Tag Archive: house music


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.

Various Artists – Bargrooves: Members Only (US Limited Edition)

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I reached-back for y’all to let you know that I wrote music reviews from 2004 – 2011 for About.com/dancemusic, etc.  I found this one, “about” a special U.S. edition and ninth in the series that was out and about with tracks to set you smack dab into the party groove from their first beats and rhythms!  I still love it and I just found the double CD again while  boxing for the “Exodus”.

Here we have a snazzy, attractively packaged double-disc dance CD set “Bargrooves – Members Only” US Limited Edition [Gossip Records GOS-CD-609]. It is a assemblage massed across the great pond by the UK’s Ben Sowton and the Native New Yorkers. You might want to have a little fun by allowing your musical mind’s eye to view it as a kind of “competition”!

Flavaful cover art work and advertising that your “whateva” is a “limited edition” is like putting an “Esq.” or “Ltd” behind your name, intensifying the curiosity and in this case you are well within your mounting intensity to scope this work and include it in your desideratum.

Bargrooves are smooth and at times, almost jazzy dance cuts that play in continuous mode garnering the feel that you have a DJ on your home site, or if your are in the early pre-party preparation stages of your club, you can run these CDs before your DJ arrives and hopefully get your staff in a less mundane mood. The first time I pressed play to peruse these, I imagined myself early after-work at a trendy Bar “X” in Soho; getting libationally loose and this music as the slightly-above-subliminal soundtrack. It was a guaranteed party feel, and I couldn’t wait for the place to start filling-up with potential dance partners!

Label creator and late-night DJ bar entrepreneur Ben Sowton’s disc one is mid-deep House from the outset; surprisingly un-UK-ish, and includes more instrumentals; one of which is the slightly Gare-age-ish “Les Couleurs” by Sebastian Davidson. He weaves in some Soularis seamlessly with “Closer”. That is followed by a sure-shot “get the party started” version of the staple “It’s All Good To Me (Matty’s Soulflower mix)” from someone called Physics. Rippaa!! Next on the marquee is one of our favorite contemporary dance vocalists, lady Tiger Lily with Mike Polo on a version of Nate`’s “Free” that doesn’t compromise and only enhances the message of that classic. A little further into it, it really gets polished on the tantalizing “Time In Motion” by Jay Lumen/Superflava with vocals by Sophia Cairo. The slightly more stylish Disc two is New York City-style in pace, vocals and flow. From the first note on disc two, Central Avenue’s “Tell Me” brightens your mood even though the subject matter here is the breaking-up of a love affair.

On both discs track seven is the lucky number; whether it is Ross Couch’s “Got To Be Right”, or Hott 22’ featuring Angie Zee on “Just Friends”. The latter building the intensity for the rest of the jams to follow on that disc. As I used to say while tooling around Manhattan to a Frankie Crocker/Jonathan Docker mix on WBLS about twenty years ago, “It’s got that wheeze, baby!” I even used it to get my Pajama Bar party started on the air this past Leap Day, so you know it is good!

My favorite of the entire set is “Life Is Like” (number nine) by Richard Gow with Cathy Campani delivering the sultry vocals in a foreign tongue. I had to look to make sure that I they had named the song correctly because I expected to read a non-English song title the companion track on Ben’s disc which reads “Mariposa” – one of Ben’s movin’ instrumentals, by the way. But no, her sultry, lissome foreign language stylings are more than copacetic with me no matter the title.

Actually, there are no bad cuts herein! Both albums can be felt as “lounge” grooves as well, and if that label will help you to go check them and buy, then by all means, have at it! Other categories include “soulful house”, “dance-pop” and “tech with an edge”, they tell me. Hopefully U.S. radio will get hip to this one quickly as apparently most of Asia including my Russian girls, and the southern Pacific islands including Australia are already on it. I can glean no reason to deduct points here. So hear the “grooves” yourself as I set the bar at five “you-won’t-be-sorry” stars. And on that “competition – it’s a stalemate, from your ears to your dancing feet, we all win!!

Listen and comment back at me, ok?

Pickhitt: The group Soularis (playing above) is from Russia, by the way. I interviewed and reviewed them separately also circa 2005.

                                                                  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

LenaHorne-SongsByBurkeVanHeusen.jpg image by millerwindy

I figure since there is such a plethora of Lena Horne posts, that I will chime-in  to drop science on how I came to know Lena after my Dad won her albums as part of an RCA Records collection and “brand new RCA COLOR TV” ( back when they had vacuum tubes inside) on “The Price Is Right” back in 1962.  Therefore, I offer you some friendly cheerfulness via my vinyl Lena Horne tribute.  Here is an album cover that is amongst the ones he won. 

 My Aunts and Uncles’ conversations at family gatherings, always mentioned that Lena was “passing” [for a white woman] sometimes [ light-skinned blacks did that back then to gain acceptance in the general market ] and yet, there was a grudging respect and envy of her by my Aunts, especially.  According to Lena’s daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, her mother never tried to do that, but was often a frustrated forerunner of the movement to equality as she tried to navigate her career while staying true to herself and the mentoring of Paul Robeson.  My most recent memory is when she shook my hand and autographed my program for the 1994 Impact Radio Music Convention in Atlantic City shortly after she was on the dais introducing radio icon Hal Jackson at the radio Legends Dinner – in fact I have her lovely voice on one of my “on-location diary” tapes from that evening.  I promptly gave that autographed piece to my Mum – who doesn’t really know where it is now – and which most likely was destroyed in a house fire back there where I grew up,  in 2000.   Here is another my Dad won in the collection:

 Nevertheless, I was Sooo surprised and thrilled to meet and talk to her garcious presence one-on-one as if she was a member of the family,  on my older family’s behalf that evening at the convention!

Annd here’s another cover of a great Lena album my family has:

Ms. Horne was always a beautiful and classy lady and performer/advocate for civil rights and equality for Black Americans when there was none and even  she  was ushered through the back door to perform in front of predominately Caucasian audiences.  I am glad it outraged her, inspiring her to achieve change, and current “stars” like Whitney Houston (who I used to admire with a crush) would serve themselves well to mold their images in Lena’s likeness.  Here is her house which still stands near my parents’ house in St. Albans, Queens :

And so NOW…again, “for something completely different” and upon whose beautiful and progressive shoulders many performers who are “darker than blue” stand …I reviewed Heather Johnson‘s CD  for the dance music web column several weeks back, and it is my Mid-May 2010 gift to you, on behalf of Ms. Horne. 

I always know a smash when after reviewing it, I keep playing it weeks and months later while outside on my front porch in “chill/research/study mode”. 

You’ll probably come back to this track a few times until you are hooked – it’s alright; it is infectious!  “May I have this dance?”

Now for some of my  kind of dance music: 

This song invaded my sleep last night and cancelled my dreams/recollections of my deceased friend, Roddawg , in the early morning sleepless hours,  for some mysterious reason.  When I tried to HIP him to this genre, at least he didn’t just dismiss  it out of hand; yet gave me the kind of semi-blank look for a second, LOL.

We had male and traditional manly chemistry – way it SHOULD be –  continuously for the survival of our collective species as male and female humans.  Males and females were NOT created to be the “same” , contrary to popular legal and populist opinion.

Pickhitt: Without  one, there can not be the other.  “Chemistry, Chemistry…” LOL    On the SERIOUS though.

AND now for something completely different…

                                       While reviewing “MAVIS” with my co-editor, we heard from Reykjavik’s feathery-voiced Disa on track number four. The video is one of humble beginnings. Predicting a nice Dance music/House/Electro track or remixed version (I’ll remix it!) in her near future….PLEASE!! 

pickhitt: also check out “Sinful Love” on the new “MAVIS” album by K7…..sooothing.

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