The Shortest Stories

It is claimed Ernest Hemingway once wrote a six-word short story that could make people cry for a bet. The wager was ten dollars, which Hemingway won with the following:

“For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.”

It’s not confirmed whether this was true or not. But it recently occurred to me that there are songs I know, with just a line or two, or a phrase; they can tell an entire story.  Here are a few that come to my mind.

“Peace after revolution.”  – Erykah Badu

“Is this the part you take my heart to wipe your feet on?” – Loose Ends

“She has a special quota to fill. He wants to buy a new Seville.” – Whispers

“Neither one of us, wants to be the first to say, ‘Goodbye’.” – Gladys Knight & The Pips

“Love is stronger than pride.” – Sade

“Until you come back to me that’s what I’m gonna do.” – Aretha Franklin

“I need you.” – Jill Scott

 

 

Fleetwood Mac, Maze, Old Bands & The Economy

I was driving to work and noticed the sign on bus station poster – Fleetwood Mac coming to town.  Fleetwood is one of my favorite bands from back in the day and Stevie Nicks has one of the most beautiful and haunting voices I’ve ever heard.  I listen to them often and seeing that sign brought to my attention once again how many of the old school bands are still out here touring.  

In the last couple years we’ve had The Police, The Eagles, and The Stones.  None of these cats have any new hits.  They just tour doing the old ones.  That to me is not a bad thing.  It says more about the quality of music of the day. 

Maze featuring Frankie Beverly will be in The Lou this Friday with Teena Marie and Keith Sweat as a matter of fact.  I wanted to go to see Lady-T but I got some other priorities right now and that prevents me from upping the $65 for a ducket. 

Speaking of Sweat, how in the hell is Sweat still touring?  Is that a women over the age of 35 thing?  I mean, “Make It Last Forever”was a great album… but that was his first well over 20 years ago.  He’s produced some good stuff too but do people really want to see this dude croon?  He’s still Steve Arrington just like Aaron Hall was Charlie Wilson.  He was just a more successful at a solo career being Steve Arrington than Steve Arrington was in his solo career.   (Just a touch of love… a little bit)  I’m just saying.

I have seen Frankie though I think like 4 times in my life.  You can never see them too much cause the music is so good and the band is so tight.  They don’t cheat you as they play EVERY song with none of that medley BS to get by.  Oh no, when you see Frankie you don’t go to a concert, you have a party and come out of it feeling GREAT!  Only cool ass audiences go to Frankie concerts too.  Old dudes in brims and velvet suit jackets and stuff.  But unlike other St. Louis audiences, (stuck up acting like they are too good to get down) Frankie/Maze followers know whats up and they come to reminisce and rock the house.

Back to the old bands:  It shows too that us old heads are hungry for some of the nostalgia of the music we used to sing and dance to back in the day.  Have you seen the prices of these shows.  The Stones were starting at $250 a pop.  The Police were like $160.  The Eagles were $175.  I mean DAMN!  I just can’t get down like that.  I read that the Police set was tight though… and they did the hits. 

 

The best days for me was when I worked at the old Keil Auditorium and had access to many bands and singers.  I saw Salt and Pepa before anyone knew who the heck they were.  I thought it was a duo guy group till they came out on stage.  They were just that new.  I mean look, they came with Heavy D and the Too Live Crew if that tells ya anything. 

Has Earth Wind and Fire ever stopped touring?

Free concerts rock!  And the ones I will remember most are Kiss, Hank Williams Jr. (truly a country ass pimp) REO Speedwagon, Poison, and Al Green passing out those roses. 

No concert blew my socks off though the way Bon Jovi did when they came for the “Slippery When Wet”tour.  I mean look – first off I didn’t know who those guys even were.  But there was a buzz all around the city.  So I’m thinking, “Who is Bon Jovi and why did they sell out in 45 minutes?”  Before the show all of these young scantly clad girls – yes I said girls and women were dressed in lace and pajamas.  I was like, “What the hell?”

But yo!  No joke when them dudes hit the stage it was ON!  John was riding on this tightrope 100 feet above the stage playing his guitar, and they rocked the MF house.  I have never, and I mean EVER seen a band play and rock that hard for an entire 2 1/2 hour show.  Prince will do it, but I’m talking about the whole band!  They played like their lives depended on it.  “Dead or Alive, Livin On A Prayer, they hit them all.  The encore… “Runaway!”  That’s when I was like, “Oh that’s them? ” Cause I already knew that song before, just hadn’t heard of Bon Jovi.  I ain’t forgot since.

Sade… great artist – tight band with the same core dudes she’s always had.  It shows too.

Oh I got to share one of the most disappointing concerts I’ve ever been too as well.  The Isley Brothers!  Now look, just for the sake of hits no one does it better!  4 plus decades of stone cold jams.  Will always be one of my favorite groups!  But I got them late in the game and they came out and started out with a few hits… You know they did “Voyage To Atlantis,”and Ernie was all over it.  They did old school and took us back for about 30 min… a bunch of medleys though.  Then Ron went and changed clothes, got into his Mr. Biggs thing with the cane and the girls dancing around him like he was Max Julien from The Mack.  Then they did Contagious and all of that R. Kelly in the closet bull crap!  It was sooooooooo tired!  Finished up with a couple other old school hits and something from the then new album and walked off the stage.  I was PISSED!  I mean it was a ‘C’ at best.  Ernie was great, Ron took our money with a ski mask.   I said to myself, “Never again!”  If we were in Los Angeles or New York this never would have happened.  They figured, “St. Louis, what the hell just do whatever and get the doe.”  He should have paid them taxes with that money.  But that’s another story.

 What are some of your favorite, more memorable or fogettable concerts, artist or bands?

Music Week: My Favorite Female Vocalist

 

My Favorite Female Vocalist

 

For day two of music week I would like to talk about my favorite female vocalist. The female songstress has always been special to me because even as a child her vocals and expressions have kept me in touch with my feminine side. They have help to give me a respect for the beauty and grace of the woman.  As these women sing of love, heartache, redemption or simple fun – the female vocal is one that is a direct expression of God’s love and nurturing.  I will list my 10 favorite female vocalist and a few notables that I had a hard time leaving off the list.  Who are some of yours? 

 

Aretha Franklin – The daughter of the late Rev. C.L. Franklin, Detroit’s own is simply the Queen of Soul

 

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Gladys Knight – A true diva even back in the day, and still going strong. No one has a voice that sounds like her.  One of my favorite songs of all time still… Neither One Of Us, (Wants to be the First To Say Goodbye.)

 

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Chaka Kahn – Ok so I am showing my age here with all of these mature sisters.  But you can’t beat the longevity factor of the first three noted here.  Khan could also be ranked tops among the most beautiful singers of all time.  Musically her voice is off the chain and she has demonstrated the ability to mix Rock and Roll with Funk as she did with Rufus, as well as knock out a ballad or a jazz number with ease.

 

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Natalie Cole – This songstress has some of the most significant songs of my life.  I remember when my mom would play her 8-Tracks during Saturdays when we had to clean the house.  I still know all the words to my favorite two albums of hers, “Unpredictable” and “Thankful,” both released in 1977.  She reinvented herself by following in her father’s footsteps in doing music from the standard jazz songbook.  I hear she has had some physical challenges nowadays.  Get well Natalie!

 

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Phyllis Hyman – Talk about a true diva, a virtuous songstress.  OMG!  One of the best ballad singers of all time – This woman voice was deep and sensual.  It was easy to tell that she sang from her heart and many of her ballads held personal value.  Though her life ended tragically her music lives on.  She was and always will be a treasure to me.

 

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Nancy Wilson – Performing since the age of 15, this songstress comes with a resume as fat as the lard at a southern fried chicken contest!  Such an elegant voice, she is a ladies lady who personified class and grace.  Though her catalogue is most extensive, she can’t go anywhere without the song that starts with the line… “You’re so late – getting home from the office.  Did you miss your train?  Were you caught in the rain?  No don’t bother to explain…” (Guess Who I Saw Today)

 

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Stephanie Mills – She is the little woman with the big voice.  I grew up on this iconic figure as she belted out her music with a voice stronger than any on the market.  She sounds like a grown woman with the soul of a teenager.  My favorite song from Stephanie, “I Feel Good.”  “Home” is not far behind.

 

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Teena Marie – I truly came of age on the music of Lady T.  100% performer she gives one of the best concerts one will ever witness. Her ballads are timeless and though many have enjoyed Teena’s music over the years, she has a cult following as well of people like myself who have all of her music and will follow her wherever she goes. She truly has a voice from heaven and sings with loads of love, compassion, and attitude.

 

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Minnie Riperton – Only Mariah Carey comes to mind when I think of the octaves this incredible artist possessed.  Her voice was truly an instrument and she sang like a horn.  She will remain in our hearts.

 

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Sade – Sade Adu is a gift to all of us. An incredible artist whose music takes the imagination to far away places, I have been fortunate to see her for her only two performances in St. Louis.  A truly original artist, from the beginning Sade came with a brand and stuck with it.  No pop for this lady – she ain’t trying to make you dance. But you must pay attention!

 

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So goes it for my top 10. This list was no easy task and I had to drop some great divas – some of whom I am still conflicted about.  These notables who could crack any list of mine had I not been retricted to ten include, Rachelle Ferrell, Roberta Flack, Denise Williams, Mariah Carey, Chante’ Moore, Anita Baker and CeCe Winans.  And don’t sleep on Stevie Nicks, Annie Lennox and Randy Crawford!

 

Tomorrow – Discussion of the great artist, pop music, and the musical legacy of Whiney Houston.