Monday, January 28, 2008

Playlist: Jams from my high school days

Aw heck... I’m caught up in a nostalgia loop, and it’s pulling me backward in time. I am compelled to dust off some old 78s, hand-crank the Victrola, and spin some tunes from 1978 and ’79... my high school days in P.G. County, Maryland. To stream this music on my Vox blog, click the song titles below.

1. “Funk ’n’ Roll” – Quazar

George Clinton’s P-Funk empire was in full flower. Even breakaway band members were getting major-label deals. Such as Jerome Brailey and Glen Goins, who formed Quazar.

This was Quazar’s only hit. By the time it was released, Goins had died of cancer... a loss still felt by hardcore funkateers.

2. “Hot Number” – Foxy

The hot, Florida-flavored Latin disco of Foxy was all over the radio my senior year. (R&B and pop.)

I interviewed group leader Ish Ledesma in the late 1980s for a newspaper piece titled “Disco Didn’t Suck.” ;^D

3. “Riding High” – Faze-O

This track has been sampled by hip-hoppers; you can tell why. There’s just something gangsterish about it.

4. “Smile” – The Emotions

Feel-good music from producer Maurice White. Tight musicianship from Earth, Wind & Fire. “Genetic harmonies” from Wanda, Sheila and Jeanette. Hell of a combination.

5. “Ready or Not” – Herbie Hancock

In the late ’70s, everybody was trying to sound like the Funk Mob, including established cats like George Duke, Ray Parker, Jr. and Herbie Hancock. This one still cranks.


Cal said...


I'm curious. What high school did you go to? I have a sister who graduated in '79, so I'm familiar with a lot of this stuff as a pre-teen.

Are you going to talk about OK-100, KYS, and the Moon Man also?...LOL

Heck, maybe you know the answer to this. There was a song, it was all instrumental, that KYS played all the time (seemingly)? I'm guessing it was late '78 into early '79. I don't remember the name, nor have I ever heard it anywhere else that I lived in the country since. I know that is a small nugget to go on, but does that ring a bell on any songs to you?

Undercover Black Man said...

Hey Cal. I graduated from DuVal in '79.

I just name-checked Donnie Simpson the other day... I think in a comment on somebody else's blog. But I definitely had my ear on OK-100 and WHUR. But didn't pay much mind to Moonman Willie Bacote.

As for your mystery song... wow, that is a small nugget to go on. Was it P-Funk-sounding? A Ray Parker tune maybe?

Cal said...

No, it wasn't P-Funk or Ray Parker. I don't even think it was a national hit. I think it was just a hit in the DC area.

I think KYS used to have a DC Top 20 or something back then. I wish I knew somebody that could get a list of songs from each week in those days. I checked the Post archives and they didn't carry it. (I'm sure you know Shales gave you a shout out in his review of this season's The Wire.)

BTW, Donnie's niece is now a weekend anchor on Channel 7 here. I think she's quite attractive.

Bklyn6 said...

I have "Get Off" and "Hot Number" on my mp3 player!


dj said...

Another P-Funk splinter group that was bitter with GC at the time,had a track that I often play back to back with Quazar.


As for the mystery track...
Kay Gee or Afro Strut?

rasx said...

Faze-O! I got at on sight of the name! Good lookin' out!

justjudith said...

wow. i'm stumped. i only know get off by foxy. otw...crickets.

Undercover Black Man said...

Bklyn6: Oowah-Oowah-Oowah-Oowah.... The sound of my senior year.

dj: Pop quiz, bruh... Which Al Pacino movie did Mutiny's "Lump" appear in? (No fair Googling.)

rasx: Lowrider music, homie. I see I'm not the only one glad Amazon got in the music-download business. Sound quality can't be touched.

justjudith: Young'un...

Bklyn6 said...

I see I'm not the only one glad Amazon got in the music-download business. Sound quality can't be touched.

Guess I'm not a true audiophile. I didn't even notice a difference. :-(

dj said...


No cheating required.

I have a copy of it on vinyl in my store right now.
Didn't even need the Al hint.

Never saw the movie as the subject mater was not my thang.LOL

However, it does seem like a "which one doesn't belong" with it ranging from that to a Germs track.

I can provide photos of said record with a current newspaper,so you don't think I rush ordered from e-bay!LOL

Regular guests for a band I work up here in Canada with were all up on the Quazar,Mutiny,Sugar Hill and other P's to including the
Check em at

DeAngelo Starnes said...

Lump was in Crusin'. And I didn't even get to the bottom before I hit that one.

Lump is my favorite Mutiny cut.

DeAngelo Starnes said...

Yo Dave, a few months back, I revisited music on a year by year basis beginning with '72. Didn't make it to my high school daze - 79to 82.

But in 78, I was rockin' some fusion and instrumental soul in the form of Grover, Tom Scott, Weather Report, Ronnie Laws, Jeff Lorber Fusion, Spyro Gyra, and Tom Browne. Rick James was making his move on the scene. Sun, Brass Connection, Con Funk Shun, Slave, Raydio, Brothers Johnson, and early Cameo (my favorite of their stuff) was killin'! Of course, that impish muthafucka busted on the scene in a BIG muthafuckin' way - Prince in 78 - 79 with Soft and Wet, I Wanna Be Your Lover, and Fancy Dancer. Dug some Switch, too. Maybe that was the Eighties?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ "Funk Funk"...

"Ain't We Funkin' Now"...

"Sun Is Here"...

"You and I"...

But I missed out on the fusion thing totally.

I'm digging out some junior-high tracks next. Some tunes evoke very vivid memories of the particular school I was at.

DeAngelo Starnes said...

^ You know what I'm talkin' 'bout!

DeAngelo Starnes said...

Crusin' was an absolutely awful movie. I saw on video with this girl at HU thinking I was gonna get some. I guess the subject matter killed it cuz I went home with a dry johnson.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ You sick, DeAngelo. You crazy.

dj said...

Either of you two,remember a group produced by Charlie Wilson called the SKYWARES?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Never heard of such a thing, DJ. When were they out?

dj said...


dj said...

actually first was '84

Bklyn6 said...

Prince in 78 - 79 with Soft and Wet, I Wanna Be Your Lover, and Fancy Dancer.

Eh-eh-eh.... That's "Sexy Dancer". Let's not get it twisted! :P

That joint is what got my Prince fandom going (I still have a few Prince buttons.) I wasn't feelin' "Soft and Wet". I even think Sexy Dancer had to grow on me. But, once it did, I was soooooo hooked.

I always think of "Dirty Mind" as my audio version of Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass." I'd listen to it with my ear close up to the speaker (so as to catch all that naughtiness) everyday morning before leaving for school.

The good ol' days. *swoon*

DeAngelo Starnes said...

bklyn6, I got got!

I must've had The Commodores on my mind.

Getting senile and I'm only 44. Too much cheeba in the 20s.