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Jeffery Daniel, Carolyn Griffney and Howard Hewitt  - The new Official line up

The 1980’s is tied with the 1960’s as the greatest musical decade of the 21st century. There I’ve said it. Big statement isn’t it? However, I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. A very long time indeed in fact I now stand by this.

So much happened musical within the decade of the 1980’s that in my opinion its ties with the decade of the 1960’s.

Now, I will let in you into a little secret. I was an avid watcher of the music show here in England that wasTop of the Pops.

During the 1980’s we saw musical events, monumental songs and music videos that was turn the music industry on its head.

Here in my opinion are the 5 musical videos or Live performances that wowed, shocked or spellbound the world during the 1980’s.

These are:

  1. Live Aid Event at Wembley stadium, London, England and in the USA at Philadelphia live on TV.
  2. The 1st time we saw the UK group called Imagination appearing on the music show called “Top of the Pops” – it seemed dressed in cats suits for men!
  3. The 1st time was saw the group called Culture Club live on World Tv when we saw them on the music show known as  “Top of the Pops” here in the uk – singing "Do you really want to hurt me
  4. The 1st time we saw the Video of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” live on TV across the world.
  5. The 1st time we saw "The Moonwalk” live on TV here in the UK when Jeffrey Daniels performed it here on the music show called “Top of the Pops” performing the song called “A Night to remember for the group called Shalamar.

And it’s with the last point which I mentioned that I would like to dig deeper with you. I will never forget (and the same goes for half the nation of the UK at the time!) when we saw that performance by Jeffrey Daniel on “Top of the Pops for the group called Shalamar – when performing the song called “Night to Remember”.

(A Night to Remember -Song and Performance by Jeffrey Daniel - 1st time on Uk TV - June 1982)

Dressed in all white we all witnessed Jeffrey Daniel, a gifted dancer in his own right perform the backslide (as he called it and later became as the (“Moonwalk”) on live UK TV for the 1st time on UK Soil.

 

(A Night to Remember - Jeffrey Daniel - Song and Performance - 2nd time on Uk TV - June 1982)

Jeffrey was part of the dance crew known as the Electric Boogaloos that appeared on the USA music show that was known as Soul Train

The group that is Shalamar came about due to the thoughts and brainstorming of Dick Griffney and Don Cornelius who both worked on the music show calledSoul Train(within the USA) to create the group.

Griffney was looking for the right blend of singers to create the group. He came up with Jeffery Daniel, Jody Watley and Gerald Brown.

However Gerald Brown wasn’t too happy with the payment arrangements and scheduling that was arranged by Dick Griffney. Gerald Brown left the group because of this. So a replacement was needed.

And this came about when Jeffery Daniel came about a chance meeting with the vocalist called Howard Hewitt. Eventually and offer was put over to Howard if he wanted to be a part of Shalamar. He accepted the offer, and Shalamar had a new line up.

The group’s first single as Jody Watley, Howard Hewitt and Jeffery Daniel produced the group 1st single together as the new line up. The single is to be called “Uptown Festival”. The single was a hit.

And Shalamar and that line up that we know and love were on their way.

Jeffery Daniel, Jody Watley and Howard Hewitt

So when news reached me that Shalamar were to play in my Home town (Ipswich Town, here in England on the 10th April, 2016). I was more than determined to get myself a ticket and see them. (www.shalamar.info)

Shalamar we always be remembered here fondly in the UK for 3 things.

  1. The classic Shalamar line up of Jody Watley, Howard Hewitt and Jeffrey Daniel.
  2. The released of the album called “Friends” – which produced the hits that made them a household name across the world.
  3. The dance that was performed on UK TV by Jeffery Daniel (For Shalamar) for the UK music show called “Top of the Pops”.

However, it hasn’t been all sweetness and light within the group.

For instance, the classic line up of Jeffery Daniel, Jody Watley and Howard Hewitt is no more. Jeffery and Howard are still there, but there’s no Jody. She has been replaced by the vocalist that is Carolyn Griffney.

According to Jeffery Daniel (Blues and Soul Magazine - March 2016 – issue 1026)

“Carolyn is more Jazzy, Soulful and Pop which gives it another edge which makes it more interesting; it doesn’t change it, but it enhances it. Her presence on stage is really powerful. It is like an injection for me and Howard. It took Carolyn a while to find her balance with us, but she has earned her strips”.

Regarding the dispute between Jody Watley and her use of the name of Shalamar has not been solves as yet.

Jeffery Daniel added:

“I don’t want to say anything negative about Jody because I brought her on the industry. I taught her how to sing.  I am the founding member of Shalamar. I bought her and Howard into the group. Howard could already sing.

When we decided to re-group in 1999. I asked Jody if she wanted to be a part of Shalamar again, and she said she was wasn’t interested in re-hashing the past. She didn’t want anything to do with Shalamar.

I respected that. She was not interested to the point when she would do a Solo show; if someone requested Shalamar song she would say – go home and listen to the Cd.

Therefore, here we are today (and) she has formed her own Shalamar. What makes it odd to me is that as long as Howard Hewitt and I are still alive and performing as Shalamar; how do you have another one? Who’s going to sing Howards parts?  He’s the lead vocalist!

I don’t want to get into a nasty thing; its’ not about negativity. Some people are wise and some people are otherwise. If the public want to see Jody, go and see Jody. If they want to see us, cone and see us.. Let the public decide, but Shalamar is Howard Hewitt and Jeffery Daniel”.

With that said, that date of 10th April 2016 was firmly ironed into my brain to go and see them. Has it been 34 years since the release of the album called “Friends”?

The album called "Friends" - that made  Shalamar Internationally known..

And yes I did go and see them perform at the Corn Exchange here in Ipswich Town, on the 10th April, 2016. It was a sell-out event. And those that saw it witnessed the show on the 10th April, 2016 within Ipswich Town, England got there monies worth.

The vocal delivery of the group were spot on. And so was the band that accompanied them. Howard Hewitt the groups lead singer excelled with the vocal deliveries. And we were allowed to witness this as he did a few solo songs within the show himself so that we can highlight this.

A nice touch was thrown in within the show as Shalamar paid tribute to Maurice White (of Earth, Wind and Fire - USA) and David Bowie(UK) who have died recently (within 2016!) that made a difference to them musically. They performed a classic Earth, Wind Fire track and a Classic David Bowie track that was met by great approval by the Ipswich Crowd.

Jeffery, excited the Ipswich crowd again when he performed his classic dance moves to the song that made him and Shalamar a house hold name in 1982. The song in question was “A night to remember”.

It was here that Jeffery showed us that he hasn’t any of his dance moves that included “Lock and Popping moves” that made him a house hold name across the world.

The crowd in Ipswich didn’t stay in their seats for long; in fact many rushed to the front of the stage early on during Shalamar performance.

On a personal note. During 2016, already we have witness so many great performers in the world of music or other forms of entertainment pass away. It’s good to see a group that makes you feel good again on stage.

Shalamar live on stage at the Corn Exchange event here in Ipswich Town, England

We took the 1980s for granted.  I for one when the opportunity arises will try and see these group’s whenever I can.

No I am not stuck in a time warp. That is not the case at all. As I listen to new tracks by todays artists as much as I can.

However, during the 1980’s we saw things happening in front of us for the first time that still influences todays’ music entertainment business.

The emerging music and cultural scene of Hip-Hop musical movement, the Rare Groove explosion within the UK, House music explosion, The Lovers Rock Reggae explosion from the UK that took Jamaica by surprise, The Techno music explosion, the 2nd musical Invasion from the Uk to the USA during the early 1980’s that included the Brit Funk movement, the music video format and would you believe it the TV Show that was - Miami Vice!!

All become worldwide musical talking points; and also changed the face of the music and media entertainment that we take for granted today.

Shalamar were a part of that great era or Decade, and what a group they were. And thankfully they still are with us. Thanks Shalamar!!

Well that all folks for me now anyway.

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Dj Mistri and the Electric Soul Show © www.electricsoulshow.com