Tag Archive: R&B music


Seldom does “Friday the thirteenth” and the June full lunar moon coincide as it does this year into what they call a “Full Honey Moon”. I just had a glimpse of it as I prepared the trash in the alley,stopping by to check on my eighty-nine year old mother!

Having resisted the melancholy all of this torrential rainy, humid day after a treacherous work week, it has finally gotten the best of me and I have to express some of “Who I Am” visa v one of my favorite and legendary Rhythm and Blues groups, The O’Jays. I have written about them elsewhere herein my blog, but never included this obscure one [song] and wonder now, fondly, with all of us getting older, if they even are a performing group anymore? I pray so while knowing that “Father Time” lectures over our skills as his clock ticks. So the “full honey moon” means that we have the best chance now to all be gone soon according to prophecies!


So “Who Am I?” To question or feel insecure or maybe on the cusp of declaration?
Like Popeye The Sailorman, “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.”
I just was strong,
Then I became weakened by loneliness.
Emboldened by prayer and faith,
I reclaimed that I am aware;
The unseen realm working in-favor of my goals,
Frustration notwithstanding,
Strong declarations demanding.


Who are YOU?
These days, do you enjoy common sense?
Can you stand the test – of time?
I know of one who is sublime;
Reaching deeply into your soul,
I pray that you find someone and who you are,
Before your bones grow too old.

This lunar conjunction has not occurred in over one century;
Therefore calls into question whether we will ever fulfill our destinies.
Music is the only thing that can make this right while she is so far away from me.
Tears near both my eyes…

Here I am again in this mean old town
And you’re so far away from me
And where are you when the sun goes down
You’re so far away from me

So far away from me
So far I just can’t see
So far away from me
You’re so far away from me

I’m tired of being in love and being all alone
When you’re so far away from me
I’m tired of making out on the telephone
And you’re so far away from me

So far away from me
So far I just can’t see
So far away from me
You’re so far away from me

I get so tired when I have to explain
When you’re so far away from me
See you been in the sun and I’ve been in the rain
And you’re so far away from me

So far away from me
So far I just can’t see
So far away from me
You’re so far away from me


We will overcome.
You will comment?

Introducing a new category and maybe new “page” to my blog, “Tune Wedgies”. A “Tune Wedgie” is like the cloth “wedgie” that gets stuck in the crack of your ass, except it is a song that you cannot get out of your mind for a period of time.

For this one, the group is: Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes

I did not plan to post this in-advance, but this song is in my mind as I cook a gourmet dish this Friday evening at my mama’s house. It is a classic from my college days of the early 1970s on Philadelphia International records which was a subsidiary of CBS records.  The late Teddy Pendergrass is singing lead and it is one of the first songs I ever announced as a hip DJ on college radio during “the disco days”. Yet I do not think of this cut as “disco” but a heartfelt “soul” record. Do your homework and understand the solar plexus singing pain of the man, “Now I don’t have nothing/I’m so all alone/All the friends I once had/And I need a loan!” .


Where it came from within my musical mind, is a question that only a musical psychologist can answer. What happened to all of the Black American, descendant of American slavery people? Now I only see Caribbean blacks when I visit New York City, thus, “where have all my friends [gone]?” My own theory is that because of my temporary living situation that does not allow me to PLAY my thousands of musics that I amassed over a DJ career of over forty years, my brain takes over randomly to sustain the history which will be my legacy.

“(Where are all my friends)
Oh Lord, oh Lord
Use to have lots of fancy clothes
And drive a big white cadillac
Not knowing all the time I had these things
My friends were stabbing me straight in my back, no, no, no.

Even had a house then
Out there in Beverly Hills
I was moving so fast y’all
I didn’t even have time to worry about paying my bills.
(Something started changing)
My life started rearranging
(Now I’m all alone. All the friends I wanted)
I don’t have anymore
So somebody tell, tell me
(Where are all my friends)
I can’t find nobody
(Where are all my friends)
Oh Lord, Oh Lord

Use to take my friends out
Everywhere I went
But I use to tell them that y’all
Y’all ain’t gotta spend a red cent
Cause I use to have lots of money
I had ’em in big old stacks
I use to lend ’em my clothes
But they never, never ever, never, never brought ’em back
(Now I don’t have nothing)
I’m so all alone
(Don’t even have a home)
I ain’t got no place to lay my head
(Wish someone would help me)
Cause I, I, I, I, I, I need a loan

Yeah baby
(Where are all my friends)
I’m looking y’all, I’m lookin’ all over
(Where are all my friends)
I’m looking for the friends I use to call my very own
(Where are all my friends)
I need somebody right now, hey
(Where are all my friends)
I can’t find a father or a mother
(Where are all my friends)
I remember the time I use to be walking
Up and down the streets
And I remember you, and you and you and you and you
I remember when you use to say that
Yeah trying to get me to spare a dime
And I use to come out the bottom of my heart
Cause I thought you were a friend of mine
But it seems yeah, it seems that you didn’t even give a damn about me, no
But now I’m down and out and I need a friend….”

Do you remember this song as fondly as I do? Please leave your comment or memory about it. Cheers.

[inhale] “Eyeeee!…” From those first five notes and a sigh on “Pillow Talk”, her biggest hit, Sylvia became the first female with the “Estrogen rap” that counteracted the Barry White’s and Isaac Hayes’  Testosterone macho love monologues of that day.  “That’s Sexy Sylvia with Pillow Talk, ‘Iye yaye yayie!’, we DJ’s would backannounce with it appropriate double-sexy entendres, well-placed within the fade (if you were good at it, lol).

I heard that Sylvia (Robinson) passed away with the ending of September 2011 – I didn’t even know she was in ill-health! – I was saddened again at the loss of another of those who have formed my musical mind like the recent passing of Nick of “Ashford & Simpson” did.   Most on-line accounts had her famed as the “Godmother of Rap music” because she produced “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang, but to me, her legacy is much, much more than that.  Sylvia (Robinson) was the first woman to truly “exhale” – literally – on a hit record!   So please now,  get “coached-up” on some Sylvia history via “My Vinyls”, that is, prior to the rap era so that you can digest a total portrait of  this sexy female pioneer and icon of popular Rhythm & Blues (Soul) music.

Her records/songs always amused me quietly while other people took them all-too seriously. Actually, her musical act cast her as Sylvia, the self-deprecating singer!  The overt sexiness of “Pillow Talk” was almost scandalous at that time (1973)!  Her purring was, at times,  reminiscent of another female pioneer, Eartha Kitt! Six months later she teamed with Ralfi Pagan on the bi-lingual “Soul Je T’Aime” which sounds like they were really “doing it” in the studio that day. If you are like me and havent “had any” in years, this song can still almost get those “juices” flowing – especially Ralfi’s vocalizations!  “Oh my Gooodd!” indeed. [Pagan died way too soon, by the way. ]

Tough “Pillow” to follow

“Pillow Talk” crossed all music radio formats in 1973 for Sylvia, who I chanced to meet while commanding the WBLS
“Juicemobile” in the mid-1980s; our promotional assignment took me to the headquarters of All Platinum Records in Englewood, New Jersey one afternoon.  Mrs. Robinson was a very cordial, unpretentious host for that brief moment, as I surprised them by pulling up there when I recognized the sign of a company whose sound I always admired.  You see, Stang/All Platinum/Vibration Records was kind of the antithesis to the more “polished” labels like Atlantic or even Philly Groove where one of Sylvia’s main groups’ rivals,The Delfonics’ sang in direct competition with her dip-city crooners,  The Moments.   Their studio had a more “tinny” sound, but that was part of its charm!  I first heard it on New York City’s legendary (back in the day called) Soul music WWRL  AM radio when they played “Make Me Your Slave” by Willie & The Mighty Magnificents.  Ms. Robinson was not yet on the writer credits, only Val Burke.    “Pillow Talk” put them into the mainstream and on FM!  So, now what for sexy Sylvia…?  Four months later, the naughty  “Didn’t I” unabashedly whispered, poked and provoked our earholes into admitting that the former “talk” left us wanting more with alto sexiphone solos and self-deprecating monologue like “at last you know… I’m not margarine, but I AM the high-priced spread…”, [a  play on a TV commercial slogan of the day] punctuated by the laughing background strings.  Her streak of hits was just taking-off.

  She was astute enough to repeat that signature “Oh my – Godd!” from “Pillow Talk” through the ensuing follow-ups like March of 1974’s creeping under the sheets “Sweet Stuff”.  This song had a firmer “bottom” and the studios of Vibration suddenly sounded more competitive even as Sylvia’s purrings were sometimes unintelligible.  Funny about that  “Private Performance” came in handy during my days as a Gentleman’s Club disc jockey! 

Also in 1974, she teamed-up with  her label mates, those sexy Moments, on a brightly slow, simmering cooker called “Sho Nuff Boogie (Parts 1 & 2) over on All Platinum where The Moments recorded; sharing the wealth as always, a trait that would serve her producer career well as we’ve seen. And so it is late in 1974 and Sylvia his riding a string of R&B radio hits; still not rising back to that level of the “pillow”. What I love is that she was not about to stop the feeling of the day!  Riding that pony, girl!, in November of 1974 she jazzed-up the former formula on, “Gimme A Little Action”.  When Sylvia would whisper, “Oh my Godd…!” it was like she climaxed  right there in the recording session; one of those “I wish I could have been a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ moments. 

So now, by 1975  her sound is getting a bit trite, right?  What does this legend do? She swivels upon her feline cats paws with a more uptempo and animated “Pussycat”.  Dueting with a gentleman singer unknown to me ( but he could have been one of The Moments- do you know which one?) it didn’t do much of anything on the charts and brings us to our final vinyl “45” from sexy Sylvia.  on April 22, 1976, I acquired “L.A. Sunshine” from the record shop after hearing in in-rotation on (I guess) WBLS FM.  Vibration Records had a new, yellow label and Sylvia a brighter, Stang Records/moments-sound.

the last of her streak of mid-1970s R&B hits…

Sylvia began to sing more than purr on this song, even though she maintained that ‘breathy” quality that was her signature.  She sang about a  Los Angeles awakening, “Its nice but I can’t stay/L.A. Sunshine can’t warm this heart of mine, Baby, baby only you can make me feel like , new/Ooohh!”  Sylvia established a sound that many other female artists since her day use, sometimes without a clue as to how it became acceptable to be sexy and themselves, if that is what they want to sell via music.    I admired her long before the success of ‘Rappers Delight” late at night. Digging these 45s out of my closeted boxes, dusting them off and replaying them as I composed this post is a pleasant memory lane journey of romance, sensuality and rhythm.  Which one is your favorite Sylvia record?  What about Grandmaster Flash (“Freedom” is my favorite with her name on it) and The Sugarhill Gang [another post entirely, btw]?

Pick Hit: Too bad that whoever posted this video clipped the best part of the song, the vamp, that ran to to a total of  3:41

Well…It is spring, and time to renew.

Last year this time I had you.

I am not sure why, but this song tonight

Says something about Spring Fever…to me

and says something about me and you.

Pickhitt: Strangely enough, since I first posted this, several of my male friends; “my boys” if you will, have inquired as to if I have  “heard from her” recently.  “I doubt I ever will …” I tell them. I missed that friend, however, then my fiancee`, Nina found me a few months L8R…hurt gone!  With these warm days of spring comes the fever for the comfy feeling of belonging to another in life.  Don’t get me wrong: my broken heart had NOT mended when I wrote the above – yet – but did with the medicine of “Simone”. I cut that piece out and threw it in the recycle bin.  I am only currently the lead singer of a new group entitled, “Pain, Hope, Despair & Long-Distance Hair” ;-j 

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