I’m into vinyl now – it’s great because I can find a bunch of obscure stuff and it’s pretty cheap. I was at the Lakeview Reckless Records, flipping through the soul LPs. I overheard a fellow music geek sniff dismissively, “I can’t believe anyone would buy dubstep on vinyl.” He got verbal high-fives from his large group of friends.
I got a lot of stuff and the total was under ten bucks, so yeah for me.
Sun City – Artists United Against Apartheid – This album was in a cutout bin and I got it for fifty cents. Fifty cents. Two quarters. This album’s title track was an awesome rock-soul roar against Apartheid. The all-star choir screamed out the catchy chorus, “I ain’t gonna play Sun City” – Sun City was a resort town in South Africa that was a popular destination for entertainers. Some performers refused to support the South African government in the mid 1980s because of the awful conditions the country’s black population had to endure; U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, along with UK prime minister, Margaret Thatcher were slow to embrace and encourage boycotts of South Africa because they felt any economic repercussions would only hurt the poor blacks of South Africa, and not its government. There are other tracks on the record which I’ve never heard of before (kind of like “We Are the World” was also on an album with other cuts that no one heard of).
Nona – Nona Hendryx – Nona Hendryx was a member of Labelle – the rock-funk-glam trio with Patti LaBelle and Sarah Dash. Unlike Dash and LaBelle, Hendryx’s sound was more rock n roll and soul or R&B. She came out with a series of albums in the late 1970s and mid 80s that were 80s rock/pop with some dance-rock, too. She’s got a great, loud wail of a voice (not as gospelly as LaBelle’s or Dash’s). I don’t know any of these songs, but like the Sun City record Nona was only fifty cents.
Stephanie Mills – Stephanie Mills – I’m on a Stephanie Mills kick – I recently got a remastered edition of her early 80s album I’ve Got the Cure (which has an awful cover of Mills dressed as a nurse – not a sexy nurse, thankfully). For those who don’t know, Stephanie Mills was the original Dorothy in the Broadway musical The Wiz. After her success on Broadway, she had a successful career as a 80s R&B hitmaker. She’s got a huge voice with a quivering quality. This is a mid-80s record – I mean look at the cover – the 80s was a period when it was okay to slather metallic, flourescent-colored makeup on black women. “Bit by Bit” – the theme to the Chevy Chase crime caper, Fletch, is my favorite Stephanie Mills song – and it’s very dated – it has a drum machine, synthesizers, chimes – it sounds like what would happen if Patti LaBelle’s “New Attitude” had a love child with Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me).” So I enjoy her dance-pop moments, so I’ll probably like the album. Again, fifty cents.
Between the Lines – Five Star – Five Star is a great 80s soul-pop band from the UK. I love UK soul, so this is the latest in my collection of British R&B music. Five Star is comprised of five siblings, and was compared to the Jackson 5. The band had a great series of dance-pop and soul-pop hits – some in the United States, as well. I know a couple songs on this record like the UK top 20 hit “Whenever You’re Ready.” This was also in the bargain bin that had records for fifty cents apiece.
“Love and Understanding” – Cher – I’m not a huge Cher fan, but I do like this song – it was in her pop-metal period (“If I Can Turn Back Time”) and from her last Geffen album Love Hurts. This has a bunch of remixes, so I was excited to find this. And she looks gorgeous on the cover – I think I may frame it.
Third Album – Paul Jabara, Keeping Time – Paul Jabara, Paul Jabara & Friends – Paul Jabara – I finally found Paul Jabara’s albums. He was a 70s disco producer – he won an Oscar and a Grammy for Donna Summer’s “Last Dance.” He also wrote Barbra Streisand’s disco hit “The Main Event/Fight” as well as Streisand’s duet with Summer, “Enough Is Enough (No More Tears)”. The three albums I got are very rare and the Paul Jabara & Friends has his huge hit with the Weather Girls, “It’s Raining Men” as well as an early recording by a then-20 year old Whitney Houston.
Frantic Romantic – Jermaine Stewart – Jermaine Stewart had a huge hit with “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” – a great dance-pop song from the mid 80s that sounds a lot like Control-era Janet Jackson. And like his musical godmother, Sylvester, Stewart’s voice is a gorgeous falsetto, but airier than Sylvester’s soulful whoop. He only had the one big pop hit, but he put out a series of records throughout the 80s. He had a gorgeous voice, and it’s such a bouncy, fun sound – very joyful. There’s a poignancy to listening to Jermaine Stewart because he died in 1997.