AAMAM: The End Is For The Grown And Sexy! Part 30 of 30

Ok people we have come to the end of African American Music Appreciation Month or some of you may know it as Black Music Month (check out part 1 of 30 for more info). It’s been great. We started it off with James Brown and the relevance of his voice in a new era, listened to Milles Davis’ greatest recording ever, acknowledged the death of Ornette Coleman and how he change the sound of jazz, celebrated the life of BB King and my experience with him, we dedicated “We Shall Overcome” to the citizens of Charleston and the tragedy that took place there, and we jammed to the greatest hip hop group ever, the Fugees “Mona Lisa can I get a date on Friday and if you’re busy I wouldn’t mine taking Saturdaaaay aaaay  aaay  round up the posse fugee coming round the way . . .!” That was just to name a few of the great music experienced over the past 29 days. It’s ok to go back and check out what you missed.

AAMAM is a great time to celebrate the power of black music and the swaying force it has in black culture. It’s also a great time to remember those unique and soulful artist who created it and listen to their messages they addressed in American life as black artist.

So in the end, lets just listen to some thing nice and sweet! No troubling issues about society or a cultural point to be made. Just a nice and easy up tempo contemporary song about enduring love. Justsoulyouknow dedicates this song to AAMAM!chrisette-michele41

kem

Take a listen to soul crooner Kem and my girl Chrisette Michele work it out on the duet “If It’s Love.” Grab your significant other, pick a part and sing along. Careful, this is for the grown and sexy! Ha!

Peace!

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AAMAM: When The Glory Comes! Part 29 of 30

gloryGlory, the theme song to the 2014 film Selma, about the march for voting rights that began in Selma, Alabama and ended in the state capital of Montgomery. The song, written by rapper Common and singer John Legend, which garnered and Oscar, recalled images of the march and reminded the listener of the struggles that happened not too long ago. Glory also, sadly, sent a message that those struggles long ago still exist today as it made reference to Ferguson, Missouri.

Moreover, Glory continues to speak to the struggles of our time. New verses that include Baltimore and Charleston can easily find their place in between the choruses of this song.

The struggle continues.

Remember. Step up. Press on.

“Now the war is not over

Victory isn’t won

But we’ll fight on to the finish

Then when it’s all done

We’ll cry Glory!

We’ll cry Glory!”

AAMAM is glorious!

 

 

AAMAM: Curtis, Your Future Is So Very Bright! Part 21 of 30

curtis

Curtis Mayfield. (1942-1999)

The year1970 witnessed the released of Curtis Mayfield’s album Curtis. On it Mayfield acutely addressed the social climate of urban America.  Facing forward with the ‘60s in his rearview mirror, Mayfield’s Curtis headed down a highway of new musicality robust in optimism—new found humanity for a people in search of their just rewards for a battle well fought.

Mayfield’s Curtis musically ushered in a bright new future with its uplifting lyrics and music, which could be heard on his single “Move On Up.”  Tom Maginnis, music reviewer for Allmuisic .com, best describes the texture of “Move On Up” as he says,

The optimistic atmosphere can be heard from the very opening joyous horn riff, signaling a kind of feel-good fanfare as the song’s brisk rhythm is quickly sustained by a grooving percussion section of congas, Don Simmons’ rollicking drum kit, and a steady strum of clean electric guitar. Mayfield uses a variety of horn and string riffs as an ingenious call and response device to his silky smooth vocal performance at various points throughout the song’s intricate arrangement of a multitude of instruments. The overall effect is one of a unstoppable wave of positive sound, rolling forward, moving on up, as Mayfield offers words of encouragement, of progress through hard work and perseverance.

With that being said, have a listen!

You have a bright future with AAMAM!

Your Sunday iPod Add: Leela James is giving it to you!

Artist: Leela JamesWelcome to your iPod add.

Ever since I first heard artist, singer, songwriter, and soon to be reality T.V. star Leela James belt out a song I was hooked. James’ voice oozed a soulful and funky consistency that reminded me of more than a few of the best soul singers some decades ago. Her raw classic voice, when she first arrived on the music scene, was a welcome sound to my ears in 2005. Her first album A Change is Gonna Come was her own personal statement that her voice and her style of music (classic soul) was relevant and certainly need amid the pop music muck. In short, James was about the work of regenerating and maintaining classic American soul.

A few weeks ago, after reading one of my posts, a friend of mine (A.K.A. my soul brotha from anotha motha like no otha) asked me if I listened to Leela James as her music is a new discovery for him. I proclaimed in the affirmative and was immediately flooded with the memory of her music. Of course I binged on her music for the next few days.

Listening to James I was reminded of her determination to preserve soul music. She sings with a feeling and sincerity and a mission to make good music. Leela james 2She carries with her the vocal and attitudinal influence of luminaries such as Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, and Mavis Staples to contemporary artists such as Jill Scott, Ledisi, Musiq, and Anthony Hamilton. James’ mission can be heard on all her albums from A Change is Gonna Come (her statement piece) to Let’s Do It Again (2009) (a celebration of soul and a little funk music of the 70s), to My Soul (2010) (her highest charting album), to finally Loving You More . . . In The Spirit of Etta James (2012) (which she dedicated to the memory of Etta James and her music).

Today Leela James is hard at work recording good music. At the moment James is working on a new album and has recently released a duet with fellow soul artist Anthony Hamilton called “Say That” and “Fall For You”-a nice soulful ballad that trumps anything you heard on the radio lately. [Listen Below]

Do yourself a favor and add Leela James to your iPod and binge on some excellent heartfelt soul . . . you will thank me later!

Marvin Gaye, Jr.: The Humanitarian (with a nod to Frankie Knuckles)

Marvin-GayeYesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the death of Marvin Gaye, Jr. Hard to believe it’s been that long. Had he survived the tragic death, by the hands of his father, he would reached 75 years of life. Imagine that! Today we can remember and recognized Marvin as one of the most important music artist of our time. His music, his voice, and his lyrics are indeed timeless.

Marvin’s presence has not faded. He is often the central figure in academia and out in the streets among project aristocrats on issues of race, society, culture, politics, economic, and the musicality of it all. He is the litmus for soulful sexy R&B, today.   Marvin is perpetually relevant. He continues to influence art in all its forms. Marvin was the everyday man, commenting on the everyday experience with an unmatched passion, which marked him as a humanitarian. marvin-gaye 2During a 1971 interview with Phil Symes, Marvin speaks of the content on his then new album What’s Going On he stated, “The material is social commentary but there’s nothing extreme on it. I did it not only to help humanity but to help me as well, and I think it has. It has given me a certain amount of peace.” Marvin was talking to us. We are still listening and will continue to do so.

**In honor of Marvin Gaye and Frankie Knuckles, whom we lost yesterday, I submit the following Big Moses House mix of “What’s Going On”:

Your Sunday iPod Add: Latasha Lee & the Blackties is good music!

latasha-lee-and-the-black-ties-picWelcome back to your Sunday iPod add. It’s been a minute so let’s get to it!  This year I have really made an effort only to listen to what I deem as good music. Music with lyrics that actually move beyond the sophomoric and say something or at the very least try to say something; music that sonically takes you on a ride by consciously utilizing verse, chorus, and bridge; musicians whom know how to employ most of the following: the turnaround, refrain, and tag; Oh and unique, sincere, and talented voices are indeed a necessity for creating good music. So for me listening to over the air radio is a poor option­–at least in my neck of the woods. In this endeavor I have been relegated to listening to various Internet radio stations–which if you find the right station can be a dream come true.

Thus far I have found some amazing jazz, blues, 60s and 70s era stations, and even Latin jazz stations that kill.  But what I have found myself gravitating to the most are so called underground neo soul music stations.  In other words newly recorded soul music by individuals who strive to retain elements of authentic soul.  A couple of stations use the terms contemporary soul and organic soul to help explain their content.  However it’s all music with groove, feeling, and mature lyrics. Think Aretha, Marvin, Chaka, Stevie, Gladys, Donny and Roberta.  Good music, right?

Anyway, in my search for good music I’ve come across some amazing artists who are skillful songwriters, musicians, and singers that I would like to share with you.

That being said let me introduce you to Latasha Lee & the Blackties.  What an awesome band!  Comparable to Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Lee and the Blackties are contemporary artists who combine both the musical precision of Motown and the gritty-ness of Stax with ease.   Lead singer Lee, whom was born and bred in Corpus Christi, Texas, has a noticeably strong yet nimble voice.  I was taken back on first listen because her voice emitted the timbre of the late Amy Winehouse.  Blogger E. of Music Nerdery notice this fact a year ago and stated, “It’s almost uncanny to a certain extent. She’s not TRYING to sound like Amy…. she just… does.Austin City Limits Music Fest web site also chimed in on Lee’s voice after a great performance at the event a few months ago, the site wrote Lee’s “soulful voice cuts cleanly and crisply through the genre clutter with a groove that slices directly to the heart with honest power.” Yep!

Certainly Latasha Lee & The Blackties, who have been together for a little over a year and a half and recently graced the stages of SXSW, are unpretentiously reviving classic 60s doo wop.  Their self-titled album Latasha Lee & the Blackties is a pleasure to listen to, which you need to add to you iPod. It’s good music. I do believe you will thank me later.

Your Sunday iPod Add: Robin Thicke

Above is your Sunday iPod add. “Love After War” by Robin Thicke.  This is simply an awesome R&B track. Period. Thicke has written a song that sonically honors classic Motown and the writing efforts of Smokey Robinson.  Its relentless up-tempo groove and slick production make this track shine.  Thicke’s contemporaries, Tank, Tyrese, Joe, Carl Thomas, and Genuwine, who all have released albums in the past 10 months, have been put on notice to step up their R&B game.  Just a note: Eric Benét has elevated his game. I’ll blog about him on a later date.

Add “Love After War” to your iPod and you will thank me later.