Monday, August 31, 2009

I Can feel the Music!

Growing up, music was always playing in my house. Even at night when we went to bed, the radio played because a quiet house always seemed eery. Magic 102 has been around a long time and I still remember some of the DJ's (Captain Jack - Don't Do It Like That Baby!) was his hook, Zoe Bonet did the quiet storm at night, and Uncle Funky held it down in the morning. I've always been a fan of good R & B songs, especially those with good lyrics and an infectious rhythm. Remember this: Love and Happiness...Something that'll make you do right....Will Make you do wrong. Then you'd hear that gospel-inspired moan followed by the five foot stomps and the bluesy guitar. Listen to it and I dare you to remain still.
I grew up in the 80's and 90's when rap and hip hop first emerged on the scene. I'm not really a fan of the genre. I've never been one who memorized rap lines, phrases or hooks, but I can tell you all the lyrics to Stevie Wonder's songs. I have 60 of his songs on my ipod. Stevie will always have a special place in my heart. When I was two, my dad purchased the "Songs In the Key of Life" album and played it daily. Daddy's favorites were, "I wish": Looking back on when I was a little nappy headed boy...He liked, "Isn't she Lovely," he always dedicated that one to me. But the one song that always stood out and is my favorite one on the album to this day, "Pastime Paradise." The cellos, the violins, percussions, the voices of the choir, blend them all together and it was a masterpiece of a sound, an audible musical canvass beautiful from the time it opens with the simple, steady beat of a hand held wood block and climaxes with a thrash of a tam tam drum. The lyrics are haunting: Been spending spend most their lives living in a pastime paradise.
I finally got the chance to meet him after one of his concerts. Just for me, he played and sang another one of my favorite songs that he didn't include in the concert and believe me I was on cloud nine the rest of the week.
When it comes to music I don't just limit myself to R&B. My dad had an extensive jazz collection and at a young age I was able to appreciate Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, and the Jazz Crusaders. My mom loved gospel so it played all day on Sundays. To this day, she still tunes in every Sunday morning to the local station that plays gospel from 6 am to 10 am.
If I had to make a list of my favorite artists I would definitely put Stevie Wonder at the top, followed by Prince. I finally got the chance to see him and the Revolution perform live in New Orleans and I must say for a 50 year-old man he was very energetic. He's also on my list of people I want to meet before I die. He obviously strikes me as someone who is extremely deep and I can only imagine what a conversation with him is like. I wouldn't be surprised if he wrote everything down on paper and passed it over to you. He's just weird like that. Imagine us:
Me: Hi
Him: (writing on a piece of paper) How R U?
Jill Scott is another one of my favorites, I have a pretty extensive collection of her songs, too. I've seen her perform live, the sister is baaad. Her poetry comes alive. Anthony Hamilton is another one of my favorites but I haven't seen him perform in person. I rented a performance of his via netflix and was blown away by it. Next time he's in town, I'll be there front row and center.
There are others on my list: Anita Baker, Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan (whom I met, she's a sweetie) and Maze (seen them many times). I wished I could've gotten the opportunity to see the Jacksons perform, maybe one day I can catch a Janet concert. In the meantime, I'm gonna sit and chill and let the shuffle button play on my itunes. Check out my list of artists: Sly and the Family Stone, Booker T and the MG's, Alicia Keyes, Yolanda Adams, Zapp, Heatwave, Whitney Houston, R. Kelly, the Isley Brothers....

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