Music Throwback Saturday: I’ll Be Good To You

I was in a doctor’s office back in October 2015 which played surprisingly good, and eclectic, music.

Quincy_Jones_-_Back_On_The_Block-frontBack in 1989, I picked up this album produced by Quincy Jones, called Back on the Block. “The album features legendary musicians and singers from across three generations, including Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Joe Zawinul, Ice-T, Big Daddy Kane, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, George Benson, Luther Vandross, Dionne Warwick, Barry White, Take 6, Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau, Al B. Sure!, James Ingram, and El DeBarge.”

The album went to #9 on the Billboard album charts and was so eclectic that it hit #1 on both the Top Contemporary Jazz Albums and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.

The first single of the collection was I’ll Be Good To You, featuring Ray Charles and Chaka Khan. It was a hit, #18 on the US pop charts, and #1 for two weeks on the rhythm and blues charts in 1990.

I was in a doctor’s office back in October 2015 which played surprisingly good, and eclectic music. I hear I’ll be Good To You, but it’s surely not the Quincy version. It turns out that it was by The Brothers Johnson, who I’ve mentioned on this blog before.

How did I miss this version, written by the Brothers Johnson (George and Louis) and Sonora Sam, and produced by Quincy? It got up to #3 for three weeks in 1976, as well as #1 on the r&b charts.

I’ll Be Good To You:
Quincy Jones, Ray Charles & Chaka Khan

The Brothers Johnson
The Brothers Johnson
The Brothers Johnson on Midnight Special

Quincy Jones turns 83 on March 14.

Music Throwback Saturday: Strawberry Letter #23

The Brothers Johnson’s rendition of Strawberry Letter #23 hit the Hot 100 and peaked at number five.

shuggieotisFor a birthday some years back, I was given this CD of songs by Shuggie Otis, born Johnny Alexander Veliotes, Jr. on November 30, 1953, son of the really cool musician, rhythm and blues pioneer Johnny Otis. The album featured his song Strawberry Letter #23.

From the Wikipedia:

“George Johnson of the Brothers Johnson was dating one of Otis’ cousins when he came across the album Freedom Flight.

“The group recorded ‘Strawberry Letter 23’ for their 1977 album Right on Time, which was produced by Quincy Jones, and the album went platinum. They recorded the song in a funkier, more dance-oriented vein than the original Otis version.
“Their rendition hit the Hot 100 and peaked at number five and reached number one on the Soul Singles chart in 1977.

“Studio guitar player Lee Ritenour recreated Otis’ original guitar solo for the Brothers Johnson cover.”

Here’s the Shuggie Otis original version.

Here’s the Brothers Johnson cover version, which I have on vinyl.

Very trippy lyrics:

Red magic satin playing near
Rainbows and waterfalls run through my mind
Purple shower, bells and tea
Orange birds and river cousins dressed in green
Blue flower echo from a cherry cloud
Feel sunshine sparkle pink and blue
Strawberry Letter #23 by the Brothers Johnson has been sampled several times, including by Beyonce, and covered by Kevin Campbell and others.

Michael Jackson used bassist Louis Johnson on his Off the Wall and Thriller albums.

Before that, The Brothers Johnson sang on this 1976 Lesley Gore number Sometimes, from her Love Me By Name album, produced, like her early hits, and Michael’s albums, by Quincy Jones. (Hat tip to Dustbury.)

Sadly, Louis Johnson passed away at the age of 60 on May 21, 2015.

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