Soul-Patrol Newsletter

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Table of Contents

1. CD Review - Sage Ali: 'Not From Around Here'
2. Editorial - Can You Get To This: Tom and Tavis

3. Editorial: Stop Begging Labels For The Privilege Of Being A Slave
4. CD Review - It Must Be Magic: Teena Marie [Remastered w/Extra Tracks]
5. A Black Music History Lesson For Tom and Tavis

6. American Dreams: A TV Show Worth Watching!
7. Obituary: Educator Rob Penny

A brief introduction to those of you who might be new to The award winning website has been one of the leading voices on the internet in the arena of featuring the best on the net in Soul, Jazz, Slow Jams, Black Rock, Funk, Doo Wop, Neo Soul and about the culture since 1996.

We call the concept...

The publication you are reading now is called The Soul-Patrol Newsletter and it is designed to keep you abreast of news and views regarding this music/culture on a bi-monthly basis. Our objective is to provide you with information (CD Reviews, Concert Reviews, Commentary, Online Events, Offline Events, etc) on a timely basis that will lead to your participation either online or offline in the many musical/cultural things that the great artists we love provide for us.

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NOTE:All of the music that you can access from this publication is being streamed via RealAudio with the consent of the artist/copy write holder with the hope that you will take a listen and decide to give them a chance to earn a place in your music collection. Soul-Patrol partners with these entities and others to fulfill it's mission to help to facilitate the extension of "Great Black Music into the Future", so that it's historical legacy will be available to our children.
Feel free to email me with any ideas, suggestions, submissions, or complaints about this publication.

If you dig the Soul-Patrol Newsletter, feel free to pass it along to a friend who also has good taste in music and tell them to subscribe too!

--Bob Davis

1. CD Review - Sage Ali: 'Not From Around Here'     

CD Review - Sage Ali: Not From Around Here'Okay, Soul Patrollers:

You guys know I'm the worse reviewer on the list. But when I like a CD, I have to say something. So I thought long and hard about writing anything about this CD. But, I keep playing it and I was wondering: how many of you are playing it?
Go here to get it.
So anyway, here's what I think . . .

Sage Ali, now what can I say? Well the easier thing is to go over what Bob said about Sage Ali over at: (where you can also listen to some of the key cuts from the CD!)

Bob said: 'What if I told you about a NEW artist who sounded a little bit like...EARTH, WIND AND FIRE? and...wrote lyrics a little bit like...SMOKEY ROBINSON? and....sounded a little bit like... PETER GABRIEL (circa mid 80's)? and...sounded a little bit like... THE SYLVERS (circa 1972)? all coming straight at cha on a... "Year 2002, Black Hippie, Egyptology, Anti War type of tip?

Well, I'm not hearing Smokey Robinson lyrics, however Sage gets the same point across in a different fashion. His words are simpler and pure. I can hear some Earth Wind & Fire musically and the Sylvers type harmony. I got the "Black Hippie, Egyptology, Anti-War tip' - but Sage said it best. He said I'm 'Not From Around Here'.

If Sage Ali has not traveled all over the Earth, he's done some serious studying of different musical types. There is a little of R&B, Eygytian, Mexican, Indian, Latin, Africana & Jazz in this music. Sage has a nice voice, he gets his lyrics across flawlessly. He wrote, composed, arranged and produced this cd. You can tell his heart was really into making his ideas come through. This is a mostly mellow, peaceful CD, makes you think - serious, but not heavy-duty stuff.
I didn't want to dance til I got to song #11 ("Smiling and Dancing"). And it totally threw me off guard - I was relaxed and mellow, just thinking and listening to the mellow tunes on the first 10 tunes and now I want to get up and dance!! And the dancing I was thinking of different - it would be a slinky, sexy, smooth kind of dancing - nothing frantic and intense! So even the dancing is a peaceful kind of thing (lol!). He throws in a one or two more like that later in the CD (there's 13 full songs and 1 prelude/3 interludes/1 reprise).

The whole CD - smooth, slinky, sexy, mellow, peaceful. I want to talk to this man and see where he's been, what happened while he was there and what his next trip is - and maybe ask if I can go (lol!). It's one of those cds that will stay in heavy rotation in my house.

Sage, you go boy! (I mean MAN!) And don't forget to take me with you!

--Cheryl Page

 2. Editorial - Can You Get To This: Tom and Tavis?

According to a report as to why his show got the ax, is lack of ratings, thereby not translating well with New York listener ship. In other words, he didn't have the local sensibility that related to tri-state NYC area listeners.

I tuned in, maybe, twice, totaling no more than 15 minutes.

Last week, Tavis' boy Tom Joyner was on his NPR show with everyone's fave black president, Clinton. Joyner stated, when asked, why he was off NY airwaves. He responded that he had no clue and wasn't given an answer by the local NYC KNEE-GRO radio station .

In a related story, I tuned in accidentally to another Tavis show couple of weeks ago while fiddling with my radio. I never remember that he's on because it conflicts with me listening to 'Democracy Now.' He was interviewing Clarence Clemons.

He said something to Clemons like, how'd a brother like you get into playing that kind of music?

Now, correct me if I'm wrong Soul-Patrollers, but aren't we the originators of rock music?
Has Tavis not heard of Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, JIMI? Is he not familiar with Sly & the Family Stone, P-Funk, Prince, Living Colour?

Perhaps, he's clueless to sites like Soul Patrol and the Black Rock Coalition that would school him to our role in Rock music?


 3. Editorial: Stop Begging Labels For The Privilege Of Being A Slave     

Rio Soul' So sad but so true!! I know we all have many friends who are talented Artists who feel their only hope of getting their Music out there is to Sign with a Major Label or Worse Re-Sign after being RIPPED OFF!

Have they ready the headlines lately of all of the MAJOR ARTISTS who have SOLD MILLIONS and are crying BROKE or UNFAIR ACCOUNTING on the part of the Labels??? (TLC, Toni Braxton, Dixie Chicks, Michael Jackson, etc..)

The Latest Band cry FOUL PLAY is INCUBUS who are from our city here in the San Fernando Valley / Los Angeles Area. They have sued Sony for unfair Accounting, etc..

Will the ARTISTS who are locked into that Label/Slave mentality hear wither of you?? I doubt it!!

Like they say "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make 'em drink"

--Rio: Lead Singer of RioSoul

4.CD Review - It Must Be Magic: Teena Marie [Remastered w/Extra Tracks] 

It Must Be Magic: Teena Marie

The saga of Teena Marie is an amazing one. I always dug her music, right from DAY ONE. Most people I knew did.

How couldn't you?
* Great singing voice.
* Great band.
* Protégé' of 'Slick' Rick James.
* The FUNKIEST white girl in the land
* 'Lady Tee'/* 'Vanilla Child'

Since the Soul-Patrol website has first gone up, I have probably gotten more email about Teena Marie than any other single FUNK artist with a page on the site. Her appeal goes across all demographic categories...

* Blacks/Whites
* Younger People/Older People
* Americans/Non Americans

I've written quite a bit about Teena Marie and her appeal, both on and off the Internet. I think it's a story that deserves quite a bit of exploration, because in my opinion the story of Teena Marie says a whole lot about both the potential of FUNK music to take us all to the next level and with that the failure of us all to recognize that potential by taking us there.

Maybe I'll write more about Teena Marie one of these days?

In the meantime, I highly recommend this reissue of the classic Teena Marie CD entitled 'It Must Be Magic'. Many of you I suspect already have the original LP and therefore don't think that you need this reissue.
However you are wrong.
First of all the sound quality represents a huge leap from the original LP.

Secondly the informative liner notes (by Soul-Patroller A. Scott Galloway) provide a great deal of additional insight into the origins of the songs on the album, much of which I didn't know before (like why Teena Marie decided to do a little rap on the song 'Square Biz').

Thirdly (and probably most important) are the additional bonus tracks, which appear:

* Square Biz - (instrumental, 12-inch B-side)
(For those of you, like me who can't get enough of this MONSTER GROOVE)

* Someday We'll All Be Free - (previously unreleased, live)
Lady Tee evokes the spirit of the late Donny Hathaway, in this live cover version as she segues right into...

* Deja Vu (We've Been Here Before) - (previously unreleased, live)
This CD starts with 'It Must Be Magic' and ends with a SUPER EROTIC live version of 'Dij` vu'
If ever there was an artist who goes out of her way to make us believe in the mystical and magical powers of FUNK to not only 'heal but reveal', it was Teena Marie. The two songs are perfectly placed bookends that challenge us to deal with the concepts of 'magic & rebirth'.

Perhaps one of these days that message will manifest itself and we Funkateers will pay attention to it. It's a message that winds itself like a thread thru the music of Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Miles, Sly Stone, P-Funk, Prince and yes even the 'vanilla child', Teena Marie tried to tell us about it.

Track Listing For:

1. It Must Be Magic
2. Revolution
3. Where's California
4. 365
5. Opus III (Does Anybody Care)
6. Square Biz - (long version)
7. The Ballad Of Cradle Rob & Me,
8. Portuguese Love
9. Yes Indeed!
10. Square Biz - (instrumental, 12-inch B-side)
11. Someday We'll All Be Free - (previously unreleased, live)
12. Deja Vu (We've Been Here Before) - (previously unreleased, live)

So be optimistic Funkateers, this is your chance to be reborn again, thru the music and the ultimate groove of Teena Marie.
Soak it up while you can!

--Bob Davis

5. A Black Music History Lesson For Tom and Tavis 

BRC Website
I agree with the sentiment that rock music is 'black' music by definition. Consider this, in 1951 the song "Rocket 88" was released on the Chess label, although Sam Phillips recorded it. The songwriting credit was given to Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats, but Ike wrote it and and played piano in it. Technically, there's no such thing as the world's FIRST rock & roll record because elements of this style of music began appearing in recordings as early as 1947. But, since Sam Phillips declared it the first rock music record, many people regard it as such,
insomuch as Phillips was responsible for launching the recording careers of BB King, Jerry Lee Lewis & of course Elvis! The point is Jackie Brenston & Ike Turner are both black men & they created "Rocket 88"!

Now, let's jump ahead to the mid-Fifties. The Billboard charts were invented & debuted in 1955 - this was the inception of the "rock era".
Among the first and most influential rock musicians at that time were none other than Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Bo Diddley. All of the FACTS listed above are of paramount importance in that virtually every rock music song that was released subsequent to '55 (regardless of its
subgenre) can be traced back to Charles (Chuck) Edward Anderson Berry, Little Richard (Penniman) or Elias Bates-Bo Diddley. AGAIN, all of those men are African Americans.

The vast majority of rock music records released after '55 that contains pianos in it can be traced back to Little Richard. Moreover, an even larger number of records released post 1955 that contains guitars in it - which encompasses most rock music - can be traced back to Chuck and Bo. I'm not saying that there weren't other influential black or Caucasian recording artists who were also influential back then, I'm just saying that those three men undeniably laid the foundation for rock music.

The thing that I always remind people of is that the guitar has been the central focus of rock music ever since Berry and Diddley arrived on the scene. The guitar is the core of rock when it comes to instruments.

Likewise, many consider Berry to be among rock's greatest and most influential songwriters. He's arguably the world's greatest rock & roll (50's music) guitarist. I'll admit that Keith Richards is a force to be reckoned with, but let's not forget that Keith admittedly learned to play guitar buy copying every riff that Chuck ever created. I'm a fan of the Rolling Stones, but lest we forget that approximately 1/3 of the songs on the Rolling Stones debut album were Chuck Berry cover tunes.

--Eric Roth

6.American Dreams: A TV Show Worth Watching! 


Dreams I'm glad to see that so many of you have been checking out this excellent show.
I realize that some have criticized the show because of its overt promotion of Dick Clark and some of the "celebrity impersonators".

However in my opinion the writers of the show have done an outstanding job of placing the music within the context of the times that it was created and forcing the viewer to confront their memories of the music along with the key social, political and cultural events of the 1960's.
Although the show can sometimes dwell on some aspects like a "soap opera", even these elements are presented within the context of the history of the 1960's.

On the surface this show appears to be "sanitized".
However it is far from that.
Don't let the slick exterior fool you.
This show is as raw and in your face in terms of documenting the cultural complexities of the
1960's as any blowhard PBS documentary and I give the show's producers high marks for their efforts to educate us, in and entertaining manner.

Topics such as segregated neighborhoods, class divisions, police corruption, neighborhood redlining, interracial dating, birth control, women's rights as well as the foreshadowing of the Vietnam and Civil Rights era domestic conflicts are all handled in a way that is not preachy, but instead presented as issues within the context of the every day life of the characters (of course with the appropriate musical backdrop).

Of particular interest is the exploration of the racial dynamic in the city of Philadelphia during the 1960's as we see all of the characters, young & old, black & white confronting these issues with the backdrop of (mostly) Classic Soul Music.
The attention being paid to detail is quite riveting.

For example when scenes in the white family are shown, the radio (probably WFIL-AM) in the background is playing 1960's Top 40 music.
Scenes in the Black household play music from a hardcore (probably WDAS -AM or WHAT-AM) 1960's soul/blues station.

The contrast is stark and dramatic

I have watched every episode.
And I have watched it with my daughter.
We discuss the topics that are brought up by the show.

From my vantage point (political, social, musical, cultural history) this is probably the best show on TV right now.

And everyone here on Soul-Patrol should be watching it…

--Bob Davis

7. Obituary: Educator Rob Penny

Rob Penny was an Associate Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of PittsburghRob Penny was an Associate Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. He was one of my mentors while I was a college student, along with Miss Vernell Lillie and others during the 1970's.
If you don't happen to like some of my perspectives and worldview, blame these people!

In addition to being a big influence on young students such as myself and Kevin Amos, and Thomas Dorsey (founder of Rob Penny was also a pretty big influence on the famous playwright from Pittsburgh August Wilson.

Rob Penny was a true revolutionary whose influence and impact will continue to be felt for many generations, as the students he influenced take the knowledge and the thinking skills that he helped them to develop and share them as they influence the rest of the world.

I can only hope that I can reach my own potential to follow the example that Rob Penny and others have laid out for me...

Rob Penny was also a member of the Soul-Patrol Mailing List, for many years.

Here is the last letter I got from him, just a few days ago in response to my posting about Billy Eckstine, that a few of you here may recall...

In Pittsburgh, PA, the home of Mr. B, we would thank Kevin Amos of WRCT Radio for playing homage to the great Mr. B. Thanks Kevin for being their for us and playing Great Black Music ...

Bob, do you all planned to do something special for the ancestor Hank Ballard, one of my all time favorites with Midnighters. Mary Dee and Porky Chadwick were honesty and visionary-enough to play Hank on the radio, even tho Mary Dee, i remember, caught hell, so to speak, for playing and singing along with "... I just love your sex ways ..."

Bob, Stay Strong and Stay in the Spirit!
Keep up the good work.

Rob Penny

Greetings Beautiful Black People,

With sadness, pain and deep sorrow, I have to relate that the Phenomenal, Compelling, Fantastic Ultimately Creative Black Man, Rob Penny,62, passed away Sunday night, March 16, 2003, in Pittsburgh, PA.

Rob Penny and his Beautiful Wife Timamu Betty were foremost in leading the struggle for Reparations, Unity and Uplifting their people.

~Pan African Rob Penny N'COBRA Rob Penny Reparations Rob Penny Black Arts Movement Rob Penny Kuntu Writers Workshop Rob Penny Black Horizons Poet Rob Penny Rob Penny Black Radical Congress Rob Penny Black Community Rob Penny Playwright Rob Penny Children and Youth Rob Penny Beginning with Books Rob Penny Historian Rob Penny On the Hill Rob Penny Afrikan Rob Penny~

Rob Penny, Professor/Playwright/Poet is a numerous award winning writer and historian. He was born in Opelika, Alabama and raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he has always called 'Home'. He is an Afrocentric poet and playwright. He is conducted course offerings in Afrikan American poetry, theatre and one Afrikan Humanities-Social Scienced based course, Black Consciousness. Chair of the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, 1978 -1984, where he has been a professor since 1969. Rob Penny is also the Playwright in Residence for Kuntu Repertory Theatre. Rob Penny's plays have been nationally produced in such theatres as the aforementioned Kuntu Repertory Theatre, Chicago's ETA / Creative Arts Foundation, Inc. New York's New Federal Theatre founded by Dr. Woody King, Jr. as well as Brooklyn, New York's celebrated Billie Holiday Theatre, the world premiere of 'Nefertari Rising last year was also directed by Dr. Woody King, Jr, Rob Penny has given us many awesome plays such as ''Boppin' with the Ancestors', Diane's Heart', 'Good Black Don't Crack', 'Clean Drums', 'Little Willie Armstrong Jones', 'Killin' and Chillin', 'Sun Rising on the Hill District'. 'Reflections: Rob Penny's Forum in Flight' 'Among the Best: The Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays'. Hotep, Oba, Yebo

Rob Penny and August Wilson Co-founded the Kuntu Writers Workshop in 1976, and is the 2nd oldest Black Writers Workshop in continual existence and coordinated by Rob Penny. It is where they continued to take the written word and oral tradition to the communities, in the way of the Griot, in the style of our ancestral heritage and for the reason of keeping those traditional and creative speeches alive and at work. They took the position that the workshop is open, free and as advocates of the Black Arts Movement, they pushed for the 'Afrikan Art' of function, collective and committed.

The phenomenal Rob Penny also co-founded the Black Horizon Theatre with the dynamic August Wilson in 1968. Their love for words and the powerful effect they can have on and in ones life have given them life long positive careers that show true craftsmanship and diligent effort. Colorful, memorable electrifying characters that are never forgotten. They created poetry that incites the soul and fuels the soaring of spirit, with vibrant/exuberant visual images from the written and oral tradition.

Rob Penny, our Coordinator and his distinctive and uniquely creative influence for, upon and within the Kuntu Writers Workshop, is well known and respected, preparing and presenting a group of Black writers, with a solid foundation, format and focus. With his guidance and motivation in pursuit of inner and understanding we stay on a high level of bringing excellence through the use of words, in every form, an integral part of our heritage, history and culture. Vision, Creativity, Mission.

'Kuntu' ~ is the Reflective of African Art, Philosophy and Life. In Africa all art has meaning. Art is an inseparable part of the Lives of the African Community Worldwide. Thus Kuntu Art is Purposeful, Functional and Beneficial to the Development of the Community.

Rob Penny brought life, love and passion within his life, within his family, with in all his friendships and within the Black Community. He was a Beautiful Black Man, Loving Husband and Father, and Grandfather. A Fantastic Friend, Phenomenal Man, Excellent Writer of Expressions of Pride, Heritage, History, Celebration, Unity, Movement of and for our Precious People.

We love you always, Rob Penny!

Please, forward calls, mail, and information to:
Kuntu Writers Workshop
3T01 3rd Fl, Dept. of Africana Studies
Wesley Posvar Hall
230 S. Bouquet St
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
412 648.7540

Peace, Passion, Poetry
Frances Lee Wilson
Spokesperson, Project Director, Newspaper Editor
Kuntu Writers Workshop

If you have a news item, update, review, commentary, etc that you would like to submit to the Soul-Patrol Newsletter, please send them via email for consideration to:

Hopefully you enjoyed this edition of the Soul-Patrol Newsletter.
We will be back in about two weeks with the next edition, with any email alerts for local events, Soul-Patrol website updates/chat sessions or breaking news in between, as required.

If you have any comments, questions, etc feel free to drop me an email and let me know what's on your mind.

Bob Davis

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