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Thread started 02/13/19 9:53am

ThePersian

Teena Marie - Emerald City

For some reason over the years I never bothered to check out Lady Tee, despite all the soft links between Prince and her. But the other day I decided to dive in on the back of a weekend of non-stop Rick James. And I have to say that Emerald City in particular, is a brilliant, quirkly, odd-ball piece of genius work. It's almost an entire album of quirky compositions that will remind you of the all the good bits of that 80's sound and creativity. 9/10. I am the only one? According to it's Wikipedia page the album wasn't well-received by critics in general or Lady Tee fans.

The Earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.
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Reply #1 posted 02/13/19 11:35am

kitbradley

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ThePersian said:

For some reason over the years I never bothered to check out Lady Tee, despite all the soft links between Prince and her. But the other day I decided to dive in on the back of a weekend of non-stop Rick James. And I have to say that Emerald City in particular, is a brilliant, quirkly, odd-ball piece of genius work. It's almost an entire album of quirky compositions that will remind you of the all the good bits of that 80's sound and creativity. 9/10. I am the only one? According to it's Wikipedia page the album wasn't well-received by critics in general or Lady Tee fans.

"Lips to Find You" was absolutely the wrong choice for a first single. That choice made the album crash & burn. the song and the overall feel of the album was too Rock for black radio and Sony, for whatever reason, decided to do ZERO promotion for Teena at Pop radio even after the huge crossover success of "Lovergirl". Some black stations did pick up on "Shangri-La" and gave that some spins even though I don't believe it was released as a single. "Sunny Skies" also could have been a hit a black radio but, again, Sony dropped the ball as far as promotion and single choices.

"It's not nice to fuck with K.B.! All you haters will see!" - Kitbradley
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Reply #2 posted 02/13/19 1:32pm

SoulAlive

"Love Me Down Easy" music

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Reply #3 posted 02/13/19 1:45pm

SoulAlive

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Reply #4 posted 02/13/19 3:10pm

rdhull

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You So Heavy is/always been my shit. The whole cd is great imho.

c'mon baby, where's ya guts?
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Reply #5 posted 02/13/19 4:42pm

getxxxx

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This is in my top 3 fav Teena Marie lps along with Robbery and It Must Be Magic.
Nick Ashford was someone I greatly admired, had the honor of knowing, and was the real-life inspiration for Cowboy Curtis' hair. RIP Nick. - Pee Wee Herman
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Reply #6 posted 02/13/19 4:47pm

SoulAlive

kitbradley said:



ThePersian said:


For some reason over the years I never bothered to check out Lady Tee, despite all the soft links between Prince and her. But the other day I decided to dive in on the back of a weekend of non-stop Rick James. And I have to say that Emerald City in particular, is a brilliant, quirkly, odd-ball piece of genius work. It's almost an entire album of quirky compositions that will remind you of the all the good bits of that 80's sound and creativity. 9/10. I am the only one? According to it's Wikipedia page the album wasn't well-received by critics in general or Lady Tee fans.



"Lips to Find You" was absolutely the wrong choice for a first single. That choice made the album crash & burn. the song and the overall feel of the album was too Rock for black radio and Sony, for whatever reason, decided to do ZERO promotion for Teena at Pop radio even after the huge crossover success of "Lovergirl". Some black stations did pick up on "Shangri-La" and gave that some spins even though I don't believe it was released as a single. "Sunny Skies" also could have been a hit a black radio but, again, Sony dropped the ball as far as promotion and single choices.



It’s one of her most creative,most inspired albums but unfortunately,Sony didn’t know what to do with it.Such a shame.
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Reply #7 posted 02/13/19 4:52pm

HuMpThAnG

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SoulAlive said:

"Love Me Down Easy" music

music umm hmm

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Reply #8 posted 02/13/19 7:55pm

SoulAlive

HuMpThAnG said:



SoulAlive said:


"Love Me Down Easy" music



music umm hmm



It is a great song.Sony failed to turn that into the big hit that it deserved to be
confused
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Reply #9 posted 02/13/19 7:57pm

Goddess4Real

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SoulAlive said:

HuMpThAnG said:

music umm hmm

It is a great song.Sony failed to turn that into the big hit that it deserved to be confused

yeahthat Lady T worship

Keep Calm & Listen To Prince
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Reply #10 posted 02/14/19 1:13am

SoulAlive

Emerald City is the seventh album by Teena Marie, released in 1986. It is a stylistic departure for her, with strong blues and jazzinfluences favored over her established soul/funk style, and it is a concept album. This proved puzzling for fans and critics, and the album sold poorly, peaking at #20 on the US Black Albums chart and #81 on the Billboard Albums chart. Two singles, "Lips to Find You" and "Love Me Down Easy", were released. They reached #28 and #76 respectively on the Black Singles chart, but neither charted on the Billboard Hot 100. However, "Shangri-La", while it never became a single or charted anywhere, became a staple of quiet-storm programming blocks on adult R&B radio.

Stevie Ray Vaughan played the guitar solo on "You So Heavy" and Stanley Clarke provided bass on "Sunny Skies".

The album has been reissued by SoulMusic Records in 2012, with 5 bonus tracks. (Wikipedia)

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Reply #11 posted 02/14/19 1:17am

SoulAlive

first single "Lips To Find You"

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Reply #12 posted 02/14/19 4:12pm

Abdul

My favorite song off Emerald City "Once Is Not Enough"

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Reply #13 posted 02/14/19 6:15pm

hardwork

Here is on of the original prince.org threads about "Emerald City" from 13 years ago.

http://prince.org/msg/8/182312

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Reply #14 posted 02/15/19 2:20pm

seand67

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'Sunny Skies' (featuring Stanley Clarke) is my favorite.....The extended mix found on her 'Love Songs' compilation is a great addition as well

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Reply #15 posted 02/16/19 8:23am

silverchild

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seand67 said:

'Sunny Skies' (featuring Stanley Clarke) is my favorite.....The extended mix found on her 'Love Songs' compilation is a great addition as well

It's unfortunate that every reissue that's been done for this album fails to include this previously unreleased extended mix. Sony Japan even overlooked it for their 2011 mini-LP remaster.

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Reply #16 posted 02/16/19 10:46am

hardwork

The QH Blend

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Going Wild in Teena Marie's "Emerald City"

LP cover photograph by Laura Rossingol
Teena Marie, born Mary Christine Brockert, was a phenom when she first landed at Motown Records. Her 1979 debut Wild & Peaceful began a chain reaction of albums that would completely realign and restructure the delivery of rhythm and blues by those not of color. Despite Marie being white, her affinity for the African-American experience extended beyond just the music, and in turn made the music that much more rich.

With Marie's passing two years ago, her music and legacy has come into sharper focus. An astonishing truth that materializes when discussing Teena Marie is how atypical said discussions on her music and impact are. Here is the woman who put...their head, pushed R&B past its borders in her prime and remained a force into her veteran days. Yet, a generous search or reading into Teena Marie will find the same responses about her discography and history: Irons in the Fire (1980), It Must Be Magic (1981), Rick James, "Square Biz," "Fire & Desire," and "Lovergirl."

This is not to say these albums, songs, or one individual do not play integral roles in Marie's lore, but that isn't all of her story. Yes, James was Marie's friend, flame, and mentor. Yes Marie took creative control on Irons in the Fire and produced, arranged, wrote, and composed every record that followed. But what about everything else? The narrative of Teena Marie needs exploration and the maligned Emerald City is the perfect starting point.

Teena, Circa 1985/1986
When Marie's seventh long player arrived in August of 1986, she had clocked enough mileage to be considered an established, if not (yet) an iconic force. That appreciation was still a decade or so away. Emerald City itself was the third of five albums released during her tenure at Epic Records.

Marie's Motown exodus hadn't been gentle, though her time there was successful. A misappropriation of trust had made Marie a freedom fighter for artists everywhere and gave us "The Brockert Initiative." Afterwards she hit Epic with her tour de force, 1983's Robbery. The album song cycled her tumultuous on-again-off-again courtship to the late punk-funker Rick James and was equal amounts of heartbreak, funk, and confessional poetry. It also wasn't a hit: (#13 U.S. R&B, #119 U.S. pop). Rather, the accessible Starchild(1984) claimed sales glory with its lead single "Lovergirl," a likable fusion of (then) current rock-R&B-pop-new wave fizziness that gave Marie her first pop hit (#4 U.S. Pop) but kept her firmly entrenched in R&B's good graces (#9 U.S. R&B). Starchild did have other highlights to share ("Help Youngblood Get to the Funky Party," "Starchild," "My Dear Mr. Gaye") but they were obscured by banal numbers like "Jammin'" and "Out on a Limb."

"Emerald City" as depicted in the 1939 film adaption of Wizard of Oz
Emerald City took its name from L. Frank Baum and W.W. Denslow's classic tale Wizard of Oz, published in 1900 and turned into a Hollywood blockbuster staple in 1939. The city is usually depicted as joyous and full of light. On wax, Marie cast Emerald City as a modern city gripped in perpetual night, its green glow eerie, hypnotic, and dangerous.

There, Marie herself became "Pity," a character created for one of her many poem stories that accompanied each record. Pity became an allegory for Marie's racial frustration of being accepted into black culture, with all its pros and cons when it came to her other musical interests. She revealed via an excerpt from the Emerald City poem, her feelings:

Of course she wanted to be green because she'd been all the other colors before, I mean, with her past lives and all. Now that people were saying she couldn't possibly be white, it seemed to be the natural thing to do. And anyways, since she hadn't seen any green people before, maybe she wouldn't run into any stereotypes and prejudices this time.

While R&B in the '70's and '80's was known for its multi-racial/gender bands, Marie was still a white woman in a predominantly male oriented field. Teena Marie didn't know how not to dare and so she went about assembling the crew to bring Emerald City to life.

Amid Marie's own primary writing, arranging, and producing, the players included: Bendrix (additional songwriting, bass), Allan McGrier, Stanley Clarke, Abraham Labanel Sr., Bootsy Collins, Gerry Brown (bass), Gary Grant (trumpet), Branford Marsalis (saxophone), Fred Mirza (horn arranger), Maxine and Julia Waters (background vocals), Randy Kerber (keyboards), John Bokowski (acoustic piano), John "JR" Robinson (drums), Brian Kilgore (timbales), James Allen (drum programming), Paulinho Da Costa (percussion), Michael Landau, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Nikki Slikk (guitar).

The mentioned cityscape of Emerald City's urban sprawl gone mad is compelling when looking at the first side of the long player. Three songs in claim Marie's affinity to black dance: the title track, "Once Is Not Enough," and "Lips to Find You". The title cut, with spoken word introduction by Bootsy Collins, spun in fits like a manic carnival groove. Marie's voice jammed all over the place and maintained a controlled pace.


Single cover to "Lips to Find You"
On the insistent "Once Is Not Enough," Marie's desire was insatiable soundtracked with gritty beats that melded computerized and organic drums seamlessly. "Once" stayed elevated to keep the B.P.M. hearty for the feet on the floor, while the subject matter of "Lips to Find You" drew a sexual (but always literate) stalker poise.

Marie shattered any competition that lay in wait when it came to her unparalleled lyricism. That lyricism drove home the booming drama of "You So Heavy," dedicated to her longtime muse Rick James in the liner notes, and the arid, Canto-soul of "Shangri-La". The former made analogies to love in withdrawal, while the latter used cuisine and spiritual references to present Marie in her darkest, most sensual moment (still) committed to record. The tropical "Batucada Suite," which upon first visit seemed out of place among the heavier dance and mid-tempo bedroom fare, refreshed. When taken literally from its words ("Mary's into new things, got a brand new bag. Superficial living has made her life a drag...) it played integral to the rediscovery Marie meant for Emerald City. The polished finish of the big ballad "Love Me Down Easy" hummed to be picked up at urban radio, while the closer "Sunny Skies" was a true classic. In the vein of her jazz jewels "You Make Love Like Springtime," "Portuguese Love," and "Shadow Boxing" the mournful track was the last of its kind until her recent jazz boomerang returned on Congo Square (2009).

Emerald City wasn't wholly dissimilar from any of the work she'd cut up to that point. The general public didn't see it that way and the record met a cold reception. The album placed at #20 U.S. R&B, whereas the U.S. Pop #81 placement professed that pop audiences had returned to their dismissive opinion of Teena Marie. Two singles were pulled from the project: "Lips to Find You" (U.S. R&B #28) and "Love Me Down Easy" (U.S. R&B #76). The dance charts (surprisingly) showed no affection to "Lips," while R&B was stiff to the genuinely appealing "Love."

Promotional Video for "Lips to Find You"

Reasons? There were a few. Though R&B tended to embrace their acts eras aside, the genre still had a youth driven market. At 30, Teena Marie seemed old hat to some new ears. The urban danceability of Emerald City was slightly behind the ball in 1986. Black music had started another of its inexorable turns to broader dance characterized in freestyle, hip-hop, and house pioneered by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Janet Jackson, LL Cool J, etc. Emerald City book ended the mighty Minneapolis sound in its first incarnation. Had it arrived a year after Starchild in 1985, it may have found a wider audience.

Guitar factored into Emerald City more than any other Marie album, but not so much that it earned the stature critic Chuck Eddy bestowed on it in his book, '91's Stairway to Hell. There, it was tagged with ninth place as "The Greatest Heavy Metal Album of All Time." All because of a scorching guitar solo by the late Stevie Ray Vaughn that closed "You So Heavy?" Electric as that solo was, it was tame compared to the heights scaled by the usual suspects in heavy metal.


Backside of "Love Me Down Easy" 45" Single Sleeve
In times like these, what marked the zeitgeist of the period for people to classify or mislabel certain records? As a result of its relative commercial and critical failure, Emerald City is still largely draped in literal shadow. Teena Marie rarely touched on it in interviews and historians write it out.

The follow-up, Naked to the World(1988), delivered the commercial goods to Teena Marie in her first R&B chart topper "Ooo La La La." The album owned a few tricks, but overall it was dreck done up designer. New Jack Swing had hit and Marie acclimated to it, the results varied from good ("Trick Bag") to messy ("Surrealistic Pillow"). The somewhat improved Ivory (1990) fell from the sales perch of Naked to the World and ended Marie's eight year run at Epic. Barring the independently issued Passion Play (1994), Teena Marie remained quiet for majority of the '90's. She returned in the '00's with a stream of safe recordings starting with the blasé La Doña (2004) and Sapphire (2006) on the Cash Money Classics imprint. Later, Marie signed to Stax/Concord for 2009's Congo Square that bore a stronger artistically aware vibe.

This year, via music critic mogul David Nathan's Soul Music label, Emerald City saw life again in remastered form in June. Featuring liner notes, several instrumentals and 12" mixes, it tacked on two soundtrack gems from before and after Emerald City's genesis: "14k" from The Goonies (1985) and "Lead Me On" from Top Gun (1987). With that reissue, Emerald City is finally getting a chance to let listeners journey to a city where skin color didn't shut out the universal themes of unrequited love, unrelenting desire, and freedom. Five out of five stars.-QH

[Editor's Note: The standard version of Emerald City is out of print, but as stated, the reissued version can be purchased from Soul Music Records directly or Amazon. It is also available digitally.-QH]

12 comments:

Moanerplicity said...

Shockingly, I don't own everything she ever recorded. However I DO aim to someday. I was a huge fan, and remain a fan of Lady T, & what she could do, not only vocally (which was damned extraordinary), but also her skills as a songwriter. She was without equal. Musically, the female Shakespeare of her time (next to Syreeta Wright)... & I do not exaggerate much.

But as funky as she proved herself to be, time & again, nothing beat a Teena Marie ballad. From "Now That I Have You (Feeling Things I Never Felt Before)" to "Irons in The Fire," & of course, "Fire & Desire," Teena Marie was The Truth!


This was a very nice & most fitting tribute to her musical gifts, Q.
Well done!

One.

Thursday, 09 August, 2012
QH said...

Glad you liked it!-QH

Thursday, 09 August, 2012
Rob Spiegel said...

No one else could have written a better piece on this underrated work. Mr. Harrison, you've done it again!

Thursday, 09 August, 2012
Jennifer said...

Absolutely my all-time favorite Teena Marie album. It's a masterpiece to me. This just distanced herself further from the pack---in a good way! But sadly I hate that it's one of her most underrated efforts and is always forgotten whenever we do talk about Lady T classics.

Had no idea it was being remastered though! Love that they added in those long-sought after soundtrack songs from 'The Goonies' and 'Top Gun'. Now that completes the Emerald City era!

Wonderful write-up QH as always smile

Thursday, 09 August, 2012
LaMusicLovr said...

Damn, and I thought I loved Teena Marie. You have written yet another insightful tribute!!!

Friday, 10 August, 2012
Anonymous said...

What a great review of "Emerald City." Teena was ahead of her time. She had an amazing skill set, singing, scatting, rapping, playing intruments, writng, producing.

I don't agree on "La Dona" being written off as "blase." This CD re-established Teena in the R&B/Hip/Hop world. "Still In Love," "A Rose By Any Other Name" with the late, great Gerald Levert, the autobiographical duet "I Got You" with the late great, Rick James. It's well worth another listen, as is "Sapphire," which I feel is some of the best romantic music Teena ever produced--playful, sexy, light-hearted, intense, mournful.

Saturday, 11 August, 2012
Anonymous said...

i am a late Teena Marie fan but after listening to some of her 70's hits in a spotify playlist, i started to research her bodies of work and wow. i feel like i uncovered treasure and won the music lottery.
after listening digesting LOVING & studying & trying to understand her esoteric music for a few years ..i find myself completely obsessed with Emerald City. i truly believe Teena Marie was an angel god sent to do lead the way , she just had so much passion and amazing talent that you dont get from artists now in 2014.
she is a true trailblazer and emerald city , even though on a first listen i wasn't sure about some of the songs, i now realise how damn cool and trailblazing our beloved lady t is. Emerald City is THE FLYEST DOPEST BADDEST COOLEST MUSIC ever from a female singer I'm so glad i discovered this rare gem!! x

Monday, 16 June, 2014
Anonymous said...

I love Teena Marie. I miss her. I'm so glad she left us so much of herself. You So Heavy is one of my all time favorite songs. PURE JOY to me. Her voice and the guitar lift me and take me high. Even now over 25 years after I first heard it.

Monday, 23 June, 2014
Anonymous said...

Nice defense of Emerald City. I can understand why it was commercial failure but it was an artistic triumph. I'd say Emerald City is Teena's 'Sign O' The Times', rather than being simple R&B at this point Teena had more in common, musically, with Prince. Both albums were criticized for being self indulgent but which art isn't? Emerald City is Teena at her best.

Friday, 04 July, 2014
Steven Duncan said...

This album deserves so much more recognition than it has gotten. This album is a musical masterpiece. It was just misunderstood at the time. Whenever an album is labeled as a failure, it can easily be passed over by casual fans who believe whatever they read without checking it out for themselves. It's a real shame to call an album a failure simply because of sales. Just because an album doesn't sale doesn't mean it's garbage. I'm so glad it's getting a second chance for people to take a look at it.

Wednesday, 14 October, 2015
Steven Duncan said...

I couldn't agree with you more on all points!

Wednesday, 14 October, 2015
rumpledillskin said...

Can I just say this was an incredibly insightful article/commentary. I LIVED TEENA, not only loved her but LIVED her! I remember the summer of 86 SO clearly as I had graduated high school that year and had my first car and moved to the big bright lights of the city of Washington DC and there were two cassettes I blasted any time I was in my car, Janet's Control and Teena's Emerald City. Listening to this cd today not only transforms me back to being 18 and fresh meat on the mean streets of future crack capital DC but all of the great memories of such an exciting time for me. The fun times of clubbing to Lips To Find You to the lonely latenight tears with Sunny Skies. The beauty and brilliance of this album were the mix of genres that Teena could glide in & out of so effortlessly. Just a complete masterpiece, a pre-cursor to Congo Square in my opinion. GREAT article, very informative. At that time in 86, I always wondered exactly why this particular album didn't catch on publicly, because it sure did catch on with me!! And I STILL blast it!

Thursday, 04 February, 2016

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Reply #17 posted 02/16/19 5:45pm

woogiebear

I have a copy of Emerald City on GREEN VINYL!!!!

cool cool cool

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Reply #18 posted 02/16/19 6:06pm

hardwork

I have three (3!) sealed vinyl copies. They might be green!

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Reply #19 posted 02/17/19 6:22am

BlaqueKnight

avatar

I loved Teena's work. I especially loved her voice. It used to piss me off that people would call her "blue-eyed soul" as if she was some exemption. Teena Marie was R&B/soul. She was not like most of the other "blue-eyed soul" singers who dabbled in R&B when it suited them but later in their career, went on to do whatever else was "in". She was not like Taylor Dayne who used contemporary black radio as a come-up or like other artists who started on black radio and then stepped away as soon as pop came-a-calling (I'm looking at you, Madonna, Christina A., etc.). She wasn't a European artist who fell in love with the music from across the pond (no hate at all; just acknowledgement of truth), and she wasn't some pop star trying to ride a wave when R&B was in its heyday. She was in it. She helped shape it. She was soul/R&B/funk and stayed with her people. There will always be a place in my heart for Teena.

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Reply #20 posted 02/17/19 3:12pm

ThePersian

hardwork said:






The QH Blend


















Thursday, August 9, 2012





Going Wild in Teena Marie's "Emerald City"






LP cover photograph by Laura Rossingol

Teena Marie, born Mary Christine Brockert, was a phenom when she first landed at Motown Records. Her 1979 debut Wild & Peaceful began a chain reaction of albums that would completely realign and restructure the delivery of rhythm and blues by those not of color. Despite Marie being white, her affinity for the African-American experience extended beyond just the music, and in turn made the music that much more rich.

With Marie's passing two years ago, her music and legacy has come into sharper focus. An astonishing truth that materializes when discussing Teena Marie is how atypical said discussions on her music and impact are. Here is the woman who put...their head, pushed R&B past its borders in her prime and remained a force into her veteran days. Yet, a generous search or reading into Teena Marie will find the same responses about her discography and history: Irons in the Fire (1980), It Must Be Magic (1981), Rick James, "Square Biz," "Fire & Desire," and "Lovergirl."

This is not to say these albums, songs, or one individual do not play integral roles in Marie's lore, but that isn't all of her story. Yes, James was Marie's friend, flame, and mentor. Yes Marie took creative control on Irons in the Fire and produced, arranged, wrote, and composed every record that followed. But what about everything else? The narrative of Teena Marie needs exploration and the maligned Emerald City is the perfect starting point.



Teena, Circa 1985/1986

When Marie's seventh long player arrived in August of 1986, she had clocked enough mileage to be considered an established, if not (yet) an iconic force. That appreciation was still a decade or so away. Emerald City itself was the third of five albums released during her tenure at Epic Records.

Marie's Motown exodus hadn't been gentle, though her time there was successful. A misappropriation of trust had made Marie a freedom fighter for artists everywhere and gave us "The Brockert Initiative." Afterwards she hit Epic with her tour de force, 1983's Robbery. The album song cycled her tumultuous on-again-off-again courtship to the late punk-funker Rick James and was equal amounts of heartbreak, funk, and confessional poetry. It also wasn't a hit: (#13 U.S. R&B, #119 U.S. pop). Rather, the accessible Starchild(1984) claimed sales glory with its lead single "Lovergirl," a likable fusion of (then) current rock-R&B-pop-new wave fizziness that gave Marie her first pop hit (#4 U.S. Pop) but kept her firmly entrenched in R&B's good graces (#9 U.S. R&B). Starchild did have other highlights to share ("Help Youngblood Get to the Funky Party," "Starchild," "My Dear Mr. Gaye") but they were obscured by banal numbers like "Jammin'" and "Out on a Limb."



"Emerald City" as depicted in the 1939 film adaption of Wizard of Oz
Emerald City took its name from L. Frank Baum and W.W. Denslow's classic tale Wizard of Oz, published in 1900 and turned into a Hollywood blockbuster staple in 1939. The city is usually depicted as joyous and full of light. On wax, Marie cast Emerald City as a modern city gripped in perpetual night, its green glow eerie, hypnotic, and dangerous.

There, Marie herself became "Pity," a character created for one of her many poem stories that accompanied each record. Pity became an allegory for Marie's racial frustration of being accepted into black culture, with all its pros and cons when it came to her other musical interests. She revealed via an excerpt from the Emerald City poem, her feelings:

Of course she wanted to be green because she'd been all the other colors before, I mean, with her past lives and all. Now that people were saying she couldn't possibly be white, it seemed to be the natural thing to do. And anyways, since she hadn't seen any green people before, maybe she wouldn't run into any stereotypes and prejudices this time.

While R&B in the '70's and '80's was known for its multi-racial/gender bands, Marie was still a white woman in a predominantly male oriented field. Teena Marie didn't know how not to dare and so she went about assembling the crew to bring Emerald City to life.

Amid Marie's own primary writing, arranging, and producing, the players included: Bendrix (additional songwriting, bass), Allan McGrier, Stanley Clarke, Abraham Labanel Sr., Bootsy Collins, Gerry Brown (bass), Gary Grant (trumpet), Branford Marsalis (saxophone), Fred Mirza (horn arranger), Maxine and Julia Waters (background vocals), Randy Kerber (keyboards), John Bokowski (acoustic piano), John "JR" Robinson (drums), Brian Kilgore (timbales), James Allen (drum programming), Paulinho Da Costa (percussion), Michael Landau, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Nikki Slikk (guitar).

The mentioned cityscape of Emerald City's urban sprawl gone mad is compelling when looking at the first side of the long player. Three songs in claim Marie's affinity to black dance: the title track, "Once Is Not Enough," and "Lips to Find You". The title cut, with spoken word introduction by Bootsy Collins, spun in fits like a manic carnival groove. Marie's voice jammed all over the place and maintained a controlled pace.




Single cover to "Lips to Find You"

On the insistent "Once Is Not Enough," Marie's desire was insatiable soundtracked with gritty beats that melded computerized and organic drums seamlessly. "Once" stayed elevated to keep the B.P.M. hearty for the feet on the floor, while the subject matter of "Lips to Find You" drew a sexual (but always literate) stalker poise.

Marie shattered any competition that lay in wait when it came to her unparalleled lyricism. That lyricism drove home the booming drama of "You So Heavy," dedicated to her longtime muse Rick James in the liner notes, and the arid, Canto-soul of "Shangri-La". The former made analogies to love in withdrawal, while the latter used cuisine and spiritual references to present Marie in her darkest, most sensual moment (still) committed to record. The tropical "Batucada Suite," which upon first visit seemed out of place among the heavier dance and mid-tempo bedroom fare, refreshed. When taken literally from its words ("Mary's into new things, got a brand new bag. Superficial living has made her life a drag...) it played integral to the rediscovery Marie meant for Emerald City. The polished finish of the big ballad "Love Me Down Easy" hummed to be picked up at urban radio, while the closer "Sunny Skies" was a true classic. In the vein of her jazz jewels "You Make Love Like Springtime," "Portuguese Love," and "Shadow Boxing" the mournful track was the last of its kind until her recent jazz boomerang returned on Congo Square (2009).

Emerald City wasn't wholly dissimilar from any of the work she'd cut up to that point. The general public didn't see it that way and the record met a cold reception. The album placed at #20 U.S. R&B, whereas the U.S. Pop #81 placement professed that pop audiences had returned to their dismissive opinion of Teena Marie. Two singles were pulled from the project: "Lips to Find You" (U.S. R&B #28) and "Love Me Down Easy" (U.S. R&B #76). The dance charts (surprisingly) showed no affection to "Lips," while R&B was stiff to the genuinely appealing "Love."

Promotional Video for "Lips to Find You"

Reasons? There were a few. Though R&B tended to embrace their acts eras aside, the genre still had a youth driven market. At 30, Teena Marie seemed old hat to some new ears. The urban danceability of Emerald City was slightly behind the ball in 1986. Black music had started another of its inexorable turns to broader dance characterized in freestyle, hip-hop, and house pioneered by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Janet Jackson, LL Cool J, etc. Emerald City book ended the mighty Minneapolis sound in its first incarnation. Had it arrived a year after Starchild in 1985, it may have found a wider audience.

Guitar factored into Emerald City more than any other Marie album, but not so much that it earned the stature critic Chuck Eddy bestowed on it in his book, '91's Stairway to Hell. There, it was tagged with ninth place as "The Greatest Heavy Metal Album of All Time." All because of a scorching guitar solo by the late Stevie Ray Vaughn that closed "You So Heavy?" Electric as that solo was, it was tame compared to the heights scaled by the usual suspects in heavy metal.




Backside of "Love Me Down Easy" 45" Single Sleeve

In times like these, what marked the zeitgeist of the period for people to classify or mislabel certain records? As a result of its relative commercial and critical failure, Emerald City is still largely draped in literal shadow. Teena Marie rarely touched on it in interviews and historians write it out.

The follow-up, Naked to the World(1988), delivered the commercial goods to Teena Marie in her first R&B chart topper "Ooo La La La." The album owned a few tricks, but overall it was dreck done up designer. New Jack Swing had hit and Marie acclimated to it, the results varied from good ("Trick Bag") to messy ("Surrealistic Pillow"). The somewhat improved Ivory (1990) fell from the sales perch of Naked to the World and ended Marie's eight year run at Epic. Barring the independently issued Passion Play (1994), Teena Marie remained quiet for majority of the '90's. She returned in the '00's with a stream of safe recordings starting with the blasé La Doña (2004) and Sapphire (2006) on the Cash Money Classics imprint. Later, Marie signed to Stax/Concord for 2009's Congo Square that bore a stronger artistically aware vibe.

This year, via music critic mogul David Nathan's Soul Music label, Emerald City saw life again in remastered form in June. Featuring liner notes, several instrumentals and 12" mixes, it tacked on two soundtrack gems from before and after Emerald City's genesis: "14k" from The Goonies (1985) and "Lead Me On" from Top Gun (1987). With that reissue, Emerald City is finally getting a chance to let listeners journey to a city where skin color didn't shut out the universal themes of unrequited love, unrelenting desire, and freedom. Five out of five stars.-QH

[Editor's Note: The standard version of Emerald City is out of print, but as stated, the reissued version can be purchased from Soul Music Records directly or Amazon. It is also available digitally.-QH]






12 comments:




Moanerplicity said...

Shockingly, I don't own everything she ever recorded. However I DO aim to someday. I was a huge fan, and remain a fan of Lady T, & what she could do, not only vocally (which was damned extraordinary), but also her skills as a songwriter. She was without equal. Musically, the female Shakespeare of her time (next to Syreeta Wright)... & I do not exaggerate much.

But as funky as she proved herself to be, time & again, nothing beat a Teena Marie ballad. From "Now That I Have You (Feeling Things I Never Felt Before)" to "Irons in The Fire," & of course, "Fire & Desire," Teena Marie was The Truth!


This was a very nice & most fitting tribute to her musical gifts, Q.
Well done!

One.


Thursday, 09 August, 2012

QH said...

Glad you liked it!-QH


Thursday, 09 August, 2012

Rob Spiegel said...

No one else could have written a better piece on this underrated work. Mr. Harrison, you've done it again!


Thursday, 09 August, 2012

Jennifer said...

Absolutely my all-time favorite Teena Marie album. It's a masterpiece to me. This just distanced herself further from the pack---in a good way! But sadly I hate that it's one of her most underrated efforts and is always forgotten whenever we do talk about Lady T classics.

Had no idea it was being remastered though! Love that they added in those long-sought after soundtrack songs from 'The Goonies' and 'Top Gun'. Now that completes the Emerald City era!

Wonderful write-up QH as always smile


Thursday, 09 August, 2012

LaMusicLovr said...

Damn, and I thought I loved Teena Marie. You have written yet another insightful tribute!!!


Friday, 10 August, 2012

Anonymous said...

What a great review of "Emerald City." Teena was ahead of her time. She had an amazing skill set, singing, scatting, rapping, playing intruments, writng, producing.

I don't agree on "La Dona" being written off as "blase." This CD re-established Teena in the R&B/Hip/Hop world. "Still In Love," "A Rose By Any Other Name" with the late, great Gerald Levert, the autobiographical duet "I Got You" with the late great, Rick James. It's well worth another listen, as is "Sapphire," which I feel is some of the best romantic music Teena ever produced--playful, sexy, light-hearted, intense, mournful.


Saturday, 11 August, 2012

Anonymous said...

i am a late Teena Marie fan but after listening to some of her 70's hits in a spotify playlist, i started to research her bodies of work and wow. i feel like i uncovered treasure and won the music lottery.
after listening digesting LOVING & studying & trying to understand her esoteric music for a few years ..i find myself completely obsessed with Emerald City. i truly believe Teena Marie was an angel god sent to do lead the way , she just had so much passion and amazing talent that you dont get from artists now in 2014.
she is a true trailblazer and emerald city , even though on a first listen i wasn't sure about some of the songs, i now realise how damn cool and trailblazing our beloved lady t is. Emerald City is THE FLYEST DOPEST BADDEST COOLEST MUSIC ever from a female singer I'm so glad i discovered this rare gem!! x


Monday, 16 June, 2014

Anonymous said...

I love Teena Marie. I miss her. I'm so glad she left us so much of herself. You So Heavy is one of my all time favorite songs. PURE JOY to me. Her voice and the guitar lift me and take me high. Even now over 25 years after I first heard it.


Monday, 23 June, 2014

Anonymous said...

Nice defense of Emerald City. I can understand why it was commercial failure but it was an artistic triumph. I'd say Emerald City is Teena's 'Sign O' The Times', rather than being simple R&B at this point Teena had more in common, musically, with Prince. Both albums were criticized for being self indulgent but which art isn't? Emerald City is Teena at her best.


Friday, 04 July, 2014

Steven Duncan said...

This album deserves so much more recognition than it has gotten. This album is a musical masterpiece. It was just misunderstood at the time. Whenever an album is labeled as a failure, it can easily be passed over by casual fans who believe whatever they read without checking it out for themselves. It's a real shame to call an album a failure simply because of sales. Just because an album doesn't sale doesn't mean it's garbage. I'm so glad it's getting a second chance for people to take a look at it.


Wednesday, 14 October, 2015

Steven Duncan said...

I couldn't agree with you more on all points!


Wednesday, 14 October, 2015

rumpledillskin said...

Can I just say this was an incredibly insightful article/commentary. I LIVED TEENA, not only loved her but LIVED her! I remember the summer of 86 SO clearly as I had graduated high school that year and had my first car and moved to the big bright lights of the city of Washington DC and there were two cassettes I blasted any time I was in my car, Janet's Control and Teena's Emerald City. Listening to this cd today not only transforms me back to being 18 and fresh meat on the mean streets of future crack capital DC but all of the great memories of such an exciting time for me. The fun times of clubbing to Lips To Find You to the lonely latenight tears with Sunny Skies. The beauty and brilliance of this album were the mix of genres that Teena could glide in & out of so effortlessly. Just a complete masterpiece, a pre-cursor to Congo Square in my opinion. GREAT article, very informative. At that time in 86, I always wondered exactly why this particular album didn't catch on publicly, because it sure did catch on with me!! And I STILL blast it!


Thursday, 04 February, 2016

















Awesome read, thanks.
I think that the album but in particular the title track is up there with the likes of Crystal Ball, in terms of cramming insane musical brilliance with genius uniqueness into one song. It really is pulse on the finger of creativity.
Wish there had been an extended 10 minute version!
The Earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.
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Reply #21 posted 02/17/19 5:00pm

whitechocolate
brotha

avatar

What amazing insight you've provided into this album! Thanks 4 all these tidbits! Definitely a 5-star audio experience 4 ME! As sales-powered as "Starchild" was, I connected so much more with "Emerald City." It truly should've been another "Starchild," but agree that Lady Tee was shoved around a little bit (as a veteran) by some of the up & coming artists then who would be introducing newer, more current-day (then) sounds and trends. Tee was, as one of the essays claims "sometimes behind the ball," but, when she was ON THE BALL, she was ON it! Brilliant, poetic, deep, prophetic, spiritual, Black and musical are just SOME adjectives I would use 2 describe her. She was a MASTER R&B composer, arranger, producer and performer; all the things that make a legend. May she always shine her light on us and lend her voice 2 our ears! She's up there with Rick throwin' down da FUNK in Heaven with all the other dearly beloved, musical angels whom have all touched our hearts, souls and lives. <3

hardwork said:

The QH Blend

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Going Wild in Teena Marie's "Emerald City"

LP cover photograph by Laura Rossingol
Teena Marie, born Mary Christine Brockert, was a phenom when she first landed at Motown Records. Her 1979 debut Wild & Peaceful began a chain reaction of albums that would completely realign and restructure the delivery of rhythm and blues by those not of color. Despite Marie being white, her affinity for the African-American experience extended beyond just the music, and in turn made the music that much more rich.

With Marie's passing two years ago, her music and legacy has come into sharper focus. An astonishing truth that materializes when discussing Teena Marie is how atypical said discussions on her music and impact are. Here is the woman who put...their head, pushed R&B past its borders in her prime and remained a force into her veteran days. Yet, a generous search or reading into Teena Marie will find the same responses about her discography and history: Irons in the Fire (1980), It Must Be Magic (1981), Rick James, "Square Biz," "Fire & Desire," and "Lovergirl."

This is not to say these albums, songs, or one individual do not play integral roles in Marie's lore, but that isn't all of her story. Yes, James was Marie's friend, flame, and mentor. Yes Marie took creative control on Irons in the Fire and produced, arranged, wrote, and composed every record that followed. But what about everything else? The narrative of Teena Marie needs exploration and the maligned Emerald City is the perfect starting point.

Teena, Circa 1985/1986
When Marie's seventh long player arrived in August of 1986, she had clocked enough mileage to be considered an established, if not (yet) an iconic force. That appreciation was still a decade or so away. Emerald City itself was the third of five albums released during her tenure at Epic Records.

Marie's Motown exodus hadn't been gentle, though her time there was successful. A misappropriation of trust had made Marie a freedom fighter for artists everywhere and gave us "The Brockert Initiative." Afterwards she hit Epic with her tour de force, 1983's Robbery. The album song cycled her tumultuous on-again-off-again courtship to the late punk-funker Rick James and was equal amounts of heartbreak, funk, and confessional poetry. It also wasn't a hit: (#13 U.S. R&B, #119 U.S. pop). Rather, the accessible Starchild(1984) claimed sales glory with its lead single "Lovergirl," a likable fusion of (then) current rock-R&B-pop-new wave fizziness that gave Marie her first pop hit (#4 U.S. Pop) but kept her firmly entrenched in R&B's good graces (#9 U.S. R&B). Starchild did have other highlights to share ("Help Youngblood Get to the Funky Party," "Starchild," "My Dear Mr. Gaye") but they were obscured by banal numbers like "Jammin'" and "Out on a Limb."

"Emerald City" as depicted in the 1939 film adaption of Wizard of Oz
Emerald City took its name from L. Frank Baum and W.W. Denslow's classic tale Wizard of Oz, published in 1900 and turned into a Hollywood blockbuster staple in 1939. The city is usually depicted as joyous and full of light. On wax, Marie cast Emerald City as a modern city gripped in perpetual night, its green glow eerie, hypnotic, and dangerous.

There, Marie herself became "Pity," a character created for one of her many poem stories that accompanied each record. Pity became an allegory for Marie's racial frustration of being accepted into black culture, with all its pros and cons when it came to her other musical interests. She revealed via an excerpt from the Emerald City poem, her feelings:

Of course she wanted to be green because she'd been all the other colors before, I mean, with her past lives and all. Now that people were saying she couldn't possibly be white, it seemed to be the natural thing to do. And anyways, since she hadn't seen any green people before, maybe she wouldn't run into any stereotypes and prejudices this time.

While R&B in the '70's and '80's was known for its multi-racial/gender bands, Marie was still a white woman in a predominantly male oriented field. Teena Marie didn't know how not to dare and so she went about assembling the crew to bring Emerald City to life.

Amid Marie's own primary writing, arranging, and producing, the players included: Bendrix (additional songwriting, bass), Allan McGrier, Stanley Clarke, Abraham Labanel Sr., Bootsy Collins, Gerry Brown (bass), Gary Grant (trumpet), Branford Marsalis (saxophone), Fred Mirza (horn arranger), Maxine and Julia Waters (background vocals), Randy Kerber (keyboards), John Bokowski (acoustic piano), John "JR" Robinson (drums), Brian Kilgore (timbales), James Allen (drum programming), Paulinho Da Costa (percussion), Michael Landau, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Nikki Slikk (guitar).

The mentioned cityscape of Emerald City's urban sprawl gone mad is compelling when looking at the first side of the long player. Three songs in claim Marie's affinity to black dance: the title track, "Once Is Not Enough," and "Lips to Find You". The title cut, with spoken word introduction by Bootsy Collins, spun in fits like a manic carnival groove. Marie's voice jammed all over the place and maintained a controlled pace.


Single cover to "Lips to Find You"
On the insistent "Once Is Not Enough," Marie's desire was insatiable soundtracked with gritty beats that melded computerized and organic drums seamlessly. "Once" stayed elevated to keep the B.P.M. hearty for the feet on the floor, while the subject matter of "Lips to Find You" drew a sexual (but always literate) stalker poise.

Marie shattered any competition that lay in wait when it came to her unparalleled lyricism. That lyricism drove home the booming drama of "You So Heavy," dedicated to her longtime muse Rick James in the liner notes, and the arid, Canto-soul of "Shangri-La". The former made analogies to love in withdrawal, while the latter used cuisine and spiritual references to present Marie in her darkest, most sensual moment (still) committed to record. The tropical "Batucada Suite," which upon first visit seemed out of place among the heavier dance and mid-tempo bedroom fare, refreshed. When taken literally from its words ("Mary's into new things, got a brand new bag. Superficial living has made her life a drag...) it played integral to the rediscovery Marie meant for Emerald City. The polished finish of the big ballad "Love Me Down Easy" hummed to be picked up at urban radio, while the closer "Sunny Skies" was a true classic. In the vein of her jazz jewels "You Make Love Like Springtime," "Portuguese Love," and "Shadow Boxing" the mournful track was the last of its kind until her recent jazz boomerang returned on Congo Square (2009).

Emerald City wasn't wholly dissimilar from any of the work she'd cut up to that point. The general public didn't see it that way and the record met a cold reception. The album placed at #20 U.S. R&B, whereas the U.S. Pop #81 placement professed that pop audiences had returned to their dismissive opinion of Teena Marie. Two singles were pulled from the project: "Lips to Find You" (U.S. R&B #28) and "Love Me Down Easy" (U.S. R&B #76). The dance charts (surprisingly) showed no affection to "Lips," while R&B was stiff to the genuinely appealing "Love."

Promotional Video for "Lips to Find You"

Reasons? There were a few. Though R&B tended to embrace their acts eras aside, the genre still had a youth driven market. At 30, Teena Marie seemed old hat to some new ears. The urban danceability of Emerald City was slightly behind the ball in 1986. Black music had started another of its inexorable turns to broader dance characterized in freestyle, hip-hop, and house pioneered by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Janet Jackson, LL Cool J, etc. Emerald City book ended the mighty Minneapolis sound in its first incarnation. Had it arrived a year after Starchild in 1985, it may have found a wider audience.

Guitar factored into Emerald City more than any other Marie album, but not so much that it earned the stature critic Chuck Eddy bestowed on it in his book, '91's Stairway to Hell. There, it was tagged with ninth place as "The Greatest Heavy Metal Album of All Time." All because of a scorching guitar solo by the late Stevie Ray Vaughn that closed "You So Heavy?" Electric as that solo was, it was tame compared to the heights scaled by the usual suspects in heavy metal.


Backside of "Love Me Down Easy" 45" Single Sleeve
In times like these, what marked the zeitgeist of the period for people to classify or mislabel certain records? As a result of its relative commercial and critical failure, Emerald City is still largely draped in literal shadow. Teena Marie rarely touched on it in interviews and historians write it out.

The follow-up, Naked to the World(1988), delivered the commercial goods to Teena Marie in her first R&B chart topper "Ooo La La La." The album owned a few tricks, but overall it was dreck done up designer. New Jack Swing had hit and Marie acclimated to it, the results varied from good ("Trick Bag") to messy ("Surrealistic Pillow"). The somewhat improved Ivory (1990) fell from the sales perch of Naked to the World and ended Marie's eight year run at Epic. Barring the independently issued Passion Play (1994), Teena Marie remained quiet for majority of the '90's. She returned in the '00's with a stream of safe recordings starting with the blasé La Doña (2004) and Sapphire (2006) on the Cash Money Classics imprint. Later, Marie signed to Stax/Concord for 2009's Congo Square that bore a stronger artistically aware vibe.

This year, via music critic mogul David Nathan's Soul Music label, Emerald City saw life again in remastered form in June. Featuring liner notes, several instrumentals and 12" mixes, it tacked on two soundtrack gems from before and after Emerald City's genesis: "14k" from The Goonies (1985) and "Lead Me On" from Top Gun (1987). With that reissue, Emerald City is finally getting a chance to let listeners journey to a city where skin color didn't shut out the universal themes of unrequited love, unrelenting desire, and freedom. Five out of five stars.-QH

[Editor's Note: The standard version of Emerald City is out of print, but as stated, the reissued version can be purchased from Soul Music Records directly or Amazon. It is also available digitally.-QH]

12 comments:

Moanerplicity said...

Shockingly, I don't own everything she ever recorded. However I DO aim to someday. I was a huge fan, and remain a fan of Lady T, & what she could do, not only vocally (which was damned extraordinary), but also her skills as a songwriter. She was without equal. Musically, the female Shakespeare of her time (next to Syreeta Wright)... & I do not exaggerate much.

But as funky as she proved herself to be, time & again, nothing beat a Teena Marie ballad. From "Now That I Have You (Feeling Things I Never Felt Before)" to "Irons in The Fire," & of course, "Fire & Desire," Teena Marie was The Truth!


This was a very nice & most fitting tribute to her musical gifts, Q.
Well done!

One.

Thursday, 09 August, 2012
QH said...

Glad you liked it!-QH

Thursday, 09 August, 2012
Rob Spiegel said...

No one else could have written a better piece on this underrated work. Mr. Harrison, you've done it again!

Thursday, 09 August, 2012
Jennifer said...

Absolutely my all-time favorite Teena Marie album. It's a masterpiece to me. This just distanced herself further from the pack---in a good way! But sadly I hate that it's one of her most underrated efforts and is always forgotten whenever we do talk about Lady T classics.

Had no idea it was being remastered though! Love that they added in those long-sought after soundtrack songs from 'The Goonies' and 'Top Gun'. Now that completes the Emerald City era!

Wonderful write-up QH as always smile

Thursday, 09 August, 2012
LaMusicLovr said...

Damn, and I thought I loved Teena Marie. You have written yet another insightful tribute!!!

Friday, 10 August, 2012
Anonymous said...

What a great review of "Emerald City." Teena was ahead of her time. She had an amazing skill set, singing, scatting, rapping, playing intruments, writng, producing.

I don't agree on "La Dona" being written off as "blase." This CD re-established Teena in the R&B/Hip/Hop world. "Still In Love," "A Rose By Any Other Name" with the late, great Gerald Levert, the autobiographical duet "I Got You" with the late great, Rick James. It's well worth another listen, as is "Sapphire," which I feel is some of the best romantic music Teena ever produced--playful, sexy, light-hearted, intense, mournful.

Saturday, 11 August, 2012
Anonymous said...

i am a late Teena Marie fan but after listening to some of her 70's hits in a spotify playlist, i started to research her bodies of work and wow. i feel like i uncovered treasure and won the music lottery.
after listening digesting LOVING & studying & trying to understand her esoteric music for a few years ..i find myself completely obsessed with Emerald City. i truly believe Teena Marie was an angel god sent to do lead the way , she just had so much passion and amazing talent that you dont get from artists now in 2014.
she is a true trailblazer and emerald city , even though on a first listen i wasn't sure about some of the songs, i now realise how damn cool and trailblazing our beloved lady t is. Emerald City is THE FLYEST DOPEST BADDEST COOLEST MUSIC ever from a female singer I'm so glad i discovered this rare gem!! x

Monday, 16 June, 2014
Anonymous said...

I love Teena Marie. I miss her. I'm so glad she left us so much of herself. You So Heavy is one of my all time favorite songs. PURE JOY to me. Her voice and the guitar lift me and take me high. Even now over 25 years after I first heard it.

Monday, 23 June, 2014
Anonymous said...

Nice defense of Emerald City. I can understand why it was commercial failure but it was an artistic triumph. I'd say Emerald City is Teena's 'Sign O' The Times', rather than being simple R&B at this point Teena had more in common, musically, with Prince. Both albums were criticized for being self indulgent but which art isn't? Emerald City is Teena at her best.

Friday, 04 July, 2014
Steven Duncan said...

This album deserves so much more recognition than it has gotten. This album is a musical masterpiece. It was just misunderstood at the time. Whenever an album is labeled as a failure, it can easily be passed over by casual fans who believe whatever they read without checking it out for themselves. It's a real shame to call an album a failure simply because of sales. Just because an album doesn't sale doesn't mean it's garbage. I'm so glad it's getting a second chance for people to take a look at it.

Wednesday, 14 October, 2015
Steven Duncan said...

I couldn't agree with you more on all points!

Wednesday, 14 October, 2015
rumpledillskin said...

Can I just say this was an incredibly insightful article/commentary. I LIVED TEENA, not only loved her but LIVED her! I remember the summer of 86 SO clearly as I had graduated high school that year and had my first car and moved to the big bright lights of the city of Washington DC and there were two cassettes I blasted any time I was in my car, Janet's Control and Teena's Emerald City. Listening to this cd today not only transforms me back to being 18 and fresh meat on the mean streets of future crack capital DC but all of the great memories of such an exciting time for me. The fun times of clubbing to Lips To Find You to the lonely latenight tears with Sunny Skies. The beauty and brilliance of this album were the mix of genres that Teena could glide in & out of so effortlessly. Just a complete masterpiece, a pre-cursor to Congo Square in my opinion. GREAT article, very informative. At that time in 86, I always wondered exactly why this particular album didn't catch on publicly, because it sure did catch on with me!! And I STILL blast it!

Thursday, 04 February, 2016

Hungry? Just look in the mirror and get fed up.
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Reply #22 posted 02/17/19 8:32pm

Free2BMe

Love, Love, Love Teena Marie!!! music music music
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Reply #23 posted 02/18/19 7:23pm

daingermouz202
0

ThePersian said:

For some reason over the years I never bothered to check out Lady Tee, despite all the soft links between Prince and her. But the other day I decided to dive in on the back of a weekend of non-stop Rick James. And I have to say that Emerald City in particular, is a brilliant, quirkly, odd-ball piece of genius work. It's almost an entire album of quirky compositions that will remind you of the all the good bits of that 80's sound and creativity. 9/10. I am the only one? According to it's Wikipedia page the album wasn't well-received by critics in general or Lady Tee fans.



What do you mean by soft links between her and Prince? I'm just curious.
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Reply #24 posted 02/19/19 10:26am

hardwork

daingermouz2020 said:

ThePersian said:

For some reason over the years I never bothered to check out Lady Tee, despite all the soft links between Prince and her. But the other day I decided to dive in on the back of a weekend of non-stop Rick James. And I have to say that Emerald City in particular, is a brilliant, quirkly, odd-ball piece of genius work. It's almost an entire album of quirky compositions that will remind you of the all the good bits of that 80's sound and creativity. 9/10. I am the only one? According to it's Wikipedia page the album wasn't well-received by critics in general or Lady Tee fans.



What do you mean by soft links between her and Prince? I'm just curious.


Jill Jones was I think a backup singer for Teena Marie; she was also one of Prince’s girlfriends and had a role in Purple Rain and he produced her music. Prince opened for Rick James on tour at a time when Teena was still part of Rick’s camp.
[Edited 2/19/19 10:27am]
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Reply #25 posted 02/20/19 10:06pm

Goddess4Real

avatar

hardwork said:

daingermouz2020 said:
What do you mean by soft links between her and Prince? I'm just curious.
Jill Jones was I think a backup singer for Teena Marie; she was also one of Prince’s girlfriends and had a role in Purple Rain and he produced her music. Prince opened for Rick James on tour at a time when Teena was still part of Rick’s camp. [Edited 2/19/19 10:27am]

Jill Jones & Tina Marie? https://www.pinterest.com...483463864/

5829cb01082324504a70e29a20a2c029.jpg

[Edited 2/20/19 22:07pm]

Keep Calm & Listen To Prince
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