Saturday, December 06, 2008

UNSUNG . . .Who would be on your list?

Besides the food, one of the things I most enjoyed over the Thanksgiving holiday was a TV One television special entitled "Unsung." The 4-part series explored the lives and musical talents of The DeBarge family, Phyllis Hyman, Donny Hathaway and The Clark Sisters. Each hour long segment gave a detailed account of the individual's or the group's rise and subsequent fall from the limelight. The series greatly exceeded my expectations and I managed to catch every segment except the one on The Clark Sisters--which was unfortunate, because of all the artists profiled, I know the least about them.

Some of the things I learned about the DeBarge family truly shocked me. I mean, I knew some of them had drug problems, but dag, not ALL of them! And like an astute observer on another blog pointed out, whatever they were using and abusing, straight-up wrecked some sho'nuff havoc on those good looks. They now all look to be about the same age as their 70-some year old mama. Say it aint' so, Chico, say it ain't so! (LOL) Yeah, Chico is my favorite DeBarge and I hope one day soon he and some of the others are able to get it together and come back out strong.

The Hyman and Hathaway stories I pretty much knew, but they still left me melancholy and wondering what each might be doing now and much more great music might they have produced had they lived.

I do hope the folks at TV One plan on continuing the series and perhaps even, at some point, including a few unsung actors and atheletes in the mix. "Unsung" was some of the most insightful, educational and entertaining TV I've watched in quite some time. If TV One is considering expanding the series and is in need of a few suggestions, the following are a few "unsung" singers, groups and musicians I'd loved to see profiled: Curtis Mayfield, Gil Scott Heron, Angela Bofill, Bill Withers, Roger Troutman, Slave, The Sylvers, The Brothers Johnson, Billy Preston, Michael Henderson, The Stylistics, The Dramatics, Norman Conners and Loose Ends . . .

Obviously, I could go on, but I'll stop there. What about you? What "Unsung" entertainers from the music world would you like to see profiled in an upcoming show?

11 comments:

pjazzypar said...

Since moving from California I have not been able to watch TV One which I love. I would have especially enjoyed the shows about Phyllis and Donny. The Dramatics are actually my favorite group of all time (if you ever would like to hear any tunes by them, Gil, Loose Ends, Michael, Roger, or Sytlylistics let me know). Gil Scott-Heron is the bomb! You taking me back girl! Way Back!

pjazzypar said...

Oops! I didn't mean to leave Donny and Curtis out of list, because they are too awesome!

Radiogirl said...

My book club was just talking about this. I don't have cable. I don't have many recommendations but I was thinking Traci Spencer, Brass Construction, Bloodstone and Fredric. I know, such an eclectic mix ...

Lori said...

@Pjazzy,
What?! No TV One?! Oh, the horror (smile). I have quite a number of those old school artists on vinyl. Don't tell my Pops, but most of them were lifted from his collection (LOL).

@Radio Girl,
I'm familiar with everyone you listed except Fredric. I'll have to do some research on him. You didn't mean Sylvester, by any chance, did you? (smile).

Sheila Wilcox said...

Except for Donny, I watched all of the "Unsung." The Clark Sisters was more uplifting. It's a shame about DeBarge's family because it was a great lost of so much talent. Each one had something special to offer the music world. I keep turning back to the channel hoping I'll catch to one on Donny because my TV guide doesn't have the schedule for TV One.

Lori said...

Shelia W.,
I'm doing the same. I keep turning back in hopes that I'll catch the segment on the Clark Sisters (LOL).

Yes, you do feel for the DeBarge family. If only other young and aspiring entertainers would learn from their story. Sadly, this isn't usually the case.

pjazzypar said...

I know Fredrick. He performed this song in the early 80's entitled "Gentle". I have it on a disco single. He was actually from somewhere in Ohio.

Malcolm said...

Since leaving Flint a couple of years ago, I no longer get to see TV One on a regular basis. They had a nice mix of reruns and original programming. I love the concept of "Unsung".

You've put together quite an impressive roster of possible artists to be profiled. Others I'd like to see on the show include: Stephanie Mills, The Last Poets, Maze feat. Frankie Beverly, Randy Crawford, Jeffrey Osborne, The Marvelettes, Phillipe Wynne, Billy Paul, Sylvia, LaVern Baker, King Curtis, Al Hibbler, Billy Stewart, and The Cadillacs.

Excellent post topic!

Lori said...

Malcolm,
I knew you'd have plenty of nice additions (smile). I thought about Randy Crawford. While unsung, she's still out there doing her thing, if I'm not mistaken. Also, I haven't heard about any problems like those experienced by the Debarge Family, Hyman or Hathaway, associated with Crawford. Hmm, maybe I ought to see if she has a "best of" cd out there somewhere . . . I do love her sound.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Hi!! I never heard of One TV but it sounds like something I would like...I'll have to check it out.
Bummer about the deBarge family - drugs get the best of so many musicians, its tragic :(

Sean D. Young said...

Hi Lori,

I came across your blog from my good friend Bettye Griffin's.

I don't have TV One, but my mother does and my sister was telling me how awesome the Unsung TV Show is. I love all the names you've listed. I love history and especially in the music industry. I find it interesting to see the behind the scenes of some of the groups and singers. Great blog by the way.

Sean D. Young