Cupid’s Hunt 2017: The Tenth Anniversary Special


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


Cupid’s Hunt 2015

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CupidsHunt8_LogoA tribute to the torch songs of the incomparable Phyllis Hyman & Teena Marie

Phylls Hyman-Baby(I’m Gonna Love You), First Time Together

Teena Marie-Irons in the Fire

Phyllis Hyman-Living All Alone, When I Give My Love (This Time

Teena Marie-I’m Gonna Have My Cake and Eat It Too

Phyllis Hyman-You Just Don’t Know

Teena Marie-Love Me Down Easy

Phyllis Hyman-No One Can Love You More

Teena Marie-Deja Vu, Shangri-La, Young Love

Phyllis Hyman-Love is Here f. Pharoah Saunders

Teena Marie-Cassanova Brown

Phyllis Hyman-Meet Me on the Moon

Cupid’s Hunt 2013: Old Ladies Sing About Love

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Grab a drink- stiff liquor, preferably brown, unquestionably top shelf. If you don’t smoke, think about it because everything about this post deserves the strongest menthols. It’s a time warp of classics raided from the melodic archives of the purest, classiest R&B and jazz singers. It’s in parts brittle and bone-dry and in others lush, lonely and lost. It’s for the women that stumbled down concrete steps decorated with beautiful lies, stones littered by promises of lovers recognizable only by their retreating shell. And yet, there is the tiniest of space where you hear gasps of love realized, pushed into permanent radiance to shine and heal the most blessed.  It’s healing and heartbreak, tears and strength. It’s real. Love.


Click here: Cupids Hunt 2013

Track List:

I’d Rather Go Blind- Etta James

Tracks of My Tears- Aretha Franklin

Baby, I’m for Real- Esther Phillips

So Far Away- Marlena Shaw

Just Me and You Phyllis Hyman

That’s All Right with Me- E. Phillips

Help Me Make It Through the Night- Gladys Knight (w/the Pips)

You and Me- Aretha Franklin

Words (Are Impossible) Margie Joseph

Sometimes When We Touch- Tina Turner

Master of Eyes- Aretha Franklin

Phoebe Snow- Something Real

Making Love- Roberta Flack

If You’re Not Back in Love by Monday- Millie Jackson

When the World Turns Blue- Merry Clayton

Home Alone- Gladys Knight

Miles Blown’- Chaka Khan

Black is the Color of My True Loves Hair- Nina Simone

I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got- Bettye LaVette

I’ll Get Along Somehow- Nancy Wilson

Send in the Clowns- Shirley Bassey

A Single Woman- Nina Simone


Funk It Fridays

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“Never trust a big butt and a smile” BBD (1990)

I tripped over the melody and lost the beats.  I started this blog believing that time would bend to my wishes, and every waking moment would find me dribbling words and phrases down the lane, and sinking dope podcasts from well beyond the 3 pt. marker. That did not happen.  This is what really happened: I dabbled with mixes and playlists that bricked the backboard, and sang hollow notes of failure out of my headphones.  I had Michael Jordan hopes with Sam Bowie talent.

If Fall and Winter find abject laziness masquerading as “seasonal hibernation”, then Spring and Summer are the times to shake-ass and shovel off that extra set of hips we picked up between the Thanksgiving turkey and Mardi Gras King Cake.  So the soundtrack has got to be funky grooves that hint at unlimited potential to swing, shimmy, and stomp. In that spirit, the Aural Palace introduces Funk It Friday: a playlist to shrug-off the toejam of another work week slaving in the corporate field for paper pennies and wooden nickels.

From 9 to 5, Friday is about FUNKING IT! Project not finished?! Too damn bad. Contacts not made? Hey, it’ll hold. It’s Friday and we’re revisiting the absurdity of a 5/2 work/play ratio. We’re pulling out our “Wrap It Up”  clock and slamming it on the desk.  Define Friday by ONE question: How do I BLOW THIS JOINT?!?! We hit the ground running away from the terror-firma of our corporate cloaks. We’re ready to crop some hours from the workplace, and binge on gin and sin if we’re celebrating with the ignorant magic possessed by twentysomethings.

If Birthday #40 is just 365 winks away, the head-banging and club-hopping bass of the Friday night hang-out joints will only aggravate that arthritic knee we’ve complained about. “Funk” for us might need to be scaled and stripped down as to discourage unnecessary “old man in the club” escapades. We can’t “dig potatoes” and “pick tomatoes”, and we shouldn’t be trying to impress our little cousins by “doin the dougie” at the Family Reunion picnic. We might remember when Friday meant a committee meeting of  flyboys seeking manhood in rum & Coke while ladies squeeze a Burger King ass into tofu & granola-sized jeans. We were brave, stupid and shameless behind cheap liquor, funky beats, steamy rooms and the illusion of unlimited freedom known only to the young and the stuporous.  Lips lie, hands grope, pelvis to pelvis push..push…back into the memories of songs from the days of high-top fades and asymmetrical cuts, baggy jeans and rope chains.  But since flirtations with the past will never bring memories to fruition, with dignity, we should go quietly into the Electric Slide line and pray we don’t step on some brothas white patent leather gators. Well….maybe we ain’t that old, yet.

Hook up the I-pod and download the tunes. If you get too loud and people start staring, just tell ’em to Funk It!

Track List:

Spotlight: Phyllis Hyman

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During the time of pulling music together so I could actually create a music blog, I wanted to find a way to showcase particular artist. Looking through the catalog of artists I’ve collected over the years, I recognized there were so many artists’ whose genius will never be elevated or lauded to its’ most deserving heights. Their brilliance belongs in the custody of its most intimate listeners.

Phyllis Hyman.  Under Her Spell: Greatest Hits was the first CD I ever purchased. It stood out on the shelf and I grabbed it to give my new portable CD player a test run.   She’d slid into Spike Lee’s ‘School Daze’, shining on-screen singing the jazzy “Only Be One”, and  I remembered her mid-80’s R&B hits “Old Friend” and “Living All Alone”. But that day in Sam Goody’s on 14th & F NW, all I really knew was that she could sang!  Of course through that disc, I would “discover” her career did not begin in the 80’s. Long before my medulla oblongata had been properly formed, Phyllis Hyman was driving her deep and husky voice down jazz alleys and soul music boulevards.

Unfortunately, what I would eventually understand about her importance would come only after her death. Phyllis Hyman committed suicide fifteen years ago.  In June 1995 I landed in Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport, and as soon as my traveling party settled into my best friends’ car, she told us news reports were announcing Phyllis Hyman’s death. One of my traveling companions, a young 19 year old man, turned to me and asked, “Who is Phyllis Hyman?”.

That 4th of July weekend, Phyllis Hyman and I lived a galaxy apart.  I was 24, a fresh college grad,  “hanging out” with passion absent purpose, burning through the timeless days,  high on potential, promise and possibilities. I’d corralled family and friends to HOT-lanta because it was all we could afford while acting as if money was just another useless mistress. There were neither husbands nor wives nor children. We were completely in touch with what we wanted, and clueless about our needs.  When you’re 24, unintentionally selfish in your self-absorption and captivated by mundane passions, you still believe that everything will be better. Suicide is not your companion. Twenty-four is unearned boast, arrogance in the face of time’s inevitable limitations, a space where even mortal wounds quickly heal. However, 24 gone wrong is 45 with a scabrous map of broken dreams leading to a foraminous heart shrunk by unattended anger and fear.

Fifteen years sober youth’s drunken dreams. I can think of 1,000 reasons to evacuate my sparse 175lb plot of land mass. The ignus fatuus of immortality shone thrown accumulated failures; dreams deferred and mobile passions stalled by reality.  I recognize the depth, know the realism of  “Living All Alone”, “Ain’t You Had Enough Love”, “Waiting for the Last Tear to Fall” or “Gonna Make Changes”. Fifteen years is the difference between listening to lyrics and living them.

I’m tired. I’m tired. Those of you that I love know who you are. May God bless you.” Those were the words of Phyllis Hymans’ suicide note.  Simple words that we all feel. Not through manipulation did she tell stories every woman will learn by heart. Whatever circumstances that did not allow her star to shine among the constellation of her contemporaries-Patti LaBelle, Stephanie Mills, Anita Baker, she absolutely sang the jagged sunshine of love’s nature.  She left for us the stories we live in our hearts: loneliness, confusion, failure coupled with the absurdity of happiness, relief and submission when the love we need is the love we receive.

Spotlight: Phyllis Hyman

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