Friday, December 31, 2010

Favorite Jams from 2010

In no particular order, here are some of my favorite songs from 2010...

“Fight For Love” from Foreign Exchange’s Authenticity
A great song from a stellar album - especially with lyrics like this: I don't wanna be a solider anymore/ because the war never ends/ and no one ever wins.

Overall this is one track from a murders' row of hits (tracks 1 through 6 have stayed on my iPod for the last two months). Easily my favorite album of the year (with the Roots' How I Got Over as a close second).

Foreign Exchange- "Fight For Love"

“Da Art of Storytelling Part IV Stoney Rock Remix“(featuring OutKast) from Black Spade’s To Build and Destroy

Andre 3000 has many talents, but first and foremost he's rapper- and a darned good one at that.

Though even with Dre’s best lyrics in a while, DJ Drama’s “Da Art of Storytellin’ Part IV” was missing some punch... so I was overjoyed when Black Spade teamed with Trackstar to take the original and flip it into a new classic.

Black Spade- "Da Art of Storytelling Part IV Stoney Rock Remix feat OutKast"

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Remembering Teena Marie: #4 - Cassanova Brown

There’s nothing that I can write about “Cassanova Brown” that matches Mtume ya Salaam's essay on the Teena Marie ballad. From his 2008 post from the always insightful Breath of Life: A Conversation About Black Music: 
I have a story about “[Cassanova] Brown.”Back in the day in New Orleans, the leading R&B station (FM98 WYLD) used to hold an annual talent show at the Saenger Theater. The talent was usually good, if not overwhelming, although there were usually one or two singers or dancers who you could tell were destined for brighter lights and bigger stages. The same as any major talent show, I guess. Anyhow, I was there this one year when a young lady took the stage and, without accompaniment, began to sing the following:

My baby’s fine
He always keeps me guessing
But never keeps me guessing
About his love

The place went nuts. There were people screaming and yelling, falling out of their seats, waving their hands in the air — all kinds of foolishness. You would’ve thought it was ten in the morning on a Sunday and we were at church. The thing is, the girl didn’t actually sing the song all that well. If I remember correctly, she did a decent job — that is, she made it all the way through without getting booed off the stage. The place wasn’t going crazy for her. They were going crazy for the song. Teena Marie’s song.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Remembering Teena Marie: #5 - Portuguese Love

Photo credit - Randee St Nicholas
I was all set to kick off new posts to my blog with either a ‘Best Of The Year Coundown’ (like the guys at or with one of my favorite categories - 'Before They Were Wack' (yes, Quincy Jones, you were in my sights)...

Then Teena Marie died, and I had to write about her instead.

Anyone who does a quick google search will quickly know about her big hits ("Ooh La La La", "Lovergirl") or her relationship with Rick James.

To lots of us (the music blogdom), Teena is more. She was a white California girl that was fully and unconditionally accepted by an African-American music community. She refused to be categorized to one musical genre - easily incorporating soul, jazz, showtunes, rock, and latin into her music. She was a singer/songwriter, gifted with an ability to play multiple instruments. She represented what one could do when they refused to let race define what they should say, how they should act, or what their profession should be. And above all else… she could SING!
So Quincy will have to wait a few days while I countdown my favorite Teena Marie songs.