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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #87: July 4th in New York City, Motown Exhibit, Old New York + more

Posted by Billyjam, July 2, 2014 11:12am | Post a Comment
Following five consecutive July Fourth holidays with the big NYC fireworks display over the Hudson River on the West Side of Manhattan, this year's New York City Fourth of July fireworks display is returning to the other, East River, side of Manhattan where three large barges will be docked near the Brooklyn Bridge and scheduled Friday evening/night (approx 9:20pm) to fire off an estimated 40,000 firework shells to celebrate Independence Day - Big Apple style. That may be bad news for folks over in New Jersey and along the West Side of Manhattan who got used to having a great vantage point of the annual fireworks display but good news for those on the East Side including all along the FDR Drive as well as in as well as in parts of Queens and Brooklyn (including Brooklyn Bridge Park) who will have a great view. For those not in NY or unable to attend the entire event - officially known as the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks® Spectacular - can be watched nationally on NBC-TV as a live two-hour 8pm-10pm special that will feature performances by Ariana Grande, Hunter Hayes, Miranda Lambert, and Lionel Richieand hosted by Nick Cannon.


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Dia De Los Muertos 2012

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 1, 2012 07:44am | Post a Comment
Bob BabbittAs I mentioned in previous blogs about Dia De Los Muertos, I look forward to this celebration more than other holidays. The older I get, I feel the best way to celebrate life is to celebrate death without fear; with the same celebratory spirit one would have for a birth or an anniversary. The ritual of Dia De Los Muertos, the ofrenda (altar) the food and drink, and having the time to reflect those who have passed on are all-important components of this celebration. This is the day we party with the dead as we would with the living, some we knew intimately and others we admire and wish we knew better.

Besides celebrating family and friends that have passed on, I like to include musicians and artists who have inspired me in some way. This year, many great musicians have passed. Consider this a digital ofrenda to them. I hope these musicians have inspired you as much as they have I.


The Bass Players

Donald "Duck" DunnTwo amazing bass players passed this year. Bob Babbitt was a member of the infamous Funk Brothers, the backing group of musicians that played on many of the best Motown recordings of the 60’s and 70’s. Donald “Duck” Dunn did the same damage for Stax Records as a member of Booker T And The MG's, playing behind many of the greats on the Stax Records roster. You may not know their names but I bet you can hum their bass lines by heart.

Babbitt played bass on such Motown classics as "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" by Stevie Wonder, "War" by Edwin Starr, "The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and "Inner City Blues" by Marvin Gaye, "Band Of Gold" by Freda Payne, "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)", and "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" by The Temptations.

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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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Soul Singer Teena Marie Dead at age 54

Posted by Billyjam, December 26, 2010 06:33pm | Post a Comment
Teena Marie
For the past couple of hours, Twitter, Facebook, and other online sites have been abuzz with word that soul singer Teena Marie, who was once known as Rick James' protégé, died today (Dec 26th, 2010). According to several sources close to the singer, the word out there is sadly true. Additionally, such outlets including CNN and Philadelphia soul and R&B radio station WDAS-FM have confirmed the report, saying that Teena Marie died from a heart attack the age of 54.

Born Marie Christine Brockert, Teena Marie released thirteen studio albums. Her debut was 1979's Wild and Peaceful, and her most recent one was last year's Congo Square. Teena Marie, aka Vanilla Child, will be remembered for such solo hits as "I Need Your Lovin," "Square Biz," "Lovergirl," "Cassanova Brown," "Out On A Limb," and "Ooo La La La" (which the Fugees famously sampled on "Fu-Gee-La"). Teena Marie is also known for doing a series of duets with (her producer/mentor) Rick James such as "Fire and Desire."

Teena Marie "Square Biz"(1981)

Rick James & Teena Marie "Fire and Desire"(1984)

Teena Marie "I Need Your Lovin'" (1980)

Teena Marie "Lovergirl" (1984)

Remembering Tammi Terrell, Who Died 40 Years Ago Today

Posted by Whitmore, March 16, 2010 08:11pm | Post a Comment
Tammi Terrell
40 years ago today
, Thomasina Winifred Montgomery, better known as Tammi Terrell, died of a brain tumor just a month short of her 25th birthday. She was one of that incredible crop of 1960’s soul diva’s who knew how to seduce or belt out a song. Today she is best remembered for her Motown duets with Marvin Gaye with singles like “Ain't No Mountain High Enough”, “Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing”, “Your Precious Love” and “You're All I Need to Get By.”
 
Born in Philadelphia in 1945, as a teenager Tammi Terrell recorded for the Scepter/Wand label, releasing two solo discs under the name Tammy Montgomery. Both singles released in 1961, “If You See Bill,” and “Voice of Experience,” failed to chart. At about the same time, she also did session work doing backup vocals for the legendary Shirelles. In 1963 she was discovered by James Brown and joined his Revue. While under contract with Brown, Tammi released one single on his Try Me label, “I Cried.” At the time it was rumored that Terrell and Brown were romantically involved, Tammi Terrellsomething that didn’t quite fly with her parents, leading to her quick departure; she was replaced by Anna King. Next she signed with Checker Records' label, releasing one single, “If I Would Marry You.” Unfortunately her string of unsuccessful releases continued. In 1965 she signed with Motown, Barry Gordy changed her name to Tammi Terrell, and there she finally scored a couple of Top 30 singles on the R&B charts with 1966’s "I Can't Believe You Love Me" and "Come on and See Me." But it was when she was paired up with Marvin Gaye in 1967 that success finally came, fast and furious, with five top three R&B charting singles in just over a year. But all her success was short lived. On October 14, 1967, while in concert at Ogden Hall at the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia, she collapsed on stage in Gaye's arms. She was rushed to the hospital, where she was later diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. She had complained of severe migraine headaches for some time.
 Tammi Terrell
For years now stories have circulated that Tammi was the victim of a physically abusive boyfriend who had not only thrown her down a flight of stairs, but had also hit her over the head with a steel chair. But no actual allegations were ever proved. Terrell would undergo eight separate operations over the next three years for cancer; suffering from memory loss, numbness and weakness, blindness, she become far too sick to work. Eventually she was confined to a wheelchair and her weight dropped to under 85 lbs.
 
Tammi Terrell died on March 16th, 1970. She’s buried in Mount Lawn Cemetery in Philadelphia.
 
Marvin Gaye was devastated by her death. He took a long hiatus from live performances. And in his period of self-isolation, amidst his depression he re-evaluated his whole concept of what music might say. The result was the classic 1971 album What's Going On, a meditative, low key work which dealt, in part, with Tammi Terrell's death and issues of the world around him -- injustice, suffering and hatred.



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