Way Back When

I began compiling the songs for this mixtape at the beginning of 2020, letting the playlist shift and grow over three tumultuous years. This is my “ultimate” mixtape; one that covers the formative decade of my childhood that began a half century ago (concentrating on the early 80s), and focuses on Black legends in the genres of R&B, jazz-funk, disco and boogie during the final period of analog recording. This is music that finds me most at home in my body, with familiar and positive lyrical themes. It’s a Black yacht rock movie dream.

As with previous mixtapes, there is melodic and harmonic mixing as well as beat matching and a smooth tempo curve. I worked to create an occasionally seamless conversational flow from song to song, and was surprised that led me to include well-known anthems alongside my usual “rare groove” selections. The result is a more unified mood and less eclectic set. No effects have been used, and where possible, songs are segued naturally with little or no crossfading.

Barry White | Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up (1973)
DeBarge | I Like It (1982)
Wally Badarou | Preachin’ (1980)
Gene Dunlap Featuring The Ridgeways | It’s Just the Way I Feel (1981)
George Duke | Corine (1979)
Syreeta | I Don’t Know (1977)
Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson | Alien (Hold on to Your Dreams) (1980)
Tania Maria | Come with Me (1983)
Minnie Riperton | Adventures in Paradise (1975)
Anita Baker | Do You Believe Me (1983)
D Train | Children of the World (1983)
Jeffrey Osborne | Ain’t Nothing’ Missin’ (1982)
Herbie Hancock | Magic Number (featuring Sylvester) (1981)

The Jones Girls | Nights over Egypt (1981)
Odyssey | Love’s Alright (1982)
Billy Ocean | Everlasting Love (1981)
Patrice Rushen | Get Off (You Fascinate Me) (1984)
Brenda Russell | Way Back When (1979)
Chaka Khan | I’m Every Woman (1978)
Aretha Franklin | Jump to It (1982)
Luther Vandross | I Wanted Your Love (1983)
Bernard Wright | Move Your Body (1983)
Dazzle | All (1979)
Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly | Love Is the Key (1983)
The Emotions | Here You Come Again (1981)
Sylvia St. James | So I Say to You (1980)

Ibrahim El Mahboob
January 2023

By elmahboob

Bruce A. Russell aka Ibrahim El Mahboob (b. Kingston, ON, 1968) is a composer and self-taught pianist living and working in Toronto (Tkarón:to, the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat). He studied at York University with James Tenney and Phillip Werren. He has composed music for the Madawaska String Quartet, Modern Times Stage Company, McMaster Dancers and choreographers Pam Johnson and Tracy Renee Stafford. Interest in his work increased in 2020, with performances by Arraymusic, Prism Percussion, Second Note Duo, San Juan Symphony and Idaho Falls Symphony. He was host of Radio Music Gallery, and has written for Musicworks and I Care if You Listen. His interests are in 20th and 21st century concert music especially postminimalism, and music of the African diaspora including notated and non-notated forms. He is a parent of three and is employed in the financial sector.

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