Saturday, October 25, 2008

Obama Slams McCain Manager For Saying Issues Don't Matter

Barack Obama has won all three debates because he has addressed the issues. This is something the McCain/Palin team does only when forced to or when it happens to be an issue they support. Since the economy is bad and John McCain said he would stay in Iraq another hundred years in necessary (when the majority of the country is against the war). McCain would rather talk about Joe The Plumber, who in actuality isn't a plumber yet, and how he would be victimized by Obama taxing people who make more than $250.000.00 a year. McCain says at this time no one's taxes should be raised. This is ridiculous. If there are no taxes, who pays for infrastruction, education etc. McCain fails to tell us about the huge number of corporations that don't pay anything at all in taxes. When you can't confront the issues honestly you have no other recourse than to resort to criticizing Rev. Jeremiah Wright (when his associate Rev. John Hagee has said worse than Wright including an obbvious penchant for anti-semitism). How can McCain condemn Ayers for blowing up building when his "good friend" Gordon Liddy had done the same. McCain's campaign director talks about making "personalities" the focus of the campaign instead of "issues" because when it comes to the issues they don't have a leg to stand on




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The Vet Who Did Not Vet

Here's the absolute truth. There was such a hoopla about Barack Obama's experience
"Sarah Palin (Pales In) in comparison"




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Friday, October 24, 2008

Levi Stubbs (1936 - 2008 )

One would think that this is a music site, it isn't, but with the succession of deaths of R&B legends once again I must pay homage. These were the people who made the music for the soundtrack of my life, one such person was the late Levi Stubbs Jr.
I don't think I've seen any professional entertainer more than Levi Stubb's Four Tops. I saw them for the first time in 1964 at the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre promoting their new song "Baby I Need Your Loving" I knew then that they were going to be BIG.
The Four Tops went on to have 24 top 40 hits which included two #1's "I Can't Help Myself(Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" in 1965 and "Reach Out I'll Be There" in 1966 and in the process sold over 50 million records world-wide. The Four Tops and The Dells hold the record for longevity. The Dells had one personnel change early in their career, but the Four Tops had the same unit for over 40 years. They were only separated by death. With the passing of Levi Stubbs only one original member Abdul "Duke" Fakir is alive. The Four Tops and The Dells had other things in common besides longevity together. They both had lead singers with big booming voices. To this day there are still people who debate whether Marvin Junior or Levi Stubbs had the stronger voice.
The Four Tops were hitmakers for four decades. The group had an uncanny knack for making comebacks. The association with the legendary writing and producing team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Edward Holland created the bulk of the Four Tops hit repertoire: "Baby I Need Your Lovin" , "I Can't Help Myself", "It's The Same Old Song","Reach Out I'll Be There", "Something About You", "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)", "Standing In The Shadows Of Love", "Bernadette", "You Keep Running Away" When Holland-Dozier-Holland had a dispute with Motown President Berry Gordy and left Motown it initially had a debilitating effect on the record label and acts like the Four Tops and The Supremes experiencing slumping sales. The Four Tops resorted to making cover songs. Some were successful "Walk Away Renee" "If I Were A Carpenter" but these songs never reached the sales of the Holland-Dozier-Holland era. At this time the Four Tops worked with another blossoming Motown writer/producer Frank Wilson who along with Smokey Robinson created the Four Tops big comeback hit of 1970 "Still Waters (Love)". The album "Still Waters Run Deep" is considered by many to be their best ever. About a year later Berry Gordy decided to move Motown to Los Angeles. The Wilson produced "(That's The Way) Nature Planned It" Lp got a lot of attention, especially the medley "Hey Man/We Gotta Get You A Woman" that was featured regularly on the dance line on the popular tv program "Soul Train". This song would have been another big hit for the group had it not been for the Tops' reluctance to transplant to the west coast. The Four Tops insisted on staying in Detroit so Motown and The Four Tops parted company and Motown decided not to release "Hey Man/We Gotta Get You A Woman".
It was time for the Four Tops to make yet another comeback, this time moving to ABC/Dunhill records and working with another successful writing/producing team Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter. The duo returned the Tops to the higher positions on the charts with songs like "Keeper Of The Castle", the #4 hit "Ain't No Woman (Like The One I Got)", "Are You Man Enough" and "Sweet Understanding Love"
Then for some inexplicable reason the Four Tops disappeared from the pop chart but continued to triumph on the R&B Charts with songs like "We All Gotta Stick Together","One Chain(don't make no prison)" and "Midnight Flower" History then repeated itself when the Dennis Lambert-Brian Potter writing and producing team split from each other and from ABC Records, which a short time later folded.
After returning from England where they found success with a song that wasn't well received in the United States "Simple Game" (#3)it was time for yet another
comeback. The Four Tops signed with Casablanca Records and had another big hit
"When She Was My Girl" (#1 R&B, #11 Pop), but like ABC, Casablanca also bit the dust, leading the Four Tops to Arista Records where in 1988 they had their last Top 40 hit "Indestructible" with Smokey Robinson filling in for the ailing Lawrence Payton who passed away in 1997.
In 2000 Levi Stubbs was no longer able to perform with the Four Tops and Theo Peoples (formerly of the Temptations) replaced him as lead singer. Reinaldo "Obie" Benson, the composer of Marvin Gaye's smash hit "What's Goin' On?" and the Four Tops'
own "Sweet Understanding Love" died in 2006, he was replaced by Roquel Payton (the son of Lawrence Payton). The current Four Tops are Abdul Fakir, Theo Peoples, Ronnie McNeir and Roquel Payton. Just last week Levi Stubbs, who suffered from a stroke, cancer and a heart attack died in his sleep at the age of 72. The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Stubbs came from a family of exceptional entertainers, his younger brother Joe Stubbs was the lead voice on the 100 Proof (aged in soul) hit "Somebody's Been Sleeping" and the great Jackie Wilson was Levi's cousin.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Immortals - The Greatest Artists of All Time: 79)The Four Tops by Smokey Robinson

The Four Tops are a one-in-a-million singing group. They were the best in my neighborhood in Detroit when I was growing up. When I was eleven or so, my first group was an early version of what would become the Miracles. Back then the Four Tops were called the Four Aims. We all used to sing on the corners, at school functions and at house parties. Sometimes we'd have talent competitions. But all the groups in the neighborhood knew that if the Four Aims were going to be there, you were going to be singing for second place at best.
They were the first group from the neighborhood that sang modern harmony: They could sing like a gospel group but then do R&B like no one else. I love singers whom you can identify the first second they open their mouth, and Levi Stubbs is one of those; he's one of the greatest of all time. He has that distinctive voice, and his range is staggering. The combination of Levi, Obie Benson, Duke Fakir and Lawrence Payton was truly awesome.

When they came to Motown and teamed up with Holland-Dozier-Holland, there was no looking back. They performed some of the most dramatic records ever written: "Standing in the Shadows of Love," "Bernadette," "Reach Out I'll Be There," "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" and "Baby I Need Your Loving." Later, when Holland-Dozier-Holland left, I co-wrote "Still Water (Love)" with Frank Wilson for the Four Tops.

They were always great singers and great guys. When the Four Tops first came to Motown, the Miracles and I were the mainstays of the label, and the Temptations had just gotten there. But all the guys were very, very close. You'd come back to town from a fifty-one-night tour, and the first thing you did was shower and head back to Hitsville. We'd be there playing cards and shooting pool together into the early hours.

Levi is sick and he can't perform right now, but the Four Tops are still great. Obie -- who co-wrote "What's Going On" for Marvin Gaye -- and Duke are still there, and you've got some great new guys with them. So if you see the Four Tops now, you are still going to be mightily entertained. The Four Tops will always be one of the biggest and the best groups ever. Their music is forever.

This article was written for Rolling Stone Magazine by Smokey Robinson in 2004

Norman Whitfield (1941 - 2008)

Norman Whitfield, one of the most prolific composer/arrangers of Motown Records has succumbed to diabetes. Whitfield produced songs for such top Motown acts as Gladys Knight & The Pips, Rare Earth, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Marvin Gaye and The Supremes, but he had his greatest success with The Temptations, who had 38 top forty hits between 1964 and 1991, Whitfield produced 26 of the 38, which included gems like "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", "I Can't Get Next To You", "Just My Imagination", "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" "(I Know)I'm Losing You" and "I Wish It Would Rain". Whitfield earned the reputation of being a hard worker, driven to the point of perfection. This trait gave him quite a few enemies because of the hours spent in the studio recording artists. He was the type of person who would not take no for an answer if he felt he was right. Motown president Berry Gordy rejected the tune "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" by several artists. It appeared as if each time Gordy rejected it Whitfield would do it again with a different artist. Finally Gordy did accept a version by Gladys Knight & The Pips. This recording became the biggest Motown hit ever at that time. Seeing the success of the Gladys Knight & Pips version of the song Berry Gordy then approved the Marvin Gaye version, which even surpassed the one by Gladys Knight & The Pips to become Motown's all-time best seller.
When Whitfield left Motown he composed songs for movies like "Which Way Is Up?
the Richard Pryor film that had Stargard perform the Whitfield penned title song. He had even greater success with Rose Royce's "Car Wash" from the film of the same name. The song reached #1 on Billboard in 1977. Whitfield, like Ronald Isley and Dionne Warwick was a among a cadre of African-American artists who are constantly tormented by Internal Revenue Service. Whitfield left the music scene completely in
2000 primarily due to health concerns.

Pervis Jackson (1939 - 2008)

Pervis Jackson, one of the original Spinners has passed away, a victim of cancer. Jackson was best known for providing the deep voice on tunes like "(They Just Can't Help It)Games People Play" This is the third death of a prominent member of this legendary Detroit group. Pervis Jackson is preceeded in death by Philippe Wynne and Billy Henderson. With a roster of stars that included The Four Tops, The Supremes, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Gladys Knight & The Pips and Rick James, The Spinners felt that they had been neglected for too long and that it was time for a change, so the group left Motown for Atlantic where they achieved world wide success with unforgettable songs like "One Of A Kind" "Rubberband Man" and "Then Came You". Before leaving Motown Stevie Wonder gave them their second top forty hit "It's A Shame" Between 1961 and 1995 The Spinners had 18 top forty hits, the biggest of all were "Then Came You" recorded with Dionne Warwick, reaching #1 in 1974, "Working My Way Back To You" and "Rubberband Man" both reaching the #2 spot in 1976 and 1980.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Al Wilson (1939 - 2008)

In the year 2008 many R&B standouts have died, one of them was Meridan, Mississippi soul singer Al Wilson. From 1968 to 1976 Wilson had several top
40 hits which included "The Snake", "La La Peace Song", "Touch And Go" and
"I've Got A Feeling (We'll Be Seeing Each Other Again), but the biggest of
them all was the 1973 release "Show and Tell" which reached #1 on the Billboard
chart. Wilson along with The 5th Dimension were two of the first acts signed
by 60s rocker Johnny Rivers.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A reply to Anonymous

There have been several people who have replied to a posting on this blog using the name "Anonymous" , one in particular replied to my article "Republican Apparel Ad: A Surprise to " because I expressed my outrage at having a conservative ad on a progressive blog. That particular "anonymous" knows who he or she was and this is my reply.....
"Does it bother you that I know the truth? There is not ONE thing I wrote in the article that cannot be verified, and you know it. I love this country. My objective is to save it from avaricious, fear-mongering imbecilic a------- like you.
You seem to be lacking the courage to mention your name "anonymous". I am not surprised.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hannity Exposed as Fraud

I have never seen Sean Hannity look more totally insignificant. Hannity has been extremely critical of Barack Obama because he associated with a radical bomber with regard to a charity. The more Hannity squealed about how he was not an anti-semite
Robert Gibbs pointed out that he gave an audience to a known anti-semite thereby exposing Hannity as a hypocrit. It's wrong when Obama casually communicates with Ayers, but it's ok for Hannity via his show give an audience to a bigot.




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