Hip-Hop Rhythm and Blues

Earl St. Clair is Making It

Earl St. Clair — actually Earl Johnson II — is a talented young singer, songwriter and producer. NPR has a brief story on St. Clair, who was born in Cleveland and grew up there and in Alabama. The story links to an interview conducted by Audie Cornish. St. Clair comes across as an earnest and nice guy who is pleasantly surprised by and appreciative of his success. And nobody can dislike a young person who gives shout-outs to Ray Charles and MC Hammer in the same short interview.

St. Clair started out as a producer and writer. His singing talent emerged and he was signed by Def Jam Recordings in 2016. He made his television debut earlier this year on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” according to Wikipedia. His debut EP is entitled “My Name is Earl.”

St. Clair is young and just starting so information is scarce. A side note is that at least in some cases the least productive source of information about a young artist is his or her website. This is one such case. I would say that this generation communicates in images, but that would be inaccurate judging by the great lyrics — from St. Clair and many others — that are being written. Perhaps is more accurate to say that this generation is more open to communicating in images.

Above is “Ain’t Got it Like That” (featuring PJ), which is about the travails of making it in the music business today. It is featured at St. Clair’s website and seems to be the song with which he is leading. Below is “Feeling Alive.” It’s fun. Also recommended is “Pain,” which isn’t fun but is very good.

(Photo: www.earlstclair.com)

Our New Things: Links to Music Sites and Info on Analog Tech and Vinyl

TDMB has focused on music and musicians. We will continue to do that, of course. We're also expanding our coverage to include vinyl and analog equipment.

More specifically, we'll look at this huge and interesting world from the perspective of music lovers who want a better experience, not committed non-audiophiles.

Check out is some of what we've written so far:

-- Assessing the Value of Vinyl Records: An Overview

-- 7 Quick Tips on Optimizing Your Turntable Cartridge

-- Why Vinyl Records Continue to Thrive

-- Finding the Best Amplifier

-- Finding the Best Phono Preamp

-- What Speakers Do I Need for My Turntable?

Check out more articles on analog equipment and vinyl.

The site also is home to The Internet Music Mapping Project, an effort to list and describe as many music-related sites as possible.

Our Music

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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