lundi, juin 29, 2009

Be Advised

My MacBook broke and the good folk at the Genius Bar had it, which is why I stopped blogging. Thanks be to them (and valid AppleCare) I have a shiny repaired laptop burning up my legs right now. Final Black Music Month Post demain.

Photo Credit: DJ Eucalyptus

dimanche, juin 21, 2009

The Listening: "Be Thankful for What You've Got"

My job is to listen to people. 2-3 days a weeks I sit in a recording studio with strangers and record oral histories. I have heard the most disturbing and heartwarming things. I can't say I am always cheered by the heartwarming. Sometimes I'm jealous but I mask it with a polite pleasantness I pride myself in exemplifying and think about how I can move towards eradicating those petty feelings.

So today I want to shift towards thinking about the good in my Dad because there is a good deal of it. There is nothing I can do about his failings but wallow in them and that's proven toxic.

So although there are wonderful aspects of myself that are products of his influence, it's still hard to sincerely say Happy Father's Day, I will say to those equally torn, via William DeVaughn, be thankful for what you've got.

"Be Thankful for What You Got" [MP3]
William DeVaughn

"...Black music is Black music and it's all good."

Libellés :

vendredi, juin 19, 2009

The Listening: "Welcome to the Colored Section" & "Cloud 9"

I knew when I began this exercise that Donnie would make my Juneteenth post but I couldn't decide between two songs from his debut, The Colored Section.

"Cloud 9," I listen to most often. It celebrates features of Blackness, like nappiness, that many of the most prideful seldom trumpet. Where much is made of us being hard on each other to preview and prepare for racism, "Cloud 9" takes the opposite approach.

Now "Welcome to the Colored Section" lands in exactly the same triumphant spot but takes a different journey. Soberly gospel from the opening piano solo on through, "Welcome..." distills our story, from that Black Atlantic valley through Black pride and comes to the most satisfying apogee.

So here are both but BUY THIS ALBUM. I got it for free years ago but since have bought multiple copies as gifts. It's brilliant.

"Cloud 9" [MP3]
"Welcome to the Colored Section" [MP3]

"...Black music is Black music and it's all good."

Libellés :

jeudi, juin 18, 2009

The Listening: "Beyond"


Intellectually, I understand that hip hop music can cover the waterfront but instinctually, when I hear the piano loop, JS-1's apt scratchwork and O.C.'s businesslike flow on "Beyond" I think, "Now, this is what hip hop is supposed to soundlike." Seriously, I've got doubles of this record. It goes hard.

"Beyond" [MP3]
OC & DJ JS-1

"...Black music is Black music and it's all good."

Libellés :

mercredi, juin 17, 2009

The Listening: "Why"

Me and L'Erin used to sing this joint ALL THE TIME. I mean we were socially conscious kids but our performances were more hyperbolic than heartfelt. And looking at the video, the hard dancing, the Cross Colours, the HBCU sweatshirts, the earnestness, its everything those video soul/teen summit days were and those were some of the best times of my life.

You know, as No I.D. noted, albums aren't as cohesive as they had long been, I might argue that where the production is mish mash, the thematic content has narrowed. A lot of Black pop when I was growing was socially conscious without the stigma. Fashion too. Remember Cross Colours was "Clothing without prejudice." Maybe it was newness of crack, gang violence and HIV/Aids that made Black artists sing some occasional uplift.

Oh and peep the "tall" one from The Boys in the video.

"Why" [YouTube]
Small Change

"...Black music is Black music and it's all good."

Libellés :

mardi, juin 16, 2009

The Listening: "Expect Your Miracle"


My childhood church had four choirs: the Chancel Choir, which favored a classical repertoire, the Angel Choir comprised of the babies, the L.F. Greene or teen choir and the sanctuary favorites, the eponymous F.A.M.E. choir.

They along with their guitar & bass players, pianist, organist and multiple percussionists were in the loft two Sundays a month two services a day and ripped congregants from their red pews regularly. Off the top, I don't remember much of their repertoire except for "Move Mountain" and Clark Sisters' classic, "Expect Your Miracle." I loved how they'd break down the chorus by vocal range. The sopranos would hit, "I expect a miracle every day. God will make a way out of no way." Then the altos and so on until they reached the lowest register, which was the menfolk and maybe Sandra Jackson. That really got people hollering. We sort of expect a "feminine" voice in gospel so those deeper tones really made an impact.

More than that, the song was so simple and very uplifting in a vaguely Christian Joel Osteen way. You didn't feel bad about your faults, or anxious of evil or fearful of hell. It was about uplift and positive thinking and, of course, miracles. I'm thinking I should sing this each morning when I rise. Meet me in Riverside Park.

(I can't find an MP3 of this. If you have it, message me & is TVOne gonna replay their Unsung?)

"Expect Your Miracle" [YouTube]
The Dynamic Clark Sisters with Mattie Moss Clark

"...Black music is Black music and it's all good."

Libellés :

lundi, juin 15, 2009

The Listening: "Azucar de Cana"

Soul of Black Peru CD COver

I just finished watching American Experience's documentary on Roberto Clemente. His story is one of import to sports historians and Afro-Latinos. A Puerto Rican, his parents cut cane and as much as cotton, cane, or in Spanish, azúcar de caña, has helped define so many Africans and their descendants lives in America. Songwriters recognize this. My favorite song by Les Nubians is "Sugar Cane" and a dozen years ago I was introduced to Afro Peruvian music through Eva Ayllón's "Azúcar de Caña" from the compilation The Soul of Black Peru.

In 2008, I finally saw Eva Ayllón live, in Carnegie Hall of all places. She now lives in Jersey but is considered the Whitney Houston of Peru. And however dated that comparison is, the point is, she's a diva. I left with some photographs, a commitment to learning how to play the cajón but no memory of her singing this here song as it didn't make the set list.

"Azúcar de Caña" [MP3]
Eva Ayllón

"...Black music is Black music and it's all good."

Libellés :