Some of my happier moments are spent singing. Not a lot of people know that about me, but I love singing, even though it's not something I do for a lot of people. Depending on what mood I am in though, you never know. I don't have the best voice, but who really gives a shit - I sing for pleasure, not to sound like some astoundingly good vocalist. I always find it funny though, the reactions I get when people actually do hear my singing voice, as it sounds nothing at all like my speaking voice. Enough of that, you get the idea.
I've worked in lots of places where I had the opportunity to listen to some of this music with my coworkers, many of whom have been brown folks. The first time I can remember getting a big reaction to my singing from my brown folks was at karaoke one night many years ago. I'd gone with some coworkers to a bar after work one night, and they were having karaoke. After a few drinks, the songlist came floating by. One of my coworkers, a white girl, suggested I get up and sing. I smiled and said "Maybe if you order me another Glenlivet and soda, I'll think about it." Truth be told, I was half working the guy that was helping run karaoke and half paying attention to everyone at our table. What can I say, when the hunt is on - it's on, you know what I'm saying?
So anyway, white girl had heard me sing before in my car when I gave her a ride home once, and gushed (nay, slurred) to everyone at the table, "Y'all - you have GOT to hear this boy sing". That did it, they all but made me get up there at that point. There weren't many people performing anyway, so I got to go up within a few minutes of agreeing. I chose my song, but didn't tell anyone what it was until the music started and then you should have seen the looks on these folks' faces, it was priceless! That distinctive "Oh H A I L naw, no you DI-ENT!!" look when the music for Peabo Bryson's "Can You Stop The Rain" started, quickly detected by my sistahs at the table - all of whom turned their chairs around in disbelief that this little little cracker had the nerve. Needless to say, I think I did a fairly good job, loaded with courage as I was, and they went nuts when I hit the more earnest parts of the song. Besides, you know you're doing pretty good when the kitchen staff comes out to wave at you and holler "Go 'head, boo - you singin' that song, ain'tcha!"
I ended up singing two other songs before it was over (A House Is Not A Home by Luther Vandross - BIG Luther, not skinny Luther, thank you! - and Always & Forever by Heatwave) and won us a $50 bar tab, and was fawned over needlessly by friends and patrons for nerve if nothing else. "Damn if you ain't the BLACKEST white boy I ever met, ol' ghetto ass!"! my friend Corella once gushed at me. I also got a nice hummer from that guy in a bathroom stall before I left to go to MY bar, he even tried to give me his phone number and asked me to dinner the following night. I didn't take the time to explain why it wasn't going to happen, I just thanked him and that was that. "Look, I know we just had anonymous sex, and you don't even know my name, but..." Some people, I swear - just no concept of reality.
So anywhore, this is some of my favorite singing music. Great for housecleaning, cooking, drining, you name it.
Anita Baker - Talk To Me
I adore Anita Baker, her voice is like no other.
Bobby Caldwell - What You Won't Do For Love
The English band Go West covered this and made it funkier, but the original is best.
Debarge - All This Love
SUCH a great song.
Erykah Badu - Stay (live)
EB covering Chaka Khan, and wearing that shit OUT!
Erykah Badu - Tyrone (live)
Try to listen to this and not laugh - I know several people who probablty haven't heard this one and need to. "I'm gettin' tired of yo shit, you don't never buy me nothing..." Pay some attention folks - 'cause what you won't do, another motherfucker WILL. Don't fuck around and get your feelings hurt when your baby is finally through with your triflin' ass, 'cause you axed fo' it...
George Benson - One More Time
Ah, George Benson. I love "Turn Your Love Around", but this one had to make the list.
Gladys Knight & the Pips - I Heard It Through the Grapevine
I love Marvin, but to me this is the ONLY version of this song.
Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes - If You Don't Know By Now
Simply Red covered this as well, but there's nothing like the original.
Heatwave - Always and Forever
Simple and earnest, a classic love song.
Jackson Five - I Want You Back
This song makes me happy - Jennifer Nettles (in her Soul Miner's Daughter days) used to do this live!
Janet Jackson - That's The Way Love Goes
It's just a sexy song, and I love it - that's why.
Lathun - Freak It
Because it's fun, 'nuff said.
Luther Vandross - A House Is Not A Home
When Luther was Big Luther, he could blow - now that he's all skinny, not so much.
Marvin Gaye and Tami Terrell - Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Always played when I'm cleaning up and dancing around the house.
Natalie Cole - I've Got Love On My Mind
She sings this one like Luther sings A House Is Not A Home, only sassier.
Peabo Bryson - Can You Stop The Rain
Like Luther, this man has an extraordinary voice.
Prince - I Wanna Be Your Lover
PRince's first ever single, I had the 45...
Ralph Tresvant - Sensitivity
Little Ralph, from New Edition - very sexy song for is first solo endeavor!
Kool the Gang - Get Down on It
Awwww shit, that's my jam! Jenn used to cover this one live as well.
Sade - Cherish The Day
From the Love Deluxe album, which I personally think should've been called Songs For Fucking - but that's just me.
Sade - Feel No Pain
Sade - I Couldn't Love You More
Sade - No Ordinary Love
Smokey Robinson - Crusin'
No one croons like Smokey, NO ONE.
Stevie Wonder - My Cherie Amour
Happy, happy, happy song.
Stevie Wonder - Uptight (Everything's Alright)
Little Stevie, horns and everything.
The Manhattans - Kiss And Say Goodbye
Like Always & Forever, only the other end of the spectrum.
The O'Jays - Use Ta Be My Girl
LOVE. THIS. SONG.
The Spinners - Then Came You
WHat Dionne Warwick did when she wasn't sing Burt Bacharach.