Tag Archive: soul music


1972 – Any University, metro New York; dormitory:
The Soul music singing group, Black Ivory, better known for the classic, “You And I” and “Don’t Turn Around” is heard in the hallways regularly.  However, this is a personal Kraterfullojointzmusik mission I write about tonight. Hauntingly, I share it with thee as it teases me, for your obvious non-judgmental amusement.

The best lyric of all, in my opinion and dominion is the one this post is following. Maybe because I am an elf or maybe due to my status or fungus, but it is, “Now, I’m the loneliest man in town”. None-no-fun, as we used to say back in the day.

I am often that and morosely in-perpetuity. So, what? Need a hot fox to keep me company. One with the bosom of classic actress, Ann Margaret; maybe a red head, like I saw in the supermarket yesterday. Butt (lack of ass) who knows?
They say a supermarket is the best place to meet a chick! Nyet. Please bring your discount card! Didn’t work; couldn’t think up something to say to her. Now (again) “I’m the loneliest man in town”.
And so it comes to me that I am again making new friends and acquaintances in a distant city and where the crutch is the bible belt and the women are not as forthcoming sexually.

Fast-forwardly I, the Master, came to the Carolinas to rid myself of the cold and to be near the ocean, initially. Yet it is not the main reason, because retirement looms.

I am only lonely because [use your imagination or fill in the blank] And If it didn’t, I would fly, marry her according to their rules and bring her back to the USA, so that I would finally have the companion I need to walk up to the sun together with now. Damn…

Nevertheless, Sing, Brothers, Sing! Perform my comfortless burg’s principles!

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I thought this was “settled”!  Then came a lull and apparently Uncle Sam allowed too many colored immigrants to become “citizens” without qualifying them as to the history of how American Blacks fought to overcome segregation and conduct ourselves correctly while raising our kin to do likewise. The police are not our enemies – this is not the 1960s!  So to you newbiees, Cocoanuts from the Caribbean and you from wherever you are who is reading this post, I ask, “If you had a choice of skin colors, which one would YOU choose?”

I remember when this song came out and WWRL AM 1600 in New York City (Woodside, to be exact) played it.  It was a cause célèbre because the late Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions had, once again, articulated an argument musically that was going on at the time. I don’t agree with all of the words the lyrics have to say, but the song, unfortunately, still resonates today.

Therefore, it amazes me that it is still a source of American political and social illness here in 2015!

Yet I know why: I am like Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions in that we are Black Americans; descendants of slaves on this continent who came up via the American south lands and whose parents ultimately and after the American Civil War into the beginning of the twentieth century, migrated northward on the east coast. Over time in the mid-to-late twentieth century, “the man” [angry white man establishment who still did not want to embrace us, who were never any threat to the slave master] allowed a whole influx of similar looking people from Caribbean and continental Africa into the continental USA, who have no clue as to the struggle or gains we made and that Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions sang their song unto.

With just a little bit more education and love for our nation would make for a better world for you and for me.”

Please choose your choice of skin colors in the “comments” below – and I will tell you mine, which I told my parents, waay back in the 1960s when I was a little boy! They were surprised, lol

ALL lives matter.

                                   It is always ominous when a huge star’s “people” keep secret what bad things are happening to them.  Recently, Aretha Franklin had a secret surgery that nobody wants to tell us exactly what organ the surgery was performed upon. I guess that is her perogative; however, when you are an icon, with millions of adoring admirers around the globe, I believe you owe them more respect than a vague press release, or some bulls*** from Jesse Jackson.  Maybe they surgeried some of that weight off of her! It isn’t embarrassing to be less than perfect anymore, yet slimmer is better for your heart.

It is obvious to me that Aretha Franklin’s health is in trouble; pancreatic cancer is the “word”.  Two of my radio mentors passed away due to that, “Hmmm”.  As I have said previously, I’d rather not write about her posthumously, choosing to send my recollections from my collection with the hope that they reach her hospital bed and possibly aid her recuperation and longevity because she is one of my first favorites!

“Ree-Ree” (as I heard one of my radio mentors call her affectionately), my Mum even says you’ve gained too much weight, by the way! Mum can say that, she is eighty-six at the time of this post.  Funny thing about that to me is that at first she did not want me to listen to your hit music, “Respect” when I was a boy, calling it “gut-bucket music”.  Fortunately, those kinds of protestations from my parents just made me want to defy them more and get into your music.

When I think of Aretha Franklin, I see that classic black and red (unless a promo copy) Atlantic Records label even though she recorded on several major record companies.  My first of hers was “Respect”, (wouldn’t you know it) followed by “Chain Of Fools” and “Spanish Harlem” as I dig though my boxes of 45s (45rpm vinyls, for you who are too young).  The first album I added to my collection was 1970’s “Aretha Live At Fillmore West” – still in excellent condition, thank you – which featured the late Billy Preston on organ, Ray Charles and King Curtis on tenor saxophone among other members of an all-star band behind her.

Aretha Franklin always brings to my mind the great musicians that she has worked with through the years.  Cats like Cornell Dupree on guitar, The Memphis Horns, and since I was a novice drummer back during her early hits, drummers like Grady Tate and especially Bernard “Pretty” Purdie,  who really defined the rhythm of her sound on tracks like the 1971 smash, “Rock Steady”, or how he wore it out behind one of Aretha’s classic, classicly clear vamps til the fade on her 1973 “Master Of Eyes”. 

Perdie’s signature snare-to-high hat accents always let me know that he was on the set.   Fortunately I have had the privilege of meeting Mr. Dupree and hanging out many nights with Mr. Tate over the past twenty years in Manhattan (The ole “Possible Twenty”!).  I still hope I can do an interview with The Queen Of Soul before her time soon comes.

Almost everybody knows the words to an Aretha Franklin hit song.  I was at a holiday party just the other night where we all broke into the lyrics of another one from ’73, “Until You Come Back To Me, (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” penned by Stevie Wonder! (I bet you didn’t know that!)

I grew-up with Ms. Franklin’s music on WWRL AM,WLIB AM/FM and WBLS FM (Program Director Frankie Crocker always played album cuts from her, not just the singles) in New York City, a phenomenon of style the made inroads on radio formats across the U.S. and across the great pond.  Therefore, I’m going to be kind of all over the place here if I don’t get a grip, as Aretha conjures so many different situations, hits , emotions and memories from my musical mind.  Admittedly she came up in an era where the competition of talent was the toughest and the dealings between major record labels was fiercest.  Most of the “soul” artist stars were on Motown, and here Aretha came as an equal in every way to the Gordy’s stable.   Mentored and chaperoned by the best including Arif Mardin, Jerry Wexler and Clive Davis,  a session with her recording must have been pure magic!

Aretha was kind of an afterthought with me as a teenager; she was always “there” in the background of the scene as most of the “great ones” are, until she would put something new out, and then “BANG!” we’d be right back singing to her songs and dancing to her energy within the beat.  There are too many songs to name here, so let’s quickly see what else I have in my vinyl crates: “With Everything I Feel In Me” is the 1974 album with one of her sexiest covers, wearing nothing but what looks like a mink stole under that neat Afro hairdo.  Everything she touched on this album brought a fresh feeling, and I loved her rendition of Bacharach and David’s “You’ll Never Get To Heaven”.   She always seems to really enjoy her voice and the things she can do with those lungs as proved by the acapella end solo on that cut. 

The next album in my collection is “You” released in 1975 which featured “Mr. D.J.(5 For The D.J.)” [obviously dedicated to yours, truly] an homage to the burgeoning trend of disco  jocks back then, “It Only Happens (When I look At You)”, a Tom Scott saxophone solo on “Without You”, which was also released as a single, and Ree-Ree’s excellent soft touch on the late Van McCoy’s “Walk Softly”.  You can tell she was jamming with a new bunch of musicians on this album – they were not as soulful as the previous albums were, but not a bad change necessarily.  I see that I underlined Whitney’s mum, Cissy Houston on the back of the album noted among the background singers!  Aretha would lay down a good monologue to introduce her songs every so often, too!

I don’t want to keep you up all night, and this is the internet, so let me say the remaining Aretha albums in my vinyl library are the widely successful 1976 movie soundtrack “Sparkle” featuring “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” “La Diva”, a  rare stiff from 1979 with another sexy cover photo, the jazzy “Aretha Sings The Blues”, which looks like a 1985 “ree-release” (couldn’t resist that one) of some early 1960s songs  on Columbia Records.  It is either nightclub material or they added the “feel” of an audience in the background with sfx.  Last-but-you-know-what, the 1982 album produced by the late Luther Vandross which includes two of my all-time favorite jams, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” and the title track floor-filler, “Jump To It” – I’ve even got the “12-inch” D.J. versions! 

So, what is your favorite Aretha song? You  may most recently remember her from President Obama’s inauguration day when she sported that stylish gray brim while giving proper “respect” to “America The Beautiful”, but let’s just talk hit music here. Prayers and blessings to the Queen.  We are pulling for you to stay around a while, Girl!!

Pickhitt: Update September 2017;

**PickHitt: Aretha Franklin did stay around a while. Indeed much longer than some predicted she would -strength. Alas, she finally left the physical world on August 16, 2018. Maximum Respect.

There is not much to say about this except for the fact that this song came to me today as I try to “hold on” against the storm, realizing that I have more loyalty and companionship thousands of miles away from my current location in Nina, than I have from some people who I THOUGHT were my loyalists.

Little known fact about this record is that it has this cornbread feel to it back in the day, and it is truly amazing that it made the top of the charts.  There is this “pickin and strumming” aspect of the guitar and yes a banjo licks of this extended version that was just incredibly unusual at the time this record came out – like Kelloggs Corn Flakes theme or somethin’…the beauty of the “disco era” was that it embodied many aspects of society, musically all at once.

It is sad that when you reach your mid-fifties, or whatever age it sets in, that some people, even “family” will betray a  good person like me [or you] as Brutus did Julius Caesar; it is happy however when you have forever loyalists who continue to have your “back” as well, and therefore I shall accentuate the positive as much as possible herein.  Some try to insinuate that I “forgive” the Benedict Arnolds of my life…I say no, “forgiveness'” has been a trait of a thousand years of random societies, and the downfall of empires.  If I would have lived back in the ages of Caesar, I would have been the most benevolent, King of the  Bruce, yet the most harshest of …  Be that as it may…

This is a classic record from my collection, and it is truly amazing that all of this music  that is on You Tube is available at the click of a mouse!  Holy COW!!  How did this happen to be found, and how can I get in on the sharing part of  it, because I am sure that my collection has some titles that even You Tube does not have. LOL  Cha-Chingg!!

I own every Moments record on vinyl – 45rpm or LP.  No brag, just fact.

A couple of nights ago I learned that singer Al Goodman left the physical world at age sixty-seven.  That is not too old, but old enough for those of his generation and show business profession.

Al Goodman

 was one-third of the group The Moments, who I grew-up listening to on metro New York City “soul” radio stations WWRL AM and WNJR AM in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  The Moments touched a spot in my youthful musical psyche and heart like no other group did as I discovered the virtues and passionate pains of romance and love. 

The only groups of that era that came close were The Delfonics and The Continental Four, who most of my friends adored more; but I dug The Moments!  Maybe because their lesser-known record label, Stang ( a division of All Platinum), appealed to my rebellious, left-of-the-mainstream personality.  The raw production wasn’t as polished as The Delfonic’s Philly Groove label, and that was quite the charm of  The Moment’s sound effect as well as their unique three-man harmony. 

Harry Ray,

often the lead on the classic hits and another third of the group passed away back in 1992, and now that leaves only Billy Brown alive as an original “Moment” if I am correct. 

I remember when my radio mentor, Sonny Taylor was an executive at Polydor Records for a brief stint during which The Moments made a move towards larger recognition than they must have thought Sylvia Robinson and All Platinum could give them, the controversy was that they had to give-up their name, “The Moments”,because of a stupid legal dispute, and the sleazy, petty politic of the record music industry. They became known as their last names of (Harry) Ray, (Al) Goodman &  (Billy) Brown.  We true fans never recognized this, and to this day call them “The Moments”!  The best song that came out of that marriage was “Special Lady” in 1979. 

My favorite Moment moment is 1974’s “(Hey Girl) What Is your Name” where Al’s name is the forefront of the writer’s credits on “The Best Of The Moments”.  By 1976, Carol Sager was in the writer’s house with The Moments on such classics as “I Could Have Loved You” and the ever running “I Don’t Wanna Go (But I Can’t Stay Here No More)”, an album produced by Al Goodman, Walter Morris and Harry Ray.

 Now, I must admit that as my favorite song isn’t quite true, as there are SO many other Moment memories to choose from, like  my real  first favorite when I was a teenager, “Lovely Way She Loves”, which typifies a young man first discovering that a slow dance with a girl at a basement house party can make parts of your loins come alive anew!  There are also the many hits backed by All Platinum studio musicians from the band Willie (Feaster) and the Mighty Magnificents such as   “Not On The Outside, But Inside Strong”, “Somebody Loves You Baby”, “I Do”, “Sunday”, “All I Have”, “Just Because He Wants To Make Love (Doesn’t Mean he Loves You)”, “If I Didn’t Care” (which my parents must have gotten tired of because I played the grooves off of that 45rpm up in my boyhood room,  to the point the record was dusty!), and then moving into [I think] a group of different background musicians, hitting gold with the classic, “I Found Love On A Two Way Street” ( which coincidentally comes-on as I write these words!). If you ever conjure it, remember there is a long version of it, where the vamp, “Bye, Bye Baby, bye bye!” is extended into the fade at end.  Their songs were not all slow, however as they made forays into the Disco trend with “Sweet Lady” (OMG!), “Sexy Mama” ( the 8:50 version with the fade-in and out), and “Girls!”

When I heard word of Al Goodman’s passing, I suddenly couldn’t get their “Gotta Find A Way” out of my musical mind!  Also I must mention “Seven Days” [OMG! with the fade-in-and-fade-out; one of the first l-o-n-g slow jams], “Lucky Me”, “To You With Love’, “I’m So Lost”, “Look At Me, I’m In Love”, and that album that they did with The o’Jays, “The O’Jays Meet The Moments”.  My college roommate must have grown weary of me always coming in after an argument with my (then) puppy loves of campus, and throwing-on The Moments to soothe my pains, lol. 

Fortunately and finally, I got to meet and “hang” with these Moments, especially during the mid-1980s into the early 1990s.  it was like a dream-come-true to chill with singers you idolized as part of your youth, ya know what I mean?  I remember  Harry Ray and another late radio inspiration and mentor, Jerry Bledsoe, cutting-up at the Dow Twins’s New York City major nightclub, Leviticus on WBLS night where Jerry B. cursed-out WBLS FM management and aired some dirty laundry.  THAT was a classic! LOL Several times, I was suddenly in the company of  the total gracious and class act, Billy Brown,  on numerous occasions at various occasions.  I always had to hold myself  back from fawning like a schoolgirl over these cats with copious compliments. 

Al Goodman, “the baritone” was the quieter of the trio.  It was a great honor to be “With You“…I’ll never sing another song ’bout leaving…”

Classic Live Smokey Robinson (actually after The Miracles when he was solo in 1979)…for your Summer Cruisin’ pleasure …”Hey Nowww!”  (the late Hank Spann)….Welcome to summer 2010…Where There’s Smoke…There’s Fire!  “Don’t forget to stop by and pick me up!!”

From the lip-sync days, but I always thought that Smokey insisted on having a live mic and singing it – because he is the master writer/singer/composer – still.

Sooo…can you stand one MORE? Ok…See, feel, hear the chemistry grow between Smokey and Kim Karnes; two great singers vibing.  Check out the bandmaster in the background keeping the musiciansin the pocket!  I rest my cask.

P.S. Be sure to hit the “full screen” button!

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