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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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Read John Lennon's Angry Letter to the McCartneys Circa 1971

Posted by Miss Ess, April 15, 2011 11:43am | Post a Comment

John Lennon wrote this blistering letter to the McCartneys in 1971, when tensions over The Beatles' breakup were still running very high. The letter goes up for auction soon, and thus it has hit the web and our eyes 40 years or so after it was written. The relationship between the two most famous songwriters ever is still fascinating, even after all this time...

john lennon letter

lennon letter

It's a little hard on the eyes; for the full transcript, head here.

Remembering December 8th, 1980: Rest in Peace, John Lennon

Posted by Billyjam, December 8, 2010 09:30am | Post a Comment
John Lennon "Give Me Some Truth" (HD version)

The videos above and below are both in honor of one of the true greats of our age, John Lennon, whose beautiful creative life was brought to a premature, screeching halt exactly thirty years ago today (December 8th, 1980) when he was senselessly gunned down outside his home in New York City.

John Lennon holds a special place in the hearts of so many people and those of us who were alive on this date 30 years ago have our own personal memory of that tragic night and of learning the news. For me, I had emigrated a year earlier to America from Ireland and was living in the Upper West Side, a couple of miles from where the murder took place.

Like most people I knew, I too was a big John Lennon (and Beatles) fan. And if you lived in NYC at the time, odds of a Lennon sighting were pretty good. He was always out and about. He and Yoko would sometimes come to the Japanese macrobiotic restaurant I worked at as a waiter at the time (Souen on Broadway near 91st - long gone location). The album Double Fantasy had been released a few months earlier but was still a "new album" by 1980 standards, back when the shelf life of music seemed much longer than these days. It was on my turntable at the time, although I must admit that it was not my favorite Lennon release. Anyway, none of that mattered once the tragic news hit that night, which I learned when one of my room mates came rushing into my room with the unbelievable announcement.

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Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talkin' About Him?)

Posted by Miss Ess, November 23, 2010 01:39pm | Post a Comment
who is harry nilsson and why is everybody talkin about him

How could i have forgotten how amazing Harry Nilsson is? His brilliance was buried in my psyche for a few years but now after watching the new documentary Who is Harry Nilsson (and Why is Everybody Talkin' About Him?) I have been reminded and won't soon forget his particular brand of genius again.

Nilsson was a fascinating, sentimental tunesmith who moved to Los Angeles in the '50s to begin a fabled career. Over the years, through success and failure, he covered his serious insecurities with his intense need to be the life of the party. And party he did, with all the entertainment industry luminaries, most notably John Lennon (especially during Lennon's "Lost Weekend") and Ringo Starr (best man at Harry's third wedding). He also wrote lastingly great songs like "One" (on a night when he was listening to the busy signal of his telephone), created his most famous album, Nilsson Schmilsson, and the music and concept for the cartoon The Point (which includes my favorite Nilsson tune, "Think About Your Troubles").


There are so many interesting interviews in the film with members of the creative community like Terry Gilliam, Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, Al Kooper, Derek Taylor's widow, Mickey Dolenz, Paul Williams, May Pang, Yoko Ono, Robin Williams, Randy Newman and many more. Each has a different story to tell about Harry, but most all of them comment on his big heart and, from the mid 70s onward, his being hell bent on self destruction. It's still so upsetting for songwriter Jimmy Webb to talk about Nilsson's eventual self-induced vocal ruin that he gets a rash and tears up. The trajectory of Nilsson's life brings many high highs and low lows, and this film chronicles them all.

Here's the trailer for the film:

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Remember John Lennon

Posted by Miss Ess, October 9, 2010 01:45pm | Post a Comment
I think everyone who loves music is probably thinking about John Lennon today, on what would have been his 70th birthday. Though his life was tragically short, I think it's safe to say he will never be forgotten. His songs, thoughts, concepts, will continue to inspire people on and on....

john lennon

It's impossible to choose a favorite track. Each of Lennon's best songs, especially over time as his career wore on in the Beatles and beyond, presents a different mood, a tiny world, a personal statement. And I think the thing that endears John to us is his brutal honesty and genuine, plain emotion coupled with the fact that he was clearly and continually grappling with the world and his place in it, just like all of us. That he was taken so tragically and unnecessarily is beyond heartbreaking.

"Look at Me" - Plastic Ono Band



"(Just Like) Starting Over" - Double Fantasy



"You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" - Help



"Don't Let Me Down" - Past Masters 2



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