May be a close-up
Today is a very poignant Throwback Thursday!!Here’s a Blue Peter drawing I did earlier last night & this morning and a homage written in 2016. 💜🎼
It’s a ‘Sign Of The Times’ when ‘Around The World In A Day’ so many tears are shed and we the ‘Girls & Boys’ finally understand the meaning of what is sounds like ‘When Doves Cry’. His Royal Purpleness, declared with a ‘Kiss’ to the universe ‘My Name Is Prince’ “and I am funky” from ‘Uptown’ Minneapolis, and your ‘Love Bizarre’ affinity with my music and artistry will be the ‘Greatest Romance Ever Sold’.With plenty lyrics of ‘Controversy’,’Sexuality’ and ‘Love 2 The 9’s’ Prince was undoubtedly a ‘Sexy MF’. Women all over ‘Planet Earth’ worshipped him from the time he advised them all ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’. ‘The Most Beautiful Girl In the World’ would beg him to please ‘Do Me Baby’ as you make me so ‘Soft & Wet’, ‘I Would Die For You’ ‘Sweet Baby’ and I’m so hungry ‘For You’ that ‘Breakfast Can Wait’. Albeit ‘Starfish & Coffee’ with ‘Cream’, Prince most certainly could convert a nun into a ‘Nasty Girl’, ‘Darling Nikki’, ‘Chelsea Rodgers’, ‘Cinnamon Girl’ or his ‘Lady Cab Driver’ driving them all ‘Delirious’ whilst working up a ‘Black Sweat’.Prince Rogers Nelson is regarded as an incredibly ‘Sexy Dancer’ could ‘Dance On’ regardless albeit ‘Under The Cherry Moon’, on ‘Alphabet St’ or in ‘Paisley Park’, for ’17 Days’ on a ‘LoveSexy’ groove, shaking his ‘Tambourine’. This is Prince’s ‘Housequake’ and he is the ‘Life O’ The Party’, so ‘If You Feel Like Dancin’’ like it’s ‘1999’, get dressed in your ‘Diamonds And Pearls’, put on your ‘Raspberry Beret’, jump into a ‘Little Red Corvette’ and ride ‘Gangster Glam’ style. Prince could make everybody ‘Get Off’ to his ‘Party Up’ music, and many ‘Adore’ Prince for his unique dress sense and ‘Sticky Like Glue’ ‘Extraloveable’ androgynous attraction. To be honest ‘Nothing Compares To You’ Prince Roger Nelson, so thank you ‘Dear Mr Man’, Mr ‘Hot Thing’ for the ‘Beautiful Loved & Blessed’ compositions and recordings. ‘Sometimes It Snows In April’ but in that month of 2016 sadly it melted and became a shower of tears coloured in ‘Purple Rain for Mr ‘Musicology’ …Like millions of your fans around the world in regards to your legacy ‘My Love Is Forever” to ‘The Max’ in the way I was touched by your music. 💜🎼


Luther Ronzoni Vandross Jr. (April 20, 1951 – July 1, 2005).. Happy heavenly earthday Mr Velvet Voice.. Here’s a Blue Peter painting I did earlier last year with a homage featured in the Soul Survivors Magazine back in 2010..Enjoy and play ya Luther tunes loud & proud today!!
Luther Vandross was born a Tauren on 20th April 1951 in New York and grew up in a lower Manhattan housing project till his father passed when he was 8 years old before moving to the Bronx. Influenced by his parents and older sister singing, whilst at William Howard Taft High School he formed a vocal group Shades Of Jade with friends Carlos Alomar Diane Sumler and Fonzi Thornton whom he would work with in future times. As part of a musical theatre workshop, they recorded ‘Listen My Brother’ which Luther and his group sang on the children’s ‘Sesame Street’ show in 1969.
By 1973 he written 2 songs recorded by Delores Hall and a year later school friend Carlos Alomar became David Bowie’s guitarist and invited Luther to a recording session at the famous Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia. Bowie upon hearing his velvet tones recruited Luther who co wrote ‘Fascination’ and did BV’s on the ‘Young American’ album. Also rumoured is that Luther sang BV’s on ‘Golden Years’ a track he would sing with another outfit Mascara a few years later.
His composition ‘Brand New Day’ was featured in both the film and Broadway musical of ’The Wiz’. By now he was working with Bette Midler, Judy Collins, Gary Glitter and the Brecker Brothers. Whilst working with Bette Midler he met Arif Mardin of Atlantic who worked with the Average White Band Aretha and Chaka Khan and reacquainted his Shades of Jade outfit with the addition of Christine Wiltshire who went on to work with Jocelyn Brown and Leroy Burgess and record two albums under the guise of Luther.
Providential not co incidental Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards were part of Luther’s Band reigniting their collaborations from the Sesame Street band .Cotillion dropped the group and Luther ended up retaining the rights to the album so they were out of print why I don’t know as they were nice albums. He became an in demand session singer working with Chic headlining the BV’s of the their ‘C’est Chic’ debut album and the original instrumental version of ‘Everybody Dance’, and on the following Sister Sledge, Quincy Jones, Roberta Flack, Odyssey, Peter Jacques Band, BB&Q Band, Kleeer to Cat Stevens, Ringo Starr & Carole Bayer Sager projects.
As disco became prevalent he fronted bands Lemon, Gregg Diamond, Charme, Mascara and Change…the rest is history. Now 1981 his voice was unmistakable and he touted a successful record deal with Epic a subsidiary of Sony. Again releasing album after album he alongside his partner in rhyme the ‘Marvellous’ Marcus Miller he co wrote and produced his own albums as well as a few for Aretha Franklin. Covering many a classic by artists Brenda Russell, Stevie Wonder and Burt Bacharach & Hal David, and Heatwave, Luther had a unique style of replicating a composition as though he’d sung it first.
Luther has sung with many female vocalists including Gwen Guthrie, Cheryl Lynn, Patti Austin, Dionne Warwick, Janet Jackson & Patti Labelle. Travelling around the world doing live concerts, I was lucky enough to see him in the mid 80’s at Wembley, Luther was undoubtedly instantly recognisable on a track even if he was doing BV’s.
His film credit includes The Meteor Man a Robert Townsend film where he played a villain within a gang. As wells singing for the 70’s gang epic ‘The Warriors’ and writing a song ‘You Stopped Loving Me’ sung by Roberta Flack for the film starring Cicely Tyson and Richard Prior Bustin’ Loose.
Lending his voice to many musical styles mostly gospel & soul based but versatile in other genres, he truly was a ‘One in a million guy’ as sung by Dee Dee Bridgewater. Even now I discover tracks he featured on and when you listen carefully you wonder how you never recognised him as on it. The reason being that he blends in with background as much as he shines in the fore front. Two years back Melba Moore told me to listen to her album ‘Closer’ and when you hear Luther on ‘Something On Your Mind’ I you’ll understand why. Vocalist songwriter producer and an all around African American Artist of huge proportions…I miss you Luther ‘Velvet Voice’ Vandross.


The original Soul Train comes to London Friday 20th May 2022 at Sway with resident Bobby Dee and yours truly as the special guest. Making a royal appearance is the first lady of Solar Carrie Lucas and Freddie Lee. Looking forward to bringing that 1970s & 80s disco boogie and funk back with some swank and plenty of good music in the tank…you coming??

This was one day when the Bob Geldolf & The Boomtown Rat’s classic ‘I Don’t Like Monday’s would not have made the playlist because the Curtis Hairston ‘Morning After’ the Oscars it would seem that many declared themselves an authority debating the Hollyweird ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ Rock/ Bad Boy Will Smith Gate debacle at the Academy Award Ceremony. Tell Lie Vision is rampant in diverting peoples attention. The heat this is generating is quite something considering two months ago and for the last 2 years it was all about the pandemic, which seems to have gone AWOL on holiday because that yesterday’s news became tomorrow’s fish & chips paper when the recent war broke out. Now this story was the number one trending subject and even kicked the war between Russia & Ukraine off the William Bell ‘ Headline News’ tabloids. There is an energy in Hollyweird that makes people behave in some of the most extraordinary ways. Remember Will Smith said that Denzil Washington advised him moments before we saw what took place with these words “’In your highest moments, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you’.

Chris Rock dressed like a black 007 looked a little shaken but not too stirred after receiving what looked more like a table tennis forearm smash than a bitch slap from Will Smith’s reaction to a deemed inappropriate GI Jane joke about Will’s wife Jada’s alopecia condition. After initially laughing at the joke and probably like Carlsberg receiving the “If Tupac was here” look from his wife Jada, Sir Willston of Smithston decides to get medieval and become the black knight who rides in on his charger to defend the honour of his damsel in distress, his queen in green Jada Pinkett Smithston, and also curse her tormentor out.

There is history dating back to 2016 when there was a boycott of the Oscars from many black entertainers including Jada Pinkett Smith which Chris Rock attended and both parties publicly dissed each other in the process. Will and Jada’s open relationship curriculum activities have been aired publicly to the point that 12 days earlier comedienne Rebel Wilson cracked a joke about the couple at the Baftas. Now there was a split in opinions on whether Will was justified in physically attacking Chris for allegedly defending his wife’s honour with many suggesting he was 100% correct. So would those who think he had just cause have the same opinion if Will had attended the Baftas and did the Ray Carling of ‘Scum’ hard man bowl walk towards the stage to then bitch slap Rebel Wilson for rubbishing his wife? Well seeing as she is a woman and a white woman at that.. you can write your answers on a postcard.

In my humble opinion I don’t condone both Will or Chris for their varying inappropriate behaviour. Will Smith let his ego and his emotions get the better of him because of the immense pressure that comes with living in that fame world. He coulda and shoulda dealt with his outburst privately and without exposing himself and Chris, two experienced black professionals, to the stereotypical ridicule that our (people of the African Diaspora and indigenous African descendants) oppressors have bestowed upon us, and that much of the outside world have adapted and expect to see as that negative black on black epidemic we exercise amongst ourselves. The white on white violence dating back to the Romans, the Cowboys or the 20th century Italian and Jewish gangsters eras never get tarnished or highlighted in the same way and yet the violence is openly glorified.

There are questions of this being a staged event and regardless of whether it was or not, this was not a good look for black people period. This was played out like movie in front of the world on the biggest world stage the Oscars, and in a climate where overt and covert racism is rife, this gives the racist’s way of thinking certain degrees of leverage. It’s amazing but not surprising that so many women who claim to want to be recognised as Destiny’s Child’s ‘Independent Women’ were either turned on or endorsed Will Smith’s Sir Galahad behaviour like that made him become the sexiest man on the planet. What happened to stick & stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me, or does one have to prove his knuckle dragging Neanderthal “Ugga ugga find me a woman” caveman mentality manhood prowess in protecting his ‘property’ when they are not actually in any physical danger. In 2022..Really??

To close all this greatly overshadowed the achievements of Will Packer the second black producer of an Oscars night and winners Quest Love for his brilliant film ‘Summer Of Love’ and Samuel L Jackson( congrats with a clenched fist) who also won Oscars. It’s a disgrace that their acknowledgement has been skipped over nonchalantly, like how Richard Pyror demonstrates in his brilliant ‘In Concert’ film how cooly black people skip over a snake in the woods, unlike white people who walk aimlessly and get bitten(Watch it and you’ll get the analogy). I will embrace the afore mentioned in their well deserved success but I will not enable myself to celebrate or indulge in some gossip like fashion regarding the fracas between two black men, and wish to claim it with any sense of pride and entertainment like many I’ve seen within our cultural community, simply because by default they are black like myself. It was very noticeable that Will Smith in his acceptance speech apologised to everyone else for his outburst except Chris Rock who he physically assaulted, who did punch below the belt with his remark but also whose assault on Will’s wife was only verbally. Will Smith has since allegedly written a Big Foot ‘I Apologise’ statement to every one including Chris Rock.

I get that he is upset but he could have been the bigger man and owned his Foster Sylvers ‘Misdemeanour’ without having Sean ‘Puff Daddy’ Coombes allegedly needing to call a truce between Will and Chris to squash their beef. To those who think this part of the post is race bating, and what happened was between two humans who are both fallible. Correct… but also think on this, why is it so highly publicised that Will Smith is the 5th black man to win an Oscar in almost 100 years of the ceremony heavily overseen by white people? These are two high profile black men who against the uneven odds are in this positions as positive role models to give hope to those from their cultural community, a sense of pride that against those uneven odds in the racist abyss they swim in, that they too can achieve great things. That alone shows it has everything to highlighting race and the cultural importance. The struggle continues. Words inspired by the Oscars and a few songs from my youth!! Peace Fitzroy

Norman Harris- In Good Faith
Steve Arrington Hall Of Fame- Last Night Night Before
Steve Arrington Hall Of Fame-Mellow As A Cello
Slave-Stella Funk
Slave-Party Lights
Slave- Wait For Me
Slave-Just A Touch Of Love
Slave-Watching You
Steve Arrington Hall Of Fame-Way Out(Instrumental)
Steve Arrington Hall Of Fame- What Do You Want From Me?
Steve Arrington Hall Of Fame- Nobody Can Be You But You
Slave-Thank You Lord
Steve Arrington-Summertime Lovin’
Teena Marie-Behind The Groove
Teena Marie-I Need Your Lovin’
Teena Marie-More Love
Teena Marie-You Make Love Like Springtime(Reprise(ReFitz’d)
Teena Marie-Midnight Magnet
Teena Marie- Don’t Look Back
Teena Marie-Chains
Teena Marie-Gonna Have My Cake And Eat It Too
Teena Marie-Shadow Boxing
Rick James feat Teena Marie-Happy
Rick James-My Love

Greetings on this Waybackayard Wednesday. 4 years ago today Eddy Amoo co founder of the early 1960s teenaged Doo Wop group The Chants and a fully fledged member of The Real Thing since the early 1970s sadly passed away. Eddy was featured in a Soul Survivors Magazine issue 29 for April & May 2011 and gave us an incredible insight into life in Liverpool, impressing the Fab 4 The Beatles to becoming part of the other pioneering black Fab 4 The Real Thing.
With his brother Chris he co wrote the universal world wide child poverty anthem ‘Children Of The Ghetto’ which has been recorded by Courtney Pine and Mary J Blige to name a few. In 2017 we decided to honour The Real Thing at our awards for their over 40 years as a soul surviving UK soul band. I was able to present the award to Eddy Amoo in July 2017 at their packed Jazz Cafe date, where he shared that the award was the first they had been given of recognition by the industry. Since Eddy’s passing there has been a documentary ‘Everything’ currently showing on BBC I player which you should watch if you already haven’t and it is so insightful.
Chris Amoo and Dave Smith the two surviving original members are still performing and have a new album out ‘A Brand New Day’ which is flying high in the album charts, with an updated Chris Amoo vocal of ‘Children of The Ghetto’. So if you got any Real Thing tracks handy..played them loud today as a homage to Eddy’Doo Wop’ Amoo a true soul survivor RIP.

On this Wayback Wednesday here’s a Q&A I had with Howard Hewitt about 5 years back

Fitzroy…. ” ‘The Lover In You’ defined Shalamar as not just a dance group but the matrix one for me is ‘Sweeter As The Days Go By’ with that merry go round melody. Another record that reminds me of that is by a fellow Ohio native Steve Arrington’s ‘Mellow As A Cello’. What went through your mind when you first heard it as you can hear the emotion when you are singing it totally?”

Howard….”I love that song, it was part of the commitment album of us moving from RCA to Elektra. We all at Solar owed them another album before the move was completed. When Leon played it to me I loved it with the “shooby do wah” and so sweet lyrics. It had a good feel and Doo Wop feel and just sung it the way I felt it. There was a lot of good stuff on that ‘Go For It’ album.”

Will HH be singing ’Sweeter As The Days Go By’? Why not get ya ticket and ‘Make that move’ “right now babeeeh” for the 7th Sept @ Jazz Cafe