The Blerd Radio Podcast

Hello friends! Mike and Thomas are back in the groove with another episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles, our trip through every song that hit #1 (and #2) on Billboard Magazine's Top Soul Singles chart during the '80s. We are now fully into 1985, and there's a very tangled web involving many of the five songs we focus on in this episode.

Here are the songs we'll be covering:

"Missing You" by Diana Ross (former Motown artist, song was written by Lionel Richie, dedicated to Marvin Gaye, who'd died the year before)

"Nightshift" by The Commodores (current Motown artist, formerly employed Lionel Richie as lead singer/pianist/saxophonist, dedicated to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson, who'd also died the year before).

"Back In Stride" by Maze featuring Frankie Beverley (a band mentored by Marvin Gaye)

"Rhythm of the Night" by DeBarge (Motown group)

"We Are The World" by USA For Africa (co-written by Lionel Richie and former Motown artist Michael Jackson; song written and sold with the intention of preventing large groups of people from dying)

Of course, a JCC podcast wouldn't be a JCC podcast without a ton of side trips; so you'll hear plenty of stuff about...other stuff that I won't share with you right now because I want you to listen to the podcast!


Direct download: JCC_May_18.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42am EDT

After a bit of a hiatus, Thomas and Mike are back with a new episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast. This one backtracks slightly from Episode 17, and the twosome discuss the #2 R&B hits of 1984. What are those songs, you ask?

-What's Love Got To Do With It? by Tina Turner

-Somebody Else's Guy by Jocelyn Brown

-Let The Music Play by Shannon

-Automatic by The Pointer Sisters

-You, Me And He by Mtume

-Freakshow On The Dance Floor by The Bar-Kays

-Don't Look Any Further by Dennis Edwards & Siedah Garrett

-The Last Time I Made Love by Joyce Kennedy & Jeffrey Osborne

In addition to these songs, Thomas and Mike discuss quite a few ancillary details about the artists who performed them; including Angela Bassett's Oscar-nominated performance as Tina Turner, The Bar-Kays' extreme adaptability to whatever sound was popular in Black music at the time, the incredibly creepy "Don't Look Any Further" video, "Let The Music Play" leading the freestyle music vanguard, the tangential connection Morrissey and George Michael have to the movie "Breakin'" and so much more.

We also plug Thomas's amazing writing and Mike's JCC radio show, on which you can hear the full versions of a lot of the songs discussed in this podcast. Enjoy! 

Direct download: 84_Number_Twos.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 9:43am EDT

We have now crossed into the second half of the 1980s! The 17th episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast (which does a deep dive into every song that hit Number One on Billboard's R&B singles chart during the 1980s) finds Mike Joseph and Thomas Inskeep discussing two chart-topping songs by New Edition ("Cool It Now" and "Mr. Telephone Man), as well as smash hits by Chaka Khan, Eugene Wilde, Midnight Star, and Ashford & Simpson. As usual, there are also a million side tracks and detours (including discussions about Ray Parker Jr.'s blatant plagiarism, the two OTHER cover versions of "I Feel For You" and the queerness of Nick Ashford), but it all ties together! Thanks for listening!

Direct download: JCC18.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:40am EDT

The Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast is back after a 6 week siesta! Join Mike Joseph (me) and Thomas Inskeep as they chat about every single to hit #1 on Billboard's R&B charts in the 1980s.

This episode contains a double dose of Prince, as we discuss his first two chart-toppers of the decade, "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy". Of course, both songs come from the Academy Award-winning soundtrack to the film "Purple Rain", and as appropriate for Oscar season, we go deep on the 1985 ceremony.

The 1985 Oscars nominated an additional THREE songs featured in this podcast, including Deniece Williams' "Let's Hear It For The Boy", Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters", and the eventual winner, Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called To Say I Love You". The other two #1s featured in this podcast-that have no movie tie-ins whatsoever-are O'Bryan's "Lovelite" and Billy Ocean's "Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)"

As is common with the JCC podcast, sidebars abound. Among the other topics covered: Thomas's love for Foreigner's "Waiting For A Girl Like You", the defense of Stevie Wonder's post-"Woman In Red" work, Don Cornelius's considerable influence in the music industry, the awesome 2-CD hits package on Deniece Williams that BBR Records recently released, and so much more.


Direct download: JCC_Feb_17.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 11:46pm EDT

It's a brand new episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast, in which Mike Joseph and Thomas Inskeep talk about the #1 R&B singles of the '80s five at a time. The latest episode finds us at the beginning of 1984, discussing these five songs:

"Encore" by Cheryl Lynn

"Somebody's Watching Me" by Michael Jackson Rockwell

"She's Strange" by Cameo

"Hello" by Lionel Richie

"Don't Waste Your Time" by Yarbrough & Peoples

-Thomas's karaoke favorites, and his karaoke philosophy (which is quite wise!)
-A comparison of "Encore" and the Cheryl Lynn song even white people everyone knows.
-"Encore" was the first R&B chart topper for Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, who we'll go on to discuss about 5,000,000 times over the course of the rest of this series.
-When bad fortune turns into good fortune: Prince fired Jimmy & Terry from The Time after a snow storm in Atlanta (which was probably, like, an inch), but then they became JIMMY JAM AND TERRY LEWIS. This turns into a meteorology lesson. It also turns into a brief history of "The Gong Show".
-We jump forward into the '90s for a minute and compare/contrast the soundtracks to Boomerang (helmed by L.A. Reid & Babyface) and Mo' Money (helmed by Jam & Lewis).
-Yep, there's another "Michael Jackson Hair On Fire" joke. Sorry.
-We connect Rockwell, Diana Ross, and LMFAO by the power of Berry Gordy's penis.
-Who is THIS (alligator) woman?
-Larry Blackmon, and "queer" vs. "gay".
-Sidebar: Black Ivory is awesome. Check out this and this for proof.
-There's a shout out to Cameo's dearly departed Wayne Cooper.
-Brenda Richie. So complicated.
-What is "super soft adult contemporary"?
-Of course, there has to be an in-depth discussion of the "Hello" video.
-The unattractiveness of Yarbrough & Peoples.
-No wonder they got a future gangsta rapper/actor to appear in the video.

We also shout out the Jheri Curl Chronicles radio show, which you can stream live on Wednesdays at 10PM EST on Radio Free Brooklyn. You can find archived episodes on Mixcloud. Of course, you can also follow the JCC crew on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Enjoy the show!

Direct download: JCC15.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 1:27pm EDT

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