Enlightened Conflict

unbieliberable

November 18th, 2016

 

bieber-love-yourself

===

 

“Two people can look at the same thing and see it differently.”

 

Justin Bieber

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Yeah.

 

This is slightly embarrassing … but this is about Justin Bieber music.

 

I haven’t done any research <because that would be even more embarrassing to admit> but my guess is simply by listening to the radio that his latest album is an unbelievable <see … that’s how I came up with that ‘unbelieberable’ … clever, huh?> success.

 

My guess is that he has released maybe 5 songs off it that are being played nonstop on the radio.

 

And, yes, I find a number of the quite catchy.

 

And, yes, if I could find his producer I would suggest laying off the stupid little techno sound tricks they randomly toss into the songs.

 

But his newest release, Cold Water, has one part that, yes, I find outstanding.

me-dancing-to-music-in-the-street-vacation-jo

The opening to that song is frickin’ fabulous. Yeah. Later on that frickin’ producer throws in some wacky techno crap, but that opening … whew.

 

Good stuff.

 

He may be a snarky little shit but his voice is impeccably clear. He has a natural set of pipes on him that permits him to deliver the goods without strain nor be dependent upon production tricks or some insane yelling & screaming.

 

If I were a betting man I would actually put money on him being successful as he ages <assuming he doesn’t kill himself thru some stupidity>.

It’s not his songs … it is his voice.

 

Once he gets through this pop song stage I wonder what he will become.

 

I am not a songwriter but if I were and I wrote something other than catchy pop songs <although I believe McCartney songs were also a version of a catchy pop song … but an artistically crafted catchy song> I would kill to have him sing it.

 

Until then I don’t think I will ever get tired of that Cold Water opening.

 

Fabulous.

Fabulous voice.Justin Bieber onstage at the American Music Awards

Fabulous delivery.

 

It gives us hope that ‘the Beebs’ can be something other than a snarky little shit singing catchy poorly written pop songs.

the song Keep You In Mind

November 6th, 2016

 

keep-you-in-mind-banks

Ok.

 

Keep you in Mind by Guordan Banks.

 

Apparently this is a Fall 2015 song … but I just heard it on the radio on the local R&B station.

I will net it down for you … awful lyrics and awesome groove. But … what a groove.

 

As the first commenter under the video on YouTube says:

 

aarismom191 month ago

How the fuck am I a year late ?

 

Well.

 

I agree. I am just another late comer to this song.

 

What helps me out a little <after a bit of research> is that “Keep” entered on the Nov. 28, 2015 chart and then steadily climbed over 29 … yes … 29 weeks … to reach #1 on the R&B charts in June 2016.

 

We should note Banks’ journey to the top of the chart is the longest since January 2014 when Robin Thicke’s “For the Rest of My Life” reached No. 1 in its 31st charting week. The longest trip to No. 1 came in 2003 when R. Kelly’s “Step in the Name of Love” <another song I was late to find but did write about> peaked in its 34th week.

 

==

GUORDAN BANKS

Keep You In Mind

==

 

This is definitely a “windows down cruising along the street” song.

 

And I will admit. What I kept coming back to was the underlying synth beat singingin-the-car dogwhich reminded me of SOS band <who I also liked>. He just casually sings over a light 80’s groove mix … but that smooth groove underneath?

Whew.

That is what makes you turn up the volume in the car just a little more.

 

By the way.

 

The song was remade/remixed by Chris Brown in October 2016 <which may also be the reason the original is getting a little more airplay> but don’t waste your time on the remix version … the original is awesome as is.

One dance redux

June 15th, 2016

 drake drizzy

 

Well.

 

This is a music post.

 

Drake has a new song called One Dance. Nice beat. Kind of fun to listen to. But not a great song.

 

Look.

 

I have written twice about Drake. Once for Take Care <with Rihanna>  and once for Hold On we Are Going Home .

 

I want to like Drake’s music. I tend to like his delivery, I tend to like his voice <when it isn’t filtered thru some production technique> and I tend to like the rhythm & flow of his music.

 

That said.

 

I sometimes find his solo songs slightly tedious. Frankly, he seems at his best when not singing alone … in particular when his voice is tempered by a female voice <his voice and Rihanna’s mesh better than almost any duo out there>.

Justin Bieber onstage at the American Music Awards

And to make my point I will use the oft-ridiculed Justin Bieber. Say what you want about the Beebs lack of maturity but the boy has a set of pipes and can sing.

 

He took One Dance and made it the song it should have, and could have, been.

 

Well done Beebs.

 

 

 

 

another mother further

April 19th, 2016

 

 

another mother further

 

Well.

 

 

We just got a new radio station where I live … “old school black r&b/funk music.”

 

 

Everything from the Fugees “ready or not”  to the Gap Band “Party Train”  to Bill Withers “lovely day”.

 

 

<three of my favorite songs of all time>

 

But.

 

Then a song came on and good memories hit me on note number one.

 

The joyce kennedy mothers finestopening “there is no other who can compare to you” <Joyce Kennedy> blasts out of the speakers and Mother’s Finest singing “Baby Love” begins.

 

Whew.

Mother’s Finest. What a band.

Baby Love. What a song.

 

I assume every region has “a band.” They crank out great songs but never seem to hit the national level. Mother’s Finest was one of those in the Southeast in the USA.

 

Mother’s Finest came out of Atlanta in the 1970’s with a kick ass soul jazz funk sound with a dose of rock mixed in.

 

But it was in 1977 they put out an album called “another Mother Further.” Now. I didn’t get my hands on this album until maybe the early 80’s.

What a frickin’ album.baby love mothers finest

 

Baby Love.

 

Thank You for the Love <a wonderful slow groove bed under story telling lyrics thanking ‘you for the love’>.

 

Mickey’s Monkey.

 

 

<note: if you want to hear how frickin’ good they were live … here is Baby love Live which showcases Joyce Kennedy’s  kick ass voice>

 

 

 

I really could never figure out why they never made it as big as some other bands and I dug up his review just to share:

 

A post-Sly race- and gender-integrated funk-rock band, Mother’s Finest is stylistically somewhere between Rufus and Funkadelic, though they never achieved anywhere near the cultural impact of either. To a certain extent, Mother’s Finest fell into the “Apartheid-Oriented Radio” trap, in which any African-American rocker between Jimi Hendrix and Vernon Reid – leaving Prince out of the discussion for now – was unable to get mainstream media attention. So despite touring success (including an opening stint for The Who) and decent sales for their first two CBS albums, they veered into radio-ready R&B in 1978 and seemed unsteady about their direction for the next decade or two before refocusing on hard rock. They’ve kept the band together, more or less, and their 2003 record is among their best yet.

 

mothers finest in 70sIt’s not exactly unfair that fellow outcasts Funkadelic have achieved latter-day veneration as psychedelic funk/rock pioneers while the Finest haven’t – Funkadelic was far more innovative, unpredictable and influential, plus they flat-out wrote better songs – but taken on their own terms Mother’s Finest has pleasures to offer.

Lead vocals are traded between Joyce Kennedy (who recalls Tina Turner’s mix of roughness and control) and Glenn Murdock, original rhythm section “Wyzard” and “B.B. Queen” kept an enviable pocket, and the band has written most of its own material.

 

Wilson & Alroy’s Record Reviews

 

 

Baby Love is an awesome song.

And it was great to hear it again.

 

 

 

 

no more earth wind and fire

February 9th, 2016

maurice white giza EWF

“You’re a shining star, no matter who you are.

Shining bright to see, what you can truly be.”

 

(Earth Wind & Fire: Shining Star)

 

 

—-

 

“I had a vision, and music was playing in my head that I wanted to bring through. What I had in mind was exactly what Earth, Wind & Fire became.”

 

 

Maurice White

 

 

===

 
Boy.

 

singingin-the-car dogIt seems like the music of my youth is passing away before my eyes. Today it is Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire.

 

 

Earth Wind & Fire was one of those awesome live bands who could bring their bigger than life songs to life … as big if not bigger … on stage. And, yet, in the car you found yourself singer bigger than Life.

 

 

 

I saw them decades ago and I can still remember hearing the opening notes of September <I think> playing over a darkened stage. And then the voices filtered in and as they did it is almost like the musicians appeared … and then they flickered out. Only to be replaced by the entire band in white with arms spread wide.
I am not sure if they used hologram technology or some stage gimmickry but that opening may be one of the most iconic breathtaking openings I have ever seen in concert.

 

 

I loved their sounds & lyrics. The music was a random mix of funk, soul, R&B, pop, jazz and whatever else it seemed like they could try … all delivered with an incredibly infectious groove and wrapped up in bigger than Life, slightly mystical, lyrics.

 

Their lyrics almost always seemed to have some grander purpose than simple storytelling or some of the insipid lyrics you hear on today’s radio.ewf maurice
Originating from Chicago in 1969 Earth, Wind, and Fire was created through the mind of Maurice White.

 

He began his career as a session drummer for the likes of Etta James and Muddy Waters and in Earth, Wind & Fire, he not only drummed but sang, wrote, and produced. The group went on to sell more than 90 million albums worldwide, displaying a flashy and eclectic musical style that incorporated White’s influences from growing up in Memphis, Tenn.

 

 

In dedication to Maurice White here are my top 5 EWF songs <I admit I included a couple just because they show live band footage and you can see how awesomely over the top  they were> :
Shining Star:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9m6DMDZzYzw
<less than 3 minute song>

 

 

earth wind and fireLet’s Groove:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrle0x_DHBM

 

 

 

September:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs069dndIYk

 

 

Boogie Wonderland:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=god7hAPv8f0

 

 

 

Sing a song:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBpsOu8jyU8

 

 

===

 

“We just wanted to be the best band in the whole world. Maurice had a fierce work ethic, and we learned from him to have that same work ethic.

He was the consummate perfectionist.”

 

Philip Bailey <Earth Wind & Fire singer>

RIP Maurice.

Weasels are weasels and eagles soar

January 21st, 2016

glenn frey

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“Eagles may soar in the clouds, but weasels never get sucked into jet engines.”

 

Attributed to both Jason Hutchison and John Benfield

 

 

====

 

“He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn’t quit. He was funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven.

 

I’m not sure I believe in fate, but I know that crossing paths with Glenn Lewis Frey in 1970 changed my life forever, and it eventually had an impact on the lives of millions of other people all over the planet.

It will be very strange going forward in a world without him in it.

 

But, I will be grateful, every day, that he was in my life.”

 

 

Don Henley

 

 

====

 

 

“90% of the time, being in the Eagles was a fucking blast.”

 

 

Glenn Frey

 

 

=========

 
What a sad morning it was when I read Glenn Frey, Eagles founder, guitarist & singer, died at the age of 67 in New York.

 

eagles young

I have seen the Eagles several times in concert … all in their first incarnation pre ‘break up’ in 1980. <which I still believe was the best>.

 

 

In fact … I was fortunate enough to work their final concerts before they broke up.

 

One night at Santa Monica Civic <one of the last three of their Long Run tour> and then their final final concert at Long Beach Arena … a July 31st benefit concert for Senator Alan Cranston.

 

 

They were awesome.

 

 

My personal Eagles highlight will always remain hearing “I can’t tell you why” <sung by Timothy Schmit and co written with Frey> which remains one of my favorite songs I have ever heard live.

 

I knew at that time this was their “last” so it was special … but more importantly their music was special. They were good. It was not just that their songs were good … THEY were frickin’ good in concert. They were tight as a band and individually we great musicians and individually each voice was distinctive and strong. They were like the best of Poco, Buffalo Springfield, CSN&Y, Hollies and a couple other bands all wrapped up in one.

 

 

Just for the fun of it … here is the playlist of The EAGLES Live at the Civic Auditorium Santa Monica, California from Tuesday July 29, 1980 <they opened with an acoustic set>:

eagles acoustic

 

Saturday Night

After The Thrill Is Gone

Keep On Trying

Seven Bridges Road

Pretty Maids In A Row

 

 

—break—–

 

 

Hotel California *

Already Gone

In The City

The King Of Hollywood

Wasted Time

Lyin’ Eyes

I Can’t Tell You Why

Desperado

Those Shoes

Heartache Tonight

In The Long Run

Life’s Been Good

Life In The Fast Lane

with JD Souther second from left

with JD Souther second from left

1st encore:

 

 

Rocky Mountain Way (with Boz Scaggs)

 

 

2nd encore:

 

Sea Cruz

Take It Easy

 

3rd encore:

 

All Night Long

Best Of My Love (with J.D. Souther)

 

 

 

The concert was over 2 hours.

 

 

Look.eagles miami vice frey

 

 

It is possible to not like Eagles music overall but I would challenge anyone … and I mean anyone to not like at least one song. Among their huge well written and crafted song portfolio everyone will find something they will like.

 

 

Look.

 

 

Frey was arrogant. He could kinda be an asshole at times. Or, as Don Henley described him … “He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn’t quit. He was funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven.”

 

 

Put whatever label you want on Glenn Frey but, bottom line, the man could write a sweet melody. He credits his writing song skills to Jackson Browne <who lived in the apartment above – watch the fabulous Eagles documentary on NetFlix to see the whole story … I recommend part 1 … part 2 is kind of drags on a little>.

In fact … there are times I get a chuckle out of fate … I mean c’mon … what were the odds that Glenn Frey, Jackson Browne, JD Souther & Don Henley … all fantastic song writers and word smiths in their own right would be at one place at the same time?

 

That, my friends, is fate at its best.

 

 

And to have Don Henley and Glenn Frey as a writing duo? Yikes.

 

Take it Easy, Desperado, Lyin’ Eyes, Hotel California, Already Gone, One of These Nights <Frey’s own favorite Eagles track> are all worthy songs.

 

I liked his song writing. I loved his voice. I thought it was cool when he was a smuggler on Miami Vice.

 

 
I didn’t know Glenn Frey personally but I, as Henley, will be eternally grateful that he was in my Life.

 

Another Eagle soars where only weasels wish they could go.

Bowie blues

January 12th, 2016

bowie makeup

“He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of Art.”

 

 

==

 

Tony Visconti

 

 

————-

 

 

“My entire career, I’ve only really worked with the same subject matter. The trousers may change, but the actual words and subjects I’ve always chosen to write with are things to do with isolation, abandonment, fear and anxiety, all of the high points of one’s life.”

 

 

“I seem to collect personalities.”

 

==

 

David Bowie

 

———

 

 

 

I admit.

 

 

I can’t really put my finger on how I felt when I heard David Bowie had died.

 

bowie psychedWhile a huge fan of early Bowie it didn’t create a sense of mourning … or even a sense of sadness … it was more like someone just left the room I was standing in and it was a little quieter because of it.

 

I cannot claim to be a huge David Bowie fan. But I also cannot claim to know who David Bowie was … Ziggy Stardust? The Thin White Duke? Aladdin Sane? Recluse? Flamboyant? The man who fell to earth or the starman?

 

Era after era he redefined himself so we never felt comfortable with David but rather whichever incarnation put out a record that year.

 

Extremely talented as a songwriter, singer & performer. I can unequivocally state that he was cool before I ever knew what cool was.

 

I can clearly state I wore out record after record during his Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane era.

 

 

Ziggy Stardust was just one among a brilliant three album run he had – Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Hunky Dory – which may rank up with one of the best 3 album stretches of anyone of all time.

 

Which leads me to my favorite Bowie songs.

 

 

There are several hundred songs to choose from a broad portfolio which permits almost everyone of any age and any musical taste to have a Bowie song they love. I could also argue you are more likely to have a favorite Bowie persona than you do a favorite song.

 

 

My favorite all time Bowie?

 

 

Panic in Detroit from Aladdin Sane:

 

david bowie aladdin sane

Close second?

 

 

All the Young Dudes <which he gave to Mott The Hoople> containing one of the best sing along choruses of that time.

 

 

I then throw in a tandem partner songs … Space Oddity & Ashes to Ashes.

 

“ground control to Major Tom.”

 

Space Oddity is a dialogue between the men at ground control and Major Tom, an astronaut who is “floating in a most peculiar way” and concludes with the astronaut asking ground control to tell his wife he loves her very much <which they respond is “She knows”>.

 

 

Ashes to Ashes” revives the Major Tom character from Space Oddity, within a haunting recording opening with “Do you remember a guy that’s been in such an early song / I’ve heard a rumor from Ground Control / Oh no, don’t say it’s true.”

 

 

Ah.

The rumor … “We know Major Tom’s a junkie / Strung out in heaven’s high / Hitting an all-time low.”

 

 

Next.

 

 

david bowie 1985John I’m Only Dancing” is a wonderful jangly unsteady/steady beat covered by Bowie’s light rap/talk and crooning … and it contains one of Bowie’s most infectious chorus hooks.

 

 

And then there is Rebel Rebel which begins with one of the greatest rock guitar riffs of all time <played by Bowie>.

 

 

And, lastly, while I could just suggest the entire Ziggy Stardust record <because picking from Ziggy Stardust album is like having to pick your favorite child> I will narrow it down to 2:

 

 

Ziggy Stardust. < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXq5VvYAI1Q > It is a frickin’ masterpiece delivered in the distinctive Bowie voice. It also contains one of Bowie’s greatest guitar riffs <played by Mark Ronson>.

 

 

“Making love with his ego / Ziggy sucked up into his mind / Like a leper messiah / When the kids had killed the man / I had to break up the band.”

 

 

Moonage Daydream <Live> is one of the most beautifully arranged psychedelic rock songs of all time. It has a little bit of something for everyone <including a piccolo>.

 

That’s it <although I could easily add 6 more>.

 

 

His music is awesome … and timeless.

Ziggy ziggy-stardust

 

But here is what may be Bowie’s true legacy … he rode it to the buzzer <as the rodeo people say>. He released an album maybe 5 days before he died. He wanted to die on his terms … doing what he loved doing. The man didn’t waste a minute of his life … riding life hard as if he was being judged … until the buzzer sounded and not a second before.

 

 

RIP Ziggy.

 

 

 

Enlightened Conflict