Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Room 222

Today, the Soul Closet brings back a forgotten hit show of the 1970s: "Room 222." Set in Walt Whitman High School, the program largely centered on an American History class taught by the idealistic Pete Dixon, played by the supercool Lloyd Haynes. Denise Nicholas--looking mighty good, too--was guidance counselor (and love interest for Brother Dixon) Liz McIntyre.

"Room 222" premiered in September, 1969 and ran until January 1974. Here's a network promo of the show:

The 30 min "dramedy" was popular during its day, but dropped from sight after brief syndication runs in the 1970s. One of its co-stars, Karen Valentine, became a 1970s icon as cute student teacher Alice Johnson. But despite his good looks and charisma, fame eluded Haynes, the show's lead actor. After a few forgettable movies, Haynes did turn up as a judge on four episodes of the TV show "Dynasty" in 1981, according to IMDB, followed by a two-year run on the soap "General Hospital."

Haynes died of cancer in 1986. He was 52.

"Room 222" is on DVD, at least. Its first season was released in March. Here's an episode from a later season, featuring actor Bruno Kirby about two years before he would play young Clemenza in "Godfather II." And even here, he's trying to get his hustle on.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cancer. With Soul

Cool ad

My kids laugh when I tell them smoking was glamorous and sophisticated when I was a kid in the 1970s. In movies, the line "May I offer you a light?" often led to romance--not a trip to a lung specialist. Being able to look cool holding a cigarette was a good thing. And stores stocked candy cigarettes for the young set.(I preferred Pall Malls.)

We close the week with an ode cancer stick advertising--with a little Soul. Here is a set of circa 1970 cigarette ads from Ebony Magazine.

Why does the woman have a black eye? The Tareyton cigarettes' ad campaign/tagline was "I would rather fight than switch" brands. Lung disease and a black eye. Nice. Dig the commercial.
An Ad that Would Not Fly Today

Black folks and menthol cigarettes. I bet this is how it started.
Adventures in Ethnic Advertising

This Winston ad makes fun of its own then-successful, but ungrammatical slogan, "Winston Tastes Good Like a Cigarette Should." The brother in the last quote balloon breaks it all down.
Honesty in Advertising

Oh come now. This ain't even subliminal.
And speaking of Pall Mall cigarettes. My father and all his friends pronounced it "Pell Mell" rather than the way it looks: "Paul Maul". All these years I thought they were wrong. Turns out they weren't.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Welcome to Club Soul Closet...

No video..we're gonna spin some wax today showcasing some early hip-hop/freestyle/dance/electro. If I don't, who will? Contemporary music stations play the Top 40 only; classic/oldies stations play the same [melonfarming] songs in 2009 that they played in 1979. If I hear "Heard it Through the Grapevine" or "Baby Love" one more time, I'm kicking the speaker in, whether the radio belongs to me or not...

Where was I? Oh. Some of these old jams still sound good, like C-Bank's "One More Shot" (click link above), replete with breaking-glass sound effects, tight production by synth wiz John Robie and melancholy vocals by lead singer Jenny Burton.

Hit the link below and check out C-Bank's "Get Wet"--dig the lyric "Get wet, or, my darling, I will do it myself." Well.

The late Sharon Redd, with "Beat the Street."

Here's Lime's "Babe, We're Gonna Love Tonight."

Remember this? "Must Be the Music," by Secret Weapon?

The NYC Peech Boyz' "Don't Make Me Wait."

The Peech Boyz again: "Life is Something Special" with the formidable Bernard Fowler--who is still in the game--handling vocals.

Blame me if you don't get any work done today. It's okay.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"What is Hip?"

Just to the right, there is a link to soul singer Lenny Williams' site. This song--"What is Hip?" from his years as lead singer of the formidable R&B/funk group Tower of Power--is just one of the reasons why.

Git down, y'all.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Who Do You Love?

Bernard Wright and his 1985 hit "Who Do You Love?"
(Well...I love the girl in the video. She need to hit a brother up.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Randy Crawford &The Crusaders

The incredible Randy Crawford, backed by the Crusaders, in that 1979 jam "Street Life." Written by Crusader's pianist Joe Sample and Will Jennings, "Street Life" spent 20 weeks atop the jazz charts and, in its full version, is more than 11 minutes long.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Soul Closet's Bureau of Missing Persons.

Al B. Sure was in Chicago a few days ago, which reminded me: Whatever happened to his virtual twin, 1990's R&B singer Christopher Williams?

And while I'm at it, can we put out an APB on Williams' contemporary Keith Washington?

Report all leads to the Soul Closet's Bureau of Missing Persons.