Tag Archives: R&B

Naked By Aaron Beri Gives Listeners A Wave of New Age Mixed With Pop

23 May

Aaron Beri channels all that is sensual in his first single and accompanying music video for the track Naked. Produced by Audius Mtawarwira, Beri’s sound channels all the energy he is trying to convey in his song. The sound is stylistic and refined. This quality is the sign of when a successful collaboration between a producer and talent occurs. With the vocal runs varying in and out of certain areas of the song, its clear that he paints the picture with his voice and metaphors. In the music world, in this day and age in a consumption culture its rare to see musicians in their raw and unfiltered state before sometimes yielding to what popularity defines their musicianship. With lyrics such as “thinking about the way you move”, its clear that Aaron Beri sounds like Prince, Bruno Mars, and Jason Derulo just to name a few. Prior to exploring music, he modeled full time and was once going down on the path of law school. Upon finishing listening to his voice and what energy he’s putting out, Aaron Beri I’m glad those other aspirations did not work out, because the music world is waiting for you to explore to your heart’s content.

For more listening:

Life Could Be a Dream – One-Hit Wonders

5 Mar

The Chords

“Hey Nonny Ding-Dong Alang Alang Alang, Oh, Wo-Wo Bip, a Doh, a Bip, a Bip”

– Genius Gibberish by The Chords

It doesn’t take much to make teenage girls swoon, but “Sh-Boom” (or “Life Could Be a Dream”) by The Chords made everyone swoon when it was released by a sextet of youngsters in 1954. The Chords, though, would only have one hit – “Sh-Boom.” This doo-wop masterpiece represents one of the first one-hit wonders in modern rock n’ roll history, and, despite all of the wonderful one-hit wonders released since it graced the charts, “Sh-Boom” is still one of the best.

The Chords formed in Bronx, NY, and were signed in 1954 after they were heard performing in the Subway. The band brought “Sh-Boom” with them to Atlantic Records’ Cat Records label. Jerry Wexler, who coined the phrase rhythm & blues and would later become a major record producer, was in his second year as a partner with Atlantic Records and proceeded over the recordings. While Wexler initially had the band perform a cover of a Patti Page song, the Chords’ original was too intriguing to pass up (it was put on the B-Side of the incipient record).

Now, if you are thinking that you have never ever heard of this song, just take a listen.

You recognize it now, right? That is how ubiquitous the song is. Even almost 60 years after its release, the song is still noticeable. Why? It is so damn catchy. It is still used in media today. The song’s light-hearted, bubbly harmonies match the jocular lyric. It is warm-hearted song. The gibberish, like I said above, is genius. The song reached #2 on the Billboard R&B charts and #9 on the Pop charts.

“Sh-Boom,” inevitably, was covered for Mercury Records by a doo-wop group named The Crew Cuts who put a more traditional/organized spin on the song. The song reached #1 on the Billboard charts in for nine weeks during August and September 1954.

Kris Ife and the Quiet Five – A Little Morning Sun

14 Feb

The Quiet Five...uh...I mean Six

Let’s set the scene. Mid 1960s, London. When you think of music during that time, genres like Merseybeat, Pop/Rock, and Blue-Eyed soul all come to mind. We’re thinking The Beatles, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Freddie and the Dreamers, and The Hollies. Genres quietly fuse, and when Beat music slowly died out, it was replaced quickly with edgier R&B bands like the Animals. It was easy to get lost in this fog of famous musicians. Enter the Quiet Five.

The Quiet Five was not always the Quiet Five. They formed as the Vikings in the early 60s, a group of musicians from Paddington. The original line-up was Kris Ife – Rhythm Guitar, John Howell – Clavioline & Guitar, Ray Hailey – Drums, Roger Mckew – Lead Guitar and Len Hooker – Bass. Len Hooker left soon after the band’s founding and was replaced by  Phil Leavesley. The Vikings worked mainly as back-up musicians for various artists, even supporting the Beatles at Romford Odeon in 1963. In 1964, the Vikings were combined with a South London band called the Quiet Five, adopting their name in the process. Leavesley was replaced by Richard Barnes (bass guitar/vocals) and the band added saxophonist John “Satch” Goswell. This line-up of six individuals, despite their name, went on to record the band’s most known hit of their short career.

Ron Richards, the Hollies’ producer and the producer of “Love me Do”, heard Kris Ife’s composition, “When the Morning Sun Dries the Dew,” and thought he could turn it into a hit. The year was 1965, and the song did find its way into the top 50, one of two top 50 hits the band would have. It lacked staying power though and did not reach a larger audience. After a few failures and a record-label switch, the group ended its recording career.

It’s a shame that “When the Morning Sun Dries the Dew” has fallen into obscurity because the song is actually pretty good. It features an opening guitar riff, slow and intimate, almost like a slowed down Peter and Gordon riff (which you can say is a Lennon/McCartney riff). The song is different from a lot of the music being released in 1965. It’s sensitive melodies, airy acoustic riffs, sincere harmonies, and strung-out keys, make it sound a few years before its time. The song could have very well been released in 1968 and hit more popularity. The reason I say this is because it is certainly not R&B or Merseybeat – it simply lacks the speed of the time. It’s a wonderful piece and I hope that more people begin to recognize it as such.

I want to continue this exploration with the man in the photo above, Kris Ife. Ife, who wrote  “When the Morning Sun Dries the Dew,” went on to have solo career that included a recording of a cover of “Hush,” originally by by Joe South. “Hush,” of course, became a big hit for Deep Purple, but, apparently, Deep Purple was inspired to play the song after hearing Ife’s version.

And listen to that. While each preceding version is fast-paced and explosive, Ife adds harmony, which is one of the reasons why Deep Purple’s version is so great. The version is obviously not Hard Rock, but it definitely inspired Deep Purple’s heavy use of bass, tremendous soloing, and gritty performance.

Various members of the Quiet Five do still perform today. You can follow Kris Ife on his website and the band’s great tribute Facebook page

%d bloggers like this: