Who is Northwest Smith?

Northwest Smith is an entirely fictional character, whose love for American music of the last 50 years and more almost qualifies him for honorary non-fictional status. Both his reviews and his memories of his favorite songs, artists, and styles of popular song are listed below.


From the Desk of N.W. Smith
Music Reviews & Memories

06/12/05: M'Lady picked up a bunch of new CDs recently, and in with her usual eclectic mix of opera, classical, jazz, and contemporary pop was a wonderful pack of chesnuts called The Best of the Moments. Moments were the epitome of "sissy soul" in the early 1970's, along with groups like the Stylistics, the Delfonics, and Chi-lites. Most of their hits were soft, mellow, yet sensuous ballads ("make-out music" back in my day, I have no idea what the kids call it now) that mostly excelled on the Soul charts, but with some cross-overs to the Pop side with classics like "Love on a Two Way Street" and "Sexy Mama". Just about all feature the high, all-tenor harmonies of the trio and the soaring falsetto of lead singer Billy Brown. But it was the Soul Charts hits like "Look at Me (I'm in Love)", "Just Because He Wants To Make Love (Doesn't Mean He Loves You" (which flirts with the bridge from the Stylistics "Betcha By Golly Wow" here and there), and "My Thing", which shows the influences of their producer, sometimes composer/lyricist, and frequent background singer Sylvia (herself an enterprising R&B and Soul singer, and the founder of early rap powerhouse Sugar Hill Records) that brought back fond memories of listening to WCKO-FM, WEDR-FM, and WRBD-AM ("Rockin' Big Daddy") in Miami, Florida back in my junior high and high school days. The only real disappointment is "Love on a Two-Way Street": though it is the original song, the "mix" is too clean: the original hit sounded like it was done in a phone-booth in Grand Central Station at 3 in the morning with somebody's two-track reel-to-reel, which gave it a haunting quality that the new, digitally perfect mix lacks.

(When the Moments left the label where most of these hits on this CD were recorded, the group continued to write and produce songs for others, and made a brief but solid come-back in the 1980's as Ray, Goodman and Brown--"Special Lady" was their big hit from then).