Thursday, July 27, 2017

House Party

If you were born in the mid-to-late 60's and mid-to-late 70's, you remember the "House Parties." A collection of about 30-50 people all crammed into a 2 or 3-bedroom home when mom and dad were out of town for the weekend.

Let's take a trip down memory lane and re-live the days gone by, when life was oh so simple. There was no gun violence, if two guys got into a squabble, they settled their differences with a fist-fight and that was it.

But we'll keep it on the positive tip and just focus on the house parties. None of the fellas wanted to dance with "Jane or John Ugly" (fill in the blank, you know the individual that thought she/he was all that - nice personality, sense of humor, but I can't slow dance with ya... maybe on a fast song).

Remember the Brother's Johnson? This was a party favorite back in the day. "Gonna stomp all night, gonna party till the morning light!" Party over here!

Nothing lit up a HP like Earth, Wind and Fire's, "Let's Groove." You had to get a dance on that one, too much beat, too much rhythm and funk in the song to be sitting down. If you couldn't get a dance on this one, you'd have to go to the bathroom or some other room just to "boogey on down!" By yo damn self!

And what can you say about the incomparable MJ. Speechless! You could have a 6-hour house party and play nothing but MJ hits and the roof would be on FIRE!!

Seriously, you choose one.. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' ", "Beat It", "Rock With You", "Blame It On the Boogie", "P.Y.T", "Jam" - that one came along later, just shows Mike's extended range into multiple decades, but that's another article for another day.. miss you Mike!

Bump all that... one word... CAMEO! "Candy" rocked the house - or "Word Up" - .. "Waive your hands in the air like you don't care." These are the jams you played if you saw the party was slowing down a bit. The jams that the non-dancers really thought they could dance to - remember those jokers? Thought they were grooving to the latest dances and you really wanted to tell them.. "that's not right, that's not the way you do that!" "Why you dragging your left leg like that?" Really?

But you wouldn't dare bust your homie's bubble.. let him get his groove on, especially if that was your ride home and your alibi. If you got in too late, it was Keith or Shaundra's fault.. still might not get you out of that punishment, but you felt better lying on your buddy, because you know he was lying on you too! And the two of you would laugh and lie about it later.. "naw, I didn't get in trouble," when you could still hear your mother's screaming and you were inconspicuously absent from the next party.

Johnny Kemp, "Just Got Paid" (Kemp was a one-hit-wonder) was a straight party jam and it fit in perfectly with a Friday night, got your $60 paycheck from your dish-washing job. I actually worked at the bowling alley on weekends, quit my dish-washing job after my first paycheck... bought me some new clothes and went to visit this young lady. I told my boss - guy named George - that I was sick and needed to leave. Never mind that the restaurant was packed with people. George told me, "you can't leave, it's too busy." My response, "then, I quit," and walked out. Yes, it was wrong, but I was a horny 16-year-old with money in his pocket, what would you expect?

Straight-up, those were indeed, "the good ol' days." We're now in our 40's and 50's with kids of our own, doing their own thing. Hopefully we can start respecting one another as we did a couple decades ago. There's always been the "problem of the color line" as W.E.B. DuBois so adroitly pointed out in his classic, "The Souls of Black Folks." 

Who knows, maybe one day.