Amoeblog

A Love Letter to "Black Star"

Posted by Amoebite, May 18, 2015 04:47pm | Post a Comment

Love Letter to Black Star

I loved our recent Essential Records piece about Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star. I loved the personal reflection and the reminiscing about that time and how it had an impact. So many of us are touched by music at a point in our lives - by a particular song or record - and it's amazing how much it sticks with us, and resonates for years and years and years. Just hearing that record can make us feel something deeply: a moment in time, a time in our lives. Music is the wallpaper and the soundtrack. For some of us it is something way more than the background, it is at the core of who we were and are and who we developed into.

Karen at Leopold RecordsKaren at the Info Counter (~1990)

Of course I had a slightly different, but just as pivotal, experience with the release of the album. It has been one that has carried me from the Bay down to LA. Black Star was released the year that Amoeba opened in San Francisco. It was what reminded and reassured me why I was committed to doing what we do every day with music. Because, simply put, artists and musicians were still challenging and stretching and inventing and bringing music to people in a whole new way to whole new generations.

Proto-rap -- a look at black soul and jazz poetry for Black History Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 4, 2013 05:10pm | Post a Comment

INTRODUCTION




in my freshman year of college I remember being hipped to the Last Poets by another temporary housing refugee. He basically told me that they were rap music before rap music. This was back in 1992, a year after CERN released the World-Wide Web and when most music was shared via cassette tapes or compact discs. There was no Napster or YouTube and in Iowa, there weren’t a lot of copies of obscure, 1970s, militant, black spoken word records floating around so for years I could only wonder what they and other soul and jazz poets sounded like. Today there’s no reason anyone with access to a computer can’t check them out so for Black History Month, here’s a brief introduction to the ones that I’m familiar with. (If there are others, please let me know in the comment section).

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sOuL, Woodstock, and Headnodic Team Up To Pay Tribute To Gil Scott-Heron

Posted by Billyjam, January 14, 2013 09:00am | Post a Comment
         

Oakland emcee sOul recently teamed up with fellow Oaklanders Crown City Rockers members Woodstock and Headnodic to write and record a tribute to the influential late great Gil Scott-Heron. Simply titled “Gil Scott Tribute” the song was recorded in one take (captured in the video above - a video blog session recording with Headnodic who mixed the track) and features Woodstock playing the beat live on his MPC and sampling Gil Scott Heron's “We Almost Lost Detroit” (off Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson's 1977 album Bridges) as well as recreating previous hip-hop interpretations of the original sample. Intricate stuff, and it works nicely too, with sOul on the mic spitting socio-political commentary along personal life monologue.

The song was recorded simply as a tribute to Gil Scott Heron and is not for sale but available as a free download here. Gil Scott Heron, who died at age 62 in May 2011, has been called the "godfather of rap" - a term he himself dismissed, preferring to label himself a "bluesologist." After the artist's sudden death a couple of years ago Chuck D of Public Enemy saluted Scott-Heron as a highly influential figure saying, in a heartfelt tribute to the man, that, "We do what we do and how we do because of you!" I agree with Chuck D as to the impact on hip-hop and music in general that Gil Scott Heron has made.

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Gil Scott-Heron Tribute to be Held at Grand Performances Downtown

Posted by Billy Gil, July 12, 2012 10:31am | Post a Comment
gil scott heronLegendary soul/spoken word artist Gil Scott-Heron will be honored July 20 with a tribute in Downtown Los Angeles at 8 p.m. at California Plaza (350 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90071) as part of Grand Performances. The "Peace Go With You, Gil" celebration will feature performances by Scott-Heron’s longtime collaborator Brian Jackson, Amoeba Music staffer Jimetta Rose Smith, Carlos Nino, Jeremy Sole, and more. The celebration is said to explore “the soul, vitality, power, humor, social activism, humanity and dynamic messages” of Scott-Heron through a musical and artistic experience. Amoeba will be there with a booth, so come check it out.
 
Amoeba also has several Gil Scott-Heron albums available in store, including the harrowing I’m New Here, released in 2010, and its remix album with Jamie XX from moody Britpop duo The XX. I recently picked up Reflections on vinyl, it's awesome. Check out all the releases in stock here.

Grand Performances Fountain

Pat Thomas signs "LISTEN, WHITEY! Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965 – 1975" at The Booksmith in SF, 4/10

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 15, 2012 04:46pm | Post a Comment
Listen Whitey Sounds of Black Power Pat Thomas Booksmith Amoeba San Francisco

On April 10, 2012 at 7:30pm, our friends at The Booksmith will host reissue producer/music scholar Pat Thomas for a signing of his new book LISTEN, WHITEY! Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965 – 1975 and the companion album (out now on Light in the Attic Records), which is being called the definitive Black Power aural document!

Over a five year period, Pat Thomas befriended key leaders of the seminal Black Power Movement,Elaine Brown Huey P Newton Black Forum Motown Records dug through Huey Newton’s archives at Stanford University, spent countless hours and thousands of dollars on eBay, and talked to rank and file Black Panther Party members, uncovering dozens of obscure albums, singles, and stray tapes. Along the way, he began to piece together a time period (1967-1974) when revolutionaries like Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Angela Davis, and Stokely Carmichael were seen as pop culture icons and musicians like Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, Bob Dylan, and John Lennon were seen as revolutionaries.

LISTEN, WHITEY! chronicles the forgotten history of Motown Records; from 1970 to 1973, Motown’sBlack Forum Motown Records Black Power subsidiary label, Black Forum, released politically charged albums by Stokely Carmichael, Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, Bill Cosby and Ossie Davis, and many others, and explores the musical connections between Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Graham Nash, the Partridge Family (!?!) and the Black Power movement. Obscure recordings produced by SNCC, Ron Karenga’s US, the Tribe and other African-American socio­political organizations of the late 1960s and early ’70s are examined along with the Isley Brothers, Nina Simone, Archie Shepp, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Clifford Thornton, Watts Prophets, The Last Poets, Gene McDaniels, Roland Black Forum Motown RecordsKirk, Horace Silver, Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, Stanley Crouch, and others that spoke out against op­pression. Thomas further focuses on Black Consciousness poetry (from the likes of Jayne Cortez, wife of Ornette Coleman), inspired re­ligious recordings that infused god and Black Nationalism, and obscure regional and privately pressed Black Power 7-inch soul singles from across America. The text is ac­companied by over 200 large sized, full-color reproductions of album covers and 45 rpm sin­gles, most of which readers will have never seen before.

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