Funky Disco Soul

This ‘M’ is a all about old school sweet soul music & disco with a dash of funk. This mp3 collection starts with MFSB: Love is the Message, Summertime, The Gamble-Huff  Orchestra; (Soul Train) The Whispers: And The Beat Goes On; The Temptations: Masterpiece; The SOS Band: On The Rise (Just Be Good To Me); Mtume: Juicy Fruit (expanded); Oliver Cheatham: Get Down Saturday Night; McFadden & Whitehead: self-titled Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.

Many of these have songs I remember from the dance floor but were groups I was not familiar with. Some where introduced to me on Tumblr. MFSB is 70’s while the rest are 80’s. The songs are in some ways interchangeable with lyrics about universal love, dancing & the power of having a good time. Ain’t No Stopping Us now has become a ‘no more shit’ anthem you can dance to.

MFSB: mother father sister brother- is a group of studio musicians plus The Three Degrees. This known as the Sound of Philadelphia – strings, funky bass lines & romantic. The Soul Train Theme is theirs – show that I don’t think I’ve ever seen, mind you, but the Philly sound is/was everywhere at one time. Some of the albums are concept lps – the soul equivalent of The Moody Blues. Masterpiece by The Temptations flirts with the Philly sound but sticks to its Motown roots. Political & spiritual Masterpiece lives up to its name.

The Cheatham was used in the movie “Ex Machina” – the video was of a cute guy (Oscar Isaac) dancing with a female – one of them is an android. It made me want the song & an android Oscar Isaac 🙂 Many of these songs are used to establish time era in films, or on TV. The sound – strings, singers, electronic keyboards are enough to do the trick as opposed to the fame of the song itself. Apparently many have been become sample mainstays for hip-hop. 

If you want a real boost of old-school good-times any & all of these are worth adding to your collection.

Bête Noire

Jen sat at her desk and reviewed the facts. Body found. Peter Manonotti. Noted, mouthy, city councillor who had hopes of even bigger political opportunities. He was making a name for himself in transportation. Insisting on accountability. Found dead in a public washroom of his bête noire – the TTC. Officials state it was heart attack but no one knows how he got there. Not seen on security camera – though the image was so grainy who knows. Lots of men seen coming and out. Someone lucky police officer was now watching it in slow mo to count heads as they go in and out. There was nothing distinctive about what Manonotti was wearing making it harder to find out when he was there. 

He left his office at 4 p.m. the day before. They did have a shot of him going through the turnstile at King station at 4:15. So they knew that time. If it was just a heart attack why where they so intent on tracking his movements.

So far no one was talking or saying anything more than it was a medical situation not a crime. How long had he been in that booth. The dates and times made it appear at least 24 hours. Didn’t anyone clean those stalls overnight? Could some one actually be in one of them for thirty-six some hours and not have been noticed. Yes, there was more to this than the public was being told.

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Recorporated

 

Recorporated 

I was on the subway. Standing & avoiding those crowding close me. Breathing slowly into my mask, head down to keep as from contact as possible. The new reality.

People got on & off at each stop. Each negotiating space around them & between others. Some apologizing for brushing up against someone when it was impossible to avoid brushing up against someone. The old reality.

In the window reflection I saw someone stand close beside me but when I glanced to them there was no one there. The reflection was unchanged though. There was clearly a person – I say a person because though the shape was clearly there, the face was distorted by the glass. I couldn’t tell if it was male or female. I couldn’t even see any race. I could feel them press against me as the subway stopped. When I looked to apologize there was no one there. No one.

They were only there in reflection. Wearing a mask much like mine.

The train stopped at my station. I moved to get off but stopped for a moment to glance at the figure by me. I saw it moving past me in reflection. I followed. It turned. I saw it full face. It was me. He exited. Stunned, I couldn’t follow.

The door closed. I had no reflection. I merge back into the crowd. Stood behind someone, willing them to look up. When they did I saw my refection.

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Keith Jarrett

By Keith Jarrett I have box sets:  The Impulse years: 73-74: 5 cds, 75-76: 4 cds.  On 4 mp3 cds: Facing You, In The Light, Luminessence (Jan Garbarek), Arbour Zena, Ruta & Daitya (Jackie deJohnette), Bremen, Lausanna, Eyes Of The Heart, the Koln Concert, Staircase Hourglass Sundial Sand, My Song, Standards NY Sessions; as stand-alone: Yesterdays.

So I am a bit of a fan. I can’t recall which of his was the first recording I had it was either the solo studio work Facing You or the Live Bremen concert. Both excellent places to start if you are unfamiliar with Jarrett. This is jazz that moves into modern classical with such ease you can’t tell you’ve made the move. I had some of the Impulse years as lps & picked up the two box sets 2nd hand to replace them. They are all group work with bonus cuts added to reach release, Fine modern jazz that rarely crosses into aggressive disharmony. Not easy listening though.

The bulk of these are ECM with various sidemen. All are pretty much amazing as he explores orchestral work, various instruments: he plays, besides piano, organ, flute, sax. One of my favourites is ‘Ruta & Daitya’ with the great Jackie deJohnette. It is perhaps the most playful of all this work – fun & lighthearted. ‘Arbour Zena’ is meditative & soaring. There are no disappoint or bad Keith Jarrett recordings.

His later work are explorations of jazz standards & are great listening but lack, to me, the freshness of his earlier work. He’s also recorded classical word by the likes of Bach, Soshakovich which I have heard but not added to my collection. 

Rounding out some of mp3 cds is work by: Jan Garbarek: Dis, Jan Garbarek/Egberto Gismonti: Sol Do Melo Dio: Garbarek is another ECM star with his ethereal sax. Dis is his work with a word harp. John Scofield: Hand Jive;: Scofield is a jazz guitarist & this set is kind of funky. Really funky is Special EFX: Party; A Jazziz sampler cd from Nov 1994

Another fine pianist is Andrew Hill: Hommage. Master jazz piano McCoy Tyner with bassist Stanley Clarke is excellent. Stanley Clarke”s Journey To Love is prime late 80’s jazz that I love – buy it. Another amazing bass palyer Christian McBride: Finger Painting. Roy Haynes with Booker Ervin: Cracklin’ – fine set of almost tradition jazz that swings. Finally Groove Collective: We The People, It’s All In Your Mind, People People Music Music – funky soulful less pop that Booker T not as jazzy as The Jazz Messengers – the sort of jazz that shows up for chase scenes in movies but better 🙂

Don’t Quote Me

Jen looked a the people hovering around the scene. She wanted to call it a crime scene but that wasn’t clear. Manonotti could have had a heart attack. Whatever the cause these are the people who would have been called to the location. Police, medics, TTC security. All making the morning transit even slower. Worst of all, no washroom. They had even taped off the women’s room. 

She supposed that was some sort of precautionary effort. It was hard enough for the transit system to maintain some sort of positive public image as it was. 

Jen knew the All News would want the story but she had to know what the story was. First she had to confirm who it was that was found. Her sister had been wrong before.

She approached one of the less busy, female officials. She had found women were often more cooperative with women. She quickly glanced at the officers name tag.

“Officer Fenton, I’m Jen Oliver with the All News News.” She showed her press card.

“Can’t tell you much.” 

‘Maybe you can confirm what I already know?”

“Maybe.” She laughed.

“A body was found?”

‘“Oh yeah, that’s for sure.”

‘It was councillor Peter Manonotti?”

‘That hasn’t been officially confirmed.”

“But that’s what you’ve heard.”

“Yes. But don’t quote me on that.”

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M-Miscellaneous

Les Mersey’s is a PQ pop group who thrived thanks to CanCon regulations about both the amount of radio airtime that had to be devoted to Canadian music & in Quebec how much of the time had to be in French. I have several stand-alone cds of the amazing series ‘Les Groupes des Années 60.’ The 25 Chansons include originals, a few sung in English but mostly French versions of English hits such as their take on The Rolling Stones – Stupid Girl, Fille Stupide. These are a delight.

I started to collect these when I visited Montreal in the mid-90’s. It was a vain attempt to improve my French but, well, that didn’t happen – c’est la vie. But it did help open my eyes to the insidious influence of US pop music & the sometimes hilarious ways it was adapted by other cultures. If you like this wonky cultural appropriation search out Cambodian pop for the 60s. 

Next M is Metro Station best known for their insanely addictive summer hit Shake It. Catchy & fun the album is solid, though nothing quite has the zip of Shake It. All the tracks would make nice movie/TV moments though. The band disappeared after this hit, as far as I know, though Wiki tells me they are still active. The subway in Montreal is known as Le Metro so there is a connection with Les Mercy’s.

The last of this M miscellany is MGMT. I have stand-alones of Oracular Spectacular & Congratulations. I picked up them first as at the result of reading about it in Entertainment Weekly. I may have also seen the video for Electric Feel – which is a great slinky summer hit. The lps are described as psychedelic rock – but, well, they aren’t Umma Gumma trippy. Enjoyable as they are, two cds were enough for my collection.

Maybe He Was Dead

So far there were no TV crews hovering around what was going on. Jan stayed within listening distance but tried not to seem too nosey. A few people were taking pictures with cell phones but they were being warned off by the police. TTC was always sensitive about what went on. She had to figure how to confirm what her sister had told her.

Manonotti was one of the more outspoken voices on city council when it came to almost anything, he never dodged the limelight. His latest mission had been to side with the cyclist union for more dedicated bike lanes. He felt that giving more money to public transit didn’t have to mean just the subway and that if there were more attention payed to alternate forms of transport the city would be better off.

As a result he was frequently at logger-heads with both the TTC and merchants. Merchants who felt more bike lanes meant less parking for paying customers who now had no where to park their cars. Manonotti was outspoken and blunt. Now, maybe, he was dead.

Jan had met him a few times. Interviewed him once when he his crusade was to halt the health spas that were popping up along the Danforth in long empty store fronts. The spas were covers for rub and tug operations where the massage was sexual and not medicinal. 

But when he saw that transportation was getting more press hw switched his focus to what would get him the greatest face time. He had hopes of parleying all this into a run for the mayor. He felt it was time the city had someone born and bred in Toronto at the helm and not some corporate clone.

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Meat Loaf Transcendent

Here’s another cd mp3 compilation that covers genres, eras, & even countries. Epic rock, funk, disco, retro & meditation – who could ask for more?  Khrishna Das has been described as “the chant master of American yoga.” One doesn’t have to know yoga to enjoy this meditative music. I have Breath of the Heart & One Track Heart. New Age world music of the top order. Evocative & emotionally resonant. Good for writing to as well.

The rest of this compilation is not as transcendent but is definitely emotionally resonant starting with the classic: Meat Loaf: Bat Out Of Hell. Epic, operatic rock that still tops the oldies charts. I remember the seismic shock when this was first released & everyone was listening to it. I still love it. Sadly there was no really successful follow up – operatic quickly became bombastic tripe. If you are one of the few people on earth who has never heard Bat, do so asap 🙂

Speaking of earth here too is Rare Earth: In Concert. Solid rock/funk. More about them when I get to ‘r’ on the shelf. But we won’t wait for ‘r’ for Revolver Reloaded. This is a set of cover versions of the Beatles’ Revolver. This remake of a vintage lp is a popular nostalgia genre now. Good fun by British bands I’ve never heard of & some nice re-imaginings others too reverent.

For some more earthbound balance is Ray Charles: The Very Best Of – classic rock before classic rock was invented. I have vague recollections of some of these songs on the radio & was happy to add it here. Finally some classic disco with Jackie Moore: I’m On My Way. I have clear memories of sweating to this on the dance floor & never wanting the song to end. A great voice, great production & like many disco albums only the singles pop.

Murder on the TTC

Jan was walking up the stairs when her cell began to ring. There were too many people around her for easy access to it. At the top she stepped aside.

“Hello.”

“Jan thought you’d want to know. They found a body at the Bloor station!”

It was her sister Karen. 

“Yeah I saw the police when we passed through there.”

“It was Peter Manonotti.”

“What!” she automatically started back down the stairs. Manonotti was one of the most vocal city council members when it came to matters transit.

“I gotta go. Can’t be caught tipping you off.”

“Thanks, sis.” Karen was a subway driver. “Don’t want you to get fired on my account.”

“Fired! Ha. I have a union. Takes more than this to get rid of a tough dyke like me.”

Jan got on the next train back. Manonotti dead. Murder on the TTC. She could see the headlines now. She stepped off again at Bloor and made her way down the stairs and up to the other side. Maybe this would be the scoop she needed.

A yellow tape marked a corner from the top of the stairs to the gateway. Patrons were being moved along directed by police and transit security. Both washrooms were now out of bounds.

She pulled her press card out of her purse ready to show it to the officer in charge of moving people along.

“Can you tell me what happened Office Lee.” She glanced at his badge.

“Nothing to tell.”

“I hear there’s been a body found?”

“Some guy had a heart attack taking a crap.”

“Oh.”

“Out of the way people so the medics can get though.”

He pushed her aside into the crowd that had formed.  

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Rossini Sarasate

Gioachino Rossini’s (1792 – 1868) William Tell Overture has been seared into my memory thanks to the Lone Ranger & Bugs Bunny. Of course little of music in that overture actually appears in the opera. Imagine some soprano galloping to the galloping bit 🙂 I have that tucked away somewhere. 

On an mp3 collection I have his String Sonatas, various Overtures, Piano Music, Barber of Seville Highlights, La Boutique Fantastique, Matinees & Soirees Musical & the Stabat Mater. At one time I wanted to hear behind the big hit so I added these to broaden my knowledge base. This is all pleasant orchestral, the paint music is romantic, I love the Stabat Mater. But the string sonatas are my particular favourite.

The version here is my lp to mp3 transfer from an MHS edition which I really loved loved loved. This is sweet, playful, happy music. Music I loved so much that I have two other versions of it as stand-alone double cds. All three are different but the same, different tempos, sound quality but great. I’d say by whom but that doesn’t matter. These sonatas would be fine by any string quartet. Get them.

Near Rossini on the shelf is Spain’s Pablo de Sarasate (1844 – 1908). I have two stand-alones of his Spanish Dances on violin one & the other on piano. The dances are fiery, romantic & energizing. Some of them are immediately recognizable even if you don’t know who the composer is. I have various versions of some of them on classical guitar, by string quartets, orchestras, harp, mariachi bands, worked into progrock noodling, jazz guitar, flute, sax. Music for the ages.

Daily Delay

“The delay at the Bloor-Yonge station is static stacic static.”

Jan pulled her ear buds out to hear the announcement. Another delay! Oh, well, there never was a good time for the daily delay. Just what she needed. Keeping the subway running, people happy and people safe were a constant battle. Keeping them safe sometimes meant they would be unhappy. Delays made them very unhappy. 

She wondered what was it this time. Hopefully not another jumper. No, the delay wasn’t long enough for that. She listened closely to the dispatch numbers. They weren’t calling for the track clean up crew. 

The train started up. As it passed through bloor she saw police gathered around the men’s room door. Not worth getting off for. Crime on the subway wasn’t her beat. It wasn’t anybody’s beat. 

There was this code of silence around so much public petty crime. If they reported it all, the paper would be twice a large and there weren’t enough advertisers to pay for the rainforest it would take to keep up on all the pick-pockets, purse snatching that went on.

They saved that valuable resource for real crime. Murder or assault. Stealing candy bars from the Gateway wasn’t real enough, anymore. Plus the more of that petty stuff that made the press the less people felt safe. Everyone wants to feel safe in a city this size. Especially when they were crammed together on public transit. 

Though she never understood how some people found these things were so startling. It wasn’t as if assault was just invented. That this was the first time someone had been robbed.

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McRae Baker Faithful

I love creating mp3 cds of mixed styles, generations & voices. On this one there is Carmen McRea, Anita Baker & Marianne Faithful. Can you imagine them doing an album together? Neither can I. I picked up a couple of 2nd Carmen’s lps decades ago & enjoyed them enough to transfer them to cd, then to mp3. I like her take on Alfie. The songs are jazz/pop standards & her style bridges jazz & pop nicely without becoming lounge. Not a mellow voice but pleasant enough. She’s in the Lena Horne, Nancy Wilson mold. Here I have: Sings The Great American Songwriters, Alfie, Portrait of Carmen.

 

I enjoy Anita Baker. She has a warm, sensual voice than could wring emotion out the phonebook (do they still publish phonebooks?). A female Barry White. She sings about love, unrequited, betrayed, lost, fulfilled & unexpected. The songs tend to merge into one another though – unless one is a real fan it is hard to tell them apart or even to tell which lp any one song is from. Comfortable, non-demanding easy-listening adult music. Psalms to codependency. Here I have Compositions, Rhythm of Love, My Everything. Copied from a friend’s collection.

Finally, as a real contrast to the other two, is Marianne Faithful’s Strange Weather. This is a stunning lp filled with songs like Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Her voice is astounding, her world-weary lived-in interpretation of these songs is dour but not defeated. I love this lp & the emotional depth & history she brings without making the work maudlin or depressing. As she sings ‘As Tears Go By’ you sense that she doesn’t regret crying but that she’s not crying anymore. She’s a survivor. A must have.  

Micturition

Jim had to piss. Badly. He cursed the extra large coffee in his hand. If he didn’t have this so called important meeting at work, he would have stuck to the usual medium but felt he needed that extra zip of caffeine to get through it. Now here he was in transit and needing to take a pee so bad he was tempted to find a corner on the subway car to do it. He’d had to take this leak for the last two stops. He had another dozen or so to go and knew he couldn’t hold it. 

So against his better instinct he stepped off at the Bloor/Yonge station. He knew there were public washrooms there. The thought of going in there filled him with dread. Thousands of men a day went into this bathroom and the place had to be a cess pool of filth, stink & germs. 

The washroom was tidier than he expect though, but busy. Men of various heights at all the urinals. It looked like the last toilet stall was unoccupied. Even if all the urinals had been free he would have headed for a stall. Privacy was the key in public places.

He could smell shit. The smell got stronger as he neared the stall. Just what he needed. Some people couldn’t flush. Was that why this one was unoccupied. He nudged it open with his elbow. His hands touched nothing. His foot slid a bit on the damp floor and he nudged the door with more force that he intended. Something stopped it from inside.

“Sorry.”

There was someone in there. The door bumped whomever it was on the head. The whomever slumped forward off the toilet pushing the door shut again. One arm slid into the next booth. The head protruded from under the door. It lay at a weird angle to the rest of the body.

Jim dropped his coffee and stepped back.

“There’s a body there.” He said to the man he bumped into.

The next stall emptied. Jim stepped in over the arm. Body or not he had to take a piss. Damned if he was going to wet his pants and then have to talk to the police.

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Bad Bad Spirit Pie in Your Hair

Next on the shelf is a mp3 cd collection of radio fodder male singer/songwriters of the 70’s, with one exception. Here is Don McLean’s American Pie, Don McLean, Homeless Brother. Pie & Vincent are era defining songs that are used in countless movies for instant period ambiance – in fact all it takes is the ‘buy buy’ oops, I mean ‘bye bye’ & you know where your are in time. I loved that song. Vincent less so – too gentle & greeting card for me. McLean never matched this early success but continued to record. The self-named album sees him as a pop version of Noel Coward with fun songs two of which are worth tracking down: Narcisissma, On The Amazon. He’s sort of the US answer to Gordon Lightfoot 🙂 

I loved Jim Croce. On this cd I have You Don’t Mess Around With Jim, I Got A Name, Life & Times. As a stand alone Photographs & Memories; Greatest Hits. His writing & music was emotionally accessible, unpretentious & catchy. He wrote about ordinary men & women with lived-in affection. Looking for the track listings for his lps I want to name check every song as they are each classics. The emotional directness of some of the songs can make me almost tearful. His unexpected death in 1973 at 30 ended an amazing career.

Also inescapable was Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit In The Sky. The album is sweet folksy, slightly psychedelic & fun with of course his big hit. Canned Ham his second ‘hit’ was good. He recorded a few more stepped lps then back – the music industry wasn’t for him.  The same is true for Scott McKenzie: The Voice Of … smash hit with If You’re Going – that road the crest of flower power sweetness – the album is a tad bit darker but those flowers lost their petals, as it were. Thanks to Papa John Phillips he (& Barry McGuire) fill blanks in the Mamas & Papas catalogue nicely. In fact Scott became a member of that group for awhile.

Lastly in this compilation is Elmore James: The Final Sessions. I wanted something to balance out the flower power weight of the other performers & this set. James is a true blues slide guitar magician. Only one album by him was released during his lifetime. This set collects his final two sessions from February 1963 in New York City, and he would be dead within three months of a heart attack at the age of 45. Timeless music.

The Kick Outside

On the subway the little girl kicked me in the ankle. She was about six but at that size and age who can really tell except a parent. I’m no parent. She was one of the prime reasons I wasn’t interested in being a parent.

I said, “Stop.”

She laughed and kicked me again.

I looked for a parent. Across the aisle was a woman beaming at her cute little girl, smiling at me to indulge the little sweet thing.

The little sweet thing had on patent leather shoes. Black shiny hard. As she was about to kick me again I gently pushed her back.

“Stop that.” I said.

The mother glared me.

‘“How dare you touch my child. Keep your hands to yourself.”

“Tell your child to keep her feet to herself.”

“You perverted slime ball.” The mother stood. “Touching my child. Don’t think you’re going to get away with that.”

Grinning, the child kicked me harder. People looked at us. The little girl began to cry.

‘“Look what you’ve done! Hold him there while I get the police.”

Two large men appeared and held me by the shoulders.

“The child was kicking me and I pushed her away.” I explained as they pulled me off at the next stop.

“She musta had a reason to kick you, you asshole. Your type makes me sick.” One of the men grunted.

They held me there for about ten minutes until the subway police showed up to see what the fuss was. The woman and child where gone. The guys holding me admitted they saw nothing.

When I got home there was a bruise on my ankle.

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The Trance Horn World

Next on the jazz shelf are a pair of cd mp3 collections built around the work of flautist Paul Horn. He became a pioneer of world and new age music with his 1969 album Inside. But the ‘roots’ of that go back to a couple of earlier lps: Jazz Suite on The Mass Texts, Here’s That Rainy Day. On Texts he works with orchestra & choir & on Rainy Day he works with rain effects.

I remember when Inside The Taj Mahal was released & all my pot-head buddies where into the echo soothing meditativeness of it. Inside 2 is more of the same. Both are timeless & meditative. 

George Winston is new age, meditative piano player I was introduced to when I facilitated a meditation healing circle for ACT. I have Winter, Winter Into Spring – instrumental music that lulls, ripples with touches of classical & very subtle jazz. I was also introduced to (& have) Suzanne Ciani: Seven Waves, Neverland, History of My Heart; Kitaro: Silk Road I, II; G.E.N.E. Grooving Electronic Natural Environments: Fluting Paradise. Ciani’s electronic work has an element of deliberate design using various sound frequencies to create mood. GENE weaving rippling brooks & sound frequencies.  

For a time I was a weekend- warrior learning about medicine wheels & Native spiritual beliefs. Here I heard  R. Carlos Nakai a Navajo/Ute who plays Native American cedar. On Earth Spirit there are original compositions for the flute inspired by traditional Native American melodies.

In this collection is also Hamza El Din’s Escalay: The Water Wheel which recognized as one of the first world music recordings to gain wide release in the West. He is Egyptian and plays the oud. A friend had me transfer his lp version to cd & I kept a copy, which I later upgraded, via iTunes, for better sound quality. Worth seeking out.

Also from that neck of the woods (or is that sands?) comes Bustan Abraham: Fanar – a sweet concoction of Arab music, Turkish music, jazz, flamenco, western classical music, and blues from an Israeli band. Finally a selection of Hussain Khan from Radio India, shared with me by a friend – this is harmonium, sitar, tabla & chanting that transports one to another world.

Parenting

Kayla found the bones in the backyard. We had been getting ready for planting a garden for the kids. She and her bother Dall weren’t all that eager to watch things grow but I figured it would be a good experience for them. Being a step-dad wasn’t a dream come true mind you but I was willing to do what it would take to make it work.

I figured digging and planting things together would be a good bonding experience for us. 

Kayla called to me. “Jake … Jake ….”

The fear in her voice gabbed me by the heart. I rushed over. 

She pointed her trowel at the shattered bone. 

I hunched down to get a closer look.

Dall came over to join me. He pushed at the bone with a finger.

“Don’t touch it.” I pulled his hand away.

“What is it?” Kayla began to tear up.

“Probably a cat or a squirrel. Too small to be anything else.”

I gently pushed the dirt from around the bones to see how many there were. I could tell it was some small animal.

“What’s going on.” John had come out of the house.

I stood a bit to quickly & was dizzy for a moment. He steadied me.

“Kayla found a dead body.” Dall pointed at the bones. “Looks like a dead baby.”

He looked at Kayla hoping for a reaction.

“Looks like you.” She retorted.

“I’m not dead.”

“That’s what you think.”

“Probably just a cat that the last owner buried here when it died. See …” I hunched down again. “There’s fur in the ground around it.”

John took the kids into the house while I dug out the bones. I wasn’t sure what to do next. Bag them for recycling? Put them in composter? Bury them somewhere else in the yard? 

I had a lot to learn about being a parent.




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Van McCoy Voyage

This mp3 cd collection is filed under Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony. Sweet Rhythm contains the hit The Hustle – which is a disco icon of the  Philadelphia sound. Strings galore, flute & still a template for dance music that emulates old skool. To be honest I hated it then but now it is sweet nostalgia & more than bmp under a diva’s voice.  Van McCoy died young in 1979 of a heart attack. Sweet Rhythm is easy & sexy.

Peter Brown’s A Fantasy Love Affair is more brilliantly produced dance music. In 1977 his 12″ version of “Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me” reached the million dollar mark making it the first gold 12” single in history. This one brings back memories of my arrival in Toronto in 1979 & my discovery of discos in the gay ghetto. This is hip thrusting music, catchy & fun. Sexual & sexy.

These two were performers I had heard of before I downloaded their lps (with bonus tracks). The rest of there were unknown to be, even though I did know the songs. All were ‘discovered’ by tracks posted in my Tumblr feed. My music collection needed more r’n’b from the 70’s/80’s to round it out. 

I have the hits collection by The Main Ingredient: Everybody Plays the Fool that includes Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely. I loved both these songs but didn’t know who originated them. A sold soul band with strong vocals – reminiscent of groups like the The Four Tops – this is great music. Similar but more on the disco side is B.T. Express: Do It (’Til You’re Satisfied) B. T. stand for Brooklyn Transit. Great club music with a strong sexy edge.

I don’t know what the T stands for in T-Connection. This a band out Nassau, the Bahamas. I have the  Expanded Edition of their self titled album that includes the dance floor monster ‘At Midnight.’ The song brings back memories of getting home after Midnight and reeking go cigarette smoke & sweat. A good memory. Similar to them is Con Funk Shun’s Funk Essentials. As you might guess this a dance funk band – one that I’d never heard of before but am happy to hear now.

The holds true for Blue Magic. I have the remastered release of their first, 1974 lp. More in The Spinners mode of funk.  The longest lasting of many of these groups is Earth Wind & Fire here I have their 1980 Faces. I have several of their other lps scattered through my vast collection. Best known for their ballads this is another smooth, funky with a dash of jazzy band that produced dozens of constant lps.

Finally a San Jose, garage soul band Syndicate of Sound: Little Girl. This a bit of an anomaly here as fun, disco isn’t noted for garage bands the way rock’b’roll is – oddly street-corner doo-wop was never considered as garage band – maybe too much emphasis on vocal harmony 🙂 Anyway this a fun lp, energy with interesting r’n’b under pinning.

Had Enough

Except for the bartender the tavern was deserted. Doug ordered a bottle beer. Took a table that wasn’t too dark. He sat and watched the beads of condensation form and trickle down the side of the bottle. They pooled around the bottom. The pool heavier on one side than the other. The table wasn’t level. He wondered if there would be enough bottle sweat for it to form a stream away from the bottle.

As his eyes adjusted he could see the stains of other bottles left to stand on the table. The lights from the bar reflected and distorted on the wet surface of the bottle.

“You gonna drink that or what?”

“Huh?” Doug looked up.

“You been staring down that bottle for the last ten minutes. Won’t jump up to you mouth, you know, you gotta lite it for the full effect.”

Doug looked up to the voice. It was a young man. Late 20’s, he guessed. Shaved head big smile loose t-shirt and baggy shorts.

“Or would you rather be left alone.”

“I’m just having a beer and a think. Not looking to buy anything else.”

“Do I look like a hustler to you?”

Doug shrugged. He didn’t know what a hustler would look like but figured no one talked to strangers in places like this just to make conversation.

“Besides you look to be doing more thinkin’ than drinkin’.”

“Yeah. Well a think is all I wanted. Here …” Doug slid the beer towards the bald man. “I’ve had enough to think for one day.”

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