Tag Archive: Marvin Gaye


Maybe I miss composing music reviews as I did the past six years for About.com, http://dancemusic.about.com/sitesearch.htm?q=Jimi+Bruce+reviews&SUName=dancemusic, and therefore welcomed this opportunity to critique a new CD.  Actually my fiancee`, Nina, is a huge Lenny Kravitz fan and as usual since I met her, came-up with this good idea that I write about him in my blog.  But it took me a month or two to realize what she  meant – the old language translation omitting the urgency (Russian is her native and English is coming along w/my help) – so now in my true “late-bloomer” style, we have the “Black and White America” write-up! Far from an enigma, even though he hasn’t recorded in quite some time, Lenny Kravitz really is one of the hardest working, cleanest, most photogenic and popular (especially among the ladies) musicians of today.

The first time I played a Lenny Kravitz song on the radio I was in 1999. With a name like his, I felt that he had been around a long time, but that wasn’t the case in the northeastern USA on Adult Contemporary and Top 40 radio stations. Yet, “Lenny Kravitz” just sounded familiar as if he had been a mainstay.

There is a nice, semi-consistent brass presence on the album along with other varieties of rhythm and sound. My Nina seems partial to those collaborating with Troy “Trombone” Shorty, judging by the You Tube videos that she has sent me this summer and fall. As James Brown would admonish “Sinclair” in his old band, “Don’t play so much Bone Brotha!”

I’ll in-part employ the Frankie Crocker rating system of denoting a “sure-shot”, “World Premiere” and “Pick-hit” as I rate some selections. “In The Black” is pure, classic Kravitz and the sixteen songs are well placed in-succession to provide a nice mix and flow of the record. “Liquid Jesus” plays next, and I swear he must have been channeling the late Marvin Gaye on this one. It is “Gates” from the first note; Bravo! The title track, which is a plea for the American racial divide to get over itself and catch-up with our times, “Black and White America” is my ‘World Premiere’. He uses his parents as an example when he sings, “In nineteen sixty three my father married a Black woman and when they walked the street they were in danger…” Lenny’s father was a Ukrainian man. “Superlove” is the cute, Brothers Johnson-like song that my past experience as a Top 40 radio DJ tells me would make the charts of a contemporary hit station, and thus is my Pick Hit. By not mentioning all of the other tracks, I do not mean to imply that they are in any way unworthy of my top rankings, but these are ones that have produced the most tune-wedgies in my musical mind since I copped the CD. Speaking of “top rankin” that was a tune by the late Robert Nesta Marley, and Lenny Kravitz apparently did some time well-spent in the Caribbean while composing this album. One of his brilliant skankings is my Sure Shot, “Boongie Drop” featuring Jay-Z. It is a rollicking dancehall adventure of spliffs (in the hip Hop monologue) and booty movements. “Roll sister, roll on it/Don’t make the music stop/Go on make that boongie drop…” Be sure to press “repeat” a few times for the full effect! The jazzy “Looking Back On Love” also caught my ears due to the long instrumental bridge that will have you momentarily thinking another CD entirely or the radio somehow started playing. “Psyche!” I am impressed that Lenny played drums on all of them according to my research. A friend commented about Kravitz apparently being in-touch with his spiritual and/or religious side via frequent references to deities throughout the lyrical content. That’s alright, we know Lenny is our hard-rocker at heart and a little Godly humility may just add to his success and longevity.

PICKHITTS: He is so creative! My fiancee` and I admire his creativity.

Partially, thanks to Lenny’s music we have grown our relationship. Once I found that Nina appreciated music, it was just another solidifying quality! We sent his songs back and forth. Nina’s level of music appreciation is incredible! She sends me Slavic or Russian videos and I send her American music videos; sometimes I send to her to see if she has heard of this or that artist. Music is the best way to cross cultures initially, we found. She and I talk about how he must have a photographer follow him around day and night, there are so many photos of him in all stages of dress (and Undress, LOL)! His harmless vanity is rather amusing. Nina is so proud that Lenny’s roots are in Kiev and we have grown our love partly to Lenny Kravitz’s music (“I Belong To You” for example). Nina says, “Let Love Rule! Bravo Lenny!” Our story is his parents story, redeux! Twenty-first century style! I dedicate the hymn “Dream” off of this album to my Nina and me. She sometimes teases me that I am a dreamer, and I reply similar to the lyric, “It all starts with a dream/The dawn of a new day/The God inside of you will always see you through…” Kravitz parent’s story is now our ‘dream’.

No longer with Virgin Records, Lenny is now managed by Craig Fruin and Howard Kaufman (HK Management) and heard on RoadRunner Records distributed by Atlantic; I’ve heard rumor there is VINYL of this! Well you know I want one! LOL

I give it 4.5 out of a possible 5 stars! Worth the wait.

I wonder what advice Lenny’s parents would have for Nina (the Ukrainian beauty) & Naphtali (the Black American man) today?

Please DO Comment! Thanks Nina for the inspiration – again(-:

Advertisements

Rare Performance…and yet another timely “tune Wedgie”  that plays in my brain even when I try to sleep, as we go through changes weighed our upon our union-to-be by “da “Man”  (They used that phrase in TV series, “Mod Squad” a lot back in “the day” lol), yet, that is inspiring filmaking and musical creativity.  That is how music always teaches the ignorant, isn’t it?

 I never saw this version of “Distant Lover”, and it is so impromtu at times, as he says to the band at one point, “Play that introduction again, I’m not ready” lol  As if they are just among informal friends in the studio…

P.S. Frankie Crocker told me that “Gates” was Marvin’s nickname amongs the real “Brothas” back in 1984….More about that if you read my recent memoir of my radio DJ days, “He’s In A Meeting…” [see to the right, below]

I always liked the way he’d put in there, “Lord Have Mercy“, without breaking the groove or making it seem “churchy”. my orison is for this physical chasm contracts quickly with the help of kind human who read these words, so that we can get on with the business of marriage and the pleasures of our new life together.

I held this one back for a long time until my lady recently joined me singing “the blues” in an email to me.  Uh-Oh!…THAT  is another record… and movie…gotta go!

See U soon! (Lemme find it in my krates….wow…)

 Mr. Billy Paul has been on my mind a LOT for the past month or so – probably because is a really cool dude!  Therefore, I want to write about this singer while he is still with us in the physical world, because the way time is “flying”, who knows which of us will make it to the “finish line”, which keeps moving  anyway, lol!   To watch or listen to the news these days, brings to mind one of his best album titles, “War Of The Gods”, or as my Mum recently put it, “in our life time we’re seeing the last days of man – the Bible – Revelations.”  1311328880_b45a8daa3a9e67be4345675430711aff

I remember the opening synthesizer sound as used by many of us in commercials we produced for nightclub parties – I used the piercing lazer over just about any upbeat jam at the time – and still will!

Lately I have been playing, not a vinyl, but a “live” CD of his “World Tour 1999”.  The disc affects you with the feel that you are really there at the show, and I love the band that  backs him, especially the drummer.  It reminds me of the time I was lucky enough to get front row center seats to watch him perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City!  Ah, the perks of having record company Promotion Department friends back in the days. If you are too young to know who he is, or just never were “into” R&B music of the 1970s, just think, “Me & Mrs Jones”, and that should nudge those musical memory cells, as that is Billy’s trademark tune!  The first, and one of my personal favorite BP jams I ever heard was the 1971 cautionary song, “This Is Your Life” from the album “Going East” (one I didn’t manage to get hold of, but I have the 45rpm) and of course, as I say often in these posts, heard over the airwaves of WLIB FM, New York City,  as it transitioned to WBLS FM, programmed by the legendary Frankie Crocker.  I met Mr. Billy Paul back in the year 2000 while doing my duty at southern New Jersey station WVLT FM.  Like, I was in there talking to one of my co-workers, or getting ready to do some production,turned around and saw this Brother as my mind went something like, “Hey I know him! That’s Billy Paul!!”  Holy Cow!”  WVLT is not a huge, high-profile radio station, it was out in the woods of Millville, N.J., but not all that far from Philadelphia, the city whose 1970s musical legacy gave Mr. Paul his most famous stardom.  I found him truly a gracious and down-to-Earth celebrity and gentleman, and I believe his obviously very loving, protective wife, Blanche was also with him at the time.  A couple of years later, he granted me a live on-air interview via telephone after I moved-on to kick-ass at a tiny R&B AM station in Nashville.

So, now onto the rest of my vinyls, all on the Philadelphia International label, distributed by Epic at the time I acquired them, and the oldest one which is 1974’s “Live In Europe”.  The featured in-concert version of his “Brown Baby”, was a “catch” for me at the time because it is another cut off of “360 Degrees”.  It also includes his treatment of Elton John’s “Your Song as does the above compact disc (recorded ‘live” in Paris, France).  I always love the way Billy’s unique voice [especially his “high notes” no other singer can match] compliments the Top 40 songs he chooses to cover; he even made a Paul McCartney composition, “Let “Em In”, the title track of an album in 1976 – not to mention the production re-working of it to further politicize it –  into a definite chant of needed racial inclusiveness.  On the album version that I have, you hear clips of the voices of Malcolm X, Huey Newton,  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other legendary human rights leaders.  I love most of the tracks on this album as U can C from my notes on the back cover at the top!  OMG! I am playing “We All Got A Mission” over and over again as I write this: “Change the world around, change the world around, CHANGE IT!”

Next in my library is an album that was huge during my days at the University, 1975’s “When Love Is New”.  It is special because of the schitzo-sided way it plays: you have Billy, the social philosopher at the height of the anti-war/racial civil rights era boogie on “People Power” and the funk of “Let The Dollar Circulate” on side one.  Then flip the side and you hear the tender romantic ballad, “When Love Is New” that progresses into “I Want ‘Cha Baby” and then climaxes on “Let’s Make A Baby” in about nineteen minutes – woo-wee, that’s getting a little bit too “lucky” too fast, IMO!  

I somehow acquired two copies of my final Paul vinyl, the nondescript, “First Class”, a more formulaic MFSB-style album of its time whose outstanding feature is the derby he sports on the cover, at least to my musical mind.  He could always sport some vines (fashions) on his interesting album covers! 

I have always admired that Billy has a penchant for including socially aware and uplifting messages in the lyrics he sings.  He covers the whole spectrum, from love to politics, much like his late and very close soul-brother, the musical genius, Marvin Gaye did.   What is your favorite of his songs?  Where were you when you first heard “Mrs. Jones”?  Have you ever had a “Me & Mrs. Jones” situation? Just 4 fun, can U guess Billy’s given name?

Seek some Billy Paul singing soon and get a needed reality check; find out if you are as good as you think you are! It all depends upon “How Good Is Your Game”?

Congratulations on prevailing in the suit vs. Gamble & Huff, by the way,  Mr. Paul!

I’ve been told that I wear my heart on my sleeve.  Let’s examine that expression first…Historically, I seem to remember that sometime in Europe’s middle ages, men would pin the name of their lovers or the object of their desire on their sleeves.  That line was also delivered by the character Iago in act I, scene I of the Shakespearean tragedy, Othello, “But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve/For daws to peck at. I am not what I am.”   I think it means I am a sensitive, emotional man, with  feelings  more “visible” rather than hidden, unlike most people who pretend to be unphased by the meanness of others or unwanted negativity that happens to me. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, in fact IMHO it is healthier to let stuff out than hold it in and eventually have a heart attack or blow like the volcano, and if I may attempt an Shakepeare-style  line here, “if I be not allowed to display my love upon my “sleeve” then where should I wear it?”

However, it can be tried to be used against a person by the dimwitted I guess.  Maybe my former girlfriend was sometimes dim-witted – it is as good as any explanation she’s given me for breaking-up with me suddenly last June because she stil has given me NONE.  Yes, with Valentine’s Day approaching, I’m back on  that  again.  Please indulge me my dear reader, this was the first lady to ever surprise me with a choice of one out of two ensembles to wear that she had selected for me to try on in the days just before Valentine’s Day.  I wasn’t even sure that she celebrated such a “Hallmark Holiday” going by our progressive, anti establishment and commercialization of our lives conversations.  I guess all women secretly have that romantic bone in their hearts in spite of protestations to the contrary; I was SO over Valentines’ until we met.  Why would a woman go to the trouble of picking out an outfit for her man and then jilt him suddenly four months later, giving him no reason?  This is what happened to me.  That’s right, “the Girl From Transylvania” hooked the kid up with a sharp outfit that included a tie and vest!  What did I get her for Val’s Day last year?  Well I fulfilled her sudden request to wear her hair in dreadlocks like I do, and paid for her to go to my “hair girl” and get her hair styled thusly!  It looked SO cute too…but we didn’t calculate the difference in hair texture and locking agent required, so it didn’t stay – but it looked sweet!  This post is dedicated to all of the women who I have met since I was jilted and who, sensing that there was another woman lurking in my consciousness, probed until I unburdened myself to them about “the Girl…”, and who tried to make sense of it from a female perspective only to give up basically saying, “Boy she really did a number on You!” or something similar.  It is also dedicated to my few long-time male friends who have counseled me to basically “forget her it was not worth it. The only thing she did was waste your time. Time is very precious to us all since we are all here for just a twink of eye. Just think of what you could have productively doing with your time if she was not in your life. Next time you meet someone, try to size them up immediately and find out what she is all about before committing your resources including time…” as Leo back in south Jersey recently summed it up.  I’m just not as “cool” as I used to be – losing that Playboy edge, I guess. <grins>

So: What kind of a woman goes out of their way to make you love them with gestures like taking you on a food stamp shopping spree on THEIR Food Stamps account without my asking her to after she found out that I had a particularly bad financial day?  Cooking and sharing copious dishes with you including Thanksgiving and Christmas; lets you bond with her two sons( from two different guys by the way), her younger sister and sister’s boyfriend, all who live with her in her nice multi-roomed house; takes you to integrate your Americaness with her “Belarusian” culture at a party; gives you a TV, an extra blanket to keep warm, and a really nice radiator room heater to make your space more cozy; makes a big deal out of our one year anniversary; treats me to a fabulously classy birthday dinner at an upscale restaurant; lets you finally give her a total body massage, while she has a degree in Massage Therapy; seeks out my hair stylist so that SHE can have dread locks hair style like I do -and I gladly pay for it for Valentines day;  creates a  framed wall picture collage of some of my recipes from my cookbook (that she in a fun way “stole” from it unbeknownst to me) with  some sayings like “you are so special to me” and a little haunting picture of her in the lower left-hand corner and a set of fine wine glasses for my birthday?   

What kind of lady parties with me unconditionally, was a great touch-dance partner whenever we went out, and even drank harder stuff than the wine I sip because of her culture (I guess); never says “no” to a date request; never has an argument or heated words with me? (the closet to an argument was a debate about cooking rice !)  I never cheated on her and actually brought my bachelor self closer to her lifestyle and sacrificed my man shit like sports and even showed empathy when she told me that she saw a “therapist” weekly (but never told me exactly “why” – I figured because of past husband abuse issues), showed understanding when she told me twice that she didn’t want to get close to me because of “panic attacks” [prior to our ever being intimate and we didn’t do THAT for about five months after we met], who then suddenly dumps me COLD  and without explanation forevermore?  Who apparently enjoys a romantic weekend to celebrate our one-year anniversary, finally leaves her new toothbrush and stuff in my bathroom (we know how chicks like to mark their territory like that), and then two weeks later tells me the “magic is gone”?

Even after the initial “dump” she would call me to rescue her late at night at a bar we used to hang at, enjoying conversation and adult libations once when she had ingested too much “Vhischey” (I loved her voice and Belarusian accent; the way she said the word “Hilarious!” was one of a kind).  Another time, after the fact asking me yet again to help her with her English homework and an appeal on her grade to her on-line English instructor!  Am I yet again this stoopid and naïve?  Yet again do I have reason to cease to exist because I am “too nice”?  I wasn’t always “too nice”!!  I tried to hang on and hoped she would drift back within my gravitational pull, unsuccessfully as she became even colder after telling me she “missed” me and agreeing to “reunite” within a month. And there is probably more great stuff she did that I am not remembering right now like the “ohh!”, so romantic way she admired my hands, of all things; how she’d examine them and hold them tightly when we went to the movies – I never go to the movies – and much other good stuff. In the early Autumn of 2009,  she kinda flirted with a friend of mine right in front of my face in his office!  He is married and we’d hung-out together at his house several times.  She did this in order to cut me out of future dealings between the three of us and get the perks of free tickets I had gotten for “us” because of the brotherhood my friend and I shared, I bet.  No shame to her game? Maybe just a little mean streak which makes me wonder how she can raise two “boys” who will  become “men” when she seems to have a contempt for the male species on some level.  As a group I grew up listening to/playing on radio, The Sylvers, sang, ‘I Wish That I Could Talk To You Baby…”

I suppose I shall revert back to being a “playboy” who goes for the “hit-and-run” affair , since a lasting “relationship” with a woman apparently is not in the “cards” for me as I hit my late-fifties stride. Naw, that won’t work! I think the self-service castration the better route.  Then, the subsequent back-up of blood to my other head will cause it to explode in a rush of misery-ending euphoria!

So, WHAT KIND of woman is this who just dumped me like yesterday’s vagabond?????  She asked me for, and I granted her a little “time alone with [herself] in order to think”, then perchance after three weeks of total cut-off, we fatefully ran into each other at a coffee shop where I was having a business meeting.  I told her I’d call her when I got the chance in a few days, and when I did, I joked, “Hey you’ve got to stop stalking me like that at the coffee shop…”  She said she was busy and to call her the next day.  When I did so, feeling upbeat I got her voice mail.

Her reply some hours later was this TEXT message: “…, I don’t want to hurt yr feelings but I’m not interesting in any relationships with you, even friendship as you call it.  So, do me a favor, stop calling, texting and writing me.”    Just like that, and when I asked “why”, I got no response. It wasn’t like I was stalking her ass or something; that is not my personality.  Please help me to understand this, because I am a good man and treated her with respect, love, passion, dignity and everything else possible in my intelligent-yet-caring arsenal.  WHAT…a colossal waste of both our times and supposed loving energies.  Part of me wishes I’d never even MET she who at this time last year, I thought was my new best female friend – outside of my Mother that is. I guess what I muse is how could a woman, on one hand, be the best I’ve ever dated and the worst heart-breaker on the other hand?  [Editor’s note: that friend she flirted with suddenly died at only 45 years of age, seven months later]

1. “Valentine Love” – Norman Connors; 2. “If My Lonely Heart Could Speak” – The Manhattans; 3. “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble” – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince; 4.”If My Heart Could Sing” – Marvin Gaye; 5.”I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” – written by Burt Bacharach/Hal David, sung by various artists including Dionne Warwick (probably the most famous version) and the late Isaac Hayes; 6. “I’ll Be Around (When He’s Gone)” – Marvin Gaye; 7. “Don’t Hold Back Your Love (Parts I & II)” – The Isley Brothers; 8. “There’s No Me Without You” – The Manhattans; 9. “Love TKO” – Teddy Pendergrass; 10. “Sad Sweet Dreamer” – Sweet Sensation; 11. “Love On A Two-Way Street” – The Moments; 12. “Break Your Promise” – The Delfonics; 13.”My Funny Valentine” – Rodgers & Hart; 14. “Goin’ Out Of My Head” – Little Anthony & The Imperials; 15. “I’m Out Of Your Life” – Arnie’s Love; 16. “Love Is A Hurting Thing” – Lou Rawls.

pickhitt: I’m only looking for closure, I guess – a REASON.

updatge 2/2011: time heals all wounds; Jah sent me someone MUCH better.

“There are many things that I’d like to tell you,

Like how I’ll never, ever forget you

If my heart, my heart could only sing, sing, sing.

-M.Gaye

Answer: “Self-deliverance” is always an option.