19. Things Are Getting Real Funky
To coincide with the 1987 release of Stevie's new album,
Characters, he toured the UK and released the single
Stevie was now more involved in worldly affairs
like injustices and the like rather than recording. By using his
fame and fortune to make people aware of the many wrongs taking
place in this world, many say distracted from the quality and
frequency of the work at hand. With
Characters Stevie wanted to
explore the nature of life and the various characters that go to
make up people and their relationships. The album kicks off with
Will Know a nice song sprinkled with a beautiful melody, a nice
starlight synthesizer sound effect and a great message of knowing
God and your place in this great world of his. Overall a pretty good
Dark And Lovely packs a solid groove. It's another
anti-apartheid song featuring some good keyboard work.
Corner is probably not the best song Stevie's ever done. A far cry
from the classics of previous year, but would probably have some
tapping their feet.
With Each Beat OF My Heart is an overlooked gem.
Stevie mixes a beautiful melody, great background vocal
arrangements, a great harmonica solo and a sample of his heartbeat
all together to create this beautiful piece of music. A very
creative track. One Of A Kind
an up-tempo love song in the mould of
tracks like I Ain't Gonna Stand For It however not in its class.
Skeletons is a very good political song about
the skeletons that can sometimes fall out of a politicians closet.
The song was written and released around the time of the Contra-Gate
scandal with Oliver North and Reagan. And it worked perfectly in
that atmosphere. A funky beat matched with a scratchy keyboard line,
Skeletons is very danceable and yet thinkable at the same time:
Oh things are gettin' real funky
Down at the old corral
And it's not the skunks that are stinkin'
It's the stinkin' lies you tell
Get It featuring Michael Jackson is another
average dance tune that really failed to pack the punch.
Paradise is a very different song for Stevie. Something completely
out of his style. It makes for interesting listening, using a lot of
synthesizer sounds and the starlight.
Cryin' Through The Night is
another up-tempo song ala
One Of A Kind from earlier.
certainly an overlooked classic from Stevie. On the original vinyl
album, this was the last song and it is one of the best album
finales he's ever had. However on the CD it is followed by two
rather mediocre tracks which tend to hide its greatness.
Come Let Me
Make Your Love Come Down features Stevie, Stevie Ray Vaughn and B.B.
King doing a song together. Yet it somehow does not live up to the
potential you would expect from such a trio. The CD album closes
with My Eyes
Don't Cry with
Stevie doing it all on the synthesizer. Drums, horns, bass,
After his UK gigs, Stevie's tour party rolled into Europe and
Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland making him the first Motown
artist to perform in Eastern Bloc countries and the first to release
After a relatively quiet three years, with the usual guest
appearances on fellow artists' records, Stevie released the single
Keep Our Love
Alive in 1990. A
song mainly in condemnation of apartheid, but generally describing
the evils manifest in man, but in usual Stevie style pointing to the
solution through love. It fuelled speculation about the release of a
new album. However the single did not fare too well in the charts,
managing a best position of 24 on the R&B charts. Maybe this
resulted in the holding back of the planned album
He however found time
to write and produce a song for Whitney Houston,
We Didn't Know
on her album I'm Your Baby Tonight. He also attended
the funeral of Stevie Ray Vaughn who died in a helicopter crash,
where he, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne sang an emotional
rendition of Amazing Grace at the graveside.