Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “Bobby Womack”)

Great soul singers are a rare breed these days, and that list just got “even more” rare. Legendary singer Bobby Womack passed away this weekend at the age of 70. Because of the category that he was placed in, his music was not played on all stations, but mostly the Black ones. That was because his  music, his style and his voice were purely “soul” in nature. He sang with feeling and he would take a melodic  line and just “play” with it. He didn’t  have a lot of finesse to his voice. In fact, he often sounded rough when  singing, but the way he made his votes reverberate through the air impressed just about all who came to his  shows. I saw him in concert years ago, and it takes a lot to impress me when performing onstage. Well, his show was nothing less than awesome. The only thing was that he decided to “take his shirt off” in the middle of his performance and once he did all the women in my section started yelling out “Please put it back on.” If you have never heard of this man’s material, I invite  you to check out some favorites of mine. “Across 110th street, Daylight, I can Understand it, Woman’s gotta have it, That’s the way I feel about ya, If You think You’re lonely Now, I’m looking for a love,” and my all time favorite, “Harry Hippie.” A lot of old time soul singers rarely got “cross over” attention, because they sounded “way too Black” to be featured on Pop stations. Bobby was one of those. You could tell by listening to the sound of his voice that he was “clearly” R&B. However, if you like “music that you can feel” then I invite you to check out the full  music story of Bobby Womack. He may be gone, but his  music should never be forgotten. Thank you and have a great day.

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “Blind reflections”)

This might  not sound like such an intelligent question, but when you look in the mirror, what do you actually see? Do you just see how you look or can you possibly see your faults as well? Can you see what “others” see in “you?” A mirror is supposed to be a reflection of you, but can it reflect what’s on your mind or in your heart? Does it reflect your inner demons or multiple personalities? We all need to know just “who and what” we are, but can the answers to these questions be found in our own reflections? Sometimes other people perceive us in a different way whenever they look at us. They often “fail” to see the good within you, maybe because your “outer surface” appears “threatening or intimidating” to them. They may fail to see that on the “inside” there is someone else who might just be reaching out for help. When you look in the mirror, do you see that person that you “want or expect” to be? We can  look at a criminal “on the surface” and  say to ourselves that he or she will “never amount to being anything good. Can we look at that same criminal and see the “abuse, deprivation and neglect” that he or she may have suffered as a child? Our eyes are valuable to us, but can our eyes alone help us to see everything we need to see? If you see and make fun of someone of a different culture and race does that mean that your eyesight is great but your “MIND is actually blind?” When you ignore someone in need of help then could it be the same as denying your own reflection (because that person who needs help could actually  just be you under a “different” set of circumstances)? When we look at someone we may not know what it is that makes him or her moody, angry, jealous or arrogant. Would it help you relate to them better if you could actually “see” the factors that “made” them that way? If you have “great vision” then you are truly blessed. However, if you only use your “eyes” to see then you might be more blind than a bat. I am saying this today because you might encounter someone that “on the surface” may appear “different” to you. You may not understand why  he or she is  frowning so hard, or why this person is dressing up like a nerd. If you judge a person “based on eyesight alone” then you may have judged him or her “unfairly.” Would you want someone to do that do you? Please think about that for a second. If you can look at your own reflection and see things “within you” then maybe you can do the same when viewing others. “Life is more than just a screen.” I hope you take this weekend and find the time to “understand someone.” Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and I hope you have a tremendous weekend.

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Stevie Wonder and Brett Jolly

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “Michael Jackson’s best vocal performances were NOT as an adult”)

June 25 was the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death. I have been hearing a lot of stories about how Michael made so much money and yet died pretty close to bankruptcy (and then his estate made over 600 million since his death). People had a lot to say about him (even though not all of it was good). I have even heard some people say that he was  “not” that great a singer. Well, I am going to have to disagree wholeheartedly on this one. Michael was an incredulous singer, but I think most of his critics focused on how he was “after” he grew up. He could still sing great then, but if you really want to hear Michael at his best, then you need to listen to his recordings as a younger child. For the record, his greatest selling album was “Thriller,” which he did as an adult, but even though that was his best seller, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was his best “performance.” So what else could he have done that could possibly have been  better than that? I will gladly tell you. If you ever get the opportunity, take a listen to his “Got to be There” album. The music on this is nothing short of “incredible” and Michael’s singing was “amazing.” The title track “Got to be there” was a big hit for Michael, and even though his vocals were doubled on certain parts of the track, he still hit notes that would be tough for anyone to match.  Also, the song “I wanna be where you are” was “artfully done.” The guys who wrote this song were “extremely gifted” and Michael’s range of notes help to make  it even more fascinating. “Rockin’ Robin” was an old classic that was redone, but Michael sang the “fool” out of it and performed it “way better” than the original. However, if you really want to hear just how incredible his singing was, I invite you to listen to a “B side” track on this album entitled “Maria.” He sang the song with “incredible soul” just like a grownup would do, but with a kid’s voice. I think this song might have featured his “best” vocal performance. If this album doesn’t convince you, then check out his other recordings as a child as well. “Who’s loving you, I want you back, and ABC” were sung “masterfully” by him. “I’ll be there” features his brothers “actually singing background” (On most recordings, only Michael, Jermaine or occasionally Jackie would be the ones allowed to sing background).  One of the “I’ll be there” singing background parts is “horrendously off key and off pitch, but Michael’s performance in this song was “exemplary.” One of my biggest regrets is that I never got the chance to work with him. My brother Bill met up with him a long time ago over a song that his father Joe wanted Michael to perform. My good friend Clifton Davis wrote Michael’s song “Never Can Say Goodbye” and after Michael died I asked him how his money was going (because during that time the radio stations  were playing all of his hit songs). Clifton said that due to Michael’s death the “checks were coming in.” People can say whatever they like about his personal life. However, what he did as an adult has nothing to do with the magic he performed as a younger child. Michael deserves to be listed as one of the greatest singers in history, and I challenge anyone to dispute that. With each anniversary of his death I only hope that more of his positives can be showcased, because all that other stuff only detracts from his  greatness. If you get the chance, please take a listen to his material from his younger days. If you are not impressed with what he did, then that makes “one” of us. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and have a great day.

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Clifton Davis and Brett Jolly performing “Never can Say Goodbye”

Clifton Davis

 

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “Just how important is it to be a good singer in today’s industry?”)

I was asked an interesting question, and that question was, “Just how important is it to be a great singer in today’s music industry?” Well, contrary to what some people believe, it is “not very important AT ALL.” Oh, way back in the day it was, but now it is no longer about who can sing, but rather “who is marketable?” You see, there are “many” talented singers in this world that no one has heard of. However, if  they cannot sell CD’s or music downloads then none of that matters. So you ask, “How does one become marketable?” Well, it depends on your looks, moves, stage presence, your “controversy” and “other” factors that a lot of people don’t realize. Do you remember the old days when  a singer would cancel a show because he or she became horse or had laryngitis? With most of “today’s artists, that is no longer an issue, because many of them are singing along to a voice sample anyway. A voice sample is equivalent to a “tape recording” of the artist’s voice that will play along with the vocalist while he or she sings. This way the artist “really does sing live” at the concert. The only question is whether or not you are hearing the actual artist or the sample. While there are some new generation artists who really “can” sing, in order to “relieve their vocals” it is imperative to make sure that they don’t “throw their voices out” when performing. Also, most new artist shows feature a lot of “dancing.” Trying to dance while singing can cause you to lose your breath onstage, which could often have you gasping in the microphone for air. I recently watched an old video of Michael Jackson doing a “great” song entitled “Jam.” In this video he was “killing it” on the surface. The crowd was going crazy as  he was dancing up a storm while singing this tune. Then I paid particular attention (as I am known to do at times) and found out that halfway through the song he should have passed out from all he was doing onstage. The reason he didn’t pass out was because he was lip syncing the song. It was his voice, but it just wasn’t  his voice “live.” Now “many” of today’s artists are following suit. Chris Brown actually “can” sing, but on one of those award shows he was doing gymnastics while performing his tune. Athletically, it was “impressive.” Vocally, it was “impossible.” Pink was on another award show, and she started off high up in the air “swinging and singing” from a trapeze. While hanging upside down and twirling around she hit her notes “flawlessly.” The only problem is that with anyone singing upside and trying to hit a vocal note, the blood rushing to the head would have made that virtually “impossible” to do. When you add to this the fact that there was “no microphone” interference nor feedback from the “wind” associated with such a task then it makes you wonder just “how” it was done. In this industry, “money” is the only thing that matters, and while you might be an “awesome” singer, that is “no” guarantee that you will be considered “marketable.” The “new era of live performances” is upon us, and the newer generation is only doing what they are being “told” to do. For all “aspiring” singers out there, I would advise you to work on your show, your theatrics, your look and just about everything else if you want to make a professional career singing (this does not include certain genres like gospel, country, etc. With these genres good live singing is still popular… for “now”). This might not be what you want to hear, but this is most certainly what you need to “know.” Good luck to you and I wish you the very best.

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Janet Jackson and Brett Jolly

Brett&Janet