Tue, 31 May 2016
Our listeners have spoken, and we’re listening! Here’s the chart for the next “Son of Chart Attack!”
In this episode, we travel back exactly a quarter century to chat about the top 10 songs on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart dated June 8th, 1991.
01. "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" by Crystal Waters
I will say that some of the sub-topics we touch on include the Martha Wash substitution pattern that riddled dance music for about two years, LL Cool J's legendary MTV Unplugged performance, the AIDS crisis that inspired the #8 song on the list, dance music's social consciousness, the bizarre appeal of Gregorian chant music, and the remarkable consistency of The Pet Shop Boys.
Enjoy the show!
Tue, 24 May 2016
Happy Day! The third episode of the award-winning (not really) Jheri Curl Chronicles is live for your listening pleasure! If you haven't yet, make sure you check out episodes 1 and 2.
For those unaware, the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast features me and Thomas Inskeep talking about every song to hit #1 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart during the 1980s.
In this installment, we leave 1980 and jump into 1981 with these five tracks.
"Give Me The Night" by George Benson
"Funkin' For Jamaica (N.Y.)" by Tom Browne
"Master Blaster (Jammin')" by Stevie Wonder
"Celebration" by Kool & The Gang
"Fantastic Voyage" by Lakeside
And here are some show notes/secondary topics brought up as these songs are discussed.
-The brilliance of Quincy Jones as a producer. Along with his right-hand man, songwriter Rod Temperton, Q owned the early '80s and we make the case for him as the greatest producer of all time.
-Patti Austin's sumptuous background vocals on "Give Me The Night", her surprising lack of a #1 R&B single, and the glory that is her 1981 jam "Do You Love Me".
-The mixture of jazz and R&B that gave way to the smooth jazz movement of the late '80s and early '90s, and the stellar list of players that appeared on "Funkin' For Jamaica".
-Tom Browne's bass-playing cohort Bernard Wright, who made at least one unassailable '80s jam.
-Why Hotter Than July might be the most underrated of Stevie Wonder's albums.
-The Kool & The Gang conundrum: were they better as a funk band or a pop band?
-Kool & Co.'s divorce-themed epic "Jones vs. Jones".
-We shout out radio legend Sean Ross as well as reissue giants BBR, who have kept many of the titles we discuss on this podcast in print (further shouts out to Funkytown Grooves and Legacy Recordings).
-What the hell was in the water in Ohio? The unassuming midwestern state is responsible for Lakeside, but also The Ohio Players (natch), Slave, Zapp, and a plethora of influential funk bands.
-Yes, Lakeside-we're holding you responsible for Coolio's career.
Wed, 18 May 2016
Yep, you read it right. Episode 2 of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast is up for your listening pleasure! In case you missed it, you can check out Episode 1 here.
In this series, me and Thomas Inskeep talk about every song to hit #1 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles (later named Hot Black Singles) chart in the 1980s. We're going five at a time, and we've got a nice meaty section of 1980 to tackle in this episode.
The 5 songs we discuss this time around are:
"Don't Say Goodnight (It's Time For Love)" by The Isley Brothers
"Let's Get Serious" by Jermaine Jackson
"Take Your Time (Do It Right)" by The S.O.S. Band
"One In A Million You" by Larry Graham
"Upside Down" by Diana Ross
More specifically, we talk about:
-How The Isleys' Go All The Way album (which featured "Don't Say Goodnight") was originally supposed to be the first Isley-Jasper-Isley album, and which steamy bedroom classic from 1979 inspired the Isleys as they wrote "Goodnight".
-The absolute jammin'-ness of The S.O.S. Band's Jam & Lewis-produced output. We scratch our heads in collective wonderment at the fact that masterpieces like "Just Be Good To Me" and "The Finest" stopped (just) short of pole position. We also wax rhapsodic over "Tell Me If You Still Care", which has gone on to a long life courtesy of artists like Mariah Carey and Monica.
-One of us finds Sly & The Family Stone (the band that spawned Larry Graham) overrated. One of us (actually, both of us) also think that Larry Graham ruined Prince.
-Did you know that Diana's "Upside Down" was (allegedly) originally written for Aretha Franklin? Have you read Nile Rodgers' excellent book? We also give a shout out to Diana's camp-tastic video clips for "Muscles" and "Swept Away".
Oh, also we should give props to our intro and outro songs for this episode: Patrice Rushen's "Haven't You Heard" and Chaka Khan's "Papillon (Hot Butterfly)", two classics from 1980 that didn't make it to the top of the charts, but are always at the top of our hearts.
Mon, 16 May 2016
The Blerd Radio team (consisting of me, "Big Money" Mike Joseph + Dr. Z and Michael Parr) did a Prince-related podcast a couple of years back. There'd been conversation about expanding that show, but we never got around to it.
Then Prince died, and we knew what we had to do.
We tried to avoid regurgitating the 1st podcast we did, and I think we were pretty successful. In this episode, the team discusses how we first became aware of the Purple One's existence. We try (somewhat unsuccessfully) to succinctly describe the way he expertly balanced musicianship with pop smarts, and ponder his influence on the musical scene today. We also share where we were when we heard the news of his death, contemplate the future of his music and the celebrated "vault" of unreleased material, and obsess over tons of Prince minutiae as only a trio of Prince devotees can.
Thu, 12 May 2016
The latest Constant Conversations podcast is a chat with Tristan More.
Tristan, who works in the film industry, has his own blog and podcast called Interjections, and also happens to be connected (by a years-long friendship) to our last Constant Conversations guest, Mike Duquette.
In our wide-ranging conversation, Tristan and I talk about how his interest in film developed, and why he decided to do movie reviews on the internet. We also discuss the culture of reviewing and the fear some people have of developing a contrary opinion. We talk about about discovery in New York City (Tristan's one of those Jersey guys), how to handle horror movies, where the hell "DUMBO" is (and what it stands for!), why one maybe shouldn't date their friends, what happens to child stars, separating art from the person who makes art, and film reboots.
A lot of ground to cover in just over an hour, but we do it! Enjoy the show!!
Fri, 6 May 2016
Guess what? We're spinning off a new series in the Blerd Radio family.
The Jheri Curl Chronicles finds Blerd Radio founder Mike Joseph and pop culture writer Thomas Inskeep (proprietor of the Rock Me Tonight blog) discussing every song to hit #1 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles (later Hot Black Singles) chart during the 1980s. Each episode will feature five songs, in chronological order of when they hit pole position.
This pilot episode (featuring a few audio hiccups that will not be present in future installments) starts off with a tribute to Prince, who will not be discussed in earnest for a while yet.
The songs discussed are:
Peripheral topics discussed include:
"Do They Turn You On"- a classic album cut from The Whispers
Tevin Campbell's "Safer On The Ground", his first new single in a decade and a half...
...and much, much more! Stay tuned for future episodes in this series as well as a continuation of the OG Blerd Radio podcast and the Constant Conversations spin-off.