My Jams ’71

 

Diva of Soul Skygazing circa 1971
Diva of Soul Skygazing, 1971

 

This post is part of the “My Jams” series which currently includes my jams from 1966-1970.  If you haven’t already done so, please go check them out.

 

It’s all starting to come back to me.  I can faintly see a golden light bulb atop a lamp with no shade.  I am slowly being rocked to sleep as I listen to “Just My Imagination” by The Temptations.

Fast forward, I am standing in front of a reel to reel player watching the tape from one cassette slowly move to the other.  I am swaying back and forth to the song “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get” by the Dramatics.

My friends, these two scenarios are really just snippets of events that I vaguely remember from my childhood.  My cousin Ron refers to these as ‘cryptic memories.’

Sadly, with age, those ‘cryptic memories’ are beginning to fade so I thought I better record them here while I can still recall them 🙂

And so…

Here we are!  Into a new year!  So how are you adjusting to this whole ‘70’s thing? I pray that 1971 finds you doing well!

As implied in the first few paragraphs, this year, I am starting to become more independently conscious of music.  While, I can’t say that I know the names of songs or the artists behind them, I can say that I am happily able to express, via dance, my love for a good groove.  With that being the case, my list of jams is starting to get longer.

Forgive me folks!  Just hang in there with me 😉

So, with all of that said, let’s get it in!

“Family Affair” by Sly and The Family Stone

Ah yes!  I remember this one because Sly is more or less ‘rapping’ to us.  If you really think about it, he is talking to us about the realities of family, “One child grows up to be…”

Now, to be honest, I didn’t ‘get’ this back in 1971.  However, I did ‘get’ a funky groove; and this one certainly qualified!

“Spanish Harlem” by Aretha Franklin

Please don’t tell me you forgot about this one!  The guitar was definitely giving us a strong ‘Spanish’ vibe.

And then there’s ARETHA baby!  What more can I say about that?

“Never Can Say Goodbye” by The Jackson 5

This is probably the very first love song that I remember.  Too bad it was filled with “anguish,” “fools,” and “doubt.”  Damn, I just thought about that!  So what does that mean for my outlook on love?  LOL, let’s move on!

Anyway, the melody here is so beautiful that I can easily forget all the drama!

By the way, did you know that the actor, Clifton Davis, wrote this beauty?

“Mr. Big Stuff” by Jean Knight

“Just who do you think you are?”  Yessir, Ms. Knight is cutting somebody’s butt down to size!  HA!

“Smiling Faces” by The Undisputed Truth

Can you say “foreboding?”  If you don’t know the meaning of that word go look it up, I’ll wait!

This one reminds me of Sly’s “Family Affair” in that it causes us to examine the realities of our relationships.

Despite all of that, it shole is funky!

“What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye

This one finds me nearly speechless!  Most music aficionados point to this song as Marvin’s transition from traditional Motown stuff to all things edgy and political.

There is nothing that I can add that will do justice to this lyrical and musical masterpiece so instead of saying anything more; I have simply decided to bow down.

“Clean Up Woman” by Betty Wright

Good Lord!  This song is just about one of the scariest cautionary tales that anybody has ever recorded!  Ms. Wright warns that the “clean up woman is a woman who gets all the love these girls leave behind!”  Yass Baby!

Betty goes on to say, “The reason I know so much about her is because she picked up a man of mine.”

You gotta love a woman who is issuing a warning based on her own prior experiences 😉

“Whatcha See is Whatcha Get” by The Dramatics

Man oh man!  For me, this one is right up there with “It’s A Shame” by The Spinners!

Again, we have another song that urges us to pay attention to the folks around us, “You know some people are made of plastic, some people are made of wood…”

I am getting chill bumps just thinking about all of the low, mid and high vocal ranges that are to be relished in this song!  Weeeee!

And the music….I just can’t call it!  It’s smooth soul at its best!

Now I have to ask:  What woman can resist a man with a beautiful falsetto saying, “All I want to do is love you…”

I just can’t!

The Dramatics have dropped the freaking mic!  Shout out to Tack and T. Wayne on that!

 “Thin line” by The Persuaders

Another cautionary tale!  To be honest I just can’t get over this joker saying, “It’s five o’ clock in the morning and I don’t give it a second thought!”

What???? You mean to tell me that you didn’t think twice about coming home to your woman at five o’clock in the morning?

But wait, he goes on to say, “Here I am laying in the hospital, bandaged from feet to head.  In a state of shock!  Just that much from being dead…”

Based on results, I would venture to say that he’ll probably start getting home a whole lot sooner! 😉

Alright my friends, I am going to speed up this process by dropping the commentary.  I can’t leave 1971 without mentioning:

“I Don’t Want To Do Wrong” by Gladys Knight and The Pips

“That’s The Way I Feel About You” by Bobby Womack

“All Day Music” by War

“Trapped By This Thing Called Love” by Denise LaSalle

“K-Jee” by The Nite-Liters (I’ll hit on the remake of this one later–Can you say “TSOP” or better yet, The Sound of Philadelphia?”)

And with that, I bid 1971 a fond farewell!  What are your jams from 1971?

 

Next Thursday:  My Jams ‘72

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21 thoughts on “My Jams ’71

    1. Hey Baby Boy 🙂 Good to ‘see’ you!
      Trust and believe that the Ohio Players figure VERY prominently in My Jams!
      My mother grew up there in Sandusky and I got lots of family all over that great state!
      Here are two of my faves:
      “Heaven must be like this”
      “O-H-I-O”–The brass in that jam is BANANAS!!!! LOL!!

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. sandra connor

    I am definitely a 70’s music baby. They don’t make music like this anymore. Here are some of my favorites:
    1) Have you seen her by The Chi-Lites
    2) Mercy Mercy Me by Marvin Gaye
    3) If I were your woman by Gladys Knight & The Pips
    4) I can’t get next to you by AL Green

    Thanks to my MIA family I was introduced to the funky grooves of the following:
    5) Love the one You’re with by The Isley Brothers
    6) Gonna keep on tryin’ till I win your love by the Temptations
    7) Moments of truth and Life of love by Earth Wind & Fire

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Ma’am! Yass!
      For all of y’all who didn’t know, we got a Miami Playette in the house! Thank you San for coming out and adding some additional feminine energy to this joint!

      Of course, “Have you seen her” What??? Then you added a little EWF and them tempting Tempts!
      I am scared of you girl!!

      BTW, San is my homegirl. We’ve been besties/sisters for more than 30 years.

      I’ll spill the tea on her later….Don’t worry San, I’ll keep it nice, right and tight.

      Love you girl!
      Gwin

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  4. Jet

    In slang terms of the ’70s, those lists you guys produced were taken ” To the Max.” Yes son, your mom’s crib was always bangin’ with the smooth sounds of Mr. Al Green. That eight track was blazin’ night and day. “Tired of Being Alone” was and still is a favorite. I read an interview given by Al that stated he has always been a loner and that he is still “Tired of Being Alone.”

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  5. Hi Gwin and T. Wayne. I love your selections for ’71, my 10th year and the Jackson 5 was my cats baby! “Never Can Say Goodbye” and Michael’s “Got to Be There”, had me daydreaming about some foxy little 10 y/o chick. Sitting in my classroom thinking about Melody, my crush! I could just see myself “Running Away With Her, But it was Just My Imagination” (The mighty Temptations)

    If only I could have told her like Bobby Womack when he said, “That’s the Way I Feel About Ya!” They used to call that dude, “The Preacher”. Preach Bobby! “You’re a Big Girl Now”, I would have told her if I could if I could said it like the Stylistics did in ’71.

    Every time I heard Marilyn McCoo, my mother’s childhood friend and her fellow “5th Dimension” ers sing, “One Less Bell to Answer, tears “well up in the corners of my eyes”. “Shot bolts through my Heart Baby! I felt so bad for that girl. She was HURT!

    Culturally, I don’t think life would be the same if not for; Marvin Gaye and “What’s Going On” and “Inner City Blues”. Also Isaac Hayes and the theme from “Shaft”, still so relevant and still on tap for movie soundtracks and what-not. There’s a “Thin Line Between Love and Hate” spawned a classic movie title and “Proud Mary” with Ike and Tina. She’s still making money off of that song. lol

    I always have to include some “Soul Brother #1”; “Hot Pants” and “Make it Funky”. Funktified!

    I had a special kind of love for Lou Rawls. I saw him in concert in San Antonio Texas (my first ever concert); outdoor amphitheatre. Loved it! “I want to be, happy and free, living and loving for me. Like a Natural Man!

    I really dug Pop Staples in, “Respect Yourself”, cause “if you don’t respect yourself ain’t nobody gonna give a cahoot Na na na na eee yeah!”

    “I’m So Tired of Being Alone”, brings memories of staying with my Mom in Eufaula. Al Green was always on the playlist at that crib! lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh no!!! How did I miss “Tired of Being Alone” by Al Green???????!!!!

      I need a moment of silence because that is probably one of my MOST favoritist songs ever!!!!

      Al gives serious falsetto and chuch! Not church but chuch!
      “…. I’m so tired of being all alone by myself …”

      I really just CANNOT!!!!!!!

      Man I’m slipping! Thanks cous!

      By the way, I love the way that you decided to weave each song into a true story!
      I am calling all my cousins and their cousins and friends to holler back on this!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. First, thanks for the shout out! And you just dropped the mic with this list!

    Now of course, I’m going to have to add to this sweet soul party with a few gems of my own (courtesy of my mother’s classic soul 45s and AM radio early childhood development program and a hat tip to Andy Kellman of the All Music Guide who did a list of songs from 1971 a few months ago):

    In no particular order:
    “Oye Como Va”-Santana
    “Bridge Over Troubled Water”-Aretha Franklin (she took that white boy choir pop to church!)
    “Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling In Love)”-The Main Ingredient
    “Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)”-The Stylistics
    “Ain’t No Sunshine”-Bill Withers
    “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”-Marvin Gaye
    “Theme From Shaft”-Isaac Hayes (can you dig it?)
    “Scorpio”-Dennis Coffey
    “Got To Be There”-Michael Jackson
    “Grandma’s Hands”-Bill Withers

    Sorry so long, but I had to get in on all the fun! Love this series you have! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! Thanks T. Wayne! You definitely brought some more good records to the party 🙂 I can get lost reading a list of jams like the ones you presented. And yes, I can dig it!

      All of these are definitely favorites of mine. “Oye Como Va” is so much fun to sing at a party!

      And how in the world did I forget “Spinning Around (I must be falling in love)” You best believe I would have put that one on my list had I remembered. I used to jam that song when I was in grad school! Hell, it was already nearly 30 years old then!
      And as for the shout out! I couldn’t mention dropping the mic without thinking about how you ended one of your recent posts!
      Thanks so much for staying with this series. It means a lot to know that an experienced blogger can appreciate the newby!
      Best,
      Gwin

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Gwin, you are welcome and the pleasure is all mine! It’s so so good to see us keeping our musical heritage alive. It’s so easy to see rock music celebrated, and while I like a lot of it, I want our classic soul, funk and hip-hop that didn’t necessarily “cross over” to get it’s shine too.

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