Friday, June 1, 2018

Thank God It's Funny - Irvin C Watson

Lately, I've been watching old Ed Sullivan reruns on the digital broadcasting channel and there are many Black comedians who were either underrated or seemed to disappear from the planet by the time us Gen X's were old enough to understand. I've also discovered other old programs that show an entire host of funny chocolate folks, like Mr. Watson but here's a couple of videos you might like.

This is a new feature I chose to add because 1) Life's too short to not get in a good laugh at least once a week, and 2) I would like to shine a brief light on those comedians that may not be household names today.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

For Die Hard Prince Fans Out There...

Been away longer than I planned but thought I'd return with good news.  My favorite mag, Wax Poetics, is currently taking orders for the posthumous tribute edition.  Issue 67, according to the email I received last night, will be free of ads with full color pages throughout, available as a hard or soft cover copy.

For those not familiar with Wax Poetics (WP) magazine, it's pretty much the Lexus of all periodicals that represent hip-hop, R&B, jazz, and all the subgenres.  Issue 50, which was originally released back in 2013, featured the music legend and featured extended interviews with those who were once close to him musically.  This also was for pre-sale and though re-released in May 2016, is the best-selling edition in the magazine's history.

As for the collector's value, most WP issues bring in a nice return, as most give intimate details and/or exclusive interviews with recording artists of past and present.  I was able to sell my David Bowie/ATCQ issue for almost three times what I paid for it.  Remember back in the day when you went over someone's house and they had the latest issues of Ebony or Jet spread across the coffee table?  If you've got little ones (or kids at heart) that like to scribble on things, you might want to keep these hidden at all costs.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

My One and Only Hugh Masekela Sighting

Happy New Year folks, I'm restructuring here and realize I still owe you an old-school countdown. I didn't want my first post to be an obit but this is a true story I can't get out of my head. As you may know, jazz trumpeter and anti-Apartheid activist Hugh Masekela died at the age of 78. At this time, there is no direct cause but, like many musicians who have left us in recent, I'm happy for his contributions. 

However, I didn't realize some years ago how grateful I should've been to be in his presence or to celebrate what was a historic moment. 

Back in the early 90s, I was a big super-brat woman/baby who really didn't know if she was coming or going. One day, I woke up and decided that I was going to attend Job Corp in Downtown L.A. because it was free. 

It was not one of my best moments but on top of free job training, medical care and food (I didn't live there), I could go to events for free. Not long before dropping the program for good (I also worked a full-time job near LAX), I got an invite to see a newly-freed Nelson Mandela at the L.A.Coliseum. Didn't have to work that evening but me and about a half-dozen folks packed into some car and got pretty good seats. 

Once again, very fortunate to have not experienced the nosebleed section. Looking back, the concert was long. Very long. And back then, on top of drinking and partying, I ingested a lot of caffeine (and this was a couple of decades before energy drinks were a way of life) so I can remember being near tears because I had to coordinate how to get back home without risking my life. 

But in-between, I had a hoot explaining to my reformed gangbanger buddies why Paul Simon, Sting, and many others with pink toes were there to celebrate the South African hero. However, amusement turned into anxiety when Mr. Masekela went into a set that lasted more than an hour long. Sting and James Taylor's sets were less than 15 minutes and other notables (whom I don't remember) were restricted to maybe one song. 

Since then I have not seen so much love and unity for mankind displayed on a single stage. Gangsta rap was beginning to cross into the mainstream and the riots were less than two years away. My generation has few leaders, as many seem to care more about commerce instead of a solution to make things better.

The irony is that while gangsta rap is supposed to be about being a badass, I've yet to see any of its representatives take a real stand against a minor injustice...just abuse or battery against a woman. Anyway, I still have a thing about Soul Train reruns and ran across this rare episode with Mr. Masekela and fellow trumpeter Herb Alpert.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Throwback and Belated Birthday Wishes (Letter H)

Had he lived, Jimi Hendrix would have turned 75 on Monday.  They say genius never dies and his skills are incomparable matter what new music trend or artist tries to take a bite.  One has to wonder what would've become of him had he survived that fateful night.  Touring with the Stones?  A collabo with Prince (no doubt they're somewhere jamming).  Anyway, the only way to celebrate this unique life is to share his gifts with those who may have missed out.  Here's one of my favorites.

Last month, we lost Keith Wilder of Heatwave, who is best known for singing lead on their popular wedding song "Always and Forever".  Him and brother Johnny (who died back in 2006), not only shared lead but wrote many hits with bandmate Rod Temperton.  While some may associate them with the disco era, other songs had an R&B flavor to them.  Check it out.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wayback Wednesday Letter G

If you can ever get your hands on this album here, consider yourself one lucky sonofagun.

The reason why I say this is because this the album, alone, that would make her the Queen of Soul.  I never bought that "Empress" title and realize that another notable may not be in the best of health as I type.  That understood, I will never change my mind on how awesome this album is...the vocals, arrangements, everything.  So while there are many tracks to fall in love with (and I'm not a fan, btw), I'm going with the title track though I don't know where this performance took place.

My other choice is also not 100% personal.  Though I love Sly and the Family Stone, my knowledge of Larry Graham was limited until he opened for Prince back in 1997.  Let's just say I couldn't wait for the main attraction.  People ask me to this day if he sang his 1980 hit 'One in a Million' and I say no, it was like a Sly Stone concert with no Sly and a loud guitar.

However, there was this one song I couldn't get out of my head growing up.  Never knew who sang it and it was one of the few my mom hated (because she pretty much had a record store...we lived down the street from a VIP Records, btw).  So anyway, decades pass and one of the few times Soul Train was in reruns, I discovered some new ish (because hip-hop was dying, rock-rap wasn't far behind and neo-soul was starting to sound alike).  Anyway, I have a new respect for this man and hope they do an Unsung episode for his musical contributions.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Final Throwback Thurs. E-F (as in Funk)

Ever since file sharing, indie stations, and other mediums for new and undiscovered jams have become the norm, I realized there have got to be damn near 100 covers of "Light My Fire".  From the Doors to Stevie Wonder. My favorite is by the late Erma Franklin, sister to Aretha and a soul singer in her own right.  This gem was released in 1969 and you Gen-X's may remember this as a sample in the early 90s hit "Untouchables" by Above the Law.
I don't know about you but I'm ready for funk to come back. I know some of the newer artists can be funky or may take elements of funk and mix it with rap, rock, or smooth R&B. The closest I've heard to a nasty bassline is Thundercat but then again, his music is more of a gumbo thing that mixes in some of everything with a spacey vibe. Well, it was a hard choice but fortunately Mr. George Clinton had the forethought to create two groups (and collect two paychecks) so we can hear from Parliament later.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

WayBack Wednesday Holiday Jam Letter E

I think EWF owns this one but I probably roll this into tomorrow.  Anyway, during one of my insomnia attacks, I discovered these Christmas songs in my music feed.  Not the worst and it sounds like one of the original lineups.  Can you believe people talk about Christmas just minutes after (and sometimes before) Halloween has ended?
 This other jam was not one of their bigger hits but whoever made this vid deserves major props. They dug up a serious montage of old and recent photos. I forgot there were a couple of women in the lineup
 at one time.