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What If...Martin Luther King was alive in 2014?/Best Album of 2013
What If...Martin Luther King was alive in 2014?
What Would He Say is The Best album release of 2013? http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
As something of a historian, one of the things that I like to indulge in is playing the game of "what if?" I've done t plenty of times before here on Soul-Patrol, mainly with artists like Sam Cooke or Jimi Hendrix, wondering aloud "what if....they had lived?"
And I would induldge in much musical speculation about what might have transpired in their careers, had they lived an additional 10 years or 20 years.
Today I have something that I would like to turn you on to that I think Dr. King would like quite a bit if he were here in 2014. http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
Now we all know that Dr. King was a huge fan of Gospel music.
We know that he was a huge fan of artists like Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin and other Gospel artists. We know that he liked to dance, so therefore he most likely would have been a fan of Funk music. We know that he was a fan of opera and folk music. Given that we know all of this...
I don't think that it's much of a streach to speculate that Dr. King also liked Jazz. I also don't think that it is much of a strtch to think that with his gifted oratory skills, that Dr. King would also be a fan of Spoken Word.
Given what we know about Dr. King, and since we are in the world of speculation, I think that Dr. King would likely agree with my assesement of the album and say that "Check Cashing Day" by Bobby Watson & The I Have a Dream Project was the best release of 2013! http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
THUD THUD THUD
I fully realize what some of yall may be thinking.
But please consider the following....
How many albums do you know of released in 2013, that feature as their main topic; the 1963 March on Washington? (I only know of one) http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
How many albums do you know of that combine some super reflective jazz, with some inspirational spoken word, which details the actual meaning of the 1963 March on Washington? (I only know of one) http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
Now take that combination.
And add to it the fact that this album is quite possibly because of it's messages, it's vibe, it's monster groove and spirit is a suite of music that can actually make you feel better. http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
Now that is something I don't have to speculate on. I know that for a fact, because I know what it did for me on a personal level, the very first time I heard it. And for me, music is 100 percent personal. I was in one of those kind of moods, where one of the last things I wanted to do was to listen to ANY new music of any kind. http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
Flash back to last summer...
I had just lost two of the sites best friends.
Clarence Burke Jr (Five Stairsteps) & Mr. Marvin Junior (Mighty Dells.) They both passed away within two weeks of each other. Some of you may recall me writing about them both at that time?
Then early in August I lost my uncle.
Some of you may recall me writing about him at that time?
Although it may not have been apparent to most of you, I didn't write much more than those obituaries during the summer of 2013.
I was pretty much frozen.
I was in a whole lot of pain.
I didn't feel like listening to any music whatsoever.
And I certainly didn't feel like writing about any music.
Then one day in late August, I decided that I was going to watch the TV coverage of the celebration of the 50 year Anniversary of the 1963 March on Wasington. This event has always held a special place in my heart, not only because it represents a signifigant turning point in American history. But also (and perhaps more importantly) my late father had been there in Washington. Some of you might remember me saying that my dad was a NYC police officer? Well he had been recruited and served as a part of Dr. King's security detail for the day of the March on Washington. It was one of the things that he was most proud of in his life and he talked about that experience whenever he could. http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
So natuarlly I wanted to check out the various observations of the 50th Anniversay on TV and that was exactly what I did. However what I saw on TV quite frankly was a complete distortion of the truth. What I saw was an attempt by some of the national "poverty pimps," to make it into a "Black Event." If you watch the film of the actual March on Washington, it was an "Integrated Event," Truly an "All American Event! Clearly at least 1/3 of the attendees were white. And of course one of the key things that made it such a trasformational event in American History, is that it was inclusive. The original March on Washington sent out the message that we are "all in this together." And because that message was heard, the country set itself on a path for change. http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
The display of mis-information on TV about the 1963 March on Wasington bothered me so much, that I turned off the TV in disgust and turned on my computer searching perhaps for some solace, although I knew it would be unlikely that I would find it there. http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
Little did I know that there would be an email sitting there waiting for me from one of the most famous & respected Jazz producers in the world. The email said; "Bob there is a new album I want to turn you on to, I know that you will dig this, it's right up your ally. Here is a link you can download the entire album from." http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
I don't know why I chose to download the album. I get lots of email 24/7/365 telling me about music I would dig, asking me to download it and take a listen. If I actually did that every single time someone asked me to, I wouldn't have any time to do anything else in my life. But for some reason I downloaded the album. http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
I listened to the album "Check Cashing Day" by Bobby Watson & The I Have a Dream Project, not once but twice. I found it to be totally compelling. The music was off the hook and the message was inspirational. It told the story of the 1963 March on Washington. But it didn't tell the story 1963 style. It told the story 2013 style and it told it in such a way that it forces the listener to re-evaluate their own personal commitment to the ongoing goals of the origial march. http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
I emailed back the world famous Jazz producer, told him my thoughts. He put me in touch with Bobby Watson. That let to an uplifting two hour conversation.
That day I started writing again. I'm almost positive that listening to that album inpired me to do so. For me the joy of music lies in it's power to be transormational on a personal level. http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
Yeah, I suppose we could talk about it's power on a societal level. However that is way too abstract. And in some ways it's a cop out. If it doesn't touch you in a compelling manner, that suggests alternatives to you.....then you should move on and try something else. http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
"Check Cashing Day" by Bobby Watson & The I Have a Dream Project does exactly that for me. I listen to it over and over and find strength & inspiration. I'd be willing to bet money that Dr. King would also. http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
And I'd be willing to bet that you would as well.
Take a listen to it yourself today.
It might just do you some good ;)
And today of all days, might just be the right time for you to orive me wrong?
"Check Cashing Day" by Bobby Watson & The I Have a Dream Project http://amzn.to/14KHbUZ
My Thoughts on MLK Day 2014
Monday October 16, 1995 was the day of the Million Man March...
I had planned to attend. In fact I had arranged to take the day off from work at the enormously large/corrupt financial services company that I was then employed by at that time. I had even purchased a bus ticket from a local church, which was sending a busload of younger & older Black men down from the Philadelphia area to attend the Million Man March.
I was looking forward to going, because not only did I feel like I had something to offer, but perhaps even more to gain from the fellowship of being around so many Black men who all wanted to travel to Washington DC for no other reason than to be with each other and perhaps come back to their communities and implement positive change.
Then on October 12, 1995 my boss walked into my office and said to me....
"There's a new application development project starting up and the principles are having a difficult time identifying their mission, scope, strategy, project plan, etc. and getting the project kick started. I realize that it's short notice and you have the day off on Monday, but several of the key participants are flying in early. We need you to conduct a workshop in Manhattan on Monday to whip these guys into shape."
Of course when you are on the "corporate fast track", you don't turn down high profile assignments like this. Especially when you have a growing reputation for being one of the few people in the enormously large/corrupt financial services company who is capable of getting a group of high flying Wall Street types who can't agree on anything a sense of unity, purpose & direction and have them emerge as a unified and well documented project team in just one day.
So naturally I accepted the assignment (I was still "sick with greed myself" back in those days), cancelled my day off and spent the next three days (including the weekend) pouring thru the documentation, statistics, forecasts, organization charts, etc. in order to construct my agenda and to develop an understanding of the history of this project. I also made a few phone calls to get a feel for some of the personalities who would be attending the workshop.
After all of that research I had determined that this group of 18 people who were going to be in the workshop would be the typical group of "ignorant/arrogant/soulless wall street bastards" that I am around all of the time. You all know the type if you have ever seen the movie "Wall Street" and the character "Gordon Gekko" as portrayed by Michael Douglass.
I showed up at the enormously large Manhattan conference room at the enormously large/corrupt financial services company impeccably dressed and perfectly groomed at 8 am to make certain that everything was in order for the workshop...
And sure enough, when the participants started walking thru the door of the enormously large Manhattan conference room at the enormously large/corrupt financial services company that I was then employed by at that time, they all looked like clones of each other. 17 of the 18 were impeccably dressed white men, perfectly groomed as if they had just stepped off of the cover of GQ Magazine.
There was however one person in the group that immediately stood out. It was an impeccably dressed Black man, perfectly groomed as if he had just stepped off of the cover of GQ Magazine. I began the workshop with a series of team building/documentation exercises designed to really kick off the project and about 10 am I called the first 15 minute break. Everyone ran out of the room presumably to find an empty terminal where they could check the latest stock quotes, as was the traditional break time activity at the enormously large/corrupt financial services company that I was then employed by at that time. Of course I spent the time reviewing/assessing in my mind what had happened thus far and determining if I had to make any adjustments to what I had planned for the rest of the workshop.
At about the 13 minute mark of the break the impeccably dressed Black man, perfectly groomed as if he had just stepped off of the cover of GQ Magazine approached me. We shook hands and he asked me what I thought about the Million Man March. I explained to him that I had originally planned on attending, but I had to change my schedule in order to conduct this workshop.
He said to me; "don't worry about it, what you are doing here today is far more important than attending the Million Man March. Your running this session today is going to change people's lives. You see for possibly the very first time in their lives this group of arrogant SOB's have a Black man not telling them how to shoot hoops or dance, but instead telling them how to run their business, something that is more important to them than their wives, their children, than perhaps life itself. Whatever you already think about these guys is probably true, I know it, because I work with them every day. They are every bit as bad and maybe even worse than you already think. I am certain that you will not only get this project on the right track, but the end result of your work here today will be much more far reaching than that, the end result of your work here today will enable you to help advance the goals of the Million Man March far more than if you had gone to Washington, DC today."
With that, we gave each other the now famous "fist bump" and I said to him; "now get away from me and stay away from me for the rest of the day before they think that you & I are plotting to burn down the building." He looked at me, smiled and returned to the rest of the group for the duration of the workshop.
And of course he was right...
The workshop was indeed successful. In fact it was so successful that a couple of weeks later I was requested to be "borrowed" to co-manage the project. More importantly the other "impeccably dressed and perfectly groomed" Black man that I had met for the first time the day of the workshop formed a behind the scenes "alliance" with each other that would last for the next 12 years, and together we did indeed change the lives of many people. Which was what the objective of the Million Man March was supposed to be, Black men working together to effect change.
And that is what I am thinking about on MLK Day/2014
NP: "It's Fantastic"
--Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
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