Tag Archive: frankie crocker


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.

leavemessage

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.

“Dearly Beloved, I would die for you…”

IMG_0861

Finally, “like 1999…” Do you remember where you were when that year actually hit? I bet that song, by Prince, was blazing at the party that midnight!

Prince was a curiosity; basically an anomaly to me, when he came on the music scene at the time that I was a young, rising radio DJ. I received his first vinyl album, “Uptown” from my Warner Brothers Records friend, Jackie Thomas, while the “Awl Nyte Flyte” host on Worcester, Massachussetts Top 40 station, ‘ WFTQ AM/”14Q” circa 1980. Soon I would be playing the single, “I Wanna Be Your Lover” often on the Contemporary Hit Radio air waves.  I remember my late radio DJ inspiration and Program Director, Frankie Crocker, referring to him on the air as “his royal purple badness”; a great description! lol

I thought Prince was kind of an ordinary – but naughty – singer, at first.
He had this band and wore what looked like a raincoat on the inner sleeve picture of that first album, “Uptown”.  Who knew that this cat would become a major musical muskrat?  I played much of his music in clubs and on the radio as a disc jockey talent. He became a little more weird when he changed his name to a symbol in the early 1990s. “Hmmm…”

IMG_0862

My top five (5) Prince jams are: “When Doves Cry”[the long 12” extended version], “Little Red Corvette” [ditto the version], “I Wanna Be Your Lover”, “Erotic City” and “Lets Go Crazy”.

I had forgotten about this jam, “Lets Go Crazy”, until it came to me, recently and subliminally while at my day job, a week after his untimely and sudden death. Watching the performance on this video inspired this blog post!

Prince courted some baad babes too! Maybe that is why I ignored him: he didn’t share with me! My top Prince hot chick ladies are: Apollonia, (the late)  Vanity, Shiela E and Carmen Electra! More of them are here!  http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2010/02/princes-10-hottest-female-proteges/  Some guys have all the luck – and then you die. Ain’t it a shame?  Here is some of my collection of Prince vinyls:

IMG_0863

Yes, I took Prince for-granted as I am sure you did too (unless you live in Minnesota). He burst onto the scene in the early eighties and became a fixture of hot, dancible contemporary American hit music that people from all walks of life partied to and appreciated.  I recently heard some blue-collar types complain that while country music icon, Merle Haggard had passed away recently, he did not receive as much media attention as this “so-and-so” Prince did from the news media.  Well, maybe they missed the updates, or misunderstand the nuances of how the body public processes music genres.  We are the world, we are the music. I loved that he was not afraid of Controversey and not ashamed of his self deprecating “Dirty Mind” (like mine). His over-protectiveness of his videos being on YouTube troubled me.

PrincDirtyMind.jpeg

You already know how weirdly strange it is that Prince is the latest in a string of musician deaths here, only four months into 2016.  This year reminds me of this time in 2012, when we lost the likes of Whitney Houston, Donna Summer and Don Cornelius (Soul Train’s host). It is very strange and the only saving grace is the music they left behind for we, still in the physical world, to listen to.

IMG_0860

Above, the flip-side of my first Prince vinyl album cover. Well, “This is what it sounds like when” [Your] Fans cry…

Hey, be sure to save the location of my new, music-reviews-ONLY blog post! https://achilliadsmyvinylrecordshoppe.wordpress.com/ 
There you will be able to keep up-to-date on the latest music and learn about the contemporary music artists of my lifetime. It is a work in-progress…
Please check it out and let your voice be heard above the herd.

IMG_0859
 

Johnny Taylor was a giant of R&B music.  Introduced to me by the late and great radio program director, Frankie Crocker, on WLIB FM which later became WBLS FM, I came to love his music.  I also have to give props to New York City’s first black music station of the 1960s, WWRL AM, as a station where I first heard this record, “Take Of Your Homework” on Memphis, Tennesee’s Stax Records back in 1969.

 

As a tune-wedgie, this classic has been ringing through my musical mind of-late. This is one of my first 45rpm records I bought at the record shop on the way home from school, as was my custom with my “allowance” money from my parents as well as the the clean and soulful album this song was featured on, ‘Who’s Makin’ Love”!

51d61+dNbrL._SL500_AA280_

It is a great, simple song and concept that became one of Johnny’s greatest hits. I found this cool video about it on You Tube! Check it out:

Is there still infidelity in marriage and relationships here in 2014? If so, then this record still is relevant as a cautionary tale. Check out the lyrics, if you don’t believe me! lol

“Got to tell you the truth, I got to tell you truth..

Oh brother Jack, you goin’ with sister Sadie
When you ought to be home with your old lady
But your heart is divided in so many pieces
Tryin’ to please them both, never pleasin’ neither

Oh Jack, take it on back
Before your good thing is gone
Because the downfall of too many men
Is up keep of too many women.
So…

Take care of your homework fella
If ya don’t somebody will, oh yeah
You better take care of your homework fella
If you don’t somebody will
Now wait a minute, yeah!

Oh brother Fred, how he used to run,
Stayin’ out all night leavin’ his homework undone
Now Fred’s old lady, took as much as she could stand
Then one night the next door neighbor, gave him a helping hand

Oh Brotha, take it on home,
Before your good thing is gone
Because the downfall of too many men
Is the up keep of too many women, so..

Take care of your homework fella
If you don’t somebody will, oh
You gotta hear me now,
You better take care of your homework fella
If you don’t somebody will
Listen to me y’all

Take it on home
Get off the streets y’all
Take it on home, Ahhhhhh!
Alright! [interlude]

But fellas let me tell you
These girls are gettin’ hip
You can only slide so long
Before you make a slip.

Take care of your homework fella
If you don’t somebody will
Oh, hear me now, hear me now, hear me now
You better take care of your homework fella
If you don’t somebody will
Take it, take it, take it on home..”
Take it, take it, take it…

Songwriters
BANKS, HOMER / JACKSON, RAYMOND E. / DAVIS, DONALD / KELLY, THOMAS F.

Comments or tales of how this song saved you from losing your relationship are welcomed feedback. So “take care”!

It was a truly modern info moment. I’m doing my goodnight ‘My Vinyl’ “Tweet” of the day into the Twittosphere, when next in the stream and before mine can appear pops, “Breaking News! Gil Scott Heron dead at 60.” last night. Immediately I reply to the Tweeter of bad news, “ 4 REal? Oh Sad…major part of my musical comeuppance in college radio via dancefloor-filler, “In The Bottle” RIP Bro Heron”    

back coveer

 

Wow!” I thought, “ I’m on Twitter and witness history as one of (maybe) the first to know this!” one of the reasons I have grown to tolerate that platform is that appeals to the subliminal sense or need for immediacy of current events in its own special way!

I started to write this then and there; nope, too close to “Au Revoir” for-the-night time after a physically strenuous Friday and mentally gnarly week. Therefore, here we are now with an homage to my one Gil Scott Heron vinyl, “Winter In America”. Obviously, this one should be brief, but no promises, okay? 😀

When I think of the now “late” Gil Scott Heron, I go back to my days at the University and the hit record from this album, “In The Bottle”.  His image makes me think of another tell-it-like-it-IS spoken group, The Last Poets.  All I wanted to know about most music back then, in my “baby” DJ days, was would it get people up on the floor and dancing to it? That is how I could look good and get paid by whomever was employing me for that purpose – even if that “person” was me.  So the larger “message” of Gil Scott Heron – the poet , keyboardist and Brother-man was initially kind of secondary, but in retrospect he was one of those whose lyrics clarified shit from the streets that I had only heard about at the time.

cuts and players

As time went by, I was proud of him as a militant messenger as I like to see part of myself being in the mirror. Principled and even brutally eloquently relevant and truthful in his succinct lyrics and rhymes, I knew intrinsically that he would be “alright” and was a protector and purveyor of the thoughts about our place as Black Americans in society that most people would only think and not say. What’s more, he did it with music, one of my favorite things, and that made him all the more koolThis album felt like conversation as well as a class.

my vinyl GSH

I probably first heard “In The Bottle” on the Frankie Crocker-programmed WBLS-FM of 1974, although another party or DJ could have been just as timely. All I knew was that it was about a guy who drank too much as imitated by Gil from the jam’s outset, but who cared? When that first note hit, the guys were up and asking the chicks to dance with them en-masse! “A dolla-nine-get-a-bottle o’wine, a dolla-nine-get-a bottle a-wine, in the bot-tle…” 

I remember getting amusing requests from cats who would saunter up to my booth and request, “Hey, ‘Man, you got any Gil Scott Heroin, Brotha?” To which I learned to sometimes reply, “No, my Brother, we don’t do no hard drugs up in this booth…” (read again to catch the subtle comedy if you didn’t “get-it”), before I’d relent and tell him I “got’cha covered!”. That smacks me in my funny bone annoyingly if you’ve read the stated causes of his death.

Brian Jackson got the co-top billing on this album, which as I write this, I wish I knew the story of how I came to acquire it, or why he did get that recognition and what happened to him. If you know, please write it in a comment below, but he never became as famous as Gil Scott Heron did, and where is he now?

Even though “Winter In America” is the title of my one-and-only vinyl by Gil, the song by the same name came out on his next album, “First Minute of A Brand New Day”. He will probably be remembered by the world’s masses though, for another song/album title, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” which came out right after “Winter”, I believe.  Those two LPs set GSH off into the stratocastersphere!

I am sad that his needed voice is now silent too early, but at least being who he was, he left some homework behind for all of us to catch-up on an apply.  “Just how blind will America be?” he asked in the wake of the Nixon Watergate scandal . I can rhyme that and say, “these days we continue to see!”   Gil Scott Heron performed the serious science with an ironic sense of humor that is lacking among many of the broadcast talking heads here in 2011.

photo props to cafemaroon

                                         Only sixty-two?  That is Scary. 

 

                      Side Two, track five, “Peace Go With You Brother”. 

                                                                  Whether you are a regular or infrequent visitor to my blog, undoubtedly you have heard me refer to Frankie Crocker as my inspiration for wanting to become a high-paid celebrity professional radio personality. I haven’t looked, but I bet in each of “My Vinyls” I mention him; he hipped me to so much music via the radio and he taught me in a vicarious way how not to take any shit from people while doing my show. I remember him once giving me the advice, take full control of your show whenever you ares” on, no-matter what or who (but he put it another way as described in my book). Frankie was very quotable and had a lot of “sayings” – many direct and controversial. In my first radio memoir book,
https://www.createspace.com/3563928
(which you can see the front cover of to the right), I write about Mr. Crocker and how he influenced so many of us during his times. The way I got “past” his gatekeepers like Denise Colon and Champaine of WBLS FM, New York, was to wait patiently in the lobby on many an afternoon, while superstar celebrities whisked-in ahead of me. I knew that one day I would get my turn – and I did some other “things” to get his attention along the way which I describe. 

~ Pickhitt:

I’d  be remiss if I didn’t credit my loving and full-of-good-ideas fiancee`, Nina, who thought of this book promotional post!

Cheers, Babychka!

“If Frankie Crocker’s not on your radio, your radio’s not really ON…”  😀  ~~ Jimi

So it is another sleepless Tuesday overnight after the holidays in the U.S.A., and I am tossing and turning in bed, wondering how I am going to pay the bills this month, get to see my girlfriend overseas, and what is in store for me. This year is already beginning like last year – waiting for paltry checks in the mail.  I finally fall asleep around seven-thirty AM only to drag myself up at the crack of Noon, knowing I have things to do that I am behind schedule on.  I call in “sick” on my home business to answer some emails only to find that four people I know have sent me this story about this homeless dude getting a voice-over job.

“Why are you tormenting me like this?” I ask one sender.  “Because he talks about ‘Theater of the Mind’ radio like you always do, and did on your show”, he answers. Even my eighty-six year old Mum calls asking, “Do you know Ted Williams?” “You mean the baseball player?” I feign.  My forehead is now in my hands…”OMG” I am thinking.  I was just tired before an a little grumpy; now I am in full D.J. Grumpy mode.  No coffee in the decanter to help either.  If this be the future, then why does it play like Alice In Wonderland where down is up and up is down?  Why are people being rewarded for behavior they used to be ashamed of?  I reach for my albuterol sulfate inhaler – getting upset used to bring on Asthma attacks when I was a child, now I just get “shortness of breath” and it is too cold to go for a bicycle ride, although I briefly consider doing so, or at least taking a brisk walk.

Here is the point I made to my friends who said, “He even sounds like you do!”  Their hearts are in the right place (I am sounding like my Mum now); I even heard one young lady say how “cool” a story it is that this dude got a job with the Cleveland Cavaliers, on her college radio station.  HOWEVER: there are lines of us qualified announcers  out here with “pipes” who have been marginalized by terrestrial radio, et al for the past decade.  G_D bless the BUM, but I have been doin “theatre of the mind” radio since the ’80s (“The Pajama Bar”) having grown up listening to it done on NYC radio by great D.J.s like Murray the “K”, “Cousin” Brucie (Morrow) and Frankie Crocker.

 Ted-Williams

I recently began to send out my demo mp3s again to studios and agencies and have done so in the interim – without a nibble, hoping against hope that things turn around for me, and some homeless cat with a cardboard sign standing at the offramp of a highway gets a gig bcs a driver pulled-up and taped him to put it up on You Tube?? I’m sorry, but that is the wrong message!  So what, I should become HOMELESS, lose all I have,  get a piece of cardboard and a Sharpie, stand outside by [the nearest interstate exit] in my army fatigues and hope for the best as my TEETH rot??  Something is very WRONG with the hiring system/pecking order in this land and the UNIVERSE at-large if this be the future of my”specialty”. That shit pisses me off everytime I think of it – and I didn’t get much sleep last night either, trying to figure-out what is next for me and those I hold dear.  What do you think?  What if that happened in your industry?  How long do you think he will last?

Look, I’m not hatin’, I’m just sayin’., seems the wrong prople are getting the “bum’s rush”. Let me see…maybe I can think up something stupid to do to get “headlines” and hired for big reality TV money! I hear my late father saying, “You’ll probably get yourself arrested.”

**PickHiTT: Recently I was almost homeless. And, as I predicted when I first penned this blog, what happened to him was predictable: his habits, which got him to that street sign in the first place, were too much for him to overcome. Not being mean, but he needed more help than glam could get him. Often in life, it is good for writers (and really ALL of us humans) to revisit past opinions, especially when educational footnotes can be added.
As my MARVEL Comics Editorial staff (Stan Lee, et al) always concluded, “Nuff said”.

recent Teena

Now comes the truly sad news that Teena Marie is no longer with us in the physical world after only fifty-four (54) years….pause for tears.  To me, Teena was always the Petula Clark or Leslie Gore of her times.  Soulful hits that transcended the categories of the music business or American society (I’ve always had a more “Top 40” musical head).  I first heard of her when Programmer extraordinaire, Frankie Crocker, referred to her as “Tiny” Teena Marie over the airwaves of WBLS FM, New York City as the strains of “I Need Your Lovin'”  or “Behind The Groove” grew in the background.  During my glory days as a radio personality, I never got to meet nor share a stage Emcee-style with her, but I feel like I knew her just the same.  There is always that link between her and the late “Slick” Rick James, yet, I don’t recall ever being so “surprised” about her skin color visa v her material as many people profess to be and tried to make an issue out of  in the early 1980s.

So here is where I list my top ten (because I own only ten) Teena Marie vinyl records: On Gordy Records (“a product of Motown Record corp.”) 1980’s “Lady T” with the hit “Behind The Groove”, and where I noticed that the girl could write some very readable liner notes which is one of her unsung talents and now a legacy. I dug the baseball uniform she sported on the back cover! The 12″ DJ version with “I need Your Lovin’ ” on side one and “Behind The Groove” on the flip-side; also Gordy Records.  I remember like yesterday how excited I was to get this platter so I could play it at my next gig!  Next is my favorite front cover of the ones I own, and the second album to drop in the year 1980, “Irons In The Fire”.  What a warm and cozy pose without overt sexuality by Teena, with the fireplace roaring and herself wrapped in a satin quilt, OMG!  This album’s smash was “I Need Your Lovin’ ” which still should fill dance-floors whenever played in a club!  I noticed that all of these Gordy albums were “written and produced by Teena Marie” (the first one had someone named Richard Rudolph as co-producer), a source of some contention as I remember back then.  She dedicated “Irons…” to her father, Thomas Leslie Brockett, who passed away in 1976 – his picture on the back cover.

A year later in 1981, I was fortunate enough to get the Gordy DJ copy of  “It Must Be Magic”, an album with an all-star cast and hit-after-hit-after-hit!  From the title song to “The Ballad Of Cradle Rob And Me” to the sultry “Portuguese Love” or her first foray rappin’ to the beat on “Square Biz” (with brief Rick James cameo), to “Yes Indeed” with Patrice Rushen on keyboards, this was her best all-around album insofar as my ears are concerned.  And yours too?

Next, my library finds Teena on Epic records, where I had al great DJ-to-promotion department relationship, and that is probably why I ended-up with two copies of 1983’s “Robbery” album.  I suppose the relationship with Gordy finally disintegrated and the CBS group snapped her up, agreeing to her writing, producing and arranging all.  The standout on this album was/is “Casanova Brown” – not to be confused with the Gloria Gaynor disco jam with the same name, lol!

One thing is for-sure, Teena was always busy in the eighties; it didn’t take long before Epic added another 12″ to my collection, 1984’s “Jammin” (Radio Mix-vocal) culled from her next album, “Starchild” that I never was able to get my fingers on, but it didn’t matter, I had the first hit !  I say “first” because straight-away came a song that many defined Teena by to her dying day; also from “Starchild”, it was (in my library) the Special 12″ Dance Mix of “Lovergirl” b/w the Instrumental also off of the album “Starchild”.  Larkin Arnold was in the background as Executive Producer by now, and the polish and crossover access  available by being part of one of the ‘big three’ record labels paid off.  I played this song at a lot of weddings and parties during that decade.  

Next of mine, a curious and seldom-played 12″ Extended Version Dance Mix of “14K” which apparently was part of the soundtrack to a movie called “Goonies”.  I don’t remember either – maybe I have to go and play it right quick here!  Ok, L8R, only two more vinyls to go…the very green like St. Patrick’s Day, 1986 “Emerald City” effort.  I actually don’t think I ever played this record because as I write these words, I am pulling it out of the jacket, still neatly tucked in the inner sleeve and not turned face-out for easy DJ access, and…holy moly!  The vinyl IS really GREEN!! Who knew?  Haha!  I know why I didn’t play it though, as the final and tenth wax in my Teena library is the 12″ single “Lips To Find You”, which I remember, sounds a bit like “Lovergirl” beat-wise.  Hey, I just played side one for maybe the first time and there is a jam on there, “You So Heavy” – it says “for Rick”; I wonder if it is that “Rick? Regardless, what a strong song!!  Amped lead guitar solo takes it home Hendrix-style! The studio and musicians that Epic used changed some of her background sound to that “eighties beat”; kind of Prince-style sometime, but thankfully nobody could change her vocal approach.    

In 2009 I received what was at the time her “latest” (and probably last) album in CD form, “Congo Square”.  I was happy to see it on the legendary “Stax” record label, but initially disappointed by the material.  I guess I was still hoping for the “Lovergirl” who talked about “Square Biz”, but what I heard soon became unlistenable after she got bogged-down in trying to recreate the “torch-song” feeling of “Fire & Desire” too much, in my opinion.  I learn now, that is where she was at and at peace with it, having alluded to pain that she “suffered through the last few years…” on the interior liner notes – again very literate about herself.  What exactly the sources of those pains were, I can only guess in retrospect, but as I listened to that CD again multiple times today, I still like the first track, “The Pressure (featuring M.C. Lyte)” the best only because it is uptempo and her fast stuff shaped my fondest party memories of “Lady T”, however, the singing on the remainder of the album; the soulful way she portrayed every note of each selection from her heart, makes it every bit the portrait that each of her vinyl album covers displayed. For example, track four, “Ear Candy 101” has a bridge that evokes a Marvin Gaye groove! “Tiny” Teena left us with sixteen soulful, heartfelt songs, and I miss her for the future in the manner I miss what Jimi Hendrix would have become artistically, already.

**PICK HITT: and this one, “Behind The Groove” is most popular to dance to, as Frankie Crocker and WBLS FM 107.5 ran it into the ground to success!


“Cause M-O-N-E-Y never did a thing for L-O-V-I-N. I’ll never understand what peoples heads are in, oh,
Ask me what I need…”

My new, best of all times and currently far-flung girl loves the month of September because the weather is moderate in her part of the world, and after a record-breaking hot summer, the relief has finally arrived.  I accept that, and although I think of September with a certain sadness that this summer has passed with our goals unrealized and ocean shores not reached (her country of Ukraine), I guess that is my personal problem (“Money, Money, Money” – Abba). It will change for the better.

This month also reminds me of  Barry White’s song of the same name, which has  three notes  from the outset, that if you ever were into his music, you would be able to identify immediately. 

Please bring back the TV game show, “Name That Tune”!! I’ll clean-up within this category (which is why Chuck Berris will never bring it back, if he is still alive).

Takin' it home over the bridge with the repetitious and groovy deep bass drop-off-of-the-graph groove is classic!  As my DJ mind recalls it, Barry and his "thing" had been aloof for a moment, and then THIS album came about in 1978 on 20th Century-Fox Records who really, like so many others scared-off by the "internet", should get back into the record-producing business.  This song re-captured the  unnecessarily mercurial meanderings of White and suddenly, the ladies known as "Love Unlimited" and the "Love Unlimited Orchestra" were again jamming at full-tilt,  led by the chart-topping "Your Sweetness Is My Weakness" which was not even close to the best cut on the album, but was the timeliest. This album, "The Man", even featured a great/fantastically original interpretation/cover of  Billy Joel' s "Just The Way You Are", where Barry put his signature  trademark, the  brief, opening monologue upon it, prior to the "sing" or “sang” as he would say, and to our generation’s amusement at the time, plus the “three-beat-pulse” down the stretch which was  on-par with the first Barry White albums, and cuts I heard on the new “total black experience in sound” radio in the early to mid 1970s.  Don’t get it twisted, Barry White carried a tune on this album better than on the previous ones –  he was progressing from just moaning and groaning sexy stuff all the while back then and his albums always gave us a little latin flavor as well as on “Early Years” and “It’s Only Love Doing Its Thing”.

“September” is an unsung classic, and Barry was another who “went” too soon for my tastes like Jimi Hendrix, et. al. He was also popularized by dint of an assist from the late, great radio Program Director Frankie Crocker in New York City, on WBLS back the “day” or we would never have heard of him.

Ok, now go back to the video, and focus on those first three piano key notes!

I own every Moments record on vinyl – 45rpm or LP.  No brag, just fact.

A couple of nights ago I learned that singer Al Goodman left the physical world at age sixty-seven.  That is not too old, but old enough for those of his generation and show business profession.

Al Goodman

 was one-third of the group The Moments, who I grew-up listening to on metro New York City “soul” radio stations WWRL AM and WNJR AM in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  The Moments touched a spot in my youthful musical psyche and heart like no other group did as I discovered the virtues and passionate pains of romance and love. 

The only groups of that era that came close were The Delfonics and The Continental Four, who most of my friends adored more; but I dug The Moments!  Maybe because their lesser-known record label, Stang ( a division of All Platinum), appealed to my rebellious, left-of-the-mainstream personality.  The raw production wasn’t as polished as The Delfonic’s Philly Groove label, and that was quite the charm of  The Moment’s sound effect as well as their unique three-man harmony. 

Harry Ray,

often the lead on the classic hits and another third of the group passed away back in 1992, and now that leaves only Billy Brown alive as an original “Moment” if I am correct. 

I remember when my radio mentor, Sonny Taylor was an executive at Polydor Records for a brief stint during which The Moments made a move towards larger recognition than they must have thought Sylvia Robinson and All Platinum could give them, the controversy was that they had to give-up their name, “The Moments”,because of a stupid legal dispute, and the sleazy, petty politic of the record music industry. They became known as their last names of (Harry) Ray, (Al) Goodman &  (Billy) Brown.  We true fans never recognized this, and to this day call them “The Moments”!  The best song that came out of that marriage was “Special Lady” in 1979. 

My favorite Moment moment is 1974’s “(Hey Girl) What Is your Name” where Al’s name is the forefront of the writer’s credits on “The Best Of The Moments”.  By 1976, Carol Sager was in the writer’s house with The Moments on such classics as “I Could Have Loved You” and the ever running “I Don’t Wanna Go (But I Can’t Stay Here No More)”, an album produced by Al Goodman, Walter Morris and Harry Ray.

 Now, I must admit that as my favorite song isn’t quite true, as there are SO many other Moment memories to choose from, like  my real  first favorite when I was a teenager, “Lovely Way She Loves”, which typifies a young man first discovering that a slow dance with a girl at a basement house party can make parts of your loins come alive anew!  There are also the many hits backed by All Platinum studio musicians from the band Willie (Feaster) and the Mighty Magnificents such as   “Not On The Outside, But Inside Strong”, “Somebody Loves You Baby”, “I Do”, “Sunday”, “All I Have”, “Just Because He Wants To Make Love (Doesn’t Mean he Loves You)”, “If I Didn’t Care” (which my parents must have gotten tired of because I played the grooves off of that 45rpm up in my boyhood room,  to the point the record was dusty!), and then moving into [I think] a group of different background musicians, hitting gold with the classic, “I Found Love On A Two Way Street” ( which coincidentally comes-on as I write these words!). If you ever conjure it, remember there is a long version of it, where the vamp, “Bye, Bye Baby, bye bye!” is extended into the fade at end.  Their songs were not all slow, however as they made forays into the Disco trend with “Sweet Lady” (OMG!), “Sexy Mama” ( the 8:50 version with the fade-in and out), and “Girls!”

When I heard word of Al Goodman’s passing, I suddenly couldn’t get their “Gotta Find A Way” out of my musical mind!  Also I must mention “Seven Days” [OMG! with the fade-in-and-fade-out; one of the first l-o-n-g slow jams], “Lucky Me”, “To You With Love’, “I’m So Lost”, “Look At Me, I’m In Love”, and that album that they did with The o’Jays, “The O’Jays Meet The Moments”.  My college roommate must have grown weary of me always coming in after an argument with my (then) puppy loves of campus, and throwing-on The Moments to soothe my pains, lol. 

Fortunately and finally, I got to meet and “hang” with these Moments, especially during the mid-1980s into the early 1990s.  it was like a dream-come-true to chill with singers you idolized as part of your youth, ya know what I mean?  I remember  Harry Ray and another late radio inspiration and mentor, Jerry Bledsoe, cutting-up at the Dow Twins’s New York City major nightclub, Leviticus on WBLS night where Jerry B. cursed-out WBLS FM management and aired some dirty laundry.  THAT was a classic! LOL Several times, I was suddenly in the company of  the total gracious and class act, Billy Brown,  on numerous occasions at various occasions.  I always had to hold myself  back from fawning like a schoolgirl over these cats with copious compliments. 

Al Goodman, “the baritone” was the quieter of the trio.  It was a great honor to be “With You“…I’ll never sing another song ’bout leaving…”

Although I never met  this impresario and didn’t even know he was  the founder of the Sex Pistols until the news of his death came over NPR, I reminisce his music at this time of his passing from the physical world because my inspiration for getting into radio, the late Frankie Crocker, broke this music in New York City while I was jocking on the competing station, which was then owned by RKO.  They had us playing his stuff back during the era of Break-Dancing during my time on WRKS FM ( “KISS”),  and I still have the 12-inch vinyl, special party mix album

 and 45rpm vinyls of the Island Records hits that we played too! This was when “scratchin” a record first came into vogue as a DJ’s skill while rockin’ da crowd.   So now, just in case you only thought he was a Brit with spastic punk-style rhythm, here are a few jams we used to move to at Danceteria and Private Eyes, to name only a couple of the clubs poppin’-it back during the early-to-mid-1980s in Manhattan.  I loved ‘Hey D.J.”; “Do Ya Like Scratchin’?”; “Buffalo Girls”, and of course every freelance DJ’s anthem back then, “The World Famous Supreme Team Show”. I am reminded that this “special PARTY MIX with…” was very hard to get back then because inside the 12″ album are some 45rpm versions…thank you Debbie Howard wherever you are, LOL  

This  sound takes me back to a free era in the world where there was no such thing as “terrorism” and the planet  just partied universally – at least we did in New York City – very judiciously to this infectious innovator. Just wanted to pay homage and hip you who may not know…ya HEARD?? LOL

R.I.P. Mr. McLaren and thanks for recognizing the DJs…and “all the Buffalo Girls going around the outside/all that scratchin’ is makin’ me itch!” LMAO