archiv of the category musty & dusty

 

Bernadette Cooper Drama According To Bernadette Cooper


When you listen to a record after quite some time and you find yourself remembering all the lyrics by heart, this album was/is surely one of your favourite albums. And Drama According To Bernadette Cooper by - guess who - Bernadette Cooper is such an album for me. While the music itself may sound a little bit dated in 2006 this album is still burried somewhere deep inside my best of lists. Bernadette herself was never the best singer out there (well, compared to the Arethas, Sandra St. Victors, Carmen Lundys or even Whitney Houstons out there).

But that was never important even at the times when Bernadette was an integral part of Klymaxx, the all american girl group that pleased us with such funk corkers like Meeting In The Ladies Room, The Men all Pause, Divas Need Love Too, Sexy or Fashion. She made more than up for it with her attitude and originality. And let’s not forget she was one of the few women who produced a wide range of artists like Klymaxx, Mazarati, Madame X, Alisa Randolph, Nia Peebles or Altitude and even appeared on two Teena Marie albums (Crocodile Tears on Naked To The World and Sugar Shack on Ivory).

Her 1990 released masterpiece marked a highlight in her career and an at that time unusal creative freedom granted by a major label (MCA). Bernadette wrote, produced, co-executive produced, co-engineered, co-mixed, co-edited the whole album and even created the album concept with Glen Wexler. And if you have a closer look at the cover you see a woman in a straight jacket in front of a movie theatre showing her own flick Drama According To Bernadette Cooper. The whole CD booklet is made up as a movie with twelve short cuts split up in two acts. Fans of Bernadette already knew from her Klymaxx days that she was a little bit spaced out. Who else could sing Don’t slap me, ‘Cause I’m not in the mood and name her production company Slap Me One! Productions and get away with it? So the straight jacket on the album’s cover may be quite appropriate. Regarding the roles she plays on this album it is surely an apt clothing.

She’s the self-conscious woman in I Look Good (An Interview With Bernadette Cooper), the willing love slave in Stupid, who disconnects her telephone to hear no more lies about her lover and who gives everything to him although she’s not so sure about giving him his Aretha Franklin collection. She’s the woman from the agency (The Agency Sent Me), the down-to-earth woman who knows that love and sex are two different things and that bills have to be paid, so why not hook up with a millionaire from Textas (The Howard Hughes Sitcom [Christmas everyday!]) and she will work out a masterplan to get her former lover back (Nothin’ You Can Do). Back in the late 80s/early 90s Bernadette was really hot as in everybody liked to work with her. So she’s supported by a cast of thousands. There’s Loreena ‘Lungs’ Shelby, Pennye Ford, Alisa Randolph, Chuckii Booker, Thia Austin, Phineas Newborn III, Amp Fiddler, Teena Marie and John Patitucci to name but a few.
In my opinion this is still, sixteen years after its release, quite an amazing album especially if you listen closely to it to discover all the goodies Bernadette has put into it.
And what is she doing now? According to klymaxx.org she owns a vintage clothing store with clothes dating back to the 1900’s, that she also operates. And in 2006 Bernadette has finally reunited with Joyce ‘Fenderella’ Irby to record a new Klymaxx album, which should be finished in a few weeks.

Tracklisting of Drama According To Bernadette Cooper: 1. I Look Good (An Interview With Bernadette Cooper)/ Do You Really Know What Love Is/ 3. Stupid/ 4. The Underground/ 5. The Agency Sent Me/ 6. Let’s Be Discreet/ 7. Drama According To Bernadette Cooper/ 8. I’m That Girl/ 9. The Howard Hughes Sitcom/ 10. Straight Jacket (Love Affair)/ 11. Nothin’ You Can Do/ 12. Movie Produce Her | released 1990 MCA Records

For more infos visit myspace.com/bernadettecooper and myspace.com/therealklymaxx.

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Under The Moon And Over The Sky


I know, you’re all familiar with this song from Angela Bofill’s debut album Angie from 1978…but it’s finally summer, I re-discovered this tune recently and it just provides the perfect summer soundtrack, so I guess these are good reason to tell you how great this tune is, just in case you ‘ve forgotten about it. And I mean really great with its fusion of jazz, soul and latin, the string section, the percussion by Roger Squitero and the choir consisting of members of the Dance Theater Of Harlem Choral Ensemble and Angela’s ethereal voice on top…the only song that springs to my mind that has a similar approach is Teena Marie’s Portuguese Love. I guess sometimes the old saying they don’t make records like that anymore is true.
For more infos about Angela Bofill visit her website angelabofill.com and read her bio at the discomuseum.

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Limbo’s Paradise Part II


It looks like I’m on the retro trip right now with re-discovering some of my old records. I hope you’ve enjoyed the first part of Limbo’s Paradise and are ready for part II.

1. Stephanie Mills - Something In The Way (You Make Me Feel) (12″ MCA)

Like Camelle Hinds’ Sausalito Calling mentioned in Part I of Limbo’s Paradise this is a song that has written timeless summer groove all over. Produced, written and arranged by Angela Winbush and splendidly remixed and extendeded by the late Louil Silas Jr. to epic 9:20 minutes this is still a dream come true for every soulboy and soulgirl. You know you’re addicted to this tune when you hear the bass and fingersnipping at the very beginning. Something In The Way was the first single from Stephanie’s Home album that also featured another great Winbush song So Good, So Right plus a divine version of Home from the Wizard Of Oz with Take 6 on background vocals and Nick Martinelli as producer. Stephanie did a cover of Something In The Way on her recent lacklustre Born For This! album but compared to this version it is a mediocre copy and Miss Mills didn’t do herself a favour with the new version.

2. Paul Johnson - If We Lose Our Way (12″ Force Vital)

One of the unsung heroes of Brit Soul, Paul Johnson suffers from the same under-exposure like for example Noel McKoy. The closet thing to a hit Paul had sp far was as featured vocalist for Soul II Soul on Represent. For If We Lose Our Way Paul teamed up with Dodge and I.G. Culture and it’s the Long Rhodes Mix that’s still the best version eleven years after its release. Wait a minute, eleven years? Why I’m feeling so old all of a sudden when I pick some records I haven’t heard for a while?

3. Veronica Lynn - Make Up Your Mind / Best Times Of Our Lives (12″ RCA)

It was and still is the song Best Times Of Our Lives on the flipside that makes this 12″ worthwhile. Imagine Chante Moore with Love’s Taken Over combined with an early Erykah Badu and you get the impression how good this track is. Best Times Of Our Lives is an Album Version and the sleeve mentiones a forthcoming album Diamond In The Rough. Unfortunatley I’ve never seen nor heard it. Looks like RCA had cancelled the release because the single wasn’t a success.

4. Zakar - Censee (12″ Select Records)

Straight out of Obscursville this release…I guess most have never heard of Zakar. Well, you’ve missed something. Censee in the Fanatic’s Hydromix is a very good rip-off of Nancy Wilson’s Sunshine and Teddy Pendergrass’ Love T.K.O. and Zakar’s voice is smooth and fits to the groove. The other versions are rather meaningless for me with their hip-hop beats and included raps.

5. André Cymone - Dance Electric (12″ CBS)

And they always tell you that they haven’t cloned any humans now. Well, André Cymone does not only look like Prince on the cover of Dance Electric, he even sounds like him. Ok, this song was co-produced by Prince but still they could’ve been twins. Dance Electric sounds like most of Prince produced songs of the mid-80s. Driving electrofunk with some nice guitarlicks. After all this song has aged quite well.

6. E.U. - Da Butt (12″ EMI/Manhattan)

Ah Go-Go, the party music out of Washington DC…I think Da Butt was the greates Go-Go hit record ever. For some obscure reason this earthy funky music has never been a great success outside the DC area. Da Butt is still a great funky party tune with enough oh hey oh’s and and yeah yeah yeah’s to chant along.
I remember that I saw the Spike Lee movie School Daze, in which this song was featured in the late 80s when I studied in (Western) Berlin, as original version. Usually non-German movies get dubbed here in Germany, a fact that makes it quite unpleasant to watch a movie because I always used to sit there and wonder where I know the voice of a speaker from. Well, I thought I could understand English back then…but after seeing School Daze I had my doubts. Maybe it was because this movie played at a college and the actors spoke very different from the Britsh English I was more familiar with back then…but after all the included performances by E.U. and Phyllis Hyman still made it worthwhile watching this movie.

7. Master C And J ft. Liz Torres - Master Of Love (Satisfaction Guaranteed) (12″ Street Side Records)

An early house record that doesn’t sound so bad these days if you’re into early house stuff. Somehow similiar to Master C & J’s In The City that featured Liz Torres as well. For the real underground house feeling listen to the Jesse Street Mix on the B-side.
Maybe the misspelling on the record is the reason why there’s no entry for this 12″ on discogs or could it be that rare?

8. Mica Paris - Contribution (David Morales Remixes) (12″ Island)

Sad to say but after fifteen years this sounds horrible dated. David Morales did his usual stuff on a tune of the album of the same name, that finally gave us a little more creative input from Mica. Somehow this US release has lost somthing I found attractive in 1990. There also was a Yvonne Turner remix of Contribution, which today sounds notches above these Morales mixes for me.

9. Groove Collective - Lift Off (12″ Giant Step/GRP)

In its original version Lift Off is a modern soul gem with vibes, trumpet, flugelhorn, flute and heavenly vocals by Vinia Mojica, something like the best Brand New Heavies track (while they were good with N’Dea Davenport as lead vocalist) the Heavies had never recorded. Salaam Remi did the best with his remix and sticked closely to the original although he couldn’t made it better.

 

10. Divine Circle ft Annette Taylor - Show Me (12″ After Dark Records / Freeze Dance)

I’m still a sucker for any deep house record with a singer that can really sing. Just take this After Dark Records release produced by Mitch Moses with the overlooked Annette Taylor on vocal duty. The Deep House Mix has everything I always loved about this genre, i.e. a great acappella intro and that warm soulful feeling and Annette’s vocals as icing on the cake. There was also a Freeze Dance release with additional mixes by Matthias Heilbronn and Todd Terry which may be more suitable for the dancefloor but somehow pale compared to the Deep House Mix.

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Limbo’s Paradise


From now on you’ll find a list of ten records every now and then, that results from just picking up a few records out of my collection (ok, you won’t see the embarrassments I’ve bought sometimes…that would be too painful to admit). So here we go for the first edition of Limbo’s Paradise!

1. Circle Of Life - Hold Me Closer (12″ White)

I know nothing about this release except what’s printed on the label and that TML 0010 is engraved on the record. Hold Me Closer is one of these solid, midtempo tunes in that Soul II Soul vein that were so ubiquitous in the early 90s. Sung by an unknown female this still sounds good to my ears in 2005. I guess I would buy it again.

2. Children Of Judah - To The Bone (Let’s Get Stoned) (12″ 13th Tribe)

Produced by Barrie K. Sharpe (of Diana Brown and Barrie K. Sharpe fame…you certainly remember The Masterplan) and sung by Donna Gardier this song still grooves like hell and sounds fresh like it did in 1993. Children Of Judah also released an album, that featured all the 12″es by CoJ, Funeka And The 1st Witness, The 1st Witness and the Assassins.

3. Cherisse Arrington - Down With This (12″ MCA)

The good thing about records you haven’t listened to for a long while is that you have usually completely forgotten which version you liked. I know I like Down With This by Cherisse Arrington but starting with the Album Version, I find myself in utter disbelieve because this sounds really dated. But wait, there’s also the Vibe Mix, which is much, much better with warm key patterns and much more soul than the urban/hip hop influenced other versions. I guess years later some house remixes of Down With This also surfaced and I must have them somewhere.

4. Pinky - Looking For A Love (12″ Big One Records)

Now this is still a great tune in the Soul Version. I remember that I studied in Berlin/Germany back in 1991 and it was impossible to get this record there in any record store so I had to order it in a record store in Hamburg where I used to order records before I moved to Berlin. And it was and is worth all the efforts to get it. Like the Circle Of Life release Looking For A Love is a good example of the sound of Urban Brit Soul from the early 90s. Unfortunately I have never ever heard from Pinky again.

5. Hugh Masekela - Don’t Go Lose It Baby (12″ Jive)

Horrible cover of this German release, with the printed US flag saying “Top Ten US Dance Charts” you could’ve expected the worst. Of course this wasn’t the worst quite on the contrary. A fine dance version of Don’t Go Lose It Baby which still sounds good over 21 years after its release.

6. Black Radical - Sumarli (12″ Mango/Island)

In the late 80s and early 90s I bought some rap/hip hop records and Sumarli isn’t my sole Black Radical release. At least he was a rapper with a mission and meaningful lyrics. Sumarli is no exception and it features Courtney Pine, so I had two reasons to buy this 12″ in 1991. Although I began to dislike rapping in the 90s when it became fashionable to include a rap on every soul single, I still like this tune.

7. Camelle Hinds - Sausalito Calling (12″ Black On Black)

Ah, this is such a damn great summer tune from 1994/5. I would still buy it if it was released today. Sausalito Calling hasn’t lost any of its magic and class. Warm, organic orchestration and a fine vocal performance by Camelle Hinds. This tune was also included years later on Camelle’s Vibe Alive album on Expansion Records. If you missed the 12″ try to get the album just for this song alone it’s worth the price.

8. Mass Order - Tribulations (12″ Grove Street)

This was released years before Mass Order had a hit with Lift Every Voice (Take Me Away) and it sounds a little bit dated these days although personally I still like the sound of house records from the mid/late 80s. What’s totally outdated though, is the Hip House remix on the flipside.

9. Ceybil - Love So Special (12″ Atlantic)

Released in 1990 this has aged much better than the Mass Order release mentioned above. Ceybil was a moniker for Sybil Jefferies who later called herself Cybil (Jefferies) to avoid confusion with another house singer named Sybil. Produced and co-written by Renato Pearson I still prefer the B-Side and the Extended Original Underground Mix to the Tony Humphries mix on the A-Side. Love So Special can really be called a classic record in the house genre.

10. Melba Moore - Do You Really Want My Love (12″ Capitol Records)

Again this has incorporated the omnipresent Soul II Soul influences of the early 90s in the Wanna Dance Mix. Back in 1990 I really liked what Goh Hotoda did with this song. It still sounds nice although not so special like it did back then.

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Whatever happened to the Escoffery’s?


 

Released in 1991 by Atlantic Records in the USA Opinions by the four Escofferys sisters was an impressive debut album. Sharon, Marcia, Michelle and the late Sandra Escoffery’s vocal harmonies always had that special something which - I suppose - is due to the fact that they are sisters and had sung long before this release together in church. Listening to Opinions again as I write this, I notice that the album has matured nicely in over fourteen years. Especially the ballads have stood the test of time. When I Hear His Voice with Sandra’s warm and rich voice handling the lead vocals could easily appear on a contemporary nu soul album. L’Amour Nu (Naked Love) with its message against hate and war sung ethereally by Michelle is simply great, timeless soul.
Where Is Your Love or Unobtainable (Standing In Need) are blueprints of what the Escofferys could achieve with a great song and their sweet harmonies.
And then there’s the first (and as far as I know only single) Look Who’s Loving Me, and gosh, I still love this funky tune. It was only while re-hearing it today that I’ve noticed that the 12″ by Ancient Prophet on Waako, I’ve reviewed ages ago, sampled The Escofferys on the song Loving Me.
Opinions had some other fine midtempo grooves like Best Part Of My Life or Taking Live Easy.
Most of the songs were (co-)written by Sandra Escoffery together with Marcus Johnson from the Ethnic Boyz, who also produced the album.
Unfortunately that’s the only album I know of that the Escofferys had released. In 1993 the song Something Within Me appeared on the compilation Soul Stirrings - The Nu Inspirational on 4th & B’Way/Island and Michelle Escoffery was part of the girl group Truce, who released Nothin’ But The Truce in 1994/95 on Big Life Records. (Here is an interview with Michelle Escoffery). And it looks like Sharon calls herself Eshe these days (at least that’s what this site suggest about Eshe Escoffery).

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Detroit Emeralds


Vinylpodcast.com lets you hear some musty & dusty songs like the Detroit Emeralds with You’re Gettin’ A Little Too Smart.

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cellar full of Blue Note records


gokudo.co.jp is a great site that brings us virtually every cover of old Blue Note releases like McCoy Tyner’s Cosmos, a record that still hasn’t seen a CD re-issue yet. Some of the songs are available on the Asante CD release but songs like Planet X, Shaken But Not Forsaken, Cosmos, Song For My Lady, or Vibration Blues are lost somewhere in obscursville.
If anybody owns a copy of Cosmos and reads this, please leave a comment or contact me via e-mail.

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Lalomie Washburn


  

While I was looking for the original 12″ of Misty Oldland’s Got Me A Feeling (which I still haven’t found), I re-discovered two 12″ singles by Lalomie Washburn, Now Or Never and Music Use It, both released on BoogieBackRecords. I wondered what Lalomie may be doing these days, much to my surprise I discovered that she has died in 2004 according to soulwalking.co.uk.

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