First off, please read my latest article on former Washington Wizards center, Jason Collins.
This particular O'Jays record contains three songs that invoke three distinct memories for me as a child: "Use Ta Be My Girl", "Cry Together" and "Brandy". "Use Ta Be My Girl" was a record that would get both my mother and father out of their seats on the dance floor (also known as our living room floor). I never knew what the hell kind of dances they were doing, but they had fun laughing, joking and borderline inappropriately touch, while my brother and I looked on without a clue. Actually I did have a bit of a clue.
Conversely, when "Cry Together" would come on, my parents had the audacity to openly slow grind right there in the very same living room where they acting a damn fool. This was flat out disgusting to look at, and frankly my brother and I thought it be best if we just left the room. No kid needs to see all that.
My memories of "Brandy" have much less to do with dancing and everything to do with family. You see Walter Williams, the lead singer on "Brandy"--a song about a damn dog--is my cousin on my father's side. My father told me first, and I didn't believe him, but my late grandmother and aunt confirmed, and they (along with Joni Mitchell) never lie. My relation to Walter has yet to score me O'Jays tickets, autographs or paraphernalia, but I'm glad he's my cousin anyway. This record came out in 1978 by the way.