The Blerd Radio Podcast

Guess what, listeners? It's time for another Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast. In this episode, Thomas and I take a little break to discuss the #2 R&B singles of 1983! 11 songs are discussed, so we pack a lot into a little over an hour. Here are the songs that peaked at the penultimate position on Billboard's Top Soul Singles chart in 1983.

Evelyn King "Betcha She Don't Love You"


The S.O.S. Band "Just Be Good To Me"

Midnight Star "Freak-a-Zoid"

Klique "Stop Doggin' Me Around"


Sonny Charles "Put It In A Magazine"


Champaign "Try Again"


Lionel Richie "You Are"


Jennifer Holiday "I Am Love"


Irene Cara "Flashdance...What A Feeling"


DeBarge "I Like It"


Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson "Say, Say, Say"


Here's how we'll fill in the blanks on these singles (and so much more!):
-What the hell is Evelyn King wearing while performing "Betcha She Don't Love You" on Soul Train?
-The S.O.S. Band's career revival, courtesy of upcoming producers (and former members of The Time) Jimmy "Jam" Harris III and Terry Lewis.
-An ongoing theme this episode of strange/odd/real talk about relationships.
-Beats International's slammin' mash-up of "Just Be Good To Me" and "The Guns Of Brixton" by The Clash.
-Richard X and Kelis's remake of S.O.S.'s "The Finest" AND his mash-up of Whitney Houston and Kraftwerk.
-How did "No Parking On The Dance Floor", Midnight Star's best known song, not even crack the top forty on Billboard's Soul Singles chart upon release?
-Think it's coincidence that Atlantic Starr released a song called "Freak-A Ristic" around the same time as "Freak-A-Zoid"? Why they hating?
-Klique's affinity for Jackie Wilson covers.
-Who the hell is Sonny Charles, and how did he have a Number Two record with a song that neither of us remembers?
-Champaign's career as the Air Supply of the R&B charts (this is not a diss) and their singer Pauli Carman's amazing Jheri Curl.

 

-Other songs that fall into the easy listening soul category include The Pointer Sisters' "Slow Hand", which was remade into a country smash by Conway Twitty (who, according to Thomas, was the Teddy Pendergrass of country music).
-Lionel Richie's upcoming tour, with opener (it feels weird for me to even type this) Mariah Carey.
-Jennifer Holiday having the soul sucked out of her on "I Am Love".
-The Flashdance Soundtrack, and the hot bear-ness of Michael Sembello.
-Why the cover of Sembello's debut album makes us wonder if there really is a chance for either of us to go back in time and boink him.


-Thomas doesn't like either of Irene Cara's soundtrack smashes, but he does like this song.
-More gushing over DeBarge, and the fact that El does NOT sing lead on their first hit.
-Clearly the better of the three Jackson/McCartney duets.

Comments and questions are always welcome. Never hesitate to drop us a line, and thank you for listening!!

Direct download: JCC83No2s.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles Podcast (Episode 13)

Hello listeners! Welcome to the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast, in which Thomas Inskeep and I discuss every song to hit #1 on the R&B chart during the 1980s in bite-size installments of five songs each.

We were knee deep in 1983 when we concluded the last show, and in this episode, we close out the year and jump into 1984. It's a legendary list of songs! Here's what we discuss:

"Ain't Nobody" by Rufus and Chaka Khan

"All Night Long (All Night)" by Lionel Richie

"Time Will Reveal" by DeBarge

"Joanna" by Kool & The Gang

"If Only You Knew" by Patti La Belle

 

-Compare Chaka's career to that of art-house actress Tilda Swinton (?)


-Discuss "Ain't Nobody" songwriter David "Hawk" Wolinski almost reneging on his offer to give the song to Rufus and instead submit it to the King of Pop.


-Split opinion on two Mary J. Blige Chaka Khan covers.


-Look back at the 1984 Grammy Album Of The Year race, in which every nominated album turned out to be a classic (arguably the only time that has ever happened.)


-Wonder whether we should forgive Lionel for his daughter Nicole.


-Shut the door on whether that breakdown in "All Night Long" is Jamaican or even pidgin Jamaican.


-Give props to Robert Christgau (the Dean of American rock critics) and his assessment of DeBarge's In A Special Way album.


-Marvel at the fact that El DeBarge sounds virtually the same (and also looks damn good) despite years of substance abuse.


-Juxtapose the "milquetoast" quality of "Joanna" to the relatively unique flavor of the other four songs discussed (hey, even "All Night Long" was interesting, at least.)


-Cheer on Patti's first solo #1 single, released at a time when she didn't even have a recording contract.

 

-Mention that "If Only You Knew" has one of her most beautifully understated vocals...

...and so much more.

Thanks for listening, and we hope you enjoy the show!!

Direct download: JCC833.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 10:20am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles (Ep. 12)

Me and Thomas are back on the scene, bringing you a fresh episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast.

This episode finds us knee-deep in 1983, a year chock full of R&B goodness. The 5 songs we cover in this show are:

Save The Overtime (For Me) by Gladys Knight & The Pips
Juicy Fruit by Mtume
She Works Hard For The Money by Donna Summer
Get It Right by Aretha Franklin
Cold Blooded by Rick James

In between, we cover...

Gladys Knight & The Pips' fall from their mid '70s heyday, including a separation that briefly saw them recording as two separate entities.

The smooth production of the SOLAR Records camp; members of whom contributed to Gladys & The Pips' #1 success. The album Visions, which "Overtime" appeared on, also marked one of the first records to feature a Jam & Lewis  credit.

Did you know that Gladys Knight & The Pips were the first act to record "Wind Beneath My Wings"?

"Juicy Fruit"'s risque (if you read between the double entendres) lyrics and how the Mtume camp manages to corral The System, Bernie Worrell, Miles Davis, Roberta Flack, Madonna and The Notorious B.I.G.

Mtume singer Tawatha's occasional side hustle as a background diva for The Dave Matthews Band.

Donna Summer's extreme versatility, which one does not always consider when discussing The Queen of Disco. Let it be known, though, that Donna was capable of singing new waveSpringsteen songs, standards and even adapting opera.

The Aretha & Luther Vandross disaster of '83; the diva fight to end all diva fights.

Rick James adapting to minimalist synth-funk with "Cold Blooded".

For the second time, we point you guys to the amazingness of the Rick/Smokey Robinson duet "Ebony Eyes"...and we again contemplate how much cocaine was involved in the recording of this song.

There's so much more...but you have to listen. Check us out in the player below, or you can download this to your computer to listen at your leisure. Our friends at LibSyn also have the show available for streaming, or you can subscribe to us on iTunes. So many choices!

Direct download: JCC832.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:30am EDT

Blerd Radio 2016: Episode 13

From Metallica to Miles, we are covering all of the musical bases on Blerd Radio, the podcast that (usually) discusses the history and legacy of classic albums.

In this episode, Big Money Mike JosephDr. Z and Michael Parr hop in the wayback machine and land in 1970, when Miles Davis unleashed Bitches Brew upon an unsuspecting public.


While jazz has always been (and still is, to an extent) a fairly insular musical world, Miles looked to the outside for influence, incurring the occasional wrath of purists, but also gaining cred in the rock and funk worlds. Although when you break Bitches Brew down to brass tacks, it is still very much a jazz album, it can't be argued that the sounds of acts like Jimi Hendrix and Sly & The Family Stone were beginning to seep into Mr. Davis's musical vocabulary (thanks, at least in part, to the presence of Miles' muse and eventual wife, Betty Mabry Davis).

The panel acknowledges that Bitches Brew is not your typical album (no matter what genre you classify it is) and that it was groundbreaking for its time. The dense layers of sound provided by Miles, producer Teo Macero, and a sea of musicians at peak capabilities set the stage for what would later become known as jazz fusion. Miles may have sat out a solid chunk of the '70s, but the musicians who played on Brew went on to define the sound of rock and pop-influenced jazz for the next decade (via Weather Report, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, etc.)

This conversation discusses the album's unique recording and its iconic legacy, as well as the irascible main artist himself (who we posit is one of, if not the most important musician of the 20th century). We also attempt to define the sound of "rock and roll" in the months and years leading up to Bitches Brew's release, scratch our heads at the fact that several songs from the album were edited down for single release, and shout out the recent Miles biopic starring Don Cheadle as well as Dogfish Head's beer tribute to this classic album.

 

Direct download: Miles.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:21am EDT

Blerd Radio 2016 | Episode 12

Turn the volume up to 11 and check out the latest episode of the Blerd Radio podcast. In this installment, Dr. ZMichael Parr and Big Money are discussing Metallica's magnum opus, their self-titled 1991 album.

That album (otherwise known as The Black Album-not to be confused with Prince's Black Album...or Jay Z's Black Album..or The Beatles' White Album...or Jamal Lyon's Black & White Album) is a behemoth of the modern era. Over 17 million copies sold, winner of multiple American Music Awards and Grammys, and still in the top 100 25 years after its release. Metal "purists" these days may scoff at the album's quality, but the proof is in Metallica's continued success.

The album contributed to the vanquishing of the "hair metal" era, outlasted the grunge era, and inspired just about every hard rock subgenre to follow. The podcast discusses the influence of notorious taskmaster producer Bob Rock, the power dynamic of lead singer/guitarist James Hatfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, and the slight refinement of the sound Metallica put together over their four previous albums. Also discussed: everything the quartet has released in Metallica's wake, a few interesting observations regarding fellow thrash metal legends Megadeth (I'm gonna assume you all are aware of Dave Mustaine's connection to Metallica) and whether the black album truly is the crown jewel in Metallica's catalog.

Direct download: Metallica.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 6:53am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles Podcast (Episode 11)

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for another episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast, in which Thomas Inskeep and Mike Joseph listen to and discuss the songs that hit #1 on Billboard Magazine's Hot Black/R&B/Soul Singles chart during the '80s, five at a time.

Uh...make that six at a time. We've deviated from the 5 songs format quite a bit over the last several episodes (which you can listen to if you click this link), and in this particular installment, we do six songs to get all of our Thriller conversation out of the way. Why? Because three of the first six songs to top the R&B charts in 1983 came from Michael Jackson's behemoth LP. The six tracks we discuss, in order, are...

"The Girl Is Mine" by MJ & Paul McCartney
"Outstanding" by The Gap Band
"Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson
"Atomic Dog" by George Clinton
"Candy Girl" by New Edition
and
"Beat It" by...you get the picture.

We get the three Michael songs out of the way consecutively, so I guess you could say this is the first episode in which we don't totally go in sequential order. And now for some show notes...

-Clearly, 1983 belonged to Michael Jackson. For goodness' sakes, the man got a BEATLE to top the R&B chart. Stevie couldn't even do that!

-Someone might actually have a soft spot for will.i.am's McCartney-less 2008 remix of "The Girl Is Mine".

-The yacht rock conversation rears its head again; not only due to McCartney's involvement, but because the members of Toto are all over "The Girl Is Mine" and the rest of Thriller, for that matter. Our friends over at the Beyond Yacht Rock podcast recently dedicated an entire episode to "yacht soul", and they also discuss Toto's connection to the Quincy Jones/Jackson family.

-If we're talking about Michael Jackson and Toto, a conversation about the Grammy Awards can't be far behind. Thomas sidebars into a discussion about the NARAS voting policy, which used to allow for singles and albums to be nominated in the same category (and doesn't anymore).

-We take a few minutes to pay tribute to the great Rod Temperton, who contributed mightily to Thriller and who sadly passed away about a week before this episode was recorded.

-Memories of Motown 25 and Michael inventing introducing the Moonwalk to Middle America.

-Shout out to Jeffrey Daniel of Shalamar.

-"Beat It" might have been the hardest rocking track to chart #1 R&B, a tribute to Michael Jackson's momentum at that time. MJ was such a hot commodity at that point that Eddie Van Halen (who infamously played the guitar solo on "Beat It") found himself with an R&B chart single barely a year after playing on Michael's session.

-We could do an entire podcast listing songs that have sampled The Gap Band's "Outstanding", and this segment cements the Wilson Brothers as the entity we've discussed the most in the first several episodes of this series.

-We could also do an entire podcast listing songs that have sampled George Clinton's "Atomic Dog", which was not only the P-Funk mastermind's sole solo #1 hit, but also his only R&B Top Ten as a solo artist.

-Going long on Clinton, the late '70s reign of Parliament/Funkadelic and all of Clinton's satellite projects are discussed. As is the fact that the first charted recording of a former Miss America (and future multi-media megastar) named Vanessa Williams came as the result of a Clinton session.

-"Candy Girl" introduces Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike and Ralph to the world and also becomes the first R&B chart-topper to feature a rap segment.

-If it wasn't for New Edition, there wouldn't be a New Kids On The Block. As much as NKOTB gets derided, they do have an R&B chart presence as well, although some of us would rather forget this golden moment with rappers Nice and Smooth.

-Thomas saw New Edition live a few years ago, and he has a story to tell about it.

-Plugs for the Jheri Curl Chronicles Facebook page (brand new!) and the upcoming Jheri Curl Chronicles radio show on Radio Free Brooklyn, premiering November 16th at 10 PM EDT!

(We also acknowledge that a) there are some audio fidelity issues with this podcast that will be fixed next time around and b) this episode runs slightly longer than usual. We appreciate you listening!)

Oh right! The opening and closing tracks in this episode are, respectively: "I.O.U." by Freeez, and "Block Party" by Stacy Lattisaw with Johnny Gill. 

 

Direct download: JCC11.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

The Blerd Radio Podcast 2016 | Episode 11

Get your big suit on and join me, Dr. Z and Michael Parr for the latest episode of the Blerd Radio podcast. In this installment, the three of us are talking about 1983's Speaking In Tongues, the most commercially successful studio album by new wave legends Talking Heads. A million-seller, Tongues was an MTV favorite that spawned the quartet's only top ten pop single, "Burning Down The House". It also spawned a host of warmly remembered songs that have become classics in the ensuing decades; the funky "Girlfriend Is Better", the shuffling groove of "Slippery People", and the tender "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)".

This podcast acknowledges the relatively commercial bent of Speaking In Tongues (relative to Talking Heads' earlier work) and explores how the album's sound combined with the band's visual presentation to ensure success. We also talk about the Talking Heads-related side project Tom Tom Club (featuring band members Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth), and how that album's unexpected success paved the way for Tongues. We shout out P-Funk keyboard legend, the recently deceased Bernie Worrell (who played a huge role in Tongues), and explore the album's foray into funk, further assisted by LaBelle's Nona Hendryx and The Brothers Johnson's Alex Weir. Props are given to the Staple Singers (who covered "Slippery People), Dave Matthews Band (who have covered "Burning Down The House" live on several occasions), and a ton of artists who have covered "This Must Be The Place", a song that deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame of love songs.

If you'd like to enjoy this and other podcasts in the Blerd Radio family, you can listen in the player below. You may also stream the podcast on Liberated Syndication, or download the audio directly to your device. Of course, we'd love it if you checked us out on iTunes and subscribed! No matter how you decide to listen, we hope you keep coming back for more!!

 

Direct download: Speaking_IN_Tongues.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:51am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles (Episode 10)

Greetings listeners! Me and Thomas Inskeep are back with the 10th episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast. Before we get started with this new episode, what say you backtrack and listen to the series' other episodes, which you can find here and here.

While most of our episodes focus on songs that hit #1 on Billboard Magazine's Hot R&B Singles chart in the '80s, this is one of those "very special" episodes focusing on the #2 singles of 1982. We've got nine tasty treats for you this episode, so we run just a tad longer than usual. But I can virtually guarantee that you'll enjoy every second!

Here are the nine songs covered in this latest episode:

"Truly" by Lionel Richie

"Genius of Love" by Tom Tom Club

"You Dropped A Bomb On Me" by The Gap Band

"Mirror, Mirror" by Diana Ross

"Do I Do" by Stevie Wonder

"The Other Woman" by Ray Parker Jr.

"Mama Used To Say" by Junior

"Circles" by Atlantic Starr

and "777-9311" by Prince The Time

Along the way, we discuss:

-How schmaltzy is too schmaltzy, even for Lionel Richie? And why might Laura Branigan have harbored a grudge against Lionel?

-Did Tom Tom Club's success take their original band, Talking Heads, to the proverbial "next level" commercially?

-Diana Ross's long, LONG string of campy videos, which also includes thisthis, and ESPECIALLY THIS.

-"Mirror Mirror"'s co-writer, Michael Sembello, who not only fit perfectly in with the "bear" archetype, but was no stranger to camp himself.

Julio Iglesias & Diana Ross "All Of You" single cover-

This single cover. Discuss.

-Is it me, or does "The Other Woman" give you the "Jessie's Girl" feels? (not discussed in the podcast: do you think Michael Jackson and John Landis saw this video before they made "Thriller" or nah?)

-Ray's smoldering sex appeal and general caddishness.

-British soul arrives in the '80s courtesy of Junior, although it really didn't. Billy Ocean hit the Top 5 with this classic first. Oops.

-Atlantic Starr's revolving door of female vocalists.

-Why "777-9311" might be the best punk/funk single ever recorded, and Morris Day's legacy as a "pussy hound"

and so much more.

Also, we give props to our opening and closing songs: "I Just Gotta Have You (Lover Turn Me On)" by the late Kashif and "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)" by Michael McDonald.

You can give a listen to this episode via streaming on LibSyn. You can also listen in the player below, download the episode directly to your device, or subscribe to the Blerd Radio family on iTunes.

Please leave comments, tweet at us, and ask questions! If you have a question about '80s R&B, hit us up and we may read your question on the air! Enjoy!

 

Direct download: JCC10.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:15pm EDT

The Blerd Radio Podcast 2016: Episode 10

It’s time to get sexy with a brand new episode of the Blerd Radio podcast!

This episode takes you back to 1996. The “neo-soul” genre was just getting a foothold in the marketplace, and an Afro-ed, mysterious singer/songwriter named Maxwell showed up on the scene. His sound was both familiar and exotic, old and new. He seemingly emerged from nowhere, but he was talented enough to attract collaborators like Motown composer and producer Leon Ware and Sade’s Stuart Matthewman on his acclaimed debut, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite.

Me (Mike Joseph), Michael Parr and Dr. Z revisit Urban Hang Suite on its 20th anniversary. We discuss the album’s place in the neo-soul canon and the misguided comparisons to D’Angelo. We explore the air of mystery that’s surrounded Maxwell since day one, the subtle UK influence on his work, and his surprising connections to R. Kelly and Santana’s “Smooth”. We also discuss Urban Hang Suite’s narrative arc, Maxwell’s killer live performances, two remixes that extended the album’s life, and touch on the catalog of albums he’s released since, up to and including the recent release blackSUMMERsnight. We also share the news that Urban Hang Suite will be receiving its first release on vinyl later this year. 

Direct download: Maxwell.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

The Blerd Radio Podcast (2016/Episode 9)

Last week, Sony/Legacy announced a deluxe reissue of George Michael's second solo album, 1990's Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. Coincidentally, when that announcement was made, the Blerd Radio team was putting the finishing touches on a podcast episode devoted to that particular album.

So join me (Mike Joseph) and my partners Michael Parr and Doctor Z for a deep-dive exploration into the decidedly introspective follow-up to the mega selling Faith

While not as commercially successful-or anywhere near as pop friendly-as its predecessor, Listen Without Prejudice has become a classic. It boasted the #1 smash "Praying For Time" and the Top 10 smash "Freedom", a song that has become iconic thanks to its stylish video and universal message. With these songs, George shrugged off his pretty boy pop star image, and aimed to be taken seriously as a songwriter and vocalist. By refusing to appear in his own videos or do interviews, George incurred the wrath of his record label and set the stage for a years-long court battle that remains a tentpole event in the fight for artists' rights.

We also discuss Listen Without Prejudice's debt to '60s pop and '70s soul, George's coming out and how it may have affected the promotion and lyrical content of the album, the Cover To Cover tour George embarked on in early 1991, and much more. 

 

Direct download: LWP_Podcast.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:48am EDT