Throwback Thursday: Nightbirds

Every Thursday, I consider doing a Throwback Thursday post, and I often have quite a few good ideas about one. However, every Thursday seems to turn out quite busy for me, or I don’t get around to posting, or something or other gets in the way. Today, I’ll change that with a quick post about not just a song (as has happened in previous Throwback Thursday features), but an album that I’ve recently fallen in love with…and that came out just a few years ago. 41, to be exact.

“Nightbirds” by LaBelle!

Labelle Nightbirds

Yesterday, I was catching up on this week’s “Dancing With The Stars” premiere, and saw the legendary Patti LaBelle dance a foxtrot to “Lady Marmalade,” which is of course her namesake group LaBelle’s biggest hit. I’ve heard the song before, and I’m of course very familiar with what the infamous French phrase in the chorus means.* That said, for some reason it really caught my attention, and I decided to take a listen on Spotify to the original tune. I kept listening after that to the rest of LaBelle’s landmark 1974 album, “Nightbirds,” and maybe I was just in a good mood, or something, but I was quite hooked. “Lady Marmalade,” while its lyrics are a bit…interesting…is a terrific song with a killer groove and absolutely incredible vocals. (It also has a certain authenticity that I prefer to later covers like the well-known version from “Moulin Rouge,” fronted by Christina Aguilera, that tend to strip away a bit of the soul, and add a bit too much of the risque.) The songs that follow it on the album? A bit more lyrically safe, you may be happy to discover, and just as on point vocally and musically. The three gals of LaBelle were certainly firing on all cylinders when they made “Nightbirds,” and aided by the terrific production of New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint, they truly gave us a funk/soul/all kinds of good stuff-style masterpiece. Clocking in at only 36 minutes, the album’s a real treat, and I’m glad that I was able to discover it, albeit in a somewhat roundabout way. Here’s the legendary “Lady Marmalade” in case you need an excuse to check it out again if you’ve previously dismissed it (or, if it’s one of your favorites, an excuse to listen to it for the first time in a while), along with another standout cut from the album, “Somebody Somewhere.”

(*On my mission in Peru, I boasted that I knew how to say “Will you come to church with me” in French, since i just replaced “bed” with the word I knew for church, “eglise.”)

Thanks as always for reading, and look out either tonight or tomorrow for an American Idol Top 10 recap, along with much more great music.


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