A bad year for Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes and Philadelphia. January saw Teddy Pendergrass’ passing. And now native North Philadelphian and original Blue Notes member Bernard Wilson has passed.
The Philadelphia Sound was forever changed by The Blue Notes. The Inquirer reports that Wilson was the “fancy one” who “wore the best clothes, mink coats, diamonds – and Cadillacs.” Which makes the tale of riches and loss of “Where Are all My Friends” from 1975’s To Be True, all the more fitting.
Aloe Blacc’s September release of Good Things is apparently most well known for the lead-off track, “I Need a Dollar,” because it’s the theme song to some HBO show I haven’t been watching, but it should be known for this great soul rendition of the Velvet Underground and Nico’s “Femme Fatale.”
The news has been all over the internet today. We lost Patrick Swayze not much more than a year ago, and today we lost Solomon Burke, whose “Cry to Me” provided the soundtrack to some unforgettable (and un-embeddable) dirty dancing. On the bright side, it looks like Baby’s still got it on Dancing with the Stars. I dare say she will make it to the top three.
Burke was born in West Philadelphia and is survived by 21 children, 90 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren. He died of natural causes in an Amsterdam airport this morning. His most recent album, Hold on Tight, which was produced with De Dijk, was released in Europe October 1.
I’m going to share two tracks with you. The second is from that most recent album and is a fun track with strong horns, but the first, “Flesh and Blood,” will knock you for a bit of a loop. It’s from the highly, highly recommended Don’t Give Up on Me (2002), the album that jump started his career for a new century and made this last decade of his life perhaps his most prolific one.
I hereby submit to MinuteMusic Cee-Lo Green’s forthcoming single, “Fuck You.”
It seems the entire internet started bumping this today. And surely the radio will soon follow, just as soon as they can figure out how to deal with the lyrics. However, I think this record will get most of its spins as this fall’s ubiquitous club banger. (Hey Ya much?) Indeed, whatever pop music conjurer was behind the production managed to combine classic soul tropes just so, ruthlessly tickling our pleasure centers and triggering our replay instincts (and rendering those troublesome lyrics even more inessential).
In Brazil, where Seu Jorge is from, the longest day of the year is in December, but where I’m from it’s today, and the forecast says it’s going to be a hot one. So hot, in fact, that the meteorologist recommends you find yourself a cool song to get you through it. Preferably something in the R&B/Funk range.
You might remember Seu Jorge as Pele dos Santos, the safety expert aboard the Belefonte who provided The Life Aquatic with its mostly diegetic score of bossa-nova lite versions of all your favorite Bowie tunes.
Anyway, he’s got a new album coming out at the end of July, Seu Jorge and Almaz, and its first single, a cover of Roy Ayer’s “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,” is available for download. The track is lazy and a little ominous, just like the original, and it’s just the thing to beat the heat for when all you can manage is to sit and sweat.
Every Tuesday night, at midnight or so, after the regulars have returned home to their neglected families, after the slumming hipsters and self-denying yuppies have shuffled on, after the cackling jokes have silenced, after the young- and old-in-love have linked arms and left, after the merely glum have mumbled their hesitant “Well, I guess I should…,” when all that’s left are men with their elbows on the bar and their head in their hands, nodding imperceptibly to your offer of “Another?”, walk around the bar, your pockets jangling, and put quarter after quarter into the jukebox.