HBCU Band Classics- Episode 5 – Say La La

Happy 2014!

Yeah, I took some time off from work and school, and was quite sloth-like, but its time to get back to business. We are now in 2014, which I hope will be a year of many good things in the world of HBCU bands.  Ironically 3 big things happen in the month of January alone.

*Warning – Shameless Plug ahead*

On Tuesday, January 7th, I will be featured on the Marching Podcast. They really do a good job in covering our bands and is headed by a Jackson State alum. Tune in on the 7th at 9pm Eastern, 8pm Central to hear the interview.

Sunday, January 19th marks the 15th!!!!  “anniversary” of the 5Q.

15 years.


*wall slides*

And of course, January 25th is the Honda BOTB.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way,  lets get to the latest edition of HBCU Band Classics – Say La La.

The original is done by Pieces of a Dream.


I’ve actually seen them perform live, and while they are often described as an R&B  group, they felt more like jazz to me.

I have to admit, FAMU’s version outdoes this one. They definitely [American Idol judge voice] “made it their own”….

But you know what I have to say…. ” YOU BE THE JUDGE”.

Say La La – Pieces of a Dream

Say La La – FAMU’s Marching 100

HBCU Band Classics – Episode 4 – Black and Blues

Ok this is definitely a case where the BAND version sounds better than the original.

Sorry Al, I respect you as a musician (and you put on a great concert) but I gotta say, this one isn’t hitting on much.

Black and Blues (the original) – Al Jarreau

Black and Blues – Southern University (watch your speakers)


Who did it better?

You be the….


…..man forget it, Southern (or any other HBCU band that plays it) DEFINITELY does it better!

HBCU Band Classics – Episode 3 – SOS

Yes, bandheads, SOS is, in fact, a real song. Thus the focus of Episode 3 of HBCU Band Classics.


I present to you, “SOS” by…..



wait for it………………



wait for it…………………



the SOS BAND!!!



(Google em if you dont know about them. Great band.)


The Original – SOS (Dit Dit Dit…Dash Dash Dash….Dit Dit Dit)


Tuskegee University’s Marching Crimson Pipers – SOS

Who did it better? You be the judge.

(Now how many of yall never knew this was a real song? Be honest.)


Frank Stallone (yes, Sly’s brother) – Far From Over


Sauce Money – For My Hustlas

who met….

Redman – Smash Sumthin (all I could find was this remix)

…and those two combined to make….

A&T – Smash Somethin/Middle Finger U

This has been your installment of HBCU Band Classics.

Who did it better? The band, or the originals? YOU BE THE JUDGE.

HBCU Band Classics – Episode 1 – NECK

I’m a huge fan of satellite radio. One of my favorite stations on satellite radio is called The Groove, which plays R&B and funk from the 70’s and 80s.  MANY of our HBCU Band Classics are played on that station.  You know what I mean by a HBCU Band Classic? It’s a song that you mainly hear played by HBCU Bands. PWCs are now starting to play our stuff, some of them do it right and some of them just fugg it up, but that’s for another blog post. At any rate, a HBCU Band Classic came on the radio and I realized a few things:

  • Many HBCU bands are still playing these songs after 30+ years
  • There are aspiring bandheads out there that may have never heard the ORIGINAL song
  • In a lot of cases, the HBCU band version sounds BETTER than the original
  • I just like to listen to the original to “pick out” my part, and sing along to it.  Hey, I’m a bandhead, what can I say.

So I am pleased to present to you, DFBH’s HBCU Band Classics.

Lets start off with one everybody knows.

TALKIN OUT THE SIDE OF YOUR NECK (Hampton University Version)

Now everybody and their mama plays this one. I remember there being a big debate about who played Neck first in the 80s.  It was usually a debate between members of Hampton University and Norfolk State University bands. Trust me, I heard about a lot growing up in Hampton Roads.  I don’t know for sure who did it first, but I can remember bands playing this when the song was actually out!

Personally, I’m not a fan of Hampton University’s Symphonic Variations of Neck, Opus 1, Movements 1-4 but I will just let them be. Hey, Hampton, VA is my hometown, I can’t hate on ‘em too much —  just don’t send my parents any hate mail LOL.

And THIS is the ORIGINAL “Neck” by Cameo (one of my favorite groups)

Is the band version better than the original? I have my opinions, but YOU BE THE JUDGE.

Anyway, that concludes the first installment of DFBH’s HBCU BAND CLASSICS.

Let me know what you think.