trammps basic sound was; “party” still IS what you want to do and dance too when you listen to this album! Ellis, ‘you know I’m a Scorpio!’, always as much the party’s cheerleader as the lead singer. He is one of those singers who owns a unique scream like, “Oww!”, used to punctuate the lyrics and introduce the bridge. I used to love to “phase” these tracks as a DJ. [“phase” is when we would play two vinyls simultaneously in the same groove and try, with pitch control, to keep them in the same pocket even while they naturally tried to separate sonically, thus creating a growing “out-of-phase” effect] There were a lot of tricks we DJs could perform on the table with records like these that you simply cannot do today digitally.

So now, come to write about it, maybe it is not so surprising that Jimmy ended-up in the nursing home when, now that I look, they were just a “’70s group” who made their hay while the disco sun shined, and because of unknown or factors my space does not allow me to research, never progressed beyond that decade. They had two major hit albums release in 1976!

By the time the “Disco Inferno” dropped (came out), their sound was even more polished by the Atlantic Records studio machine. This album and the title track were destined for stardom, it seemed. I can only say that I did not know, nor did many that “Disco Inferno” would blow-up like it did, even though, we in the New York City dance and disco community (Dow Twins) at the time knew it was a “baad” album! “Burn Baby Burn, Disco Inferno” became the refrain of mass audience partyers once the soundtrack of the movie “Saturday Night Fever” adopted it. Prior to that, it was just another anonymous soul/disco cut on major market city radio stations of the USA! I bet that you didn’t KNOW that! Right? The first time that my late radio mentor, Sonny Taylor, played the chorus refrain and hook of “I Feel Like I’ve Been livin’ (On The Dark Side Of The Moon), I thought it was The Spinners singing, that is how versatile The Trammps’ sound was by then. ! Well, “saaatisfacion, came on a chain-reaction…” into my next two vinyls. Both in the year 1977, and typical of the record label competition of the day and sadly to say, I bet the GROUP, THE TRAMMPS, received NONE of the spoils from these two albums: “The Trammps III” which features my favorite mellow jam bay them, “Season For Girls” and the mid-tempo, “Living The Life (Of A Single Man)” a real-deal flava cut for the men in the room. I STILL play “Season For Girls” like a ritual every September. AND THEN, finally and with an “encore!” request, my last vinyl is the Philadelphia International Records final attempt to make money off of the group with the 1977 release of “Disco Champs” The Tramps remain as a staple of R&B, Soul, and Disco history. Anybody who chumps the Trammps needs to have their head examined. And I am grateful that I have been able to put on their tracks via vinyl “wax”, relive the “magic” of the Disco Days while assembling and composing this post for you. What are your favorite “disco” day memories? Do you remember The Trammps? One thing that set them apart was their Chorus arrangements!
Inna, here is a relevant lyric for us by The Trammps, “Each Night I go to sleep, with nothing but your memories. Sweet thoughts come into view, all I see is your sweet body…”

Sonny Taylor, pounded that song into my mind at the time. I HAD to play it when I came over to his house! lol

And my OWN FAVORITE is this one:

Now, notice please, I did NOT include “Saturday Night Fever” herein. There is a REASON for that. I would have loved to have just attended The Trammps rehearsals! Can you imagine being in the presence of a lead singer who could unleash that voice and carry such a group at-will? Please tell me YOUR favorite Trammps song or Disco memory while dancing to their music!

“I heard somebody say, Burn Baby Burn…” lol Listen at 10:10 on this long disco version…it is the best breakdown and vamp to the fade vocally and instrumentally.

[This post, I had to let marinate for about a week because of the subtle-but-knowing/understanding shock of Mr. Cornelius’ move and because the subject is so haunting]

So…I am not so crazy as those American Generation Xers, who would have every person who’d ever had a depressing thought subjected to some stranger “analyzing” them into true lunacy, eh?!
OR ~ I am just as crazy as most other under-appreciated, under-funded, underemployed Black American men are…
OR ~ The option is always open for some Don Cornelius-style self-deliverance from the “Sooooul Train” of the physical world!

My honesty, which comes from almost six decades on earth, plays to what I think people need to hear upon the news of the suicidal end to the life of the Father of the U.S.A. TV show, “Soul Train”, Don Cornelius, on the second day of February 2012. The first great “loss and tragic death” of this new year in entertainment.

“Soul Train” was the black answer to Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” during that time in American television history. It caught-up with me when I was in college during the mid-1970s, and not a ‘sleep-in Saturday’ went by that my dormitory roommate and I didn’t wake up, turn it on, get back in our separate bunk beds bed to watch it, and maybe learn or validate some of the latest party fashions and dance-floor steps!

But back to suicide and Black American men for a moment. I recently read from the Chicago Tribune http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-02-05/news/ct-oped-0205-page-20120205_1_highest-suicide-rates-hispanic-women-native-american-men, to the Root to Psychology Today http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mood-swings/201008/revolutionary-suicide, where the prevailing noting has been that “Black American men do not commit suicide, or it is a ‘taboo’ or diluted because of that ‘Mandingoness’ amongst us”. Nothing could be more ridiculous! That tells me that this is yet another mis-characterization and perpetuation of the stereotype Black American that those white Americans who were/are uncomfortable with people who look different than they do propagandizes. It goes along with “those ole Negro fairy-tales from slavery days” that we are somehow, because of that subjugation, less-likely to want to end it all? That is illogical and means subtly that “those people” are less than human, in-reality than those who would assume such assassinity. Don’t believe the hype, world! To do so says that Black Americans do not have the same ups and downs, peaks and valleys that the rest of mankind does! I am writing this to put to bed, once and-for ALL-times, this bullshit! To dispel the myth! What does this chart tell you about it?

I can testify…and I “ain’t proud to” admit that I’ve considered self-deliverance several times. Most recently when I was unemployed for an ungodly long time due to NO fault of mine with so much life-experience that nobody wanted to pay me for, as I continued to grow older, day-by-day! I’ve thought about it a couple of days before I wrote this post because, in a moment of panic, I thought I’d never hear from my suddenly, mostly-silent fiancee`, Nina again!! “And so…?” as my Ukrainian [it] would say. Don and I have the same “good eye” for Slavic women, I see! ;-*)
When you are faced with eviction, food banks, injury and denial of benefits; having to ask for Welfare or any kind of social safety net public assistance after having gone to the University, and lived the “right way”, hailing from a “good and “stable” family” (bullshit for another post) with two parents who were married for over fifty years and never getting into criminal trouble, often the edge of the abyss…is the engraved invitation to ending it all by ones own hand if things do not improve exponentially.

I most-often have felt suicidal due to the callousness of a lying romantic interest who got my heart “open”, just to break it. “Damn, some women!” :-j
It may sound silly but, I bet something similar that pushes your suicide button would sound similarly to me! To each their own poison (“oops!”) and I guess I’m at small risk to ever actually “do it” because, as I’m sure a few who are really close to me know, I’ve mentioned it as an option open to me from time-to-time during tough-and-lonely/depressing/unfulfilled times; the odds pundits of human behavior say, “Yee who talk about it will not really DO it”. http://tabangsendong.xu.edu.ph/index.php/the-news/185-indicators-of-suicide-risk, but my deep-seeded optimism that I will be comfortably rich soon always carries the day. When that happens, you won’t be able to get me outta here with a crowbar!
It must be that forlorn, walled-in Black Cat, beating-under-the-hard-wooden floorboards, Telltale Heart “Edgar Allen Poe” in me.

I dare you to now admit your suicidal thoughts, whatever your exterior skin color is, in our ‘comments’ section below! As the really old radio show used to say, “The SHADOW knows“…look in the mirror!