Sunday, July 12, 2015

Bauduizm the best of 90's Neo Soul

The late 90's and there is a new movement in R&B, Neo Soul.  Hip Hop beats with a lyrical melody and a soulful delivery.  One of the early leaders and a standout in the style was Erykah Badu and her first CD was Baduizm.

I remember seeing the video for the single On and On, on VH1 and it made me think wow Billie Holiday is singing with a Hip Hop beat.  I called my buddy Spencer he watched a agreed with me.   The video was very good and a great show case for Erykah.

The rest of the CD is very good and I can see the reasons why it was so critically and popularly received.  The tracks are lyrically dense but very easy to listen to.  The track Next Lifetime is a heartbreaking track about regretting on what can't be due to commitment to others.  Afro is a freestyle track that is too funny and is a nice up note in the middle of the CD.

I have to admit in R&B and Hip Hop I am very picky.  Generally I am not the biggest fan of the 90 popular era.  I think like many different types of music when it gets too popular many artist that aren't really that good show up.  Hard Rock, Rap, Disco and heaven knows the Boy and Girl groups have really sold out for the dollars and the record companies.  So if I am going to listen to the style of music it has to either be the best example of that style or the artist should be doing something to reinvent or move the style ahead.  Erykah Badu is certainly one the artist who fit into that category.

Neo Soul lasted for a while and Erykah Badu followed up this CD with a great live release and continued putting out great music.  For anyone who wants to hear what Soul sounds like with a Hip Hop beat you should start with Baduizm.

Remember listen to the best your ears deserve it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Damn Shaw and Blades rock

For most of the 80's I had to defend Tommy Shaw of Styx.  I have mentioned in earlier posst I love Styx and I have taken grief for it most of my life.  Another band I got grief on that has also been mentioned in earlier post is Night Ranger.

Well in 1990 Shaw and Blades came together in a true Hard Rock band, Damn Yankees.  And just in chase anyone doubted their Rock status they added the Nuge, yes the Motor City Madman made sure the edge was in every song.  I was in heaven.  I still remember hearing the first track, Coming of Age. Just straight hard guitar, ah I knew these guys could Rock and I finally had the proof.  I bought the CD the first day it came out.

I loved the whole CD and not a filler track on it.  In fact, the single High Enough gave Ted Nugent his first top ten single.  I will get to that ballad in a minute.  Like I earlier said there isn't a filler track on the whole album it is all guitar driven songs.  So to my friends and doubters I said listen Shaw and Blades can rock, it is just awful record companies that push the rock ballad bullshit.

Now to my rant about the 90's and Hard Rock and even some Metal bands.  There was a formula that the record companies, and I blame MTV too, came up with to push and make Rock more to the masses.  First track from the CD was a rocker and then the ballad.  Every major Hard Rock and many Metal bands fell into this trap which ruined rock for the decade and it took until the 2010 to really come back.  I can't fully blame the artist, you got to eat and the bands that did it made money.  Then they drank and whored it away but hey that's Rock and Roll. But the few bands that didn't fall into the trap are still around and most produce new stuff and don't have fair well tours.

Now back to Damn Yankees the other thing that stands out about the band is the name.  How they talked a good southern boy like Tommy Shaw into being in a band with Yankee in the title is beyond me. The other neat thing is that the artist are from all over America, Shaw the South, Blades the West Coast, Ted Nugent the Midwest.

Any one who wants to listen to a great Rock CD, it is a good listen.

Be good to your ears - they deserve it.