I love Anita Baker and can listen to her music for hours (especially when she puts new stuff out, hint hint.)
But there's one song of hers I heard so much when I attended H-town talent nights or local preliminary pageants I got to the point where I started calling it the Houston Drag Queen National Anthem.
That song is No More Tears, and it's on one of Anita's early albums called The Songstress. It's a slammin' album, and of course I have it in my collection. But after I attended a Talent Night one evening at Rascals I was tempted to break the CD in half after I returned home.
For the uninitiated into the world of female illusion, talent nights are basically when the wannabe and future drag legends get to perform at a GLBT nightclub. Think small scale Showtime at the Apollo minus the Sandman or the raucous New York crowd. Just like its progenitor, the winner is determined by popular applause. In some cases the Talent Nights are a series of eliminations that lead to a Finals Night in which all the winners for that cycle compete for a paid one night booking in the main drag show with the club's regular cast.
Those Talent Nights do find future legends from time to time that eventually take the Illusionist or pageant worlds by storm. But you also have your GLBT versions of William Hung who are performing just for their five minutes in the spotlight until the next Talent Night.
This particular one had sixteen people performing in it. It's not unusual to have maybe two people do the same song during these competitions since no one knows until the night of the show who's going to do what song until they hand their music to the DJ. The order of performance is determined by either drawing names or the Show Director makes a list based on check in time. But this night we had SEVEN people performing that same song.
It was okay when the first two girls did the song. But after the third one did it eyebrows were raised. When the next three performers in a row also did No More Tears, that was a bit much. One club patron after the sixth girl walked off the stage yelled, "Do these girls own another CD besides Anita Baker?"
Cookie LaCook cracked a joke that got everyone laughing until the next contestant was introduced. The now overly familiar opening notes of this song were being played for the seventh time with an audible groan from the club patrons.
I caught up with Cookie later that night when it was over and joked, "Can y'all put in a rule for future Talent Nights that no more than two girls do the same song?"
Ever since that night, every time I hear No More Tears (and I like the song), I automatically refer to it as the Houston Drag Queen National Anthem. I also agree with that patron. Can some of y'all illusionists please diversify your music collections?