Valentine’s Day/Coultrain

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I was inspired when Peanut Butter Wolf put together a Valentine’s Day mix last year, which featured some real classics, e.g. Bobby Womack’s “How Could You Break My Heart,” and The Jacksons, “Blues Away.” Despite the expectations days like this hold, I choose to honor the underlying sentiment: the feelings of admiration and affection (insert studio audience, “Awww.”) So, that’s what I plan; a few choice selections that are great for days like today.

– Michael Jackson, “Lady In My Life”/Thriller – I know, an album full of #1’s, but often the least mentioned track off that album, in my opinion; this song is what the 90’s New Jack Swingers and current sap singers strive(d) to be like. “Lady In My Life” has it all: the bridge, the break down, the vocals…Michael takes no prisoners on this track, and whether he used this track to his advantage or not, there is no denying this song is a romancer. “I want you to stay with me…” It’s a wrap.

– Duke Ellington, “In A Sentimental Mood”/Duke Ellington & John Coltrane – I first heard this song when I was about 12 on The Cosby Show (I know I’m not the only who heard it from Bill first). Back then, I thought jazz was “grown up” business, and wanted nothing to do with it…I just went back to bumpin’ BDK. However, over the years, I’ve become quite fond of this track, particularly as the jazz part of my brain matured. Ellington’s piano is melodic, and Coltrane on sax is too slick. Slick as a fox.

– The Isley Brothers, “Don’t Say Good Night”/Go All The Way – Come on now, it’s The Isley Brothers, true pioneers of my theory that if you can sing it, you can say whatever you want, e.g. “I want to see what you’re like in bed.” (See also: R. Kelly). I sense there is no need to fortify it’s Valentine’s Day value, but hey, ya’ll need something to bump after dinner.

– Curtis Mayfield, “Now You’re Gone”/Roots – Curtis was always great for the scorned/lost love tracks, and this is my favorite of the bunch. Mayfield’s Roots was chock full of drums heard here, save for maybe “Love To Keep You In My Mind,” but the horns, drums, bass – all accentuate Mayfield’s sorrow/relief here. Of course, the emotional lead weighing on Mayfield’s heart was made famous by 9th Wonder, (check “H.U.S.T.L.E.” from Murs’s 3:16 The 9th Edition) but this track is certainly worth more than a 3-second sample.

– Dwele, “My Lova/Movement”/Some Kinda… – Love them maracas. The trombone. Guitar. Let’s be real, Dwele kills this. The highlight for me is the end, which find Dwele in quite a bind: his other girl calls, while is other girl is makin’ him breakfast. Singing won’t get you out this, my friend.

– Stevie Wonder, “I Was Made To Love Her”/I Was Made To Love Her – I know, I’ve included this in a list previously, but this song can’t be touched.

– Coultrain, “Green”/The Adventures of Seymour Liberty – I actually just recently picked this album up ($6.99 + S&H), but have been bumpin’ incessantly for the past week. I actually meant to do a post on the album yesterday, but well, I had no electricity due to snow/ice. So this serves as my segue. “Green” is actually characteristic of the sound of The Adventures of Seymour Liberty – a taste of the old school soul; if you ask me, this song IS everything Stevie Wonder IS. I’m convinced he used a Stevie track for this, but as yet, my research as turned up very little. I really dig the color analogy, “And if another voice catches your ear, you know I’m green…because no other is for you, you’re the yellow to my blue, together we make green.”

I tried my best to my homework on this guy/album. Other than the fact that he’s going to be the featured artist on the upcoming Platinum Pied Pipers album, not much is out there. Usually, the blogs are a good place to pick up on new artists, particularly ones not signed to a major. So, if TT is your first scoop on Coultrain, allow me to highly recommend…Seymour Liberty. First, it’s a great album because it matches his voice with production extremely well. Similar to guys like Anthony Hamilton and Raheem Devaughn, Coultrain has a “throwback” voice; he mends well with the older sounds that back most of the album. Contrast this with Devaughn for example, who’s voice I think is great, but I don’t always like the generic R&B beats he’s on. Songs like the aforementioned “Green,” and “Lost in Translation” make his sound difficult to place in time. Is it contemporary? More akin to Stevie’s 70’s albums? Even a ballad like “Lilac Tree” has a subtle Frank Sinatra feel to it, like Dwele’s “Some Kinda,” or Sinatra cover, “Kick Out Of You.”

“Endangered Species,” a reflective look at the role of black men in society, continues the old soul feel, borrowing the guitar and drums from the blaxpoitation era. It’s obvious Coultrain is a student of music and his sound interprets the styles laid out before him.

Back in October, Kyle and I lamented the lack of new soul, or rather the stale soul music of 2007. Coultrain’s The Adventures of Seymour Liberty is a positive sign that the groundhog has not seen its shadow, and fresh soul music is abound in 2008. (Erykah in 2 weeks, btw). I think it’s a must have. Hear for yourself at his myspace.

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4 Responses to “Valentine’s Day/Coultrain”

  1. Frolab Says:

    Coultrain’s album is the truth! You need to add the Black Spade ‘to serve with love’ album to your current playlist is u haven’t already … that + Coultrain is all you need these days! & I think Green is was written by Stevie – or something – i think i remember hearing something like that abt he wrote it for a jackson brother? maybe. Also – Check those 2 plus Proh Mic + Ced No on hvw8’s podcast # 25 – they all performed live (as “Hawthorne Headhunters” and it was magic. still one of the best podcasts i listen to! u can find it on itunes…

  2. Busy-ness « Trading Tapes Says:

    […] I know, it’s been a while. I’m still bumpin’ New Amerykah and The Adventures of Seymour Liberty – always important, for me at least, when an album still has spins after the first few weeks. […]

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