Sunday, October 23, 2016

MADE IN AMERICA: MUSIC FROM THE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK (1993)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: October 23, 2016

Music is made to be heard, no matter when and where it was made and no matter who was the music's original maker That brings me to this special throwback jewel that was definitely 'made' to be heard: the original soundtrack to the Ted Danson/Whoopi Goldberg motion picture, "Made In America". Being the ultimate Whoopi fan and having seen just about all of her movies (my two favorites that will always reign supreme are "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Sister Act"), it only made sense that I would've acquired this rare compilation, even though my memories of the songs included on it—not to mention my memories of the movie itself—have faded over time. So my Sunday afternoon, therefore, saw me getting reacquainted with a slew of familiar artists and their not-so-familiar hits, beginning with Latin sensation Gloria Estefan and her festive conga party that is "Go Away". A fun and humorous way to kick off the soundtrack, considering how playfully blunt her words are to the man she wants out of her life for good. A quick change of pace when the mood switches to the silky slow jam offered up by Keith Sweat on "Does He Do It Good?". Here, the question of love here is self-explanatory: he can do it even better than the last man. I was having another fond Roger/ZAPP moment with the cool electronic effects disguising and distorting the background vocals in chorus. The movie's title track served up by the hip-hop artist named Del Tha Funkee Homosapien is both funky and trippy and wittingly wise with the words, reminding me that I miss the old-school hip-hop days of the early 90's as much as I miss the entire decade of the 80's. Which brings me to another fun old-school hip-hop piece that comes up later: "Dance Or Die", performed by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince (a.k.a. Will Smith). While I was taking in the funky skip and thel beats to this jam, I suddenly recalled fond memories of the duo's performance with Robert Englund on "A Nightmare On My Street" (and its accompanying video) back in 1988, which then led me to conjure up a lot more memories of the whole "A Nightmare On Elm Street" movie series altogether. Lisa Fischer: The lady who made a hit out of the soul staple, "How Can I Ease The Pain?", and one of those sultry soul songstresses that seems to have been forgotten over time is a shining star in her warming performance of the starry ballad, "Colors Of Love". After that, the mood shifts again with the Afro-beat rhythms to the concept spoken word offering, "What Is This?". Although the main lyrics are delivered by a lady of ethnic descent while a unified collective chimes in with background vocals, the song is credited to the Brazilian-born Sergio Mendes, whom I'd forgotten was a multi-instrumentalist and producer in addition to being a singer (best remembered for his timeless hit, "Never Gonna Let You Go", in the popular music mainstream). My favorite part of the song: the almost spiritual chanting of ' don't you know it is the music of the hour? '. Speaking of spirituality, "If You Need A Miracle" by the legendary soul legend Ben E. King is one to lift up your spirits with his inspirational words of 'have a little faith to pull you through'. I found it soothing and satisfying to hear him singing in a time period much different than the era where he performed his timeless soul-gripping number, "Stand By Me". Soothing and satisfying further describes the excellent slow groove performed by the late British singer, Ephraim Lewis: "* "I Know I Don't Walk On Water". I felt a breezy, ethnic air to this one as well, and the one line from this song that stuck to me is 'I do believe that love is the only color'. It's not "The Color Purple", but instead the rock band DEEP PURPLE who changes up the pace again with the soundtrack's lone classic rock offering, "Smoke On The Water"; it was nice to hear some good old-fashioned classic rock, considering my ears have been neglecting music from that genre for far too long. Then there's one made just for all of the instrumental music lovers out there: "Made In Love". Ahhhhh, nothing like the sweet jazz sounds of the trumpet to chill to; coupled with the backing ambiance, it really could cap off a quiet night of perfect romance. Then serving as the perfect bookend song to complement Gloria Estefan's festive "Go Away" is the joyful noise that is Y.T. STYLE's "Stand!". So many wonderful ingredients cooked up to create this delicious dance jam: the uplifting and encouraging words of standing for the things that you know are right, the flawless flow of the raps delivered by the individual members of the Y.T. STYLE crew, the groovy 90's-style house rhythm..... No other way to put it—"Stand!" is a musical celebration for everyone to take part in, and it truly is the one song here that has already made my day complete:

1. Gloria Estefan - Go Away
2. Keith Sweat - Does He Do It Good
3. Del Tha Funkee Homosapien - Made In America
4. Lisa Fischer - Colors Of Love
5. Sergio Mendes - What Is This
6. Mark Isham - Made In Love
7. Ephraim Lewis - I Know I Don't Walk On Water
8. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Dance Or Die
9. Deep Purple - Smoke On The Water
10. Ben E. King - If You Need A Miracle
11. Y.T. Style - Stand!

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