Tag Archive: R&B


I’ve dug this one since Labor Day 2017 and my forty-years of music radio mind knew it was a “hit” the first time I hear the loop on Kiss FM, Ukraine online! I probably am late to the table to dine upon the pleasure of a morsel of Katy, and yes am slightly out-of-touch more than when I was actively Jocking. This too can pass; the concept of this creativity is clever-forever. (hyphen nation)

The video speaks for itself, does not detract from the tune and plays to my inner punter, that I pray I have not left behind, who yearns to “spin again”for a live crowd of dance-hall fun-lovers real soon!

In this you hear…today’s Sexy sense of humor, punny, money and mouth-watering gold!
Major Props to Katy on so far she has come to over the adversities and insults such as being dropped from Def Jam’s roster. Who has the last laugh on this now, Russell Simmons? As the turntable turns…
‘Nuff Said! lol Love it. Love Katy! What a tasty morsel!!
Where is the broth?
I can use it for another dish!
Maybe fish.
Ummmm, I am smellin’ it.
She is now my phone’s ringtone.
“‘Cause I’m all that you want, boy
All that you can have, boy
Got me spread like a buffet
Bon appétit, baby…”

I’m turned-ON!

Enjoy and be sure to brush your teeth after eating.

[More music musings at my krates-fullo’musik-only satellite site, https://achilliadsmyvinylrecordshoppe.wordpress.com/ ]

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Dig it: When I was a teen back in 1968, it was huge for our parents to give us allowance money. Often we spent it to go to shows at the RKO ALden and Loews Valencia theaters in Jamaica, Queens New York.  I saw the Delfonics, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Delfonics who were one of the hottest soul groups of the day, perform this song, which was their theme song and otherwise know on their vinyl albums as “How Could You”, an ending theme to their sets on several occasions. The lights would dim to darkness except for one flood on the pianist who would introduce, with those first flouish of keystrokes, what would become the familiar last song refrain.
CDKEND-309a

Mostly an instrumental until, from way off-microphone, William Hart would start wailing or “crying” the vamp; pleading the case toward the lost object of desire as he approached the edge of the stage, his presence growing louder as the music faded. If you are reading this and seasoned enough to rememeber same, please share your impressions in the comment section below.

This song returns to me, here on this New Year’s Eve 2015/2016, in retrospect of what I gean as yet another unrequited love affair’s disappointment as I prepare to shower and shave to be with friendly strangers with whom I can toast away the bitter and to better luck in the future and not have a lonely heart this time next year, but a real live, beautiful and sexy soul mate companion. God willing, in Jesus’ Mighty name. Amen.

And that’s why they call me the Sad Face King.

In my insanely contemporary musical Disc jockey mind, this “tune wedgie” appears most mornings while I try to make breakfast, wake-up and convince myself that I have a purpose in life to move on towards. Yes, it is lonely like that unless I am strengthened via prayer.

The lyric, “Its me that’s missing your love, and I….” repeats most often.

You are listening to vintage Al Green from 1973 “Call Me” album, with a song of unrequited yet reciprocal love that endures because every day the dawn will happen with a renewed chance for healing romance. I always appreciated how during his vamp-to-fade, he listed his previous, at that time, hit song’s names, lol.

This light-listen and “B-side” selection garnered major market airplay and herein is dedicated sometimes to the Ukrainian lady I thought I’d be married to by now, Inna-Nina. I blame myself for not being able to raise enough money to import her to the USA ahead of the Russian intervention and her mother’s cancer diagnosis in the spring of 2014.
This is likely the sad climax conclusion for “Cafe` Skype” because something is amiss. I will put it point-blank: If you are my girlfriend or fiancee` and my elderly mother or father becomes ill, I will not push you away or go to a mental clinic for a “breakdown”. To the contrary, I would need you more to lean upon through troubled times – even if five thousand kilometers away via a five year relationship as difficult as that may be – or if it honestly will not work anymore and I have a person in the same area of the opposite sex (maybe a past schoolmate) who fulfills that role, I would tell you. Or maybe that’s just me.
Here is when needs begin to challenge that I am a loyal, faithful man.
Murphy’s law seems to stalk my female companionship quest…

Tell me what should I do in your comments, please

bros

I loved everything about David Ruffin as lead of The Temptations and thereafter when he recorded solo, especially on “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)” and the Van McCoy production, “Walk Away From Love”.  I didn’t even connect the vinyl dots to realize that he had an older brother who could sing just as well in his own right until, [ I can’t remember when it was ] one day I acquired and really looked at the label of the 45rpm record, “What becomes Of The Brokenhearted” by Jimmy Ruffin and wondered as I played it, was this guy related to David. Or maybe I had a previous inkling… There was no “Googling” back then to learn instantly the answer, and so I had to rely upon my “ear” for music which heard the similarities of voice that let me know these two singers were related for sure!

I have used Jimmy’s biggest hit to accentuate at least two blogs here at ‘Achilliad‘ since I began to do this in 2009.  One was me crying the blues about some chick that deserted me in love back in, I think, 2008 or nine, the other more recently as a part of a collection of “tune wedgies” that I had get off my (mind) chest.

Jimmy-Ruffin

But this post, Jimmy, is for YOU. Posthumously, yes, but I was always by your side due to the anthem of unrequited love that you gave us. With tears wanting to well-up behind my eyes, I dedicate this post to you, Jimmy, who, unbeknownst to you because we never met, held my hand many a night whey I really cried over a lost love. If I were the Program Director of a radio station right now, I would play a whole hour of your music, both the familiar and obscure even if I had to play “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted” back-to-back-to-back-to-back and then some. You were a non-spotlight seeker whose light of class and groundedness belied the showbiz stereotypes. London was a good place for you to be more appreciated – good move to go there, Sir!

Here is one by Jimmy that is really the first time I heard him! It was on Volume 9 of the famous vinyl “Motown Collections Of 16 Original Hits” albums!
Again, the unrequited love theme on, “Don’t You Miss Me A Little Bit Baby”…

I knew you must have been David’s older brother because of the similarities of stature and movement, like that little hand-to-hand move you did with the mic while singing the oft-sampled lyric, “Always moving and goin’ nowhere.” Knowing you are not in the physical world any longer moves me to seriousness with the knowledge that your spirit is singing with the angels as your body rests in musical peace having let me express my many failed love relationships via your wonderful one-hit wonder.

1745319

“What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted”? We just drag along until we have a chance to join the departed.

Jimmy Ruffin: 1937 – 2014

They always did...

Like Holland-Dozier-Holland, Gamble & Huff, the names Ashford/Simpson under the titles of songs on my records were mostly insignificant to me, the “baby DJ” decades ago. I noticed the artists, and always thought that “Whitfield/Strong” were members of the groups (The Temptations in that case).
As usual with me and my vinyl, it wasn’t until I fell under the influence of the great New York City radio personalities like Frankie Crocker, Jerry Bledsoe, Bobby Jay and others of the day who conducted “live” interviews on the air and often educated listeners as they mentioned who wrote the hits of the day as part of their front or back-announcing of them, that I began to separate “songwriter” from the performers. Ashford & Simpson’s uniqueness was that they could do both roles successfully!
I have observed through the years, that very often, life is like a running play in football: full of misdirection. just when you expect things to go one way, they go in another or opposite direction. So it was again when I heard that Nick Ashford left the physical world, and his other half in so many ways more than usual with a couple, Valerie, behind in late August ‘011 at age sixty-nine; not old yet, but not young either. Nick seemed always a “cool” – yet curious cat to me, those times I was in their presence and too shy to intrude with anything but a brief “Hey, how you doin!” and brief introduction of myself as a DJ on WBLS who played their music. Innate shyness strikes again! I remember watching them from left-of-center stage at New York City’s Palladium, when it was near Union Square on 14th Street, and they opened for Luther Vandross. Shortly after their restaurant in Manhattan, the Sugar Bar, opened I went to check them out with my pals, and I was fortunate enough to be on the set with them at other venues while I was a New York City radio personality. I always looked at them as more of a collaborative couple than a romantic one, but as time went by, you could see that they respected and adored each-other by the looks in their eyes when the looked at one-another while in full song. Looking at their album covers is like watching a time-capsule in mutual evolution, so let’s get to my Ashford & Simpson vinyls! 

orig 1976 notes

First and with major thanks to Jackie Thomas, who was my Warner Brothers Promotion Lady at the time, is the back cover of “Come As You Are”, complete with my scribblings (DJ notes) from almost forty years ago!  You can’t read it, but my “pik” on this album was “One More Try” – the extended (with guitar solo) 12″ Disco version of  I also acquired! It still is one of my best A&S tracks and is very danceable!   My next fave on this album was “It Came To Me”, however, the popular hit, which is still poignant today is the lead cut  reminder, “It’ll Come, It’ll Come, It’ll Come”.  One thing I began to notice back then, even, was the lush presence of a harp flourish during their ‘vamps to the fade’.  I like that!

 The next one I have has my stamp of “Nov. 9, 1976; the ‘Nick-o-Val’  follow-up, “Tried, Tested & Found True” [5;25] twelve-inch!  What is overlooked or not even known these days  is that those “disco” 12″ vinyls played at 45rpm!  That dance favorite was culled from  1977’s “So So Satisfied” album, which I acquired because a neighbor was (“horrors!!”) throwing their records away in the dumpster because they were moving.  Knowing that I was a “DJ” he brought a charity crate over to me, asking if I wanted to “look through some of these…”  Well, “Hell Yeah!!”  When I pulled the vinyl out and saw it was in reasonably saveable shape, I humbly thanked him and went inside to clean it up like the rest of “my children”.  I never have lent my vinyls out over time…  “So So” had two other hit in-addition to “Tried, Tested…” and they were the deep, fulfilling ballad title song, “So So Satisfied” and a song that I think the late Sylvester made famous but was (of course) written by Ashford & Simpson, “Over And Over”.  I already had the Jimmy Simpson “Disco Mix” 12″ 45rpm of it, so getting the album completed that set of June 10, 1977 .

Next in my collection is my hands-down favorite album by this dynamic musical duo, on Warner Bros., 1977’s “Send it”.  An “A” rotation on WBLS FM and any other burgeoning ‘Urban” black radio station of the day, you heard them hit their “stride” on this one!  it includes the best instrumental they ever produced IMO, “Bourgie` Bourgie`”. Notice how their cover photos evolved though these years?  These guys were fashion templates of the day!  it is about this time that I began to truly believe they were an in-love couple and not just an “act”.  Also featured hits on this LP , “”By Way Of Love’s Express”, the title song, “Send It” and the dance classic, “Don’t Cost You Nothin’ “.  On Nick-O-Val music, there are NO “bad” album cuts though…

Then, all of a sudden (to me, anyway) in 1978, Jackie Thomas laid the 12′ on me called “It Seems To Hang On”.  I’m not sure what album it is from, because I don’t have it.  All I know is that to this very day and as I write these words, it is my all time Hall Of Fame favorite Ashford & Simpson record!  At six minutes and fifty-seven seconds, I can play it a-gain, and again, and a-gainnnn… 

As Barry White would say, “it was such a groove…”  A great arrangement with orchestra, and those sexy horns. 

After that, I guess I lost track or maybe they had a lull, but the next thing I knew, Nick and Valerie were on a new label, Capitol/EMI. I am thinking that my record promo rep was the very amusing John Brown there (but don’t hold me to it, LOL).  I always wanted a gig in record promotion back then because all these guys and gals just went from company-to-company (and party-to-party!).  I went into my stacks looking for their last massive hit “Solid” (which is still hiding from me as I write this, dammit!) and came upon one that I didn’t even know I had, 1986’s “Real Love”.  Skip ahead in time!

I call this album something that every artist has, “one that got away”.  The only notable “hit’ was something called “Nobody Walks In L.A.”, and somehow I have the Capitol Records 12″ of it – by now they played at 331/3 rpm – looking like I never played it.  Not that it was a “bad” song; it just never really caught-on – on the east coast – in the USA.  There are “certain” memories associated with all of Nick & Vals music in my musical mind.  Observe again, the fashion evolution of their album cover pose… 

“Nobody Walks In L.A.” 12-inch

By now my collection is waning and I have performed on WBLS FM and all the major New York City Urban/Black/R&B?whatever name du jour radio stations.  “Solid… as a Rock” was the jam when I was on WBLS FM in 1984/85, but there came a little ditty which was the title track of that album called “High Rise” by them which was so appropriate because at that time I was living my dream of residing in one.

High Rise 45rpm cover

This is the jacket for the 1983 45rpm:

They should have been (and maybe were) fashion models!  Well last-but-not-least in my krates-full-o-jointz I found a 45rpm off of the album ‘Performance’ which will serve as a timely and true finale to this post, “It Shows In The Eyes”.  Look!…”it” does and always will. 
Please comment with your
favorite Nicholas Ashford/
Valerie Simpson memory,
concert or song.  I had no
idea he was ill; makes it all the more sad and surprising to think that he is gone, but their voice –  harp-flourished arrangements – will live eternally.
 

       I don’t want to wait until one of the members of this group dies or something similar to do this one. 

 I have avoided most R&B music ever since having a traumatic termination experience at the last R&B radio outlet I diligently performed on, and tirelessly worked for getting exceptional “ratings”, when I was literally “fired” as the individual who hired me, (the GM) used a load gun in-hand while he dismissed me. Seemy book, “He’s In A Meeting…” for how it played-out thereafter. However, today I shot a promotional video, where I had creative control, and in one of “those” moments, it came to me that this particular O’Jays song was the perfect background theme song.  “As luck would have it”, I have now pulled my whole O’Jays catalog from me library to me desk, Mon.  Let us see what we have here….

Hailing from Canton, Ohio, I believe and named after one of my favorite and much-missed radio disc jockey inspirations, the late Eddie O’Jay, these cats have been part of the fabric of my life since their first big album dropped in 1972 as I was a freshman in college.  I first listened to Eddie O’Jay on Newark, New Jersey’s WNJR AM where he scatted such cool gibberish as “So cool, docaroo; eh-tu, me and you, sabee-doo!” LOL as part of his daily sign-off the air.  For a long time I didn’t connect the group with the radio personality – “Duh??”  Just like I didn’t know they were originally a quartet that included Bobby Isles – my parents tried to keep my from what they described as the “gut-bucket music” R&B table; what can I say except, that I broke free in college, rapido-style, in order to catch-up.

Last I paid serious attention, The O’Jays are/were Eddie Lavert, William Powell and Walter Williams.  They came to hit status due to the writing prowess of Leon Huff and Kenny Gamble in the early 1970s and to me, their signature is the almost rough and churchy- energetic vamping of lead singer, Mr. Lavert.  He is the male standard for “bringing a song home”!  He knows how to put the “beg” on the woman in-song,  is smooth and soft; or “nice and rough” as Tina Turner once described their “Rolling On The River”.  Moreover, do not get it twisted, all three of the O’Jays can carry the lead.

  My oldest O’Jays vinyl is “Backstabbers” which featured the classics ‘Love Train”, “Sunshine”, “Time To Get Down”, and of course the title track that became a euphemism for me and my college mates back then when it became known that another man was after “your’ girl – he then dubbed was a “Backstabber (what they do!)”.

Thanks to the promotion people I remember at CBS Records (the “black rock building”  like Jackie Thomas, Elaine Valentine and T.C.  Tompkins, I own about seventeen O’Jays vinyls.  Of course, growing up in music within the sound of Frankie Crocker’s “total Black Experience In Sound, ” WBLS FM radio station did not hurt my O’Jay education nor catalog.  I remember him “running” the hit “For The Love Of Money” over and over again! This was an era prior to “remixed versions” that are just part of the music machine fabric nowadays. My second oldest  is “The O”Jays in Philadelphia” which includes “‘One Night Affair”, which was my first 45rpm by them from the local record shop on Neptune Records.

Then there is the classic (another one!) “Ship Ahoy”, where in addition to “Money”, I always dug “Put Your Hands Together”, “People Keep Telling Me” and “Now That We Found Love” which the reggae group Third World made a smash out of too!  Next is “The O’Jays Live In London” which, when released, was kind of a first.  A reverse Beatles moment when an American “soul” group went across the “pond” and “wowed” the Brits! (I couldn’t find any video for that appearance, sadly)

Next are my vinyls: “Family Reunion”, featuring the love classic “You and Me” as well as the sometimes over-played, IMHO, title track, the cool “Living For The Weekend”,  McFadden and Whitehead-written “She’s Only A Woman”, and a little ditty called “I Love Music” which became a disco classic upon remixes by the likes of yours truly and other selectors of the day.  Positioning that track last on that album was genius!  Next I have the “Survival” album featuring “Give The People What They Want” and my personal fave, “How Time Flies”; next 1976’s “Message In The Music” featuring the ultimate dance floor-filler classic of it’s time, “Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love)” – I still have the 12″ versions separate from the rest, LOL. You just heard it here (and I dedicate it to my Ukrainian, Nina, by-the-way).

Following that platinum success the guys were ‘Travelin’ At The Speed Of Thought” (an interlude in their discography) until they discovered they were “So Full Of Love” which included their first real “crossover” sure shot into the mainstream of Pop music, “She Used Ta Be My Girl”.  I can name THAT tune in the first several guitar riff notes and it always reminds me of my first commercial radio riff on WFLB AM in 1978.  “Identify Yourself” took the stage on Philadelphia International/Mighty Three Music in 1979 where “Forever Mine’ was the star song.  In 1982 my collection features the non-descriptive “My Favorite Person” album, which was only saved by the title song and the  Womack connection on the first song, “I Just Want To Satisfy You” which played big in New York City radio because of Crocker and Sonny Taylor.  Play it again, “Sam”!  A rare dud for the group was the  vinyl, “When Will I See You Again”, and I knew that they should take a powder for a while after it.     Sure enough, the came back in 1984 and 1984 with “Love and More” and did  a little bit better on “Love Fever”, but still not up to their previous standards until the album that inspired this post, 1987’s “Let Me Touch You”.  This effort showcases all the styles, spectrums and signatures of  The O’Jays as exemplified by a Latin-funky “True Love Never Dies” on one  song and then a heartfelt “Still Missing” on the next.



So which one is my  favorite album or cut?  Well, there are way too many to mention!  I love “Darlin’ Baby” the same way I dig “Lovin’ You”  or “When The  World Is At Peace”.  I am sure , and at least HOPE that they are still making music and albums/CDs.  I am not in the “loop” anymore with their labels like it was easy “back in the day” to keep up, and I want to cry about it. 

 Not the “Old Jays” as I recently heard some young homies disrespectfully refer to them, but still the O’JOINTS!   Ya know, “True love” really “never dies”. We Love you Eddie Lavert! 

So what are your favorite O’Jays songs or concert moments?  Or had you ever even heard of them until you read this?



Below is an email I received from a man who used to be on the radio with me as a Community Volunteer on this University radio station. He likes to bounce things off of me, his educated Black American “brother” and that is all well, and good.  It is how we SHOULD communicate. We usually have good laughs about it; we all are ONE.  Maybe he knows I am really “the Good Humor Man” – like the sign implies, a chocolate bar on the outside, but creamy vanilla on the inside – as I was raised by my middle class Black American, first-of-their- free-generation-to-be-able-to-do-civil-service-jobs-across-the- board parents – of course.   However, this one I had to push back on him about. Please read the original email in-part below and first, then my response to it and judge accordingly.  Email address deleted to protect the guilty.

—–Original Message—–

From:

To

Sent: Fri, May 28, 2010 4:24 pm
Subject: oh just another political observation…that might piss some of you off…lol

took them several weeks to get their story straight on this one.  and it wouldn’t have come to this point had a fox journalist not asked obama about it yesterday at his “blame the oil company” press conference of which even cnn and msnbc are saying was horrible.  and after their lunch yesterday, bill clinton, who has never lied under oath, takes the hit.  lmao.  this is undoubtedly one of the most corrupt administrations to come along in years.  and the main stream media is slowly but surely having to wake up and acknowledge it.   and imagine had the oil spill taken place under bush’s administration.  the press would be screaming about it and blaming him for it and the total lack of response to it.  ironically very little has been done by the current administration about it.  how many weeks has it been now?  of course i am skeptical of all politicians and o has given me more reason to be.  he’s proven to be just another puppet.  and i loved his comment about how desperate the oil companies are getting having to drill for oil miles beneath the ocean floor.  duh, since we refuse to allow them to drill our biggest on land oil reserves what are they supposed to do.  it appears to be much safer and ecologically friendly to drill on land, so maybe they will wake up and issue more on land oil drilling permits.  but i am not holding my breath. I mean if we can ban all domestic oil drilling, then the middle easterners will hold all the power.  rock on king o rock on.  ha!

White House Used Bill Clinton to Pressure Sestak…….blah, blah blah…

 And the Achilliad response;

Now I like a good humor bar as much as the next guy and maybe more than many but…no LOL here.

I don’t “do” politics or religion…too divisive.  However, I WILL say this, and whoever can take it back to the racist talk radio pundits like Limbaugh who just want to nit-pick the First Blackish President of the United States and stir the caldron of hate.  President Obama (as much as you do not like to “hear” that expression) did not CAUSE not bears any “responsibility” for the BP/Deep H2O Horizon ( sounds like a sci-fi movie btw) oil spill disaster.  Actually No President can do much about a sudden natural or as in THIS case, man-made disaster.

Let us reset the timeline TRUTHfully now…

If we are to play the “blame game” visa v ANY of our recent leaders then Jock Ewing aka George HW Bush and his evil son “JR Ewing”, or “dubya” of the oil barons of the group should bear the brunt of it for putting in-place the access to drill in the Gulf of Mexico for US and worldwide oil companies, as well as those going back to the 1940s who began to drill and did not advertise it to the civilian population. 

Last time I checked, President Obama (I LOVE to say that) was not on-duty when those deals were made with a WINK and a Nod like the old “good ole boys (white man) network is legendary to do.  So STOP  the stereotypical race baiting double standard NOW .  The Bushwakers and Reagan endorsers are more complicit than our present President EVER will be over the past twenty years, and President Obama is only trying desperately to clean-up their mess while not seeming subservient in the role of another Blackish man having to clean-up after foolishly arrogant and greedy “white guys”.  This will have nothing to do with his “legacy”, none of us is perfect and last time I looked the most recent really “corrupt” Presidency was Richard Nixon’s. 

I know some white American people (esp. males) have trouble with a Blackish man in the Presidency, but get over it…it is our turn and NOW you get to see what it has been like for “US” lo these many past scores and decades, when our voices went unheard.  And what is with this calling him a “King”?  Oh, soo do some want to be like England again, eh?

 ’nuff Said’ as Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee used to say.  The plug needs to be pulled on hate talk radio; those who advertise on these divisive shows should be ashamed of themselves and their bank accounts funneled to those of us regular positive and friendly people who can use the money.

Hey! What ever happened to the Good Humor Man Ice Cream Truck, anyway? I loved those creamesickles!

 

 

One of the “baaddest” slow jams I ever heard Frankie Crocker introduce on WBLS-FM radio through the years of the “hey-day” of Urban radio whe the mix was superb and the tempos changed succinctly. This is a late-spring (or whenever you play it for your betrothed) “Valentine” song.

“Tonight’s the night we will share, turn off the lights come close to me,Tell me I’m all,  you’ll ever need…”
Major Props to Kieth Washington – whatever happened to him? Maybe all of those women at the end of this video kidnapped him and made him their slave “and he was never heard from again…” ? lol
Comment and tell me.

’nuff Said.

I don’t know about where you live if you live in a city in the U.S.A., but here in Hootyville I didn’t hear any radio stations doing a tribute to Teddy Pendergrass when word came that he passed away on January 13th.  That is  damn shame, but what you get when you have cold, inflexible corporations running the radio of the day.

The first time I heard Teddy Pendergrass was back when the late, great radio programmer Frankie Crocker played a record by Harold Melvin &  The Blue Notes called “I Miss You” on the first Black FM music station in New York City, WLIB-FM in 1972.  They would play the whole eight minute version where the AM stations would only play “part 1” and the Teddy’ Bear’s voice was the most powerful on this then new group; it grabbed you!  My favorite on that first album on Philadelphia International Records however, was (and still is) “Yesterday I Had The Blues”.  That was the first time that Teddy really brought it emotionally, and shined distinctively on a song with his “cryin'”  and pleading style.  The other hit from the album was “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (whose intrumental track sounds very similar to The Eagle’s “Take It To The Limit, by the way), and again Teddy carried the tune and painted the lyrical picture.

Around 1973 WLIB FM became WBLS FM, and Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes second album, “Black & Blue” hit the streets preceeded by the single “The Love I Lost, part 1”.  Back then many “soul” records had a “part one” and the flip side of the 45rpm record would be “part 2” – a trend started by James Brown and King Records I think.  What was hip about that was that it created anticipation for the album (lp or long-playing  331/3) to come out so that you could hear the whole song without the interruption of having to physically turn the record over.  I remember this especially benefiting this group on this particular song and once again Teddy Pendergrass was given more of a lead role and he ran with it.  It also was the beginning of the “Disco” era, so when I as a “baby DJ” gleaned this, I would play it to fill the dance floor because of its really moving beat.  The cover features the group clad in caberet-style tuxedo, and Teddy still tugging at your heart strings as he breaks it down.  Another favorite on that album is the slow jam, “Concentrate On Me”, where in their classic Gamble & Huff style, the formula was for Teddy to tell the story in-between magnificent chorouses by the rest of the group.  I remember vintage radio personalities of the day like Crocker saying that Teddy was “taking you to church on that one…”  Groups like these helped to form my notions about romance and unrequited love, and I still fall back on them during times of heartbreak (like in recent months). 

1975 saw the group  produce two great albums, “To Be True” and “Wake Up Everybody”.  It also marked the first signs of a restless Teddy Bear; as I recall, he threatened to leave  unless he received top billing, and so in a compromise of sorts they became Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes  featuring Teddy Pendergrass. Teddy knew he made the sound of the group sell.

“To be True” spawned at least three hits: “Where Are All My Friends”,” To Be True”, and the biggest, most dancable one, “Bad Luck”. I also loved “Nobody Could Ever Take Your Place” with its long MFSB-style dancable instrumental- into-the-fade.  The group also introduced a female to the sound for the first time in Sharon Paige who many of my classmates loved on the jazzy “Hope That We Can Be Together Soon”.  Word was behind the scenes that she was included to vex Teddy a bit within his power-play.  Lightning struck twice when later that year the second album dropped and Teddy led the way on a spirited cover of the Thelma Houston disco classic “Don’t Leave me This Way”.  My personal fave on “Wake Up” is his work on “Tell The World How I Feel About’Cha Baby”, and the title track scored by touching a nerve within us all in a timeless way.

 The next vinyl in my Teddy library, is simply entitled “Teddy Pendergrass” or “the white scarf album” as my mentor, the late Sonny Taylor called it.  As the title suggests, he was now a solo act after a final dispute with Harold Melvin, who replaced him with someone I remember only as “Ebo” as introduced at Madison Square Garden’s old “Felt Forum”  (now the Paramount).  He was still written by Gamble and Huff, and the material  and tempos were as good as every for “Pender-bender” which was another of the nicknames we gave him.  It featured the hit “You Can’t Hide From Yourself”, the introspective “The Whole Town’s Laughing At Me” and a serious smash in “I Don’t Love You Anymore” among others.  My notes scribbled on the back of the jacket give this album five stars back in March of 1977.  Personal fave here: “The More I Get, The More I Want” ( he’d sing “ah-yeah” between verses).  As I listen to the music Teddy left behind, it becomes apparent that he made the right moves with his career, and his timing was excellent for a good while.

There are two vinyls that I was never able to add to my collection, “T.P” and “Life Is A Song Worth Singing”.  They were released sometime between 1977 and 1980 and included two of my faaavorite numbers, “Love TKO” and “Close The Door”. “TKO” was so hot that even with the record company connections of a young  DJ, I could not secure anything but a couple of 45rpms of it until Teddy’s “Greatest Hits” came out  in 1984.

Two years later, in 1979 (a great year for Disco and Soul music) his next solo album, “Teddy” or the red album was clearly a sexier effort.  “Come Go With Me” and the powerful “Turn Off The Lights” (“I’ve something in my MIND, something I’ve been wanting to do it all the TIME!  Yeah…Yes!..”) led it off and were massive romantic hits which still sound  sensual today. Later that same year “Teddy Live! Coast To Coast” , a double vinyl album hit just in time for Christmas on December 12th.  If it had come out today, it definitly would have included a video, but in those days a full length poster of Pendergrass did just fine.  During those performances, one In Philadelphia and the others in Los Angeles, he included a medly of his hits with The Blue Notes and by now the women in the audience were throwing articles of their underwear at him in adoration.

Little did he or we know that tradegy would strike and almost silence Teddy three years later when he had a Roy Campanella-style auto accident one night that left him paralysed from the waste down.  There were several scandalous rumors surrounding that event, which I’ll not go into here.

Teddy Pendergrass rose like the Pheonix though; the next vinyl in my collection, “This One’s For You” (1982) was a homage to his fans after he pulled through the medical procedures that followed his accident.  Maybe the first track on there says it best about how he felt at the time, ” I Can’t Win For Losing”.

By 1984 Teddy had signed with Elektra/Asylum Records and subsquently sang the next three and final of my vinyls for that record company.  The three now only photographed him from the chest-up; no more cowboy hats and suggestive gyration photos.  “Love Language” featured the sexy, “You’re My Choice Tonight” which I played on New York City radio along with more introspective selections such as “In My Time”.  1985’s “Workin’ It Back” had eight five-star songs on it, including “Let Me Be Closer”, co-written by the legendary Linda Creed, and “Love Emergency”, co written by Womack & Womack,  who also penned the fabulous “Love TKO”. For the first time, Teddy’s star began to fade around this point, in my opinion. 

The last and most recent vinyl in my Teddy Bear den is 1988’s spirited “Joy” , which was produced by Teddy for Teddy Bear Productions, Inc. (see, he listened to us!)  The first two songs are the stalwarts here as well: the title track and one of the best songs he ever sang after the crash, “2 A.M” which decribes the end of a party and alludes to taking her home and to a more intimate level.  The accident humbled Pendergrass as it probably would  any of us, and his subsequent work showed it even though his voice never lost all of it’s sex appeal nor he the ability to orally interpret lyrics to evoke real feelings.

I just heard the end notes of Teddy fading off from a tribute to Teddy Pendergrass on the radio tonight, two nights later – on the PBS station! Bigg Upps to them and their warm teddy-bear selves.

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