Posts

Showing posts from August, 2017

AOR On The Radio: Take It Easy

Image
Songs about love, loss, leaving and letting go never sounded any better than on FM radio between the mid-seventies and mid-eighties, don’t you think?

Soft rock or AOR are probably the best labels you can put on this cloudcast. Adult Oriented Rock (AOR) can be divided between West Coast rock and stadium rock. West Coast rock (or yacht rock) is some kind of a melting pot of rock, soul, disco, funk, jazz, folk, psychedelic and all the pop genres in between, with its foundation in the Californian music scene of the seventies. It's well-crafted, soft-focused pop that was mainly made and played along the West Coast. Kenny Loggins, The Doobie Brothers and their singer Michael McDonald are some of the big names. This sub-genre is somewhat different from rock ballads played by heavier stadium rock bands, like Foreigner and REO Speedwagon, but there’s always room for discussion. How to categorize Fleetwood Mac, for instance? Is it stadium rock, yacht rock or classic rock?

One of the ban…

Slow Disco At The Poolside

Image
Slow Disco not only sounds good in the early hours, but also at the poolside with a cocktail in your hand and good company nearby!

After singing backup for artists like Elvis Presley (who died 40 years ago last week), Aretha Franklin, and Solomon Burke and being a member of gospel band The Sweet Inspirations, Cissy Houston started a solo career in the 1970s. Already in her early forties, Whitney's mum made a couple of soulful, but not very successful disco albums with producer Michael Zager (best-known for 'Let's all chant'). The first album they did was 1977's highly underrated 'Cissy Houston', which was a straight, tear-jerking, heart-wrenching, soulful album. 'Morning much better' was released as a single. At that time her disco albums did not leave a mark. Cissy Houston was too much a soul singer to become a disco performer. After four disco albums she stepped back from the music industry. She made room for her daughter, who almost immediately b…

Cars & Girls: Synth-Pop & Sophisti-Pop by The Smooth Operators

Image
Enjoy Cars & Girls by The Smooth Operators!

Sophisti-pop is a sub-genre of pop that especially flourished in the UK between the mid-1980s and early 1990s, incorporating elements of rock, jazz, new wave, and blue-eyed soul. The genre made extensive use of electronic keyboards, synthesizers, and polished arrangements, particularly horn sections.

The Human League moved from electro pop to sophisti-pop in 1986. ‘Human’ was written and produced by R&B legends Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, reached the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 in the late summer of 1986. The Human League influenced all kinds of electro based artists (especially their album 'Dare'), like Lady Gaga. David Bowie once referred to them as "the future of pop music". Since 1987 the group has essentially been a trio of singer Phil Oakey and long-serving female vocalists Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley (both of whom joined the ensemble in 1980), with various sidemen. Check out The Su…

Jazz-Funk Grooves From The Crates: Summer Madness

Image
The closing track of this new cloudcast is ‘Summer madness’ by Kool & the Gang. Khalis Bayyan of the band changed the track that was originally called ‘You Don't Have to Change’. It was composed by trumpet player Robert "Spike" Mickens and Elton Taylor. Bayyan started the new version of 'Summer madness' with the piano, as he told Rolling Stone:

“And then at that time, the Arp 2600 had just came out. I went in the studio and detuned it so it'd get five octaves. I'm in there by myself — it's 5 o'clock in the morning — so I turn on the portamento and it went [makes sound of sliding pitch]. I asked [engineer] Harvey [Goldberg], "What do you think?" He said, "That's amazing!" When I did that portamento, it was done! It was a wrap.”

King of the medley, James (Hansi) Last, who passed away two years ago, could be a funky guy too from time to time! I remember him as the conductor who was more interested in his audience than in h…

Smooth Sailing: Dreamy Disco & Beach Chair Pop

Image
Because of the heat it’s “too slow to disco”, to quote German DJ Supermarkt, so it’s best to listen to the music in a beach chair instead of being on the dance floor.

The wonderful song by Tears For Fears is from the GLOW soundtrack:

“If anything on TV is going to leave people on the ups, it’s “GLOW.” Liz Flahive’s new Netflix series is upbeat, enthusiastic, and empowering. Chronicling a start-up group of women’s wrestlers in the ’80s, the 10-episode half-hour comedy is edgy, both in quick bursts and its overall message, but still consistently light enough for fluffy fun. It’s a great pop song built around great pop songs.”

(Quote: Indiewire)

Enjoy this new part of Smooth Sailing! Next up is a new episode of Grooves From The Crates.

Tracklist:

Mascara (feat. Luther Vandross) – See You In L.A. [Eddy’s Edit] (1979)
Poom – Adagio (2017)
Future World Orchestra – I’m Not Afraid Of The Future (1982)
Rac Feat. Scavenger Hunt – Johnny Cash (2017)
Nicole McCloud With Timmy Thomas ‎– New York Eyes…