First I’d like to say that this posting makes my 100th blog! Thanks to all of you for following and sticking with Soul Musings Corner.
Now that TV One is set to resume new episodes of Unsung on July 30, I figured now would be a good time to post part two of who I want to see profiled.
In May, I made my case for individuals; now here is the list of groups I would love to see on Unsung.
Cameo: Larry Blackmon was wild and outrageous, and as a child of the 80s, I found it highly fascinating! Their look and sound were unique and unmatched. Can I just say that Single Life is my anthem! And you know a Cameo song before the first words are even sung – think Candy, Word Up and Shake Your Pants.
En Vogue: Who can forget the unforgettable video Hold On with Cindy, Terry, Maxine and Dawn rocking those black dresses while dancing in high-heeled shoes? Four voices that were meant to be together – just not forever. There is drama behind the breakup, drama about the usage of the name and we all know drama makes for great television!
New Edition: I know NE is a version of The Jackson 5, Temptations, Four Tops and various other 60s and 70s R&B groups, but I L-O-V-E me some Ronnie, Ricky, Mike, Ralph, Johnny and Bobby. They’ve been in the business more than 30 years and have persevered through member changes, hiatus’, solo careers, money woes and a whole host of other issues. Has their story been done before? Somewhat, but they are definitely Unsung material. Besides, how is Johnny Gill Unsung and the rest are not?
Tony! Toni! Toné!: In my mind, they are still together. I know Raphael Saadiq has moved on and has achieved great success as a solo artist and producer, while brother Dwayne Wiggins and cousin Timothy Christian Riley still perform as the 3 Ts (Amar Khalil sings in Raphael’s place), but I dream of the day Saadiq rejoins the group and they create more Baby Doll, It Never Rains (In Southern California), Me and You, Whatever You Want, and Anniversary. I really would love to know what the catalyst was for the split. Curiosity is killing me.
Kool & The Gang: They are still touring with a few of the original members (check them out Aug. 16 at Mountain View Winery in Saratoga, CA. Ironically, their special musical guest is En Vogue) and I still know all the words to Joanna, Too Hot and Ladies Night. Their music has been widely sampled (DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s Summertime is Kool & The Gang’s Summer Madness). According to their website, their catalog is the most sampled by rappers behind James Brown. What trials – if any – did they face, and more importantly, are they being paid for the use of their music?
Guy: New Jack Swing king Teddy Riley, Aaron Hall and Timmy Gatling (eventually replaced by Hall’s brother Damion) formed this R&B group in the late 80s and they had many hot cuts: Groove Me, I Like and Piece of My Love just to name a few. I saw Hall in 2007 and, while he was decent, it just wasn’t the same without Riley. Why did they disband and is there anything that could bring them back together?
Jodeci: Oh J-O-D-E-C-I, how I long for you all to get it together and make the magic happen again! We’ve seen what K-Ci and JoJo have been up to, but where is producer extraordinaire DeVante and his brother Mr. Dalvin? After New Edition and Tony! Toni! Toné!, Jodeci is my group. They pulled me through many long and (what I thought at the time were devastating) college nights. Feenin’, Come and Talk To Me (remix) or Forever My Lady anyone?
Hi-Five: True story: I was on a shuttle bus at the airport in Shreveport, LA in 1998 with the members (sans lead-singer Tony Thompson) of Hi-Five. I was so beside myself (and star-stuck), that I never worked up the nerve to speak! I kinda regret that moment, but there’s no changing the past! One member (Roderick “Pooh” Clark) was in a near-fatal car crash (which left him a paraplegic), Tony passed in 2007 and now Russell Neal has been charged with allegedly murdering his wife! I would love to know what happened to the other members, and how (or if) Roderick was able to recover.
Surface: Consisting of three members (lead singer Bernard Jackson, David Conley and David Townsend), I remember Surface for their songs Happy, Can We Spend Some Time and Closer Than Friends. All were released when I was still a young pup who had no idea what the lyrics really meant, but I listen to them today and think, “This group offered something special and long-lasting to the world.”
And I might be pushing it, but maybe . . .
Blackstreet: Teddy Riley moved on from Guy and formed Blackstreet. You want to talk about some great slow jams? Their 1994 release Blackstreet and 1996’s Another Level was full of them. Check out Let’s Stay In Love, Joy, Falling In Love Again,and I Can’t Get You (Out of My Mind).
Dru Hill: Say what you want about Sisqó’s blond hair and Thong Song, but him with Dru Hill created music I can play for my nieces and nephews. I just realized I have a thing for ballads, because my favorite Dru Hill songs include April Showers, All Alone, So Special, Beauty and What Do I Do With the Love. I recently saw them (with new member Tao) and their four-part harmony is still going strong.