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Music History Monday: April 1

Posted by Jeff Harris, April 1, 2013 04:01pm | Post a Comment

To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.

Remembering "The Prince Of Motown," Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gaye, Jr. in Washington DC) - April 2, 1939 - April 1, 1984.
 


Born on this day: April 1, 1948 - Reggae music icon Jimmy Cliff (born James Chambers in Somerton District, St. James, Jamaica). Happy 65th Birthday, Jimmy!
 


Born on this day: April 1, 1949 - Singer/songwriter/author and poet Gil Scott-Heron (born Gilbert Scott-Heron in Chicago, IL). Happy Birthday to Gil on what would have been his 64th Birthday.

 


On this day in music history: April 1, 1978 - "The Closer I Get To You" by Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for two weeks, also peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 on May 13th. Written by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas, it is the second chart topper for the R&B vocal duo. Originally written as a solo for Roberta Flack, her manager David Franklin will suggest making the song a duo, calling on her old friend singer and musician Donny Hathaway to duet with her.  The song will be the first collaboration between Flack and Hathaway since their Grammy winning duet "Where Is The Love" nearly six years earlier. Hathaway is actually hospitalized at the time (being treated for severe depression and often unpredictable mood swings) and must receive special permission to leave the facility and record his vocals. Released as the second single from Flack's album Blue Lights In The Basement, it is an immediate smash on both the R&B and pop singles charts. "The Closer I Get To You" will be certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, also driving the accompanying album to Gold status. The song will be revived by Luther Vandross and Beyonce Knowles in 2003, being included on their albums' Dance With My Father and Dangerously In Love. Their version of the duet will win them a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 2004.
 

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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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