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Celebrate!
Celebrate!
Price: $5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Celebrate! - Kool & The Gang "took it to the top!", June 19, 2012
This review is from: Celebrate! (MP3 Music)
Not only the title song was #1 on the American R&B charts and throughout the world, but is notable for having been played when the remaining American hostages returned home following the 1979-1981 Iran hostage crisis! Thats is how much impact the song had thoughout the world and the album (along with 1979's Ladies Night) placed Kool & The Gang on the same pedestal as Earth Wind & Fire, The Jacksons, and The Commodores as one of the top black bands in the country. Two more singles released that made great strides on the charts and dancefloors were "Jones Vs. Jones" and "Take It To The Top" and even introduced the band to a new medium for promoting albums which were called music videos - with the title track, "Jones Vs. Jones, and the exciting "Love Festival" with primitive, yet simple/clean cut production. JT Taylor was still new to Kool & The Gang at the time and his smooth vocals and crossover appeal took Kool & The Gang to the top while they still maintained their jazzy/funk feel (listen to the instrumental, "Morning Star" and the smooth, "Just Friends" and "Love Affair"). The album as a whole makes it one of the best albums released in 1980, period.


Harlem World
Harlem World
Offered by IMS Distribution
Price: $10.14
224 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Harlem on the Rise? Harlem World on the low!, June 17, 2012
This review is from: Harlem World (Audio CD)
Shorty after I started the 7th grade, this cd was released and introduced the world as Diddy's new side-kick (every rapper needs one, especially when they suck, lol). In a simular fashion to Diddy's summer release, No Way Out, Harlem World was listenable, although Mase is'nt that much of a great rapper while his boss sucks (wow, thats twice I said that, but its true). Mase was still ridin' high from his successful appearances on albums by 112, Diddy, and Notorious B.I.G. (most notably, "Mo Money, Mo Problems") in the past year. They did pick out some great singles such as "Lookin' At Me" (one of the first songs produced by The Neptunes and a few tracks that did'nt rely on sampling), "What You Want (with Bad Boy recording group, Total)" and "Feel So Good" (the best "Hollywood Swinging" sample ever), but what sucked in two of the three songs was Diddy throwing in those annoying hooks and ad-libs (just as annoying as him dancing on other artists' videos, LMAOH). He's been doing that since Biggie's Ready To Die, but became much more of a nunsense in 1997 then he was in 94". The three single released were the prime examples of "pop, shiney suit hip-hop" of which was great in my Junior High years (I.S. 227), but did'nt age well in the next few years. Mase was'nt all about bragging about money, cars and b's and songs like "N-'s Wanna Act," "Will They Die 4 U," and "24 Hours To Live" (the latter is my favorite Mase song although it also featured The Lox, DMX and Black Rob) were examples of real life situations that also were played on Hot 97 back in the day (I haven't heard "Will They Die For You" since 98"). Then you got the extremley cheesey and annoying, "Jealous Guys" (a crappy remake of New Edition's 1983 hit, "Jealous Girl"). Like No Way Out, Harlem World was drenched with many featured artists (like Diddy, Lil' Kim, Busta Rhymes, The Lox, DMX, Black Rob, Jay-Z, Monifah, 112, Total...just to name a few) and 1970s and 1980s samples (such as Kool & The Gang, BT Express, Teena Marie, and even the intro of Michael Jacksons' "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" was used for the backbeat of "Cheat On You"). The only tracks worth listening to were the singles released plus "Will They Die For You" "N's Wanna Act" and "24 Hours To Live" while the rest of the songs ranged from mediocre to Bad Boy garbage. The cd was fun to listen to back then, but I'm glad I did'nt buy the cd for myself and I just borrowed it to copy the songs I wanted. Mase lyrical delivery was limited, but I think looking back, he regretted on recording this album of which prompted his 5 year retirement after his 1999 disappointing release, Double Up.


No Way Out
No Way Out
Offered by IMS Distribution
Price: $11.96
371 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Hip-Hop Classic - Only decent release from Diddy, June 17, 2012
This review is from: No Way Out (Audio CD)
As much as I don't like Diddy as a artist (or a person), I have to say that No Way Out is a well done hip-hop classic and it goes back to my Junior High School years. In my opinion, I felt that "The Family" was what made this album and Diddy's lyrical deliverly was well done, only with the other artists. The songs that really wanted to relive my Juinor High years (I.S. 227) were "All About The Benjamins (Remix), Can't Nobody Hold Me Down, Victory," and "Been Around The World." These songs really hyped up the album. I never heard of the original "All About The Benjamins" (that does'nt include Biggie and Lil' Kim), but I did'nt care (I always rememeber reciting Jadakiss and Diddy's verses back in the 7th grade). "Don't Stop What You're Doing" (on the strength with Lil' Kim) was a great Yarbrough & Peoples sample that I rememeber mainly because it was played on the closing credits of the hit movie, Soul Food (also appeared on the soundtrack as the clean version). "I've Been Missing You" was well produced and well remade (sampling from The Police's 1983 hit, "Every Breath You Take"), but it was long overated and played out by the time the album was released (the single and video came out before the summer of 97" and the album was released just before I began the 7th grade). I know its Biggie tribute song, but damnit I wished they would've given that a rest. When I borrowed this cd from a friend to record some songs on a cassettee tape, it was before it was re-released with more tracks on it as well as a few previous tracks abridged to make up for more time. Of the extra tracks, I like "Friend" (with Foxy Brown) of which samples the bridge of Average White Bands' "Person to Person," but I was really feeling "What You Gonna Do." I think that is one of his only strong solo songs ever (simular to a Mob Story). "Young G's" with Biggie and Jay-Z was ok, but not the best by either Jay-Z or Biggie (reason why it was a filler). I enjoyed this album as I did with Mase's Harlem World, Biggie's Life After Death, and Busta Rhymes' When Disaster Strikes which were prime examples of enjoyable east-coast hip-hop music that was hard, yet clen at the same time. As cheesy and commercial this type of hip-hop was, it was the last era of decent hip-hop music, mainly because I enjoyed Junior High.


Three For Love
Three For Love
10 used & new from $25.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Griffey's kids score again!, June 17, 2012
This review is from: Three For Love (Audio CD)
Riding high on the succcess of their 1979 release Big Fun, Shalamar released their 1980 album Three For Love of which solidified them as one of the top black acts in the country. The album has been certified Gold in the United States for sales of over 500,000 and peaked at #8 on the R&B chart and #40 on the Billboard chart. Thanks to the hit grooves, "Make That Move" (#6 R&B and #60 pop), "Full of Fire" (top 30 on the R&B charts), "Pop Along Kid" and "Attention to My Baby," they continued to reach out many dancefloors and performed nonstop on Soul Train and Top of the Pops (UK). Speaking of Top of the Pops, Three For Love album was the album that gave them a widespread reputation in the UK, thus making them more successful there then in the United States outside of the black communities (following the overseas treatment that The Jacksons were blessed with). While their dancefloor hits rocked many clubs, block parties, dance TV shows, and radio stations, their slow jams such as "Some Where Theres A Love" and the top 20 hit, "This Is For The Lover In You" built Howard Hewett crooner reputation (something that SOLAR records took a little far from granted). These songs are still played on stations to this day and sampled a few times on popular Hip-Hop/R&B songs. "Some Where Theres A Love" was well known for being played on an episode of Diff'rent Strokes while Janet Jackson played Willis' girlfriend (near the end of the episode).

While Shalamar were the performers; Leon Sylvers III, Stephen Shockley (of Lakeside), Ricky and Foster Sylvers (of the Sylvers), and several members of Dynasty were the hardcore laborers of the group's hit songs, lyrically and musically. This SOLAR personnel (orchestred by Leon) tailormade the songs just for them so as simular as other SOLAR groups sound like them, Shalamar's music was their own. To celebrate the album's success, Dick Griffey had the group cut four promotional music videos for the album to generate more sales of the album (like how it was done for Disco Gardens and Big Fun). Michael Jackson, Kool & The Gang, and several of the members of the SOLAR roster were already doing it in a simular fashion and when BET was launched in 1980, it picked up several of the videos to fill in the gaps in-between short programs. MTV (launched in 1981) did'nt play Shalamar videos until "Dead Giveaway" came out in the summer of 1983. As of 2012, videos of "Full of Fire" and "Work It Out" can be seen on youtube and dailymotion and those that were fortunate enough to see them over 30 years ago will wish for a time machine. Those who are seeing them for the first time will also wish for a time machine because Shalamar's Three For Love album is a timeless classic that is longed wished to be relived or lived (for a younger generation who likes Classic R&B music like myself).


Dancing Machine
Dancing Machine
Price: $5.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Dancin' Dancin' Dancin'", May 25, 2012
This review is from: Dancing Machine (MP3 Music)
After the success of the hit disco single "Dancing Machine" (originally taken from 1973's Get It Together lp) and Michael's robot performances on supporting the song (on the bridge), Motown records decided to release the album of that name, with the single re-released and heavily edited. As much of a Jackson 5 I am, this was my least favorite album by them, but its definitley above mediocre. "I Am Love" was a great ballad type song that was transformed into disco/rock number (latter part much inspired by The Commodores' "Machine Gun"), but in my opinion, it should've been only a ballad. Part 2 of "I Am Love" was a attempt to surpass the success of the title track. I am not too much of a fan of part 2 plus the ballad/disco rock hybrid did'nt fit much with the album's funky, yet abridged soulful format. Other weak spots were "It Begins and Ends With Love" and "Mirror's of My Mind." I do love the other songs like "Life of A Party" "Whatever You Got I Want," and my album favorite, "If I Don't Love You This Way." The latter two were suppose to appear on Michael's 4th solo album, but Motown decided to put them on Dancing Machine and on a 1974 episode of Soul Train, Michael performed those songs without his brothers (his first and only appearance on Soul Train as a solo artist). The edited version of the title cut was very unpopular not only due to the waning hype of the song, but because of the exclusion of the introduction (the Get It Together version is used on nearly all compilations released from either The Jackson 5 or Michael Jackson). While this was an ok album, I believe that the songs were less enthusiastic, compared to their previous albums. These songs were forced on the brothers, who were at odds with Motown around this time because the record company refused to allow them to write and produce their own material, prompting their departure from Motown in a little over a year.


X-Periment / The Pleasure Seekers
X-Periment / The Pleasure Seekers
13 used & new from $29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Underated 80s Electro Classic, May 16, 2012
After 1983's debut lp, Sweat was released and after producing a hit song for Robert Palmer and lesser known R&B funk acts like Howard Johnson and Attitude, the System released their second effort entitled X-Periment. Like their previous output, it was an X-periment that I believe went well, despite on the album not producing any hit singles. Electrifying R&B jams like "I Wanna Make You Feel Good" and "Dangerous," plus New Wave grooves like "Get Jumpin'" were some of the best dance cuts that was out at the time, but the world was still not ready for them. "Lollipops & Everything" and "I Can't Take Losing You" increased the bands' reputation in producing great ballads although Attitudes' "If You Can Read My Mind" (released on 1983's Pump the Nation lp) was well done and the first of its kind. The failure of the album's success did'nt stop the team from appearing on the hit breakdancing film, Beat Street in the summer of 1984 by performing "Baptize The Beat" of which was a class act of its own although it was only on the soundtrack and not on X-periment. The appearance had increased opportunities for the band to produce for A list R&B and pop acts like Chaka Khan ("This Is My Night"), Phil Collins ("Sussidio"), and Evelyn "Champagne" King ("I'm So Romantic" and "So In Love") just to name a few. They even contributed to most of the instruments to Chaka Khan's 1984 top 5 hit, "I Feel For You," although they were'nt the main producers of the track.

As for 1985's Pleasure Seekers release, the band's sound was shifting into a more crossover/club-pop beat by getting a little less electric (steering away from the rising genre of freestyle of which made Shannon and Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam stars), but Mic Murphy's soulful noise maintains the R&B audiences. The title track and "This Is For You" produced them not only top 20 spots (or better) on the R&B charts, but exciting music videos that saw limited, yet fair exposure on MTV (before the release of Pleasure Seekers, the band only had two videos of which never made MTV and is up to this day very rare). "My Radio Rocks" literally rocked radio stations and clubs all over the nation and aboard (not just NYC and Europe) and my favorite from the album, "I Don't Run From Danger" is electrifying and satisfying.

My only gripe about this collection is that the price is too high and its not available on itunes unlike their first and fourth albums. I give 10 stars for the albums, but 1 star for the price (boooooo!!!).


Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
Offered by Great Price Media
Price: $9.99
274 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Whitty Huton's debut album!!", May 5, 2012
This review is from: Whitney Houston (Audio CD)
Thats right, "Whitty Huton!!" I know the correct spelling, but you can't forget that episode of Martin (and you the rest..). Now its a privilege for me to review the debut album of the late Princess of pop with a voice of a songbird and a beauty that captures the universe.

The albums' first single, "Hold Me" (released in the spring of 1984 and originally released on Teddy Pendergrass' Love Language album) was very sentimental and sung with much heart, soul, and emotion by she and Teddy. It reached #10 on the R&B charts, but it was'nt until a year later of which Arista Records releases Whitney's first single under her name which would be the Kashif produced top 5 hit (and first of its many), "You Give Good Love (#4 pop, #1 R&B)" It was also noted to be the biggest hit single produced by multi-instrumentalist and super R&B producer, Kashif, who always mananged to produce many top 5 (and a handful #1) R&B singles by the faces of Melba Moore and Evelyn "Champagne" King, but never scored at least a top ten (or 20) pop hit until Whitney sang, sealed, and delivered this ballad. She scored another top single with Kashif (peaking at #10) with the club hit, "Thinking About You" with him sharing part of the chorus with the 21 year old songbird. Its my favorite Whitney song and her chemistry with Kashif is almost as great as it is with Evelyn.

As the album was stalling to reach the top for the first half of 1985, Arista started to market her more into a pop artist by releasing the jazzy-lovelorn "Saving All My Love For You" (her first pop #1 and first grammy award - Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female); the Narada Walden produced clubber, "How Will I Know" (second #1 single); and the internationally awareness ballad, "The Greatess Love of All (third #1 single, by the wake of 1986)" and the rest is history. All of Whitney's #1 singles (either pop and/or R&B) had videos, but the "How Will I Know" video established her status as a MTV icon (only a few black female artists had graced the rising station prior to Whitney). The non single, "All At Once" is one of my favorite Whitney ballads and it blew up Adult Contemporary airwaves in 1985 and 1986 and would have been a treat if there was a video for the song, but Artista did'nt want to go crazy. Labelmate, Jermaine Jackson produced three songs including two of which he sang with the songbird like "Nobody Loves Me Like I Do" and midtempo R&B number, "Take Good Care of My Heart" (the latter was previously released on Jermaine's 1984 self titled album in the summer of 1984, but never released as a single). I love how the album established her as a pop princess (thanks to producer, Michael Masser) while retaining her R&B roots (with Kashif and Teddy Pendergrass) while mixing soul vocals with a pop/contemporary sound (with Jermaine Jackson and Narada Walden). The album was a clean shot for "Whitty's rise to the top and shes just getting started. R.I.P.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 24, 2013 8:06 AM PST


Moving Violation
Moving Violation
Price: $4.99
38 used & new from $2.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Last but not least!!, May 5, 2012
This review is from: Moving Violation (Audio CD)
The last Jackson 5 release is certainly one of their best during their later years with Motown. Released months after Michael's Forever Michael was released, it was no doubt that the Jackson 5 were sick and tired of being deprived of their freedom to write and produced their own music. Much of their music has changed with time, but they were still disatisfied with Motown feeding them outdated songs (they said) that would age out in a few years, but I felt that the track selections were appropriate for 1975 and is considered "well vintage wine." "Body Language" is the jam! The title cut rivals "I Am Love" very well! My favorite song from the album, "All I Do Is Think Of You" turns out to be the best ballad by the group, yet it was underated mainly due to it being a B-Side to the single, "Forever Came Today" (covered by the Supremes), of which that was a top 5 R&B hit and only big hit on the album. "All I Do Is Think Of You" came to light again when the New Jack Swing group, Troop remade it and took it to the top of the R&B charts in the spring of 1990. It was one of the first songs of which Michael magically holds that high note of which sounds unreal (much like El DeBarge would do for DeBarges' 1983's hit single, "I Like It"). As big of a Jackson 5 fan my dad was, he never owned the album, but has it on a Reel to Reel tape, but no longer has a working Reel to Reel player (very sad). The album is one of the Jackson 5's underpromoted despite of them pouring their disappointing, yet electric energy into making the album. It was a good thing The Jackson 5 left their imature sound into the Motown vaults and left the label otherwise their careers would have been done from that point on. There was a very simular group from Watts, California (by way of Memphis, Tennessee) that would soon make their first big hit single in style of the Jackson 5's bubble gum soul, disco style (you know who they are....). Because of that, The Jackson 5 were faced with heavy competition and would not compete well with Motown keeping them young forever.


Get it Together
Get it Together
Offered by NO1122
Price: $3.99
39 used & new from $2.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Soul - J5 Got It Together!, May 5, 2012
This review is from: Get it Together (Audio CD)
This 1973 release solidified the Jackson 5 as full fledged adults - in particular of Michael's full development as a full-fledged tenor - that the Jackson 5 could no longer sing the bubble gum soul songs hits that made them stars a few years back. Still singing covers of selected Motown artists, The Jackson 5 and producer, Hal Davis put some more funk in these psychedelic soul numbers - "Hum Along and Dance" and "You Need Love Like I Do" - that they surpassed the success of the versions released by The Temptations and Gladys Knight & The Pips (although they were'nt singles). My dad still has the vynil of which he purchased in 1973 (ten years before my birth) and told me that he partied hard on "Hum Along & Dance" as well as the infectious title cut, of which hit #2 on the soul charts and #28 on the pop charts (The J5's highest charting hit single since 1971). This album was the origin of their biggest selling hit in years entitled "Dancing Machine" of which created much buzz when Michael first introduced the robot on a 1973 episode of Soul Train, just months before the single reached the top spot on the charts. The single alone did so well that it was re-released on their next album, Dancing Machine one year later. "Don't Say Goodbye Again" and "Its Too Late To Change The Time" were also performed on the same episode of Soul Train and these relaxed soul numbers balanaced out the Temptations-Larry Graham influenced funky stuff that dominated the album. As well as the album has done and as more mature the group has become, they still were'nt satisfied with the fact that Motown did'nt allow them to take any control of their music, of which will lead to their departure of the label in less than two years. I guess Motown not letting them do their thing may have been a blessing in disguise because Michael would later on become the World's Greatest superstar in the next 10 years after doing much of everything Motown had much denied of him.


Escape
Escape
4 used & new from $80.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Freshest Album, March 18, 2012
This review is from: Escape (Audio CD)
What helped reach the platinium status of this Hip-Hop classic earned them as the headliner performers of the 84" Fresh Fest Concert (National Tour that also featured Kurtis Blow and other new Hip-Hop acts like Run DMC and The Fat Boys), a standing ovation performance on Soul Train (of "Freaks Come Out At Night" and "Friends"), and three successful music videos ("Freaks Come Out At Night," "Big Mouth" and the title track) that were overwhelmingly requested on BET, New York Hot Tracks, and Ralph McDaniels' Video Music Box. Much like The Fat Boys and Run DMC, Whodini was one of the few Hip-Hop/Rap groups that can balance out bragging and partying to real life experiences that relates to all ages such as spreading rumors ("Big Mouth") as well as dealing with real life fustrations ("Escape"), and relationships ("Friends"). The only difference with Whodini is that their songs that deal with real life experiences slightly exceeds other songs. Their songs were more R&B flavored than any other Hip-Hop songs around 1983-84 and thats why "Freaks Come Out At Night," "Friends," and "Big Mouth" had respectable chart entries on the R&B charts. In addition, they were the first Hip-Hop acts (and only at the time) that featured background dancers in their videos and live performances that included Kangol Kid and Doctor Ice (of UTFO and their performances and skills helped them gain a record deal of which prompted the release of the smash hit "Roxanne Roxanne") and 12 year old Jermaine Dupri (of which would become one of the most successful Hip-Hop performers and producers in the 90s and 21st Century making successful hits songs for Kriss Kross, Bow Wow, and Usher). Although only released as the B-Side of the album's first single, "Friends;" "Five Minutes of Funk" was a street hit and even served as the theme music of Ralph McDaniels' Video Music Box from 1984 up until its cancellation in the early 2000s. Although I was just an infant when the album was released, I gain more knowledge about the group as I got older by watching the classic videos on BET's Video Vibrations 5 years later (usually random video picks or during Video Vibrations' Rap Week of which my older sister taped in 1989). I'm not knocking on their 1983 debut album, but I felt that Escape was a much better album and one of my favorite Hip-Hop albums during the seceond generation of the Hip-Hop era (1983-86). I just hope that its available on itunes as well as their third album, Back In Black.


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