Chicka Bow Wow, Chicka Bow Wow Wow!!
One artist who can effortlessly do that is the late great Gwendolyn Guthrie aka Gwen Guthrie. So let me give you some background on this amazingly gifted artist who literally left the ladies and some men with the infectious anthem "Nothing Going on But the Rent".
Born in Okemah, Oklahoma, Gwen was playing the piano at 8 years old after being taught by her equally talented father. There are reports that she honed her craft with the late Ann Moss, aunt to Whitney Houston, at the famed New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. One thing that I know for sure is that Gwen was in high demand as a session singer and worked with the likes of Luther Vandross, Sister Sledge, Aretha Franklin, Cissy Houston, Madonna, Chic and many many more.
She finally came out the gate and teamed up with the late Larry Levan, another legend worthy of a write up here at LIRM, and released some awesome jawns like Should Have Been You, Hopscotch and many more. Bold, beautiful and what we call in todays language "curvy", she took no prisoners with her musically advanced talents. Her music was so good that we didn't care what size she was, where she came from or anything of that nature - Just give us the FUNK!!!
Take her hit Hopscotch, she is basically imploring her lover that it might just be his last chance to get down with the grove or is she telling him that this is the last time for their love to be witnessed? However the situation, Gwen had the ability as an amazing songwriter to take the listener on a journey of funk and boy did she. If you listen closely, she was rapping before it was cool to split some bars on the Hopscotch selection. Totally before her time!!
Other selections include the smooth yet groovy Outside in the Rain, the classically somewhat seductive Peanut Butter, the sweet and subtle Oh Donny No and my personal funky favorite Peek A Boo in which she admonishes her potential boo thang to show her what he possesses and then some. It is imperative that we keep artist like Gwen legacy alive and at the forefront so that those artists coming down the road can know and appreciate what we call TRUE music.
Sadly the world got musically darker when Ms. Guthrie succumbed to cancer in 1999 but thankfully we have various music and videos that offer a musical glimpse into what she gave to the world. Imagine being in the studio with her and seeing how she mixed and added her touch to each song. Since one can't be a sponge how about putting on the headphones and paying attention to every single note, riff, run, her tone and delivery? It totally changes the way you listen and look at music these days.
Thank You Ms. Gwen and may you always makes us groove.