Monday, November 2, 2020

PS - Motown Monday Motivation (Part #1?) - The 1970s :)

(*Edited - important paragraph regarding my Dad.) 

Just a little Motown Monday pre-election bonus - a few more Motown classics for ya - to bring a smile, then get ya moving, on a Monday:)

Blogger tends to slow down loading, with the more videos you put, so I'll start this Monday Motown post with the first Motown songs I can remember, as a little tyke, in the early 70s, then going back even further (because believe it or not, Motown is older than me  ;).

Let's start with the song that unfortunately is still as relevant today, as it was almost 50 years ago.

(If I have time, I'll do a Part 2, later today.) 

Marvin Gaye - "What's Going On?"

Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today, eh eh

Father, father
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today, oh oh oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what's going on
What's going on
Yeah, what's going on
Ah, what's going on

In the mean time
Right on, baby
Right on brother
Right on babe

Mother, mother, everybody thinks we're wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply 'cause our hair is long
Oh, you know we've got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
Oh oh oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
C'mon talk to me
So you can see
What's going on
Yeah, what's going on
Tell me what's going on
I'll tell you what's going on, ooh ooh ooh ooh
Right on baby
Right on baby

Next up, I wish you "young 'uns" knew how much of a big deal the The Jackson 5 was, back in the day - Saturday morning cartoon, lunchboxes, Teen Beat magazine covers, they were everywhere, for good reason. 

It may sound silly, but my heart still skips a beat when I hear one of the following 2 tracks fire up - and I have to dance, it's a compulsion - no matter where I am  :)

In fact, I can still do the little rolling modified Pip-style box-step/early Bus Stop move, that the Jacksons did, before Michael starts to sing, that my friends and I used to do in a line, just like the Jacksons, when this song came on lol. 

Yes, believe it or not, that was a Michael Jackson's sweet little face, back in the day - wow, what a voice - and wow, dig those outfits lol :)  

Are you ready to get your 70s modified "Pip" style roll step/early Bus Stop, back on?

*Piano roll* ... *funky guitar* 

The Jackson 5 - "I Want You Back"  

... and lest we forget ... 

"B-B-B-Bah bomp, bomp bomp, ba bomp, BAH?  Bah bomp bomp bomp, ba BAH!"

The Jackson 5 - "ABC"

Truth be told, though I love Stevie Wonder as a person, I wasn't a huge fan of his music, but my two favorites were "Signed, Sealed Delivered" "and "Superstition" especiallyit's all about that bass).

Here's the first time I heard this song ...

Stevie Wonder - "Superstition" from Sesame Street in 1973.

Stevie Wonder - "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" ...

(Note  - in the early years of this song, when Stevie's actually played this song live, he tended to speed up the tempo faster than the recording of the song, which IMO, caused it to loose most of it's soul/funk - I like it better at the recorded speed - so here he is on Soul Train, singing it to the music, without playing ... :)

How about a little more Marvin Gaye, to start your day?  :)

Marvin Gaye - "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" 


Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell - "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" 

Okay, so first, a little family history - yes, it's true - my dad was racist AF, and an all around a-hole in general.

But on the plus side, though most of the time, he listened to country when around other people - the truth that he'd never tell anyone else was - he secretly enjoyed R&B and soul music the most, when no one else was around lol.  

Neither of my parents liked rock music, except 50s stuff - and as I've mentioned, when my mother became a charismatic evangelical in the mid 70s, she began to disallow most secular music, especially rock  - especially after my Dad left, there was nothing but Christian music allowed in the home :(

It's a shame he felt like he had to hide that part of himself, as a white man from Harlan, Kentucky, isn't it?

In fact, though he could talk the talk, I'm not sure he was actually as racist as his culture raised him to be (and I say his Harlan culture because it definitely wasn't his dad, my grandad). 

I think it was mostly what he felt he had to become, in Harlan - the only acceptable definition of being a white man in the rural South - a high-school football/basketball/baseball star, a country music, football, money, guns, God, country-loving shady businessman,  ordering/knocking their Southern women and people of color around, to "keep them in line" (having no one, then, of course, to keep themselves, in line) - never showing compassion for others, for fear of making him appear "weak."  

In Cincinnati, he was proud of his degrees (double Bachelor's degrees in physics and chemistry from EKU, on scholarship), but still felt like an outsider there, because we lived around people who came from at least upper-middle class wealth all their lives, but he came from nothing in Harlan, Kentucky, and my mom came from blue-collar central Kentucky. Also, though he excelled at math and science, he knew he didn't speak "correct" English and Midwestern, as well as he felt his language and reading earlier education had been subpar. He wouldn't admit most of that, of course - but his insecurity and overcompensation for it was obvious.

However, when around relatives in Kentucky, it was the opposite - it was almost like he was ashamed of his college degrees - afraid they'd think he was "putting on airs." Having money was fine, and to be flaunted, even abusing your money and power in politics and shady business was acceptable - but actually acting like you were better than anyone else, especially in Harlan - was not.

However, that was quite an accomplishment he should've been proud of, actually, to come from poverty-stricken Harlan and a coal-mining family to obtaining double-degrees in physics and chemistry at college - and yet I can see where they left him feeling a little like a male Eliza Doolittle as to where to fit in society, especially in the rigid social structure that exists in the south and Midwest. 

What's interesting, however, is that my granddad, his father, was Southern, but didn't always follow the Southern culture rules, but it still worked out - because he didn't care. Unlike my dad, he didn't have a college degree, but he was nevertheless a well-respected, decorated Navy gunner, former Sheriff's deputy, and successful engineer nonetheless, and eventually moved to Louisville for more opportunity himself. 

*FYI - speaking of my granddad being a decorated WWII Navy gunner, just in case you're in danger of giving any sympathy whatsoever to my Dad because of the culture he grew up in, because of this story, think again - among other violent things, here's a reminder why not to ...

Despite becoming all of those things the South wanted and a Republican - he managed to dodge the Vietnam draft by becoming a high school physics teacher temporarily - but lied about this to everyone to the day he died, saying he did serve in Vietnam, though he was never there.

Like I said, my Dad was a real piece of work. However, this story is trying to focus any good memories I had, with the election and holidays coming, to avoid any anger, hatred, or depression - to not let those things win.

I've already worked through all of those feelings as a result of my Dad in therapy, so I can see the whole picture of my Dad better now - this monster wasn't born this way - he was created from desperately wanting to please and gain respect from a toxic culture :(

Back to my granddad, if they didn't accept him in Harlan because of certain things he didn't support, that was fine by him - he accepted himself as he was, and frankly, didn't care - and like I said, eventually moved from Harlan to Louisville for more opportunity and less drama anyway.

However, my Dad didn't just want financial security and stability - he desperately wanted to be rich and famous, and for people to actually fear him and his power, admiring his super shady, super racist father-in-law more than his father.

In fact, I suspect he became a sales executive for Fisher Scientific because it made him more money/was more socially acceptable, in his Kentucky culture, rather than becoming an actual scientist, like he originally wanted.

And my mom, of course, despite also being intelligent, gave up her degree and dream of becoming a doctor, was obsessed with her appearance (valuing it greater than her intelligence), and thus, did the only truly acceptable thing for a white Southern woman from rural Kentucky was supposed to do - leave college to marry such a Southern man.

Regardless, back to my point,  I remember my Dad literally hiding his Isaac Hayes records record behind all the others, even down in his work area in the basement - as well as and his secret love of one of his favorite movies, "Shaft,"  which he'd deny if you ever brought it up in front of anyone else - in fact, he'd say, "Oh, I think you mean my favorite movie, 'Shane' (a Western), not 'Shaft' (a Western) - are you crazy? lol" 

No, I'm not - and - "Hush yo' mouth - I'm talkin' 'bout Shaft :) LOL

(No, I did not actually say this to my Dad, or I would've been backhanded  - it's just an actual line from the song lol.)

And every once in a blue moon - he would include his kids in his secret R&B and soul music time  - and dance with us :)

Now, you may not believe me - but my Dad could really dance, you should've seen him.  I didn't get my singing ability from my Dad, I got it from my mother and grandmother - my Dad couldn't sing a lick - but he could dance like a Temptation, a Pip, or even a Jackson lol.

No one would've ever suspected this former big white football-playing from Harlan, Kentucky, could dance like he could, and many never knew.  

In fact, it was an extremely rare treat even for us -  but my Dad was actually a great dancer, with a partner to 50s stuff, or alone like a backup dancer.

So I guess if there's even one gift my Dad left me, which happened from extremely rare moments - it was teaching me how to dance :)

As well as fun facts, like Sam and Dave's hit "Soul Man" was actually written by Isaac Hayes  - or that "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" was actually recorded first by Motown's Gladys Knight and the Pips in 1966 (whom my dad was also a big fan of), but Marvin re-recorded it and sent it platinum :)

He loved Motown - old school R&B pop like the Supremes, the Temptations, and especially when Motown went more soul and funk in the 70s -  Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Glady Knight and the Pips, The Jackson 5 - and also non-Motown artists like Isaac Hayes and Ike and Tina Turner.

Speaking of Gladys Knight and the Pips, honest to God, I could listen to her voice all day.

Gladys Knight at the Pips - "Midnight Train to Georgia."

Now - when I said my Dad could dance like a Jackson, a Temptation or a Pip -  I do NOT mean uptight white-man style, like Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. did,  behind Gladys Knight - but this clip still makes me laugh lol.  (Jack Black isn't TOO horrible, comparatively.   Still not a Pip, though!)


(Gladys, you don't want to turn around.  No, really lol.)

No - I meant my Dad actually had rhythm - and could genuinely dance just like a Pip or a Temptation - he could watch a dance move once and do it immediately.

I love the Temptations  - and this was a departure for them from their usual, and this song always made me sad ... but nevertheless, it was memorable. 

The Temptations - "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" 

And  you can't leave the early 70s Motown funk without mentioning, grand funkmaster himself, the indomitable voice of Barry White, just before Motown went disco for a while ...

Barry White - "Can't Get Enough of Your Love" 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.