For those of you who are “young enough to remember,” Johnnie Taylor was an R&B singer who had a lot of great tunes. Some of his classics include “It’s cheaper to keep her, Who’s making love to your old lady,” and his biggest hit “Disco Lady.” Unfortunately, Johnnie left us years ago, but I wanted to share with you a small experience we had with him. Years ago I was in Houston, Texas performing with Jean Carne. We were performing when we noticed a familiar face in the crowd. It was “Johnnie Taylor,” and it was such a great surprise to see him. Jean knew that I had perfect pitch, so she asked me what key “Who’s making love to your old lady” was in. I told her that it was the key of “F” and then she asked if we could play it. I told the rest of the band the key and we went into it immediately while Jean introduced Johnnie. Johnnie came up to the front to actually sing it with us. The problem was that Johnnie was in his later years at the time, and a LOT of artists will “lower the keys” during the “twilight” of their careers. Johnnie sang a little bit and then asked us to lower the key to “E.” For someone with perfect pitch like me, lowering the key is “not that simple.” My mind was used to the “key of the actual recording,” so to play it in another key “on the spot” was definitely a challenge. Plus I had never played the song before ever. We managed to do it and for a minute we all were having a great time. However, there was a bridge to the song (and I had not thought about it beforehand). It was the part where Johnnie sings “I know there are some women guilty of this too. I’m not trying to run your life so it’s only up to you.” When we got to that part my brain froze and the rest of the band looked to me to tell them what the notes were. Well, at that point Johnnie stopped singing, thanked everyone and went back to his seat. I felt bad that we jacked the song up but at least we got the opportunity to perform “half a song” with Johnnie. I still cherished that moment, and while Johnnie is no longer among the land of the living it was still a great memory for me to play for him. I just wanted to share my experience with you today. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Singer Regina Belle and Brett Jolly onstage