Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Herbie Hancock - I Thought It Was You (1978)

From the 1978 album Sunlight; Sennheiser vocoder pwns Autotune FTW. That and a mountain of talent, as well as performances by drummer Tony Williams and bassist Jaco Pastorius.
I Thought It Was You was mildly received at the time by UK jazz listeners; as a whole the album tends to lay more toward funk than a jazz record, and is reminiscent of much of the electro-funk (or boogie as it was also known) of the time.
Sunlight also marks the beginning of Herbie's 1980s electro-era style that was more refined in his later albums such as Future Shock and Sound System.

- The Oakland Stroke

Monday, 23 March 2015

Jill Scott - Golden (2004)

The first single from her second album Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2 released in 2004 by Hidden Beach records, an upstart record label started by veteran music industry exec Steve Mckeever.
A deceptively simple song in composition; a one-chord bassline, simple drumbeat and a repetitive chorus. Some say she repeats that line way too much but Jill Scott always has a little quirkiness to all her songs, which is how she really really pulls it off. if Ashanti or Beyoncé repeated that line everyone would probably be hitting the FFW button. But Scott's vocal style pulls it off and then some. One of her anthems.
She is due to release a new album later this year.

- The Oakland Stroke

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Marvin Gaye - Got To Give It Up (1977)

Got to Give It Up was written by the singer and produced by Art Stewart as a response to a request from Motown that he perform disco music. Upon its release in March 1977, it topped three different Billboard charts and also became a worldwide success. 
The song held the No.1 position on the US Billboard Hot 100 for one week (June 18–25, 1977), replacing Dreams by Fleetwood Mac, and was replaced the week after by Gonna Fly Now by Bill Conti. On the R&B Singles Charts however it held the No.1 spot for five weeks (April 30 until June 17, 1977), being interrupted twice at the top spot for one week by Whodunit by Tavares (week of May 21, 1977) and Stevie Wonder's Sir Duke (week of May 28, 1977) respectively. More pointedly, the single was also a No.1 hit on the Disco Chart and would also reach the same position on the Dance Chart in May. Because of this success, Billboard ranked it as the No. 20 song of 1977.
The single also found success outside the US, reaching No.7 on the UK Singles Chart, his biggest charted hit as a solo artist since his version of Abraham, Martin & John had peaked at No.9 on the chart in 1970.
The single also found modest success in some countries, peaking at No.24 on the Dutch singles chart and No.31 on the New Zealand charts. The single's success helped its parent album, Live at the London Palladium find substantial success on the Billboard 200, where it stayed at the top ten for several weeks. Sales of the album eventually reached two million.


Monday, 9 March 2015

Soul II Soul - Zion (1995)

A sleeper track from the 1995 Soul II Soul album Volume 5: Believe and was the signature tune to Jazzie B's excellent two-hour show Back To Life on BBC London 94.9 here in the UK; he's now on Solar Radio with the same format, always worth a listen opn a Sunday afternoon.
Zion was never released as a single, but to me it's way too good to be considered album filler material. Its worthy of a bigger audience than it gets.


Friday, 6 March 2015

Chanté Moore - Love's Taken Over (12" Version) (1992)

From the 1992 album Precious, an album I urge any true Soul/Rn'B fan to get. The song is one of Moore's biggest R&B hits to date, peaking at number thirteen on the Billboard R&B chart and spent thirty-three weeks on the Billboard chart.
The album was released by MCA Records on September 29, 1992 in the US, and featured production from Simon Law, Bebe Winans, George Duke, among others. It spawned four singles; as well as Love's Taken Over and Top 40 hits It's Alright, Who Do I Turn To and As If We Never Met. The album peaked at number one hundred and one on the Billboard 200 chart on March 20, 1993 and was certified gold by the RIAA on November 14, 1994.
After three more albums with Silas/MCA (A Love Supreme, This Moment Is Mine and Exposed) she did a further two with with her then-husband Kenny Lattimore; Things That Lovers Do on the Arista label and Uncovered/Covered for LaFace records.
She still continues to put out great content; 2008's Love The Woman, is a sultry piece of modern soul, and her latest album to date, Moore Is More, is a real grower.
But as great as her career has been thus far, I personally think that Love's Taken Over is still the tune that defines Chanté Moore as a singer.


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Neneh Cherry - Manchild (1989)

From the album Raw Like Sushi, the track Manchild was a very mature track considering Neneh's main claim to fame was the hit single Buffalo Stance.
I heard this when it came out and have always loved it, a haunting melody with lyrics that are a little of the wall but still make you think. It almost did as well as 'Stance, getting to No. 5 in the UK Top 40 Chart.
But most of all, I love the video that goes with it; very 80's but suits the mood of the track to a tee.


Monday, 2 March 2015

Amy Winehouse - Stronger Than Me (2003)

From the debut album, Frank . Written by Winehouse and Salaam Remi and released in the UK as the album's lead single on 6 October 2003, it ended up as the lowest-charting single from Frank and of Winehouse's career in her life, peaking at no. 71 on the UK Singles Chart.
The song nevertheless won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song Musically & Lyrically in 2004. The single for Stronger Than Me features an exclusive B-side, What It Is.