Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Diva time

I am always pleased to discover a new hip hop diva, and my new favourite is Kelis. OK - Kelis has been around for a decade or so, I liked her "Caught Out There" (the one that goes "I really hate you right now ...") and "Milkshake" was a hit too and Kelis seemed another kooky diva like Macy Gray whom we all went nuts over - but I never really got into Kelis until this week when I saw on MTV a concert of hers from Ibiza, and suddenly I am bananas about Kelis.
This concert brought back all that euphoria about clubbing and having a great time and Kelis is dynamite on stage - like Grace Jones, Adeva, Ultra Nate, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan, Rosie Gaines ("Closer Than Close") and all the others I liked like Joyce Sims ("Come Into My Life", "All in All") or Donna Allen ("Joy and Pain") or Alison Limerick ("Where Love Lives"), Eve Gallagher ("Love Come Down"), Ce Ce Peniston ("Finally"), Gwen Guthrie, Jennifer Holiday ("Hard Time for Lovers") or German diva Billie Ray Martin - all those hits like "Running Around Town", "Your Loving Arms" etc., and listening to and watching Sade or Janet Jackson remains a timeless pleasure, particularly Janet's "Velvet Rope" album and her Joni Mitchell tribute "Got till its gone" ....
Sade's rendering of "Paradise" on her concert dvd is something I can watch over and over too, then there is Angie Stone and D'Angelo ... yes, we are in a neo-soul groove ... old soul too of course, having seen Aretha (twice), and Roberta Flack (I still love "Compared to What" and "Trying Times" on her first album "First Take"),  Nancy Wilson and Otis Redding in their 60s prime.  

Alicia Keys is my other current diva of choice, ever since "Falling" and we also like Jody Watley, Shara Nelson (initially with Massive Attack - that great video for "Unfinished Sympathy", left), Angela Bofill ("Too Tough"), Regina Belle, and now Emile Sande is everywhere ...

I now have Kelis's "Greatest Hits" and most recent album "Flesh Tone" to listen to and put on repeat on the iPod! Groovy ... and now there's Aimee Mann to finally discover ...  Then we have all the club anthems by Groove Armada and A Man Called Adam ("Barefoot in the head", "Duende" album, and their groovy collection from Space, Ibiza), I loved their club nights at Heaven; the deep house Global Underground compilations by disk jockeys like Danny Tenaglia ("Music is the answer"), Ibiza anthems ("Brighter Days" by Dajae, "Sun Rising Up" by Deux) and chillout compilations, and more soul sounds with Soul II Soul and Inner City
Dusty & Neil Tennant 1988
and getting "Fired Up" with the Miami Murk/Funky Green Dogs - what a night that was, also at Heaven. Clubland in all its diversity - well from 10 years ago anyway ... Heaven nights in the early '80s is a whole other chapter ...  We don't of course like all divas, some (not naming Mariah, Rihanna, Beyonce and others) leave us cold. Dusty Springfield of course was a diva, and then there is Madonna, well her early to mid-period anyway ... pleased now I got to see Dusty taping one of her 1969 BBC specials at the old Golders Green Theatre, I remember she had to re-do the first song so she was stomping around the stage in a bad mood .... thats a diva!. Her Dusty In Memphis album is essential, as well as her collection of A-sides and B-sides, and her work with the Pet Shop Boys, and I also like that Donna Summer-Quincy Jones album with Donna's dynamic version of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life", a diva anthem indeed. 
Then there is Debbie Harry of Blondie and of course Eurythmics' Annie Lennox, I practically wore out her first solo album, titled - what else? - "Diva". I have not even mentioned Barbra Streisand ... well I saw her on stage in FUNNY GIRL from the front row, when I was all of 20 in 1966. We liked the early Barbra albums and movies - until her A STAR IS BORN when a diva was suddenly A Star Is Boring. 
The '70s of course was a good time for seeing various divas: Peggy Lee at the Royal Albert Hall in 1971, also Dionne Warwick, Petula Clarke, Cleo Laine several times, Sarah Vaughan, Eartha Kitt, Joan Armatrading and a very bizarre concert by 
Nina Simone. ...whom I always liked, particularly that "Nina At Town Hall" album; Nancy Wilson's live album is enjoyable too, like Nina she also does a killer version of "You Can Have Him" and a hilarious "Ten More Good Years" - as Nina put it: "Give me more and more and then some" ...

Next musical extravaganza: the reissued Fleetwood Mac "Rumours" - the '70s in aspic.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you certainly know and like your music as much as your movies!