Archive for November, 2010

While We Were Swinging

Harlem Love by Nicole Folkes

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While we were swinging to new jack swing in the late 80’s and early 90’s, some R&B slow jams released at the time were getting very little love.  As Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Teddy Riley’s productions dominated the R&B Top 10; artists like Jamm, Eric Gable Meli’sa Morgan, Liz Hogue, Deon Estus,  and Alyson Williams struggled to hold their billboard spots.  Please enjoy this compilation of songs from that period.  I know many of you have been searching for some of these tunes for years.

 

Download the 320kbps/HQ version (183 MB) here!

Reaching (Inspired by Sunflowers)

Jamm – You and Me

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You and Me is one of those songs I’ve never been able to forget.  It was a popular Quiet Storm hit in the late 80’s and I searched high and low for years to find it for my own collection.  Jamm released You and Me on the group’s self-titled debut album in 1988.  The tune may be familiar since George Howard covered it the following year on his 1989 release Personal.  The original You and Me will be featured on a late 80’s R&B compilation I’m working on that will soon be available for you to download under the Get BeTrayed link.

Top 5 R&B Female Singers

These women offered signature sounds during a time when there was a place in popular music for vocalists who sounded like themselves.

 

Phyllis Hyman

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Phyllis Hyman is my favorite singer of all time.  Her haunting and pain soaked vocals stand alone and have yet to be duplicated.  I once heard a critic compare her voice to a stained glass window.  Hyman could wring the emotion out of any note in any octave. She could bring you really low or lift you higher than you thought possible.  She believed in the listener accompanying her on her journey. Often, that journey was a walk through the ups and downs of love.

Anita Baker

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Anita Baker is The Songstress.  Her sweet alto broke through barriers in modern music and inspired up and coming singers to embrace their lower range.  The quality of Baker’s vocal soaks through every lyric.  She leaves behind a deafening silence when she’s not recording.

Chaka Khan

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When I think Chaka Khan, I think powerhouse. She makes it look so easy.  Chaka has never been one to bend over painfully belting out her dynamic range; she just smiles as her notes effortlessly flow as long or as high as she feels necessary.  Chaka Kahn is one of the most imitated vocalists in modern R&B but there is nothing like the original.  When she first stepped on the national music scene as a member of Rufus she was compared to Sly Stone, a male singer.  Now it’s clear, there is no comparison of any kind to Chaka Kahn.

Angela Bofill

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Angela Bofill is one of my favorites.  Her dramatic delivery jelled perfectly with what were often theatrical musical backdrops.  Bofill is a visual singer, songwriter and percussionist.  The innocence in Angie’s voice can turn on you so quickly; making it easy to understand why she had to repeat her promises to be sweeter.  She’s more than the first Latina to have chart-topping success in Rhythm and Blues music; she’s an original soul sister.

Patti LaBelle

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Patti LaBelle and her former group, Labelle, will appear on another one of my “top 5” lists as well.  She’s one of those artists who I feel is impossible to categorize.  She stands alone.  Patti’s voice is not only unmistakable; it’s necessary.  While everyone knows she can take it to church, Ms. Patti can also sing you a lullaby.  From her legendary stage performances to her signature classics, the love is in the details and Patti gives a lot of love.

 

Ty’s Flowers