The passing of Teena Marie hit the community hard. She was a huge energy force – amazing musician, singer, songwriter, and mentor to many. It’s no wonder as we reminisce and listen to her greatness, various producers are inspired to rework some of Lady Tee music. Mark de Clive-Lowe has picked my favourite tunes by Teena Marie,”Lovergirl,” which is a heavy guitar driven song in lead and bass coupled with loud vocals. MdCL flips“Lovegirl“ in a downtempo with Sy Smith singing according to the rhythm. Sy calls it a “a humble tribute to one of my favorite recording artists ever, Lady T.” That’s what I love about this version of song—rather than go hard and do exactly what Teena did on the track, this tribute is a subtle way to say “we love and will alway miss you!” Nicely done!
You can get a free download of this track on Mark de Clive-Lowe‘s Bandcamp page.
The main press media refer to Teena Marie as not being a household name, but I can tell you, Lady Tee was a big fixture in my home due to her rugged, raw funk and genuine soul. Highly respected by the black community, yet relatively unknown by her own people, Lady Tee showed that her vanilla chocolate had more soul and flavour than you could stand. An incredible singer with an outstanding range, a songwriter whose poetry was as colourful as a rainbow and ocean wide, and a musician who could bring the funk on so many levels. For her debut album, Wild and Peaceful, her label, Motown chose not to have an image of Teena‘s face on its cover, in fear that the black community would not embrace her. However, when Lady Tee finally joined the stage with her mentor, Rick James for her first single, “I’m Just Sucker for Your Love,” she was received warmly and affectionately – and it has never waned since.
I was lucky to have seen her twice — once in London at the Apollo for her Ivory tour and again at BB Kings in New York City during the early 2000s. Both shows, Lady Tee performed with high energy, running up and down the stage, wiggling her hips and her voice going even further than her recordings. You’d leave her shows wondering, How did she do that with her voice? Her shows were intimate and her vocals were always raw with emotion. I specifically remember a scene at her BB Kings show, when she asked the audience if she could remove her shoes. A man in the audience yelled out, “Do what you gotta do, Teena!! Do what you-gotta-do!!!” She removed her shoes, then sat on a stage stool, then said with a relaxed laugh says, “Now, I can really throw down on y’all!” The same man in the audience yelled out again, “So what the hell you been doing, Teena?!?” She went deep that night.
Yesterday, we lost a legendary artist. She was the owner of some of R&B’s seminal classics that will be cherished by many generations to come. Her heart was pure soul.
Love Always, Teena Marie!
There are too many songs that I love by Teena Marie, but “Lovegirl” is one of those tunes that resonates with me every time I hear it; I’m a funkster at heart.
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