Take Note!

Pictures and videos used on this site are all borrowed (well not all, some are actually mine) for everyone's viewing pleasure.  They are not being used in a malicious matter, it is all in good fun and most likely to promote the good stuff found.  Please don't threaten to sue, just ask me to take it down if it is a bother.  If not, thanks for the borrow!!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Old School Friday: You Can Get With This Or You Can Get With That...

And Friday is here, bless its little soul.  It couldn't have come any quicker.

Today's Old School Friday Theme is: originals vs remakes.  Very touchy topic I would think.  A lot of music lovers can definitely get into a throw down mode with this one.  We can all agree that some songs just shouldn't be touched at all - can anyone say "My Prerogative" by Britney Spears?  Yet on the other hand, there are some artists who do take the ride and refrain from the train wreck it could become. I will be pulling a few 90's inspirations, so bear with me.  Here are three of my favorites (another hard choice!):

This happens to be one of my all time FAVORITE duets ever.  Everyone has a love for one of, if not both of these artists.  They were/are talented in so many ways and when they came together, they blew us all away.

Then when I heard this remake, I fell in love immediately.  This brother and sister team did a phenomenal job of capturing the smooth laid back energy and the yearning pain that can be heard in the lyrics of the song.  I was always a fan of Jesse Powell but not really of his sister Trina ("I Don't Know What You Came Here For" or "My Love Is The..." fame), but after this duet she won me over.  

Second choice, one of the best funk bands ever put the sexy in funkay with this song **fanning profusely**:

And before Mr. Sisqo went all "I am the king of R&B" nutso on us, Dru Hill really brought that heat over and over and OVER again on their debut album, which included an amazing remake of this song.  Now unfortunately there is no video for this song, but I did find a link for it on Rhapsody. Just click here and take a listen to #12.

And lastly, something a bit more recent.  I am a huge Level 42 fan and this song always haunts me.  The lyrics are superb, I even wrote the lyrics as a post a while back.  This is my favorite track from them: 

This phenomenal song was given a soulful touch, by the Grammy Nominated, raspy voiced Acey Ducey himself - Anthony David.  LOVE IT.

I promise, that's all I have.

Be sure to check out the rest of my OSF fam here.  Have a great weekend!

Tha Connoisseur 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Concert Review: Soul In Color w/ Kameron Corvet, Monica Blaire & Postman @ Joe's Pub NYC...

"You make me feel, like this is so unreal..."  Special - Monica Blaire

My girl the effervescent and sassy Fiona Bloom of The Bloom Effect, worked hard to put together a show that was well worth the event price - and MORE.  The bill boasted the epitome of cool Kameron Corvet, the ever funky Monica Blaire and the platinum artist from Holland, Postman. The extravaganza was hosted by the energetic Maya Azucena, who had the crowd in the palm of her hand.  If you were not there to witness it, I am here to tell you - you certainly missed a show.

(my favorite pic I took that night - Monica Blaire)

First up to bat was Mr. Kameron Korvet and when he takes to the stage with his guitar in hand, you cannot help but sit up and be attentive to his movements and vibe.  It was an acoustic set and y'all already know I am a sucker for a good set.  Knowing that Kameron is spectacular in that form, I knew we were all in for a treat.   The lights went low, he tuned up his instrument of choice and breezed through his tracks one after the other (in no order) - one of my favorites "Kiss and Makeup," "War Within," and he ended his set with a request for "Situation."  He's a one man show.  He conversed with the crowd and kept it moving the Corvet way.  I was in my glee, because he did my FAVORITE track from his album Saying Things, the sexy and sensual "Let's Go Again":

Time spent with Kameron on stage is never enough.

Followed by his mellow aura, Joe's was certainly turned up a notch or two...or five.  Monica Blaire was NOT A JOKE and seeing that this was her debut in NYC, she was relentless with her shit.  And Tamara Wellons (another diva you will hear about soon on these pages) let me know via Twitter that when Monica performed at Artmosphere Cafe in Maryland a couple of weeks ago, they were not ready for her.  Well New York was certainly hit with a storm of epic proportions that night!  Upon her entrance to the stage, Monica unleashed and hit the crowd with a few sexy body grooves, slinking herself across the stage and swaying to and fro with her own signature Anita Baker-esque movements.  And that voice?  It filled the pub from back to front 10 times over.  Her upbeat and funky track "Music" surely had everyone with a pulse bouncing:

Monica bopped and weaved through her set, with the packed house following her flow.  From the break down of "One and Only," the scorching "Set Me Free," and the Sunday church event of "Call," to my personal instant favorite "Special," the woman was on FYAH.  The feeling that everyone tried to convey at the end of the show was inexplicable.  All we could do was say her name and shake our heads in disbelief.  You best believe that I will say if Miss Monica Blaire is performing anywhere near your vicinity, do yourself a favor - do NOT miss that show.  I will only tell you once!!

Last on the bill was Postman doing his thing.  I am honestly not familiar with his music, but he did have an interesting flow of reggae/rock inspired hip hop.  Personally, it felt a bit out of place with what I was feeling and I felt my vibe come down a few notches.  He is good at what he does, has a tight flow and his lyrics are most definitely positive.  However there was not that much interaction with the crowd and it seemed that soundcheck was still taking place during the performance.  That did not do it for me.  Perhaps it was an off night for him, I have no idea.  But he performed a few tracks and called it a night.  

I have to add, Maya Azucena is energetic as all hell and can rock a mic without even singing a note!  She hosted with flair and kept the energy moving along the entire night.  Her last note of the night had everyone in step, as she broke out into a spontaneous rendition of "I Want To Thank You" by Alicia Meyers.  Give thanks indeed, it was a tremendous night of music.

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Monday's Smile...

"It's time to say goodbye, it's over now, it's time to say goodbye..." Goodbye - Usher

I have had a pretty exciting weekend that has brought me to a whole other level of weariness.  I guess I haven't been out like that in a long while, but it is starting to catch up to me in the worst way.  Two days entering my house at 6 am CANNOT become a habit.  Thank god it isn't - and it WILL NOT.  Hey, even my boy Taz gets sluggish, so I am well within my parameters when I say - today will be a short entry.
There are going to be some more changes coming your way on my blog, so please bear with me.  There will be posts, but some may be shorter than usual.  For today, since I did not have the time to do my readings and share my rants, I am going to share the video laugh of the day.  This one didn't make me laugh, it actually made me smile from the inside out.  I wish every Monday a Fame moment would break out in a crowded place.  It would make the dreadful spell of Monday run off into oblivion.

And of course the flashback of the day:  This is one of the jams that my bro and I have a sick love affair with.  He used to play it for me all the time when he was a DJ.

Look out for a review of the phenomenal Sound In Color show featuring Kameron Corvet, Monica Blaire and Postman during the week.

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Old School Friday: Ohhh It's Too Hot...

For some reason, I think that I am going to get the meaning of this week's theme all wrong.  The theme: Too hot for radio.  My take on that is to discuss songs that were too risque for radio.  So I am basically reading the theme literally.

This one I have to actually put thought into.  There's 2 Live Crew and a few that I can touch on, but they would be too cliche. 

I just watched A View To A Kill and lord this woman was a dark chocolate goddess, a model, a certified bad gal - but sexy nonetheless.  Boomerang anyone?  Now seriously, who REALLY new what this song was about when we heard it?  And there I was shaking my thang thang and singing from the top of my lungs throughout the house.  Now I understand the dirty looks and cut eye my parents used to give me for singing the damn song. 

I am tapped out today.  Please check out the rest of my OSF Fam here

Have a wonderful weekend.

Tha Connoisseur

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Concert Review: Mint Condition @ B.B. King Blues Club...

"I've been waiting, for this moment for sometime..." Tonight - Mint Condition

On Sunday night, I took to B.B. King's Blues Club with my girls Detrel and Pam, to see my favorite band in the world - Mint Condition.  I was literally counting down the days for this show, since I missed their previous one for my birthday last May.  I was not missing them this time around. 

Unbeknownst to a lot of people, Mint Condition is one of the hardest working bands in the game today.  We all know in the land of sampling, autotune and vocoders, there is hardly any room for an R&B band.  Remember when you were able to name at least 5 bands off the top of your head? Earth Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang, SOS Band, Tony Toni Tone and The Roots Band.  I threw that one in just to throw you off.  But now...not so easy.

Anyhow, on Sunday night I did not do my usual journalistic thing - take out my book and jot down notes.  Analyze and strip down the show in my head.  Instead, I took in the show as a fan should.  I swayed and cooed to each song, I brought myself down memory lane with each note sung and I marveled at the musicianship that everyone brought forth on that stage.

The opening set was a soulful rocked out throw down by a band from Minnesota who call themselves The New Congress.  They began their set with their DJ and a little bit of scratchin' and mixin'.  Once the rest of the band took to the stage, everyone was set to get down and see what the band had to offer.  They sang a President Obama speech sampled track "Under The Eyes" and a sultry track entitled "Eyes", however I would say the crowd fell into New Congress' hands when they did their covers of "Used To Love U" by John Legend and Musiq's "Just Friends."  They had the whole club singing and dancing along with the latter.  Here is a quick snippet of their rocked out reprise:

They most definitely had me intrigued enough to purchase the album and have it signed at the end of the show.  Review will be coming soon.

It wasn't enough that I was here to see Mint Condition, but The Sugar Hill Gang made it through to introduce the band.  How funky is that?  Upon their introduction, Stokley, Jeff, O'Dell, Ricky and Larry took it upon themselves to give B.B. King's a sweat n' funky hell of a good time.  Dodging in and out of their hits one after another, it was like a Mint Condition fan's dream come true.  Opening with "Gratitude," and following with (in no order) "Whoaa," "Is This Pain Or Pleasure," "You Send Me Swinging," and "It's Hard", they were all on the roster and I'm just getting started.  Their percussion pause mid way through the show with Stokely on drums, is a reminder to all that Mint Condition is your quintessential band.  They can play their designated instruments, yet a few can double up on other instruments as well.  For instance, we all know that Stokely can find any form of rhythm and sound in ANYTHING (he's like a musical Macgyver) and Jeff is the keyboardist for the group, who also doubles up as the saxophonist as well.  And the man is a badass tickling the ivories and blowing that sax.

More tracks were thrown at us, "Baby Boy Baby Girl," "Breakin' My Heart-Pretty Brown Eyes," "So Fine" and "What Kind of Man Would I Be."  And I know I am missing a few, but honestly it was a whirlwind of Mint's best, no one's favorite was left out in the cold.  And just when we thought the night was done, after their encore, they brought out The Sugar Hill Gang for a "thank you" and we were treated to this:

At that point, the club was shut down with everyone responding HO! and screaming on cue.  The night could not have ended on a better note.  Of course my Mint Condition dream concert, would be for them to bring "Straight From The Mint Factory" back to life - word for word, song for song.  But hey, a gal can dream. :)

To check out Mint Condition's tour schedule visit their website here

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Madness With A Twist...

"Just come away with me, so I can make you see - that all I can be is good for your heart."  Good For Your Heart - Mint Condition

I returned not too long ago from seeing my favorite band in the world - MINT CONDITION.  And lord, did they put their foot, toe nails, fungus and ting into it - it was funk-ay, dirt-ay and just sweat-ay up in B.B. King's last night.  New Congress opened and The Sugar Hill Gang made an appearance and brought the place DOWN.  I don't want to give away anymore, look for the review during the week.

Today is everyone's favorite part of the week - Monday Madness.  There are a lot of video's to get through today.  I figured that since this week is inauguration week and MLK, I will not dwell on the stupidity and somber thoughts that the news always has to offer.  Here are a few tidbits that crossed my path during the week that I will share my two cents on.

Without further adieu, here is a twist on Monday Madness: one made me cuss, cringe and shake my head.  While the others made me double over because of the induced side splitting laughter.

1) Let's start with the slackness shall we?: Alright.  This one made me SO UNBELIEVABLY irate, I wanted to take out my belt and give out some licks.  When did having your young child show their cussing aptitude while you as an imbecile of a parent, friend or family member - hold the camera?  I do not understand the sense in this video at all.  And then people wonder why these kids have no manners or respect for their elders.  Well, it is because of parents, friends or family members like this who think this is a joke.  We sure can do better. Disgusting.

The rest are JOKES!

2) Food monster anyone?: Have you seen the commercials (there are two) for the new Weight Watchers Momentum program?  Now, those who know me are aware that I have an obsession with the color orange.  When I saw this little monster, I was in stitches!  It is so cute!  Laugh with me.

3) MIRACLE: There are absolutely no words for this dude.  None.  I know it's a holiday one, but I just can't get enough of it...LOL

4) WARNING - MAY BE OFFENSIVE TO SOME VIEWERS (but it is damn hilarious!): Thank you Adri for this one.  I was left speechless and you all know that is rare.  Did this commercial for Durex condoms take it too far or is it all in good fun?  I was DYING of laughter!  See for yourself.

Flashback of the day:  All day today, I felt like breaking out and dancing.  Why?  Have no idea.  Here is one of the songs on my soundtrack for the day.

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Old School Friday: TV Theme Songs...

Ohhh boy les filles done put their foot in it this time...LOL

This week's OSF theme is: TV Theme Songs.  Wow...this is hard.  And I know I say that every week, but the themes are so good and so RANDOM!  I love it.

Alright, I have 3 for your listening pleasure.  First up has to be my favorite of all time.  Apparently according to my Dad, when I was a lil' one and the theme to this show came on, it did not matter where I was in the house - I would run in front of the TV and start shaking my money maker.  I guess I was a beach girl at heart, go ahead and laugh it up.

Second has to be my favorite cul-de-sac in the world.  Maybe it was the cheesy sax, who knows.  This theme went on for days!

And lastly, I LOVED this because it personified every single person's style and taste on the show.  And I don't think it was a reflection of just their characters, I believe it to be a reflection of themselves.  Out of all the seasons, I love this one the most.  And they had some pretty creative ones.

Please visit the rest of my OSF Family here. Have a phenomenal and safe MLK weekend and we all know what next Tuesday is.  DC stay strong!   It is a day that Martin would have been proud to have celebrated with Mr. Obama if he were here today.  What a birthday gift!

Tha Connoisseur 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ear To The Ground...Corneille & Mishka

For those who know me, you know I am an all around sociable fool.  I love to get together with my peeps, meet new people and shoot the 'ish. However, you guys also know that I am surely not one for tooting my horn AT ALL. A few of my peoples have been on me regarding what I do, what I have done and why it is not mentioned on the daily here. Well this year, I am starting a few new things on this blog and on the personal tip. The personal part will come soon, I promise to share that with you in the future. For now, one of the new attributes to the blog is "Ear To The Ground," which will be a weekly post of an artist(s) that has caught my ear, someone that I think you should have a listen to and judge for yourself if they are worthy of your aural stimulation soundtrack.

In one of my discussions, I am about to toot my own horn - a bit. UGH.

Years ago during my life in Montreal, I was blessed to have a great circle of friends whom I still call close friends today. I worked at HMV and was able to forge very long lasting friendships. During my incredible run there, I learned a lot about music on the whole (and I already thought I knew shit - HA!) because I worked with like minded people. People who were sick without their music, understood what it took to create and love music to the fullest extent, knew their producers, writers and such without even blinking. We were the team that you would DIE for in a music store today. Anyhow, I was lucky enough to meet and become friends with a talented and emerging group called O.N.E. The group consisted of Pierre Gage (who I will have a write up on soon), Martin Gardy and Corneille Nyungura.  

My girls and I used to dwell in the front at most of their shows, cheering them on and supporting them. They took control of the stage and sang their asses off, much to the delight of their female fans. We all used to hang, they would pass through the store to say what's up.  Ahh the good ol' times. I left HMV and also left Montreal to find out that my boys unfortunately went their separate ways and Corneille was the first out of the three, who went on to start a solo career. Corneille released his first french album "Parce qu'on vient de loin" ("Because we come from far" for my english peeps) in 2002, that was pretty much quiet. However, the re-release in 2003 with the double disk choc full of bonuses was felt and heard around Quebec, Paris and Bordeaux to name a few, catapulting the album to date - to sell more than a million copies. Corneille has been signed to Motown and his english album "The Birth of Cornelius" has been released in Canada, Japan and the U.S. For those of you who have not taken a listen to what he has to offer, you are missing out. I think you would love it. It is full of charisma, infectious soul and smooth vibes. Check it out for yourself and see what you think.  Here is a song that I love and it was also his first single, "Too Much of Everything."  And it's his wife in the video that he's whispering sweet nothings to dear ladies.  No tears.

For more info on Corneille, check out his label page here.

And a quick mention.  I have no idea if any of you have heard of this artist, but I decided to give him a listen - I am still processing, but I thought I would share him with you nonetheless.  I received a press release the other day for Mishka.  He is a Bermudian/Canadian dude who evokes the spirits to bring you some roots, rock reggae.  And I must add, the man is signed to Matthew McConaughey's label j.k. livin' Records.  Yes, you read right - Matthew McConaughey.  I am not sure what I think of Mishka as yet, as I said, I am still trying to process his music.  I leave it up to you, please let me know what you think.  

Flashback of the day:  Today I am fighting with the remnants of a migraine, so I needed something bubbly and fun.

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Old School Friday: Graduating In The 90's!

I must say I was pretty excited when I read the topic this week for Old School Friday.  Especially since I have been away for the previous two, but I am back and ready to kick it old school.  The theme this week: music from the year we graduated high school.  FAB.U.LOUS.

1992 was a time of awareness, it brought to the forefront a disturbing time in history that will never be forgotten - the riots and Rodney King beatings.  I think Mother Nature started to show her true colors and the shift in the world with the most dangerous and costliest hurricane in history - Hurricane Andrew.  My family was in Florida on vacay and had me worried off my ass.  And musically, it was sheer bliss.  Now most of you already know I am an old school head and love me some 90's music.  The dances were unconventional, the clothing was engaging (looking back) and the music...I can write a very long rant on the music.  It was just phenomenal across the board (except of course, for the wretch inducing "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus), it was a good time all around.  

There are sooo many goodies to choose from, I honestly don't know where to begin.  I have been sitting here for about half an hour now, Tweeting and trying to make up my mind which gems to choose.  I had to be a bit extra today and post 4 choices.

I HAD to go with the King of Pop on the first selection.  It has graced these pages already, but it is one of my favorite tracks and it was accompanied by a phenomenal video:

I am not the biggest Mariah Carey fan, but you cannot contest the fact that she can saaaang and does have some great tracks in her discography.  She tackled this cover and claimed it.

The Queen of Hip Hop Soul released the classic "What's The 411," need I say anymore?

And my last one, I had to hip hop it up a bit - one, two, three and to the four...

I feel like I am deserting the rest of my babies!!  Hope you enjoyed!

Please check out the rest of the OSF participants here.

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Today Is Daddy's Day!

"Get yourself in gear, keep your stride.  Never mind your fears, brighter days will soon be here"  Someday We'll All Be Free - Donny Hathaway

I seem to be running in slow motion today, trying to get some work done - a little bit of everything.  The weather outside my window does add to my lethargic state, but it will not hold me back.  I have too much to do and as my parents always drilled into my head - time and tide waits for no man.

I have a lot to bring to you, but I am kind of stagnant for now since I have not yet attended any shows for the New Year.  I was supposed to hit the inaugural business in DC, but my plans have been wiped clean.  Instead of sulking, I am filling my calendar with a slew of upcoming shows.  Right now, it looks as though Mint Condition will be my first musical step into the New Year.  I also have Kameron Corvet and Monica Blaire coming up at the end of the month and a lot more to come.  Have no fear, my rounds will soon commence. 

Today is a special day, it's my Daddy's birthday.  As you all know, I lost my Dad to cancer not too long ago.  I miss him immensely.  So as I sit here listening to one of his favorite singers - Mr. Donny Hathaway, I am reminded of my Dad's memory.  A boisterous, fun and serious, educated black man, who was adamant about an education and seeing his kids succeed.  He wasn't an easy dude, but he did want his kids to realize their full potential.  I know he would be proud to hear that I did actually chase my dream and attend NYU and his girl is doing the damn thing and trying to do what I can for the given time that I am here. :)  Love and miss ya Daddy.

My debonair daddy with his big sis.

Flashback of the day:  I had to go with his woman Aretha, no doubt.

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Yes, It's Monday Madness, A Tad Late...

"It's just another Manic Monday..."  Manic Monday - The Bangles

I can beat this quote into the ground.

Ok, so I am a bit late - I do apologize.  I am presently recuperating from a phenomenal New Years week spent with my little sister.  We always have a good time when we are together, holiday or not.  Full of laughter, love and plenty of entertainment to say the least.  I hope that everyone enjoyed their New Year and brought it in safely.  Never too late to send optimistic and positive vibes out to my peeps.

So let's get the show on the road, shall we?

Here's Monday Madness - the news that made me cuss, cringe and shake my head:

1) Soulja Boy: I am not going to spend too much time on this ingrate.  I could name call this child from here to kingdom come, however it will not solve anything and after all, I am an adult.  It is kind of sad really, but surely not an excuse.  Where are this child's parents?  And I do say child, because even though you are 18 - guess what?  You are still a child.  Have you seen the obnoxious amount of jewelry this kid has on his person?  Is that where all his new found fame is going to?  His actions have spoken volumes in the past few months.  From the slavery comment, to Nas killing hip hop (his nonsensical rant is below) and now this whole attention seeking issue of being "robbed.".  And y'all wonder why he is slipping on the Billboard charts.  Grammy nominated?  It doesn't seem to be an elitist thing anymore and that's a damn shame for those who are deserving.

2) Watching over us: Only the big man upstairs knows what he is up to when he decides to take the angels on earth.  My heart goes out to the Travolta Family for loosing their young son, to Eartha Kitt's Family for losing their loved one and a purrrfect icon, to Freddie Hubbard's family for loosing a loved one and an amazing jazz man and for Dr Dre's family turmoil regarding the results of their son's autopsy.  How much more can we emphasize the drastic repercussions of taking drugs?

3) INTERVENTION: I am sick and tired of hearing women degrade themselves with grand delusions of bullshitery.  Case in question - video ass/wannabe rapper Angel Lola Love and female rapper Jacki - O both put a price on their entrance and exit holes - to put it mildly.  I think telling the world that you would give sexual favors to receive material objects really says a lot about your character.  I sure hope you are not expected to be taken seriously when you are trying to break into a male dominated arena, that is lacking exceptional female talent right now.  How about actually portraying a female artist with some game and intelligence?  What a twist!!  Well paint me green and call me Kermit if that actually happened.  With women like them on the scene, the saying "Never judge a book by its cover" is hard to swallow.  No pun intended.  How convenient that this comes about now when Jacki - O's album is set to be released next month and Angel Lola Love is trying to become a female rapper?  I am spent.

4) Control your consumption people!: I will not say this again.  You drink and drive or drink too much, you deal with the consequences.  Looks good on you Charles Barkley.  Oh and you can forget about that "oral examination" you were late for as well.  Jackass.  Like we don't have our hands full already with Plaxico.  And of course, there had to be another one under the influence from the sports world to join Charles' illustrious club - Andre Rison was arrested for public disturbance as well.  Looks like there needs to be more than one intervention session planned.

5) So to continue with my Monday funny, here's a good Santa chuckle for you. I know it's over, but it is the last Christmas "anything" you will see from me...lol  This had me in stitches, just PRECIOUS!

Flashback of the day:  I feel like breakdancing and this soundtrack I have on vinyl.  I need to break out my Fila's and ting. :)

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur