For today’s flashback I had to go to school for a minute, because for more than thirty years I have held on to misinformation. No one placed it there, I just assumed something that wasn’t the truth. I arrived at my conclusion because of inferences that I made from a simple observance.
While watching an episode of Soul Train at the age of seven, I had the experience of witnessing a performance by Rufus featuring Chaka Khan. The year was 1974 and they were performing “Tell Me Something Good.” As a young kid I was strictly into R&B, so the sound was hot to me as well as the rest of the R&B community. However, what I didn’t know until, well, today, was that Rufus was not one of the guys in the group, but the name of the band. I suppose it was a simple mistake, considering you had artists like Ike and Tina Turner performing in those days. So I just assumed it was a similar naming convention. It never occurred to me that Rufus wasn’t a guy, but a group of guys. So now that we have that cleared up, Chaka Khan is the artist for today’s Friday Flashback.
Chaka’s career spans five decades, because she started her first group at the age of eleven. She began touring while still in high school with a group known as the Afro-Arts Theater. As part of that group she got the opportunity to travel with Motown great Mary Wells. A few years following this she stopped using her given name, Yvette Marie Stevens, and began using the African name Chaka Khan. This was undoubtedly due to her ties with The Black Panthers; she worked as a volunteer for the Black Panthers Free Breakfast for Children Program.
During her career she has earned eight Grammy’s, as well as numerous other accolades. She is most known for her R&B influences, but has explored Pop, Disco, Funk, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Adult Contemporary, and Ballads. For today’s musical selection, we will pull out two of the releases that catapulted her career back into the public eye in the 80’s. She released a solo effort, the platinum selling album I Feel For You, which is also one of today’s featured songs. That album also has the single “Through the Fire,” a ballad for the ages. The second song that you will get to listen to will be the tune “Ain’t Nobody,” which she performed with the group Rufus on their final album, Stompin’ At The Savoy – Live. This is a two-record album (now available on disc) that features many of their hit songs from back in the day. I’m sure you all will enjoy all three. (We might as well hear Through the Fire while we’re at it.)
“Ain’t Nobody (with Rufus)”
“I Feel For You“ (Check out Turbo and Ozone from the movie Breakin’.)
Here’s one more for all you Superwomen out there.
“I’m Every Woman”
Enjoy the music!
This is your main man, Rich in the STL, standing in for the talented and lovely Ms. Lolita Files. Peace, love and enjoy your weekend. I’m out!