Tag Archive: vinyl


Major props to memories of these carefree daze and my radio Mentor, the late legendary terrestrial radio Program Director, Sonny Taylor, who loved this jam!
It is a CLASSIC theme-song that visits me every so often as a friendly reminder of better days gone by. If this long twelve-inch remixed version doesn’t get you moving, nothing will! Belita Woods on lead vocal really “belitaed it OUT!” lol Yes this is one of my “children” and I pray that I can get it out of storage soon and, along with you – TURN IT UP!

Be sure to check out my krates-fullo’jointz musik-only blog, https://achilliadsmyvinylrecordshoppe.wordpress.com/ for my latest music reviews!

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 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 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.