Saturday, February 21, 2009
FLASHBACK REVIEW: DISCO DIVA'S CLASSIC SINGLE HELPED LEGENDARY PRODUCING TEAM BECOME HOUSEHOLD NAMES
WRITTEN BY JAMES HARRIS III & TERRY LEWIS
PRODUCED BY JIMMY JAM & TERRY LEWIS AND CHERYL LYNN
1983 COLUMBIA RECORDS
By 1983, singer-songwriter Cheryl Lynn had made a name for herself by scoring several Dance hits including "Got To Be Real" and "Shake It Up Tonight" as well as a top ten hit with Luther Vandross with rendition of the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell classic "If This World Were Mine." She had also worked with some the industry's top producers including David Foster, Ray Parker, Jr and Vandross, but her second # 1 R&B hit was written and produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis who were beginning the new stages of their careers as producers and songwriters. Jam & Lewis had got their break in the industry as members of the R&B/Funk group the band, who scored several hits with "Cool" and "What Time It Is," but they wanted to work on outside projects with other artist including The SOS Band andLynn, who they met while they were on tour in Long Beach California. A few months later the duo had missed a gig after being stranded in Atlanta due to a snow storm, forcing their former mentor Prince to fine them $900.00 each and firing them two days later. "I don't think they were supposed to be there" the Dance music hall of famer said in the Book of Rhythm and Blues Number Ones. "I think they snuck in from doing the show with Prince that night." The duo tried to come up with a song on the spot, but couldn't, so they told Lynn they would work with her the next time they got a break in the tour, and they stayed true to their word; not only did they come up with a hot song, it also helped the singer become more known as a R&B singer instead of the Dance Person that she was dubbed by the media. Jam added "We were trying to come up with a beat that was so funky that even if we didn't put any music to it, it would still be cool."
That's what makes this song the classic that it is today; the beat, keyboards, synsersizers, percussion, the live audience affects, and Lynn's vocal performances which captured her ability to sing different ranges as well as her sassy seagments and ad-libbing. The song also has mysterious lyrics that made me think that she was going to see her favorite male performer in concert, but after listening to the song for the first time in years, I gagged when I learned that she was singing about giving her man an encore for pleasing her sexually!!! (In other words, she's was gonna request another hot love making session and give him a big tip. If you know what I mean)!!
This song is still hot as it was when it was first released, and not only did it become a classic, it also helped launched Jam & Lewis career as Grammy-Award winning producers who would score twenty-five # 1 R&B hits.
IF ONLY YOU KNOW
TAKEN FROM THE PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RELEASE "I'M IN LOVE AGAIN"
PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDS
WRITTEN BY CYNTHIA BRIGGS, KENNY GAMBLE, DEXTER WASEL
PRODUCED BY KENNY GAMBLE & DEXTER WANSEL
In the winter of 1984, singer Patti LaBelle had received a telephone call and learned that her single "If Only You Knew" had topped the R&B charts. Girlfriend was so excited, that she ran around her house screaming, and waking up her friend and former make-up artist Rudy Calvo, who had spend the holidays with the powerhouse vocalist.
"Get up, Get Up" I screamed, jumping on the bed LaBelle wrote in her award-winning autobiography "Don't Block The Blessings: Revelations of a Lifetime." "I'm number one!"
The powerhouse vocalist had every reason to be celebrating; it was her first # 1 hit as a solo artist, and it became a favorite among her fans, and peers, who play this song at family gatherings, dinners, and while they're making love.
After the break up of her group LaBelle, Patti had released several albums and singles on Epic Records including "You Are My Friend," "Music Is My Way of Life," "Release" and "I Don't Go Shopping" which didn't do as well as it could have. She later signed with Philadelphia International Records, run by the talented team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who had helped put Philadelphia on the music map, and was eager to have LaBelle on the label. Especially Gamble, a childhood friend who knew he could give the powerhouse vocalist a number hit, and his goal was reached when "If Only You Knew" topped the R&B charts for four weeks in the winter of 1984.
What make this song beautiful is the rhythm section, strings, lyrics about being afraid to express true feelings to a person that you love, co-written by Dexter Wensel and Cynthia Briggs, and mellow, yet soulful vocals by Patti, who recorded the song in a midrange, yet powerful style instead of singing in the powerful style she's known for.
After twenty-five years, this song is still beautiful as it was when it was first release, and it still provides the soundtrack for those who dreams about being with a person that they admire, but still don't know how to express their feelings to them.
Unknown Facts about "If Only Your Knew"
Though the song was featured on Patti's 1983 gold album "I'm In Love Again," the single was originally recorded in 1981, for her Philly International debut album "The Spirit's In It." Gamble put it in the can (a term for storing it in the vault) and wanted to wait for the right time to release it.
The song's co-writer Dexter Wensel had Patti record the song smiling so she can sing clearly.
"There were some takes when she was mulching the words abit" Wensel said in the Book of Number one Rhythm and Blues Hits.
"I said Patti when you're smiling and singing, it seems that the words came out so clear. So I asked her to smile when she sang a couple of takes, which she did and the words came out as clear as a bell."
This song has been covered by several artists including R&B group Soul For Real and R&B/Jazz singer, who each recorded their renditions of the classic on their albums "Candy Rain" and "Pure Pressure", with the latter becoming a radio hit.
Singers Mariah Carey and Brian Mc Knigt have each performed this rendition of this song while paying tribute to Patti. Carey performed it when LaBelle was honored by Essence Magazine in 1998, while Mc Knight performed this classic when she was honored by the United Negro College Fund.
SWV lead singer Coko usually performs this classic during her solo tours and solo seagments, and always gets a wild round of applause from the audience who loves her live rendition of the classic.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Last monday, me and my brother went to see the flim "Notoroius" and while we sat and wached the film, we were both impressed with the cast (Naturi did a damn good job playing Lil'Kim, and the insustry would be foolish not to give the oringianl 3LW member any nominations for best supporting actress, as well as actor Jamal Ward who played the talented and influencial rapper), the story, cimeotography, and legacy. It also showed the chareritics his displyed as well; talented, smart, quick wit, charming to the ladies, and loyal to his loved ones. One of my favorite scenes in the movie was when he made his math teacher feel and look like an ass, when he answered the math problem correctly, and showed him and the class that a garbage man makes more than a public high school teacher.
Another charater that Big had was turning a negative into a positive. Particualary his dark complxion and his stature. In the scene when he was asked to battle a local Brooklyn legend, Big not only shut him down, he got respect, and mad love from people from the hood inlcuding Lil' Cease, who would become his right hand man, and a full-figured dude, who thanked him for repping the big dudes at his CD signing.
Doin' things his way. Big also had an independent streak, and it showed thought iut the film, when he decided to remove his father from his memory, and when he began to hustle to get money, look fly, and ecord his hit records his way (with women and smoking lots of weed).
Ability to help one reach their potential. When he discovered that Lik' Kim could rap, he was impressed, and decided to mold her into the Black Madonna of Hip-Hop, by encouraging her to write raps about being a powerful Black woman who could dress fly, and not be afraid to express her sexuality and abilty to be sexual without feeling guilty.
Watching the movie about The Notorious BIG gave me, (and hopefully other viwers) the opportunity to see Big's other characteristics he was blessed with along with his ability to rap; he was a talented rapper, and cool person, who left a legacy that inspires people to reach for their goals and to dream big and don't let any haters prevent you from doing so.
R&B Singer/songwriter/actor Chris Brown was a no-show at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards last night, which was due to the LAPD seeuinging the sexy hearthrob for assualting a female Saturday evening. According to reports, police received a 911 from a female caller, claiming that 19-year-old had assualted her. Her idenity hasn't been revealed due to domestic violence laws and cases. The singer was released after he posted a $50,000 bail, while his girlfriend singer Rhianna's publicist issued a statement stating she was well and thanking the public for their concerns. The Bajan vocalist was scheduled to perform with her beau at the ceremony, but didn't attend either, forcing the producers to have Al Green and Justin Timberlake give a improtu performance of Green's classic hit "Let's Stay Together" (which was horrible, and leaving the public to wonder who was the lady who called on Brown?
I hope and pray that the issue gets resolved, and that both can weather this storm, because domestic violence is a serious crime and has extremley negative affects on the victims and suvivors. When Brown appeanred on the Trya Banks show in 2007, he revealed to the audience that his mother was the victim of spousal abuse by her ex boyfriend for two years before she finally have him his walking papers, and he would sleep under the covers just to avoid hearing his mother scream. He said that watching what his mother went through helped teached him how to respect women. Prayfully this issue will be resolved.
Monday, February 2, 2009
R&B/Soul singers and songwriters Pleasure P. and Bobby Valentino rocked the Bronx this past weekend where they peformed at Lehman College for the crowd of one hundred, who showed the two R&B stars love. (We applauded so loud that you would have thought the theatre was filled beyond capacity).
Before the headlners took, stage, the crowd was entertained by rapper Jason Fox, who performed his hit "Aunt Jackie" with a dancer who did the famous Harlem dance, followed by a new tune from his up and coming debut release. After a rap group performed, singer Bobby Nova a new artist singed to Akon's Konvict Music, took the stage and captured the crowd with his sexy looks, braids, and his smooth vocals, that will dominate the airwaves this year. After a brief intermission, the former Pretty Ricky lead vocalist appeared on stage donned in a leather jacket, beige hoody, scarf, baggy jeans, glittery shoe boots and shades, and had the crowd screaming as he performed a tune from his upcoming solo debut, followed by a medley of Pretty Ricky songs including "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number" and "On The Hotline" where he made the latter sexier by singing former group member Baby Blue's part in mid range, that showed cased his capability to sing in other ranges besides his trademark tenor and falsetto, that he's become known for. Pleasure P then took paid homage to the late Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. before he performed he had fun with the crowd during his performace of "Grind With Me." He was impressed with how the crowd reaction as they sang along with him, but when he discovred they were singing the radio version of the song, he decided to remind us the original title of the song.
"My song is called 'Grind On Me'" he told the audience as he and his sexy assistant looked for females to bring on stage for his traditional "Grind On Me" contest where five females, appreared on stage in an attempt to turn him on sexually with their sexual moves and those chicks did their best (One light skinned female put put it on him so good that he almost lost balance, while two thin chicks tried to tag team him), but he the winner of the contest was a full figured female, who Pleasure grind against and lifted up in the air.
He then performed his single "Did U Wrong", and spoke about the importance of making relationships work and not letting small things be the cause of it ending, and ended with his current single "Boyfriend Number 2."
Valentino's set started with the intro from him stolling on stage in a black leather jacket, black t-shirt, baggy jeans and nike sneakers (I didn't know he was short), and performed his hit "Tell Me" where he and his DJ asked the crowd to bounce and say his name. What made this performance hot was how Valentino's DJ pulled the played and muted the instrumental track while Valentino sang giving it a live band break affect (He did sang live). Valentino also performed his hits "My Angel," "Annomyus," "Pimping All Over The World" and "Slow Down" where he showecased his vocal skills by singing falsetto in a higher register. He also showed his romantic and freaky side when he pulled a female named Jasmine on the stage, and seranded her with his single "Lights Down Low" and pretended he was going down on her as she sat on a chair. He later gave flowers to the females as well as put the last rose stem in his jeans, and throw it on the audience, as well as lifted up his tank stop, and closed his set with his current single "Beep."
Both performers did an great job with their sets, but it would have been better had Pleasure would have included "Love Like Honey" during his Pretty Ricky medley, but all in all, the show was great, and despite the low attendance, they showed that they can put a good show and that R&B music will never go out of style.