Happy Day! The third episode of the award-winning (not really) Jheri Curl Chronicles is live for your listening pleasure! If you haven’t yet, make sure you check out episodes 1 and 2.
For those unaware, the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast features me and Thomas Inskeep talking about every song to hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Soul Singles chart during the 1980s.
In this installment, we leave 1980 and jump into 1981 with these five tracks.
“Give Me The Night” by George Benson
“Funkin’ For Jamaica (N.Y.)” by Tom Browne
“Master Blaster (Jammin)” by Stevie Wonder
“Celebration” by Kool & The Gang
“Fantastic Voyage” by Lakeside
And here are some show notes/secondary topics brought up as these songs are discussed.
-The brilliance of Quincy Jones as a producer. Along with his right-hand man, songwriter Rod Temperton, Q owned the early ’80s and we make the case for him as the greatest producer of all time.
-Patti Austin’s sumptuous background vocals on “Give Me The Night”, her surprising lack of a #1 R&B single, and the glory that is her 1981 jam “Do You Love Me”.
-The mixture of jazz and R&B that gave way to the smooth jazz movement of the late ’80s and early ’90s, and the stellar list of players that appeared on “Funkin’ For Jamaica”.
-Tom Browne’s bass-playing cohort Bernard Wright, who made at least one unassailable ’80s jam.
-Why Hotter Than July might be the most underrated of Stevie Wonder’s albums.
-The Kool & The Gang conundrum: were they better as a funk band or a pop band?
-Kool & Co.’s divorce-themed epic “Jones vs. Jones”.
-We shout out radio legend Sean Ross as well as reissue giants BBR (which stands for Big Break Records–we misidentified it on the show), who have kept many of the titles we discuss on this podcast in print (further shouts out to Funkytown Grooves and Legacy Recordings).
-What the hell was in the water in Ohio? The unassuming midwestern state is responsible for Lakeside, but also The Ohio Players (natch), Slave, Zapp, and a plethora of influential funk bands.
-Yes, Lakeside-we’re holding you responsible for Coolio’s career.
Have a listen in the player below. You can also stream the podcast on Liberated Syndication, directly download the podcast to your computer, or subscribe to us on iTunes. (note: the shows generally take a day or so to feed to iTunes.)
Oh, also we should give props to our intro and outro songs for this episode: Change’s “Searching” and The Jacksons’ “Heartbreak Hotel”, two classics from 1980/81 that didn’t make it to the top of the charts, but are always at the top of our hearts.