In Africa, music is not an art form as much as it is a means of communication.
A Negro has got no name. Quite often, the words of the song are meaningless.
A Negro has got no name We are wearing the name of our master
RIP: Vince Montana
I did want to let you all know that the GREAT Philly vibe man Vince Montana has passed away. That blurry pictre of him along with our own "Giant" Gene Arnold was taked at the Soul-Patrol Convention. I suppose I have have some better pictures of Vince, but I wanted to use this one, since Gene is in it also, because Gene introduced me to Vince.
As a teenager in the 1970's I grooved to Vince's music both as a member of MFSB and as the leader of the SalSoul Orchestra (which actually included most of the members of MFSB using fake names....LOL)
Later I got to not only meet Vince and his family. I got to be their friends.
They became big supporters of the Soul-Patrol.com website and attended all of conventions religiously, back in the late 1990's and early 2000's, till Vince became too sick to attend anymore.
Vince was a key part of the Philadelphia music scene for over 50 years and if you don't know the name, you know his music. You hear him on vibes on just about every song that you have ever heard that was recorded in Philadelphia during the 60's, 70's, & 80's.
That means you hear him on every song recorded by artists like the O'Jays, Teddy P, Wilson Pickett, Jerry Butler, Patti Labelle, Stylistics, Delfonics, Billy Paul, Hall & Oates, the Jacksons, and many others during this period!
One of the FUNKIEST musicians I have ever known...
(and an even better person!)
RIP Vince Montana
How many here remember the song: "Sad Girl" -Intruders?
Do you remember how the song starts?
First there are the horns....duh duh duh duh duh...
Then Lil Sonny (I think?) comes in and sings...
Then there is a short vibe solo
(that's VINCE MONTANA)
Then Lil Sonny comes back and sings....
"Did he break your heart..."
Then there is another short vibe solo
(that's VINCE MONTANA)
Hell I didn't know that till I met Vince....LOL
Right now my head is spinning around thinking of all those little vibe solos.
In songs from the O'Jays to Archie Bell & the Drells to the Delfonics and on and on and on.
I can remember Billy Paul coming up to me at one of the SP Conventions and saying to me...
Billy: "Nice to see that you have Vince here Bob"
Bob: "Yeah I like Vince, do you know him?"
Billy: "Hell Bob, Vince is playing on everything I recorded at Philly International"
(I had no clue.....I just thought Vince was a super funky disco
Vince was a badd mf
RIP: Cordell "Boogie" Mosson
NOTE: There will a Wake (public viewing) Friday between 5 & 9pm at Calvary Baptist Church, W 4th & Monroe Ave, Plainfield NJ 07063.
This is the same church both Ray Davis & Garry Shider's services were held.
Boogie's funeral will Saturday April 27th 9am from Ruth Fellowship on South 2nd St near Grant Ave, Plainfield NJ.
I am planning to be in attendance...
BTW....the picture is of Boggie, along with guitarist Michael Hampton (Kidd Funkadelic) and our good friend Daryl Moon of theFunkstore.com FUNLON IT UP TILL THE END!!!
No good discussion of P-Funk is complete without a mention of the some of the baddest funk bassists in history.
Unfortunately, the conversation almost always turns to either Bootsy Collins, an obvious architect of the P-Funk flavor of the late 70s or founding Funkadelic Billy Bass Nelson. Now that is not all bad in itself. These are some badd boys. However there is another somewhat lesser known bassman that was just as, arguably if not more important in the development of the band's obscure early Funkadelia into the platinum-drenched Parliament chart-toppers & lavish road shows towards the latter part of the decade. His name, the legendary Cordell "Boogie" Mosson.
Just as comfortable behind the drum kit (check Parliament's "Dr. Funkenstein") or rhythm guitar (his role in the current touring invasion force), Boogie's unique, propulsive approach to bass playing single-handedly offered up the foundation that by the end of the decade had launched the P-Funk into the outer regions of the Chocolate Milky Way. Oft referred affectionately to and dubbed the world's only "Black Leprechaun" by celebrated artist Pedro Bell, Boogie, in his 35th year with the group lays claim as one of it's true senior members.
First appearing on the sprawling Funkadelic double LP set of 1972, "America Eats its Young" it became quickly evident that no one on this earth handled the bass duties quite like Boogie. The way he seamlessly stretches the notes in a pocket without ever losing the power and bottom stroke of the downbeat on the one is just insane. You simply cannot duplicate it. For a brief intro into this Plainfield NJ style of thump, check the oozing, lather-like grooves of these preposterous P-Funk classics; "Loose Booty", "Sexy Ways", "You Cant Miss What You Can't Measure" and "Nappy Dugout", the latter of which he takes a simple lick of 3 or 4 notes and just turns it into a clinic on playing in front of and behind the beat.
That style made him the ideal candidate when George Clinton got set to blast Parliament off into a stratosphere of platinum dreams with "Mothership Connection" in 1976 with the P-Funk Earth Tour. Between Jerome Brailey's bigfoot on bass drum, Bernie Worrell's genius rhythm and synth arrangement and Boogie's 'intricate simplicity' (check "Undisco Kidd" from the "Parliament Live" set)on the instrument, the band would build this immense tidal wave of groove night after night that simply Tore the Roof Off The Sucker!
As the band reached for its zenith the next year Boogie remained one of its brightest stars, moving and grooving audiences worldwide on the FlashLight Tour. In 1979, he appeared on-stage as "Rumpofsteelskin" as Parliament took the funk underwater for the Aqua Boogie Tour. After years of several side studio projects (including a brief stint with Brailey's Mutiny) Boogie returned to the fold in the mid-80s as part of the P-Funk All-Stars Atomic Dog touring unit and has been with the band on and off ever since. Give the man his Heartbeat Props.
"Bustin" Bob Mitchell.. ....
Funk Journalist & Atlanta-GA-USA Radio Personality
Funk Journalist & www.TheFunkStore.com Head Writer
RIP: Richie Havens
While sitting here watching the news a few minutes ago I just learned that Richie died of a heart attack this evening. About a week and a half ago I was going to contact him just to say hi and to see how he was doing. I feel bad I should have called him but just plain got involved in something else. Remember to always follow your instincts.
About three years ago I had the honor and privilege to do a phone interview with him. Our conversation was nearly two hours. It was indeed a journey through great black music. We talked about him singing Gospel as a youth. We talked about him singing Doo Wop on the streets of Brooklyn. We talked about the Village, the folk scene and how he met Jimi Hendrix. We talked about the Civil rights marches of the 60's and all the folks who took part in it and of course he told me about Woodstock and how the song "Freedom" was created. He also talked about how he ran his own independent record label, and the environment along with the challenges to the youth and our generation. wow...
Richie's gone...and it'd Earth Day. Rest in Peace my Brother. You can read the review I wrote bellow...
Richie Havens has quietly influenced several generations through his music and community activism. The music of Havens, along with that of others, became the soundtrack for a revolution and many times that revolution was implemented by direct community action. Since the early sixties, Richie has used his music to bring forth
messages of unity and personal freedom.
Haven's music and stories of his journey were recently shared at the Carnegie Lecture Hall in a presentation sponsored by Calliope House. Havens reflected on wisdom his grandmother passed down, the folk-rock scene in Greenwich Village, playing stickball in Brooklyn and individual freedom.
Havens agrees that there is a great change in the air. He is overwhelmed by the amount of positive influence previous generation have passed on to our younger folks.
"I believe that what we are about to go through is a marvelous variety of support where it gets fed from one and goes out to others. To see the difference is really far out for me." "My recent experience witnessing a young man in New Orleans performing a Miles Davis piece absolutely blew me away!"
Richie has devoted his energies to educating young people about ecological issues. In the mid-1970s, he co-founded the Northwind Undersea Institute, an oceanographic children's museum on City Island in The Bronx. That, led to the creation of The Natural Guard, an organization Richie describes as "a way of helping kids learn that they can have a hands-on role in affecting the environment."
Born 1941 in Brooklyn, Richie Havens began organizing his neighborhood friends into doo-wop groups and was performing with The McCrea Gospel Singers at age 16. He gave the example in our interview of how songs like "Get a Job" and "I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent" were actually the protest and statement songs of the time. Havens also reflected in our conversation about his work with Dr. King, Odetta, Nina Simone and others.
Richie is also featured in the documentary "Soundtrack for a Revolution" This film tells the story of the American civil rights movement through its powerful music: freedom songs sung on picket lines, in mass meetings, in paddy wagons, and in jail cells by black and white Americans all over the country. Featuring performances by John Legend, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean, The Roots, Ritchie Havens, and others, along with riveting archival footage, and interviews with civil rights foot soldiers and leaders, including Congressman John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond, and Ambassador Andrew Young,
At the age of 20, Richie left Brooklyn to seek out the artistic stimulation of Greenwich Village. "I saw the Village as a place to escape to in order to express your self," he recalls. "I had first gone there during the beatnik days of the 1950s to perform poetry, and then I drew portraits for 2 years and stayed up all night listening to folk music in the clubs. It took a while before I thought of picking up a guitar."
The hour and fifteen minute set included "All Along the Watchtower", a tune written by his close friend Jimi Hendrix, "Here Comes the Sun" and his world wide anthem, "Freedom". Havens' current CD is "Nobody Left to Crown" on Verve Forecast and his website is www.richiehavens.com
More Info Here
GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY (EXAMPLE #666: LIL WAYNE/EMMETT TILL)
Sometimes things happen and we don't understand why.
But in reality we do understand why, don't we?
Today I offer an example, ripped from today's headlines of two news stories (just like "Law & Order,") that to some would appear to be un-related. However it doesn't take much to see very clearly that these two news stories are in fact related...
EMMETT TILL'S FAMILY REACTS TO LIL WAYNE LYRIC
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A cousin of the late Emmett Till wonders if Lil Wayne understands just how damaging it was when he rapped a vulgar reference to the black U.S. teen whose death in 1955 became a significant moment in the civil rights movement.
Airickca Gordon-Taylor says Till's family would like an apology from Lil Wayne for the brief but disturbing lyric on Future's "Karate Chop" remix. But more than that, she'd like the platinum-selling New Orleans rapper to understand how his comparison of a sex act to the 14-year-old Chicago native's torture death in Mississippi is hurtful to the black community.
"It was a heinous murder," Gordon-Taylor said in a phone interview Thursday from Chicago. "He was brutally beaten and tortured, and he was shot, wrapped in barbed wire and tossed in the Tallahatchie River. The images that we're fortunate to have (of his open casket) that 'Jet' published, they demonstrate the ugliness of racism. So to compare a woman's anatomy - the gateway of life - to the ugly face of death, it just destroyed me. And then I had to call the elders in my family and explain to them before they heard it from some another source."
LIL WAYNE HAS BEEN HOSPITALIZED, BUT ACCORDING TO HIS CAMP AND HIS OFFICIAL TWITTER ACCOUNT - HE'S OK.
The multiplatinum rapper was hospitalized in Los Angeles on Friday and reps confirmed he was "recovering." He apparently tweeted to his fans from his official account on Friday night: "I'm good everybody. Thx for the prayers and love."
A person close to the superstar's camp who asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter confirmed to The Associated Press that Lil Wayne had a seizure. He has a history of seizures in recent years that have led to previous hospital visits.
While there were some reports that Lil Wayne was fighting for his life, members of his Young Money camp denied it on Twitter.
Before the tweet from Lil Wayne's account, rapper Mack Maine tweeted: "Wayne is alive and well! We watching the Syracuse game...thanks for the prayers and concern. he will update you all soon."
Rapper Birdman, Lil Wayne's mentor, also downplayed reports that Lil Wayne was in grave condition, tweeting: My son is in good spirit..feelin much betta...be home soon."
The 30-year-old New Orleans native, whose given name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., is one of the biggest stars of not only his genre but in all music. He's due to release his 10th album, "I Am Not a Human Being," on March 26.
Please take note of the name of this upcoming album.
(I'd change that real quick if I were him, no matter what it costs.....LOL)
RIP Bobby Rogers of the Miracles: Services Info + Soul-Patrol Audio Tribute
1. Here are the dates/times
Sunday March 10th 2013 9:00am - 9:00pm
Monday March 11th 2013 11:00am
Oh you need more? Well here is something pro-active that all of you Miracles fans can do.
Go to the following link at the site of the Funeral Home:
There you can not only obtain the rest of the details such as the venue/location of the viewing & services, but you can also:
-Light an online "virtual candle"
-Leave a message to Bobby/Family
-Leave a condolences
-View a photo slide show
-Read shared stories
-View shared photos
-You can share the site on Facebook
In other words, they built kind of a "mega site" dedicated to the memory of Bobby Rogers!!! (big ups to whomever put this together!!!)
I would encourage all of you to go here & not only leave a message, but also share this resource with anyone out there who is a Miracles fan. And for the few of yall out there who aren't Miracles fans, just go there anyhow (you might get converted)
2. Just got a call from our friend Nightrain from his jail cell. (Collect of course.....lol)
Quite naturally he was in tears over the passing of Bobby Rogers. After all "Nightrain" is the creator of the
During the course of the conversation he reminded me of his 2002 Soul-Patrol.Net Radio broadcast called; "Smokey Robinson and the Miracles 360 Degrees of Love." http://www.soul-patrol.net/going.ram
And he reminded me that the broadcast was:
INTRODUCED BY THE LATE BOBBY ROGERS
And he asked me to post the broadcast and let it play in the blackround of the main page at www.soul-patrol.com (which I just did)
SMOKEY ROBINSON AND THE MIRACLES: "GOING TO A GO-GO/AWAY WE GO-GO"- the choice cuts and the previously unheard gems from the vaults of Motown which are included on the GOING TO A GO-GO/AWAY WE GO-GO, CD reissue, we are going to present the material as a 4 part concept album that I'll call "Smokey Robinson and the Miracles 360 degrees of love".
INTRODUCED BY THE LATE BOBBY ROGERS http://www.soul-patrol.net/going.ram
(Requires RealAudio player, download free at www.real.com)
When I asked "Nightrain" how he found out about Bobby Rogers passing, he told me the following: "They let us have Facebook here in the joint..."
Tidbits, Random Thoughts,Trivial Pursuits (30 second "brain dump")
1. A BLACK HISTORY MONTH MOMENT - President Barack Obama spoke at the dedication of the new Rosa Parks statue at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday. Many relatives of the civil rights icon attended, including 3-year-old Terrell Anderson Jr. of Detroit. The president picked him up, and Anderson got to touch his hair.
2. SOLVING THE US DEFICIT - In all of the various proposals that I have seen, all of the currently undocumented workers are to become US citizens, they have to pay a fine + back taxes. I wonder just how much money that would add up to?
3. SHIRLEY BASSEY - Did yall see her performance at the Oscars? If you did, were you blown away? Pour friends at the STAX museum did and posted the video of Shirley Bassey's ICONIC perfomance at the 2013 Oscars. Check it out: http://www.staxmuseum.com/video-images/videos/view/dame-shirley-bassey-goldfinger A GREAT 2013 Black History Moment!
4. VOTE FOR ME AND I'LL SET CHA FREE - I understand that the Us Supreme Court has the Voting Rights act up, which mostly applies to the former Confederacy for review. Word on the street is that the "Supremes" may throw it out. I almost hope that they do. Maybe the US Congress will come back and make an updated version of the law, so that it will cover all 50 states?
5. RIP TREYVON MARTIN - Check out this CNN Commentary from our friend Chuck D: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1eFFk_roXA
6. BOUT TIME - I hear that D'Angelo will soon have a new album?
7. TALE OF TWO TEMPS - Richard Street passed away this week. This week was also Damon Harris funeral. We lost two Temptations in a one week span of time. It just doesn't get much sadder than that in the world of Black music.
8. SOUTHERN SOUL - Look for some new Otis Redding music on Soul-Patrol.com in March.
9. I'LL TAKE YOU THERE - RIP Cleotha Staples, the eldest sibling in the influential gospel and rhythm-and-blues group the Staple Singers, died on Thursday at her home here. She was 78.
10. BIG UP'S - To our friend Ryan Shaw, who is now on Broadway in that new Motown play!
11. JOHN LEE HOOKER - is still who I wanna be like whenever I grow up. (if I ever "grow up' that is) (boom, boom, boom, boom)
PRESS RELEASE/BIO: Theodis Ealey - You & I Together (New Album)
Blues Guitarist, Vocalist, Songwriter, Producer and Entertainer......just a few of the titles that describe the phenomenon of Theodis Ealey.
This Mississippi native first picked up an instrument when his older brother, "Y" "Z" Ealey first taught him how to play at the age of 4. Ten years later, Theodis, on bass, was playing at his first gig with brothers, "Y" "Z" and Melwin Ealey, in a group called "Y" "Z" Ealey and the Merrymakers. This brotherly trio made their debut in their hometown of Natchez, Mississippi at a local nightclub called the Horseshoe Circle. One year later, Theodis traded his bass for a guitar and began performing with another Natchez group, Eugene Butler & the Rocking Royals. It was here that Theodis sharpened his guitar playing skills, hitting the local circuit.
Music has always been a part of his life. Growing up, Theodis says this life-long love affair with music began when he lived on Highway 61 on the other side of the road from Miss Willie Mae's Juke Joint. "I would just sit on the steps and listen to the sounds coming from there", the heart and soul of the Blues. Since leaving Mississippi, Theodis always carried the "Mississippi Juke Joint Spirit" with him through his music. As one of 11 children in his family, Theodis wanted to travel the world and the U.S. Air Force provided the opportunity. During his military tour of service, Theodis was stationed in Hawaii for 6 years and then moved to Oakland, California before making Atlanta, Georgia his permanent home. Still holding strong to his Mississippi roots, Theodis played guitar with such notable artists as Little Milton, Johnny Clyde Copeland, Richard "Dimples" Fields, the Blues Brothers and the 'legendary' Charles Brown. This musical journey enabled Theodis to generate a personal style based upon his love of diverse music -- blues, country, soul and rock.
Established as an accomplished guitarist, Theodis took a chance and the music industry soon discovered the voice behind the guitar. Theodis "the artist" was born. Ichiban Records, a respected blues label in Atlanta, recognized Theodis' multiple talents and immediately signed him to a deal in 1991. Over the next 6 years, Theodis and Ichiban Records would enjoy 4 very successful albums. It was Theodis Ealey's charm and magnetism that attracted audiences worldwide. His electrifying stage performances also opened doors to Hollywood. Theodis appeared in the NBC Movie of the Week, "A Kiss To Die For", the Emmy Winning HBO special, "Miss Evers' Boys", the major motion picture, "The Fighting Temptations" and commercials for Rooms To Go and The Cartoon Network, forever "The Bluesman Lover". His latest accomplishment was his appearance in the Tyler Perry movie, "Daddy's Little Girls" in 2007. Theodis Ealey generated industry recognition for his innovative style and authentic Mississippi flavor as the recipient of the Male Vocalist Top Star Award in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1994 and Mo' Better Blues Male Artist of the Year Award in Atlanta, GA in 1997. Theodis' most recent awards include the Jus' Blues Best Blues & Soul Man Song of the Year 2007 for "Francine" and the Jus' Blues Lowell Folsom Legends Award for years 2006 and 2008. Theodis Ealey also crossed music genres and performed as a featured vocalist with Hip Hop group Ghetto Mafia on their "On Da Grind" CD, further expanding his fan base.
The "Bluesman Lover" made lemonade out of lemons when Ichiban Records eventually closed its doors. Seizing the moment, Theodis Ealey used this opportunity to create his new label home, IFGAM Records. The name alone is symbolic of the Theodis Ealey spirit . . . I Feel Good About Myself (IFGAM). At his new label home, Theodis released his fifth project entitled, "It's A Real Good Thang", continuing with the Theodis Ealey tradition of music diversity filled with pure soul. The 2004 "Stand Up In It" project was a runaway success as the #1 Single on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles Sales Chart for 5 consecutive weeks, debuting at #5 on Billboard's Blues Album Chart and #69 on Billboard's R&B/Hip Hop Charts. Theodis thought this song and album was just for "grown folks" but the radio industry and listeners thought otherwise, earning him 2 "JACKIE" Awards in 2004 for Best Recording by a Single Artist and National Blues Artist of the Year--The Little Milton Campbell Award. Rewardingly, the female population has claimed "Stand Up In It" as the Women's National Anthem.
While retaining his title as the "Stand Up In It" man, Theodis decided to take some time to introduce "Francine" to the world and, boy, was she welcomed with open arms. In 2006, Theodis released his first full-length solo CD after three long years, "I'm The Man You Need". Based on input from fans and DJs, it was surely worth the wait. For all the fans who needed a "Theodis Ealey -- L I V E" fix, they got exactly what they wanted in 2009 -- exciting, magnetic, juke joint blues. Continuing in the juke joint spirit, Theodis released two singles, much to his fans' delight -- "The Old Man's Story (MBFDD)" and "Slow Grindin'". Now, a brand new year brings about a more passionate side of Theodis Ealey that the fans and DJs will surely love with his new CD, "You and I, Together".
New Album - "You & I Together"
Check it out yall...
Damon Harris....A EULOGY (By Billy Grifin)
(Photo - Damon Harris with the Temptations)
My enterprising, wide eyed, childhood friend.
My equal partner in the first singing group I ever formed.
But soon my co-founder Damon would feel stymied and inspired by his own "Lead Singing" as...pirations....
decided to spin off and form his own R&B quartet..
they were signed by The Isley Brothers to T-Neck Records.....
and the group became known as "The Young Vandals".
Years later they would rename their group..
Damon as history will record..
more than aptly replaced superstar Eddie Kendricks in "The Temptations"...
and that was certainly no small feat to accomplish...
but he accomplished it with an exuberant dignity...
and a never-ending consistency of excellence.
Earning multiple platinum records and grammy awards....
he was as all of you "Damon Harris" fans recall...
an ultra-focused entertainer and a driven perfectionist.
The perfect puzzle piece needed to sustain the popularity of the reigning "Kings Of Soul"...
Damon possessed a phenomenal, unwavering sense of self...
matched with a silky kind of soulful, southern, falsetto tenor.
But I knew of his exceptional God given ability in it's infant stage...
way back when we were 14 year old kids listening to records, emulating the best...
"crooning and honing our craft" together in the basements and front porchs of BALTIMORE, MD.
Pumping up our egos....
Damon would exclaim..."Without a doubt, we were both destined for stardom @ Motown."
Damon Harris was solely responsible for my coming to Tamla-Motown.
At the corporate Motown offices in Detroit..
he cornered and convinced Ronnie White and Pete Moore of "The Miracles" to give his childhood friend, Billy G. a listen...
as they floundered in turmoil to find a replacement for Smokey Robinson.
In a matter of days...
I was flown to Detroit.
In a matter of months,
I was rehearsing with the group as their new lead singer.
All because of Otis Robert Harris Jr!!
(Damon as you knew him)
So I Thank You OTIS HARRIS.......
and as I've told you 1,000 times over the years.....
I am in your eternal debt.
Love and gratitude from your childhood buddy from Walbrook Junction....
who walked to rehersal with you in a snow storm...
guitars on our backs and record players under our arms!!
As-sallamu aleykum my Brother.....
no need to worry 'bout a thing any more.
Rest well oh valiant warrior...
the fight is finally over.
It is done.
- with Damon Harris and The Tempations at Windsor Hills, Baltimore, Maryland.
RIP Donald Byrd (From a Black Catholic and a Black Hippie Perspective)
RIP Donald Byrd - The Black Hippie Perspective:
I'll just say a few things....
1. I am listening to a CD called "The Best of Donald Byrd." It's a decent compilation and it is somewhat comforting to me right now. It has to be, simply because it is the only Donald Byrd that I have at this time.
2. But what I would really be much rather doing at this moment is listening to Donald Byrd - "Black Byrd," and smokin a nice bowl of hash, in a dark room lit only by a black light bulb. Unfortunately I no longer own a copy of Donald Byrd - "Black Byrd," I gave up smokin pot/hash back in 1981 (but I do have a black light bulb around here somewhere.)
3. Donald Byrd - "Black Byrd," with it's "red, black & green" album cover is the album that truly served as my introduction to Jazz as a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh in 1973. I suspect that is a true statement for many others who were between the ages of 16 - 25 in 1973. It was one of the first "fusion" albums that successfully penetrated the minds of young Black people at that time and became a huge commercial success for a Jazz album. If someone were to put a gun to my head and demand that I give them a list of "the 10 most important albums of Bob Davis..." Donald Byrd - "Black Byrd," would be one of the albums on that list.
4. Of course Donald Byrd did a lotta great music both before and after "Black Byrd," including the stuff on this compilation that I am listening to right now (most of which sounds like it comes the albums "Street Lady" and "Places & Spaces.) I saw Donald Byrd perform live many times when I was a college student, with & without the "Blackbyrds." The shows were decent, but (much like the Ohio Players) they never reached the majesty of the recordings. The last time I saw Donald Byrd live, was in the early 90's in Newark, NJ. By that time he was teamed up with the rapper Guru. This was some very cool hip hop and a direction that I wished that hip hop could have sustained. Speaking of hip hop, I can remember hip hop DJ's spinning Donald Byrd records in the mid 1970's in the parks & projects of NYC (how cool is that?)
5. Anyhow, my hope is that someone at the Blue Note record company will send me a copy of Donald Byrd - "Black Byrd," I would gladly do a review. According to Amazon.com, Donald Byrd appears on 119 albums. I can't possibly do his career justice. But I could sure as hell tell ya about "Black Byrd." :)
Uh oh..... Flight Time just came on (and I'm having a flashback....)
RIP Donald Byrd - The Black Catholic Perspective:
It was 1963. That was a helluva year in retrospect.
JFK was assassinated at exactly the same time we at Our Lady of The Rosary Catholic School @ 63rd n Callowhill in West Philly were rehearsing for receiving the sacrament of The Holy Eucharist. They called it our First Holy Communion. Upon learning of the president's death practice was aborted and we were sent home. To Catholics, JFK was like a saint.
In the midst of all of this solemnity the Gregorian Chant so associated with The Catholic Church played mournfully in the background of my life. Ironically it was also at this time that another music of equal solemnity joined what was already playing in my head. The tune was Cristo Redentor (Christ The Redeemer). The album was A New Perspective and the featured artist was a trumpet player named Donald Byrd.
Remember it was also at this time that the storied Civil Rights Movement began to reach its first peak. That album as well as the song became the soundtrack for the movement. Later Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come joined Cristo Redentor as the tunes most associated with this time period in the 60's. Byrd's album though was chock full of spiritual if not religious undertones. Titles including Elijah, Chant, Black Disciple and more galvanized many because they were not only uplifting but inspirational. What remained most interesting to me was that the musical vehicle was Jazz. An almost sacred gospel-tinged version but Jazz nonetheless. In fact as I grew up beginning to play music myself I noticed that the more serious music and musicians played this kind of Jazz.
Don't get me wrong. Rock n Roll/R&B had its place but as all of the Black Arts Festivals and Black Power conferences convened the music being played was either this kind of thing or Miles or Horace Silver or John Coltrane. And of course large amounts of fiery poetry from the likes of Giovanni, Baracka, The Last Poets, Baldwin, Angelou and Grosvenor.
As I recall it behind the scenes and right AFTER one heard the fading strains of We Shall Overcome the next sound heard was Cristo Redentor.
So Donald Byrd makes my head swirl.
Each and every time I hear that tune I pause, if only for a second. It's as if I'm pouring musical libation for all of the martyred souls active in the various movements of change for black people. That album and particularly that tune was my real introduction to Jazz. Interestingly enough then this connotation is solemn, sacred and inspirational. By then I'd heard Jimmy Smith, Gloria Lynne, Ray Charles, Count Basie and Frank Sinatra. I'd even seen some of those artist when I attended my very first live show at The Uptown Theater.
None of em meant 1/2 as much to me as this New Perspective album. It wasn't like I was playing Donald Byrd w/my Temptations or Little Stevie Wonder. First of all it didn't belong to me and as such I was technically forbidden to even 'touch' it. Gladly it was on my parents and eldest brothers' playlist so I got to hear it often. Strangely as crazy as I am about the stuff to come some 10 yrs later INCLUDING Black Byrd it all pales in comparison. Interesting sidebar here is the fact that many of the musicians on these 70's Donald Byrd sessions (including the magnificent Mizell brothers) formed the famed Corporation. The Corporation was the crack group of musicians and producers that basically made you love The J5.
That's them on every one of those Motown albums by the Jacksons. Imagine what that sound would be free of the limitations of pop and the constraints of Berry Gordy. Combine them with this earth moving Jazz trumpeter and the likes of Merry Clayton on vocals. Now, you're Stepping Into Tomorrow or you're going to Think Twice. An already dark gloomy day has been made moreso.
Black hole? Sh*t this is beginning to be a gaping chasm of never ending darkness.
Think Twice. An already dark gloomy day has been made moreso.
PRESS RELEASE: So Good, So Right: Nicole Henry Live
This new release is right on time for Black History Month. It is outstanding. In fact, it's...So Good, it's So Right :)
But this is an artist that I have seen perform live (last week in NYC) and I am ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that she would never have a need (or a BS excuse) for "fakin da funk" by using a RECORDED TRACK on National TV. (I'm NOT going to "call no names," but yall KNOW who I'm talking bout.....LOL)
Check out her website at the following link: http://bit.ly/VxVer5
We will have a whole lot more about her here on Soul-Patrol coming up, but I just wanted to send this out to "whet your whistle..."
Since her debut in 2004, Nicole Henry has captivated audiences while establishing herself as one of the jazz world's most acclaimed vocalists. Her expressive, soulful voice and uplifting energy has earned her three top 10 albums along with international accolades from Moscow to Madrid. Adding to her vocal talents, Nicole's beauty and on-stage rapport, combining confidence, sincerity and a touch of sass, have beguiled fans in over 15 countries. http://bit.ly/VxVer5
On her sixth album So Good, So Right: Nicole Henry Live, Henry demonstrates her gift for sublime interpretation as well as her love for the emotionally tinged soul, pop and rock songs that were staples of the 1970's. The 13-track live album, which was recorded at Henry's sold-out performances at Feinstein's in NYC in May 2012, showcases her soulful, inspired interpretations of some of her favorite classic hits of the decade from iconic artists including Bill Withers, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, The Commodores and Gladys Knight. http://bit.ly/VxVer5
"I really connected with the music of the 70's-all those incredible grooves and great lyrics that conveyed hope and love and being free," comments Henry. "Growing up I can remember my parents listening to lots of soul and pop music, and so many of those songs just gave me a great feeling of happiness. The artists of that time were true craftsmen and their music had such a broad sound, accessible by people of all races- that's the kind of music I loved-no definitions! I wanted to revisit that time and those emotions and share them with my fans." http://bit.ly/VxVer5
Featured tracks on the album include the title track, Brenda Russell's 'So Good, So Right,' which Henry loves for the "simplicity of the adjectives Good and Right and how, in this song, "SO" completely explains that feeling of inexplicable perfection of that moment. It just IS." Henry grew up on Aretha Franklin's music so when album producer Matt Pierson recommended to her the song 'Spirit in the Dark,' from Franklin's 1970 album, she knew she had to cover it. "I grew up listening to Aretha's 1972 live gospel album Amazing Grace- as far as I'm concerned, everything Aretha sings is gospel," says Henry. "This song reminds people to be free, look within themselves, and lose control when you need to - a revival of spirit." Other tracks include the great Bill Withers 1972 classic 'Use Me,' which Henry says "shows just how funky he was, and the lyrics show how direct his writing could be. The song's meaning is obvious. GOOD LOVING goes a long way!" http://bit.ly/VxVer5
Henry also shines on tracks such as Joni Mitchell's 'Big Yellow Taxi,' where, as Henry explains, "Joni Mitchell's whimsical melody, combined with her sad lyrics, always throws me for a curve on the last verse," and Stealers Wheel's raucous 'Stuck in the Middle,' where Henry showcases her signature attitude. So Good, So Right: Nicole Henry Live closes with Fleetwood Mac's iconic 'Landslide,' a beautiful song Henry interprets to be about "learning to love, growing up, accepting one's past sacrifices, and making decisions about where you're going." http://bit.ly/VxVer5
Growing up in a musical family in Bucks County, PA, Henry immersed herself in the arts early on, singing in school and churh, and studying cello and ballet. After graduating from the University of Miami with a degree in Communications and Theatre, Henry launched a successful acting career, appearing in commercial roles as well as a series of voiceover assignments. But she directed her strongest passion toward the development of her full-time singing career which was quickly rewarded in her present hometown, when the Miami New Times named Henry "Best Solo Musician 2002." http://bit.ly/VxVer5
Henry's 2004 debut CD release, The Nearness of You, won considerable attention from audiences and critics in the U.S. and in Japan, where they named Henry Best New Jazz Artist of 2004. The following year, Henry's Teach Me Tonight reached #1 in Japan and was named HMV Japan's Best Vocal Jazz Album of 2005. 2008's The Very Thought of You substantially expanded her American audience, reaching #7 on Billboard's jazz chart. 2011's Embraceable, a slight departure from her prior recording, reached the top 20 on jazz and smooth jazz radio charts and was a creative triumph for Henry, increasing her repertoire of originals, and further established her as a peerless interpreter of jazz, and pop standards, transcending genre boundaries. http://bit.ly/VxVer5
So Good, So Right
Recorded live at Feinstein's at Loews Regency in New York City in May 2012, Nicole Henry captures the musical essence of the 1970s in a stunning performance. This intimate journey through familiar and classic songs will surprise and delight listeners of all ages.
1. Stuck in the Middle With You
2. So Good, So Right
3. Neither One of Us
4. Big Yellow Taxi
5. Waiting in Vain
6. Use Me
7. Fire and Rain
8. Love Don't Live Here Anymore
9. Spirit in the Dark
10. Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
12. Sweet Love
INUAGURATION DAY SPECIAL EDITION - Tidbits, Random Thoughts, Trivial Pursuits (30 second "brain dump")
1. OBAMA UNCHAINED - As someone who has disagreed with many of of his policies, especially his many "cave in's" to the teabaggers, I must say that over the past two months I have been impressed with President Obama. I can't figure out if he has indeed "grown a set of b@lls." Or if like Jackie Robinson, after his first season with the Dodgers he has now decided to reveal his true self? Either way it is awfully nice to see him finally behaving like a President. Hopefully he will be able to sustain this for his second term?
2. 2013 JIM CROW - Just thinking: Isn't the mere existence of something called "R&B Charts/Stations/etc." a vestige of segregationist Jim Crow laws/philosophies? When will we get to the point where we as Americans can completely do away with these types of things? I know some black people won't like this, but shouldn't STOP being such avid supporters of Jim Crow?
3. HAIR ISSUES - Michelle Obama's new do': She has really got it goin on, don't cha think? Serious 1960's Girl Group Retro, eh?
4. BEST PICK UP LINE EVER IN A SONG? "Hello I love you won't you tell me your name. Hello I love you let me jump in your game..." --The Doors.
5. HISTORIC - Was history made today when Justice Sonia Sotomayor administered the oath of office to Vice President Biden?
6. OUTSTANDING COVER SONG - Here is Chuck D with a "cover" of Mandrill's classic; "Fencewalk" http://www.soundcloud.com/johnnyjuice/fencewalk-dj-johnny-juice
7. ROOTS OF GUN VIOLENCE? - Ever notice how much the communities portrayed on Lifetime TV movies resemble places like Aurora Co, Tuscon Az, Newtown Ct, Columbine, Co, etc?
8. EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN - Look for some new Otis Redding music on Soul-Patrol.com next month.
9. ARETHA'S BRAIN - Just imagine being inside of Aretha Franklin's head. She sung at Dr. King's funeral in 1968. She sung at President Obama's inaugural in 2009. Talk about being witness to "the arc of history?"
10. RADIO DAZE - Speaking of radio, isn't YouTube truly become "radio" in today's world? You can find & any song you want there whenever you want to. Or maybe Soundcloud is?
11. YOU WANT IT YOU GOT IT - Amazon's new service where they give you the mp3 files of any CD that you have previously purchased from them is a brilliant stroke of marketing in my opinion.
12. CINEMA VERTE - Ever since i saw Samuel L. Jackson's Portrayal of "Stephan" in Djanago Unchained, I am now afraid to look at a box of Uncle Ben's Rice
13. GIVE IT UP, TURNIT LOOSE - Doesn't it make you just a little bit sad that realistically; Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and General Powell are just a little bit long in the tooth to run for President in 2016? Well not really that sad. It's time for the next generation to take over...
14. BIRTHDAY BOY - For my birthday later today I am going to Atlantic City to check out the 70's Soul Jam, featuring the Chi-Lites, Stylistics, Emotions & more
15. JOHN LEE HOOKER - is still who I wanna be like whenever I grow up. (if I ever "grow up' that is)
(boom, boom, boom, boom)
Album Review - Angel Rissoff - Nu Soul Stories (Life, Love and Tall Tales)
First & Foremost, this is a great album:
Angel Rissoff - Nu Soul Stories (Life, Love and Tall Tales)
Featuring three Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famers
Angel Rissoff is quite possibly the most important artist that I have covered here on Soul-Patrol over the course of the past 10 years.
His music is great, no doubt about that. But of course there is much more to the story. And this weekend it seems most appropriate to tell you all why. http://bit.ly/XmpOGV
This is a very special weekend. First of all it is my birthday. I was born on January 19th 1957.
And no different than any other kid who has a birthday, right around Christmastime, I grew up feeling slightly "gypped," when it came to getting presents. My family was always quite broke after Christmas, and although they always tried their best, my birthday always felt like it was something of an afterthought. Really and truly, just another cold day in January.
Of course this all changed quite dramatically in 1983, when Dr. King's birthday was made a national holiday. Well for me, strictly as a "side effect" it also meant that my birthday suddenly became celebrated during a "three day weekend" most years.
And this year it takes on additional significance, because it is also the weekend celebrating the second inauguration of President Barrack Obama. For many Black Americans, even those who disagree with many of his policies this is a big moment in history. And not just because it is taking place on Dr. King's birthday. It is because this second election means that perhaps that which not so long ago seemed not just impossible or even unthinkable, might actually be a normal or a regular thing. And if what was previously impossible or even unthinkable, could be normal or regular, that means there is hope for a whole lot of other things to be normal/regular as well.
And this brings me back to Angel.... http://bit.ly/XmpOGV
Angel is a dude from the Bronx. Just a regular dude. Happens to be a white dude.
Musically he comes out of the same musical tradition that gave us artists like Dion, Laura Nyro, the Rascals and others. A few of you out there might call it a tradition of "blue eyed soul." Personally I can't stand that term. It is so shallow and in some ways is offensive. It implies somehow that the artist and their artistry is just "impossible or even unthinkable" as opposed to being "normal/regular." One of the problems in attempting to describe music using shorthand terminology like "blue eyed soul," simply because we are too lazy to consider what it actually is and what it might actually represent. Therefore we don't allow ourselves the pleasure of being able to accept the "impossible or even unthinkable" as being "normal/regular." http://bit.ly/XmpOGV
And I am here to tell you that very clearly the days of being unable to "impossible or even unthinkable" as being "normal/regular," are over. http://bit.ly/XmpOGV
Dion, Laura Nyro, the Rascals and others from NYC who happened to be white were bonafide R&B artists. They could and should be considered to be GREAT R&B artists, simply because not only did they perform it, but they lived it. And nothing should be considered to be unusual about that. Nor should we have to insult, and marginalize their artistry by using terminology like "Blue Eyed Soul."
And so should the music of Angel. It is quite simply a great album of what some might call R&B music. Some might call some of the songs "Classic Soul." Some might call it "Nu Soul." Some might call it "Blues." Some might call it "Funk." Some might call it "Jazz." http://bit.ly/XmpOGV
But again, these are all shorthand names that each sorta miss the point. It's all great Black music.
-- It's "normal/regular" because it is created by a talented cat from the Bronx. This is Big City music for Big City folks who walk down their streets with a "glide in their stride & a dip in their hips."
--It's "impossible or even unthinkable" because it dares/challenges the listener to consider the fact that maybe, just maybe the era of GREAT BLACK MUSIC hasn't come to an end, simply because this kind of artistry still exists in 2013.
No surprise to me whatsoever. That's because these two things ALWAYS holds true for all of the music that comes from Angel. And that is why I feel he may be the most important artist that I have covered over the course of the past 10 years. His music represents both the past and the future at the same time. http://bit.ly/XmpOGV
Here is the track listing:
1. 29 Ways
2. Baseball Junkie
3. Sugar Bowl
4. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
5. Back From The Dead
6. Thought I Knew Her
7. Thought I Knew Her pt 2
8. Every Man
9. You Better Run
10. On The Other Hand
11. Fine Wine
12. Open the Door To Your Heart
13. Shag Time
Note: some of these songs are covers and some are originals. This album is far more than the sum of its parts. Although some of you may not have the "attention span," you really should try to "swallow it whole."
Try it, you can sample all of the tracks at his website: http://bit.ly/XmpOGV
And if you do, you might just find that what you thought was previously "impossible or even unthinkable" as being "normal/regular."
And just like everyone finally coming to understand that the existence of something like "President Obama," is actually quite "normal," the existence of a work of Black Music Artistry coming from "a talented cat from the Bronx," is quite "normal" as well.
After all, he's only been doing it for the past few decades.
Now back to my birthday celebration....
Saving our Sonz (SOS) - Lawrence Perry (a small miracle)
I just want yall to take a moment and take note of one of those "small miracles," that we often miss when they occur. It has been my experience that when these "small miracles" occur, that they usually lead to BIG CHANGES in the lives of those who are impacted.
We usually miss them when they occur, however this one is on my radar because of the involvement of our friend Lawrence Perry (aka ELP56, you all have enjoyed his reviews here on Soul-Patrol.com for many years.)
One of the reasons why this is on my radar is because while a whole lot of folks that I know seem to think that somehow, something magical is supposed to happen, just because a Black man named Barrack Obama is President and therefore they don't have to do anything except sit at home, watch TV or take potshots on the internet and simply wait for the "magic to happen." What those folks don't realize if that it is up to them to "create the magic," Obama used up all his magic in getting elected. If you want "magic" to happen, you need to do what Lawrence Perry (and his son) did and you need to do it right in your own neighborhood! (Bob Davis)
Southwest Globe Times Newspaper (Philadelphia)
December 3, 3012
More than 30 young men participated in the Saving our Sonz (SOS) workshop which took place at the 46th Street Baptist Church on Saturday, December 8.
As described by organizer Bob Bell, the event was the first in a series of programs aimed at bringing together boys aged 7 -14 and their parents with a team of outstanding men in the community, "To start the process of developing self respect, positive thinking, leadership, and communicate important values like education and giving back to the community through service."
The program benefitted, of course, from Bell's own extensive work history including over thirty years as a police officer, youth advocate, and community advocate. Presently, he is CEO of 906Works which seeks to change behaviors and attitudes in the African American community. Bell's challenge was how to maximum the amount of interaction in a relatively short time. To do this, he took the unique approach of stationing each of the adult mentors at a separate table and over the three hour workshop, small groups of boys circulated between them. In this fashion, the adults were able to convey their own life experiences, values and principles directly and forcefully to each of the young participants and answer their many questions.
Commented mentor Ian Brown, in a facebook reflection on the event, "Although we had a successful day at our first Saving Our Sonz S.O.S Workshop event we want to see more parents bring out their boys." Brown also noted that this kind of positive event needs to be highlighted to counteract the excessive media attention to shootings, stabbings, drug busts or home invasions in the community.
"I was particularly touched by the comment of another mentor who said that going into the workshop, he had no idea of the extent that the table conversations seemed to empower the young people," affirmed Bell. "Overall, the workshop greatly exceeded our expectations," Bell said. Paying tribute to the men he had recruited as mentors, "It wasn't about us; it was all about the kids - teaching them that they can be leaders in their world and in the community. The fact that so many adults stepped forward shows the youngsters that people care."
In addition to Brown, Bell listed mentor/table leaders Henry Demby, Robert L. Bell III, Tyrone Norwood, LAWRENCE PERRY, LAWRENCE PERRY JR., Ras Niger Hamal Ali, Aaron Boyd, E. Scott Bell, Shawn Smalls, Troy Parham, Trevor Parham, and Lamond Muhammad, and added his profound appreciation for their efforts.
"Mr. Darrell Henderson was also scheduled as one of our speakers. However, he unexpectedly passed away last Tuesday night," noted Bell with respect and sadness. "We dedicated the SOS workshop to him."
Typical of the kind of man who made the effort to prepare himself for discussions with the youngsters was LAWRENCE PERRY. "An outstanding musician and percussionist, Lawrence has played with dozens of bands at major events," recounted Bell. "He has also performed at many of the churches in the area over the past 50 years. Music through drumming is his passion and his life's work." Bell found it a pleasure and a blessing to have Perry share his career with the groups of boys that came to his table.
Bell went out of his way to cite three of the mentors who were in their 20's. "The boys gravitated right to them; their tables were always buzzing!" he said. "The men were surprised at the way their views and feelings seemed so important and meaningful to the youngsters." One discussion point of interest to many of the parents was that of abuse under the heading "Is Someone Hurting You?" and covered what to look for if abuse is occurring. "We want to follow up on that subject in our subsequent sessions," noted Bell.
"We want to thank the members of 46th Street Baptist Church and Pastor Martin Wright for their hospitality and the way they pitched in to set up the workshop," stressed Bell. "We also want to thank the people who contributed to package of school supplies, notebooks and other items given to the boys who attended." Each of the youngsters also proudly received a certificate of participation in the event."
Bell and his team are looking forward to another workshop in March where parents will join in the breakout sessions and provide their input. "We are also planning a third session later in the spring which will emphasize empowerment." Bell stated. "We want the boys to tell us what they think is helpful in their development. We will certainly invite those who attended this first event, and also invite some new kids as well."
Bob Bell can be reached at 215-359-7928, or by email at email@example.com
Press Release: New music from The Four Tops' drummer, featuring Detroit Soul Legends, Benefiting the Detroit Public Schools' Music Programs: Drew Schultz: "Back to Class"
New music from The Four Tops' drummer, featuring Detroit Soul Legends, Benefiting the Detroit Public Schools' Music Programs: Drew Schultz: "Back to Class"
Now available on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify:
"Back to Class" is a benefit retro-soul record by drummer and percussionist Drew Schultz, featuring a lineup of heavy hitting soul music veterans. The record contains all-original material written by Schultz, featuring guest performances by many of the legends he has played with. Appearing on the album are The Four Tops, James Jamerson Jr, Dennis Coffey, Members of The Funk Brothers, Ken Knox of Chairmen of the Board, Melvin Davis, Spyder Turner, McKinley Jackson, Pat Lewis, Rob Carter of Nature's Divine, Turhan (Earl Van Dyke Jr), Joey Kingfish, and Lenny Pickett of Tower of Power / Saturday Night Live.
The record also features up and coming young singers Chris Ams, Elise McCoy, Anna "Cartia" Carter, and Kyle Allen. Drew's group from New York, The Funk Machine, provides the backing tracks along with many staples of the Detroit music scene. The record was engineered, recorded, and co-produced by Steve Adams, a protege of Motown engineer Ed Wolfrum, focusing on raw organic performances by singers and instrumentalists. The album is a benefit project for the music programs of the Detroit Public Schools, where many of the guest artists grew up and honed their talents.
"Back to Class" Video Playlist (including EPK documentaries and singles featuring The Four Tops, James Jamerson Jr, and Ken Knox of Charmen of the Board):
Drew is a soul music lover, drummer, percussionist, songwriter, arranger, journalist, and producer. While traveling the world as The Four Tops' drummer, Drew has performed behind countless soul legends, including The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Martha Reeves, The Dramatics, The Miracles, The Contours, Chairmen of the Board, Harold Melvin's Blue Notes, and many more. He has written articles on soul drumming for Modern Drummer Magazine, done pre-production engineering work for Universal/Motown, and studied under many of the greats including Uriel Jones, Ralph Johnson, and Mike Clark. Soul music means the world to him, and the opportunity to write and record with some of his favorite artists, all while giving back to Detroit's music programs has been a lifelong dream come true.
Now available on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify; Drew Schultz: "Back to Class!"
http://www.DSdrums.com for more info!
IT IS TIME TO CHANGE THE CONVERSATION! (Bill Ortiz - Highest Wish)
There was once a time when hip hop provided us with the answer to a question that we didn't even realize that we had. That's because we didn't really think of it as a question yet. However by the time the answer came along, apparently it was too late for the question or its answer to have any meaning whatsoever.
Back in the 1995, trumpeter Branford Marsalis was probably the most famous jazz musician in the country. As the bandleader of the "Tonight Show." he had a successful nightly platform for his artistry. However in 1995 Branford announced that he would be leaving the show in order to focus on a new project that would fuse together jazz, funk and hip hop. He said that he wanted to help to bridge a generation gap that he saw forming, and that he had a musical vision, that would not only fuse together these musical styles, but also create a communications vehicle for the fans of those musical styles.
That project was called "Buckshot LeFonque," and IMHO the two "Buckshot LeFonque" albums released in the 1990's were two of the best Black music albums of the decade, they were artistic masterpieces. However the albums failed to reach their intended audiences. Other attempts at a similar type of "fusion" in the early to mid-1990's from artists such as Guru/Donald Byrd, Digable Planets, US3, Miles Davis/Easy Mo Bee and others were artistic successes, by were commercially uneven, never truly reaching their intended audiences. A whole musical "sub type" called "Acid Jazz" focused on this fusion between jazz, funk and hip hop, which proved to be quite popular in the UK, but never made a real commercial impact in the United States.
The whole question of fusing together jazz/funk/hip hop was a legitimate one, from a musical, cultural & audience perspective. The problem was that despite all of the great music that was produced during this period, the "answer to the question came about 5 years later than when the question should have been asked in the first place."
When Branford Marsalis embarked on his quest, the reason he gave at the time was that he felt that the music could be the basis for a vehicle to open up an avenue for inter-generational communication, which could avert a split in the Black community that had never existed before. He said that he felt it was his duty to do what he could do to head off what could possibly be a tragic "generation gap."
Despite the best of intentions, his idea was bound for failure. That's because, unknown to him as well as the rest of us, with the acceptance of "Gangsta Rap" as a lucrative/mainstream form of popular music, hip hop (and its fans) would never look back and seek to be a part of the continuum of Black culture. It would instead seek its own path and it's fans would insist that it was "something new" and had no connection to anything else. In fact it would have its own language, culture, dress and attitude that would have nothing in common with anything else that proceeded it.
Perhaps a few of you out there remember this period of time?
Fast forward to 2012...
I say all of this to say that the album Highest Wish, by Santana trumpeter Bill Ortiz harkens back to the 1990's strain of thought that a generational bridge, with music as a basis. To do this, Bill Ortiz reaches even further back for a frame of reference, in using the late/great Gil Scott-Heron to help provide some of the context.
Once again this is a very successful musical endeavor, much as the musical efforts in the 1990's were:
--If you are a funk music fan, then you will love this album.
--If you are a jazz music fan, then you will love this album.
--If you are a hip hop music fan, then you will love this album.
This all goes without saying.
And of course you can check it out for yourself at:
However there is more…
IT IS TIME TO CHANGE THE CONVERSATION!
Everything that Branford Marsalis predicted back in 1995 has come to pass.
Only it is far worse.
IT IS NO LONGER JUST A "BLACK PROBLEM."
The generational gap that Branford spoke of in 1995 is a universal one that threatens the ability of our entire society to move forward. It is now absolutely critical that younger people and older people find a basis for common communication. Far too much knowledge is being lost, and that lost knowledge contains essential facts that younger people require, for their own survival.
The mid 1990's may in fact have been the wrong time to have the conversation. Perhaps it should have been held earlier? I dunno. But I do know that it needs to be held RIGHT NOW. Because with each passing day the opportunity to have that honest conversation, drifts further and further away.
Let's face it, most of today's hip hop fans likely know less about the music of artists like Guru/Donald Byrd, Digable Planets, US3, Miles Davis/Easy Mo Bee, Buckshot LeFonque and others than does GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Although it may feel like it was just yesterday to some of us, many of them weren't even born yet in the mid 90's. Therefore it is incumbent upon those of us who do know to:
CHANGE THE CONVERSATION!
We have to be willing to do the "outreach," we have to be willing to take the time to expose younger music fans to music such as Highest Wish, by Santana trumpeter Bill Ortiz. This is one of those kind of things that if we care about, we have to be proactive about. If we want younger people to care about our musical legacy, then we should care enough to be willing to educate them about it…
(why not…put a little skin in the game?)
GO TO: http://bit.ly/PWYY3I
Still not ready yet?
Check out the press release below...
Album Review: Bobby Womack - Bravest Man in the Universe
Don't delay purchasing this album! It is not surprisingly a winner. It has a little something for everyone. Four out of five stars is an appropriate rating. Emerging from it are sounds of newness, very much unlike what we would have expected from Bobby Womack 20 years ago. Bobby demonstrates his strengths and experience through his raspy and soulful strands on each of the eleven tracks. The significance of the songs on the album lie within the deliverance of the agony and defeat, despair and pain that he's experienced as you hear him deliver each flawless note. Remerging as a refined and pristine artist at time when most well known R&B artist are not visible, Bobby effortlessly delivers across genres and attracts the ear of several diverse age and musical listening groups. This is most definitely a crossover album. It places Bobby in many genres.
Thoughtfully arranged, the album grasps your undivided attention as Bobby delivers "The Bravest Man in the Universe". As one listens he soulfully belts out that the bravest man in the universe is the one who has forgiven first. Followed up by "Please forgive my heart, Bobby remorsefully sings this song with conviction: "I'm a liar, I'm in a dream, going my way, nothing to rely on. The tune "Dayglo Reflection" is an upbeat piece with Lana Del Ray which tributes Sam Cooke's voice as he delivers a beautiful and personal quote about life, maturity, decisions and choices. The sultry voice of the late singer LANA DEL RAY captivates you as you listen to the sensual and soulful collaboration. "Please forgive my heart" offers the testimony of his life, as he suggests remorse and yields transparency to the man he is today. "Stupid" has the poet written all over it as he soulfully sings about the church, preachers and questionable behaviors. "Deep River" is the Bobby Womack that everybody has been waiting to hear. He plays that guitar as though it was invented just for him. When he sings the crescendo, remarkably you hear Sam Cooke echoing in his heart." Love is gonna lift you up" is an upbeat song that allows you to rock in your chair. Cheerful and funky, the tune grasps all genres. He strongly concludes the album with "Don't you let nobody turn you around". He remerged as the Poet Legend, but with a much more defining and modern twist. Sexy, sassy, soulful and sensual, he's raspy voice is still Bobby. He didn't sell out or alter his style, while delivering new material and staying true to form. You have to admire this.
Some people don't like change, but this man is too talented to be conformed to one style of music. He has shown through this album that his versatility, ingenuity, creativity and talent can sweep not only across R&B, but Urban Rap, Latin, Classical, Jazz and Pop. This is experience, talent and sincerity as we speak. It is fair to admit that the synchronized effects were unnecessary, because Bobby's voice is and will always be remarkable. It is almost as if the sounds were specifically arranged around each and every note that he sang. For all those fans and listeners who are unaccustomed to Bobby reaching across genres, keep an open mind and explore the album. You just may find that it is one of the best collaborations produced from this artist. Nevertheless, it will be enjoyed. He is to be admired for welcoming innovation and creativity to enhance his already well respected career.
1. The Bravest Man In The Universe
2. Please Forgive My Heart
3. Deep River
4. Dayglo Reflection
5. Sweet Baby Mine
7. If There Wasn't Something There
8. Love Is Gonna Lift You Up
9. Nothin' Can Save Ya
10. Jubilee (Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around)
~Andrea S. Wooten~
GET Bobby Womack - "Bravest Man in the Universe"
Album Review: Ryan Shaw - Real Love
Twitter Review: @kozmicfunk If your looking for the REAL THANG in music 2012, look no further than: Ryan Shaw - Real Love
There...now go & buy it. You can thank me later. Oh you say that isn't enough of a review? Too short? Need more perspective, than 140 characters can give you?
Well below is the Soul-Patrol.com review, if you need to understand the larger context, past/present/future of where this great new release fits into the paradigm of Black music.
I don't mind telling you that I am doing some serious mult-tasking at the moment:
-- I am watching the movie "JFK" on Cable TV (for about the 20th time)
-- I am in the middle of writing a piece on legendary NYC communicator, Hal Jackson
-- I am listening to the new Ryan Shaw album "Real Love" (for about the 10th time, since November 2011)
By now I am certain that you have heard about Ryan Shaw's latest release: Real Love? It has certainly generated a whole lot of publicity and is being featured all over the place these days. In fact Real Love is already in the top 10 on the iTunes Soul/R&B chart and it's just been released. I've been listening to the album for a good 6 months or so now, and if you are reading this, I strongly suspect that you will like Real Love as much as I do.....(review continues here)
Donna Summer - She Said it Really Loud, She Said it on the Air On the Radio
I just want to go on record as saying that IMHO this is a tremendous SLAP IN THE FACE.
As a music fan I am very disappointed. But I'm not sure that it matters anymore.
The reason it doesn't matter is because I have grown immune from corporate politics. In the year 2007, my sensitivities lie elsewhere.
I really do understand just why it is of the utmost importance for LiveNation (Madonna) to break bread and get into bed with Viacom (RRHOF Induction Committee). From a corporate perspective, it makes sense and I'm quite certain that the shareholders of these corporations are very happy.
As a music fan I am very disappointed. But I'm not sure that it matters anymore.
In my minds eye, filtered thru the prism of 50 years of hard living and fun times, I can remember back to the times of being a "disco kid" back in the ultimate "disco city". That place was then known as "fun city". Today "fun city" is hardly that anymore, it being the first casualty in a war that seems to have no boundaries. NYC has hardly been a "fun place" to be, since 9/11/2001. But for a five year period back in the mid 70's to the early 1980's, it really was "fun city", if you were a kid. To be a "kid" in NYC during that period of time was to see a time where "fun" was defined by hanging out with your peers and being a part of your own subculture that while it was exclusive was very different than what had come before it. It was different because it had no boundaries within it. This culture was the ultimate in the expression of the "freedom" provided by the vision set forth by the entity known as "rock n' roll."
The vision of "rock n' roll" became fully realized during the disco period. It was perfectly aligned with the vision of the framers of the US Constitution. Under disco, "all men (and women) were created equal (on the dance floor)" and what was an "urban sub culture" for "disco kids" like me, became the fulfillment of the promise of the vision of rock n' roll, the US Constitution and the Civil Rights Movement, all rolled into one.
And the key person who was the icon for all of this was Donna Summer. How ironic that the iconic symbol of a movement that brought all Americans together, fulfilling the promise of the vision of rock n' roll, born out of the objectives of the 1950's integration movement, be a POWERHOUSE BLACK WOMAN. It's ironic, but it was totally keeping in synch with the course of human events, that a POWERHOUSE BLACK WOMAN should be the icon for the bringing together of of all of God's children under the same roof, even if that roof was a nightclub for young adults. It became the America, only hinted at by the INTEGRATED visual imagery of artists like the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Sly & the Family Stone, Doobie Brothers, Allman Brothers and others. It was in fact the next logical step for a nation which had been torn apart during the 1960's by racial strife.
And how ironic that Donna Summer herself is shut out of the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame by a woman who is but a "pale imitation" of her. All Donna Summer did was change American society and make the vision of BOTH the US Constitution and Rock n' Roll itself into a reality. She did that with an unprecedented string of hit songs, that she wrote which formed the core of a culture that finally made it possible to break down the doors of segregation in America, and do so in a manner that all parties involved were actually happy about the result. The music of Donna Summer is what changed Rock n Roll from an environment where the Blacks sat in the balcony and Whites sat on the ground floor, to an environment where EVERYONE was on a level playing field called a DANCE FLOOR.
All of what I have said is the truth. You can go and look it up. Or better yet, you can do what the RRHOF Induction Committee seemingly refuses to do and simply ask someone who was there.
How ironic that this announcement of the exclusion of Donna Summer should come in the aftermath of the death of Ike Turner (although he is in the RRHOF), yet another pioneer whose musical accomplishments have become diminished, by exclusion. Yes it is true that as we moved from the Carter Administration to the Reagan Administration, Madonna succeeded Donna Summer as the next queen of dance music and therefore deserves to be recognized for her accomplishments. But why can't the originator gain her recognition first?
Or why not make a statement about just how that timeframe changed the country and induct both women together?
As a music fan I am very disappointed. But I'm not sure that it matters anymore.
Because I have come to realize that this process, has....
:::NOTHING TO DO WITH MUSIC:::
:::NOTHING TO DO WITH HISTORY:::
So it really is ok, I'm fine with it.
And much like Groucho Marx.
I can only say to Donna Summer...
"I wouldn't want to be a member of a club that would have me as a member..."
In the meanwhile, I guess I'll just continue to keep JAMMIN with Donna Summer's music: http://www.soul-patrol.net/donna.ram
And think back to a time when all things AMERICAN, truly seemed possible
This has been one heck of a week (if you are a F-U-N-K-A-T-E-E-R)
There has certainly been a whole lot going on in my world and the world around me over the past week that has absolutely nothing to do with music. I won't bore you all with the details, but I will tell you that it has all been quite good.
All of that good stuff is somewhat tempered by all of the bad stuff that has been happening in the neighborhood of the world that Soul-Patrol lives in.
This has been one of the worst weeks that I can recall.
(and the week is not yet even 1/2 over yet)
We lost 3 soldiers this week.
FUNK soldiers that is:
--Donald "Duck" Dunn of Booker T & the MG's.
I'm all but certain that at this very second, there is some white radio station in the United States of Amerika that is playing the music of Booker T & the MG's. However I am just as certain that at this very second that there are NO Black (knee-gro) Radio stations in the United States playing the music of Booker T. & the MG's.
--Belita Woods of Funkadelic.
Hers is the sweet voice of estrogen that we heard at all of those acid drenched concerts for so many years, that neutralized the testosterone of the P.
Chuck Brown of the Soul Searchers.
They called it "gogo," but I don't really even know what that is supposed to mean. Whenever I heard Chuck Brown I heard the RAW FUNK, straight outta deepest darkest Washington DC, by way of Timbuktu. First it was hit singles in the early 70's like "We The People" and "Blow Your Whistle." Then in the mid 70's it was just the Stone Cold Funk of albums like "Salt of the Earth" (which contains the immortal "Ashley's Roachclip," a song so STANK that it has it's very own Wikipedia
entry!!!) Then in 1979 the monster hit song that is today a BBQ classic in the Black community, "Bustin Loose." Check out the album "Any Other Way to Go?" from the 1980's, which is one of the top 5 FUNK albums I have ever heard, the damn drummer NEVER STOPS for the whole album!!! ITS RAW MONSTER BURNING GONORRHEA FUNK WITH THE SCAB RIPPED OFF
This has NOT been a good week to be a F-U-N-K-A-T-E-E-R :(
(and the week is only 1/2 over)
Spotify + Funk Church + Connecting with the People (Guest Commentary From Bill Curtis of the Fatback Band)
Here is our friend Bill Curtis of the Fatback Band once again with a slammin commentary. Just for you folks out there who love Spotify so much and for you artists out there who think that somehow "you are above it all."
Also here is a free download from Bill/Fatback of their new single: "CAN YOU FEEL THE RHYTHM?"
"Summertime is girl-watching time. I'm gonna watch 'em, baby. I haven't lost my eyes for them big-butt girls. I like the girls, y'all." A little tune we did back in the days is still a great dance song. Go to acerecords.co.uk, that is where you will find all of our albums, if anyone is interested.
Hey I want to remind you not to add Spotify play Buttons to your Facebook page, Twitter, tumbir blog, etc. I 'm not a lover of Spotify, because it doesn't pay the artist that much money. If you are an artist it takes 200 streams equal one iTunes download and one to three years to get paid. To me, Spotify is just another great way to get rich off of the artist and songwriters. I have nothing against people making as much money as they can, but not at the expense of others. But, they keep telling you it's better than piracy, you're getting something, 0.04cent per stream. Well, you are right, but you can't make a livelihood off that. My question is why everyone gets paid decent money except the creator and the artist. Tech-slavery is what I call it.
But one good thing, you don't have to do it if you don't want too. Putting Spotify play buttons on your page is giving free advertisement to Spotify and Facebook. Once you get a fan to your page, you have a potential sale. Someone might just buy your stuff. If you want to send them somewhere else, send them where they pay more. To your download
site: iTunes, Tunecore, Amazon. Spotify pays a fraction of a penny. I could see if they were paying you to put their button on or giving you something for pointing a potential customer their way. We have got to get smart and stop falling for that Bull s---. You know how they feel about us.
I haven't heard of any major yet stepping up to the plate to bat for the artist or express any concern that they feel our rates are to low. On their end, they are getting paid big time and keeping it on the down-low. Hey, I'm not saying you don't need Facebook page, apps, Twitter accounts and blogs. However, you do not need to point your fans to places only paying a fractions of a penny. Your own site is very valuable property where you sell and do business. You have your fans in your store who dig your music and want to know about you. Okay they say Spotify is better than piracy, well it might be so, I'm gonna tell you this. Piracy is one of the best free advertisements you can get in the world, one thing they don't piracy junk.
I hear and read about the state of Black music culture or Black Music, whatever. Maybe they are talking about the commercial side. Yes, I do think Black music(funk), is on the decline on the so call "pop or commercial music. The funk it is alive and well in the Churches. If you want to hear good funk go to church or listen to gospel radio, its there. That's where our music culture started. Black music has always been an experience, just like the church. When we go to concerts that's what we looking for that one time experience. Something we can talk about the next few days. tell your friends what they missed that's what made the early Black Entertainer connect so well. They took their church experiences to the stage and build on that. I often tell people there was a very thin line between James Brown and a country preacher.
Some of our new and upcoming Entertainers need to go and check out that experience that I'm talking about( got to find the right church). I guarantee you will be talking about it to your friends the next day. This is what today's audiences are looking for, that experience. They want to be involved. Back in the days in my Hometown when I was growing up I knew most of the acts that came to town I had met them before and they knew me, (they act like they did). They stayed in the hood, ate in the local café and you could walk up and talk to them. And when they took a break, they were out in the audience, (maybe because there were no dressing rooms), talking and going on. As a Entertainer you got to get back to that kind of thing. The people want to know about you. YOU want them to, so they can go and tell others. Everyone wants to be involved they want to have that one time experience.
Ok, if you don't believe me go to Church and get your groove on, come back and tell me about your experience.
Hey, if you want to lose some of those pounds you are carrying around and stay healthy at the same time and make money take a look at billcurtis011.bodybyvi.com. We are doing it over here, it works. If you want know more email me Bill.firstname.lastname@example.org
Also here is a free download from Bill/Fatback of their new single: "CAN YOU FEEL THE RHYTHM?"
Concert Review (sorta) - The Group Harmony Alley on WFDU-FM Fundraiser (4/19)
This past Thursday I had the chance to attend a rare event, in Northern New Jersey. It was the Group Harmony Alley on WFDU-FM fundraiser in Teaneck, NJ at a pretty nice club called Mexicali Live, featuring the following artists:
A Perfect Blend
The Vic Donna Group
One thing that all of these artists have in common is that they all represent a slice of the doo wop scene called Acapella. That means that even within what is an incredibly shinking Black music genre (doo wop,) what this scene represents is a sub genre of that.
In fact this "sub genre" is so small in 2010, one might even question the sanity of driving damn near 2 hours on the New Jersey Turnpike on a Thursday evening to go to the show.
Well I went because I knew that this event might just be one of the most exciting Black music events that I am going to attend in the year 2012.
That's because I knew that it was going to be an Acapella event and I know that Acapella is perhaps the most exciting kind of Black music that you could possibly choose to expose yourself to.
How come? (CUZ IT'S RAW)
In fact I wish that somehow a "branding expert" could come along and change the "branding" of Acapella to something along the lines of
"I like my MUSIC, the same way I like my SEX....I LIKE IT RAW, I LIKE IT WETT, & I LIKE IT OFTEN." (then maybe people would take more interest?)
You see Acapella represents BLACK MUSIC in all of its RAW & NAKED GLORY.
And it seems that today in 2012, we have gotten so far away from having an appreciation of the RAW & NAKED GLORY of BLACK MUSIC.
In 2012 we seem to want our music, in the same manner that we want our food: "ARTIFICIAL, PROCESSED, & UN-HEALTHY"
IMHO just as we need to be consuming natural, un-processed and healthier food, we need to be doing much the same with our musical consumption!!!
Or as the Persuasions have been telling us for about a half s century now: "WE DON'T NEED NO BAND"
So in essence, this event wasn't really just a fundraiser for the radio show The Group Harmony Alley on WFDU-FM. It was really (just as the radio show is): A CELEBRATION OF BLACK MUSIC IN ALL OF IT'S RAW & NAKED GLORY.
So now you know why it was quite worth a two hour drive for yours truly to attend on a Thursday evening....
Some of you may recall that I made a 3 hour appearance on The Group Harmony Alley on WFDU-FM, last summer courtesy of it's host, Ms. Christine Vitale. She quite literally turned over her broadcast to me for 3 hours to play music from artists associated with Soul-Patrol.com, and to discuss some of the issues associated with the music.
Christine was the host for this fundraiser as well, duly noting my late arrival, when she announced my name to the crowd of about 250 people in attendance at the club. As soon as she announced my name, several people who are members of Soul-Patrol came over to say hello.
Bad enough I was late, now I had to talk with the folks who came up to me, which isn't a bad thing, it just meant that I wasn't going to be able to write an actual full blown concert review......LOL
I spoke with Saundra Williams, who most of you know best as one of the vocalists with the Victor Wooten band. Saundra came up to me and told me how excited she was about Victor's upcoming album. She also told me that she was also now singing background with Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings as well. Next up was Keith Lewis, the producer of the excellent documentary called "A Lesson in A Capella," (http://www.aboutcvg.com/films.html) that I have mentioned here on Soul-Patrol many times in the past. Then I found my way into the dressing room in order to say hello to Tommie Shider, lead singer of the Sheps. If that name sounds familiar, it should. If you are a longtime reader you will remember several concert/album review we have done over the years of the Sheps. You will also recall that Tommie is the brother of the late Gary "Doo Wop" Shider, infamous "diaperman" of P-Funk.
I also spent some time with the members of the group "Choice - Jersey City's Bad Boys of Acappella," some of whom attended the 2011 Soul-Patrol Convention in Philly. They were actually handling the logistics of the show (door, backstage, etc.) and not scheduled to perform, but ended up doing a 60 second, impromptu performance of 60 Minute Man, from the audience, nice & RAW (just the way I like it.)
In the midst of all of this conversation going on there was plenty of live music going on, serving as the soundtrack for my conversations. Each of the artists were singing a mixture of both familiar/unfamiliar CLASSIC SOUL songs (see I'll bet ya thought I was gonna say doo wop songs, didn't cha?) One of the things that caught my ear was a group called "Magic Touch," who did a Chi-lites Medley, as a part of their performance and were pretty damn good. Funny thing about that was, I had just been on the phone with our friend Marshall Thompson of the Chi-Lites, during my drive up the NJ Turnpike....LOL
There was also at the same time, plenty of music going on right outside of the club. I got a telephone call that I had to take, so I ducked outside to take the call. When I got outside, there were members of the Persuasions, along with members of Magic Touch, singing songs under a street light (just like a scene from a movie.....LOL)
Obviously everyone is familiar with Persuasions, who were the headliners for this event. This was the only group that I was actually able to focus on enough to listen to their set...
One of the "myths" in the Black community about Black folks who are involved in this type of music are somehow "Uncle Toms." That "myth" somehow implies that because the modern day audience for the music is about 95 percent white, that the artists themselves are somehow "sellouts."
The reality is that Black folks need to be SPANKED for their own ignorance!!!
This performance of the Persuasions (a group I have seen many times, dating back to my teenage years sneaking in to clubs in Greenwich Village to see them) was about as FIERCE a display of BLACK PRIDE/BLACK HISTORY as you are likely to ever see on stage.
Starting with "Buffalo Solders," and giving that 95% white audience the TRUE story of "How The West Was Won," in a manner that even Gil Scott-Heron couldn't begin to approach to their defiant signature song "Still Aint Got No Band" to their Temptations Medley which started with the classic David Ruffin "Don't Look Back," flowed into tha FUNk with "Runaway Child Running Wild" & "Cloud Nine" then back to "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" next was "60 Minute Man", followed by the quite humorous "Can't Do 60 No More" then doing Beatles, Dylan & U2 covers in their own "Still Aint Got No Band" style, quite literally left me talking to myself.
They gave a hard core/serious Black History lesson and a music history lesson (and didn't need a band to do it either....LOL)
At the end of the event I thanked Christine for inviting me and made it back to my car for the long drive home.
As I drove back I found myself thinking about that moment in the year 2000, while I was covering the RRHOF Inductions, during the rehearsal of the Moonglows. They were singing the song "Sincerely," of course "without a band." They were completely killing the song, as one might have expected. It just so happened that Paul Simon (yes THAT Paul Simon) was standing next to me. He was focused intensely on the performance and was himself in a "zone." I overheard him talking to himself and saying "this is the f*ckin sh*t....this is how Rock n' Roll started and people don't have a clue..."
Paul Simon's a pretty smart guy, isn't he?
Commentary: I have 3 thoughts about the passing of Dick Clark
1. My first thought will always be that I got to do something in 2007 that millions of people wanted to do, but never got a chance to. I got to dance on American Bandstand (sorta.) As some of you may recall, we held the cabaret portion of the 2007 Soul-Patrol Convention in what was formerly the TV studio of WFIL in Philadelphia. The event was held inside of the very room (bout the size of a small HS gym) where the American Bandstand TV show was filmed. Those of you who were there will recall the floor was decorated with graphical icons, marking the spot where the cameras were placed, where the bleachers were, the outline of the dance floor, Dick Clark's podium stood, the control room & more. Sadly that floor no longer exists. The owners have now replaced it with a regular wooden floor. The cabaret was DJ'ed by our own "Dr G," he truly "FUNKED UP" American Bandstand, and is one of the highlights of my life. It reminds me that what we do with the Soul-Patrol Convention is to try to create "once in a lifetime" opportunities to do something musically that you would otherwise NEVER have the chance to do. (Be there or be square....LOL)
2. Kevin Amos's great audio interview of Stanley Blitz: Funkoverlord Interviews Stanley Blitz, Author of "American Bandstand The Untold Story," which discusses the true story of how the show began as an R&B and Jazz show, how it evolved, how Dick Clark came to replace Bob Horn. This interview appears on the Soul-Patrol.com website at the following link: http://www.soul-patrol.net/bandstand.ram the interview is required listening and the book is required reading if anyone is interested in learning the TRUE history of the American Bandstand TV show.
3. Dick Clark was a man who built a multi-media empire. He did it the "all amerikan way." He came from a wealthy and politically connected family. He used that wealth and political connections to build a powerful foundation for his multi-media empire on the backs of Black American culture. He used that foundation to first avoid going to jail, when clearly what he was doing was the very definition of what is now known as "payola." Next he used that foundation to expand into a vast multi-media empire, taking it even to the point where his name and face became synonymous with a national holiday (megalomania?) Although I am a native of New York, I have lived in the Philadelphia area now for 20+ years and as a result of my various activities with Soul-Patrol.com I have had the chance to speak with many people who have been associated with the American Bandstand TV show, and it is fair to say that people here are proud of the TV show, but few have had nice things to say about Dick Clark. Today there are many Black folks who are celebrating Dick Clark as if he was some sort of "deity." Please do not count me among that group of people. It is one thing for us to continuously allow our culture to be exploited for profit. It is quite another for us to celebrate those who victimize us.
Concert Review: Global Noize @ Berks Jazz Fest
I was quite honored to have been selected to emcee this show. I always have a blast at the Berks Jazzfest, hooking up with old friends (Kayte Connerly, John Ernesto, etc) and new ones (Anita & Selmon Brody of the upcoming Chester County Jazz Festival, etc.) Check out the review below from our friend "ELP" and also check out the video clip from the show of "Jam For Joe," which ELP so vividly describes below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60GTkXbtQvQ, featuring the incredible vocal intro by Falu!!! well suh...aint nuffin smoov bout these cats!
So it seems that many of you (most of you?) are familiar with this very eclectic band. It wouldn't be incorrect to say for some that they are a Weather Report tribute band. However there are elements about them that suggest something different. I won't say more because that's not really the issue here. Less is more sometimes.
Just as Weather Report is basically Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter it's safe to say that Global Noise at it's core is DJ Logic, Jason Miles and the lovely and exotic Falu.
Unlike Weather Report whose sound is both easily identifiable and somewhat unchanged no matter who the sidemen may be, Global Noise is almost chameleon-like in it's ability to frame it's sound live around the musicians featured during that set.
Tonight the 'sidemen' were:
Mino Cinelu- French-Caribbean multi-instrumentalist playing percussion and vocals Will Calhoun- known as drummer for Living Colour on drums Jay Rodriguez- probably the unsung fourth 'regular' member of this band on reeds Amanda Ruzza- brilliant young Brazilian bassist Maurice Brown- trumpeter par excellence out of Chicago Illinois and another young turk.
Tonight the sound was more Weather Report meets Miles meets "Bollywood" meets Funk/Hip-Hop or yet another turn on the term 'Fusion'.
Here's the set:
A Jam For Joe- opening with soaring yet ethereal vocal intonations provided by Falu in possibly Hindi, there was a certain meditative quality to this sound. If any of you ever practice things like TM, Yoga or any of the Eastern modes of prayer and/or introspection then you know of the feelings of connection to Oneness. It's not a stretch to say that Falu's singing here and throughout have the ability to 'take you there' (so quoth one Mavis of Staples). This opening was to me THE Prayer For The Planet for which the current album is so named. I was disappointed to learn that it was NOT that tune. So beautiful that I felt my eyes well up with tears. After Falu's vocal intro the band kicks into nice little quasi funk groove that featured further singing by Falu and excellent solos from both Maurice Brown as well as Jay Rodriguez.
Bollyhood- another Falu vehicle which featured another solo from Jay as well as a nice piano/synth solo from Jason Miles
The Souk- tune about being in and capturing the sounds of the marketplace in Marrakech. DJ Logic dropped a nice funk drum sample/sequence which was picked up by Will Calhoun but then morphs into another groove entirely. It's here that we begin to see Falu's interaction with various members of the band with call and response between her vocals and whomever she chooses to 'challenge' in this way.
*There were two sets so I'm basically combining the best of both as they played the SAME SET differently the 2nd time around.
Viva La Femme- the highlight and showcase tune for me of the night (hell, the entire DAY for that matter). This too had a distinct intro by Logic but then things go all damned funky and whatnot! Amanda Ruzzo got so funky she might as well have taken her clothes off! I spoke with her and while I itched to ask her age I didn't want to be rude but suffice to say she couldn't have been more than thirty. It was also clear that she was very much up under Will Calhoun during rehearsals as there was a lovely interplay between the two. She took a solo very reminiscent of Jaco (well not quite THAT deep- but you get my drift). She did the octave chords and then did the Graham slap-bass thang and then just went into her own teeth chattering masher crasher low bass register groove. All done expertly with taste and touch. After that percussionist Mino did his thing playing on a very sensitive instrument that (according to him) is old equipment. So old in fact as to almost be obsolete. Will had one as well. It looks like a conga head mounted on a stand and augmented by a tunable head and various knobs for changing sounds/sequencing. This thing can sound like everything from a tabla to congas to bongos and any and everything in between. Unfortunately I don't recall this instrument's name. Mino's tabla-like solo smoked and Will Calhoun expertly (and very patiently) camped on the drum kit. And then it was Mr. Calhoun's turn to burn and boy did he. He's such a nice cat and he plays virtually everything in a way that seemingly says: "you can do this too"! His playing lends itself directly to Africa and all of the influences that a drummer might find there. I'm not saying that he don't get into his chops or technique, I'm saying that his flash is more soulful than most. He soloed first trading back and forth with Mino and then opening up alone. He had two pedals on one bass drum, a hi-hat and also a supplemental 18" bass drum. To put this in perspective they have 18" floor toms so as a bass drum this is small-almost like a cocktail drum like the salseros might play. His solo had this...imagine your heart beat or what is depicted as a heartbeat. boom-BOOM...or clip-CLOP. Got that? Just let that play over and over in your head. That by the way is called an ostinato. That '18' I spoke of is pitched higher so it really resembled a heartbeat. Then on top of that with the right side of his body he soloed. Then with his left hand he played something against THAT! All that shit sounded like about three cats playing and yet it also seemed NOT otherworldly or impossible. It sounded for the entire world that we could all sit in and get right with his playing. I'm oversimplifying a bit because this was a tremendous solo. Hardly like anything the younger 'Third' was playing earlier but maybe more interesting because of the intricateness of it all. This cacophony of sound was all hushed by a DJ Logic mix that was wah-wah/scratch turntabalist like. This scratch/wah-wah became softer and softer until it was over. Sweet.
Wanna Be With You- Excellent ensemble piece that featured Falu and a nice sax solo by Jay. Jay does this really nice thing while onstage. Once his part or solo is complete instead of leaving the stage he goes down into a sort of squat-sit-kneel position right there onstage. There's something so inclusive about this because while unobtrusive to the other band members or the stage, he stays with everybody and just grooves. He's listening almost like he's considering what he'll do next all while embracing completely everything happening onstage.
Prayer For The Planet- sort of like disco meets fusion. This was a bit anti-climactic as it relates to the rest of the set but as a finale it was perfect. You almost wanted to get up and dance. In fact I don't remember the lyric but it was something with which we could sing or hum along.
Global Noize is decidedly NOT a Smooth Jazz band. The folk that came to hear them were clearly familiar with their music and there to see THEM as George Benson was performing at the same time as their first set in another venue. It was a nice crowd and the demographic had to be mostly in the 50-60 yr. old group. Racial mix of about 60-40% white to black. A good time was evidently had by all. Hopefully the economic woes of America will be resolved so more folk will come out as this show and many of the others I did NOT see can be better attended and appreciated.
Hire A Band
APOLOGY TO DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING: (Guest Commentary from Carlton J. Smith)
Dr. King on behalf of my brothers and sisters I apologize for our behavior.
I'm sure that on this day back in 1968 when you lay on that balcony - mortally wounded - surrounded by Benedict Arnold turncoat race traitors within your inner circle - race traitors who were complicit in your shooting - I'm sure you never imagined that 44 years on from that fateful day (April 4th) that we would be openly calling each other NIGGER and have the whole world singing along, having convinced ourselves it's a term of endearment.
I apologize for the historical amnesia that so many of us labor under. We have no knowledge of ourselves, of the pain and suffering that our forefathers and foremothers went through as well as the day to day struggle but we can recount at the drop of a hat how Chris Brown beat Rhiannas ass.
I apologize for the fact that you went to prison on behalf of our struggle and it inspired you to write the classic, LETTERS FROM A BIRMINGHAM JAIL" - nowadays artists go to jail and it inspires nothing but a spike in their CD sales.
Dr. King I apologize because seemingly we have learned nothing and as a result we are doomed to repeat a lot of the same mistakes. We are still behaving like crabs in a barrel...if one of us makes it up the rest of us try to pull him/her back down. Your assassins were more unified than we are.
Dr. King you went abroad to receive your Nobel Peace prize and represented us on international shores...nowadays Kanye and Jay Z (two of our supposed best and brightest) are representing us on international shores with a song called "NIGGERS IN PARIS".
Oh Dr. King I apologize from the bottom of my heart.
If there's any solace to be gleaned from your tragic passing it's that when you took one in the neck you were on a balcony surrounded by your staff...Malcolm X took seventeen bullets in his chest in FRONT OF HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN, Medgar Evers took two in the back in the driveway of his home in front of his wife and children courtesy of that cowardly Klansman Byron DeLa Beckwith.
Dr.King would you please tell them that we're sorry too?
You know Dr.King we're so far gone that we have allowed ourselves to believe that there's a distinction between someone calling us the "N" word and their ending it with an "A" as opposed to an "ER"...as if that's supposed to make it alright.
Dr.King if you see Harriet Tubman, tell her that once more some of us need to be led out of the darkness and into the light.
Tell Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington that we're sorry also. Time was we would be killed for trying to read and educate ourselves and nowadays the old adage ,
"...if you want to keep a secret from a black man, just hide it in a book..." seems truer than ever.
DR. KING it would appear that you death was in vain...James Brown told us to be BLACK AND PROUD...nowadays we just want to be paid and proud...no matter what the cost.
Our obsession with material things as opposed to spiritual will prove to be our downfall.
Yes there's a black man in the White House and a black first lady...but that move was designed and calculated to allow White America to pat themselves on the back in a self congratulatory look - how - far - we've come move while doing nothing to erase the age old problems.
Dr. King I pray that you are resting in peace with Coretta right by your side.
You may run into a young man by the name of Trayvon Martin whose recent demise was proof positive that ain't a damn thing changed but the weather. I don't know how much he knows of you, but please fill him in and wrap your arms around him. He truly wasn't supposed to meet you just yet.
Again I hope I haven't been too presumptuous...no one asked me to speak for all black people but I felt compelled.
You did so much for us and look how we're repaid you.
We owe you so much more.
THANK YOU FOR HAVING WALKED AMONGST US.
YOU WERE A MAN AMONGST MEN.
"I THANK GOD FOR MUSIC!"
- CARLTON J. SMITH
Gil Noble Passes
I would assume that by now, many of you all have heard, brotha Gil Noble has passed away. For most of you, even if you have heard of him, Gil Noble was just a local TV newsman. But for those of us who grew up on him, Gil Noble was our teacher. His TV show, "Like It Is," was an institution in NYC.
Gil Noble didn't talk down to Black folks. He made YOU come up to his level. And if you couldn't keep up, then you were going to get left behind.
He didn't talk "street." But you knew that he was cool as hell.
Watching his show, I always got the feeling, that he didn't consider Black History to be "yesterday's news." I got the feeling that it was his expectation, that "Black History," was the bare minimum of knowledge that you were supposed to have and that he was going to make absolutely certain that you were going to learn all of the Black History that he knew about, and then some.
So he made Black History documentaries, just for the "Like It Is" program.
Clearly Gil Noble didn't think that you were supposed to learn history, just for the sake of knowing it. My impression was that without understanding that history, it would be impossible to navigate daily life as a Black American.
So he made Current events broadcasts that tackled the most important local/national issues, and tied those issues to the history lessons he also taught, just for the "Like It Is" program.
I used to watch these broadcasts, all during Junior High & High School, every Sunday at 1pm. One week it would be Jackie Robinson, the next week it would be about a school board dispute, the next week it might be Count Basie, the next week it could be about a rent strike against a slumlord, the next week it could be Bobby Seale, the next week it could be about a girls Double Dutch competition, the next week it could be a local funk band like Mandrill, the next week it could be Lena Horne, etc.
Hopefully some of these broadcasts are available on tape/DVD.
If they are, I would buy it.
Although I didn't realize it at the time. For me each broadcast was like a attending college lecture. With brotha Gil connecting the dots, between all of it.
Before there was Ed Bradley (There was Gil Noble)
Before there was Tavis Smiley (There was Gil Noble)
Before there was Don Lemmon (There was Gil Noble)
And I think that I am most likely a better person for it....
From ABC TV
It is with much regret to inform you that Gil Noble has passed away.
Gil Noble (born February 22, 1932 in [[Harlem, New York]-April 5, 2012]) is an American television reporter and interviewer. He was the producer and host of New York City television station WABC-TV's weekly, Like It Is, originally co-hosted with Melba Tolliver. The program focused primarily on issues concerning African Americans and those within the African diaspora.
Noble joined WABC in July 1967 as a reporter, and starting in January 1968 became an anchor of its Saturday and Sunday night newscasts. He became host of Like It Is a few months prior to the rebranding of the station's newscasts as Eyewitness News in November 1968. In addition, he was an occasional interviewer on some of WABC's other public affairs shows, such as Eyewitness Exclusive. From 1986 on, Noble concentrated exclusively on Like It Is.
Noble also created documentaries on such topics as W. E. B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, Decade of Struggle, Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Jack Johnson, Charlie Parker and Essay on Drugs. In 1977, he wrote, directed and produced the first documentary on Paul Robeson, entitled The Tallest Tree in Our Forest.
In 1973, Noble reported (for local TV station WABC channel 7) on the first mobile cellular phone invented by Marty Cooper from the NY Hilton in New York.
Noble won four Emmy Awards. In 1981, he wrote an autobiography, Black is the Color of My TV Tube.
Noble was a supporter of The Jazz Foundation of America, hosting the 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2007 "A Great Night in Harlem" Concert / Benefit for The Jazz Foundation to support The Musicians Emergency Fund. He is! also a member of the Board of Directors.
In July 2011, Noble suffered a serious stroke. In late September, his family announced that Noble would not be returning to host Like It Is.
Condolences from Mandrill:
Condolences for Gil Noble's family and friends:
Gil Noble, another Icon, has transitioned to join the ancestors. His body of work as a television journalist was second to none. His documentaries, such as Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Jack Johnson and so many others, were informative and uplifting.
Mandrill was fortunate to be featured on Like It Is (WABC TV/Channel 7) out of New York City in 1970. This was one of our earliest television shows and we were in awe of Mr. Noble's presence and his ability to make you feel at home as he asked very poignant and pertinent questions. We also performed on the show and we are truly indebted to him for helping to put Mandrill on the map back in the early days, shortly after our inception.
To Mr. Noble's family and friends, we give our Condolences. His work will live on to inform and inspire a whole new generation. May he rest in peace.
The Wilson Brothers, Lou, Ric, Carlos and Wolf of Mandrill
Echoes of an Era (Trayvon Martin & Sgt Robert Bales outrage)
I give you the following two "echoes."
The general public seems to be outraged by these two cases, as well they should be. Both cases seem to be the very definition of what the "flip side" of the American Dream is supposed to be. Of course the media is simultaneously fueling that outrage, yet at the same time is warning us that those who appear to be the guilty parties, still must be presumed innocent.
Yet even if they are innocent, there still feels like something is terribly wrong.
1. The case of Trayvon Martin in Sanford Florida (Echoes of Emmett Till)
2. The case of Sgt Robert Bales in Afghanistan (Echoes of Lt. William Calley/Mi Lie Massacre)
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my personal disdain for the "values" of the hip hop generation. Well these two artists (Jasiri X and Sgt Dunson....along with Rebel Diaz) are the exceptions that prove the rule.
Please feel free to forward these videos to your frineds online and make them as popular as they can be. Perhaps it will encourage the mainstream music industry to start speaking out on these critical issues?
PRESS RELEASE: James Biscuit" Rouse - "Conversations in Analog, vol. 1"
Did yall tell me that yall dig some REAL FUNK MUSIC....Just head on over to the website of James "Biscuit" Rouse (http://www.jamesrousemusic.com), take a listen and let me know what yall think?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: New York based drummer/singer James Rouse is excited to welcome us into the conversation with his debut solo project, "Conversations in Analog, vol. 1", a soulful exploration of the intersection between funk and jazz.
James Rouse is well-versed in soul and funk, as evidenced in the many years he has spent as a diverse side musician, playing alongside the creative gifts of r&b songstress Lauryn Hill, smooth jazz bassist Gerald Veasley, and jazz bassist Mike Henderson from the Miles Davis ensemble, among others. Drawing influences from 70's era jazz fusion, Philadelphia soul, psychedelic rock, Conversations takes you on an emotional trip through the creative amalgam of all groove-based idioms. Grammy-award winning Songwriter Nile Rodgers, has said of this project [insert quote].
Conversations in Analog features guest appearances from fusion trumpeter Phil Lassiter (Philthy, Dallas AllStars), sultry jazz singer Mavis Swan Poole (Lauryn Hill), bass clarinetist Scott Kreiger (Broadway) and James Rouse's wife Charisa the ViolinDiva, (Mos Def, Savion Glover). Their cohesive talents, from Poole's sassy storytelling to Adam Klipple's blazing organ solo on "Strawberry Fields" combines their cohesive talents to create a truly notable project. Not a small task, considering that most of this album was recorded while James Rouse was on an extensive international tour with Lauryn Hill, with members of the band recording solos everywhere from dressing rooms to soundchecks, and over long distance songwriting sessions.
Other memorable moment s from the album include the soul-stirring remake of Beatles Classic "Strawberry Fields", and the unrelenting funk on James Rouse's original "Freedom", which also features James' rich vocals in one of only two vocal tracks on the album. As stated by bassist Gerald Veasley, [James "Biscuit" Rouse establishes himself as a multi-talented recording artist with "Conversations in Analog". This CD is a breath of fresh air from an artist whose influences range from P-funk to opera to hip hop. Biscuit is at home in a sultry jazz night club jam session or a spirit filled gospel performance. "Conversations" is an break out debut from a musical chameleon"] As stated by DJ/ Producer King Britt [James Biscuit Rouse has created a really dope album. Especially for jazz heads, his fusion influences are show, channelling Michael Urbaniak, Herbie Hancock and even James Brown. His drumming is always on point and favorites, Good Hip and Freedom, make me hit repeat overtime. Bravo!] With Conversations in Analog, vol 1 James Rouse and his band deliver a powerful testament to the richness of soul, funk, and jazz, and the next chapter of their ongoing dialogue for a long time to come.
for all inquiries and bookings, please contact:
Alex Branch, Management (215-240-3284/ 818-570-0659)
Album Review: Revelations Featuring Tre Williams - Concrete Blues
The last time I saw a torch get passed so obviously and willingly it was when MJ presented JB BET's Lifetime Achievement (Vanguard/Sammy Davis Jr.?) Award a couple years ago. Like Ali frail and wobbly making his way through in that Olympic Torch lighting ceremony, Brown was waaaay ready to give it up but there was seemingly no takers. Enter MJ and the deal was sealed in one of the most memorable moments (TV or otherwise) ever.
So now we see Lattimore, the bad black lion passing the torch of Southern Soul to a not-so-young-but-young-enough-for-government-work (and the purposes necessary therein) Tre Williams. The new album is called Concrete Blues.
The irony here is that all of that in-studio wizadry (trickery?) is conspicuous by it's absence here. No sound gates, gone are the hokey horn patches and it's all replaced by the sparest of spare rhythm section (replete with a nice greasy Hammond b3 organ), bari and tenor saxes and a trumpet player. Horns are only on a couple tunes but their presence is so effective that it's another one of it's great selling points. Due to Mr. Williams' age the subject matter and delivery while very similar in some ways to Lattimore's is informed instead by the reality of black male life TODAY!
It also borrows heavily from the PEAK days of this genre. Luther Ingram, Johnny Taylor, Sam Cooke, Bobby Womack, Otis Redding along with the guitar playing of a Curtis Mayfield or Steve Cropper are all invoked. Anthony Hamilton comes to mind as well as his soul emits the exact same kind of emotionally charged maturity through the vagaries of the life experience. Jaheim got it too but those two are a lil more 'caught up' in 'today-isms' to matter as much as they could. By 'today-isms' I mean the 'hot' 'happenin' studio stuff.
One of the things that always endeared Tre Williams to me was his totally organic approach to music making. It's authentic, honest, traditional and fresh all at the same time. What Lattimore sang on the Ladies Man CD (All Said And Done) that "there aint nuthin new under the sun when it's all said and done" he had to be channeling this guy.
Maybe because of the sadly deteriorating aspects of our culture through broken dysfunctional nuclear families and the subsequent impairment of the black community, so many of today's young artists lack the continuum of tradition necessary to move forward. I believe that this is the main contributing factor informing this need for 'the next hot thing'. Cats acknowledge the presence of the Masters and all of their groundbreaking pioneering efforts only to abandon the same in search of this ever elusive 'Eldorado' of relevance.
Forget it! Just stop, NOW!.....(continued here)
Album Review: Betty Wright & The Roots - Betty Wright: The Movie
Please allow me to share with all of you another great find that came out recently - the latest from Betty Wright.
We all know the output of Miami-based soul legend Betty Wright, known for such classics as "Clean Up Woman", "Tonight Is The Night", "No Pain, No Gain", and "After The Pain". She did a song with Angie Stone back in 2006 or 2007 titled "Baby".
Well, she's back with a brand new CD titled "Betty Wright: The Movie". The music is provided by Philly's own The Roots and, let me tell you, the CD is SLAMMING!!!
Just like Full Force did for James Brown back in 1988 for his album "I'm Real", The Roots are doing for Betty Wright on her latest CD. Fourteen songs of pure, unadulterated, gut wrenching soul and funk! The CD is solid from start to finish - there is not one single filler cut, on the whole CD. A solid listen from beginning to end.
She is still the storyteller that she has always been with her lyrics and her singing is still as soulful and solid as ever. The Roots understand her style very well and provide solid instrumentation with REAL INSTRUMENTS and REAL SOUL! No hip-hopped soul here. Granted, three of the songs do feature very brief raps in the middle (one from Snoop Dogg). However, even the raps fit in perfectly and are unobtrusive. Again, all involved understand the lady and they allow her to do her thing without getting in the way.....(review continued)
Album Review: Irene Cara presents Hot Caramel
Irene Cara presents Hot Caramel
(Rock, Neo Soul, Jazz, Funk, Fusion, Slow Jams, Southern Soul, Pop, Disco, Latin, Spoken Word/Rap)
Irene Cara - vocals, acoustic piano, synths
Audrey Martells - vocals
Chanda Leigh Bailey - keyboards, synths/FX, vocals
Errica Poindexter - bass
Reina Yvonne Poindexter - vocals
Donna Hairston - bass
Lafrae Olivia SCI - drums
Sheryl Bailey - guitar
(please note ..."an all girl band")
Here is what I will write on Twitter about this album, if I ever log on to my account there again: "Irene Cara presents Hot Caramel is the best album that I have heard released in 2011"
(I think that is fewer than 140 characters?)
Irene Cara; huh?
A few months ago I was contacted by a publicist, asking me if I would like to have a copy of the new release by Irene Cara, for potential airplay on RadioIO.com. Of course I am well aware of who Irene Cara is.....(review continued)
Album Review: Black Ivory - Continuum
Some 40 years ago (damn! has it been that long?), I added, BLACK IVORY as one of the groups I came to enjoy in style and substance. "I'll Find Away" is among my all-time favorites of 'ALL' of the songs I like to listen to even today. The 'Industry' can be cruel to recording artists and thus, cruel to the fans of recording artists. They set their own criteria for what they are willing to support, I suppose, based on a bigger picture. I'm being kind. They kick to the curb what 'they' don't want or think is viable to their business 'objectives'. We have seen it repeatedly.So BLACK IVORY was yet another casualty of this 'process'. But NOW....
"CONTINUUM by BLACK IVORY" has come into being. A 'reunion' of sorts of the three young men, Stuart Bascombe, Leroy Burgess and Russell Paterson we embraced some 40 years ago. They have come a long way from, "Don't Turn Around", but in many ways, this album is reminiscent of the style of vocals and harmony that their followers and fans were drawn to.....(review continued)
Concert Review: Lee Fields + Sugar Pie DeSanto @ The Bell House New Years Eve Brooklyn, NY (12/31)
This long overdue review from New Year's Eve December 31, 2011 /January 1, 2012, is going to end up being more of a "stream of consciousness," than a typical concert review. As many of you already know, 2011 was just about the worst year of my life, with the passing of my mother on Thanksgiving day, among other things that you don't know. So as you might well imagine, I was quite happy to see the year end and for a new one to begin.
As a general rule, I don't go out at all on New Year's Eve at all. I stopped doing that many years ago, for all of the obvious reasons why the best place to be on New Years Eve is right at home, in front of the TV set watching the ball drop along with Dick Clark.
However the idea of bringing in the New Year with our good friends, Lee Fields and Sugar Pie DeSanto, was inspirational for me. I knew that not only would the show be ultra phunky, but I also knew that it would be just the type of "attitude adjustment," for me on a personal level that would enable me to start of 2012 on a positive tip.
Both are longtime members of Soul-Patrol, over 10 years in fact.
--In fact Lee Fields had attended the 2011 Soul-Patrol Convention this past summer in Philadelphia.
--And back in 2008 we were quite honored to have been in attendance when Sugar Pie DeSanto was presented with her R&B Foundation Pioneer Award.
And of course, this was Sugar Pie's first NYC appearance in many, many years.
(Later we were to learn that she had just recently discovered that she had been born in Brooklyn.)
As "mrs. earthjuce' and I were preparing to make the journey from New Jersey to Brooklyn for the show, something occurred that perfectly set the tone for the evening. My daughter, home from college for the Holiday break, who had previously told us that she would ge going to Philly to hang out with her friends, informs me that those plans had fallen through and wants to know if she can hang out with mom & dad for New Years Eve? Although I would never have suggested it, nothing could have made me smile more :)
Anyhow, the rest of this is the "stream of consciousness" that I tweeted that evening from the Bell House nightclub in Brooklyn on New Year's Eve December 31, 2011 /January 1, 2012...
@kozmicfunk: Im sitting here in the super hip/super slick Bell House nightclub in Brooklyn with my two best girls (mrs earthjuice & rachel).
@kozmicfunk: We are waiting for the supa phunky Mr. Lee Fields and the legendary Ms. Sugar Pie DeSanto (the inspiration for Amy Winehouse) to to hit the stage.
@kozmicfunk: The instruments are on the stage, there is a huge dance floor and I am ready to throw down :-)
@kozmicfunk: I sure as hell will be quite happy to see 2011 come to an end. Stay tuned. I've got some big plans for 2012.
@kozmicfunk: Be safe and just be sure to keep it FUNKY, wherever you are tonight...a seven piece band including a horn section.
@kozmicfunk: Here comes Ms. Sugar Pie...
@kozmicfunk: She has already lept off of the stage several time to dance with the audience
@kozmicfunk: She brought someone up on stage to do a real nasty slow drag with her.......LOL
@kozmicfunk: This place is SOLD OUT PACKED (and she is driving them nuts)
@kozmicfunk: In The Basement (Sugar Pie Live)......Like being in a discotheque (circa 1965)
Sugar Pie DeSanto (http://www.jasmanrecords.com)
--Life Goes On
--Use Whatcha Got
--Slip In Mules
--Go Go Power
--Hello San Francisco
--In the Basement
--Let's tear it Up
@kozmicfunk: Ball just dropped and now waiting on Lee Fields...
@kozmicfunk: while we are waiting, the DJ has been rockin some Betty Davis.
@kozmicfunk: Sugar Pie was awesome....
@kozmicfunk: We hooked up with our boy Lee (http://whoislee.com) and his lady earlier. Lee always comes out to support
@kozmicfunk: Lee Fields and the expresions just took the stage....
@kozmicfunk: If y'all miss James Brown....("there it is")....then ya need ta check out brotha Lee Fields
@kozmicfunk: ...they are starting off with some mellow and phunky Hugh Masakela type stuff
@kozmicfunk: Horn driven and very cool.
@kozmicfunk: I think that the "Expressions" are actually the "Dap Kings?")
@kozmicfunk: Crowd is goin wild...
@kozmicfunk: The promoter tells me there are about 600 people here in this room tonite.
@kozmicfunk: Bro Lee is doin his thang.....
@kozmicfunk: Remember the song....."SUNNY?"
@kozmicfunk: Lee Fields just did a MONSTER cover version.....
@kozmicfunk: Brotha Lee is done....but back for an encore...........and soundin like Bobby Womack ;-)
@kozmicfunk: ....but he's dancin like.....JB.......
@kozmicfunk: (splits n twists and everythang to some badd azz sh*t that is some kinda bizarre cross between James Brown and Bobby Womack
@kozmicfunk: .....(totally ...."wild and peaceful")
Lee Fields & the Expressions (http://www.leefieldsmusic.com)
--Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
--Money is King
--Love Comes and Goes
--Could Have Been
--What Can a Man Do
--You're The Kind of Girl
--All Your Goodies are Gone
So we left the club, located in a kind of no man's land warehouse district between Red Hook, Park Slope, Gowanus and the BQE, currently undergoing gentrification, I was told. As we drove back to NJ, thru Manhattan (to avoid the unbelievable $18.00 toll on the Verazzano Bridge,) my family was quite happy that we had gone to see Lee Fields and Sugar Pie DeSanto and that we had all gone together.
We had a couple of drinks
I got to introduce my family to the artists.
But more importantly I got to expose my daughter to some fantastic live music. It was the cold blooded Black Music of the 1960's (Sugar Pie DeSanto) and 1970's (Lee Fields.) It was the REAL THING, as performed by REAL ARTISTS.
It was music whose best days some will claim, is best viewed thru the "rear view mirror of time."
But try telling that to the 600 or so folks between the ages of 20 - 35, at the 'sweatbox" called "Bell House" (http://www.thebellhouseny.com) who were there dancing their azzes off from start to finish, that this kind of cold blooded soul/funk is best viewed thru the "rear view mirror of time?"
Something tells me that my music does indeed have a future.
And it is a future that I am even able to share with my daughter.
How's that for a cool way to start off the year?
PRESS RELEASE: "Blood Is Thicker Than The Mud; Little Sister From The Inside Out" (www.vetstone.com)
Editor's Note: I am very pleased to send out this press release.
It's a sneak preview of a new book that has been a long time in coming. It's called "Blood Is Thicker Than The Mud; Little Sister From The Inside Out." And it's by our friend Vet Stone, the "Little Sister." www.vetstone.com
I have been privileged enough to have been an observer over the course of the past 10 years of much of this story, and I will tell you right up front that this book is NOT for everyone:
--It is NOT for people who are interested in gossip about Sly & the Family Stone.
--It is NOT for people who "think" that they know the history of Sly & the Family Stone and who don't want their opinions to be confronted by the truth, about that history.
--It is for people who are interested in actually understanding what the cultural & human dynamics are behind what was (and in some ways still is) one of the most compelling musical phenomena's of the second half of the 20th Century.
The press release is from our friend Tee Watts, who many of you here know. Go to the site, check out the sample chapter and contact the author directly with your thoughts & questions, directly from the site: www.vetstone.com
(we will have more lata....Bob Davis)
November 12, 2011
FOR IMMEDIDATE RELEASE
Blood Is Thicker Than The Mud;
Little Sister From The Inside Out
www.vetstone.com - Let's see. I believe it was Sly's running buddy, George Clinton who gave us the Pinocchio theory which stated, Fake the funk and your nose will grow. The point is, many author's have tried to chronicle the annals of Funk from the perspective of Sly & The Family Stone. There was Joel Selvin's Sly & The Family Stone-An Oral History, There's A Riot Goin' On by Miles Marshall Lewis, Sly-The Lives Of Sylvester Stewart and Sly Stone by Danny Santiago and I Want To Take You Higher-The Life and Times of Sly & The Family Stone by Jeff Kaliss. Yet to be seen is the much hyped and over-heralded, Thank You-The Story Of Sly & The Family Stone by the Nether-Twins, Edwin & Arno Konings.
Much of the afore mentioned titles are simply, to quote George Clinton, one mo gin', Biological Speculation, i.e., on the part of the collective authors. Shoot, one of them interviewed no one connected to the band or the family to write his book. Like uh, suspend that creative license, will ya?
Vet Stone, Commandress of the Sly produced group, Little Sister and Co-Engineer with Skyler Jett of Sly's 13 gig, 2007 European tour, has authored a very credible work, which allows the reader a glimpse into not only her life, but also into the inner workings of the Stewart family, specifically their spiritual and musical evolution. Blood Is Thicker Than The Mud takes you back to the childhood of the Stewart siblings and brings the reader to the present, inclusive of Sly Stone's reentry into rehab in October of 2011. Heavy emphasis is placed on what really went down in 2007.
This is the Stone family from the inside out. It is not a nasty, dirty Sly Stone tell all. This the story of a proud woman who loves her family and perceives her direction from on High. A must read for any historical funkster. The book will be released on 1/1/12. Advance orders are being taken at www.vetstone.com starting 11/12/11
West Coast Correspondent
Album Review - Charles Wright "That Funky Thang" ("Old Soul and New Soul")
I just did something that I haven't done in a while. I just posted the following two reviews of Charles Wright "That Funky Thang" on my Twitter feed (@kozmicfunk) at about 9:30 am est.
REVIEW 1 - @kozmicfunk ChasWright "That Funky Thang" FUNKBANGER http://www.expressyourself.net #houseparty #invitefriends #BrownLiquor #JAM #4am #BlackPeople #RNB #FUNK RT
REVIEW 2 - @kozmicfunk ChasWright "That Funky Thang" GROOVE http://www.expressyourself.net #bestthingtoday #RachelMaddow #retrosoul #DapKings #bqemusic #fitz&tantrums RT
If you go visit my page on Twitter @kozmicunk you can view these two reviews if you like. According to Twitter I have 769 "followers." Despite that I doubt if many of those followers will "retweet," either of the two reviews for two reasons.
1. It's been 3-4 months since I posted anything on Twitter, so I doubt if any of those 769 "followers" are paying attention to anything that I have to say.
2. Very few of those 769 "followers" are even awake at 9:30 am est on a Sunday morning.
Of course I knew all of this in advance, but I still wanted to post these two very different reviews, targeted at two completely different demographic groups that I feel strongly would fall in love with the album Charles Wright "That Funky Thang", for a reason.
If you look closely at the #hashtags" contained in the two reviews, the two different demographic groups are easily apparent, given the 140 character limitations of Twitter.....(review continued here)
Garland Jeffreys - The King of In Between
As a former Fortune 500 Strategic Planner, one of the key items that I was trained to look for is something called "convergence." That is to say, analyzing a whole series of internal/external business, technology and operational factors and looking for natural patterns of "convergence" between those factors. Doing this type of analysis on the natural patterns of convergence, would lead me to draw certain conclusions about the potential "future state" of these factors, leading me to begin to structure a strategy that would enhance/create business opportunities around certain 'converged factors." The implementation of that strategy is left to others to figure out.
The title of Garland Jeffreys new album is "The King Of In Between" and that title suggests a kind of "convergence." And that convergence is a reflection of the various 'factors' that seemingly make up the sum total of what I will refer to here as the "Garland Jeffreys Experience."
In the case of the album, some of these factors are obvious and we have certainly seen them displayed in the past both from Garland as well as by other artists. For example, there are songs on this album that are about existing in a world that never quite accepts the fact that you are a person of "bi-racial origins." There are songs that celebrate the uniqness of being from NYC, and take that even one step further by celebrating being from Brooklyn......(continued here)
2011 Soul-Patrol Convention Rewind
Right now I am sitting here eating a bagel w/cream cheese & lox. There are relatively few things that I enjoy more in life than doing that. It is probably on my top ten list of things to do.
This past weekend at the 2011 Soul-Patrol Convention, in Philadelphia at a German-American multi-purpose facility called Cannstaters, originally built as a haven for a group of people who were outcast from "normal society," I got a chance to do most of the other 9 things in life that I enjoy doing all squeezed into a relatively compressed 24 hour time period, I wanted to throw a birthday party for an entity called Soul-Patrol that I created 15 years ago by doing much the same thing that I am doing right now. I created it by sitting in this chair, in the middle of the night, just writing down my thoughts about music/culture. I wrote what I wrote without caring if anyone else would ever read what i wrote or if they were to read it, if they would care about anything that I would have to say.
Nevertheless I was compelled to put my thoughts down on paper about a subject matter that I have been obsessed with, since I was about 10 years old. I have been obsessed with the topics of music/culture since I was a child. However as an adult I have gone beyond a simplistic obsession with the collection of factual information. I have moved to the larger obsession of just how all of that factual information just might be connected to each other and what conclusions that having an understanding of those connections will lead me to.
.....(continued here: http://www.soul-patrol.com/convention)
Lee Fields.....and "The Bizzaro World of MusicStyles/Audiences"
One of the nicest things about the 2011 Soul-Patrol Convention for me personally was the participation of the legendary Soul/Funk artist Lee Fields. www.leefieldsmusic.com
Lee Fields has been a member of Soul-Patrol for well over 10 years and he has made his mark in the world of music fans who want the "real deal," in terms of Black music. When I say that, I mean the real "roots" of Black music. Today he draws huge numbers of concert goers all over the United States, Canada, Europe and beyond. He has traveled quite a long ways from when he first sent me a homemade CD back in the late 1990's of what could best be described as "Southern Soul."
However most of those music fans are NOT who we might think that they either are or should be. Over the past 10 years or so, I have observed a very strange phenomenon in effect. I call that phenomena "The Bizzaro World of Music Styles/Audiences."
Some of you may recall the term "Bizzaro World," from the Superman comic strips of the past. In the "Bizzaro World," everything was the opposite of the way that Superman thought that it should be. For example n the "Bizzaro World," "left was right," "up was down," "good was bad," etc.
Over the past 10 years or so, the phenomena that I have observed is that the closer an artists music was to being firmly rooted in the historical legacy of Black music, the more non-Black fans that artist tended to have. While on the other hand, the less rooted in the historical legacy of Black music the artist was, the more Black fans they tended to have.
Thus..."The Bizzaro World of Music Styles/Audiences."
(For reference, see the Mighty Sam McClain file)
Today you can go to a sold out Lee Fields show at Central Park Summerstage and hardly see any Black folks in the audience. That's because in the year 2011, Lee Fields straight outta Plainfield, NJ, "home of tha P," a young man who sorta dresses and looks like James Brown and has a real flair for the style of both Little Richard, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, etc. onstage.
Does that sound like an artist who would be smack in the middle of the hearts and minds of Black America in 2011? (absolutely not)
However this is the type of an artist who would be smack in the middle of the hearts and minds of www.Soul-Patrol.com in 2011?
That's because we know that an artist like Lee Fields represents a pretty good look at where the future of Black music is going, to be in the not too distant future. In fact some might argue that it's already there (ex: look at the worldwide success of the music of Amy Winehouse.)
"In fact I would suggest that the type of music that we discuss here on Soul-Patrol is the most popular music in the world today. That's because we now live in a world that is electronically interconnected on a global basis. We can wax nostalgic all we want to about "the good old days," where Black music existed only on the far right hand side of the dial on low powered AM radio stations or inside of long shuttered ghetto based "chitlin circuit," nightclubs and theatres. But to do so would be living in the past. In fact, based on my statistics, Lee Fields is HUGE in the United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Canada, and France."
In July of 2011 hardcore Black music lovers on a global basis can listen to three songs from the brand new Lee Fields album called "Treacherous" on the Nu Soul Channel @ RadioIO.com (http://www.radioio.com/genre/hip-hop-soul)
Lee Fields - Here To Turn It Out
Lee Fields - Dance Like Your Naked
Lee Fields - At The End Of The Day
(on their smart phones)
You see, the audience for great Black music has changed, over the past 10 years. It is now global and that audience is able to listen to the music on a multitude of devices, from a multitude of places. I find it quite interesting to get a huge volume of email from people all over the United States as well as from places like Poland, Israel, Toronto, Indonesia, Brazil, etc, describing to me how much they dig the music that we play on RadioIO.com on a 24/7 basis. They like the convenience of discovering "the real deal in Black music," from the convenience of their smart phone while riding in their car, on their bike, in the subway or anyplace they can get an internet connection. Listeners are no longer "brainwashed" by corrupt radio networks, corrupt music charting services, corrupt music magazines, corrupt TV stations, etc. In today's global electronically interconnected world they now have choices and they choose to listen to the very best music available. In my humble opinion, the best music available, is Black music and Lee Fields today represents one of Black music's premier "ambassadors." www.leefieldsmusic.com
So it was good to re-connect with Lee Fields at the 2011 Soul-Patrol Convention. I am happy for the success that he is garnering on a worldwide basis. And it's good to see that he is allowing his own music to evolve as well. On "Treacherous" he still does the "hardcore" stuff, but he also expands into another part of the historical legacy of Black music. There are several "dance tracks," on the "Treacherous," that may at first appear to be out of place. And in 2011 they are quite out of place for Black Americans, who seem to have completely forgotten how to dance (have you been to a Hip Hop club lately and observed that nobody in the club dances?)
However despite the reluctance of Black Americans to "shake their booty" anymore, the rest of the world needs to dance in 2011, cuz things are just that bad. To paraphrase Smokey Robinson, in 2011, things are sooo bad that "the world need to dance...to keep from crying." Black Americans on the other hand instead of dancing, feel that a better way of analyzing the state of things in 2011 would be to "stick their heads in the ground," and pretend that all is well....(The "The Bizzaro World of Music Styles/Audiences")
(but that is another topic for another day!!!)
In the meanwhile check out the new album from Lee Fields "Treacherous"
(and of course look for him on the Soul-Patrol.com website, where we are quite proud to feature our longtime friend)
Scroll down for more...LEE FIELDS
2010 Best Black Music Albums, Tracks & Live Shows
(Classic Soul, Jazz, Southern Soul & Blues, Funk, Neo Soul, Rap & Rock n' Roll)
At the outset I need to explain the purpose of these various lists. We have been producing them since the inception of Soul-Patrol.com in 1996, using various formats. The original name of Soul-Patrol.com was something called "The P*Funk Review." It was a kind of play on the idea that we were primarily a Funk music site combined with our roots on the now defunct Prodigy Online Service (abbreviation = "P*") where I was the music director. Of course we ceased covering just "funk music," long ago and expanded to covering Classic Soul, Jazz, Southern Soul & Blues, Funk, Neo Soul, Rap & Rock n' Roll.
However the "Review" portion of the original name remains true to this day. Here at Soul-Patrol.com we consider it our obligation to identify excellence in Black music, and that is the reason why we create these lists (which you are free to disagree with if you like.)
The other purpose that these lists serve is that to a large extent we use them to define what the content of the Soul-Patrol Convention will be. In 2011 we will in fact have a Soul-Patrol Convention at a time and location yet to be determined and as has always been our custom all of the folks that appear on these lists are automaticly invited to participate in the 2011 Soul-Patrol Convention.
However since this year we are going to utilizing the 2011 Soul-Patrol Convention to highlight what is the 15th Anniversary of Soul-Patrol.com itself, all previous Soul-Patrol.com "Best of" awardees from all 15 previous years are also invited to participate in this year's Soul-Patrol Convention.
Stay tuned for more information about the date and location of the 2011 Soul-Patrol Convention...
I really do hate making lists. Which means that something is going to get left off, and no doubt I have left something out? The other thing about making lists is that they are "vertical" in nature as opposed to being "horizontal." This means that by definition a list will only tell you "half of the story." To get the entire story, you must also do the horizontal piece, by connecting the dots together. And of course that is what we do during the course of the year in all of the music/concert reviews that we do on the www.soul-patrol.com website and in all of the hand selected playlists on www.radioio.com.
And for Black music, an entity that seems so intent on destroying itself, knowing the entire story is absolutely critical. And telling that entire story is something that I feel quite strongly about. Fortunately I am in a position to do so, simply because I get to actually hear everything from the mainstream crap to the under the radar gems that the mainstream media is trying to keep hidden from us.
View the the Soul-Patrol.com Best of 2010 2010 Best Black Music Albums, Tracks & Live Shows
(Classic Soul, Jazz, Southern Soul & Blues, Funk, Neo Soul, Rap & Rock n' Roll) lists at this link...
Bob Davis - Soul-Patrol.com/RadioIO.com
798 Woodlane Rd
Mount Holly, NJ 08060
PRESS RELEASE: Jacques Schwarz-Bart - "RISE ABOVE" (featuring Stephanie McKay)
EDITORS NOTE: I wanted to make you all aware of the following press release, but before I do I would like to add a few items...
1. The new album from Jacques Schwarz-Bart called "RISE ABOVE" (featuring Stephanie McKay) was released yesterday. Check it out at the following link: www.brotherjacques.com
2. Of course many of you will recall Stephanie McKay and her fantastic song "RAINBOW" from the Soul-Patrol Digital/Virtual Album back in 2007. You will also recall that song was named by VIBE Magazine (Mark Anthony Neal) as one of the top 10 releases of 2007. (http://www.soul-patrol.com/newsletter/in/view1.php?id=202) and of course has been featured on the Nu Soul @ RadioIO channel
3. Well the song RAINBOW - STEPHANIE MCKAY gets it's official/official release on the album "RISE ABOVE" by Jacques Schwarz-Bart (and we are extremely happy about that!!!) In fact Stephanie can be heard singing on most of the songs on the album. www.brotherjacques.com
4. As a part of the celebration of the release of "RISE ABOVE" Jacques Schwarz-Bart & Stephanie McKay will be doing a residency during the month of September @ the NuBlu club in NYC at 62 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009-6916.
5. And to top it all off, tomorrow (9/2) is my brother Mike's birthday. We will be at the NuBlu club tomorrow night to check out Jacques Schwarz-Bart & Stephanie McKay LIVE. Come on out and join us if you are in the NYC area & if you can't, check out some of the other September dates in NYC.
5. I have listened to the album "RISE ABOVE" and I like it quite a bit. If you loved the song "RAINBOW" then you are going to dig this album as well. It's just about as perfect a blend of Jazz/Soul/Funk as we can possibly ask for in 2010. www.brotherjacques.com
Anyhow, enough of my ramblings.
Here is the press release...
Soulful sax man Jacques Schwarz-Bart makes his Dreyfus Jazz recording debut with Rise Above, an eclectic blend of jazz and neo-soul with the earthy rhythms of the Gwoka music from his native Guadeloupe. featuring the stirring vocal stylings of former Brooklyn Funk Essentials singer Stephanie McKay. Rise Above is an epic culmination of this son of a Black Guadeloupean mother and a French Jewish father's diverse experiences. "The great common denominator between all the styles I love, being Gwoka, Jazz, or Soul, is that the music starts with the drums. It is all about the feel," he says. "Each of these musical forms offers me an opportunity to express my personal feelings and unique story. I always felt that they needed to come together".
Following his arrival in New York a decade ago, Schwarz-Bart first received widespread exposure as a member of Roy Hargrove's AfroCuban big band Crisol. He was later an important part of the trumpeter's groundbreaking RH Factorband - one of the first and most successful jazz/urban crossovers. Schwarz-Bart's tune "Forget Regret," featuring McKay's vocal, became a hit single from the band's much acclaimed Hard Groove album. Succeeding Hargrove as leader of the horn section for neo-soul god D'angelo, the saxist began writing tunes based on a mixture of soul and jazz with gwoka flavors. After connecting with soulmate Stephanie McKay, he started writing the songs with lyrics that would come together on Rise Above: "Adding her vocal presence completed the concept, allowing me to embrace a wide range of emotions, and find an artistic balance between simplicity and abstraction," says Jacques.
The sound of Rise Above reflects Schwarz-Bart's impressive resume which includes work with such popular music luminaries as Erykah Badu, Meshell Ndegeocello, Eric Benet, and Soulive, as well as jazz barrier breakers James Hurt, Danilo Perez and David Gilmore, but it's concept is distinctively the leader's own, reflect his unique background and heritage. "This is my oldest project, and yet the one that took the longest to achieve, he says. "I was waiting to have enough experience before taking on this complex musical chemistry." Rise Above is a concept album where each tune is whole and complete while at the same time taking a crucial part in the overall balance, like a planet in a galaxy. First and foremost it is a melodic album where every theme can be sung, which is done beautifully by both McKay vocally and Schwarz-Bart instrumentally.
Each of the ten tracks on Rise Above blend the different earthy rhythms of gwoka with jazzy harmonies and chosen nuggets of soul and funk that "thicken the sauce," giving a modern dimension to the sound that is sure to appeal to hip audiences. In addition to the proven hit "Forget Regret," other notable tracks include lead single "Feel So Free" (see video at http://vimeo.com/11641706), "Rainbow" and the closing "Home," co-written with Meshell Ndegeocello.
Concert Review: BB King @ Keswick in Philly (July 5th, 2010)
A day late and a dollar short I'm here to review the B.B. King concert of July 5th, 2010 @ The Keswick Theatre in Glenside, Pa.. The Keswick is fast becoming the venue for seeing a concert featuring a wide, almost Ed Sullivanian array of artists.
The crowd, their antics and opinions often equal the main attraction for provocative ness and entertainment value. More about that later.
The opening act for Mr. King was a band named for it's leader: Lukas Nelson. The irony is not lost on me that as Willie Nelson's cousin, Lukas and band represent a new generation of blues. As representative of his family we all know how famously Willie loves to straddle that thinnest of lines that exists between bluegrass/C&W/Country-Rock and the blues and rhythm and blues.
Willie Nelson's recordings with Ray Charles are legendary and Ray himself made a short but prosperous living dabbling in C&W. Lukas Nelson did not disappoint as he and his four band mates (drums, percussion, bass and keys) tore through a set that was reminiscent of the Big Brother and the Holding Company/Elvin Bishop/Hot Tuna sort of sound as well as the percussive Latin tinged rhythms of Carlos Santana.
You see if you don't know now you know. ALL IS THE BLUES! Everything or mostly everything you hear and dig has some sort of connection no matter how oblique to the blues. The fact that Lukas Nelson learned his lessons well and applied his teachings appropriately with such a young group of cats indicates that there IS hope!
Now if some of my more melanin enhanced brethren could turn away from the pro-tools, vocoders, autotunes and other various 'perfect-beat providers' and pick up and instrument we might really see some hell raised but for now we have Lukas Nelson and band to provide for us the very best in diverse blues.
The main act Mr. B.B. King himself came on after a brief intermission. At 84 years old Mr. King eased onto the stage after the band- review-style- tore up a couple of unidentifiable but really funky tunes. At this point folk like B.B King, Herbie Hancock, Willie Nelson, Madonna, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin are slices of what is called Americana. They are icons and it really doesn't matter what they do...(review continued).
Concert Review: Sugarfoot's Ohio Players, (Masters Of Funk) @ Dell Music Center in Philly (July 5th, 2010)
I now will get into a masterful yet truncated Sugarfoot's Ohio Players set. First of all let it be said here that Leroy 'Sugarfoot' Bonner is easily one of the great soul/funk icons of all time and as it turns out a wonderfully honest and loving human being. His awareness of all around him and his need to include that into the context of his compositions both musically and spiritually make him one of my funk heroes. We interviewed Mr.Bonner and it should be up on the Soul Patrol site by week's end. I wont say anything else personally about the man because I don't want to take away from this beautifully conducted interview involving myself, Bob Davis and Mr. Bonner.
There's always a headliner of the actual Masters themselves. This band is the only band that shows up in complete and they take the stage as a band unto themselves. Other Masters Of Funk may perform with them but mostly it's just that band's set. This occurred before with The SOS Band and tonight this role was reserved for Sugarfoot's Ohio Players.
Weaving in and out of the Master's set smoothly, this version of the Ohio Players is soooooo good that it makes one wonder if we can get a Night with Sugarfoot's Ohio Players-all to themselves playing ALL of the hits.
As George Clinton, Stanley Clarke and Charlie (Uncle Charlie) Wilson have done previously Mr. Bonner has assembled some fine YOUNG (clearly no one over thirty) musicians. He's trained em, taken all of their chops and finely honed them to fit laser-like through the eye of a needle and in so doing has created a musical entity that comes as close to any of their recordings LIVE as any of the older Ohio Players groups have EVER done.....(review continued)
INTERVIEW: Larry Graham
(BY: "Dr G": Darden and DJ Mike Hall)
"Dr G": The best known up and coming rapper known as Drake says you are his uncle. Are you Drake's uncle?
Larry Graham: I have not met him yet to verify this. I have read it but I don't know. My daughter responded to his MySpace so we have reached out to him but they have not yet responded. We could be related but I don't know yet.
"Dr G": The first time I saw GCS was at a small club in Atlanta in 1973. I was a poor Morehouse student and you walked me into the club with your arm around me. I had no money but you and Hershall Happiness made sure I saw the show. This was your first show in Atlanta as GCS. How are Hershall and Chocolate doing and how is her funk box?
Larry Graham: Chocolate is living in LA. She toured with us a little while back and she is on the "Live in London" video soon to be available for you to see. Hershall is also on that video. I heard from him in the last 2 weeks. David Dynamite is no longer with us and Willie Wild came to a show recently. I talked to Butch a couple weeks ago.
DJ Mike Hall: The group we saw at The Birchmere the other night was very tight. When I imagine Larry Graham today, I envision a musician living his dream. You work at your own pace, enjoying family & friends, enjoying the benefits of your successes. You are not a slave to the music. You seem to be on top of things. How do you achieve that and what would you say to the young musicians about how to achieve that?
Larry Graham: Put spiritual things first and like Jesus said, you can't serve two masters. If spirituality is first and you love the music it's much more enjoyable and you are not so concerned about material things. You don't want to be a slave to the music and strive after those things like King Soloman did in the Bible. They don't know who their real friend is. We put spiritual things first and music is always a joy. I don't have a bunch of bills so it becomes a joy and I can work when I want to.
"Dr G": You want to speak on your spirituality and how it affects Brother Nelson (Prince) and your beautiful wife Tina.
Larry Graham: I had heard about Tina braiding hair. On the first GCS album cover you see everybody's hair braided except David Dynamite. She breaded everybody's hair.
"Dr G": People ask you everywhere?
Larry Graham: It took her 8 hours to braid my hair. The whole time we talked about the Bible and God. Then Tina's mom was baptized as a Jehovah Witness in 1974. Tina attended and contacted me and we both started studying. I was baptized a year later. I met Prince 12 years ago. GCS played the amphi-theater in Nashville while Prince was at the arena. He asked me to jam with him at a small club in Nashville. I didn't know he was raised on my music from Sly to GCS. He had tons of questions about the Bible and eventually asked me to move to Minnesota to teach him the Bible. We were going to move from Jamaica anyway, so we moved to Minnesota to help Prince study the Bible.
DJ Mike Hall: I just want to say that the tour with you and Prince was the last time I remember you being in the DC area and that conversation on stage between you and Prince was one of the most amazing moments that I have seen on stage. That just lives with me. What's coming up next?
Go here for the rest of the review: http://www.soul-patrol.com/funk/graham.htm
"Dr G": Darden and DJ Mike Hall
June 21, 2010
Commentary - Memo From The Grave of Lee Atwater: "When In Doubt Always Employ Race Baiting, It's a Winning Strategy"
Who in the hell is Lee Atwater?
(and why am I wasting time writing about him, instead of an album review?)
Well Lee Atwater is an "old family friend" of the Soul-Patrol.com website. In fact the very first award that we ever got was because of Lee Atwater.
Back in 1997 I wrote an essay entitled:
"Lee Atwater and the Destruction of Black Music"
In 1998 Yahoo Internet Magazine (at that time a print publication) named Soul-Patrol.com as the Best Soul/R&B website on the entire internet. As a part of doing so, they also wrote a detailed review of the website where they sited Soul-Patrol.com as being a place that explored music on a much deeper level than just track listings, discographies, artist biographies, etc. And they said that essays like "Lee Atwater and the Destruction of Black Music," were a big part of the reason why it was a required destination for music fans who wanted to know more than simply chart information or record industry propaganda. And of course, today we still continue along that same path (much to the displeasure of some of you)
Lee Atwater was a young political consultant from South Carolina who was the protégé of Mr. Harry S. Dent. In 1968 Harry Dent devised something called the "southern strategy" for the Presidential campaign of Richard Nixon. Of course the 'southern strategy" was indeed a winning strategy for Nixon. While Harry Dent created the "southern strategy," it was Lee Atwater who perfected it.
Lee Atwater was a person who was extremely knowledgeable about Black culture, in fact he was not only a big fan of Black culture, he was even a Blues musician. Some of you may even remember Lee Atwater playing the guitar alongside BB King, back in 1980's. He was able to use his knowledge of Black culture to refine the "southern strategy" into the science that propelled the winning elections of Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush in 1980, 1984 & 1988. Using his knowledge of Black culture, Lee Atwater developed the brilliant "Welfare Queen," "Willie Horton," and other ad's that scared the hell out of white voters. Lee Atwater passed away in the early 1990's. On his deathbed he is said to have asked Black Americans for their forgiveness in using them as a "pawn" to attract white voters to the candidates that had hired him.
As you might well imagine, that essay I wrote about Lee Atwater over a decade ago has generated a whole lot of feedback over the years. I have gotten email from the KKK to Lee Atwater's children about that essay. Of course if you read the essay (it's still in it's raw form, written in a burst of energy at 3am with lots of typos & mis-spellings,) you will see that I am in firm agreement with Nelson George and his book; In the book, Nelson George says, that "R&B ended around 1980." I go one step further and suggest that the fact that R&B ended was no accident and for that we have Lee Atwater to thank....(Continued here)
PRESS RELEASE: Bob Davis Presents American Popular Music Evolution @ Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA (12/1/2009)
PRESS RELEASE: Bob Davis Presents American Popular Music Evolution @ Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA (12/1/2009)
"A most unique, constructive and instructive approach to hold a class on American Popular Music, its history, its innovators and its social/political impact over the past 100 years…"
I want to let all of you know about this upcoming seminar/presentation that I will be giving in Philadelphia on 12/1/2009. If you are an educational institution in the area, I would strongly advise you to contact the Keswick for information on how your students can participate. If you are outside of the Philadelphia area or can't make the date, and are interested in this seminar contact me directly at 609-351-0854 for information on how to bring this educational program to your area. I have delivered this program to elementry schools thru universitys and to community organizations. This interactive session highlights the most influential artists, producers, record labels, entrepreneurs across American Popular Music Styles (Blues, Country, R&B, Rock, Jazz, and Hip Hop) and cross references the two way impact across American History. It combines historical data with analysis/commentary, and multimedia capabilities, this fast paced overview a leaves the student with a clear understanding of the tapestry of the American Music Art Form and it's intersection with American Cultural/Social/Political History.
The session is easily adapted/targeted for diverse audiences and has been presented to both small and large groups from the elementary school level to high schools, universities, community organization and seniors.
Brooklyn native Bob Davis, the creator/instructor of this class, holds degrees in Political Science and Economics from the University of Pittsburgh. After a successful career on Wall Street, he co-founded Soul-Patrol.com as a "hub" for gathering music and information. This site, one of the largest and oldest of it's type offers many different music industry types, across multiple genres including, performers, executives and owners, writers, producers, radio and club DJs, historians and of course music fans. Mr. Davis is also a Music Director at RadioIO.com on of the Internet's largest radio networks, where he is responsible for programming 8 different types of R&B, Rock, Hip Hop and Blues stations for a worldwide audience.
Bob Davis has consulted with entities such as Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, R&B Foundation, Future of Music Coalition, STAX Museum, Black Rock Coalition, Universal Music, Concord Music, Chiltin Circuit Magazine, Rhino Music, Philadelphia Black Heritage Festival, Purpose Records, Shanachie Records, Wake Forest University, and others. Bob consults with artists/labels and small businesses on Internet strategy and technology deployment. Soul-Patrol is also engaged in software development and innovative content distribution projects (ex: Soul-Patrol Virtual Album) focused on improving the deployment of music/culture on the internet.
With all of this information archived, Bob has "connected the dots" to establish not only a time line, but the connection between the various "styles" of music. The obvious and not so obvious interrelationships between Blues, Country, Rock n' Roll, Jazz, Blues, R&B. and Hip Hop, showing a virtual "tree" and the branches of that same "tree" and the interconnection of the styles that have been the uniqueness of American Music.
The student gets an elaborate account of the evolution of these musical styles and the corresponding impact of American history. The course will compel the participants to dig even deeper.
CONTACT: Bob Davis, 609-351-0154 email@example.com
ALBUM REVIEW: Mighty Sam McClain - Betcha Didn't Know
I was introduced to Mighty Sam's music on Soul Patrol many years ago. I had the pleasure of meeting Mighty Sam and his wife a few years ago, along with a few of my SP friends from Chicago. (and he's a very nice person)
He has a new CD out entitled "Betcha Didn't Know". 13 tracks that I'm sure you will enjoy.
What I like about Mighty Sam's music is that it's real, and he uses a real band. (no keyboards, drum machines, etc; REAL MUSICIANS and a kick ass horn section!) Plus, Mighty Sam sounds like he's having a great time in the studio.
From the opening track "I Can't Stop The Funk", is exactly what the title of the song says. A nice funky groove that will get you on your feet dancin'....(review continued here)
Radio Daze (online, offline & otherwise)
Clearly internet radio represents the future of radio. And one of the reasons for this is because of the phenomenal amount of choice and diversity that is available.
For example, in preparation for my interview a few weeks ago w/Chuck D's AirAmerica Radio show I did a little bit of research (cuz I always like to have a few stats.....lol) over on Shoutcast, which is a server that aggregates some internet radio traffic.
On a Sunday afternoon at about 3pm Shoutcast showed that there were 500,000 + listeners streaming about 29,000 different radio stations. In my opinion these numbers are phenomenal. It's a clear demonstration that internet radio fills the listening needs of a large segment & ever increasing segment of the population and it shows that there is a wealth of diversity in listening choices. This past week I discussed this same topic among others on the Our Common Ground with Janice Graham show on the USA Talk Network as well.
Of course I am extremely biased and I think that the internet radio that I am personally involved in both here at Soul-Patrol.Net (podcasting) and at RadioIO.com (continuous stream) represents just that type of diversity & relevancy as well.
The listenrship numbers continue to grow. For example the podcast that we did the other day on Soul-Patrol.Net radio for the artist Donnie C's new album, had 4,000 listeners on a single day (pretty good exposure in one day for an "unknown artist"). At the same time the RnB Mix Channel (continuous stream) over on RadioIO.com gets hundreds of thousands of tune ins per month.
-- Soul-Patrol's audio outlet at www.Soul-Patrol.Net averages 70,000 + listeners each month.
-- The 8 stations I run on www.RadioIO.com (Classic RnB, Nu Soul, Classic Hip Hop, RnB Mix, Blues, Today's RnB, Top 20 HipHop & Top 20 RnB) total millions of tune ins each month. And these people don't just tune in. They stay and leave the station on all day long at work or at home, regardless of what "segment" of the Black music marketplace each one of those stations represent. I know this because they email me all day long with running commentaries on what they are hearing.
These numbers continue to grow month after month, especially with the increasing adoption of mobile devices that are capable to tuning in these stations. Much of my email & feedback related to internet radio is coming from folks listening on Blackberry's, iPhones & other mobile devices. And the good news is that many of these mobile users are plugging their devices into their car stereo systems and listening in their vehicles, as Chuck D told us that he does during the interview.
So clearly lots of folks are listening and more importantly, finding what they are looking for and listening from whatever devices suits their lifestyle. And that is really the whole point, being able to find what you are looking for and consuming the content in the manner that you want to consume it.
And truth be told, this is what the terrestrial broadcasters (Clear Channel, Cathy Hughes, etc.) fear even more than the passage of a bill that required them to pay the very same performance royalties to artists that internet radio has been paying for years.
As far as Black Radio is concerned, that ended in the 1980's, when Black radio stations abandoned the communities that had made them successful and decided to go "corporate." When you stopped hearing commercials for "Pookie's Funeral Parlor on 119th & Malcolm X Blvd." and started hearing commercials instead for "Enormous Corporate Scottish Brand Name Generic/Unhealthy Hamburgers", that was the end of Black radio. These stations lost their "community focus", because the person paying the bills (the advertisers), were no longer a part of nor did they care about the community. As a result the stations became just as bland & predictable as the "generic hamburgers" they advertised.
PREDICTION: Old skool Black radio oddly enough in the technologically advanced age we are in now has a chance to return. Black owned businesses (large & small) will now be in a position to sponsor both internet radio/tv programming. As the sponsor, they will be instrumental in insuring the voice of the community is heard.
NP: "Give The People What They Want"
2008 Best Black Music Albums, Tracks & Live Shows (Classic Soul, Jazz, Southern Soul & Blues, Funk, Neo Soul, Rap & Rock n' Roll)
Also posted at:
These rankings are also posted on www.soul-patrol.com and www.radioio.com as well as other places around the internet. Feel free to repost them wherever you hang out at online.
I really do hate making lists. That's because they have a beginning, a middle and an end. Which means that something is going to get left off, and no doubt I have left something out.
At any rate I have compiled a list of what I think are the very best ALBUMS (listed in rank order) and SONGS (listed in rank order/Black music style) released in 2008.
In addition to the rankings, clicking on the links below will enable you to listen to sound bytes from the associated albums and songs. If you are thinking about buying any of these, rest assured that you can buy them "sight unheard", they are ALL wicked, jazzy, funky, soulful, rockin joints that it is my extreme pleasure to turn you on to.This is a great year for Black music (Classic Soul, Jazz, Southern Soul & Blues, Funk, Neo Soul, Rap & Rock n' Roll), probably the best this decade! So we as music lovers had quite a bit to smile about in 2008.
Thanks in advance for your consideration...
Bob Davis - Soul-Patrol
798 Woodlane Rd
Mount Holly, NJ 08060
Also posted at:
Best of All Time in Funk/Jazz/Soul/Rock/Blues & Culture
Quite a few people have been writing in to me complaining about various lists that have been published by Rolling Stone Magazine over the years. The complaints have ranged from a lack of knowlege to outright rascim with respect to these lists. In my opinion it makes little sense in 2008 to complain about lists produced by Rolling Stone or any other entity. We are on the internet, we have mailing lists, we have message boards, we have blogs, we have the capability to create and publish our own list of who we think are the best artists, songs, etc.
THEREFORE I SAY F#@#&@#*K ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE, WE CAN CREATE OUR OWN
And over the years we have done exactly that here at Soul-Patrol.com. Not only do we announce our listing of best releases each year (and we will do so again for 2008 later this week), we also conducted a little survey of our readership back in the year 2000 of the BEST OF ALL TIME.
As selected by the "Soul-Patrol Board of Directors", back in the year 2000, we think these are the tops in Funk, Jazz, Soul, Rock, Blues and Culture, thru the year 2000. We published these results at the following link: http://www.soul-patrol.com/2000
These results are also published in this newsletter. Scroll down and see if you concur. Share it with your friends, argue about it create your own if you like. And if you disagree, why not consider creating your own list on your MySpace page, your website, etc. In 2008 you all have the ways and means to do so, and I would encourage you to follow suit. But whatever you do, don't complain to me about Rolling Stone, who really gives a crap about what they have to say about this topic. This is OUR music and if we actually care about it, lets start with ourselves and give it the props that it deserves.
Photos by James VandeZee
Check it out at the following link: http://www.soul-patrol.com/2000
Thanks in advance for your consideration...and next week look for Soul-Patrol's Best of 2008 In Black Music.
Bob Davis - Soul-Patrol
798 Woodlane Rd
Mount Holly, NJ 08060
If you would like to ask a question about Soul-Patrol feel free to contact the owner Bob Davis.
If you would like to ask a question about Soul-Patrol feel free to contact the owner Bob Davis.
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