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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....
My Thoughts on MLK Day 2013
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/2010
NP: "It's Fantastic"
--Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
Listen to a collection of excerpts from Dr. King's greatest speeches, via Soul-Patrol.Net Radio
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