The Summer Mixtape Revisited Part 2: SeanFresh

 

SeanFreshandGraceRiverphoto creds:  Christian West

(This is the second part of a multiple-piece series on the one-year anniversary of the release of the Bike Rack Records’ Summer Mixtape (sponsored by Bike Rack Brewing).  This post features my recent interview with the smooth and #freshforever Little Rock music artist @seanfresh.

BLM…

I’ve seen a bunch of ‘black lives matter’ and ‘we’re on your side,’ which is cool, but also a kind of weird at the same time.  It’s a great time to be alive, but not a great time to be alive you know?  Man, I do believe that a change is coming.  People are tired.  It took a pandemic.  It took a lot.  This is like a perfect storm for justice.  And I think the generation we live in is that people are tired of just marching and protesting for justice and equality only to have our efforts washed away by a new song, a new movie, a scandal,  or a sporting event.  We demand equality by peace or by force.  But we are tired of the status quo.  If we have to die, then we have to die so that my daughter can grow up and live a dream that was supposed to be for all of us.

I’m not going to fall.  One of my favorite characters of all time in a movie is Bane.  It’s because he had lines like ‘you all are just getting accustomed to the dark.  I grew up in the dark.’  I have learned to be successful in the dark. This life doesn’t mean anything to me.  The only thing that matters to myself is my family, my legacy, and being kind.  

Jesus didn’t do nothing to nobody and they murdered him.  We’re talking about being Christians now.  The reason why your sins (and mine) are wiped away is because of Jesus.  It wasn’t some easy route to Christianity either.  Jesus got 39 lashes and was treated like dirt so you can be free and wear your double-breasted suit on Easter and have your holier-than-thou attitude.    

Choosing kindness and love…

Being kind everyday and choosing what’s right is what gets me by everyday.  And that doesn’t always mean choosing what’s legal and maybe what’s right in the eyes of God.  I can go to sleep every night though knowing I chose to do what’s right, and if I didn’t then God forgive me.  Have mercy on me and show me the same grace and mercy that I can hopefully show to someone else. 

I take stuff one day at a time.  I lost a lot of weight – 50 or 60 pounds.  I never gave in to society not looking at the totality of the injustice, but looking at today, and today I choose to be kind.  I choose to love.  And at the same time, if I choose to bust a head or break a window then it is still out of love because sometimes I don’t see how we must understand that sometimes bloodshed has to be done for peace to come.  That is the most Christian and American thing ever – busting heads for justice.  We wouldn’t have America if it wasn’t for riots.   

Equality…

For some reason when it comes to equality for black people, we’re not even asking you to be better, we just want be treated the same way as everybody else and we got to fight for that every single day.   If I got to die for it, cool.  If you got to die for it, cool.  That’s just the mentality that we have now.  We’ve tried so many peaceful ways and the thing is no one has the answer. 

In the music industry everyone wants to try to tell you what to do.  I’m not saying getting social injustice across America is equalized with getting into the music industry, but there is no answer for it.  If there was, we would have tried it already.

Family lives coming and going…

My new baby daughter is named Grace and is two months old.  At the same time, my grandma just passed and I’m doing her eulogy.  I really don’t think too many people have cried, because she is the definition of someone who lived right, who loved Christ, and who stood up for righteousness.  My grandma made me some Hammer pants one time when I was younger.  She was always for me.  Everybody had Hammer pants at school, and we couldn’t afford them.  So she made me some Hammer pants because she wanted me to be accepted.  She was used by a lot of people in her life because she served a lot of people, but at the end of the day it’s like well done.  Everyone is like – grandma lived an amazing life! 

photo creds:  Dacori Jones (left) and Mike Morris (right)

Fresh forever…

I know that I will live forever.  This is just a small part of eternity so I’ll be doggone if I’m not going to stand up for what’s right.  You know, be me at all times.  I’ve never been scared of anyone, because I’m not afraid to die.  I’ve never been scared to stand up for what’s right.

It’s coming..

I think change is coming.  We have a non-profit helping mentor kids (jUSt/Global Kids – Arkansas), and we’ve had that for 10 years, and it wasn’t because of what’s going on now.  It was because we were going to change the world.  My perspective of change is that it’s always going to come in some form.  Whether it’s the return of Jesus or I die and go to Heaven.  But I never thought the world would just now realize it’s racist.  I didn’t care or wasn’t focused on the norm.  I am more worried about making a difference today and being kind every day and choosing what’s right.  

I’m hopeful for change, but who would have thought that COVID-19 would hit and no one would go outside?  And you’d have social distancing.  And then you have Minnesota, and you have time to follow social distancing, but then a police officer puts his knee on the neck of a grown black man.  You say George Floyd changed the world, but George Floyd was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  That was it.  We still pissed off about Emmett Till.    

The truth of the matter is everything lined up perfectly for change.  But we’re only a few weeks into this.  We just got body cams on our police officers in Little Rock now.  They’re videotaping it.  So what?  It ain’t like it ain’t happened before.  We’ve seen it before.  We’ve seen all the films.  So, we’re just getting started.  

The creative parts of black people are stitched into American culture.  You have to have a majority to make changes and when others stand up and when women stand up, that’s when it goes down.  That’s when change comes.   

Jabs, jumpers, and staying busy…

I’ve been boxing since the pandemic hit and I’m about to do it competitively.  My jump-shot is not as good as it used to me, but my endurance is better.  I’m getting buckets still, but now you can’t score off of me.  My defense is good, and I’m getting all the rebounds.  So when I say my jump-shot isn’t as good, even my jump-shot at subpar is better than 97% of people’s jump-shots! 

Recently, I missed my flight back home from New York, because I was trying to get some things in Harlem from the Malcolm Shabazz market.  I thought we were going to make it, but we didn’t.  So we stayed and I started Googling open mic spots and the one in Brooklyn is one of the first that we found.  So Gavin (Hawkins) recorded it and it turned out good, and we put that up on YoutubeI’m just busy.  I don’t ask anyone for anything.  I just do my own things.  I’m working on my music and trying to get more subscribers on Youtube and Spotify.  I’m about to put out my new project “Gold Fangs and Chains” soon so we’ve got a bunch of stuff coming.  I’m also working on a clothing line collaboration with 22nd Element.  Man, God is good, and this is going to be the greatest year in my life.   

WHWR by SeanFresh from the 2019 Bike Rack Records Summer Mixtape

He’s calling a 2020 Lakers’ championship and you can connect with Sean at SeanFresh.com or FacebookInstaTwitter, or Youtube

 

 

 

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The Summer Mixtape Revisited Part 1: IamBijoux

Bijoux(photo creds @dazzminmurry)

(This is the first piece of a multiple-piece series on the one year anniversary of the release of the Bike Rack Records’ Summer Mixtape in 2019 (sponsored by Bike Rack Brewing).  This post features my recent interview with Little Rock’s lovely and talented  #herroyaldopeness @iambijoux)

About 2019…

Last year was really cool to be an artist.  Getting your art out now is different.  I’m very fortunate.  I’ve had a day job the whole time I’ve been doing music.  I’ve been living my life off of two incomes since 1997 and have been fortunate enough to work from home.   I wanted to be sad about all the gigs I’ve lost, but I just couldn’t sit in that.  I have to find a way to make my art worthwhile.  

But I did a lot of shows, a lot of music.  For the first time in my life getting to perform my own music at festivals and shows so that was amazing.  “Go With It” on the Bike Rack Records Summer Mixtape was my first single ever.  I got to perform at Pride Little Rock, which was amazing and is a huge stage and I got to perform “Go With It” live.  I went (Facebook) live in March.  I was fortunate enough to be able to do that from my living room because I have sound equipment, and I think that first video has about 14,000 views (currently at 16k views and counting).

Performing for Juneteenth…

This is my third or fourth for Little Rock and I’m always pumped about Juneteenth.  It’s so funny to me in America; St. Patrick’s Day – not a problem.  Cinco de Mayo not an issue.  But a holiday like Juneteenth – people got something to say.  So many cultures have specific cultural holidays that we celebrate as a nation.  I never get upset about St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo or Octoberfest.  Juneteenth is an opportunity to take pride in my culture, and we have a lot to be proud about.  

 

On BLM…

Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean that any other race should stand still while we run forward.  The phrase is simply that they matter.  I will never stop being baffled by how that is a point of argument for anyone.  Not even black lives are equal to yours.  Just matter.  And people still find something to say.  If I come to you and say it’s my birthday, say happy birthday Bijoux or happy birthday girl, don’t say oh, happy birthday to all the Aquarians.  Who’s standing in front of you right now?  It’s me.  It’s my birthday.  Celebrate me.  It does not diminish anybody else’s birthday, because I was not the only person born on February 18th, but tell me Happy Birthday.  Don’t say there are other people born on the 18th.  So?  It’s not their time right now.  You don’t even know them.  Happy birthday Bijoux.  Thank you. 

A bully…

Let’s say you go to school every day and there’s a bully and every time they see you, they call you a name and they push you into a locker.  The first time it happens you’re probably really really hurt, and you go home, and you tell somebody.  I’m so upset.  Why would somebody do me like that?  And if you tell somebody and they’re like it’s not a big deal – everybody gets pushed a school, get over it.  You would  probably feel sad those next few times you get pushed into a locker, but after awhile if that bully doesn’t get transferred or get in trouble or go to juvie, you’re just going to be like – you know what I go to school, a guy pushes me, whatever, I go on with my day.   

Growing up I had a friend circle – two white girls, a Mexican girl, a Filipino girl and me, and I remember the day that we asked how come everyone’s skin is different colors?  You know that there is a difference.  Once you start experiencing racism, you get this feeling that you’re less than.  It’s imposed on you.  I know that more people are willing to confront their racism and bias than they used to so that makes me hopeful.  But once again, that’s not going to stop that bully from pushing me into my locker.  I’m less sad about it now because that bully doesn’t come to school every day, but he still exists, and the next time he sees me, he’s going to push me into that locker again.   

 

Racism within the church…

Let’s say you pose the question of the first time you encountered racism; everyone is going to tell you of a time at grade school.  They can remember that moment and know they haven’t been the same since.  And I say that to say ‘yeah I’m sleeping at night and yeah I’m ok because this is not new.’  None of this is new information for me.  I don’t lose sleep over it anymore.  It doesn’t keep me up at night anymore and it doesn’t always throw me into fits of crying anymore, because I remember the first time I ran into a nice, well-meaning Christian person and the first time I was called a racial slur:  I was in Catholic school.  I don’t know what I did, or if I did anything.  One of my classmates cussed me out and called me a racial slur and I thought ‘oh, I’m different.’  

(photo creds @dazzminmurry)

Getting through tough times…

First and foremost, I’m a believer.  I’ve experienced God for myself.  I believe that all things work together for my good.  I truly believe that.  I’ve worked to cover my loved ones and my community in prayer.  I have trauma from my childhood that has built a resilience that I don’t know if money can buy.  Part of that resilience is creating these networks of self-care to make sure that I’m ok.  So, I have a therapist.  I have friend circles and groups.  I have been on a Zoom call every week since March the 12th.  I’m on Facetime probably six hours a day.  I have time that I’m alone and I enjoy that too.  I always have.  But, if I need something, I know I have somewhere I can go or someone I can talk to to get what I need.  I get to see my Godsons.  I have so many opportunities to talk to friends.  I have game night and book club with sister in law over Zoom.  I’m working from home.  I’m doing music in the house.  I do everything here, so I have compartmentalized my home.  I only do certain things in certain rooms; I’ve been getting dressed up every day because it makes me feel good – skincare routines, makeup every now and then.  When I have Zoom brunch, I get really fancy that day.  I’ll get some smoked Salmon on a cracker on my couch in front of my cell phone.  I’m doing my best to replicate the life that I enjoy. 

Right now…

I see the reports.  I’m active on Twitter.  I don’t watch the videos anymore, but I see people’s accounts, I’ve signed petitions, I donate money.  I’m getting ready to do some performances for BLM.  I have therapy.  I have my friends to talk to and I’ve made my own peace with the country I love, and I live in.  It’s messed up as it always was, but it don’t hit the same.  

I do feel hopeful and I probably always will.  Not only is it an outlook that I choose to take, but it is convenient for me to take.  I don’t have a black husband or black sons, but I have two black brothers and a black dad and black mom and it’s just us in our space and so far everybody is staying safe.  I’m just as worried about them regarding racism or police brutality as I have about them since the mid 90’s.  Everybody seems to be staying safe from Covid and my family members that are in the health care profession are screened and tested on a regular basis and they’re taking so many precautions that I don’t worry extra about them. 

Be aware, be active…

Racism is superimposed into American society and it’s interwoven through everything – these micro-aggressions and subtexts and media.  After 3 yrs. of having a bully smash you into your locker you’re not about to go home and cry over that like you used to.  It’s one thing to experience racism, but to have been indoctrinated into it in ways that were subconscious to you, and then confronting your bias is an act of bravery.  It’s a necessary step.  If you see that you have a problem and you’re doing work toward it, in my opinion it’s an act of courage.   

Hopefully all of us can start being more conscious of our own bias because everybody has them.  Everybody has a responsibility to confront their own, be it poverty or someone that has a different face than you who looks different than you.  We all have this work to do, and I’m really proud of those who are doing the work, having the conversations, protesting injustice, donating to causes that help people who are being disenfranchised because what else would Jesus have us do?  Would Jesus have sat by and watch injustices happen to people and say ‘that’s not my problem’?  Well, you answer ‘that’s the way it’s always been.’  Jesus was always against the way things had always been.  The same Christ that we believe saved our souls is the same Jesus that was getting into trouble with the government for healing on the Sabbath.   

If I have the opportunity and the capability to help somebody’s affliction, I’m going to do what Jesus did and help them.  And I think that’s a mandate that we all have a responsibility to follow.  We all have our work to do and if you’re doing work then kudos to you.  And we all have our work to do and I mean everyone – me included.  We all can do more, and I’m never going to stop appreciating where people come from.     

Bijoux’ 2019 single “Go With It”…

 

Connect with Bijoux on Facebook, Twitter, Insta, and Youtube

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“It’s Iceland or the Philippines or Hastings”

“or or this place!” – Murray Head

Murray Head | Discography | Discogs(Murray’s head)

Spring of 1985 was the highlight of my 8th grade year.  The reason?  Three letters – S.O.D., aka “School Outdoors.”  For one glorious week (four nights actually), the eldest class of Whittier Middle School in Norman, Oklahoma slept in cabins and spent days in outside classes (mostly) at the University of Oklahoma Lake Texoma Biological Station.  The station, founded in 1949, sits on the north shore of Lake Texoma about two hours from Norman, and has indoor classrooms, a recreational room, a library, and a cafeteria onsite.

,                               (If you’ve ever been there, then you remember the bell!)

The spring of 1985 was nearing the end of my first school year living in Norman, Oklahoma where my dad had been hired by Billy Tubbs the previous summer to be an assistant men’s basketball coach for the University of Oklahoma.  The Sooners were led that year by three-time All-American Wayman Tisdale, who still holds the all-time scoring record for the Sooners.  The season was not too far removed as the Sooners had been ousted in the Elite Eight of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament that season.  After a narrow two point win over Karl Malone and Louisiana Tech, the Sooners lost two days later to Keith Lee and Memphis State 63-61.  That would ultimately be Wayman’s last game as a Sooner.  Just a junior, Wayman would break Sooner hearts around the state a few weeks later and declare for the NBA draft.

“All change don’t you know that when you play at this level there’s no ordinary venue.”

I was moving on as well, preparing for high school.  It was actually called a “mid-high” in Norman as 9th and 10th graders were separated into two mid-highs (West and Central) from the juniors and seniors at Norman High School.  But before we ascended into high school and you became a jock or nerd or preppie or goth, the graduating 8th graders had one last middle school fling together surrounded by water and nature.

During that week, we had a security guard (Mr. Wagner) that would handcuff you to a tree if you attempted to cut in line during mealtime.  This was a favorite risk that many of my classmates attempted through the week (including me unknowingly that first morning).  There were skits to perform and spider sniffs and trust walks and a host of other activities intended to keep the adolescent minds of 8th graders attentive and engaged.  We were also charged with journaling each day and eventually turning that into a project to be graded.

If you’re a friend or classmate that attended S.O.D., or you’re just curious about my journaling skills as an 8th grader in 1985, then may I present to you, straight out of my attic and back from 1985, my S.O.D. journal!

“Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town.”

Click on the various pictures to enlarge them…

“Time flies doesn’t seem a minute, since the Tirolean spa had the chess boys in it.”

“A little flesh, a little history, I can feel an angel sliding up to me.”

“Can’t be too careful with your company, I can feel the devil walking next to me.”

(I only received a 92 for this project.  Apparently my artistic skills were lacking!)

“Bangkok, Oriental setting, and the city don’t know that the city is getting”

Orientalism in 'One Night in Bangkok' | Critical Hit!!

The peculiar career of Englishman Murray Head produced this lone top five U.S. hit in the spring of 1985.  Peaking at #3, I learned this song was actually written and performed for the musical “Chess,” which depicts a cold war era chess tournament featuring grand masters from the U.S. and from Russia.  Some of the lyrics actually started to make a little bit of sense when I learned that.  The musical itself ran for three years in London’s West End between 1986-88 and then had a very short stay on Broadway in 1988.

A lyrically interesting song, it usually harbors enjoyment or deep dissent from the listener.  Personally, I like it.  And, it also serves as a reminder of the spring of ’85 and my time at S.O.D.  Here is “One Night in Bangkok…”

“And thank God I’m only watching the game controlling it.”

sincerely,

the 80’s

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“People Get Ready”

“There’s a train a-coming.” – Curtis Mayfield

Vinyl Revival: Curtis Mayfield, 'Keep On Keeping On: 1970-1974 ...

Sometimes I think it’s not necessarily the pain of losing someone that causes the most grief.  It’s in those dark moments in the days and weeks and months immediately after that cause some of the greatest heartache.  Maybe it’s the finality of it all.  Maybe it’s the sense that our loved one is slowly slipping from our short-term memory into our long term spectrum, and becoming just another passing image of better days gone by.

Those images become a little more fuzzy, the voice a little more distant, the scenes a little less vibrant.  There’s also this strange feeling that we don’t want to let go of the pain, because it means letting go of the person, which we all know somewhere cognitively is just not true.

It’s taken me quite some time to work through my personal loss this year and put it in a somewhat coherent post.  I’ve already lamented over how bad 2020 is so far.  That’s no shocker, but somewhere there are silver linings.  I just can’t quite see them yet.  I came across a post on Insta from my cousin’s girlfriend recently, and it said something to the effect that she isn’t counting 2020 to her age because she didn’t use it.  Fair enough.  And if you’re reading this, and you’ve lost a friend or family member recently (COVID or otherwise), then I’m truly sorry.

“Faith is the key.  Open the doors and board them.”

I lost my father-in-law, Haskell Rycroft, in March (heart).  He was 88 and still at the top of his game mentally.  He was a pastor, a husband of 50+ years, and a father to six daughters (nothing could scare him!).  He was a force of nature – “a man’s man.”  He loved guns and hunting and sports and politics, and most of all was passionate about pursuing his God and spreading what he knew to be truth.  He was creating.  He was writing poems and books and lyrics and strumming his guitar and making music with his newfound love of the harmonica.  He was still preaching and teaching to whomever would listen.  Haskell had the key and he got on board.

(My wonderful, loving father-in-law, Haskell.  Harmonica in hand and joy in his heart.)

I lost a college basketball teammate in April (heart).  He was hilarious and talented and people loved him.  He was a basketball coach, a musician, a husband and father.  He was coaching young men during some of their most formative years at a high school in Oklahoma.  He was hawking health products and cars and shoes online.  He was a hustler.  He was also writing and creating new music and putting it out for wandering ears on whatever platform he could connect with you on.  He was performing live concerts from his house during lockdown and you could find his musical taste somewhere between Waylon, Hank and Merle, and Prince on the musical spectrum.  Wes had the key as well and he also got on board.

(My song-singing, Redmen for life, former college teammate and friend Wesley Michael Hayes)

“All you need is faith to hear the diesels humming
Don’t need no ticket.  You just thank the Lord.”

I don’t post these pictures of two men separated in age by nearly 40 years to make you feel sorry for me or to garner some unnecessary attention.  I don’t need it (and by the way these two men would have gotten along fabulously).  No, I post these pictures to relate.  I join you on the pain spectrum.  I feel your sense of loss.  You are not alone in wanting to see people again.

You are not alone either in wanting to hold onto the pain for fear of letting it go, and in doing so letting go of that person.  In fact, I’m not telling you to let it go.  I hear that advice too often, and it’s not always applicable.  Hold onto it while it’s comfortable.  Just put it away in the closet or a lock box or a photo album when you don’t need it.  Let the man who will take away the pain hold onto it, but go back and grab it when you need to, because it’s ok to.

I also post these photos to celebrate those two lives.  I post them to celebrate those in your life that you want to celebrate, those that got on board.  If you’ve lost anyone recently, post their photo in the comments section if you want.  There is something cathartic about putting words to paper and surfing through old photos on a cell phone.  The silver linings many times are just the smiles that are often unintentionally cast across our faces thinking, looking, and remembering.  

“Have pity on those whose chances are thinner
‘Cause there’s no hiding place from the kingdom’s throne.”

The religiously inspired song written by Curtis Mayfield and sung by his group The Impressions in 1965 has always carried with it a message of hope and freedom and unity.  It’s beautiful.  It provides a big-picture mentality and was one of the reasons Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used the song as an unofficial Civil Rights movement anthem.

Whether your faith carries you in search of better and brighter days ahead (and I hope it does), I think we all need to heed songwriter Curtis Mayfield’s message as it applies to the now and to eternity.  It’s also just a mellow, cool song that we can all lean back to, close our eyes, feel the sun on our faces, reflect on beautiful days gone by and better days ahead.

“I’m getting ready.  I’m getting ready…”

Here are two different but very powerful versions for your sampling taste today:  the late, great Curtis Mayfield’s version (assisted by Taylor Dane on vocals) from 1989 and a short-lived NBC television show called “Night Music,” and then the video featuring the distinctive voice of Rod Stewart with the legendary Jeff Beck on guitar from 1985.

Thank you Lord.

sincerely,

the 80’s

Wesley Michael Hayes music on Youtube

Haskell Rycroft on his harmonica playing O What a Savior

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“We Got the Bottle, You Got the Cup”

“Come on everybody let’s get…” – The Beastie Boys

Beastie Boys: Read A Classic NME Interview From 1988 | NME

Last night I watched “The Beastie Boys Story” on AppleTV.  I signed up for a free 7 day trial just for this very purpose.  Whether I’ll continue with my subscription for $4.99 a month is questionable at this time.  I already have too many streaming services – YouTube TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime, ESPN+, Disney, and Hulu.  I don’t know that I have enough time in the day to justify all of those services already.  But, I digress.

“The Beastie Boys Story” was fantastic.  I’ve been a fan of the Beasties since “Licensed to Ill” came out in 1987.  Coming along at a perfect time as white suburban teens everywhere were dipping their toes into the rap pool, I was one of those kids.  My rap tape collection was growing with the likes of Run-DMC, LL Cool J, and Kool Moe Dee, and then here come these three crazy rappers hailing from Brooklyn, calling themselves the Beastie Boys and all the while making me laugh with an album called “Licensed to Ill” (“what a dumb name!” – Joan Rivers after mistakenly calling the album Licensed to Kill and being corrected in one of the clips).

I never saw them perform, nor will I ever after the passing of Adam “MCA” Yauch in 2012, but I learned so much and was as equally entertained by the remaining two members Mike D (Mike Diamond) and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz.  The live documentary produced by Spike Jonze featured the two on stage in Brooklyn, mics in hand, reliving the past through a combination of stories, pictures, music, and video.  They spoke about their original girl drummer (Kate Schellenbach), who you can tell they felt bad about dismissing back in the day before they blew up.  Of course they spoke frequently about Yauch, who created the band and was really the creative driving force behind the trio.  I learned about their departure from Def Jam and Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin after the initial album and constant touring schedule, and their move to the west coast and the reinvention of their band over and over through the years.  It’s all very interesting and worth watching if you like the Beastie Boys or just have an appreciation for who they were and what they accomplished in their 30+ year history together.

“The song and dance keeping you in a trance.  If you don’t buy my record I got my advance.”

I wore out that Beastie Boys cassette tape “Licensed to Ill” in 1987 & 88.  There were times during those sweltering Oklahoma summers that my cousin Kasey would come stay with my family in Norman, Oklahoma for a week.  At nine years younger, Kasey was like a little brother to me, and I would take him all over with me – to mow yards (summer job), to the golf course, to the mall, to get snow cones, to the movies (anyone remember “Masters of the Universe” starring Dolph Lundgren as He-Man; yeah, I hooked Kasey and I up with tickets to that).

Of course, I would fill him full of my 80’s soundtrack which usually meant he was getting a large dose of hair metal, classic rock, and of course rap – particularly The Beastie Boys (who had very little explicit lyrics on that first album).  Besides the obvious “Fight for Your Right”, our go-to song was their minor hit “Brass Monkey,” which we thought was just really funny to sing along with.

C4DB280D-F2DE-40B0-8008-DF1BA92AB1FC_1_201_a(Two future Beastie Boys circa 1988-89 – myself and my little brother – my cousin Kasey.)

I had no idea what Brass Monkey was though I could surmise that it was most likely some kind of alcoholic drink.  Pretty sure Kasey just thought it was a song about a monkey.  I mean he was only about 8 when we were listening to this song.

Of course the Beasties completely changed course with their next album “Paul’s Boutique,” which was deemed a disappointment shortly after its’ release.  I actually bought the cd and I mostly enjoyed the track “Hey Ladies” over and over in my dorm room at St. Gregory’s.  Occasionally I might bump “Shake Your Rump” or “Shadrach,” but for the most part it was nothing like anyone (including me) expected.  Over the years though, I’ve gained a renewed appreciation for this album even dishing out a few bucks for a “Paul’s Boutique” t-shirt a few years back (I also bought one for Kasey).

 

(Reppin’ my Paul’s Boutique shirt and reunited w/ my Beastie Boy cousin Kasey last year) 

“I drink Brass Monkey and I rock well.  I got a Castle in Brooklyn (that’s where I dwell)”

In honor of those summers long ago when I would cruise around in my ’84 Camaro with my windows down, my stereo pumping, and my little cousin Kasey riding shotgun, and in honor of a band that was ground-breaking, innovative, hilarious, and just reminded you that you and a couple friends could probably form your own group like this – here is the band that’s “got more hits than Rod Carew,” (sidenote: I love Rod Carew) – check out a “live” performance of The Beastie Boys on TV’s “Solid Gold” with “Brass Monkey…”

“Tilt your head back, let’s finish the cup.”

sincerely,

the 80’s

 

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“I, I’ve Been Watching You”

“I think I wanna know ya (know ya)” – Morris Day and The Time

There’s a podcast I listen to regularly called “Stuck in the 80’s” and occasionally they have a segment called “What’s Your 80’s Obsession?”  It’s just whatever you’ve been listening to, watching, or reading that has some sort of 80’s relevance.  Well, my recent watching of “Purple Rain” on Netflix gave me my current 80’s obsession, and it may not be what you’re thinking… or it might be if the big picture above is any indication.

I recently watched “Purple Rain” in its’ beautiful purple majestic entirety on Netflix for the first time since the 80’s.  Arguably Prince was hitting his peak as a star with this album and film, and I was anxious to go back and re-watch a film I hadn’t seen in ages.  The album speaks for itself.  For many of us 80’s kids that loved a little soul or R&B or funk, “Purple Rain” was one of the defining albums of our generation.  But, what about the movie?  Was the acting by Prince really any good?  Did the bandmates have a lot of lines?  What about the co-stars Apollonia and Morris Day?  Was Prince’s family plot-line believable and cohesive?  Were his musical performances as good as I remembered?  So many questions abounded, and I’ll let you watch it and decide for yourself.

But also, what did the critics back in the day have to say at the time?  Well if you grew up in the 80’s, then you knew that there were truly only two opinions on movies that mattered – Siskel and Ebert.  Thumbs up.  Thumbs down.

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were on network tv from 1982-1986 with a show called “At the Movies.”  They reviewed the latest movie releases, and I wanted to hear what they had to say every week.  The two were film critics from competing newspapers in Chicago, and will forever be linked especially since a lot of people could never remember which was which (myself included).  Gene Siskel (who passed away in 1999) was the slimmer, taller, balder of the two and was film critic for “The Chicago Tribune.”  Roger Ebert (who passed away in 2013) was the larger, glasses-wearing, head-full-of -hair film critic for “The Chicago Sun-Times.”  The two of them would lay judgement every week on films with their signature thumbs up or thumbs down review.

Here are Siskel and Ebert reviewing the best of 1984 which including their glowing approval of Prince’s debut, “Purple Rain.”

 

In Siskel and Ebert’s review above, there is no mention of my current 80’s obsession – Morris Day and the Time.  My cousin in North Carolina recently texted me a picture of his turn table setup that he’s been perfecting while in isolation with his girlfriend during this pandemic.  He has an eclectic reading and listening gene somewhere within him.  He may be quoting Charles Bukowski one minute and then the next sending me a text with the picture below featuring the vinyl album of The Time’s self-titled debut album from 1981.

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Morris Day and The Time was a group created by Prince as part of his contract with Time Warner, and I found myself captivated by the scenes featuring Day and his sidekick, Jerome, throughout the movie.  Anyone remember their take on the old Abbott and Costello routine “Who’s on First?”  Morris and Jerome change it to “What’s the password?”

Comedy gold, right?

Day’s character was constantly trying to out-perform “The Kid” (Prince’s character name in the movie).

Day to Prince before Day takes the stage:  “Why don’t you stay awhile, see how it’s done?

Day had a wonderfully flamboyant wardrobe.  His vanity.  His narcissism.  His perfectly coiffed hair, trimmed mustache, and wandering eyes.  His pursuit of Prince’s love interest Apollonia (“Oh, Lord… Either somebody put something in my drink, or you’re the finest motherfucker I’ve seen in ages!“), and his creation and managing of Apollonia and the girl group – Vanity 6 during the movie (Vanity 6 was in real life another one of Prince’s groups that he created).

After watching “Purple Rain,” I texted my cousin, and rhetorically asked how Morris never garnered any Oscar buzz for his self-absorbed portrayal of himself!

Original members of The Time included super-producers Jimmy Jam (keyboards) and Terry Lewis (bass).  Recognize those guys?  You should if you like any music from Janet Jackson or a little group called New Edition.  The band also included drummer and producer/songwriter Jellybean Johnson as well as Prince’s longtime friend from his childhood – lead singer Morris Day.  Prince also recruited promoter Jerome Benton from another band.  Despite the enormous talent that comprised this band, Prince played all of the instruments on their debut album and credited the production of the album to his alter-ego “Jamie Starr.”

Arguably the most successful of Prince’s creations, The Time is best known for three hits – “Jungle Love,” “The Bird,” and “Jerk Out.”  The latter of those three was on a cd (1990’s “Pandemonium”) my roommate Joe Moe owned our sophomore year at St. Gregory’s College in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  I remember singing “Jerk Out” around the dorm room and also was introduced to the funny “Donald Trump – Black Version.”  In fact, here’s a very short clip showing off my Morris Day laugh while listening to “Jerk Out” circa 1990.

 

So the past few days I’ve had Morris Day and the Time on my speakers soaking in the cleverness of the Prince creation.  Rumors of fighting between The Time and Prince seemed to be the cause of the initial split back in the 80’s but The Time has reunited several times throughout the years for shows and tours.  And ironically, Morris Day and The Time will be one of the bands performing on “The 80’s Cruise” in 2021 (which the guys at “Stuck in the 80’s” promote and also attend along with original MTV VJ’s Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood, and Alan Hunter).  Of course the cruise is assuming, you know, there are any actual cruises anymore after this pandemic.

“Come on baby, where’s your guts?  You wanna make love or what?”   

Morris Day And The Time | Black music, Soul music, Music legends

One of the iconic lines in 80’s music lore I would argue, and a line from their most memorable song – “Jungle Love.”  The song only peaked at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 – a travesty in my book especially when you consider that their 1990 hit “Jerk Out” (while still a solid single) made it all the way to #9.  I’m not sure what held “Jungle Love” back so much in 1985 but their were some bonafide heavyweights in front of it that week in 1985 featuring songs by George Michael, Billy Ocean, Phil Collins, Foreigner, Hall & Oates, REO Speedwagon, and The Pointer Sisters just to name a few.  Nineteen eighty-five was one of the best years for 80’s music in my opinion.

Regardless of its’ lack of more success on the charts, here is one of the more underrated 80’s songs, and really another example of the brilliance of Prince.  Check it out, oh we oh we oh…

Ahh, that’s it, that’s it.  Come on.

sincerely,

the 80’s

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“Sometimes in Our Lives We All Have Pain”

“We all have sorrow.” – Bill Withers

Bill Withers, Hall of Fame Soul Singer, Dead at 81 - Rolling Stone

Remember 2016 when famous musicians like Glenn Frey and Prince and Bowie and George Michael all passed away?  And 2016 didn’t think that was enough musical firepower so it added Leon Russell and Merle Haggard and then it decided to add legends Muhammad Ali and Arnold Palmer for good measure.  Remember how we thought 2016 was a year that truly sucked like no other?

Enter the year with a number that represents “normal visual acuity.”  Enter 2020 and a year that is the furthest from normal it can possibly be.  This year came in like a bully at a small-stakes, friendly, neighborhood poker game – ‘I see your 2016 and I’ll raise you a shut-down economy and death.  Nothing has sucked quite like this.  Nothing.

“If there is a load you have to bear.  That you can’t carry.  I’m right up the road.  I’ll share your load.”

Many of you that know me or have read on here before know that I am a banker by day – more specifically a commercial lender.  As such, I’ve been deemed an “essential critical infrastructure worker.”  I have a letter and everything in my car just in case I am pulled over.  Arkansas (as of this writing) is one of very few states that does not have a stay-at-home mandate in place yet, so we’ll see if I ever have to actually use this letter, but I have it nonetheless.

With the passage of the recent CARES Act, $349 billion in funding was given to the SBA (Small Business Administration) for the PPP (Payroll Protection Program) loan.  That’s a lot of letters and a lot of money.  As such, the race was on by banks as we tried to figure out how to process the numerous requests to come on a first come, first serve basis.  By the end of last Friday (the first day the program), over $4 billion had been taken, and that did not include any funding to the large banks like Chase or Wells or Citi.  The funds will probably disappear quickly, and because of that, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin recently announced he had bi-partisan support for another $250B to add to the PPP for if and when the 349 runs out.

I spent all day Saturday and all day Sunday in my office at the bank answering phone calls and emails and texts, pouring over applications and documentation, and inputting loan data into SBA’s portal for struggling local businesses.  All very boring numbers stuff.  It’s not near as important as those doctors, nurses, and first responders on the front line saving lives, but bankers are essentially the front line in helping to keep the economy moving, and for that I’m proud of what all bankers are doing across the country during this time.

“You just call on me brother, when you need a hand.  We all need somebody to lean on.”

It’s a trying time right now – physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Scam artists are out there taking advantage of a weakened economy and scared people.  Families and friends are separated from each other.  People are dying and families can’t even lay them to rest under normal burial circumstances.  I don’t need to add to this list, but yes, small businesses need someone to lean on right now as well.  They’re shutting their doors, laying off workers, and many are at a loss as to whether they ever re-open their business again.  These loans are meant as a temporary band aid.  Two and a half times your average monthly payroll as a maximum loan amount to hopefully get them through the next 60 days and the worst of this economic nose dive.

So, as best you can, support your local business right now.  They need it.  We need it as a country.  And then let’s stand up and kick 2020’s ass just like we would against any other bully.  This bully is a bad one, a bad mo-fo – the worst one most of us have ever seen.  I’m tired of hearing the infection and death toll counts, and I’m trying to do my part as best I can – at a safe and reasonable distance confined mostly to my home and my bank office with one thing in mind:  Bullies don’t last, and neither will this one.

“But if we are wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow”

It seems very appropriate to feature today’s video during this time, and also given the recent passing of today’s artist – Bill Withers.  Even though the song (released in 1972) was his only #1 hit on both the Soul Singles and the Billboard Hot 100, it was 1987 when Bill actually won a Grammy for being the writer of the song.  The group Club Nouveau took Bill’s song and turned it into a number one hit again that year on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the dance charts.

The pride of Slab Fork, West Virginia, here is the late Bill Withers and his sweet soulful voice singing “Lean On Me…”

Just call on me, brother when you need a hand.

R.I.P. Bill Withers

sincerely,

the 80’s

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“I Swear We’ve Been Through Everything There Is”

“Can’t imagine anything we’ve missed.” – Kenny Rogers

Image result for kenny rogers 1980's

Full disclosure – I love Kenny Rogers.  Maybe not as much as some of his fanatics (I know one or two), but I still loved the man.  I’ve featured two of his songs/videos on this site before, but I’m dedicating this post to him given the fact that the man born Kenneth Ray Rogers in Houston, Texas just recently passed away at the age of 81.

I owe my parents for my love of his music because they played it all the time around our house.  They had a lot of his albums, and Kenny had a lot of hits – more than 120 of them according to Wiki.  I wish I had seen him in concert.  I never did, but I know my parents saw him numerous times especially in their annual trips to Las Vegas in the 80’s and 90’s.  I know they had “The Gambler” and his “Greatest Hits” albums.  I think they may have had a few others as well, but I vividly remember these two 33’s.

Kenny Rogers Fan Club Membership Benefits Card/ Pin image 0 (I was never this big of a fanatic, but I still loved Kenny, his awesome hair, beard, voice, and music)

My childhood friend Scott Morris and I once re-wrote all the lyrics to Kenny Rogers’ classic “Coward of the County.”  I still remember a lot of them today – “but folks just called him purple” instead of “folks just called him yellow,” “he let ’em have a Coke” instead of “he let ’em have it all,” and “Son, my life is over but yours has just begun” to “Son, my life is over, and yours is going quick.”  Such deep song-writing from the minds of pre-teens!

I never had any of his chicken (Kenny had a chain of “Kenny Rogers Roasters),” but I so appreciated the “Seinfeld” episode that featured Kramer and his love of Kenny’s chicken.  Kramer’s disdain for the Roasters neon sign that came through his window every day forced such an issue that Kramer briefly switched apartments with Jerry during the episode.  Alas though, Kenny never made an appearance in the episode.

In honor of a wonderful, brilliant career, here are my top 7 favorite Kenny songs:

#7  “I Can’t Unlove You” (2005) – A late career classic!  I thought this song was just vintage Kenny when the 66 year-old Rogers peaked at #17 on the country charts in 2005 with this song.  It was his highest charting country single since 1999’s “Buy Me a Rose” with Alison Krauss, and is my favorite post 80’s Rogers’ song.

#6 “Lady” (1980) –  Lionel Richie + Kenny Rogers = #1 hit.  Written by Lionel Richie after he left The Commodores, this song was the first song of the 80’s to chart on all four of Billboard magazine’s charts – Country (#1), Hot 100 (#1), A/C (#1), and Soul Singles (#42).

Image result for kenny rogers 1980's

#5  “Through the Years” (1982) – I can’t be the only one who wants to put massive photo slideshows together with this song playing in the background.  Truth-be-told, I have one that I put together of my parents shortly after their 50th wedding anniversary that is still not quite finished.  I consider it “still in production,” and I consider this Rogers’ song one of the all-time quintessential songs about the passage of time.

#4  “Islands in the Stream” (1983 w/ Dolly Parton) – Named after the Earnest Hemingway novel and written by the Bee Gees, this Kenny-Dolly duet hit #1 on the Hot 100, the A/C, and the Country charts.  Just being honest, but for an adolescent pre-teen, the highlight of this song was anytime it was on TV and Dolly was on stage with him.

#3  “We’ve Got Tonight” (1982 w/ Sheena Easton) – my favorite Kenny duet features Sheena Easton (sorry Dolly!).  This was before Sheena hooks up with Prince and starts singing songs about strutting, putting out, and her “Sugar Walls.”  Argue with me if you will, but I won’t back down on this one!  I posted this video on a post about my parents love of Kenny Rogers and my dad’s comments about the 2017 CMA’s.

#2  “The Gambler” (1978) – the song that taught American kids like me all about playing poker.  Well, maybe not completely, but it taught me there would be times I would need to hold ’em and times I would need to fold ’em.  The song has become part of our culture over the years.  Not many times go by that these lyrics don’t pop in my head when I’m playing poker.

Honorable mention:  “Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer” (1980 duet w/ Kim Carnes), “Coward of the County” (1979), and “Daytime Friends” (1977)

And my favorite…

#1  “Love Will Turn You Around” (1982) – This song from the movie “Six Pack” starring Kenny as a race car driver was featured on this site in a post dedicated to my grandma turning 100 , and how she was slightly mortified at all of the cussing in this PG movie that her and my mom took me to at the age of 11.  This song hit #1 on both the Country and the A/C charts and peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“The sweetest days I’ve found, I’ve found with you.  Through the years.”

You had a lot of sweet days, Kenny.  And you’ll always have this sweet song.  Here is Kenny in concert singing “Through the Years…”

R.I.P Kenny.

sincerely,

the 80’s

 

 

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“Eighties”

“I’m living in the eighties!” – Killing Joke

Image result for killing joke 80's

I just watched “The Breakfast Club” again last night – the whole thing… on DVD (30th Anniversary Edition)… in one sitting.  I know I haven’t watched the whole unedited version since the 80’s.  I’ve seen bits and pieces on cable tv numerous times through the years, and  I’ve written about the movie before on this site, because it was the first R-rated movie I ever snuck into as a 13 year-old growing up in Norman, Oklahoma.  Plus, the theme song by Scottish rock band Simple Minds remains one of my all-time favorite songs.

I also used “The Breakfast Club” last summer when I graduated from my three-year graduate school of banking course in Boulder, CO.  We were divided into five and six man fictional banks during our last two-week session in July.  We had to come up with a bank name and create a presentation for the last day of class.  I sold my younger associates on the idea of calling our fictional bank “The Banker’s Club” and then shooting a fictional movie trailer.  I edited, produced, and acted in this fictional trailer.  We changed the scenes we shot our movie trailer to reflect “banker jargon.”  The acting was terrible, but I used the Simple Minds song as the music bed, and in my opinion, it ended up being one of the best presentations on our final day.  If Youtube and Vimeo would stop with all of the copyright infringement issues with my use of the Simple Minds song, I could post the video here.  But alas, you’ll just have to settle for one of our photos.

bankersclub

(My fictional bank – “The Banker’s Club”)

Anyway, like I mentioned earlier, I watched the movie last night, but I watched it with my 19 year old daughter who had never seen it before.  At first, she was a little amused at the dialogue saying that she didn’t think teens really spoke like that (to her point, Bender is very well-spoken for someone classified as a “stoner”).  But, in the end, she liked it and gave it her seal of approval thus validating the greatness of this John Hughes masterpiece in the Gen Z class as well.

Five stereotypical high-schoolers isolated for an entire Saturday with no electronics (ok, there was a stereo system involved I guess), no phones, and no physical activity (sans Bender’s basketball scene, and the running down the hallways).  Man, sounds eerily similar to what we’re practicing right now.  Stay home.  Stay in small groups or just stay completely isolated.

I’ve read from numerous Gen Xers that our generation was built for this!  We were the first generation left at home after school alone while our parents worked.  After school programs were in their infancy and parents had no choice but just to leave their kids at home to fend for themselves.  We were left to our own vices and to entertain ourselves.  Fueled by the early days of MTV, our landline phones, whatever food we could find in our pantry, and our own imagination, we were the “latchkey” generation.

Because I played basketball and had practice after school the majority of my school life I wasn’t home alone too much after school by myself, but there were times during offseason months that I fell into the latchkey kid bucket as well.  I had a pretty good imagination and I’ve also written on here before about my fictional top 10 video countdown show that I created in my head to kill some of that after-school alone time.

“Eighties, by day we run by night we dance, we do”

So a shoutout to all my Gen Xers out there that remember what it was like to be in isolation after school at your home!  And in honor of our totally awesome generation, here is a song about the 80’s that was actually released in the 80’s.  The English punk band Killing Joke put out this classic in 1984 entitled “Eighties.”

The song was featured in a party scene in the movie “Weird Science” and has been used sparingly through the years.  The song is also famous for having a similar riff as the 1992 Nirvana hit “Come As You Are.”  Just take a listen and it’s quite apparent that Nirvana’s song just uses a slowed down version of the Killing Joke riff.  It’s been said that Killing Joke was pissed off about it, but after Cobain’s death in 1994 any lawsuit or potential monetary ramifications seemed to disappear as well.  Interestingly enough, former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl became friends with the band and played drums on their 2003 album and also covered Killing Joke’s song “Requiem” as well.  Maybe it was Dave’s way of making amends at that time.

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Probably best known for their song “Love Like Blood,” here is Killing Joke and “Eighties”…

Thanks for reading, practice social distancing, and together we will get through this… except separated and isolated as much as possible.  And while you’re isolated, if you’re completely bored then feel free to write me a (much less than) 1000 word essay telling me who you think you are.

sincerely,

Image result for principal vernon breakfast club

the 80’s

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“You Say You’re Going Through Changes”

“Every day it seems your life is up and down.” – Midnight Star

Image result for midnight star 80's midas touch

Sometimes I just want to write about nothing.  I want to leave the serious topics of life and death and faith and failure behind.  I just want to write about something that makes me feel good.  There are times when I need a mental break from aging parents and frustrations with friends and family, and times I need to leave rough days at work in the rearview mirror.

You know what makes me feel good?  Midnight Star.  Providing groove, rhythm, and smooth vibes since 1976, it’s tough to be in a bad mood when this group is laying out an infectious groove.

This band/small tribe of R&B funk from Kentucky burst onto the 80’s dance scene in 1983-84 with “Freak-A-Zoid” and “No Parking (On the Dance Floor).”  The band originally consisted of Reginald Calloway, Belinda Lipscomb, Melvin Gentry, Kenneth Gant, Jeff Cooper, Bill Simmons and Bo Watson.  Seven original members became eight when they added Reggie’s brother Vincent (remember the 1990 one-hit wonder “I Wanna Be Rich” by Calloway?  Yep, same brothers).  A few years later they added drummer Bobby Lovelace to make nine members, which makes for some fascinating 80’s wardrobe awesomeness and choreography in their music videos.

Next to Kool and the Gang, this was easily my second favorite large group ensemble of the 80’s.  I think I was definitely influenced by my dad’s basketball teams he coached during this time period.  I was living in Seminole, Oklahoma from 1980 until 1984 and I know that many of my dad’s players at Seminole Junior College were big into Kool & the Gang and Midnight Star.

I can remember being on car rides with the team (usually in a vintage late 70’s/early 80’s college-owned station wagon) listening to these groups, and you could hear them in the locker room and in the basketball gym and in the weight room as the beats blared from a nearby boombox.

Image may contain: 9 people, people standing, possible text that says 'k é 12 10 ATE CHAMPS Members the heSeminole championship. Trojans will meet Phillips nior College Trojan basketball team County, first gameof best-of- lebrate Frederickson Fieldhouse in three playoff here riday night, beginning. lahoma City Wednesday night after 7:30 p.m. See story, Page (SJC News feating Northeastern A&M their Bureau Photo) Oklahoma iunior college' (Of course the official ball-boys are going to hold the state championship trophy during the post game celebration!  Shout out Brandon Buss.)

For a pre-teen and official SJC ball-boy, these players were my friends and my early heroes.  I’ve written about them on here before, but these SJC teams won four straight Oklahoma state junior college championships the four years we lived in Seminole and were national runners-up in 1983.  Guys like future NBA player Anthony Bowie, William “Chili” Childs, Win Case, Adam Frank, Ray Alford, and Archie Marshall just to name a few were superstars to me.  They were larger than life basketball studs who just didn’t lose, and if these guys liked Midnight Star, then I was surely following in those footsteps.

“Like searchin’, tryin’ to find the rainbow.  No one’s ever found it, yet it’s told to be.”

midnightstar

As a mild-mannered banker by day, how could I not choose this Midnight Star song for the post?  Though “Operator” will always be my favorite Star song, this one is not to be taken lightly.

I challenge you to clear your mind, relax, but you don’t have to sit still while listening to today’s song or watching the video.  It makes my head bob just a little bit.  It makes me tap my foot.  My muscles relax but my shoulders start to shift from side to side.  The wardrobe makes me smile.  The kids with the spray paint.  The gold glitter!  My ears thank me, and if you have any soul in you then your ears will thank you too.

“I’ve got the Midas touch.  Everything I touch turns to gold, oh, sugar”

From their 1986 album “Headlines,” here is their fourth top 10 R&B hit – “Midas Touch”

Ah what the heck.  “This is an emergency!”  When am I ever going to feature Midnight Star again.  So let’s groove a little more with their #1 hit and a video that has to be an 80’s nominee for best group wardrobe for a video.  Here is “Operator”…

Thanks for reading, and by the way gold was up to a seven year high at over $1,642 an ounce on Friday.  Oh, and pay your bills on time.  There’s your friendly banker advice for the day.

sincerely,

the 80’s

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