Playlist(s) of music in this post: Spotify
If you only listen to one song: "Night Time Is The Right Time", Ray Charles


Ray Charles and The Cosby Show

One

"I Believe To My Soul", contains one of my favorite types of blues lyrics:

Last night you were dreaming and I heard you say

"Oh, Johnny"... when you know my name is Ray

Two

"Night Time Is The Right Time" is a complicated song for me -- perhaps you too, dear reader.

I hadn't heard it in years, I wasn't expecting it to be on this album, and as soon as it began playing my face lit up because I love this song. I love this song because it features prominently in what is easily a Top Five moment in Cosby Show history. And then I remember that Bill Cosby was in The Cosby Show. And then I realize my feelings on the song aren't as clear as they were in the moments prior.

I understand, intellectually, that it's Ray Charles' song and not Cosby's... but I only know the song because of little Rudy lipsyncing the lights out at the base of that famous staircase.

So it's complicated. And also unfortunately common. We have too many opportunities to practice making sense of what it means to be fans of famous people, or lovers of art produced by people, who sometimes do deplorable things.

The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie

I think of Stevie Wonder as a singular force that shaped music; on The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie, I can hear music's influence on him and that's weird.

It's not surprising: many musical legends start out with a sound that sounds like everybody else... I just wasn't expecting it with Stevie Wonder. In my mind, people try to sound like him. On parts of this album I found myself thinking, "this sounds like Henry Mancini".

What's great about the OMA Album of the Year project is that I get to do a little bit of time traveling. It's one thing to understand this Stevie Wonder doesn't sound like what I'm used to hearing. It's a different experience to understand how Stevie Wonder does sound like what's around him at the time.

Worth a listen
  • Burnin', John Lee Hooker
  • Sinatra and Strings, Frank Sinatra
  • I Remember Tommy, Frank Sinatra