Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Best Music Video Ever!
Musically, Halloween makes me think of Michael Jackson and the groundbreaking "Thriller" video, arguably the greatest music video ever made.  I recall watching it countless times on MTV at a young age, and being memorized by it.  I worshiped the music of MJ back then, and thought he was the coolest dude in the world.  Off The Wall and Thriller were (and still are) my jams.  At the same time, while I loved the "Thriller" video, I recall being slightly terrified at Michael's transformation into a dancing zombie fiend.  It was so cool, but slightly scary at the same time.  I remember that I just couldn't stare too much at MJ's face when he became a zombie, so instead I watched the dancing and thought (as most 7 year old kids probably thought at the time), that there was nothing cooler than Michael Jackson, his music, and his dance moves. 
My favorite Halloween-inspired 45 that I own is "The Monster Mash", by Bobby "Boris" Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers.  I randomly picked up this 45 a few months ago, and thought that the record would be perfect to play in the month of October.  It's gotten a lot of play in the Soul Excursions household this month!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Piero (For My Wife)

My wife turned me onto Piero, the Argentinian singer-songwriter who released a wonderful album Mi Viejo, in 1969.  The song I'm featuring, "Mi Viejo" is the most popular song he recorded--an absolutely heart-wrenching, beautiful yet sad song about one's relationship with their aging father--how one can be so different in some ways than their parent yet so much alike--you are in their blood (and they in yours), after all.  If you don't understand Spanish, please take a minute to google the lyric translation in English, and even though it's doesn't come across in English the same way, it's still remains an extremely powerful message lyrically and poetically nevertheless.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

All Because of You

One of my favorite soul songs from the mid-1970's is "All Because of You" by Leroy Hutson.  Hutson was initially known for replacing Curtis Mayfield in a latter-day version of The Impressions.  Shortly afterwards, Hutson left and released a great album, Hutson, in 1975.  Ironically enough, Hutson was released on Mayfield's record label, Curtom Records.   It's one of my favorite albums from the mid-70's post-funk/pre-disco era, well-worth checking out.  Here is my favorite song off the album, "All Because of You".  Can't get enough!

Monday, October 10, 2011

George Benson and Childhoods

This was my jam at age 4, and still is to this day!
Recently, I've been thinking a lot about the music of Jazz Guitarist George Benson.  Albums like Breezin and Give Me The Night were my jams at a young age (in Preschool, I wrote a Valentines Day Card for George Benson, but that's a whole other story).   My dad was definitely an influence musically on me, as I would pull out all of his Benson records, and listen to them continuously, as well as Quincy Jones.  Benson was my favorite--I absolutely adored him.  I also listened to a lot of Classical  music, like Ravel's Bolero, Beethoven,  Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff, so I basically listened to a lot of music that most four year old's wouldn't listen to voluntarily.  You could say I caught the music bug at a young age, which brings me to my 1 1/2 year old son Miles.  Miles is already beginning to catch the music bug.  As a daily occurrence (sometimes a few times a day), he runs over the record player and grabs at it while looking at me, wanting me to put on a record.  I oblige, and while holding him, I play him a series of soul 45's.  I gently rock him, and he lays his head on my shoulder, watching the records spin.  I definitely notice that he enjoys anything Motown.  He gets pretty fired up when I put on the Four Tops, Jackson 5, or Stevie Wonder, and he also seems to dig Bill Withers and Sly Stone.  Miles is definitely loved, and it's great to see him have so many people in his life who love him and are always there for him--his immediate family (my wife and I, and his older brother), his grandparents (from both sides) and his tias (my wife's sisters) as well.  It makes me realize how lucky we are as a family, and regardless of what Miles is interested in growing up, whether he becomes a music junkie or he develops many other interests, it's great that he has the support that I had as a child.  I haven't played him George Benson yet, ironically enough, so that will be next on our playlist.  On that note, here's a little Benson from his best-selling 1976 release Breezin' (title track "Breezin"), as well as a few clips off of his early solo albums from the late 60's that I dig as well. 
Here's a clip off of his 1966 release, The George Benson Cookbook.  Track is called "Slow Scene". 
 "JH Bossa Nova" is taken off of Benson's mid-60's release It's Uptown.