Monday, January 16, 2006

Remembering Phyllis

I was really in the mood to listen to the posthumously released Phyllis Hyman CD I Refuse To Be Lonely. I had just got done conversing with my parents and they reminded me for the millionth time how I'm all alone in Chicago. Plus my attempts at a decent love life are at best laughable. I got stood up last Friday again. Not that it'd matter anyway. Even if I were to make it past a date with a guy, I'd only wind up ruining the relationship with my clingy ways.

Yes I was really feeling some Phyllis Hyman. Unfortunately I wasn't able to satiate that thirst like I wanted to . I have this bad habit of putting the wrong CDs in the wrong cases whenever the mood to listen to a different artist strikes me. Go through a few shuffles and there's at least two dozen CDs not in their rightful homes. My Phyllis Hyman cover contained my Gary Taylor CD Love Dance. That CD's another winner, by the way. I did enjoy listening to such gems as Erotica and Flirting With An Angel. But then it reminded me that I was about as erotic as a sputtering, oil guzzling hooptie & the last time I flirted with an angel, they wound up being a devil in disguise. Phyllis, I need you.

I need your strong, smoky voice to tell me that I'm not alone in my feelings. I need you to smolderingly belt out the words...

"Yes I am alone. Yes I'm on my own. But for the first time in my life, I'm gonna carry on."

I need you to sing to me...

"This too shall pass away. The longest night becomes the day. Hold up your head and say. This too shall pass away."

I need you to...

"Give me one good reason to stay..." hopeful, positive, and knowing that I shouldn't give up. I need to know not to throw in the towel when the going gets rough.

It's been over ten years since that fateful day Phyllis left the world. It was on June 30, 1995 that Phyllis's personal demons took over and ultimately made her take her own life. I remember waking up Saturday morning to the shocking news. I was six months into my first real job after graduating college. Getting to that point was in itself an ordeal and I was currently hating my job.

I wish I could say that I was an avid fan of Phyllis's. But I have to say that while her voice impressed me when hearing her individual singles such as Don't Want To Change The World, Living All Alone, and Old Friend, it didn't get me to buy any of her LPs. But like everything else I took for granted, I realized what a talent Phyllis had when she was gone.

So as soon as the posthumously released I Refuse To Be Lonely CD came out, I rushed to buy it. I'm sure lots of other folks who didn't realize her talent while she was alive rushed out and bought it too as did her strongest supporters. To say that the album was a perfect compliment to Phyllis's smoky voice would be an understatement. MJB may be the MVP of 2006 and Mimi may have rocked 2005, but neither lady's LPs can compare to Phyllis's.

Considering the circumstances of Phyllis's life, the song selections were very haunting. Her single Give Me One Good Reason To Stay almost in retrospect seems like her suicide letter being sung. The powerful single I Refuse To Be Lonely is an anthem for all of us who don't have a signficant other to let everyone know that they may be alone but they won't be consumed by it. Her LP wasn't all doom and gloom. I'm Truly Yours finds Phyllis happily and simply coming to the conclusion that her partner in life is really hers. She reminds that partner inthe single It Takes Two that it's easier to go through life's trials together than separately. She even tackles the classic it's not you, it's me in the single It's Not About You (it's about me). I can't tell you how many times I heard that line...*LOL*.

Phyllis was the overlooked MVP with the instantly recognizable voice. I took her talent for granted. It's a shame that she isn't with us anymore to make beautiful music. However she left the gift of her voice behind with a very nice catalog of songs. I will look into buying a compilation CD with some of her greatest hits. Rest in PEACE Phyllis.


Blogger Marz said...

HMM. I've never heard of her. (Youth thang). But I'll give her a listen.


11:30 PM, January 16, 2006  
Blogger Virginia Slim said...

Okay for the big hair, over the top make-up, and enormous accessories! You can tell what decade it was from those pics. Not an big fan of Hyman's but I can appreciate her artistry. Thanks for reminding us.

But I can't believe you got stood up! That's cause for immediate ass kicking. Did the person at least call you and offer an excuse?

Thanks for the love you show me on the blog. Hope all is well with you. Make it a stellar day, man. Peace....

9:22 AM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger Unconquerable Soul said...

my co-workers told me about Ms Hyman.. i have the Prime of my Life CD.. i swear that sista could sang.. RIP

12:33 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger princessdominique said...

Wow. Great post. I miss her too. I have a 200 CD changer and I never know what cd is where.

2:35 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger DizYaBoy said...

"When I Give My Love This Time ...

... I'm Gonna Make It Last Forever More!"

too young ... too talented!

6:20 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger lady in satin said...

The only song of hers that I remember is "Living all alone". I liked that song. I do remember when she died, although I was young. I remember my Grandmother really liking her music.

6:57 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger That Dude Right There said...

E, I swear that you and I are always in the same boat.

I got stood up Friday (we kinda sorta stood each other up) and I listened to Phyllis all weekend. I had "Living in Confusion" on repeat for like 2 hours.

7:54 PM, January 17, 2006  
Blogger Karamale said...

"I got stood up last Friday again. Not that it'd matter anyway. Even if I were to make it past a date with a guy, I'd only wind up ruining the relationship with my clingy ways."

i'm sorry that you feel that way about yourself, man. i used to feel that way too. it's not about being clingy, but about expressing your desire to share space. just know when to come up for air.

school daze is my only encounter with her. already felt shitty enough without needing to feel her pain.

1:00 AM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger M-Dubb said...

Phyllis Hyman is one of my sister's favorites (you all are the same age), so I had to put up with her even if I didn't want to.

but the voice was pure and you could hear her soul at every climax.

But I'mma still put my money on MJB da MVP, since that's the chick of my generation...

11:22 AM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger John Henry II said...

Its sad that she left the world so soon. It just goes to show that beauty and talent are everything in the world.....
Sorry you got stood up. I've been there too.

4:49 PM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger John Henry II said...

Ever head of Angela Bofill?

4:50 PM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger Holiday N said...

i swear i'm going to i-tunes to get me some Phyllis Hyman songs..i don't know anything by her but she sounds like someone i should hear.

8:34 PM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger E said...

Thanks everyone for your comments...I just want to respond to a few...

marz, holiday n: Definitely give Phyllis a listen. There have been plently of underrated artists over the years, but Phyllis is the cream of the underrated.

john henry: I have heard of Angela Bofill. But I haven't listened to much of her work. I will have to check her out.

that dude: Yeah we do have a lot of similiar experiences. I'm still tripping that you chose to listen to Phyllis too. Unfortunately I think my copy of Phyllis's CD was in my CD case that was stolen when I had my car serviced last year. Ohh...they reimbursed me for that. So I need to purchase the CD again.

karamale: Yeah, I'm working on the coming for air part. Your fictional novel, by the way, sounds like it's gonna be hot.

virginia slim: Nope. No explanation. He's already forgotten.

Marlon: I feel you on MJB..:-)

princessdominique: I wanna get one of those. That way I can know where all my CDs are...*LOL*.

9:36 PM, January 18, 2006  
Blogger mytruth said...

As a child, they use to make me dance off some of her songs

12:15 AM, January 19, 2006  
Blogger nosthegametoo said...

Single in Chicago. Can't many of us relate to that?

1:18 AM, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Clay said...

I LOVE PHYLISS ... my song is I Refuse To Be Lonely ... she was a genius!

6:24 PM, January 20, 2006  

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