Category Archives: Rhythm

A Rose In Detroit Michigan

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A Rose In Detroit Michigan

Aretha Louise Franklin

March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018


By now we know that Aretha Franklin died of Pancreatic Cancer on Thursday, August 16, 2018, at age 76, leaving behind a legacy including iconic music and civil rights activism.  Here’s how we best knew this extraordinary singer.

Her Recordings:

Respect 1967

Natural Woman 1968

I Say A Little Prayer 1968

Chain Of Fools 1968

I Knew You Were Waiting 1986

Think 1968

Do Right Woman – Do Right Man 1967

Ain’t No Way 1968

Precious Lord Part 1 1956

Rock Steady 1972

Until You Come Back To Me 1974

A Change Is Gonna Come 1967

Freeway Of Love 1985

Day Dreaming 1972

Bridge Over Trouble Water 1971

Don’t Play That Song 1970

I Never Loved A Man 1967

Spanish Harlem 1972

Baby I Love You 1967

A Rose Is Still A Rose 1998

Rolling In The Deep 2014

Since You’ve Been Gone 1968

Willing To Forgive 1994

You Send Me 1968

Today I Sing The Blues 1980

Share Your Love With Me 1970


Ever Changin’ Times 1991

Won’t Be Long 1980

Something He Can Feel 1976

One Step Ahead 1967

The House That Jack Built 2014

Reading the titles alone should have started a plethora of melodies, tunes, and songs dancing inside you.  It did for me, and if it didn’t for you,  perhaps because you were born after the years above. I urge you to google them and take a listen, you are in for a treat.

Researching an artist like the Queen of Soul means hours of pleasure for your ears,  and you won’t bore the person in your life who is more familiar with the list above, because rediscovering great music is just as pleasurable as first discovery.

I enjoyed and remember well; the time back in 1992, when a friend asked that I come by her place after work to hear her new CD by her favorite new recording artists.  She prided herself on getting the newest releases in movies, music, and fashion… this time it was the group EnVogue’s  CD Funky Divas that she was most proud of, because as far as she knew, amongst her friends she was the first to own it.

I came in as she was opening and pouring a glass of wine.  She put the CD on and we listened. We listened to five songs… I enjoyed all of them and told her so between each song, and each time she would say, “yeah” with a knowing nod followed by, “wait till the next one.”  Number 6 played and I listened. Giving Him Something He Can Feel was the song and when it was over, I didn’t automatically offer my approval as I had for the previous 5.  This caused her to glance at me through the stem of her turned up glass, now half empty, and ask immediately after swallowing, “how did you like that one?”  I said, ‘I loved it,’ sending a smile across her lips. I continued saying they did a good job on it, I enjoyed it—I also enjoyed it back in 1976 when Aretha Franklin did it.


She asked, letting the smile drop from her cheeks.  Apparently, she had never heard it until then. But I knew it well, you see, my parents were Aretha Franklin fans.  What I didn’t know at the time was that, Something He Can Feel, as it was originally named, was written by Curtis Mayfield for the 1976 motion picture Sparkle.  

(If you are not familiar with Curtis Mayfield you’ll want to google him, too.)

It became a number one hit on the Billboard R&B singles chart in 1976 recorded by Aretha, then again in 1992 recording by the Funky Divas.

There is, has been, and always will be great words written about Aretha Franklin.  Her voice and music is the sound track of our lives attached to stories of laughter, excitement, heartaches and pain.  But no matter how painful the memory, her music evokes a soothing melody that aids in healing.

She walks into a room, puts her purse down on a piano, (black women keep their purse close),  sits at that piano, and plays, sings, (and I mean sings), which is rare today in the music world of new recording artists.  Aretha did that and much more. For me, she had an ordinary speaking voice like my mother calling for me to come in for dinner, then sings a song that sends chills up and down my spine. So cool and laid back you’d invite her to your party, but so powerful that if she came you’d bow down as to follow protocol when royalty enters the room; and if she blessed you with a song, you’d know why she is The Queen Of Soul.  Her songs praised men at a time when they brought home the bacon, and there was mutual respect between black men and women through a time of uphill civil rights battles, unemployment, lack of education and a nation filled with racist white cops—through it all her music brought us from an unfair opportunity to amazing grace. Aretha Franklin will be missed. She was truly a rose in Detroit, Michigan that became The Queen of Soul.

By Brandon Finney

Spanish Harlem

Ben E. King

There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
It is a special one, it’s never seen the sun
It only comes out when the moon is on the run
And all the stars are gleaming
It’s growing in the street right up through the concrete
But soft and sweet and dreaming

There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
With eyes as black as coal that look down in my soul
And starts a fire there and then I lose control
I have to beg your pardon

I’m going to pick that rose
And watch her as she grows in my garden

I’m going to pick that rose
And watch her as she grows in my garden

La la la, la la la, la la la la
(There is a rose in Spanish Harlem)
La la la, la la la, la la la la
(There is a rose in Spanish Harlem)

Bow Down- Cleveland Defeats Golden State In NBA Finals

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LeBron James leads Cleveland to it's first pro sports title in more the fifty years.

LeBron James leads Cleveland to it’s first pro sports title in more than fifty years.




The last time a Cleveland professional sports team won a championship was in 1964 when the Cleveland Browns won the NFL Championship. Thanks to the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, led by native son LeBron James,  bowed heads have been lifted; the drought is over.  Battling back from a 3-1 deficit in the series, the Cavs marched into Oracle Arena, home of the defending champion Golden State Warriors, and snatched the decisive game seven along with the hearts of the Warriors, defeating them 93-89.   A short handed Cleveland squad lost to Golden State in last year’s Finals, but this year’s fully loaded Cavs emerged victorious and leave the Warriors one option, Bow Down – Westside Connection.

Pistons Give Cavs All They Can Handle

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Lebron James drives to the basket against the Pistons

Lebron James drives to the basket against the Pistons.

Giving You the Best That I Got – Anita Baker
Today against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Detroit Pistons came out firing on all cylinders. The Pistons shot 62% from 3 point range and finished the first half leading the top seeded Cavaliers by five (58-53.)   The Cavaliers however, led by Lebron James,  overcame a seven point fourth quarter deficit and posted a 101/106 win.  Cleveland’s ‘Big three’ James, Kevin Love,  and Kyrie Irving combined for 80 points.


NBA Playoffs Predictions 2016

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Indiana Pacers vs Toronto Raptors Sat, April 16, 9:30 AM PT


1.  Raptors/Pacers – This Town – Tona Tencreddi
Two consecutive first round playoff exits have given the Toronto Raptors something to prove;  expect authentication when they face the Indiana Pacers in the first round. Toronto’s backcourt duo Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will prove too much for the ‘bench light,’ seventh seeded Pacers.  In their last meeting, Toronto trounced the Pacers while resting Lowry and DeRozan and bested them in three out of four regular season matchups;  this series will follow suit.  Paul George is a two-way superstar, but has little help and won’t be enough to hold off the hungry Raptors. Toronto in 6.


Houston Rockets vs GS Warriors Sat, April 16, 12:30 PM PT

Houston Rockets vs GS Warriors
Sat, April 16, 12:30 PM PT

2. Warriors/Rockets – Motivation – T.I.
Dear Houston Rockets:
If an opportunity to rock the basketball world off it’s axis  by ousting the reigning champs in the first round isn’t enough motivation to bring your ‘A game’ to this series, then I don’t know what is.  You have the tools.  James Harden: ditch the Globetrotter dribbling exhibition,and feed Dwight in the paint first;  you’ll feast of his kickouts if he doesn’t score or get fouled.  Dwight Howard: demand the ball!  Drape your cape and channel those Orlando days when you dominated the paint, for Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut,  nor  Marreese Speights can guard superman.  Everyone else: play out if your mind,  that’s what it will take to upset Steph and nem.  Bold prediction, Rockets in 7.


Boston Celtics vs Atlanta Hawks Sat, April 16 4 PM PT

Boston Celtics vs Atlanta Hawks
Sat, April 16, 4 PM PT

3. Celtics/Hawks –  Ordinary Average Guy – Joe Walsh

With nary a marquee player in sight, this is officially The Blue Collar Series.  While Boston is young,  Atlanta is familiar.  The real battle here will be between the coaches.  It’s really a toss up, but I’m taking Atlanta in 7.




Dallas Mavericks vs OKC Thunder Sat, April 16, 6:30 PM PT


4. Mavericks/Thunder – Thunder – Prince

The Dallas Mavericks proved they are not afraid of thunder in 2011 by eliminating  a young OKC squad in 5 games; in 2016,  they should be.  Led by All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook , the Thunder will snatch the very souls of the  rebuilding Mavericks in this opening round.  They  don’t call Durant ‘The Slim Reaper” for nothing. It’s harvest time, OKC in four.

Standing On The Top/ The Temptations

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Golden-State-Warriors-Win-The-2015-NBA-Championship1We are six weeks into the NBA season, and the reigning NBA Champion Golden State Warriors are Standing On the Top (feat. Rick James) – The Temptations.  After disposing of the Boston Celtics last evening in a double overtime 124-119 victory,  the 24-0 Warriors remain unbeaten.  Stephen Curry, last year’s league MVP has set himself apart as arguably  the most prolific shooter the Association has ever seen,  and leads the league in points per game,  and is fourth in steals, with 2.25 per game.  The Warriors suit up tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks, in the finale of a seven game road trip.  Tonight’s game will be the first of two contests betwixt the two teams, and the question remains; who will be the first to defeat the Warriors?  Tip off is 5:30 pm, and the world will be watching.

“So You Win Again”/ Hot Chocolate

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So you win again, you win again

Here I stand again, the loser/ Hot Chocolate

So You Win Again – Hot Chocolate

Serena Williams wins her 3rd French Open title

Serena Williams wins her 3rd French Open title 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2.

Certainly those Hot Chocolate lyrics echo the sentiments of Serena Williams’ last 21 Grand Slam opponents.  Earlier today top-ranked Williams defeated 13th-seeded Lucie Safarova to win her third French Open title 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2; stretching her Glam Slam winning streak to 21 matches. Only two women in the history of tennis, Margaret Smith Court with 24 and Steffi Graf  with 22, have claimed more major titles than the 33 year old Williams.

“Finally”/CeCe Peniston

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200px-Mayweather_Pacquiao_Official_PosterFinally – CeCe Peniston,  after more than five years of negotiations and a litany of on again off again rumors, the much anticipated welterweight fight between Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao is on again.  Mayweather and Pacquiao will take the squared circle May 2, 2015 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for what is being billed as The Fight of the Century. With the average ticket price going at a lofty $11,000, the event soldout in 60 seconds after being announced, and is expected to gross more than $500 million.

Both fighters flaunt impressive resumes. Mayweather, (47-0), has never lost a professional fight;  and Pacquiao is the only man to will titles in eight divisions in the history of the sport. This one will live up to the hype folks, finally.

NBA Playoff Predictions

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1. Cavaliers/Celtics

Game 1, April 19, 12:00PM PST, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio

Game 1, April 19, 12:00PM PST, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio

With a Little Luck – Wings

When the Boston Celtics (40-42) meet Lebron James and  the Cleveland Cavaliers (53-29) Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena, they’d better bring the luck of the Irish with them.  It wouldn’t hurt to bring a four-leaf clover and a rabbit’s foot as well.  James, the best player on the planet, is on a mission to gift his home state with an NBA Championship, and if  that isn’t enough, he has help.  All Star  point guard Kyrie Irving  proved he’s capable on dropping 50 on any given night, Kevin Love,  can pass, shoot,  and rebound, and J.R. Smith  never met a shot he didn’t like and has been a key contributor for the Cavs this season. So much for wishful thinking; a little luck won’t be enough. Cavs in 4.


2. Nets/Hawks

Game 1, Sunday April 19, 12:30 PM PST,Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

Game 1, Sunday April 19, 12:30 PM PST,Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

I Get the Job Done – Big Daddy Kane

With no true superstars, few death defying dunks, and little fanfare,  the Atlanta Hawks (60-22) work, and they get the job done.  They have done it all season, and I expect more of the same this first round of the playoffs.  They clock in Sunday against the  Brooklyn Nets (38-44).  The Hawks showed  that they are able to effectively use dribble penetration and ball movement to shred teams during the regular season going on an early tear and had at one point posted a 19 game winning streak. Expect the Hawks, who swept the Nets during the regular season, to employ these same tactics,  along with their blue collar attitude and wrap up this series in 4. Names were purposely omitted from this article, as the only name to remember after this series  will be the Hawks.


3. Grizzlies/Trail Blazers

Game 1, Sunday, April 19 PM,PST, FedExForum, Memphis Tn.

Game 1, Sunday, April 19 PM,PST, FedExForum, Memphis Tn.

It Takes Two – Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock

Although basketball regulations allow 5 players per team to compete at once, when the Memphis Grizzlies (55-27) open their playoff series at home against the Portland Trail Blazers(51-31), the outcome may very well boil down to 2. Allow me to explain. As All Stars Damian Lillard and LaMarcus  Aldridge go,  so go the Trail Blazers. Together they average more than 44 points per game. If Memphis can stop this duo, more than half of their work is done.  Same logic; the Grizzlies like to pound the ball inside to big men  Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol,  playing  inside out. Containing Randolph and Gasol will force the Grizzies  out of their comfort zone and put pressure on perimeter shooters  Jeff Green, Mike Conley, and Courtney Lee, (Conley and Lee are playing through injuries), to make shots. This may be the most evenly matched series of all, I’m taking Portland in 7.


4. Spurs/Clippers

Game !, Sunday, April 19, 7:30 PM PST Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

Game 1, Sunday, April 19, 7:30 PM PST Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

Motivation – T.I.
The Los Angeles Clippers (56-26) ended the regular season on a roll, winning 14 of their last 15 games and  securing home court advantage in round 1 of the playoffs. They finished the season with the league’s top offensive rating (109.8),  but will be underdogs when they face the defending champion  San Antonio Spurs (55-27)  Sunday night at Staples Center. Chris Paul has had an MVP type season, carrying the club offensively when All Star Blake Griffin missed a slew of games with a staph infection, but has never advanced past the second round. The Clippers must contain reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, win the battle on the boards, and dismantle the well oiled San Antonio machine in order to advance to the next round. If that isn’t enough motivation, I don’t know what is. Bold prediction- I’m taking the clippers in 6.

NBA Playoff Predictions

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1. Raptors/Wizards

Game 1, Saturday, April 18, 9:30 AM PST Washington Wizards  Vs Toronto Raptors Air Canada Centre, Toronto Canada

Game 1, Saturday, April 18, 9:30 AM PST
Washington Wizards Vs Toronto Raptors
Air Canada Centre, Toronto Canada

The Payback – James Brown

When the speedy John Wall and the Washington Wizards (46-36) take the court today against the Toronto Raptors (49-33), they will be undoubtedly seeking some get back.  The Raptors owned the Wizards during the regular season, sweeping them 3-0, and no doubt have the psychological advantage, but expect Wall’s stealth ability to penetrate and finish at the rim to be the difference maker in this series. One of the Wizard’s regular season losses to the Raptors was sans Wall’s backcourt counterpart Bradley Beal, who is now healthy and ready to go;  and too count on  the veteran leadership of former NBA Finals MVP Paul Pierce to negate the regular season statistics and level the playing field. Toronto is led by All Star point guard Kyle Lowry.  Raptor highflyers DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross  both like to run, thus this series will be akin to a track meet, and whichever backcourt performs best will win. I’m picking the Wizards to get their revenge in 5.


2. Pelicans/Warriors

Game 1, Saturday, April 18, 12:30 PM PST, Oracle Arena, Oakland, California

Game 1, Saturday, April 18, 12:30 PM PST, Oracle Arena, Oakland, California

All Eyez On Me – 2Pac & Syke

All eyes have been on the Golden State Warriors (67-15)  this season, and for good reason.  The Warriors posted the league’s best record. Anchored by sharp shooters  Steph Curry  and Klay Thompson Golden State opens their ring chase at home against the New Orleans Pelicans (45-37), and are expected to make short order of the birds.  Joining Curry and Thompson aka, “the Splash Brothers,” who combined for 63 points against the Pelicans Dec. 4th, are Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala,  Shaun Livingston, (off the bench), and defensive candidate of the year the edgy Draymond Green.  All can shoot, drive,  and score the basketball. The Pelicans are led by 2nd year man Anthony Davis, who has had an MVP type season, averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds plus two blocked shots per game. Davis will have to replicate those numbers to give his club an even remote chance of winning this series. If perimeter players Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, and Eric Gordon  can consistently  convert those wide open jumpers they’ll get while the top-ranked Warrior defense is doubling Davis in the paint, New Orleans might succeed at keeping this series competitive. If you look away, you might miss this one, #sweepwatch.


3. Bulls/Bucks

Game 1, Saturday April 18, 4PM PST, United Center, Chicago, Illinois

Game 1, Saturday April 18, 4 PM PST, United Center, Chicago, Illinois

Looks Like We Made It – Barry Manilow

At the beginning of the season no one had the Milwaukee Bucks(50-32) even  making the playoffs.  Don’t look now, but they are here, and seeded sixth no less.  The Bucks face off against the Chicago Bulls(50-32) Saturday at 4 pm in the “Chi.”  Head coach Jason Kidd and the Bucks could be content with the accomplishment and rest on their laurels, but don’t count on it;  for it seems they have adopted the feisty, competitive spirit exhibited by coach Kidd during his NBA playing days; they feel like they belong. When the Bucks lost rookie sensation Jabari Parker to an ACL injury, Brandon Knight, reigning rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams, and Khris Middleton jived around the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo to gain a post season berth.  To reach the second round, the Bucks must go through Chicago, and although the Bulls’ talented point guard Derrick Rose is not 100 percent, A Rose Is Still a Rose – Aretha Franklin .  The Bucks match up well against  Rose’s supporting cast:  skilled big men Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah, and Most Improved contender Jimmy Butler, but just because they made the playoffs, don’t expect a miracle. Bulls in 5.


4. Rockets/Mavericks

Game 1,Saturday,April 18, 6:30 PM PST, Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

Game 1,Saturday,April 18, 6:30 PM PST, Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

Bad Blood – Taylor Swift

There is no love loss between the Dallas Mavericks(50-32) and the Houston Rockets(56-26), and the two Texas squads square off this evening at Houston’s Toyota Center. Houston is led by the aggressive guard play of  James Harden, who has carried the Rockets all season, and is one of the front runners in the MVP race. Former Rocket Chandler Parsons is now a Maverick, and former Maverick Jason Terry is sporting a Rocket uniform these days.  Both teams lobbied for Dwight Howard in the summer of 2013, with Houston winning out;  throw in a snide comment here and there from both camps,  and you’ve got a bonafide  rivalry. Former Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki  leads the Mavericks, and newly acquired Rajon Rondo might slow Harden, but he wont stop “the bearded one,” with Howard healthy Dallas might draw first blood, but Houston will win the battle. Rockets in 6.