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Thread: Labelle

  1. #51
    Boogie--I don't remember who approached whom, but it was probably me. I used to live in Western NY, almost exactly halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, so I got to see Nona a lot. I recall one show, in probably 1982 in Buffalo, where she split the bill with, believe it or not, Savoy Brown. You probably never heard of them--they were a country rock band that never quite broke out. It was the weirdest show. It was originally going to take place two weeks earlier but there was a snowstorm and it got cancelled. Anyway, the audience was totally schizoid, half were hay seeds for Savoy Brown, the other half were New Wavers like myself. Nona came out first, and I remember she put a little fold up chair on the stage and sat on it backwards where her stomach was against the back of the chair. She placed a red strobe light in front of her crotch!!! She sang Bowie's Boys Keep Swinging, I think, while that strobe light kept calling attention to her--well, you know. That's my girl!!!

  2. #52
    Boogie--Busting Out was Nona's big come back song!! It was number 1 or 2 on almost all the dance charts in 1981/82. It was so big in clubs that it caught the attention of the suits at RCA and they signed her! Such an incredible song, one of the best dance songs ever made IMO. I'm not sure what you think the lyrics are based on, but to me it was about the breakup of Labelle. The lines I've had enough/as much as I could take/I almost lost my courage to create are about her losing confidence as a creator. She never had a hit on her songs, unfortunately. If not for Busting Out, there never might have been a solo Nona career.

  3. #53
    Man I am posting too much. The line you mentioned in Busting Out isn't correct (sorry pal). What she says is I've gotten sorrow, without a hand to hold/I'm gonna move on

  4. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Boogie--I don't remember who approached whom, but it was probably me. I used to live in Western NY, almost exactly halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, so I got to see Nona a lot. I recall one show, in probably 1982 in Buffalo, where she split the bill with, believe it or not, Savoy Brown. You probably never heard of them--they were a country rock band that never quite broke out. It was the weirdest show. It was originally going to take place two weeks earlier but there was a snowstorm and it got cancelled. Anyway, the audience was totally schizoid, half were hay seeds for Savoy Brown, the other half were New Wavers like myself. Nona came out first, and I remember she put a little fold up chair on the stage and sat on it backwards where her stomach was against the back of the chair. She placed a red strobe light in front of her crotch!!! She sang Bowie's Boys Keep Swinging, I think, while that strobe light kept calling attention to her--well, you know. That's my girl!!!

    Oh .....my!

    Yes I know of Savoy Brown , wouldn't be able to identify them if played a tune though. It is odd how paired bookings can happen . I was going to mention in a recent thread about Andy Gibb , I worked in a record store in SF when he was ...bustin' out .... and got comps for his show down on Broadway in a not too big venue , The Kubuki (?) . (I didn't ask for them and wouldn't have gone if they weren't free. Record reps threw tickets at us, never wanting empty seats. Boy were we spoiled). Anyway the place was packed ....with young girls. The opening act , FOR SOME REASON , was a young woman sitting on a stool singing with an acoustic guitar. Poor thing . The crowd remained in a surprisingly patient but obviously disinterested trance until she took leave then Andy came out and all hell broke loose!
    Back to Nona ......you got hooked !! It all sounds great! Are you still in contact??
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 01-30-2021 at 01:46 PM.

  5. #55
    I haven't spoken to Nona or Vicki in a few years. No particular reason. I forgot all about Andy Gibb!! Seeing a Duran Duran show was the first and last show I'll ever see if the crowd is a sea of screeching teen girls! I think my ears are still ringing and that was 1984

  6. #56
    I was at that show too at the Apollo. But it felt like a mess as excited as I was to see them. Maybe because I was in the balcony and people did start drinking but I didnít notice any anger. Patti seemed out of it with her diabetes and Nona sort of took over. My friend was nervous about snowstorm and wanted to leave, so we never heard the acapella songs. Very disappointing evening. I agree bad luck!

  7. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Man I am posting too much. The line you mentioned in Busting Out isn't correct (sorry pal). What she says is I've gotten sorrow, without a hand to hold/I'm gonna move on
    No, Bobby C, you are most definitely not posting too much. This is everything I've wanted to hear and know about Labelle/Nona. I don't think I heard "Bustin Out" until the "Transformation" CD greatest hits collection. But I had "Do What You Wanna Do" on the 'Summer Lovers' soundtrack LP. So I was primed and ready for the "Nona" LP in 1983.

    Just after getting that release, in 1983 or 84, I used to go to the downtown library and read music periodicals like 'Billboard' while listening to albums. I found an album by Material because it had a track that Nona provided lead vocals for, "Take A Chance." Wasn't blown away but I sampled the whole album including a Giorgio Moroder-ish mournful ballad with a vocal by a woman who sounded too young to be so sad. The song was "Memories" and the vocalist was Whitney Houston. That song didn't really stick with me either but I think it is significant that my love of Nona Hendryx is responsible the first time I knowingly heard Whitney Houston.

  8. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    I'm enjoying this discussion ! All this talk of lyric writing , secret messaging etc. ....And a light bulb has gone off! ... I never thought of this before, but concerning :

    (I'M) BUSTIN' OUT

    Is this a take on Diana's I'M COMING OUT ? which had come out less than a year prior?

    I've got this cell door with no handle for
    I'm gonna move on
    Been so many years I've been inside of here
    Now I'm bustin' out , there will be no more tears.

    I'm bustin' out, I'm bustin' out

    Am I just now noticing the obvious here ?
    or
    Is it just my imagination , running away with me.
    The message is in her music, brave and forthright, but not simple or easily discerned. I had an epiphany the first time I paid attention to the lyrics of "I Believe That I Finally Made It Home." The part where Nona sings:

    Good morning, friends and relations

    I know you thought you were being kind
    When you locked up my mind
    But instead
    I wrote and they read
    The truth with me


    Followed by this rousing chorus with her sisters:

    That's why I believe that I finally made it home
    I believe that with me there’s nothing wrong
    I believe their thoughts are inane
    And I’m all right
    While this whole political world has gone insane


    That exclamation of saying there was "nothing wrong" with her (me), that we are "all right", that 'they' had the problem and WE had finally made it "Home" -- to hear that was overwhelming to me on a personal level. To know that a queer Black woman wrote that lyric just shortly after I was born...

    I might have cried when I first understood what they were singing.

  9. #59
    Hi Guy--thank you. Whitney Houston said that she recorded Memories with Material because Nona was one of her idols at the time! She said this in an interview in the early 80's. The song Do What You Wanna do was a cover, and it was really big in the clubs. They still play it every once in a while. Now regarding Busting Out--it was so big in the clubs, especially those on the East coast, that ZE records was caught off guard. They didn't have the muscle to supply the record across the country. It crossed over to the Hot 100 but then stalled. Small label small distribution. Regardless it sparked a lot of interest in Nona and she got signed after a five year dry spell. From 1979 to 1982, Nona was all over the place doing session work, recording with Talking Heads (check out their song Slippery People, Nona and Dolette were just wailing on that track), Jerry Harrison, Our Daughter's Wedding, Yoko Ono, the cage, Material, Cameo, and lots of other people. Nona did a couple of live shows with talking Heads but got signed by RCA in 1982 and started recording her second solo album Nona. Reviews were ecstatic. I remember them. My entire floor of my dorm at the time became huge fans and about 20 of us went to see her at the Tralf in 1984. That record IMO was Nona's big chance but RCA wasn't sure how to market her. She didn't fit radio formats but the emerging alt rock/new wave stations played her stuff to death, particularly Transformation. The album Nona sold consistently for over a year and had a huge impact on other artists at the time. David Bowie "stole" Nona's guitarist and Bowie started playing her album before his Serious Moonlight tour shows. The buzz was just enormous.

  10. #60
    A variety of replies to a variety of posts :
    * I'll be an unappreciated contrarian and state that Labelle's not having a follow-up hit to LM was not as unexpected as was the fact that LM and the Nightbirds lp were hits. This, due to the fact that most of the heavier, funk-orientated acts at the time did not have huge singles success and also that Black radio did not embrace the group
    * Nona was a singer with the Talking Heads on an (I think) Aug'83 show at NYC's Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. She tucked by me on her way to a backstage area and was gorgeous
    * I thought Bowie should have had Nona as his opening act during the Serious Moonlight and/or Glass Spider tours
    * Nona did a great show at NYC's beloved Ritz concert hall during the Why Should I Cry era and was received like a true legend by the adoring crowd
    * Sarah also had a well-received engagement at NYC's Reno Sweeney nightclub.

  11. #61
    Labelle is the only girl group to emerged from the 1960s girl group era where all three members sang lead and went on to record numerous solo albums. They also did reunion album in 2008 that was followed by a tour.

    Name:  book 5.jpg
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    Up coming book...

  12. #62
    I'll be getting this book!

  13. #63
    Scratch that. I will not be buying this book. I just went to Amazon and this guy is asking for the same amount of money for the KINDLE version of this book as he is the soft cover, real book. Ridiculous.

  14. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Scratch that. I will not be buying this book. I just went to Amazon and this guy is asking for the same amount of money for the KINDLE version of this book as he is the soft cover, real book. Ridiculous.
    I pretty much feel the same; doesn't even say how many pages it is, which leads me to believe it;s more of a (hopefully) well-meaning and highly subjective essay. I've fallen for a few of these sort of 'books' in the past and regretted doing so. I might be willing to Patreon $5 to read it once on line, but until I hear more, that's about it.

  15. #65
    Back to Labelle and LGBTQ+ identification. I was self-identified as gay at 15 when I first experienced Labelle's dynamic appearance on 'SOUL!'. At that time, and for the entire contemporary history of Labelle I personally did not think of the members of any specific sexuality, regardless of rumors. I did absolutely think of them as LGBTQ+ friendly. Additionally I did not experience any remotely sexual pantomine among the members on stage; what I always saw and interpreted was female solidarity first and self-exploration and liberation for all immediately following. I do recall Nona's revelation of bi/pan-sexuality, and I also recall it not really rocking any boats here in the NYC-metro area. I think a lot of the more salacious rumors were wishful thinking by some fans who may have thought they were doing something positive. As far as commercial impact of the rumors, well ... the same rumors were rampant about Melissa Manchester (whose audiences through the mid-70's had a large and rapturous lesbian audience) and Anne Murray. AND ... let's not forget David Bowie! Rumors and self-identifying statements certainly didn't hold him back. It's tempting to want to attribute the group's relatively low airplay and record sales on gay rumors, but I think the reality is that Labelle made music that was a bit too progressive and just too damned funky for mass airplay, particularly during an era when white mobs were publicly burning records by Black artists.

  16. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Scratch that. I will not be buying this book. I just went to Amazon and this guy is asking for the same amount of money for the KINDLE version of this book as he is the soft cover, real book. Ridiculous.
    I'll get it. Written by Adele Bertei who is an interesting singer/songwriter herself. I am interested in all insights on Labelle.

  17. #67

  18. #68

  19. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Great song.
    Last edited by PeaceNHarmony; 02-08-2021 at 09:11 PM.

  20. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post


    (I'M) BUSTIN' OUT


    .
    have you ever noticed the similarity in the two??



  21. #71
    The book is 18.95 and 208 pages

  22. #72
    Okay now that you mention it, there is some similarity in the intros, Boogie, but good lord. These songs were from different planets in terms of vibe. Busting Out was dark and underground, where Born to Be Alive was a total clone fest.

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