Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘jazz’ Category

PhyllisHyman02

Phyllis Hyman (1949-1995) was an American R&B and jazz singer. Nancy Wilson says she is one of the two best singers she has ever known, the other being Sarah Vaughan. Phyllis Hyman had a very unhappy love life and sang about it honestly. She never had a gold record, yet she had a strong following among her fans.

These songs made it into the top 20 on the American R&B charts:

  • 1978: Somewhere in My Lifetime (#12)
  • 1979: You Know How to Love Me (#12)
  • 1981: Can’t We Fall in Love Again (#9)
  • 1986: Old Friend (#14)
  • 1986: Living All Alone (#12)
  • 1991: Don’t Wanna Change the World (#1)
  • 1991: Living in Confusion (#9)
  • 1992: When You Get Right Down to It (#10)

These are the songs she liked best:

  • Be Careful (How You Treat My Love)
  • Somewhere in My Lifetime
  • Meet Me on the Moon
  • When I Give My Love (This Time)

They made her think about the past and the future, about love and pain and happiness.

She was born in Philadelphia but grew up poor in the housing projects of  Pittsburgh, in St Clair Village. Even as a girl her singing talent and stage presence were apparent. She said it was a gift from God: she did not grow up singing in church, she did not even have a record player to listen to music on. She stood 6 foot 1 (1.85 m).

The three singers who had the biggest effect on her:

  • Nancy Wilson, who she modelled herself after and who later helped her;
  • James Brown, whose business sense she liked; and
  • Minnie Riperton, whose way of putting her feelings into her singing she copied.

After performing with some bands in the early 1970s, she came to New York in 1975 to sing in the jazz clubs there. She soon came to the attention of producer Norman Connors. She recorded a cover of the Stylistics song, “Betcha By Golly Wow”. It got to #29 on the R&B charts.

In time she found herself at Arista working with Clive Davis. He favoured Angela Bofill over her and then along came a new girl named Whitney Houston. Arista told her it was over.

She went to sing on Broadway in the Duke Ellington tribute, “Sophisticated Ladies” for a few years and sang on other people’s songs. She even sang on television ads: “Aren’t you hungry for Burger King now?”

In 1985 she joined Gamble & Huff at Philadelphia International Records. They gave her complete freedom to sing the songs she wanted in the way she wanted.

Even though she was loved by a million people and was at the height of her talent, she was sad and alone. She had no man to love her. She also feared losing her beauty as she gained weight. She drank too much and missed concert dates. In 1993 her mother, grandmother and a close friend all died in the same month.

Then on a Friday afternoon, June 30th 1995, she took her life in an apartment in New York just hours before she was to appear at the Apollo Theatre. Her funeral was held on her 46th birthday.

See also:

Read Full Post »

It cost me a lot
But there’s one thing
that I’ve got
It’s my man
It’s my man

Cold or wet
Tired, you bet
All of this I’ll soon forget
With my man

He’s not much on looks
He’s no hero out of books
But I love him
Yes, I love him

Two or three girls
Has he
That he likes as well as me
But I love him

I don’t know why I should
He isn’t true
He beats me, too
What can I do?

Oh, my man, I love him so
He’ll never know
All my life is just despair
But I don’t care
When he takes me in his arms
The world is bright
All right

What’s the
difference if I
say
I’ll go away
When I know I’ll come back
On my knees someday

For whatever my man is
I’m his forevermore

Read Full Post »

You can never tell what’s in a man’s mind
And if he’s from Harlem, there’s no use of even tryin’
Just like the tide, his mind comes and goes
Like March weather, when he’ll change
Nobody knows, nobody knows

The man I love, well, he just turned me down, he’s a Harlem brown
Oftimes I wish that I were in this ground, six feet underground
He idolized me, as no other could, no, no
Then he surprised me, leavin’ me a note sayin’ he’s gone for good
Gone for good…

And since my sweetie left me,
Harlem, well, it ain’t the same old place
Though a thousand dandies smile right in my face
I think I’ll mooch some homemade hooch and go out for a lark
Just to drive off these mean ole Harlem Blues

You can have your Broadway, give me Lenox Avenue
Angels from the skies stroll 7th and for that thanks are due
From Madam Walker’s beauty shops to the Pro-Ro System 2
That made those girls angels without any doubt

There are some spots up in Harlem where I’m told it’s sudden death
To let somebody see you even stop to catch your breath
If you’ve never been to Harlem, then I guess you’ll never know
The power of these mean ole Harlem blues

Ah, there’s one sweet spot in Harlem known as Striver’s Row
‘Ditty folks come call them, one thing you should know
Is that I have a friend who lives there I know he won’t refuse
To put some music to my troubles and call ’em Harlem blues

And since my sweetie left me, Harlem, well, it ain’t the same old place
Though a thousand dandies smile right in my face
I think I’ll mooch some homemade hooch and go out for a lark
Just to drive off these mean ole Harlem Blues

Ah, there’s one sweet spot in Harlem known as Striver’s Row
‘Ditty folks come call them, one thing you should know
Is that I have a friend who lives there I know he won’t refuse
To put some music to my troubles and call ’em Harlem blues
To put some music to my troubles and call them the Harlem blues

Harlem, the Harlem blues, Harlem, the Harlem blues.

See also:

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: