This and That This Week: The Original 7ven Release “Condensate”

So yes, it’s been quite a while since I last blogged about music. But I HAD to come back with this!! When I was a kid, I heard a song that my sister’s then-boyfriend Bobby played for me. I heard it and I was in love with it. That song was “Cool” by a funk band called The Time. I’m not sure exactly what did it for me – it was a combination of the musical elements, the tune, and most of all the sheer arrogance of the lyrics…”Ain’t nobody bad like me. I’m just COOL!” Bobby actually ended up giving me that album and I still have it today. And here began my affair with 7ven of the baaadest musicians on the planet: Morris, Jesse, Jerome, Monte, Jimmy, Terry and Jellybean – The Time. I remember when I first saw the movie Purple Rain, I became obsessed with Prince – one of the best musicians ever. Yes, his posters were all over my wall – I kept them all through high school and even took them to college! But I digress…

During my second viewing (of well over 30 or so subsequent viewings!) of Purple Rain I was drawn back to The Time. Morris and company stole the show! I almost promised my sister my firstborn when she bought me a copy of their album Ice Cream Castle for my birthday that year! These dudes were off the chain! Well fast forward to 2011…after 21 years off the vinyl together, the band recently released a new CD (accompanied by a DVD documentary) entitled Condensate. A word of caution…you won’t find it filed under The Time. The band formerly known as The Time is now The Original 7ven – named after the fact that all seven original members are back, and they are back with FIYAH!! The name may have changed, but these guys are still spitting out the funk. The documentary is well-worth purchasing as part of a set and offers a comprehensive history of these musical genii. I finally got my copy and after just one listen, I can already tell this is going to be in HEAVY rotation in the Honda (AND on the iPad, AND on my computer…)

Years ago, I would be annoyed that people only seemed to know The Time for songs like “Jungle Love” and “The Bird,” not knowing anything about “Cool” and “Get it Up” (another fave of mine from their self-titled debut album). But alas, I still hope for a new generation of fellow music appreciators that will help bring The Original 7ven back into the forefront – ahead of Auto-tune laced tracks and nonsensical lyrics. I’m hoping the youngins will take a lesson from these 7ven – on the true definition of a BAND. I am glad to see them BACK, and they are still C-O-O-L!

Check out their Facebook Fan Page for more information and tour updates.


Music of My Mind

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE music! Over the last several months, I have been jumping on the bandwagon of posting videos and song lyrics on my Facebook page. More often than not, there is a theme associated with all the songs I post on a given day. One friend even jokingly called me “DJ Cool Cee” – a name which has stuck.

But posting this music, and “collecting” YouTube videos made me really stop and think about the impact music has made on my life. For me, music is mostly about lyrics and mood. The lyrics to a song can make you laugh, cry, or remember good or bad times in your life. Let me share with you my life’s soundtrack…

Stevie Wonder – The Musical Genius – my absolute favorite! If I had to live on a desert island with only one artist’s catalogue of music on hand, it would be Stevie, NO DOUBT! His earlier love songs walked me through the teen angst years, namely “Too Shy to Say” – which is that song you know was written JUST FOR YOU!

You make me smile, you make me sing

You make me feel good everything

You bring me up, when I’ve been down.

This only happens when you’re around.

And I can’t go on this way, with it stronger every day.

But being too shy to say, that I really love you.

OK y’all…give me a moment to get it back together…I’m back…you see what I mean??

Gospel – keeps me focused on  God – encouragement for the soul. Memories of my days in the choir and all my crazy choir friends as we sat around clowning and singing at each others houses after church. Classic Jazz – the genre introduced to me by my father – brings back memories of him and the music he loved so much. The music that often played in the background as I studied in college. Classic Soul – The music of my parents, who often talked of their dating days in the 50’s –  from house parties down South, to dances at the Savoy when they moved North. R&B/Funk – The Elements – Earth, Wind and Fire, the Commodores. It was the music of my sister’s generation – she had EVERY Parliament-Funkadelic and Ohio Players album! I mention them specifically because they had some of the baaadest covers EVER. P-Funk, with it’s awesome and coloful illustrations, and the Ohio Players with their four-part fold-out photographic album covers! House – just makes me dance! Visions of college – dancing in the hallways of the dorm, dancing at the parties, just dancing…period! Every once in a while, I shut my office door and take a dance break! Classic Hip-Hop – Wow…where to start? I feel privileged to have come up in New York City during the birth of Hip-Hop. It was the music of my peers, the music we rapped along with, danced to, listened to, and simulated beats of during our days in Junior High, and especially High School. I get misty just thinking about it. Then I get angry thinking of the sour turn much of it has taken today. Click here to read “Maybe HipHop IS Dead After All?” It was a time of  Afrika, Herc, Sugarhill, Marley, Lyte, Latifah, LL, Run DMC, BDP, Juice Crew and countless others.

I encourage you to pay attention to the poetry and prose of good lyrics. Music tells a great story. What’s the soundtrack of YOUR life?