I’d changed clothes after performing my first solo #1 single “Looking For A New Love” to perform “Still a Thrill.” I loved that funky top hat which I’d purchased in Japan – my style always represents what I’m feeling. I still rock denim and ankle boots but wear them differently..the bra tops, not so much!
I had the pleasure to work with George Duke back in the early 80’s just after my departure from Shalamar. We recorded the song Baby Love” for a project he was working on. Ultimately, it was a stroke of luck for me that he chose not to use the song because I would have, according to the rules of the Recording Academy at the time – having a release in America as “Jody Watley, or George Duke featuring Jody Watley” would have made me ineligible for the “Best New Artist” category when my debut album was released a couple of years later in 1987. At the time he decided not to release it, I was bummed and disappointed, however fate was still on my side. Sometimes not getting what you want is actually the universe saying be patient! The experience recording with Mr. George Duke is a fond one, we had a great time at his renowned studio at his home in the Hollywood Hills. George Duke was the kind of person that made you feel at ease. I had great admiration for his countless works ranging from jazz, fusion, funk and soul. We had reconnected at the start of this year on Facebook after seeing each other at the memorial for Soul Train creator and host Don Cornelius. I asked about ‘Baby Love’ and if he would send it to me, as it’s been in my head for so long but I didn’t have a copy. Happy to send it to me, he also gave me permission to post it – which I did for a short time and took it down. I reposted it today in his honor, memory and celebration. To be a tiny piece of his musical journey as well is incredibly special and I feel very blessed to have crossed his path back then and recently as colleagues.
In February, we were a part of the inaugural Soul Train Cruise and were a part of a panel sharing fond memories of Don Cornelius. His final show on the cruise had everyone dancing in the aisles as he went straight P-funk to the delight of everyone near the conclusion of his performance.
My thoughts and prayers are extended to his family and friends. George Duke now joins his beloved wife Corine of 30 years. who succumbed to cancer just last year – as well as a host of other music legends. Beautiful music. Beautiful legacy in life.
Rest peacefully Mr. George Duke, you will be missed.
I just wanted to share a few photo’s from the Soul Train Cruise. I’ll be creating a gallery at my Facebook Page as well. Make sure to visit http://www.soultraincruise.com to learn more about the next cruise coming up in October 2013 and beyond.
Last day of cruise on Half Moon Cay. Pictured at the staff bar-b-que with bartender chef Bryce husband of one of Centric’s execs Kim, and Van Roy my friend and owner of Bailey’s in Marksville, Louisiana and part time staff at Avid.
All photo’s (c) Jody Watley 2013. All rights reserved.
This is a repost of the blog I wrote shortly after Don’s tragic death a year ago today. He’s gone but will never be forgotten – my life and journey will always be connected to Soul Train and Don Cornelius.
Read the post here:
The Soul Train Awards will air on Centric TV on November 25, 2012. Check your local listings.
In addition to being a presenter on the show, I was a part of various activities for the first annual Soul Train Awards weekend. At the Golf, Peace and Soul Golf Tournament I had the opportunity to meet NBA Hall of Famer and legend Julius “Dr. J.” Irving -if you know how much I love NBA basketball you’ll understand this made my entire trip! Being honest, I was hurt and disappointed with my participation – as it wasn’t what it was pitched to me to be with regard to the video package which wasn’t the one I approved; I’ll leave it at that but left the show feeling a bit like Rodney “I Don’t Get No Respect” Dangerfeld from the R&B gatekeeper powers that be. That said, it was still nice and an honor to be a part of the show especially to speak on Don Cornelius which is what it was all about for me. I believe the producers did a great job stepping it up with the production elements and moving the show to Las Vegas which gave it a more high end feel than recent past years. Raphael Saadiq and the assembled band and orchestra including Joi Gilliam on backing vocals was a nice funky touch. I came loving the song ‘Adorn’ by new singer Miguel who is a total cutie pie and sounded great live. I never had an opportunity to meet or take a photo with him. As a longtime fan of New Edition, I was happy to see them receive their lifetime achievement award, it’s hard to believe they’ve been in the music 30 years. In concert they were great and total pro’s as always.