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.

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.
 

Continue reading...

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).

Continue reading...

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.

Continue reading...

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