Listening To… (9/10)

…the funky stylings of soul music legend Roy Ayers, whose birthday is today! The “Jackie Brown” soundtrack first introduced me to his music, and his 70s jams remain some of my most often-played tracks.

And, of course, this timeless classic…

Music heads can bring up Marvin Gaye, Al Green, and Stevie Wonder as icons of 70s soul, but to forget Roy Ayers on that list would be criminal!

Going To A Jazz Festival

I feel giddy and nervous over finally getting the opportunity to attend the San Jose Jazz Festival later today. Giddy because I’ve been wanting to go to this event for years. Nervous because hello–there’s still a bitch-ass pandemic happening. Don’t worry, I’ll be doing the one thing I’ve been doing at outdoor festivals pre-pandemic: staying away from the crowds. I’ll also be double-masking it and keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer with me. 

What’s driving me to go to this show? This legendary band, of course!

 

You may be wondering: what does Morris Day and The Time have to do with jazz? Um, everything! Maybe they’ll play a jazzy version of “Gigolos Get Lonely Too” complete with hot saxophone interlude. 

And when they perform “Jungle Love”, this will be me by my lawn chair. 

 

Listening To… (8/11)

Because I need some music while I work on creating an eBook, I shall play the finest Garbage for my ears!

I don’t know how I got the urge to listen to the bewitching voice of Shirley Manson after going without it for so long (how dare I!), but I’m riding the wave. Twenty-five years after these songs came out and they remain refreshing as rain after a drought. And if “Stupid Girls” spoke out against the try-hard bimbos of the 90s, the message can very much apply to the try-hards of social media and wannabe-A-listers from reality shows these days. The lyric “You pretend you’re anything just to be adored…” alone is enough to make the tragic eyebrows of a TikTok “influencer” fall off.

Also, Shirley’s red hair during that era is current redhead goals for me.

Summer of ’96 – My Soundtrack

Ah, the Summer of 1996. The Chicago Bulls returned to NBA glory by winning their 4th championship after going 72-10 in the regular season. Independence Day was blowing up box-office records. And pre-teen me may have set a personal record by watching way too much MTV and eating too much Doritos in one day. Hey, that was when MTV was still great and not the waste of try-hard bungwipe that it is today, and Doritos was one of my favorite food groups as a kid. But talk about a time for music–for pop and R&B in particular. Who knew that the songs I overplayed on my cassette player that summer of ’96 would define what could arguably be the last golden era of pop and R&B?

I used to watch a lot of MTV Jams back then, and I don’t recall one day when this video did not air. That’s how hot this track was.

By the way, I recently discovered another song with the same sample LL used for the “Loungin'” remix. Though it ended up flopping (it supposedly had the misfortune to be released right after LL’s song), it’s certainly not a flop in my house! I actually like that version too.

Look, kids–that’s how hot women in music werked it in the 90s. No overinflated keesters, trout pouts, clown makeup, and basic twerking. (I am aware of the many wigs Toni went through in this video, by the way.) Just pure sensuality in a saucy song that is sadly absent in music these days.

SWV may have been my girl group that summer. This slow jam and “You’re The One” were played often.

Confession: I used to do some singing as a kid. Nothing professional–just choirs and some musical numbers in school plays. Whenever this got played, I belted it out like I was trying to get five stars on Star Search. I can’t sing for shit these days, so I’m kind of amazed over how I was able to sing this (or any song) then.

Also, I’m aware that this song came out in 1995, but I bought the single in ’96, so its placement on this list counts.

The Waiting To Exhale soundtrack remains legendary to this day. You couldn’t call yourself a R&B fiend then and not own that soundtrack. I was such a Brandy fan, and the song is not just a memorable bop, but homegirl had style in that video!

Also, and I’m gonna say it, but I’m glad I had artists like Brandy and Monica around at an age when I was discovering music on my own. They were teen sensations, but they weren’t being presented as jailbait or overly sexual like what would become of some young female pop acts years later. I remember reading about Brandy and Monica in Word Up and Seventeen, and they were just straight-up classy and age-appropriate. No fakeness, no ratchet shit, no problem!

This, along with LL’s “Loungin'”, was THE summer jam of ’96. There were many days I would sing this to my posters of 3T and Immature in my bedroom in hopes that they’d become my boo. And it worked…in my dreams. (Yes, I had a crush on those guys, and, yes yes, I am of that generation that had posters on my bedroom wall. God, I’m really showing my age here.)

Pre-teen me thought this was another innocent, fun dance song. Hearing those lyrics as a sort-of-a grown-up nowadays…oh, honey.

R&B and rap weren’t the only genres I got down to that summer. And you could not escape a Top 40 station without this song playing.

I took a road trip to Seattle with my old folks that summer, and I remember wearing out the cassette player of my old man’s truck from playing this jam (and the other songs above) a lot during the road trip. How that tape survived that two week trip, I don’t know.

*sighs* I miss ya, George.

There are more songs to this soundtrack but aren’t posted. Basically, any hot R&B/rap/pop/dance song from 1995 and the first eight months of 1996 was part of my summer soundtrack. Oh, and there was that one Latin dance song from that year that spawned some dance craze that I’d post here, but, eh, I’d rather not.

Summertime, Summertime

Summer actually started for us East Bay Area folks last week when we had temperatures that rivaled the inferno of Satan’s butthole. But it’s officially the First Day of Summer today, so how ’bout some R&B summer-themed songs to kick off the season!

If it wasn’t for my enduring love for those old-school Wild 94.9 mixes (which is where I first heard this song from), I would’ve never discovered this still-fresh track!

You remember dancing to this now 30-year-old song as a kid? Congrats–you’re an old like me!

Though “summer” is not mentioned anywhere in the song, this jam is forever part of my Summer 1996 soundtrack. What a time to be a pre-teen. Although I sometimes wish I was a young adult living it up then. (Ugh, those lucky Gen-Xers!)

His Name Is Prince And He Was Funky

In honor of what would’ve been Prince’s birthday today, here is my one and only Prince moment, from ten years ago!

It was May 2011. Then, I was working at Macy’s while in my last month of massage school. When I learned that His Purple Badness was having a show in San Jose, I just had to go! But when I also learned his show was on a Saturday, I actually worried a bit. I was scheduled to do Clinic hours that Saturday. (Clinic is pretty much work shifts for us massage therapists-in-training at school. A little Pro Tip: if you need a massage for cheap, visit a massage school that offers bodywork to the public. Remember to tip your student therapist after!) Luckily, there was a student who agree to swap clinic shifts with me, but to this day, I don’t why she wanted to. I mean, why you working when Prince is performing nearby?! Take the day off and get your butt to the show, too!

By the way, I was also surprised that tickets were cheap (at least for the section I selected), even with bitch-ass Ticketmaster fees added on. I’ve spent more in groceries than I did for Prince tix!

The arena formerly known as HP Pavilion was where the show was at. Place was PACKED. Even nicer was that there was a diverse group of people there–youngs, olds, and all the nationalities represented. Only a real legend would attract such a crowd to their show.

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This couple was princely pimped out for the party.

Now, the following pics aren’t the sharpest in quality. I forgot what camera I used, but I know the zoom and megapixels on it was dreadfully meager. (It wasn’t my Sony Cybershot that I would use in later events, as that model didn’t exist in 2011.) Crap camera aside, I still wanted to enjoy mahself. I wasn’t there to shoot captures for a newspaper; I was there to rave un2 the joy fantastic and get wild!

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Settin’ the stage, and what a stage! (Yep, that’s Prince on the big screens.)

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Look at dat crowd. None of us were thinking about some crippling pandemic then. Also, I still don’t know who those two stylish ladies were on his piano. Wendy and Lisa? Diamond and Pearl? Two SJ Sharks players in drag? It could the be the last one; it’s their arena, after all.

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You can’t tell from the potato quality pic here, but thee Sheila E was also in the house that night! She rocked those drums when they played “The Glamorous Life”.

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The best closeup I could get of him.

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At first I was thrilled to have seen him live then. After his unexpected passing five years after this concert, I don’t know if I could say I was also lucky. Maybe, but when one of my favorite artists are in town for a show, I do whatever I can to see them live. Not just to support them, but it’s also one of those “when’s the next time you’ll get that chance” deals. I thought I’d get to see another Prince show, but, sadly, it never happened. All the more reason why you gotta see your music faves when you can.

Happy Kylie Day!

It’s the start of a holiday weekend, and, more importantly, the born day of THE One And Only Kylie Minogue! In honor of the red-blooded woman raining glitter onto the world for the 53rd year, here are a few of my most-played songs of hers to date! Some of them may not be her most popular hits, but they’re still gems that deserve a listen. 

The beat to this track is everything. Also, her self-titled album from 1994 is shamefully slept on and needs to be heard! 

Three words: those hot pants. 

I’ve always preferred the longer version of this jam over its shortened original. But, oooh, its video…and that dress she’s wearing at the 2:51 mark! 

 

The original has always been one of my Kylie bops, but it has gotten less airplay ever since I discovered this slick remix, remade by 90s DJ legend David Morales (who also turned a few Mariah songs from the 90s into dance hits). 

Viva La Cher

And now for something that’s not trash at all. In honor of icon of all things legendary Cher, who recently celebrated her 75th birthday this week, here’s my one Cher moment. From November 2018 in Las Vegas! (I had my 34th b-day in Vegas, and I’ll write about all dat in another entry one day.) This might as well be another entry for my Travel Slut Diaries, since I did some traveling to get to her show.

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At The Park Theater, Monte Carlo Hotel in Vegas. 

I initially didn’t plan on going to a show of hers, and I thought Vegas shows featuring an iconic performer would cost me an arm, leg, an eyeball, and one buttcheek for nosebleed seats. Then I found out that tickets to a Friday night show of hers were discounted! I forgot how much, but they were affordable for me to get me a seat and finally bask in the iconicness that is Cher! 

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The view from my seat, which, IIRC, were aisle seats in the upper level. I always make an effort to get aisle seats in a show or game. No scooting my butt in front of strangers to sit down. 

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And the legend herself, in her opening number! Sure, her wig there looks like a tuft of Gritty’s pubes, but she still got it! I forgot what song she performed here, and I will say that she sang live…99% of the time. She allowed a bit of pre-recorded vocals during “Believe”, but it didn’t really bother me and it was just that one song. There was also a moment where she shared some story to the audience, and, IIRC, at the end of it, she mentioned doing her Vegas shows at her age, and then quipped, “so what’s your grandma doing?” The packed house roared from that. 

Some of my favorite captures from her show:

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One of the few times she danced!

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Going back to her Sonny & Cher roots. 

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Entering her House of Burlesque…

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She got gams! 

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The wigs were out in full force that night! And…and is that a pastie I see on her?! 

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Yep, she performed “If I Could Turn Back Time” in the exact same getup from her video and she pretty much looks the same as she did then. Now, if I were Cher’s age and I tried wearing something I wore from 30 years ago, it would be a felony because I’d be making people lose their eyesight and appetite.  

Just as impressive as Cher still kicking ass at 500 is my then-five-year-old Sony Cybershot camera (which is also 500 in tech world years and I still use it today), which captured all the images in this post!