Banter on Tulips and a Tribe Called Quest, Jay-Z and John Coltrane, Outkast and Othello.


My Favorite Things, Take II

*Note to reader: This original post has been amended. Yes, there is some truth to the idea that women can't make up their minds. So...sue me*

Now playing: "My Favorite Things", John Coltrane.

On the ride into work today, inspired by the lovely melody of Mr. Coltrane on the horn and the unflappable Mr. Tyner on the keys, I thought about some of things I love in music. *singing* "These are a few of my favorite things..."

Twenty-five songs I couldn't live without:
1. "Keep Your Head to the Sky" Earth Wind and Fire: If I had an iPod with one song on it, this would be it. Philip's heavenly falsetto, the precise guitar, and the skyward message just makes me think. Whatever the challenge, whatever the task, looking upwards from whence your help comes just motivates us to work harder, be stronger, understand our place in this infinite universe. To endure. And Mr. Bailey sings, "Master told me one day, I'd find peace in every way/ But in search for the clue, wrong things I was bound to do/ Keep my head to the sky for the clouds to tell me why/ As I grew and with strength, master kept me as I repent/ And he said keep your head to the sky."

2. "Another Star" Stevie Wonder
3. "My Favorite Things" Coltrane

4. "Kiss of Life" Sade: Maybe it's the soft opening key strokes, the velvet sax or something about how the Nigerian-English chanteuse sings "There must have been an angel by my side/ Something heavenly led me to you/ Look at the sky, it's the color of love." I grew up on mixtapes that my dad would make featuring Ms. Adu. I mimicked the woodwind in her voice, trying to lend my best childlike imitation to "Is It a Crime?". When this song came out, I realized that this was as pure as music could get. *singing* "Look the sky is full of love."

5. "The Glow of Love" Luther Vandross
6. "Stay This Way" Brand New Heavies
7. "Fantasy" (Live) Earth Wind and Fire

8. "Dream Merchant" The New Birth: I think New Birth, which I discovered in high school, is quite possibly the most underrated R&B band of all time. From the opening swells -- when the preacher-like Leslie Wilson sings "Hey, hey mista dream merchant, bring her back to me/ Make my dreams come true" -- to the rising of the drums and the "woooo woooo" of the able background singers, to the anguished rap that polishes things off ["Mista dream merchant, would you please do me a favor. If you happen to see my baby somewhere, tell her I'm waiting with open arms. Would you please make my dreams come true?"], this song spells c-l-a-s-s-i-c.

9. "Best of Your Heart" Rufus feat. Chaka Khan

10. "Ain't No Stoppin Us Now" McFadden and Whitehead: Ask anyone from Philly what the city anthem is and whether they're eight or eighty, they'll tell you it's Ain't No Stoppin Us Now. Maybe it's cause it's the personification of the Sound of Philadelphia. The driving bass and drums, the silky soul voice of the duo dressed in white seventies suits... the fact that you play this and I guarantee you one thing: you will start a massive electric slide of strangers, and people will get to partying like fan bangs and medallions are still in. *singing* "Don't chu let nothin' nothin' stand in your way/ I want y'all to listen, listen to every word I say. Ain't no ntoppin us now. We're on the move." Can I get a soul clap for the getdown good people?!

11. "You Remind Me" Patrice Rushen

12. "No One Can Love You More" Phyllis Hyman: Probably my favorite songstress. Ever. Her voice is rich, flute-like and ebbs and flows like the swelling of the ocean. Okay that was decidedly wack...LOL...but it's the only description that really fits her sound. It's like she doesn't hit one note at time, she hits a flood of them -- effortlessly, powerfully. So when she sings "Questions people ask of me for loving you/ Why should I say the reasons of my own?" you really believe her. Though we know she wasn't lucky enough to live to see that lasting love, she breathes it easily in this song. RIP Ms. Hyman.

13. "Just The Two of Us" Grover Washington Jr. feat. Bill Withers

14. "Exodus" Eddie Harris: The coolest jazz cut on earth. Period. Though it's shy of just three minutes, it exudes social poise and graciousness (those clad in apple and salmon will know what I mean), the upward mobility of the DuBois talented tenth, the cool of Joe Louis and Billie Holiday in their prime and the boogie black people from one of the those Escalade commercials *smile*. Honestly, I love it.

15. "Everlasting Love" Chaka Khan
16. "Running Away" Roy Ayers
17. "It's Your World" Common

18. "What They Do" Roots: Okay, I'm putting it out there now for all the chickens that might be reading. I'm marrying Quest Love. So... step off. Lol. I love the 'fro, yes, but what I really love about Quest and the Illadelph boys is their laid-back cool. If we had to take it back to high school, me thinketh these were not the cats who were getting wild to the gangsta stuff. They seemed to have been the folks you would have do your AP English homework... a class of people I like to call the cool nerds. (I still have my membership card, I think. Lol). From the nice drum kicks to the lovely guitar, "What They Do" is what Black Thought would call "Official hip hop consumption/ The fifth thumpin'/ Keeping your party thumping with an original something." Yeah. Nice.

19. "I Love Music" O' Jays

20. "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" Temptations and the Supremes: Mr. Kendricks was lovely ("I'm gonna do all things for you a girl wants her man to do/ Oh baby...Every minute, every hour, I'm gonna shower you with love and affection/ Look out it's coming in your direction.") And Miss Diana held her own too. ("And I'm gonna use every trick in the book/ I'll try my best to get you hooked/ Hey babyyy"). Yeah, that line spoke for itself. Lol. The song is golden.

21. "Sunshine" Enchantment

22. "That's the Way I Feel About You" Bobby Womack: Let us pause a minute and have church in preparation for the opening lines. "You know, I'm a true believer that if you get anything out of life, you've gotta to put up with the toils and strife." Don't think I need to say anything more. Okay, one thing -- love this guy. I do. And Mr. Womack sings. "So if I'm weak for you, I don't minnnd." Man, if we had cullud men who would sing stuff like this today... Okay, I digress. Lol.

23. "Golden Lady" Stevie Wonder
24. "Be Thankful" William DeVaughn

25. "Home" The Wiz Soundtrack feat. Stephanie Mills: You cannot go to a black talent show or pageant without hearing this song, "You're Gonna Love Me" from Dreamgirls (btw, can't wait for Jennifer Hudson's take), and Whitney's "Greatest Love of All." As the subtitle to Nikki Giovanni's "Ego Trippin" goes, "There must be a reason why." Ms. Mills, in her Broadway debut, brings the house down, singing of living triumphantly in the world of Oz. "We must look inside ourselves to find/ A world full of love. Like yours, like mine. Like home." I've heard it so many times, but still gives me chills. Sing it girl!!


At May 26, 2006 7:12 PM , Anonymous golden said...

hmmm looking at bank acct to see if i have any xtra cash laying around cause me thinks me wants new musak!

At May 27, 2006 1:36 PM , Blogger Will said...

yes, Dot ... yes, I will be stealing this concept for my weekend post. LOL

Thanks for sharing ... and for stopping by. We have to do coffee soon, before one of us leaves the city. :)

At June 01, 2006 7:00 PM , Blogger Organized Noise said...

I think you're on to something. I saw Will's post, that you apparently inspired and decided to stop by and pay you a visit. . .

I'll be sure to give you your proper credit when I borrow this idea.

At June 02, 2006 9:54 PM , Blogger Another Conflict Theorist said...

My favorite part of "Kiss of Life":

"When I lay eyes on you..aaaaah aah aah.." Like what she experiences when she looks at her lover is so beautiful there are no words for it. She has to sing it.

Makes you want someone who feels that when they look at YOU.

At June 02, 2006 11:05 PM , Blogger Wendy said...

I was checking my fav sites and through post it led me to you. I was fortunate enough to see Ms. Mills on Broadway singing home. That experience will stay with me for life. You have inspired me to make a list of my own and I too shall give the proper credit due..


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