Tag Archive: Name That Tune

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!

Do you remember the TV game show, “Name That Tune”? Well, Saturday night, just as I am about to go to sleep early for a change like  a “good boy”, a Wes Montgomery jazz number’s last notes sparked an idea for an update on that show’s theme.  The notes were suddenly dancing in my head earlier that afternoon, which is how it is to be me.  I think my mind is better than any radio station’s automation at selecting random and timely music of the past forty years to torment me with.

So I just HAD to play this song in order to get it out of my mental front row seats and maintain what I know as sanity.  I had to find it first in my library, which, incredibly I  did, almost immediately!  Wow and Holy Cow!  I hadn’t been to my “jazz crates” in a while, but went right to it!  This is one reason I call my vinyls my “children”, I always know where to find them through my own unique memory catalogue system.  The only knowledge I had going-in was, “vibes, jazz, last eight notes” and I thought it might be  the late Milt Jackson playing them.

As a DJ and player of many notes in songs, I have never before conjured-up a song that I just HAD to play from its last eight notes!  How Fun! OMG!  Then to grab it at 3:30 AM on my first try?  I knew at that moment that bedtime was now postponed for at least another hour, so I re-charged my inner night owl, poured another glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, and proceeded to find the cut on “Wes and Friends” , a  February 1973 Milestone Records “specially priced two-record set”  addition to my library featuring Wes, Milt Jackson and George Shearing.   

 Fortunately I made good notes amongst the centerfold liner notes and track listing, and remembered that this song had two versions, If I wasn’t mistaken.  Sure enough, after briefly going to “Stairway To The Stars” on side one, where I wrote in red “Oh Yes!”, I saw “Blue Roz” [Take 3 and Take 4] and next to them via a connected arrow the word “serius” underlined twice by me all those years ago.  I knew I had my selection!  I thought, “I bet they don’t have  this one on You Tube, and I was right – to an extent – they do have it on another album, “Bags Meets Wes”.  Jackson really swings on this composition, portraying the introduction,  body and conclusion with Philly Joe Jones on drums laying-down the solid foundation;  “Bags” was Milt’s  nickname by the way.  

 The one time I interviewed Milt Jackson was at Grant’s Tomb in New York City during a summertime Jazzmobile outdoor concert in the late 1980s.  He was still cool and up there in age by then, and I have him on tape not wanting to reveal why they called him “Bags” saying jovially, “Well we’re not going to get into that right now…” LOL  A great moment. Play it again, and listen for those last eight notes!  Wouldn’t this be a great idea for a game show?  “ba-bong, ba-bong, ba-ba bong-bonggg….”

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