Duets: New School to Old School

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I’ve Changed (K. Cole & Jaheim)/If She Breaks Your Heart (Foreign Exchange f/ Zo! & YahZarah)/Stay Together (Ledisi f/Jaheim)/Meant to Be (Kindred the Family Soul)/Close the Door (Kenny Latimore & Chante Moore)/Alone (Mary J. Blige f/ Dave Young)/Dealing (Eric Roberson f. Lalah Hathaway)/My First Love (Angela Winbush & Rene Moore)/Is It Still Good to Ya (Ashford & Simpson)/What Kind of Fool (Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb)/Without Us (Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams)/It’s All in the Game (George Clinton f/ Belita Woods)/Hope that We Can Be Together Soon(Harold Melvin f/ Sharon Paige)/ This Must be Heaven (Lamont Johnson)

Cupid’s Hunt 2017: The Tenth Anniversary Special

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cupid hunt vintage artwork.jpgAs always, I am honored by an invite to the musical love fest known as Cupid’s Hunt. To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Mr. Grundy’s open source rhythmic orgy, I’m serving up two episodes. Duets is 2017’s theme. We need each other and each others’ love right now, TODAY, more than ever. Solo play is necessary, fun and easier to clean up. However, these are tryin’ times and we need to be with our tribe- be they family, friends, lovers or others. Grab a partner and in the words of Jim Gilstrap, “Swing Your Daddy”.

Cupid’s Hunt 2017 Duets: The A Side

I Knew You Were Waiting (Aretha Franklin & George Michael)/Saturday Love (Cherrelle & Alex. O’Neal)/I Can’t Complain (Freddie Jackson & Melba Moore)/Take Me, I’m Yours (Michael Henderson & Phyllis Hyman)/I Don’t Do Duets (Patti LaBelle & Gladys Knight)/All I Want is Forever (JT Taylor & Regina Belle)/Two Hearts (Stephanie Mills & Teddy Pendergrass)/Street Corner (Ashford & Simpson)/Too Much, Too Little, Too Late (Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams)We Both Need Each (Norman Connors & Phyllis Hyman), Then Came You (The Spinners)/Islands in the Stream (Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers)/The Girl is Mine (Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney)

Cupid’s Hunt 2017 Duets: The B Side

Weakness (Stevie Wonder & Dionne Warwick)/Guilty (Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb)/Love All the Hurt Away (Aretha Franklin & George Benson)/Friends and Lovers (Carl Anderson)/What About Me (Kenny Rogers, James Ingram & Kim Carnes)/One More for the Lonely Hearts Club (David Ruffin & Eddie Kendrick)/Be Real Black for Me (Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway)/I Who Have Nothing (Luther Vandross and Martha Wash)/How Do You Keep the Music Playing (James Ingram and Patti Austin)/Mathematics of Love (George Clinton & Kim Burrell)/Hold Me (Teddy Pendergrass and Whitney Houston)/The Last Time I Made Love (Jeffery Osborne and Joyce Kennedy)/Tonight (Kem and Marissa Rose)/Send It (Ashford & Simpson)

 

Please check out the supremely talented music bloggers participating in Cupid’s Hunt over at http://www.cupidshunt.com

Sunday Slowdown Ep. 7

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Things got a bit out of order in the music bins. Nonetheless, I’ve got new soul from the “old” school artists. These are classic gems crooned by a surprise roster of artists, many of whom generally haven’t crossed over from their funk/pop/blues settlements. Yet, each artists selected songs for which their interpretations bring new magic to the work. George Clinton as a balladeer? His cranky rasp does more than justice to Curtis Mayfield’s “Gypsy Woman” and Solomon Burke can sing  “Candy” to feel the poetry in hearing the big man beg for it. Lou Rawls, Tina Turner and Cassandra Wilson bring their whisky-and-smoke-in-the-throat husky depths to  pop and jazz classics, and Marlena Shaw keeps striking the notes that keep everyone confused between Nancy Wilson and herself. Al Green silks through another ballad that should make the original singer stop performing it altogether.

It’s a testament to talent to take ownership of a song, and most of us are more than satisfied with the efforts and results from the original artists. Unlike jazz, R&B doesn’t often produce multiple takes on a song, and certainly not many that turn out to be as beloved as the original cut. Remakes of R&B classics generally lead us back to the beginning. There are exceptions- Whitney Houston managed to equitably match Chaka Khan on her rendition of “I’m Every Woman” and she didn’t spoil the Manhattans “Just the Lonely Talking Again.”  The Whispers’ version of the Donny Hathaway Christmas classic “This Christmas” turned from a raucous and joyous fest into a sensuous ballad for the Quiet Storm crowd. It’s incredibly different and equally beautiful. I’ll take Lakeside’s “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” over the Beatles any day of the week, and as much as I admire Kris Kristofferson and the Bee Gees, Al Green covers their respective works with a solemnity and heart-breaking ache unmatched by the owners versions. Of course, Luther Vandross made Burt Bacharach an even richer man with his interpretations of Bacharach ballads. If there ever was an artists whose genius shined best reinterpreting others’ classics, it was Luther Vandross. While not everything he “retouched” turned to platinum or gold, he had the gift that might make you worry if he selected one of your hits to touch-up.

Like sports and politics, music will never yield to a singular interpretation. We debate ownership in an attempt to keep our audio territory pure, clean and sharp. Music bins are full of dusty has-beens that never deserved top-billing. However, as these singers prove, great songwriting is the most seductive of sweets, and its hard to keep your hat out of the ring if temptation taunts. Hats off to this group of singers that took the words and made the words their own.

George Clinton-Gypsy Woman f/ Carlos Santana & El DeBarge

Solomon Burke-Candy

Willie Hutch-Stormy Weather

Esther Phillips- Use Me

Nancy Wilson-Can’t Take My Eyes Off You

Marlena Shaw-So Far Away

Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye-Stop, Look, Listen

Low Rawls-You’ve Made Me So Very Happy

Tina Turner-Sometimes When We Touch

Nina Simone-To Love Somebody

Al Green-God Bless Our Love

Etta James-It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World

Cassandra Wilson-If Loving You is Wrong