Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Maybe something is wrong with the music industry when someone as talented as Raphael Saadiq is virtually unknown. Formerly Charles Ray Wiggins, born in Oakland in 1966, Saadiq is a musician, singer and songwriter who plays "old school" R&B like nobody's business. They say he won a contest and played with Prince many years ago, and then got fired up to form Tony! Toni! Toné! back in the 80s.

As a solo artist, his 2002 album "Instant Vintage" received five Grammy nominations. "Ray Ray" followed, and was Saadiq's tribute to the great "blaxploitation" soundtracks of the seventies. His 2008 album, the critically acclaimed :The Way I See It," featuring artists Stevie Wonder, Joss Stone and Jay-Z, and received three Grammy Award Nominations. It was voted Best Album on iTunes of 2008. All that, and maybe you haven't heard of him. He just came out with a new album "Stone Rollin'" just came out. Get it.

Why am I all fired up about Saadiq? I hate to say I knew next to nothing about him before the last weekend. Now I'm not one of these geezers who only listens to records that were released when he was in high school--I try to keep up with the good stuff in all genres--but somehow, to my chagrin, I missed out. Radio sucks, and they play the same handful of pop artists over and over, the Brittneys and the Ga Ga's--and the "classic rock" stations play the same mega-hits over and over ("Stairway to Heaven," anyone?), the urban hip hop stations repeat the beats--even the so-called "alternative" stations are scarcely any better, playing the same skinny bearded bands with names like Deer Antler and Bear Claw that can't play their instruments or hit a note with their wheedling, emo voices. Nope, radio doesn't help. It didn't help me find this, but I'm glad I did. Listen to this and enjoy.

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