Tag Archive: WBLS FM


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…”

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.

Although I never met  this impresario and didn’t even know he was  the founder of the Sex Pistols until the news of his death came over NPR, I reminisce his music at this time of his passing from the physical world because my inspiration for getting into radio, the late Frankie Crocker, broke this music in New York City while I was jocking on the competing station, which was then owned by RKO.  They had us playing his stuff back during the era of Break-Dancing during my time on WRKS FM ( “KISS”),  and I still have the 12-inch vinyl, special party mix album

 and 45rpm vinyls of the Island Records hits that we played too! This was when “scratchin” a record first came into vogue as a DJ’s skill while rockin’ da crowd.   So now, just in case you only thought he was a Brit with spastic punk-style rhythm, here are a few jams we used to move to at Danceteria and Private Eyes, to name only a couple of the clubs poppin’-it back during the early-to-mid-1980s in Manhattan.  I loved ‘Hey D.J.”; “Do Ya Like Scratchin’?”; “Buffalo Girls”, and of course every freelance DJ’s anthem back then, “The World Famous Supreme Team Show”. I am reminded that this “special PARTY MIX with…” was very hard to get back then because inside the 12″ album are some 45rpm versions…thank you Debbie Howard wherever you are, LOL  

This  sound takes me back to a free era in the world where there was no such thing as “terrorism” and the planet  just partied universally – at least we did in New York City – very judiciously to this infectious innovator. Just wanted to pay homage and hip you who may not know…ya HEARD?? LOL

R.I.P. Mr. McLaren and thanks for recognizing the DJs…and “all the Buffalo Girls going around the outside/all that scratchin’ is makin’ me itch!” LMAO

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.

spencer fleury dot com

proto-thoughts, fleeting obsessions and insomnia cures from an occasionally unreliable narrator.

Gobbledygook

We all go a little mad sometimes.

Off the Charts

American Journal of Nursing blog: diverse nursing voices and stories

Longreads

The best longform stories on the web

Weapons

A brain is a battlefield of ideas

Billb62's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Voices of Ukraine

Politics, anti-government rallies, other. Maidan.

%d bloggers like this: