I have a story about “[Cassanova] Brown.”Back in the day in New Orleans, the leading R&B station (FM98 WYLD) used to hold an annual talent show at the Saenger Theater. The talent was usually good, if not overwhelming, although there were usually one or two singers or dancers who you could tell were destined for brighter lights and bigger stages. The same as any major talent show, I guess. Anyhow, I was there this one year when a young lady took the stage and, without accompaniment, began to sing the following:My baby’s fine
He always keeps me guessing
But never keeps me guessing
About his love
The place went nuts. There were people screaming and yelling, falling out of their seats, waving their hands in the air — all kinds of foolishness. You would’ve thought it was ten in the morning on a Sunday and we were at church. The thing is, the girl didn’t actually sing the song all that well. If I remember correctly, she did a decent job — that is, she made it all the way through without getting booed off the stage. The place wasn’t going crazy for her. They were going crazy for the song. Teena Marie’s song.
I was all set to kick off new posts to my blog with either a ‘Best Of The Year Countdown’ (like the guys at soulbounce.com).
Then Teena Marie died, and I had to write about her instead.
Anyone who does a quick Google search will quickly know about her big hits (“Ooh La La La”, “Lovergirl”) or her relationship with Rick James.
To lots of us in the music blogdom, Teena is more. She was a white California girl that was fully and unconditionally accepted by the African-American music community. She refused to be categorized to one musical genre – easily incorporating soul, jazz, showtunes, rock, and Latin into her music. She was a singer/songwriter, gifted with an ability to play multiple instruments. She represented what one could do when they refused to let race define what they should say, how they should act, or what their profession should be. And above all else… she could SING!