Author Topic: Tea & R&B: Vol. 1  (Read 853 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Tea & R&B: Vol. 1
« on: January 23, 2011, 05:34:15 am »

Tea & R&B: Vol. 1
by Nelson George

On Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 10:42am.Was riding on the subway from Brooklyn to Harlem the other night and decided I'd only listen to old soul records on the way uptown. I defined "old" and "soul" rather loosely, listening to everything from Otis Redding to the Temprees to Teddy Pendergrass to Anita Baker to Z.Z. Hill. Some of the records I sampled would likely be defined as doo wop or blues or R&B. But I wanted to hear really warm, emotive vocals and songs that were about being adult and the vast sea of complications that go with that status. Listening to "Love TKO" I could hear Teddy's breath as he began to sing every phrase. Since the '80s engineers have erased those sounds, so that the words are usually heard without that very human intake of air that leads to beautiful music. (In retrospect the road to the more metallic sounds of vocals we have in the 21st century begins there.) I was on way to a 40th birthday dinner for Amir Thompson, drummer for the mighty Roots crew and one of the few younger musicians who seems committed to making new music with the spirit of soul. (The Roots collabo with John Legend, both on Wake Up and their last album, is what I'm talking about.) I've never been a regular blogger -- usually I'm too busy juggling and scheming to do "free" writing. But with the new year at hand and a nice cup of chai next to my computer I'm making a vow to blog regularly, both here in FB and, eventually, on a dedicated site. My goal will be to celebrate the artistic values that animate the music I listened to as a headed up Lenox Avenue -- passion, emotion, adult yearning and complexity, ambition, humanity, and the quest for transcendence that should connect us all. With that in mind lets do our best in 2011 to support art, in whatever form, that is funky, about real life (not pop life) and connects us to each other. And this blog will also be about tea! I got turned on to tea a few years back and its lore and diverse qualities will also inform my ramblings. On my visit to India in 2007 I definitely found the country a challenging place -- to say the least. But I had a cup of chai in Chenai, India that changed by life -- sweet, spicy, strong. In the middle of a lot chaos it soothed my anxiety and I figure that's what it does for the Indians from whom it is a trice daily sacrament. Welcome to Tea & R&B. Today's recommendation is a nice chai while you listen to "If You Don't Know Me by Now" by Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes featuring Teddy Pendergrass.