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 🙂
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