Day 73: Happy Belated Birthday Millie Jackson

Image courtesy of the Millie Jackson’s Weird Wreckuds site

Soul sensation Millie Jackson recently celebrated her 68thbirthday on July 15th.  Over the last 12 years, she’s become one of my favorite singers.  I knew about Millie Jackson at an early age.  I remember a lot of female rappers (and singers) who’d always given Jackson credit for changing the game musically and showing that women could be talented, intelligent, and sexually liberated.  When looking through people’s record collections as a child, I also remember that they’d keep their Millie Jackson records towards the back of their record collection.  I always wondered why.  After hearing an interview she did with NPR in 2006, while I was away at college, I began to understand.  The interview led to me rediscovering her music.  I fell in love with her soulful delivery, the production of her music, and the down-to-earth, brash, realness of her lyrics.  I said, “Hmph, I now know why she created such a firestorm and why some may have been a little uncomfortable with the subject matter of her music.”   

For those that couldn’t get into Jackson’s music or were too prudish to get down, I thought it was their loss.  There was no one in the industry at that time that talked about love, relationships, sexuality, and everyday real shit like Millie Jackson.  That immediately set her apart from her peers.  With just a few listens of her music, it’s also easy to see why she’s also referred to as the Queen of Hip-Hop.   

With albums like It Hurts So Good, Caught Up, Still Caught Up, Feelin’ Bitchy, Get It Out’cha System, and Live & Uncensored, she showcased her effortless storytelling ability and passionate vocal delivery.  If you listen to her interpretive skills on songs like “If You’re Not Back In Love By Monday,” “If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want To Be Right),” and “Letter Full Of Tears,” you can’t help but to say she’s easily one the greatest soul singers ever.  The song that turned me out was her remake of Latimore’s “All The Way Lover.”  If you want to hear a song she flipped on its ear and made it all her own, “All The Way Lover” is the song.  It’s a 10-plus minute gem of Millie Jackson sangin’ her face off and telling-it-like-it-is. 

No one, past or present, can bring the soul and the realness like Millie Jackson.  In terms of style, persona, and presentation, Jackson is a true original.  She’s a spirited, no holds barred, charismatic performer who’s inspired generations of artists.  She doesn’t always get the credit she’s due, but that doesn’t stop Jackson from doing what she does best.  Fortunately, Millie Jackson was recently featured in a commendable episode of TVOne’s “Unsung” series.  Go check it out.  I highly recommend it. 

Millie Jackson, thank you for your many contributions.  Hope you had a beautiful birthday!

Day 69: Angela Bofill

 Image courtesy of the Smooth Jazz New York site.

Supreme.  Heavenly.  Soulful.  Passionate.  Angelic.  Gifted.  Beautiful.  Those are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think of Angela Bofill.  An extremely talented singer, songwriter, and musician, Bofill was one of the best vocalists to enter the music scene in the late 1970s.  Combining Latin rhythms with Jazz, R&B/Soul, Dance, and Pop, she created a hypnotic sound and style that set her apart from her peers and has rarely, if ever, been rivaled.  

From her first release Angie (1978) to her most recent release, Live From Manila(2006), it’s evident that Bofill gives her all with each and every performance.  Though technically gifted vocally, Bofill’s emotion always rings true, especially on poignant, heartfelt ballads like “I Try,” “I’m On Your Side,” “Gotta Make It Up To You,” “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter,” “Tonight I Give In,” “Time To Say Goodbye” and “Still In Love” (which was beautifully remade by Vanessa Williams on her 1991 album The Comfort Zone).   Like any versatile performer, Bofill can get down with the best on percussion driven, mid- and up-tempo grooves like “Too Tough,” “Something About You,” “Angel Of The Night,” “Love You Too Much,” and “Is This A Dream.”

Bofill has faced some challenges in recent years, suffering two massive strokes in 2006 and 2007—which left her unable to speak, sing, or walk—and fighting depression.  After years of speech and physical therapy, Bofill is speaking, walking, and playing music again.  In 2010, Bofill began telling the story of her life and career with The Angela Bofill Experience.  This critically acclaimed tour has featured vocalists Maysa, Phil Perry, Melba Moore, Jeanie Tracy, Grammy winning flautist Dave Valentin, and Bofill’s original band.  It’s provided an excellent way for Angela Bofill to reconnect with her fans (and make new ones). 

One thing Bofill hasn’t done publicly yet is sing.  But we hope and pray that as her health continues to improve that we will be blessed to hear that beautiful voice again.  But if not, we are quite happy with the catalog of music she’s recorded.  Given the circumstances, Bofill has remained steadfast, faithful, and strong.  She’s a fighter.  And a legend.  

Bofill was recently featured in season 6 of TVOne’s “Unsung” series.  

Day 58: In Remembrance – MJJ (Repost)

The King!


You were truly gifted.
An inspiration to many.
You were the greatest entertainer in the world.
Touched so many of us with your heart, soul, and spirit.

There will never be another like you.
So we are grateful that God kept you here as long as he did.
We are sad that you had to go so young.
But it was time.
You were called.
And now peace is finally yours.

You will truly be missed.
Your music and legacy will continue to inspire, uplift, and shape us all.
You will never die.
You will always live on.
We will always love you, Michael Joseph Jackson!!!

~ BuddahDesmond

Day 16: Round Midnight: A Tribute to Great-Grandpa

On the afternoon of March 14th, my great-grandfather died.  He was 95 years old.  He’d been sick for the last several months.  He was semi-comatose during the last several weeks of his life.  But up until that time – he was still hanging, still going strong.  He lived a long happy life.  Not many people live that long.  And it’s truly a remarkable thing.  He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather.  He was a supporter, inspiration, mentor, and role model.  He was a military veteran who took pride in serving his country and worked in the federal government for 33 years.  He was also a self-taught jazz musician who didn’t read music.  He had several instrumental and vocal bands that toured the East coast.  Music was his passion.  Though he didn’t get to completely follow his passion due to his love and commitment to his family, his passion for music and his talent never ceased.  He is one of the reasons why my love for music (jazz in particular) and singing is so strong.  He gave me a deeper appreciation for jazz and musicianship.  So this one’s for Jazzman Gus, one of many names he was affectionately called.  Here’s a classic jazz tune, “Round Midnight” written by the phenomenal pianist/composer Thelonious Monk and performed by Sassy/The Divine One, Sarah Vaughan.