In case you missed our first installment: A few months ago, Idolator’s Michaelangelo Matos sent out an e-mail to a handful of his associates with a proposition: Give me a list of your 100 favorite R&B songs. Well, those months went by and the only person to turn in a completed list was…my mother. In our second installment of Kathleen Turner’s 100 Greatest R&B Songs of All Time (with bonus YouTube links), we learn about her “intense British connection,” why you should just say no to drugs, and how she feels about a certain pied piper of R&B:
Once again, aside from cleaning up the spelling and grammar here and there (and the occasional editor’s note where applicable), I have left her musings mostly intact.
80. Skyy – “Call Me”
No, not Skyy vodka. But if I give them a plug do I get free samples?
79. Frankie Smith – “Double Dutch Bus”
Did you ever notice how “wilzinga izzat?” sounds an awful like “pous zigga ay zee”? No? Whatever, sing your own words. Who cares!
(Editor’s note: If anyone has any idea what the hell’s she’s talking about here with the “pous zigga” thing, please let me know. Or let her know.)
78. Tower of Power – “What Is Hip”
HORNS! That is it. HORNS! Love ‘em!
77. Lauryn Hill – “The Sweetest Thing”
Is she still a Grammy queen? I don’t think anyone has beat her to date. The sweet, sweet, sweetest!
76. Keith Sweat – “I Want Her”
Always thought he sounded a lot like Freddie Jackson. Wouldn’t mind him sweating all over me. Wait did I say that? Oh no!
(Editor’s note: Oh, honestly now. Ew.)
75. Rose Royce – “Car Wash”
Okay, just watch the movie. What a hoot! Everyone should have this job once in their life. I think Rose Royce is underrated. They had some great songs, especially “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore.” Listen to it!
74. Jay Wiggins – “Sad Girl”
(Sorry, y’all, neither hide nor hair of this on YouTube.)
Okay Matos, calm down. I know this is past the 1965 deadline, but I am older than you and thus wiser. So there. And besides I am sitting here looking at the 45. Yes, a 45. You know I am not that old. And I don’t look it. Right Jess? Wore this out on the turntable!
(Editor’s note: In case you missed our first installment, my mom pretty much ignored all the rules (nothing before 1965, no hip-hop, etc.) for this list that were initially laid out by instigator Michaelangelo Matos. That’s kinda how she do.)
73. The Impressions – “We’re A Winner”
Can you imagine your grandmother having to listen to this over and over, Jess? Civil rights! “Keep On Pushing”….Curtis Mayfield. What an incredible person. And props to Jerry Butler also. And this was recorded live to boot! And yes, I have the 45 on this one too!!!!
(Editor’s note: Despite being an incredible person in most other respects, my grandmother was not the most…open-minded of people.)
72. Kanye West – “Gold Digger”
Well congrats to Kanye for five nominations for the Grammy’s. And love the duo with Jamie Foxx. Guttural. And it is also one of few currently popular songs on the jukebox at the Square Bar, West Chester’s happening place!
(Editor’s note: The Square Bar is perhaps best described as a bar from Goodfellas if it had the ambiance of any given scene from Deliverance. Needless to say it’s a family favorite.)
71. Mary J. Blige – “All That I Can Say”
Okay so why was I not born with a voice. My kiddies understand. My Make-A-Wish Foundation wish is that once, before I die, I get to at least sing back up for Mary J. or perhaps anyone of my queens!
70. Jackie Wilson – “Higher and Higher”
Okay so it is the early ’70s and I am at the Latin Casino in New Jersey with my first boyfriend, John H. Won’t mention the last name cause I want to protect the innocent. And…nothing else, since I have no memory left. Too many Quaaludes. I don’t remember who was on the bill. But I am having a vague memory of Jackie Wilson. What a showman. If I remember correctly.
(Editor’s note: Conversation from Sunday, August 12, 2007:
Mom: I don’t want any more references to me drinking box wine in these articles. You’re making me look like a drunk.
Jess: Oh, but it’s okay if you say your mind is gone because you did too many Quaaludes.
69. Jill Scott – “Long Walk”
I wish I had something witty or glib to say about Jill Scott, but I don’t. I just have so much respect for this woman. A local girl, from Philly. A poet, songwriter, humanitarian. And to top it all off she is so beautiful. She reminds me so much of Deniece Williams. And everyone loves Niece! She is what neo-soul is all about. Best lyrics in the cut: “Or maybe we could just sit and be silent.”
68. Roger and Zapp – “Computer Love”
Okay, now I can be witty! Oh my! No wait, I should pay respect to the memory first. Who invented the talk box? Coolest thing ever. And for you critics they are probably one of the most sampled groups ever. Pure dance music and I guess if I get in the “Z’s” lowrider she will let me relive the experience.
(Editor’s note: I don’t even want to know what that means.)
67. Donnie Hathaway and Roberta Flack – “You Are My Heaven”
What a great collaboration. They were the best and would probably be still if not for Donnie’s passing. So it is 1972 and I just saw Play Misty for Me in the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville, PA. ( Home of The Blob. By the way, I just attended the Blob Festival recently and me and my friend Andy ran out of the theater like in the movie. What a hoot! Rent the movie!) So the theme song was Roberta Flacks’ “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” And that night I wanted to be Clint Eastwood’s girlfriend. Donnie and Roberta are truly one of the greatest duos!
(Editor’s note: We have the claim to fame of living in both towns where The Blob was filmed. Hey, you take what you can get.)
66. The 8th Day – “She’s Not Just Another Woman”
One-hit wonders? Any comments? My theory is that there were WAY too many people in this group. Too post-Motown. Although Holland Dozier Holland had their dynasty and 8th Day was part of it. The lyrics and sound are great. Unfortunately their name was stolen and taken by a band from California. WHAT?
65. Shalamar – “Take That To The Bank”
With my intense British connection, this trio produced their best in the U.K., with the best of the best, Jody Watley. Although they did do some of the most memorable soundtracks. Especially in Footloose. Remember this one! Dancing in the sheets. I do.
(Editor’s note: “Intense British connection”? What? Does she mean patterning her life after Absolutely Fabulous?)
63. R. Kelly – “Chocolate Factory”
(Best I could do.)
Well first of all, my son and I and his friend Drew hold a special part in our hearts for R. Kelly. Why? Because when he had his unfortunate 21 counts of bad things with minors, we were discussing it one night, and I wanted to know what the R. stood for. All I could come up with was Romulus or Remus. So I just shouted out, “Pee on me, Romulus!” Jess you explain. Anyway, R. is the remix king as everyone knows. He is certainly the new jack swing bad boy! And “Step in the Name of Love” is truly a remix, mix, mix, remix, mix. But “gumdrops mixed with chocolate milk bars” sounds GROSS!
(Editor’s note: Oh, I don’t think I could explain it any better than that. Except we were actually in a car listening to “Ignition (Remix).” I still get “Pee on me, Romulus!” voicemails every so often.)
62. D’Angelo – “Brown Sugar”
Nice to know that Brown Sugar was a hometown Philly girl, but just who was she???? As far as I am concerned he is so influenced by Stevie and Donnie. And I loved the duet he did with Lauryn Hill. Now where are you baby boy? Momma is waiting for a new release!
(Editor’s note: Wait, the woman who once told me “pot’s not a drug” never figured out who Brown Sugar was?)
61. Luther Ingram – “If Loving You Is Wrong”
You know the crossover countyqueen Barbara Mandrell covered this. As well as Rod Stewart. I think one of Luther’s greatest gifts to the world of music was his composition for the Staples Singers, “Respect Yourself.” My best friend Susan H. from across the pond in England just adores the Staple Singers. And I adore her!