Saturday, January 16, 2010
Just Can't Get Enough
He was the perfect blend of machismo, urban cool and a sex symbol all wrapped in one package - no homo. He was black and proud, yet sophisticated enough to be listened to over a glass of wine and danced to at your favorite neighborhood club.
Teddy Pendergrass was all that and then some.
I make no secret about it I'm from Queens not the Bronx. When I hear Bronx cats talk about how they were rebelling against disco, I think to myself, "Damn, these niggas didn't like Teddy Pendergrass?"
How can you be over 40 and not like Teddy P?
"Wake Up Everybody", "The Whole Town's Laughing at Me", "Close the Door", "Turn off the Lights", "Love TKO", "Bad Luck", "The Love I Lost", "Be For Real"...come on man, who can front on all them records?
It seemed like Gamble and Huff could do no wrong with Teddy's voice. Whether he was talking about bad times, lost love or heartbreak, there was something about the tonal quality of his voice, the sincerity, the gruffness, the gentleness backed by the smooth funk and rich orchestration of MFSB that reached deep down inside of you and made you want to dance or cry.
The summer of 1978 it seemed like my whole building was listening to WBLS. "Turn Off the Lights" was the hottest thing on the radio. All day long the sounds of Donna Summer and GQ blasted through the summer heat. But everyone was really waiting for something else. And then as the sun was being overtaken by the looming hood of nightfall, the smooth velvet voice of Frankie Crocker introduced the next song, "this is Teddy Pendergrass "Turn off the lights" on WBLS the total. Experience. In sound..."
'Turn off the lights...and light a candle..."
I swear to God, it looked like every apartment in the building - at least on the side I was on, turned off the lights and lit a candle at the same time.
Now that's magic.
That was Teddy P.