Feb 12, 2016

New Balance

To this day, the New Balance model 574 shoes are the most comfortable I've ever worn in my life.

I distinctly remember seeing Phife Dawg wore New Balance shoes in a photo on the first A Tribe Called Quest album.

I had another sneaker brand on my mind so I paid New Balance no mind until nearly a decade later.

I bought a pair in New York, of all places in downtown Brooklyn, and couldn't believe how comfortable they were.

They were so comfortable that I wore them all-year round until they lost their lustre. Even when the time came to chuck them, I was reluctant to do so because I wasn't guaranteed that kind of comfort from my next pair of sneakers unless they too were New Balance

As I am on the verge of putting another pair of kicks to pasture, I'm happy to know that I can find New Balance in my hometown. 

Feb 11, 2016


There are two distinct periods in the history of the funk band Fatback.

In the early 1970's, The Fatback Band, as they were known released their music on the Perception Records label.

Their raw, funky sound could be compared to most early Kool & The Gang.

Their CD was an obvious addition to my music collection allowing me to have their early singles in one place.

At some point in the late 1970s, the band renamed as Fatback.

Their sound become more synthesized in the same vein as their contemporaries like Cameo, The Dazz Band and Parliament.

Feb 10, 2016

Diana Ross & The Supremes

By default, Diana Ross & The Supremes is the girl-group of my life.

Their 7 inch singles were in my house the ones I grew up seeing the most as well as outerh hourselfholds.

It would take my being a lot older to realize that Someday We'll Be Together was her last hit single with The Supremes before her solo career was launched.

A few Motown documentaries informed me of the context of the song.

Marvin Gaye - What’s Going On (1971)

What’s Going On is one of the most important albums ever recorded and is the most important album in soul music history. Only Stevie Wonder’s early 1970s classic albums and Michael Jackson’s juggernaut Thriller enter the discussion as contenders for soul 
album of all-time.

Smokey Robinson & The Miralces

As I got older and more fascinated and educated about Motown Records, I found it odd that there were a number of the label's recording artists music not in my household.

A few of Smokey's later solo hits would be there but surprisingly none of his records with The Miracles.

When I started buying records for myself, I naturally got the essential

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

I saw the name Marvin Gaye on old 7” singles while growing up and distinctly remembered Sexual Healing was a huge hit in the summer of 1982. 

As I was exploring the late 1960s/early 1970s sounds, I did some research on Marvin Gaye’s music and history.

The duets with Tammi Terrell were the most magical. They looked and sounded perfect for each other. Because their timeless chemistry is still felt and perceived to this day, it is very easy to romanticize their recordings and one can only imagine them as the Romeo & Juliet of Motown Records. 

They were probably marketed as such but it is not a far stretch of the imagination to see them as lovebirds making music for lovebirds. Terrell dying in Gaye’s arms while on stage could on hand invite comparisons of Romeo & Juliet but it was responsible for Marvin Gaye creating his own masterpiece, What's Going On, which could be considered the musical equivalent of Shakespeare’s great literary works.

The Jackson 5

I had not thought or seen anything related to the  The Jackson Five J5 cartoon in over 20 years.

It was a pleasure to learn the group presumed there would be other vintage musical cartoons

The biggest surprise of the Cartoon Rock Party presentation was discovering The Osmonds not only had their own animated series but by the same animators as The Jackson Five!

I discovered I once again had the good people of Blue Sunshine as well as Pop Montreal to thank for the vintage cartoon presentation. Hopefully there will be another round of rock cartoons next year.

Not only did I see a classic Jackson 5 cartoon, I saw an episode of The Beagles whose animators I believe to be the same as those for Underdog. There was also a questionably titled Josie & the Pussycats episode as well.