Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

Labelle,1975

Labelle,1975

Once upon a time when music albums were carved into vinyl, I had one called Phoenix, which was released in 1975 by the singing group LaBelle.

Composed of singers Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash, Labelle is probably best known the song “Lady Marmalade” released in ’74. Forebears to Madonna and GaGa, LaBelle sang out loud about life, sex, and equality. They fully appreciated their power as women, yet their unabashed confidence and their refusal to present themselves as a traditional “girl” group ironically caused some to speculate that they were men in drag. (Similar rumors circulated about the late great Donna Summer, who also cast herself as a grown woman and sexual being).

At 15, as I am now, I was drawn to uninhibited outpourings, and this album more than fits the bill. In particular, the song “Phoenix: The Amazing Flight of a Lone Star” speaks to me so strongly, with its beautiful lyrics. Despite the abandon of it all, the singing and soaring harmonies are completely in control.

Packed away in crates in the back of my closet, I have tons of albums I haven’t played in many years but I would never think to part with them. Yesterday as I was populating a new MP3 player (I wore the last one out), “Phoenix”  popped into my head. I was surprised and delighted to find it on You Tube and elsewhere as a free MP3 download. (I should figure out how to turn my albums into MP3s.)

I’m so happy “Phoenix” has risen again.

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2012

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Comments on: "LaBelle: Then Phoenix .." (19)

  1. Thanks for this walk down memory lane.

  2. I have also kept all my old records. And I think the YouTube video you posted is a recording made on a record because in the quieter parts of the song you can hear the distinctive little scratchy noises that you could hear after you played them several times. I loved Lady Marmalade and I danced to its beat when it first came out way back when I still had hair on my head. Thanks for this trip down memory lane Adriene!

  3. oh my … this song! this is vinyl kitchen chair sticking to my thighs as mama stood over me, cigarette hanging from her lips, slapping blue magic on my edges just as the straightnin’ comb layed into my scalp! I had no idea what the name of this song was or that it was LaBelle & I have not heard it since. thank you for the memory (I think) – lol!

    • Haaa! Yes indeed, Stacy, I have those hair memories too. I tried to buy a hot comb at the store some months back and all they had were the electric kind. It just ain’t the same!! This comment made my day, thanks! :p

  4. I wish I had kept my old records as I miss the music of the 70s. Now that you reminded me, I remember Lady Marmalade and their distinctive voices. Music tends to bring back hidden memories.Thanks for recalling another time.

    • It really is amazing how music can bring you right back into the moment with such accuracy. I love 70s music, and yes, even disco. It was interesting to come of age in such distinctive times.

  5. I had my share of those music albums carved into vinyl.
    We know our music don’t we girl? I liked Patti LaBelle but never owned a single of her albums. But she does have a signature voice, doesn’t she? The radio always played. “Ring my bell…”

    I collected Jimi Hendrix albums 😉 I loved his signature style and his lyrical genius and owned every single album he made.

    “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
    ~ Jimi Hendrix

    • I love music, my penchant for disco notwithstanding! ;p I wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight if I didn’t say that “Ring my bell” wasn’t Patti, but Anita Ward. I have that 12″ 45 in my closet too! o-O

      I never really got into Jimi Hendrix, but when I hear him or see a clip of him, I recognize his genius. Great quote; so true. xox

  6. Adriene, I think this video clip is also from an old vinyl record! I confess I am not familiar with “Phoenix” even though I do like Patty LaBelle very much. She was also a favorite’s of daddy. I think it’s wonderful that you have all those old records! Now this is what I call true “vintage”! 🙂

  7. Hey there, great blog and that’s why I have nominated your blog for the One Lovely Blog Award.
    You can find all the information that you need here:http://thecoffeethrust.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/one-lovely-blog-award/

  8. Patti is one of my favorites. I’ve never heard of this album. I have to check it out. Thanks!

  9. Cool post! I came here via StumbleUpon and totally know what it’s like keeping some classic music from one format to another. Some years ago, I even recorded some of my cassettes from the 80s into MP3s. These days, thankfully, digital music is easier to come by – which is especially great when you remember a rare song from the past, and there it is, on YouTube.

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