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Friday, April 11, 2014

Missy Mist - Let The Good Times Roll (1991)

How about a bit more old school hip hop, this time of the Miami bass sort?  Missy Mist is Michelle Broom.  Originally from the Bronx, Michelle moved to Miami at a young age, where she convinced her mother to take her to a local radio station that LL Cool J was appearing at. While there, Michelle's mother convinced the security guard that Michelle could rap, and he introduced her to the DJ (and Miami bass pioneer), Eric Griffin, and his music partner Norberto Morales, who owned the successful Bass Station Records.  They liked what they heard and signed her.  Unfortunately Norberto was soon murdered, so Eric created his own label, Never Stop Productions, and started recording with Michelle, who now recorded under the name Missy Mist.  Their first track together was "Make It Mellow," in 1988, which became a Billboard rap hit.  It's success captured the attention of major label Atlantic Records, who quickly released the single on a larger scale. Missy followed this up the next year with "Gettin' Bass," which solidified her reputation as the queen of Miami bass.  Soon RCA Records came calling and Missy was signed to a lucrative deal.  With Eric again producing, the album included the Miami bass sound ("Back It Up" is the standout), but also explored other hip hop sounds, making it one of the more diverse albums from an artist associated with Miami bass.  There were samples aplenty, from Brian Hyland's "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" to S.O.S Band's "Take Your Time (Do It Right)".  The title track was the only single, and didn't fare quite as well as her previous tracks, and it would seem that RCA dropped her.  She stayed in Miami while Griffin moved to Missouri, where he was tragically murdered by thieves in his home studio in 1998.  While still dabbling in music, as well as doing voiceover work and acting, Michelle focused on being a housewife and mother.  She also went to school for Legal Studies in the hopes of one day becoming an Entertainment & Sports attorney.  And in 2013 she discussed her early days in an exciting documentary dedicated to Miami bass, The Bass That Ate Miami, which featured all of the pioneers and superstars of the genre, of which she was obviously one.  Visit her on Youtube or Facebook.

Download Let The Good Times Roll

1 Deadly
2 Let The Good Times Roll
3 Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend
4 Let's Pull Together
5 Think About Peace
6 We Can Do It
7 Rock The Funky Beat
8 Back It Up
9 Let's Get This Party Started
10 Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
11 Funky Enough

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sample This! - Sample This! (1993)

Sample This! consisted of musician/producer Anton Pukshansky and vocalist Traedonya.  Before joining together for the funk-jazz project, they came from very different backgrounds, but were both pursuing careers in hip hop.  Anton was born in Russia to a musical father and they moved to the US in 1979 when he was 15. He learned piano and guitar, and soon started experimenting with engineering.  He learned bass and recorded and independently released an electro-funk album in 1985 under the name Intellectrics.  As a result, he was soon involved in the flourishing world of hip-hop and got a job at Power Play Studios in Queens, NY in 1989, working with up-and-comers like Main Source and Kool G Rap.  Traedonya was born in North Carolina but was mainly brought up in the Bronx, NY.  She was discovered at 13 by "King Of The Beats" Pumpkin when he heard her rapping.  He introduced her to Aaron Fuchs, who owned the hip hop label Tuff City, and she recorded a double single "The Boogaloo"/"Sixteen" for the label in 1987.  From there she started working with hip hop collective X-Clan.  And this is where their stories merge.  Anton was working at Power Play with influential hip hop producer Large Professor, who was also working with Traedonya.  Anton and his friend Curtis Watts were making jazzy funk music at the studio in their spare time, and Traedonya happened to pass by and like what she heard.  She soon wrote and sang lyrics to Anton's music and they had a demo.  Anton was friends with Elektra Records' Dante Ross, who asked to hear the demos and liked what he heard.  They were soon signed to the label.  They recorded and released their album, as well as the only single, "Another Lie", which was remixed by Large Professor.  The music was a big departure from their hip hop roots, focusing mostly on classic funk and jazz.  But neither single nor album sold much (around 70,000 albums, according to Anton), and the label decided to drop them before they could complete a second album.  They sued the label and ended up winning back their masters and the budget for the second album.  After that Anton moved to California and has kept producing and engineering for major acts, even winning two Grammys, one in 1999 for Santana's Supernatural and one in 2004 for Ozomatli's Street Signs.  Traedonya went to college in New York to get her Fine Arts degree in jazz music and studied with some of the masters of the genre.  She also released some funky solo singles like "Naked Gun" in 1999, "Beloved" in 2003 and "I'll Give It 2 U" in 2009.  It was announced that an EP entitled High Fructose Corn Syrup was to be released in 2013 (and it was to include Sample This! tracks), as well as a new Sample This! album, but as far as I can tell both have yet to surface.  Follow Traedonya on her website and Facebook to find out if and when they are released.

Download Sample This!

1 Intro
2 Another Lie
3 Shake That Egg
4 Between The Tracks
5 Free Your Mind
6 Family Affair
7 Shady
8 Slippin Away
9 Rained On Me!
10 Get A J-O-B!
11 Dangerous Zone
12 Da Flex
13 Sample This!
14 Outro

Friday, April 4, 2014

Tam Tam - Do It Tam Tam (1991)

When I started this blog, it was very difficult to find any info on the artists I featured because they were so obscure.  As time went on and the internet grew, a lot of these artists reemerged, and their internet presence grew as a result.  Most times now when I want to feature an album, I can find quite a bit about the artist if I poke around enough.  Not true of Tam Tam.  There is virtually nothing about her out there, just basic info that her real name is Tammy Hairston, she was (and still is) from Boston, and that her one single, "Do It Tam Tam," reached the lower end of the Billboard R&B Singles chart.  The album was produced by mostly unknowns, but somehow her talent got her a deal with a major label, Island.  I even reached out to LaTamra Smith, former member of Isle postees Picture Perfect, as she was mistakenly thought to be Tam Tam, and it turns out that she was Tam Tam's back-up singer and dancer, but she has not heard from her since.  A message on Youtube indicates that Tam Tam became disillusioned with the industry and left it.  And there is a Tammy Hairston on Facebook who looks like it could be her, but I didn't want to harass her in case I was wrong or she would rather not discuss it. ;)  Whatever the case, the album is full of fun pop-rap and funky R&B, and Tam Tam has a great flow.  "Sweat To Death" is a great hip-house track, and "Miss You" uses the music from the Rolling Stones song of the same name.  Tam Tam was much better than many of her peers, IMO, but her album came out when every label was signing female rappers, thanks to the success of acts like Salt 'N Pepa, MC Lyte, and Queen Latifah.  Like many of her peers, several featured on this very blog, she got lost in crowd.  And maybe she wasn't interested in fame anyway.

Video for Do It Tam Tam

Live performance of Do It Tam Tam

Download Do It Tam Tam

1 Legacy Intro
2 Legacy One
3 Miss You
4 Boston Intro
5 Do It Tam Tam
6 Juvenile
7 Got It Going On
8 Sweat Intro
9 Sweat To Death
10 I Ain't Down With You
11 Legacy Two
12 A.I.E.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cardenia - Memory (1994)

I was just updating Cardenia's page on Last.fm and thought, why not share their one and only album with ya'll?  It is perfect for the blog, and I haven't featured any good, old-fashioned euro-house in some time.  Surprisingly, in this day and age, there is little info on the group online.  But it was one of many one-off side projects of the German production duo behind Masterboy, one of euro-house's biggest successes, so I guess there isn't much to tell anyway.  The vocalist for the group was Viola Engler (not entirely sure that she's the lady on the cover, however), who was assisted by rapper Wayne Dallaway.  The name of the album was perfect, as it was almost exclusively filled with remakes of popular HiNRG and synth-pop classics, thus great memories, though the first single, "Toccata", was based on the Bach composition. This was followed by single releases of remakes of  "Living On Video" by Trans-X (the vocals on this are different and are rumoured to be by Masterboy's vocalist Trixi Delgado), "Passion" by The Flirts and "Happy Station" by Fun Fun.  The rest of the album consisted of remakes of Vangelis' "Pulstar", Roni Griffith's "Desire", Valerie Dore's "The Night", Koto's "Visitors" and Laura Branigan's version of Raf's "Self Control", as well as a couple of originals.  Of course, I love euro-house AND HiNRG, and adore the originals of all of the songs, so this album provided amazing memories for me, and hopefully will for you too, or will at least introduce you to some great old songs.

Download Memory

1 Intro
2 Living On Video
3 Passion
4 Pulstar
5 Happy Station
6 Visitors
7 Desire
8 The Night
9 Self Control
10 Passion (Ragga Remix)
11 Living On Video (Hyper Space Mix)
12 Outro
13 Toccata
14 Let The Bass Control Your Mind
15 Trigger Baby

Friday, March 21, 2014

One Cause One Effect ‎– Drop The Axxe (1990)

And now for a little hip hop, pop-style.  One Cause One Effect were one of the very few male/female rap duos...ever.  It seemed like an angle that just might help them hit the big time, along with their MC Hammer connection.  But alas, that wasn't the case.  The duo consisted of Terrance Davis (One Cause) and Treasure Shields Redmond (One Effect).  They met in high school in Meridian, Mississippi.  After they graduated, they moved to California in the hopes of hitting the big time.  Luckily they met MC Hammer, who was at the height of his popularity, and Terrance became a back-up rapper for him.  This led to a deal with Hammer's label, Capitol Records.  Their album was produced by Hammer's friend and collaborator James Earley, except "How Ya Livin'", which was produced by Hammer himself, and featured vocals by Hammer protegee B Angie B.  They released the single "Turntable Genius", which failed to generate much heat, and followed it with "Up With Hope, Down With Dope", which managed to only reach #77 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart. The album didn't fare much better, reaching only #51 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart.  They released one last, unsuccessful single, "Midnite Lover".  (In my opinion, part of the problem was that the singles weren't a good representation of the album, which was mostly upbeat, Hammer-esque pop-rap.)  Treasure then worked extensively with Hammer's protegees, female rappers Oaktown's 3-5-7, on their second album Fully Loaded, co-writing most of the songs and doing backing vocals.  But the two soon became disenchanted with the scene and left Hammer's camp.  Terrance moved back to Meridian and is now a water meter reader and occasional producer.  Treasure moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where she is an assistant English professor and published poet.

Video for Up With Hope, Down With Dope

Video for Midnite Lover

Download Drop The Axxe

1 Don't Sit Down
2 Can U Dance (Get To It)
3 When I Get You Baby
4 The 90's Are Stompin'
5 Let's Get Busy
6 How Ya Livin'
7 What'Cha Gonna Do
8 Up With Hope, Down With Dope
9 Midnite Lover
10 Turntable Genius
11 Country Rap

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Don't Talk Dance - Don't Talk, Dance! (1995)

Don't Talk Dance was a one-off project from three members of three successful (at the time) Canadian bands - Chris Brown Of Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar, and Tyler Stewart of Barenaked Ladies.  Though I was far from a fan of the latter two groups, I must admit I was curious about this album at the time.  To my surprise I ended up enjoying it as it is a funky jam session, and includes some really good and fun remakes like Madonna's "Into The Groove", Cameo's "Word Up", and Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" (which is actually track #77 on the album, after 64 blank mini-tracks).  The whole thing was basically a joke, according to Chris Brown.  It seems the boys used to hang out at a big house in Toronto and party with several friends, many of whom were also musicians.  The partying would eventually and obviously turn into a jam session, and many of these tracks were born at these parties, which explains the loose groove of the album.  The guys decided they should perform these tracks at a club, and thanks to the popularity of their groups, especially Barenaked Ladies, they even managed a record deal with Warner Music.  A live concert was held at Toronto's Ultrasound Showbar, and most of the album was recorded at that concert, though some songs were touched up or rerecorded. The record was promoted mainly as a solo outing for the Ladies' Stewart, though it really didn't gain much popularity.  (The boys were thoughtful enough to donate some of the proceeds to the Basset/Falk Cancer Research Foundation.)  Of course, they never planned for the band to be huge, and they still had their main bands to fall back on, which they did.  Since then Stewart has been recording and touring with the Ladies, while Johnson has continued on with Big Sugar and fellow 90s Canadian band Wide Mouth Mason.  Brown has released solo work as well as albums with fellow BTC member Kate Fenner, who also appears on this album.

Video for Theme From DTD

Download Don't Talk, Dance!

1 Theme From DTD
2 The Ketchup Song (Digable Potatoes Mix)
3 Jake's Rant
4 You've Been Instrumental
5 Funky Dollar Bill
6 Sweet Beets
7 Theme From Sanford And Son
8 Word Up
9 Fred And Barney Miller
10 Into The Groove
11 Bold As Love
12 Zap Beets
13 Dreams

Friday, January 17, 2014

Nicole McCloud - What About Me? (1985), Rock The House (1988/89), Love Town (1998) & So What? (2002) QUADRUPLE POST!!!!

Why not start the new year with our first QUADRUPLE post? I have been a fan of Nicole McCloud from the moment she emerged in 1985 with her breakout dance hit "Don't You Want My Love".  But not much was heard from her since her last album was released in 2002.  So imagine my surprise when I was switching through channels on TV late last year and saw a familiar face, looking almost as youthful as she did in 1985. She was on The X Factor US, and the voice was also familiar and amazing.  I waited to see her name, which was Lillie McCloud.  I was sure that it must be Nicole's daughter, but soon discovered after a second of searching online that it was indeed Nicole herself (Lillie is her real first name, while Nicole is one of her middle names)!  I was shocked that an artist who I followed and admired through much of her recording career was being presented as a new artist.  But I soon realized that, although she had a long career, she still remained unknown to the general public, and this was the best forum to bring her front and center and let the public experience what I already enjoyed about the lady.  Unfortunately she was eliminated on The X Factor in the fifth week, but not before she gained the admiration of the judges and an adoring new fan base.  While her heart is now in gospel music, she did eventually acknowledge her dance diva past after it was uncovered on the internet and created controversy.  Her past is now well-documented on the internet as a result, but I will give a bio anyway. ;) She was born in Rochester, New York, and after performing locally for years, finally got her big break in her 20s after meeting producer Lou Pace (who would go on to produce all of her albums).  Her amazing voice and looks got her a deal with Epic sublabel Portrait Records, who released her first single, a remake of Heatwave's ballad "Always And Forever," in 1985.  It was a minor R&B hit, but it was her next single, the upbeat "Don't You Want My Love," that would become her best known hit, reaching the top ten on the Billboard Dance charts and pop top 40 charts worldwide.  It helped that the song was featured on the soundtrack to the hit movie Ruthless People. (The song was also recorded by Isle postee Chantal Condor.)  It's success led to her debut album which, along with the previous singles, were released under the name 'Nicole' in most markets, though some releases used her last name as well.  Her next three singles, the Timmy Thomas duet "New York Eyes," "What About Me" and "Housecalls," were also minor R&B hits.  This led to her second album on Epic in 1988, Jam Packed.  The first single, "Jam Packed (At The Wall)," was again a minor R&B hit and the house remix brought Nicole back to the dance chart as well.  The next single "Rock The House" became an even bigger hit on both charts.  It's success led to Lou Pace re-releasing the album on his own label Oceana the following year under the title Rock The House, with different artwork and a reordered tracklisting.  The song re-entered the dance chart that year.  Despite the minor chart success, Nicole was dropped from Epic.  She wouldn't be heard from again until 1992, when she was featured on The Source's successful rave remake of "Rock The House".  The following year she appeared on three tracks on U.S.U.R.A.'s album Open Your Mind, including the single "Drive Me Crazy" (I had the album and always thought it sounded like her, but couldn't verify it was her at the time).  These collaborations led to the single "Runnin' Away," released in 1994, which became her biggest hit on the Billboard Dance chart thanks to the E-Smoove house mixes, reaching #3.  It would be re-released in many versions over the next four years, charting in the UK pop charts at #69 in 1996.  That same year she signed to Aureus Records and released a house version of the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Running," and it hit the lower end of the top 40 on the Billboard Dance charts. An album, Love Town, followed in 1998 (finally using her last name) and it was much more dance oriented than her previous albums.  It included "Runnin Away," "Long Train Runnin' (Without Love)" and "Rock The House", as well as "Stay In Love", which Isle postee Mona Q would have a Billboard Hot 100 hit with three years later.  Though two promo singles were released - "Missing You" and "I Ain't Crazy" - neither was a hit and the album went unnoticed.  Nicole kept at it, however, and joined Angel Williams and Simone Böhlhoff to form vocal trio Voices Of Freedom, who featured on dance singles such as "Lift Your Hands Up" in 1999.  In 2001, Nicole released "One Good Reason" on an indie Florida label, this time as Nicole J McCloud.  The song again hit the lower end of top 40 of the Billboard Dance chart.  An album, So What?, was released the following year and included remakes of some of her previous songs, as well as a version of "Tell Me Where It Hurts," previously a single by Isle postees Try 'N' Be.  The next single, "Search'n," brought Nicole back to the Billboard Dance chart top 10.  But she became discouraged with her music career, as she never wanted to be pigeon-holed as a dance diva, and it was not paying off financially.  Nicole left the industry in 2004 to raise her kids and moved to Slovakia with her partner.  Though she continued to perform and record occasionally, it wasn't until 2010, when she recorded the theme song for the Slovak version of Simon Cowell's Got Talent TV series, that she considered re-entering the music business full-time.  She moved back to the US and auditioned for the X Factor, and the rest is history (on an interesting side-note, another successful 80s based, Lou Pace produced diva, Donna Allen, competed on rival show The Voice the same year).  Now Lillie (she claims Simon Cowell called her by her first name after seeing it on her legal documents, so she continued to use it) is pursuing gospel music, and though that is not necessarily my fave genre, I am thrilled to have this versatile, underrated and amazing singer back in the spotlight where she has always rightfully belonged.

UPDATE:  Amazingly, Miss McCloud herself wrote me in praise of this post and more!!  Here is her message.  So VERY honoured! :) 

"Hello cool Angel,  Thank you for you kind words and your overview of my career...You have certainly did your research on my career quite thoroughly.  I would like to speak more about my recordings and experiences in Slovakia such as The TV Show (Show Dance and the song or recording Show Dance) and the TV Show (Slovakias Got Talent) and the song Slovakias Got Talent ) which I wrote the lyrics and melody along with partners who wrote the music. I also sang the lead vocals and background vocals. At the time of these recordings I had no knowledge about The X Factor. Such shows were not of interest  to me. I want to make it clear that I've never collaborated with Simon Cowell or the X Factor in any way prior to season 3. This was one of the rumors along with a few others which did bother me a bit but ofcourse not any more. 

I'm very proud of both  recordings in Slovakia and television shows. 

All the best to you my friend. 

Lillie McCloud
AKA Nicole J McCloud"

Live performance of Don't You Want My Love

Live performance of New York Eyes

 Download What About Me?

1 Don't You Want My Love
2 New York Eyes
3 Housecalls
4 What About Me
5 Always And Forever
6 Why You Take My Love
7 Ordinary Girl
8 Shy Boy
9 It Happens Every Night
 
 Download Rock The House

1 Rock The House
2 Desire
3 Let's Talk About Love
4 So Lost Without Your Love
5 Jam Packed (At The Wall)
6 Two Hearts Are Better Than One
7 Everlasting Love
8 Throwdown
9 He's So Romeo

 Download Love Town

1 Stay In Love
2 Runnin Away
3 Missing You
4 Love Town
5 Thinkin' About You
6 Live Your Life
7 I Ain't Crazy
8 Rock The House
9 Maybe Next Time
10 Try My Love
11 Dreamin'
12 Pray For Love
13 Long Train Runnin' (Without Love)
14 Missing You (R&B Mix)
 
Download So What?

1 One Good Reason
2 Search'n
3 Get Your Hands Off My Man
4 This House Is Not A Home
5 Lessons Of Love
6 Get The Hell Out Of Here
7 Why Should I
8 Tell Me Where It Hurts
9 Missing You
10 Stay In Love
11 Your Love Is King To Me
12 If You Come To Me
13 One Good Reason (Megamix)
14 Damn I'm Pretty
15 Don't You Want My Love 2002
16 Search'n (Remix)