Black History

* Music



  Elke Moritz  
  Last updated:
  July 28, 1998  
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The Rating-system: My alltime favorites (on the "Music"-Mainpage) all got 10 points. 9.5 and 9 are also very very good CDs and highly recommended. My favorite CDs all get at least 8 points, and 7 points still mean that I wouldn't like to miss these CDs in my collections. Every CD that gets less than 7 points either didn't live up to the expectations, was too expensive and has only few strong songs. But all this is very subjective and only reflects my own taste and preferences.

July 1988

  • Najee - Plays Songs From The Key Of Life (EMI, 1995) USED
    "A Tribute To Stevie Wonder" This one was released before Blue Note started their cover-series. Najee covers all songs from Stevie's classic album. My favorites include "Village Ghetto Land", "Knocks Me Off My Feet", "Isn't she lovely" and "Love's In Need Of Love Today" (which was also covered by BlackStreet on their debut CD in 1994). (8.5 out of 10)
  • Mary J. Blige - What's The 411? Remix (MCA, 1993)
    I like remixes. And since most of the songs from Mary's debut album were released as singles, I had them all somewhere on tape or video. Some of the remixes are really nice, but Kid Capri's yelling is sometimes really annoying. Nearly as annoying as this MC on her new live CD (released in July 1998). If want to hear Mary live, check out "Uptown MTV Unplugged" where she performs three songs. (7.5 out of 10)
  • Jurassic 5 - LP (Rumble/Pan, 1998)
    Unfortunately, this "LP" is roughly 38 minutes long. And it only contains 4 additional track to the EP, of which only two are complete new songs: "Without A Doubt" and "Improvise". "Improvise" really got me. So much I had to get this CD. Jurassic 5 are definately the freshest band to come out during the last years. They strongly remind me of the Cold Crush Brothers on the Wild Style soundtrack, just that DJ Cut Chemists supplies really fresh beats for the nineties. (9.5 out of 10. It's just too short!)
  • Xzibit - At The Speed Of Life (Loud/RCA, 1996) USED
    Xzibit, member of the Alkaholik family, had a really big hit with "Paparazzi" over here in Europe. It started a real wave of Rap songs that used parts of classical arrangements. I prefer the songs that sound more like the Alkaholiks, like "Hit & Run Pt 2). And I'm eagerly awaiting his sophomore project which is supposed to drop in August '98. (8 out of 10)
  • OutKast - ATLiens (LaFace, 1996) USED
    OutKast's sophomore project really came very close to the quality of their debut album. I liked the concept and the sound of this whole album, and some songs are really great, although they don't quite reach the songs on their debut. (7.5 out of 10)
  • Goodie Mob - Still Standing (LaFace, 1998) USED
    Although everybody seemed to love this album, I still prefer their debut album. "They Don't Dance No Mo'" is great, but there weren't many other really outstanding tracks on this album for me. But props go out for using real instruments! The Enhanced CD stuff wasn't very useful though. (7 out of 10)
  • Show & AG - Goodfellas (ffrr, 1995) USED
    Includes two versions of "Next Level", "Time For" (produced by DJ Roc Raider of the X-Ecutioners/X-Men) and "Got The Flava" feat. Method Man amongst others. Nice beats and rhymes. I'm still waiting for their new album to drop. (7.5 out of 10)
  • Common - Can I Borrow A Dollar (Relativity, 1992) USED
    Common's (or Common Sense's) debut album. Nice. But he changed his style a lot to "I Used To Love H.E.R.". Here he tries to sound like other rappers popular around that time. From his second album on, he found his own style. His albums "Resurrection" and "One day it'll all make sense" are already classics. (7 out of 10)
  • Born Jamericans - Kids From Foreign (Delicious Vinyl, 1994) USED
    Their debut CD containing "Boom Shak-A-Tack" (Dance-Hall Remix). Not as good as "Yardcore", but quite original. (6.5 out of 10)
  • Born Jamericans - Yardcore (Delicious Vinyl, 1997) USED
    A nice blend of Rap and HipHop (called "RaggamuffinHipHop in the 80s), this is the Born Jamericans' sophomore effort. I really like the title track, but why did they have to cover "Venus" and "Back For Good"? (7.5 out of 10)
  • Gang Starr - Step In The Arena (Chrysalis, 1990) USED
    Contains some classics like "Who's gonna take the weight", "Love Sick", "Take A Rest" and "Just To Get A Rep". In general I prefer this one to Gang Starr's newest release, but my problem with all Gang Starr albums so far is that Guru's voice is a bit too monotonous for a whole album. (7.5 out of 10)
  • Babyface - The Day (Sony, 1996) USED
    Babyface's fourth solo album. Probably the most successfully of his albums commercially, but only few songs really grabbed me. "This is for the lover in you" is really nice (especially when Howard Hewitt kicks in), and I still listen to "Simple Days" regularly. (7 out of 10)
  • Babyface - Tender Lover (LaFace/CBS, 1989) USED
    I had this one on tape already, but over the years the tape has become so worn out (especially the b-side), that I got the CD. After all these years, I still love the b-side, including "Whip Appeal" and "Where Will You Go" and consider these some of the best songs Babyface has ever released on his solo-albums. (9 out of 10)
  • Sounds Of Blackness - Time For Healing (Perspective, 1997) USED
    Two major aspects of earlier Sounds or Blackness' albums are missing: Jam And Lewis. Their fourth album was mostly produced by Gary Hines and Billy Steele. Some songs feature guest rappers like Craig Mack and Salt'n'Pepa, but somehow, the freshness and originality of their earlier albums are missing. I was kind'a disappointed that they didn't stick to their concept and release another album following one of their shows ("The Evolution Of Gospel" (1st cd), "The Night Before Christmas" (2nd cd), "Africa To America: The Journey Of The Drum: (3rd cd), "Music for Martin", "Soul Of The 60s" and "A Woman Evolves"). (7 out of 10)
  • Next - Rated Next (Arista, 1997) USED
    Who hasn't heard "Too Close" yet? Nothing spectacular here. Considering the whole CD, I prefer Public Announcement's album to this one. This album was mostly produced by Kay Gee of Naughty by Nature. (7 out of 10)
  • Everette Harp - What's Going On (Blue Note, 1997) USED
    As part of the Blue Note cover series, Everette Harp tries himself on Marvin Gaye's greatest album. He gets lots of help from Doc Powell, George Duke, Najee, Yolanda Adams and Kirk Whalum, amongst others. My favorite tracks still are "Right On", "Wholy Holy" and "Inner City Blues". (9 out of 10)
  • Bobby Brown - Forever (MCA, 1997)
    Since it didn't grab me when I first listened to it, I only bought this CD recently when it was on sale and very cheap. I was really disappointed with this album, although now I like to listen to it as "background music". Not innovative, nothing new, nothing that caught my ears immediately. Except that Bobby chose to produce most of the songs himself, sometimes with his brother's and Jeff Redd's help (remember him?). A pity, since I really liked the Babyface and Teddy Riley tracks on his last albums. (7 out of 10)
  • Eagle-Eye Cherry - Desireless (Polydor, 1998)
    Dedicated to his father, the late Don Cherry. The first single, "Save tonight", is currently storming the charts here in Europe. Not real R&B or Funk, more like a crossover to Pop with lots of (accoustic) guitars used in the songs (even more than in Tony Rich's debut album). (7.5 out of 10)
  • Fred Wesley - Full Circle (NY Records, 1998)
    "From Be Bop To Hip Hop..."
    Recently "My name is Maceo", a documentary on Maceo Parker and containing live footage of concerts featuring Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley, aired on German TV. Fred's newest album features guest like Bobby Byrd, Bernie Worrell and Bootsy Collins. Really funky stuff, great trombone playing and lots of different styles including rap and some slow songs. (8 out of 10)
  • Maxwell - Embrya (Columbia, 1998)
    Very smooth and mellow and lots of long song-titles which I will never remember. Not as good as his debut. Contains a hidden track (number "0") which isn't very interesting, really. Nice soft music. (7 out of 10)
  • BeBe Winans (Atlantic, 1997)
    Although originally released in 1997, this CD reached German shops in the middle of 1998. This "new" issue contains 15 songs instead of 13 as listed at www.musicblvd.com. It does NOT contain "I wanna be the only one", Bebe's duet with Eternal. Nice music to listen to while I'm working since I really like Bebe's voice, but not very original. I still prefer Bebe & CeCe Winans' "Different Lifestyles" album. (7.5 out of 10)

June 1988

  • Public Announcement - All Work, No Play (A&M, 1998)
    One of the few really nicely produced R&B albums by male vocalists released in the last few months. Not very new or innovative but high quality, although it very often reminds me of R. Kelly (well, he released his first CD as "R. Kelly And The Public Announcement"). (8 out of 10)
  • Art Porter - For Art's Sake (PolyGram, 1998)
    Art Porter died on November 23, 1996 in a boat accident. This album, in memory of Art, includes previously unissued material, mostly live versions and remixes. Ten tracks in all, but including a few very long songs like "Lay your hands on me" (Live) with 23:37. My favorite at the moment is Art's interpretation of the "Christmas Song". (8.5 out of 10)
  • Brian McKnight - Anytime (5") (Motown, 1998)
    When Brian's album "Anytime" was first released in autumn 1997 by Mercury records, the new Cibola remix hadn't been released. This 5" contains four remixes, three "different" Cibola remixes and the "Suave House Remix feat. 8-Ball". Nice soundtrack while driving in your car on a hot summer day ;-) The rerelease of the album "Anytime" on Motown records includes the original Cibola remix, at least on the European album version. (8.5 out of 10)
  • Gang Starr - Moment Of Truth (Noo Tribe, 1998) USED
    Since everybody was talking about Gang Starr's newest release, I also gave it a try. I like the singles and especially "The Militia" (I already like Freddie Foxx on Naughty by Nature's second album), but I don't think it's their best album ever. (7 out of 10)
  • The Yellowjackets - Live Wires (GRP, 1992) USED
    This 10 track live album features Michael Franks on "The Dream" as well as Take 6 on "Revelation". One of my favorite Jazz CDs and one of my favorite Take 6 tracks as well ;-) (9 out of 10 because of Take 6)
  • Isaac Hayes - Branded (Virgin, 1995) USED
    I never felt any of Hayes' albums. But after being ill nearly all of May, I was in the mood for some jazzy and funky stuff. I like the overall mood of the album, although I could have done without another cover version of "Summer In The City". "Fragile" is still my favorite track. (7.5 out of 10)
  • Donny Hathaway - Everything Is Everything (Atco, 1970)
    I really really love Donny Hathaway's vocal style and his keyboard play. This CD contains "Voices Inside", "The Ghetto" and "To Be Young, Gifted And Black" (all studio versions). In addition to the nine original tracks, this reissue also includes "A Dream", a previously unissued bonus track. (8 out of 10)

May 1988

  • Harry Connick, Jr. - Star Turtle (Sony, 1996)
    I only like very few of Harry's songs, usually only those where he is accompanied by some brass. I bought the CD because of "Hear Me In The Harmony" and because some of the other tracks feature a full band. (7 out of 10)
  • OMPS - Devil In A Blue Dress (Columbia, 1995)
    Lots of old songs, mostly from the 1940s, on this one. Soundtrack to the movie starring Denzel Washington. (6 out of 10)

April 1998

  • The Meters - Good Old Funky Music (Rounder, 1990) USED
    My first Meters-cd. The only other Meters CD I ever saw in a record store here in Kaiserslautern, Germany, was the anthology (Do-CD), but someone else bought it before I could. "Good Old Funky Music" contains songs recorded between late 1968 and the mid 70's, some really funky stuff. I was astonished that I knew some of the songs ("Jambalaya" and "Voodoo") and really like this one. (8 out of 10, since it's less than 40 minutes long!)
  • Asante - Asante Mode (Columbia, 1995) USED
    A solid debut by this young RnB quartett. Lots of Foster/McElroy production, but the bandmembers also had some impact on the songs, and even wrote some themselves. No commercial success, though. But a nice CD to listen to while I'm working or learning for some exams. The song that forced me to buy this CD probably was their cover-version of the Impressions' "People Get Ready". (7.5 out of 10)
  • Artifacts - Between A Rock And A Hard Place (Big Beat, 1994) USED
    I had planned buying this CD for a long time, but it wasn't available in stores here and I didn't want to pay the full price. A really strong but much overlooked rap CD, produced by T-Ray, Redman, Buckwild and the Artifacts. My favorite track is still "C'mon Wit Da Git Down" but this will probably change after it got some heavier rotation...(8 out of 10)
  • Montell Jordan - More... (Def Jam/RAL, 1996) USED
    Montell's 2nd CD wasn't as well accepted by the public as his debut was. I always liked "What's On Tonight" very much, and this still is my favorite track on the album besides "Falling". But why did he have "I get lifted" twice on the album? It's one of my favorite samples (see also Keith Murray's "I get lifted"), but I would have liked a bit more diversity...(8 out of 10)
  • Kenny Lattimore - dto. (Columbia, 1996) USED
    Kenny got much props in rec.music.funky, and they were right. A tight RnB album. Much underrated and overlooked. Producers include Dave "Jam" Hall, Keith Crouch, Herb Middleton, Barry J. Eastmond, Oji Pierce, Kenny Lattimore and others. (7.5 out of 10)
  • Street Jams - Hip Hop From The Top, Part 1 (Rhino, 1992) USED
    A collection of classic breakdance tunes. Contains the long version of "Rapper's Delight", Kurtis Blow's "The Breaks" and Whodini's "Friends" (which Nas used for his song "If I Ruled The World"). "The Message" is also included, but I have this on several other CDs already. (7 out of 10)
  • Montell Jordan - Let's Ride (Def Jam/RAL, 1998)
    Since everybody was talking about Montell's brandnew CD, I decided to get it, although it didn't grep me like his first two releases did. "Let's Ride" is nice, but I don't like Master P very much. "Body Ah" quotes EWF's "Brazilian Rhyme", but Blackstreet and Take 6 also used this song back on their albums back in 1994. "I say yes" and "4 You" are really nice, but did you realize that a version of the "I say yes"-Interlude already appeared on Montell's last album? (7 out of 10, for the lack of originality)
  • Erikah Badu - Live (Universal, 1997) USED
    "Oh Tyrone!". I left out Miss Badu's debut album, since I still prefer male-vocalists (kinda obvious if you look on this list). But I also love live albums, and "Tyrone". What a great song! Of course the rest of the songs is also great and hits like "On and On" and "Appletree" are also included. (8 out of 10)
  • Hieroglyphics - 3rd Eye Vision (Hiero Imperium, 1998)
    I really loved Souls Of Mischief's "93 til infinity" back in 1993. Del also was quite successful (even here in Europe) at that time, but his voice didn't grep me. "3rd Eye Vision" is a Hiero family album. 22 tracks and many different rappers and styles make this the best rap-release in 1998! (8 out of 10)

March 1998

  • Fünf Sterne Deluxe - Sillium (Yo Mama, 1998)
    My first German Rap cd. And probably my first comedy cd, too. The first German Rap cd I really like (except for a few tracks and maybe the majority of the interludes). Has several strong tracks with phat and original rhymes and even features Biz Markie on one track (Biz tries to sing/rap in German on this one, although he probably doesn't understand a word German...). (7.5 out of 10)
  • Jr. Walker & The All Stars - The Ultimate Collection (Motown, 1997)
    "Shotgun" was released on the "Malcolm X" Soundtrack (Warner, 1992), and although I had heard the song, I had never paid more attention to Jr. Walker. Later I got a cheap "Best of"-pressing. "The Ultimate Collection" is digitally remastered and features 25 tracks (the original 45rpm versions). Yes, "I am a Road Runner" and I "Do the Boomerang"! What a great saxophone player! Jr. Walker died on November 23, 1995. (9 out of 10)
  • Aretha Franklin - A Rose Is Still A Rose (Arista, 1998)
    The first Aretha album in my collection. The stuff she released in the 80s and early 90s was nice but didn't grep me very much. Her older albums are very difficult to get here. Her new CD features 11 tracks which were produced by Lauryn Hill, Sean "Puffy" Combs, Jermaine Dupri, Daryl Simmons, Dallas Austin, Narada Michael Walden and Aretha herself. A very impressive list (probably aiming at a commercial success). The most outstanding aspect of this CD definately is Aretha's beautiful voice. After all this years, she still shines, especially on the second half of the album. (8 out of 10)
  • Maxwell - MTV Unplugged (Sony, 1997)
    Like with Erikah Badu, I didn't get Maxwell's debut album but went for the live-CD. It's very short though (less than 40 minutes) and only features 8 songs. "Whenever Whatever Whereever" is my favorite song, but "Ascensions", "Gotta Get: Closer" and "...Til The Cops Come Knockin'" also shine. (8 out of 10)
  • Average White Band - The Best Of (Delta, 1997)
    Since "Pick Up The Pieces" and "School Boy Crush" (and many other songs) have been heavily sampled in HipHop songs, I picked this album up. It's a cheap "Laserlight" compilation which features 16 tracks (1974-1980). (7 out of 10)
  • The Commodores - The Best Of (Motown, 1995; Anthology Series)
    "United"(1986) was the first Commodores album I bought, after that I bought "Nightshift"(1985) and "Rock Solid"(1988), the 70s stuff was impossible to get. This Do-CD features 39 songs from all the Commodores albums from 1974 to 1986, including one previously unreleased song. A great collection (with nice liner notes) that gives a nice overview of the Commodores hits. (8.5 of 10)
  • The Temptations - The Best Of (Motown, 1995; Anthology Series)
    This Do-CD features 48 songs by the Temptations and a beautiful small booklet and liner notes which mention the lead-singers of each song. All the great hits, funky stuff as well as slow jams. My alltime favorite: "Get Ready"(1966) (8.5 out of 10)
  • Michael Jackson - The Best Of (Motown, 1995; Anthology Series)
    Contains 39 songs, which were released on Michael's solo albums on Motown, and also five songs with the Jackson Five, including "Dancing Machine" and "I'll Be There". Although I really like some of the songs on this double-cd, the collection won't get too much rotation at my home, since I prefer more "mature" vocalists...(7 out of 10)
  • De La Soul - Stakes Is High (Tommy Boy, 1996)
    My favorite De La Soul release after "3 Feet High And Rising". Features Common Sense on "The Bizness" and Mos Def on "Big Brother Beat" and many other strong songs like "Stakes Is High". Great album. Why did I miss this back in 1996? (7.5 out of 10)
  • Das EFX - Hold It Down (East West, 1995)
    Their debut is a classic. "Hold It Down" is still quite strong, and features several energy loaden songs. "No Diggedy", "Real Hip-Hop" and "Microphone Master" are probably the strongest tracks on this CD. (7 out of 10)
  • Maze feat. Frankie Beverly - Live In New Orleans (Capitol, 1981)
    My first Maze album. Features six live tracks and four studio recordings. Includes "Joy and Pain" (Live). Solid. (7.5 out of 10)