Amoeblog

In-depth Discussion with Author Denise Sullivan on Her Latest Book, "Keep on Pushing (Black Power Music - From Blues To Hip-Hop)"

Posted by Billyjam, September 17, 2011 04:00pm | Post a Comment
The recently published Keep On Pushing (Black Power Music - From Blues To Hip-Hop) (Lawrence Hill Books/IPG) is the latest book from longtime California music journalist/author Denise Sullivan whose last book was 2004's The White Stripes: Sweethearts of the Blues. This ever-engaging book by the Crawdaddy columnist and self-described "record geek" could as easily be filed under American political history or American music history (she thinks the latter to be more fitting) as it explores how American history of the past numerous decades is so closely intertwined with protest/revolutionary music (from the early blues, through the musical soundtrack of the civil rights movement, up to the role of contemporary hip-hop as voice of protest).

In Keep On Pushing, the "Nor Cal through and through" music writer examines the cultural interchanges of black and white musicians (many Bay Area artists included) and, along the way, takes numerous enlightening tangents uncovering tidbits of musical history not normally unearthed.
This week I caught up with the author, who tomorrow (Sunday, September 18th) will be at  Stories Books & Cafe on 1716 Sunset Blvd from 4pm to 7pm  and next month at both D.G. Wills Books in San Diego and at San Francisco's literary festival LitQuake, for an in-depth discussion on Keep On Pushing and many of the areas it explores.


Amoeblog: Following a book on the White Stripes, how did you decide on the theme of this book next? How long did you work on this book for?
 
Denise Sullivan: It's complicated, which is the exact thing I noted in the White Stripes book when I was writing about them covering "Your Southern Can is Mine" by Blind Willie McTell. Matters of race and the sexes, the Great Migration, what was once called the "American Dream," industry, ingenuity, and the entire great American songbook are of deep interest to me and all are tied up in the White Stripes story. Keep on Pushing is a similar story, only it has a lot more people (many of them black, others are Native American, women, or economically strapped, most all of them are trying to survive America), and music is big part of their toolkit. Specifically though, in the case of both books, it was fine art photography that initially inspired me to launch my investigations: American Ruins by Camilo Jose Vergara, and The Black Panthers by Stephen Shames.

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AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 10:17:08

Posted by Billyjam, October 17, 2008 08:40am | Post a Comment

murs  Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 10:17:08

1) Lil Wayne Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal)
2) Micheal Franti & Spearhead All Rebel Rockers (Anti)
3) Murs Murs for President (Warner)
4) People Under The Stairs Fun DMC (Gold Dust Media)
5) Jean Grae & 9th Wonder Jeanius (Blacksmith)
mccain tongue debate obama
Joe the Plumber vs. Joe the Butcher? All this recent talk of Joe the Plumber, including on David Letterman's great John "I screwed up" McCain interview last night, which was far more direct and revealing than the debate the previous night, got me thinking of another Joe-- late 80's/early 90's Philly hip-hop producer/remixer Joe "the Butcher" Nicolo. Joe produced such politically charged records as The Goats' "Typical American"/"Burn The Flag" record and the 1991 single/album track "Read My Lips" under the pseudonym A Thousand Points of Light, which heavily sampled and mocked then-president George H. Bush.

Joe the Butcher also produced and released the all original breaks album Butcher Beats And Breaks in 1988 on Atlantic Records (dig for it in the Amoeba crates where it shows up from time to time). Philly born producer/rbutcher beats and breaksecord executive Joe the Butcher became staff producer at Columbia Records in the 80's, doing work with the likes of the Rolling Stones and Billy Joel. But he made his real mark in hip-hop when he created the Columbia distributed Ruffhouse imprint, whose impressive roster included Cypress Hill, The Fugees, Kriss Kross, and the aforementioned (and totally slept on) hometown crew The Goats.

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AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 09:19:08

Posted by Billyjam, September 19, 2008 04:20pm | Post a Comment
                                        Ameoba Music Berkeley  Hip-Hop Top Five  09:19:08
Spearhead
1)  Michael Franti & Spearhead All Rebel Rockers   
     (Amer-I Can/Unity One/Anti)

2)  Diplo Top Ranking Santogold (Mad Decent)

3)  The Game LAX (Geffen/Interscope)

4) Young Jeezy The Recession (Def Jam)

5)  eLZhi The Preface (Fat Beats)

The number one selling album at the Berkeley store this week is from the Bay Area's very own veteran political musician Michael Franti and his group Spearhead. Recorded in Kingston, Jamaica and produced by Sly and Robbie, this brand new full length titled All Rebel Rockers is the anticipated follow-up to the acclaimed Yell Fire!, released two years ago on Anti. This new album may not possess that same sense of urgency as its predecessor and hence, takes a little longer to get into, but All Rebel Rockers is still a very good album. (Yell Fire! is a hard one to top because it was so powerful a release.) Naturally, with Sly & Robbie at the controls, it has more of a reggae feel than the other genres it incorporates (mainly hip-hop and soul). 

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