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: 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
Concert Review: Living Colour - BRC @ Summerstage Report (Whatever Happened to the Black Hippies?)
As much as I'd like to file a full blown report of this event, I am unable to. That's because I was only there for the tail end of it. As is often the case I tried to do far too many things in a single day and ended up being in Central Park yesterday for about the last hour of the BRC @ Summerstage event and only got to see Living Colour perform.
However the time I was there gave me a great deal to ponder.
The last time that I saw Living Colour perform live was 22 years ago. That show took place at Shea Stadium in NYC, as Living Colour was the opening act for the Rolling Stones during the Steel Wheels tour. The crowd for that event was 99 $ 44/100 percent white. This time out in 2010 in Central Park the crowd was about 60 percent white. I suppose that represents some progress?
Living Colour of course delivered the goods as expected, pounding the audience with live renditions of their speed metal/funk classics of the late 1980's (including "Cult of Personality") and finishing up with what seemed to be a Miles Davis/Weather Report inspired version of the song "Time's Up." I had a great time at the show, the music & the people were truly off the hook.
The reason I had been late in coming to the event was because my day started out early in the morning taking my daughter to a suburban South Jersey HS for her SAT examination (keep your fingers crossed for her). After the test, we drove to Staten Island for a family BBQ/Graduation party for my niece. Since I was already in NYC, I decided to leave the BBQ/Graduation party in mid afternoon to attend the BRC @ Summerstage show in Central Park (& come back later), using a combination of automobile, commuter rail, subway and a 20 block walk. After the BRC @ Summerstage show I returned to the family BBQ/Graduation party in Staten Island, which ended at around 1am.
I mention all of this to you within the context of filing a report on the show because on some level it is a story that is full of conflicts, yet at the same time it is a story that makes me smile.
Earlier today I wrote about the differences between "black hippies" and "funkateers." Back in the day (1970's) clearly I was a part of both crowds and I suppose that I still am today. While superficially they may appear to be the same, they aren't.
The BRC @ Summerstage Event - "Black Hippie Event"
This was a great NYC event. As I stated the crowd was about 60 percent white. However what I didn't say about the racial make up is that it was 20 percent Black & about 20 percent "mixed" (interracial couples/families). Therefore I could say that the crowd was 40 percent "non white" and that would give you perhaps a more accurate picture of the composition of the crowd. Another way of saying this would be to say that the crowd was 'fully integrated." This of course is what the objective of "Black Hippies" is. They think that an "integrated world" is a better world than a "segregated world." In short these folks are more like disciples of Martin Luther King, than they are of Malcolm X. I ran into numerous people at the event who have long been a part of facilitating an integrated music scene in NYC. There was a whole lotta camaraderie in the crowd. They all seemed to be there in support of a "cause" (including myself) and if you were to take a survey among the people, they would all agree that the "cause" is now in much better shape then it has ever been, except we just need more Black folk to join in. Of course the reality is that once I left this event, to return to Staten Island by first walking back to the subway station with each succeeding block that I moved away from the event, it felt more like it had never happened at all. Instead what I saw was the reality of 2010 in NYC, a place where you can see extreme wealth and extreme poverty co-existing with each other, within just a few feet of each other as you walk down the street. One wonders how long this condition can last before the "extreme poverty folks" simply decide to start killing the "extreme wealth folks?"
Family BBQ/Graduation party - "Funkateer Event"
This event was a typical inter-generational funkateer type of event (ages from 8-80.) The crowd here is nearly 100 percent Black, except for the lone white woman who has married into the family that everyone is whispering about. They don't really care about an "integrated world," they get quite enough of an "integrated world" during the work week. In short these folks are more like disciples of Malcolm X, than they are of Martin Luther King. There was way too much food & alcohol, not because people want to over indulge. There is way too much because the people just want to make sure that everybody has as much as they want to have and that they don't run out. They even encourage other folks to take home with them a weeks worth of food on their way out the door (it's called "a plate"....LOL) It's what folk who aren't used to having stuff do as a matter of habit. The conversation is mostly about lies. You tell a lie, then I'll tell a lie and we all continue to tell lies till it's time to go home. The reality is that all of our combined lies then become our collective "inconvenient truth" (sorry Al Gore....LOL.) The music is a cross section of 60's/70's/80's Soul & Funk classics + 1980's Hip Hop. There is no Jimi Hendrix, Chambers Brothers or Living Colour playing and if one of their songs were to be inserted into the mix silence would come over the crowd until someone would yell out "take that rock sh*t off." By the time 8pm rolls around, the heavy drinking ensues and all ideas of this being a party for a teenager are completely disregarded. The old folks start tellin lies and more lies with each drink and eventually start dancing to the beat of what has now become exclusively late 70's/early 80's Funk + 80's hip hop. Of course by now all of the teenagers have been relegated to the basement and the old folks (including myself) have now turned the backyard into a kind of "bizzaro basement party from the 70's."
Of course the reality of the two groups isn't really a simplistic as I have depicted here. It's really much more complex...
Both of these two groups have had a substantial impact on American society over the past 22 years. America wants very much to be the kind of integrated society that it's founding documents explicitly endorse (but do not mandate.) However America struggles against itself in moving toward this objective. The adoption of the culture created by the "funkateers" into the mainstream of the larger culture. At the same time the "black hippies" taught the mainstream culture how to socialize across "tribes" and not have to lose the culture of your own "tribe."
Today America has a President who is 1/2 white and 1/2 Black. On a symbolic level his very existence would seem to place the American culture at peace with the notion of integration. In fact on the surface, the President seems to be both a "black hippie" and a "funkateer" at the same time?
Yet somehow we don't seem to "happy?"
Living Colour - http://www.myspace.com/livingcolourmusic
Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director www.radioio.com
PRESS RELEASE: "Miracle for a Maggot: Funkraiser for P-Funk Graphic Artist Pedro Bell"
If you are in the NYC area on 1/2/2010 this is gonna be a great way to kick off the New Year.
--Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the legendary Band of Gypsy's Concert
--Help raise money for Funkadelic's genius of graphic arts Mr. Pedro Bell
You can bet your bottom dolla that I will be in the house to hear some Band of Gypsy's and some Funkadelic music. Hell, I may even wear my tie dye t-shirt, along with my F*** Nixon baseball cap. (that is if "mrs. earthjuice" will let me outta the house that night)
The Black Rock Coalition Presents
"Miracle for a Maggot: Funkraiser for
P-Funk Graphic Artist, Pedro Bell"
Saturday, January 2
Santos Party House
7PM doors/8PM show
Featuring original members of Funkadelic and The BRC Orchestra Celebrating the music of Funkadelic and the 40th Anniversary of the Band of Gypsys concert; proceeds will be donated to a relief fund for Pedro Bell
If You Can't Attend, To Donate via PayPal, click on the following link:
NEW YORK - The Black Rock Coalition, launching its 25th year of being nation's premier support 501c3 nonprofit for alternative music artists of color, will present a fundraising concert on the behalf of pioneering Parliament-Funkadelic graphic designer Pedro Bell.
The concert, "Miracle for a Maggot: Funkraiser for P-Funk Graphic Artist Pedro Bell" will feature original members of Funkadelic (to be confirmed) and the Black Rock Coalition Orchestra performing Funkadelic classics and selections from Jimi Hendrix' Band of Gypsys concert at The Fillmore East 40 years ago. "Miracle for a Maggot," will be hosted at Santos Party House on Saturday, January 2, at 7PM and tickets are $15. All proceeds will go to a general relief fund on Pedro Bell's behalf. A full lineup announcement will be made in the next week.
Bell, whose subversive and psychedelic work has appeared on every Funkadelic album cover since "Cosmic Slop," has been in extremely poor health and living a life a virtual squalor in his native Chicago. Bell has seriously considered selling off his collection in order to cover his medical and living expenses.
The BRC hopes to raise money to help offset Bell's costs and resituate the artist in a more stable living environment for the time being. The BRC also hopes to help Bell retain his collection while helping his family develop opportunities to exploit his in-demand works.
"Miracle for a Maggot: Funkraiser for P-Funk Graphic Artist Pedro Bell" will be hosted at Santos Party House on Saturday, January 2, at 7PM and tickets are $15. All proceeds will go to a general relief fund on Pedro Bell's behalf. A full lineup announcement will be made in the next week. Santos Party House is located at 96 Lafayette Street (between White and Canal Streets), (212) 584-5492, www.santospartyhouse.com.
For more information on the BRC, contact Earl Douglas at (917) 209-2977, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If You Can't Attend, To Donate via PayPal, click on the following link:
Prince Gave a History Lesson @ the 2007 Super Bowl
I just got thru watching the video of Prince's performance @ the Super Bowl. (I missed the game). And I think that he was doing the same thing that he did at the 2004 RRHOF Inductions.
Here is what I said about that performance, taken from an old Newsletter. First read what I wrote then about Prince's performance at the 2004 RRHOF Inductions. Then read what I thought about the Super Bowl performance and how the two are linked.
Prince Burns Down The Waldorf Astoria @ 2004 Rock n' Roll Hall Of Fame Inductions
I just got back from the RRHOF induction ceremonies at the Waldorf in Manhattan, and Prince did a mini concert that burned thru the hallowed ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel like a gonorrhea epidemic inside of a convent.
I watched Lenny Kraviz sitting there if full "rock star posture', and I'd be willing to bet that by the time Prince was thru, Kravitz was under his chair, quivering in the full knowledge that he will NEVER ON THE BEST DAY OF HIS LIFE match the intensity of what Prince displayed for all of the 'industry rock music establishment' who have been trying to hype the creatively unsuccessful career of Lenny Kravitz with their money machine for the past 10 years :)
In one fell swoop, just in case anyone in that 'lilly white audience' forgot that Rock n' Roll music was invented by African Americans, Prince reminded them of that during his incendiary set.
NP: 'MY NAME IS PRINCE, AND I AM FUNKEE...
NP: 'BABY I'M A STAR...
Prince used the grand stage of the Super Bowl to make a HUGE point. He was in "teaching mode":
That's why during the Super Bowl performance he paid homage to Ike Turner (the brotha with the FIRST Rock n' Roll Record) and Jimi Hendrix (the brotha who RE-INVENTED Rock n' Roll). And that's why he played that Foo Fighters song.
- It's Black History Month
- Two Black coaches
- I'm the baddest Rock n' Roller that most of you will EVER see in your entire lives & I'm a Black man
Prince has a sense of history.
He knows what the deal is. He even used the Florida A&M University (FAMU) Marching Band as his "horn section".
For most of the people who watch it either in person or on TV, that was the greatest Rock n' Roll performance that they have ever or will ever seen. He had the crowd in the palm of their hands.
When they showed the overhead shot of the illuminated "purple symbol" inside of a dark stadium, he created an powerful icon that will last in the minds of EVERYONE who witnessed it either in person or on TV.
They will NEVER forget what they saw and heard at halftime. They will NEVER forget Prince.
It was his way of spitting on the "myth of Elvis Presley inventing Rock n' Roll". And he gave a huge kiss to every other Black man who ever played Rock n' Roll. Cuz he just showed EVERYBODY where Rock n' Roll came from. He did it during Black History Month. And he did it in a "nice way" (w/style & class)
They could LIE and say "it never happened".
(but they would be lying to themselves)
He's got an amazing sense of history.
He also understands how to utilize the power of the mass media. He understands that for most Americans, what actually happened doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is what's on TV.
So not only did he give perhaps the greatest Rock n Roll performance that most of the 85 million people will EVER see in their lives. He also did something that Black folks don't usually do. (he documented it)
He also just wrote his own obituary.
(what do you think that they are going to show when he passes from this earth?)
NP: "Sign O' The Times"
Soul-Patrol and the Black Rock Coalition
(6 Hr. Black Rock Online Chat Session on 10/7 6pm est - 12 m)
I am am much like Michael Dukakis was a "card carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union", that is to say I am a "card carrying member of the Black Rock Coalition". As I am sure that you are all aware, Soul-Patrol.Net hosts the Black Rock Coalition Internet Radio show, which is a fact that I am quite proud of. However it all goes much deeper that simply that.
I was a listener to the Black Rock Coalition radio program in NYC on WBAI-FM during the 1980's after their formation by Village Voice writer, Greg Tate and Vernon Reid (leader of the then unheard of band Living Colour). The radio show was an excellent one, mixing the sounds of BRC bands (ex: Living Colour, Micheal Hill's Blues Mob, Defunkt, etc) with commentary and also the identification of "Culture Bandits" (although they did not use that term).
The primary focus of the old BRC radio show was to inform people of the following:
1. Black people did indeed invent rock n' roll
2. Artists as diverse as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, James Brown, Funkadelic, Hendrix, Isleys, Barkays, etc are a part of that tradition.
3. That there were still "Black Rockers" around.
4. Because of all of this and more, Rock n' Roll is something that Black folks should be proud of and NOT simply take for granted as being a "white's only artform"!
Needless to say, the old BRC radio show during the 1980's was a big influence on me when I frist began Soul-Patrol in 1996. One of the first links that I sought was from the BRC website and they gave the P-Funk Review a link! Since that time, I have tried to talk as much about the BRC online in various forums as possible. In my opinion they are doing something close to "God's Work". I also make it a point to attend as many BRC events as I can, and write about them. Not that the BRC needs much assistance from me, after all they are an organization with a worldwide profile and reach.
Nevertheless over the years that Soul-Patrol has been in existence we have partnered with the Black Rock Coalition both online and offline on many different projects. Among other things the BRC is partnering with us this month in our celebration of R-O-C-K-T-O-B-E-R by moderating our SIX HOUR MARATHON BLACK ROCK ONLINE CHAT SESSION on 10/7 2006 from 6pm est - 12 midnight in the Soul-Patrol Chat room at the following link: http://www.soul-patrol.com/chat
A six hour marathon chat session (6p - 12m est) hosted by our partners from the Black Rock Coalition open to all on the general topic of Black Rock, featuring audio from BRC Radio @ Soul-Patrol.Net streamed into the chat room as a backdrop to our discussion. The session is open to all and we will have numerous guests from the world of "Black Rock" during the course of the evening. If you are interested, make it a point to join in and contribute to the expansion of the dialogue...
Buddy Miles Comes To The Soul-Patrol Chat Room
(10/24/2006 @ 10pm est)
(10/24/2006) A one hour chat session (starting at 10pm) in the Soul-Patrol chat room hosted by the legendary drummer/guitarist/vocalist BUDDY MILES. During the session Buddy will take your questions about his career, past, present and future as one of the pioneers in fusing together funk/soul/rock/blues music and doing so during a period of American history when it wasn't really "safe" to do so. Buddy will also bring us up to date on his current and future activities. Hopefully you will be able to attend and interact directly with Buddy Miles during the session here on Soul-Patrol.
Click here for more info on Buddy Miles...
Nadir and Distorted Soul
As you all know, Nadir & Distorted Soul was named as the Soul-Patrol.com 2005 Funk Artist of the year. We love both the style and substance their music here on Soul-Patrol. Distorted Soul 2.0 is coming from a point of view that is totally and out of step with what is happening today in the world of music.
Distorted Soul 2.0 puts it in your face, right from the start, the first voice that you hear on the CD is that of Fannie Lou Hammer, followed more spoken word from word from the Civil Rights era in a song called "Prelude To Revolution". Then it rips into a mind blowing FUNK/ROCK groove that would have Lenny Kravitz peeing in his pants if he were to ever hear it, entitled "Slave" with the opening lyric that goes like this "I don't want to feel the pain anymore, and I don't wanna feel the whip across my spine"... Song #3 called "Daddy's Cane" is a great song in tribute to Black fathers and how hard they work. When is the last time we heard a song with that theme? Especially done to a serious Funk/Rock groove, with stellar vocals to boot, which even quotes "Cosmic Slop" in it's lyrics??
And that's how it starts...(click here to read more)
How Come the Five Royales Aren't in the RRHOF?
I have been asked a dozen times over "why do I feel so strongly that the 5 Royales belong in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame?" And the answer is always the same. The 5 Royales were rockin' in '49 and on through the 50's. I feel their edgy soulful sound scared people. I mean no one knew what their sound was. Who was singing soul music before them?
The 5 Royales would be out there for 2 full years before even Ray Charles broke his sound. The 5 Royales had a hard rockin' guitar player, Mr. El Paulings. And no one knew what to make of this black man who played his guitar at knee level long before Chuck Berry and who would inspire Steve Cropper in a few short years. The birth of the 5 Royales was simply the natural evolution of the sound and direction of music in the black community. The group originally started as a gospel quintet. During the late 30's and 40's the sound for black groups was, blues, gospel or the smooth group harmony sound of the Mill's Brothers. The Royal Son's Quintet took the gospel route.....(click here to continue)
Shelley Nicole's blaKbüshe
Obviously I have seen this band perform live before. I think that they are off the hook Best description I can come up with for "Shelley Nicole's blaKbushe" that yall could relate to is that they sound something like a combination of Living Colour and LaBelle/Betty Davis.
In fact, you can check out a sample of "Shelley Nicole's blaKbushe" on Soul-Patrol.net Radio at the following link... http://www.soul-patrol.net/prog1.ram
It's the third track on the set!
Now I don't want yall to think that Shelley is just a "pretty face with a bass" either. She was also one of the co-promoters of the show that we did at BB King's in NYC a few years ago and at that show, I also had the distinct pleasure of introducing her onstage along with the BRC's Darrell McNeill.
BOB D: "I have dealt with blaKbushe for most of my adult life, yet I have never heard what blaKbushe sounds like before..."
DARRELL MCNEILL: "Bob, stop being nasty and just introduce the band..."
As you travel the internet, please say hello to Shelley and give her all of the props in the world from Soul-Patrol.
(she's good people)
Give it up for Jesse Stone
Music historian Donald Clarke, in his magisterial The Rise and Fall of Popular Music, astutely observed: "It was at Atlantic that Stone had an unsung influence on the music of ensuing decades. Atlantic's recordings were more polished than those of other R&B labels ... yet they also swung, because people like Stone brought the skills and values of decades of black music with them." Similar sentiments are stated by Dave Marsh in The Heart of Rock and Soul, wherein he deemed Stone "unforgivably uncelebrated".
And Nick Tosches devoted the entire first chapter of his book, Unsung Heroes of Rock 'n' Roll to Stone. Moreover, Stone's influence at Atlantic was not limited to artists. In a letter written to Stone in 1996 and published in the 11/10/01 issue of Billboard, Atlantic Record's premier producer, Jerry Wexler, (who coined the term, "rhythm and blues" when he was an editor at Billboard) declares: "It wouldn't be overstating the case to say that you taught me everything I know about our craft; yes, everything I know, and a small fraction of what you have always known."....(click here to read more)
It's almost 2 a.m. I'm home. Blurry-eyed, Chinese-chicken-winged and fried. But mostly, I am sore-throated from whooooping it up for Sonny Boy. To say that they turned tha mutha out, would be an understatement!
Wow! Where to begin....
· With the big, tight sound that made you look around to see who-all-else joined the band from offstage?
· With the infectious hooks that snagged you into thinking you already knew the songs even though you had never heard them before in your life? (Can we say "Snaggle-puss?")
· With the slick-@ss mid-song breaks done "just so?" (Yeah, done just so yo' @ss will cheer 3-times louder when the groove returns to yo' eardrum.)
· With the driving grooves that escalate perfectly, making you nod progressively harder with anticipation only to stop on a dime (to more cheers)?
Sonny Boy! You rocked it! Your tight-@ss grooves, your inter-locked-ness wit each other onstage, your exuberance, your twang-chucka-twan-ka-twang-chop spread thick like Karo dark corn syrup over a biscuit converted Bob Davis's recent "Just Show Up" admonishment into a mantra! And speaking of conversions, yes! Sheldon Riser took us to church! That voice! The range! His dynamics! His cadence evoked a revival meeting ("Can I get a witness?") while his especially skilled and adept scat evoked live trombones and horns ("Blow Gabriel, Blow!") Even his ballad went down sweet and "Cool, Daddy-O!".....(click here for more)
CELEBRATE BLACK ROCK WITH "RADIO BRC"