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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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More Journeys Off the Beaten Track

Posted by Rick Frystak, November 29, 2011 04:44pm | Post a Comment

Peter Michael Hamel
Hamel
Vertigo 6641 055, 1972

2-Lp set on German Vertigo circa 1972 brings us a spiritual journey of minimalism and creative spark, alone in the studio…tape running and overdubbing, often not listening to the previously recorded material. Hamel was doing multi-tracked organ, synths, piano and percussion in Germany at the same time as Riley, Glass and those guys were, quite forward-thinking. He worked with maestros Joseph Anton Reidl and Luc Ferrari, but never went in that conrete’ or collage direction as a style musically. Terry Riley is still doing live organ pieces just like these herein, and classical composers have struggled with this style for decades. Here in these discs we have 2 luscious sides of organ and synthesizer pieces with each instrument “beating” or modulating the other, simple rooted tones yet always moving with melody and logic; 1 side of prepared piano with a Cage influence, yet Hamel shows his prog/pop and Indonesian gamelan inclinations rhythmically and tonally. Nice! The last side is synthesizer overdubs with water and breath sounds, owing to Hamel’s heavy spiritual side and his immersion in this new minimalism. This record is still fresh now, and vibrates with a wonderful, contemporary accessibility and creative spark even after nearly 40 years. And this 2-disc set on Vertigo vinyl is rarer than a 2-dollar bill at this point.

 

Pat Martino

Strings!
 

Prestige 7547, 1968

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(For which we beg your forgiveness)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 6, 2009 03:12pm | Post a Comment
walker
I spend a lot of time walking; it’s my favorite mode of transportation, except for maybe riding a train, but riding a train from my apartment to, say, Amoeba Music Hollywood, would require either walking half the day to the train station, spending lots of money on a ticket to the next nearest destination which would be somewhere on the outskirts of Los Angeles, at which point I would either have to walk back, which would take a couple days (stopping for food/bathroom/weeping breaks) OR a couple hours in a cab (which would cost more money than I make in a week) OR require walking to a bus-stop and a day-long bus ride. I could do all that, or I could walk the 10 minutes from my apartment to Amoeba.

So, while technically riding a train is my favorite mode of transportation, context is of some consideration, and that results in walking sometimes being my favorite mode of transportation.

Please accept my apologies for the above two paragraphs; they were a complete waste of both our time.

While walking to various destinations, I often enjoy listening to books that have been recorded. People, myself included, still most often refer to these as “books on tape,” even though compact discs are the preferred vehicle for said recordings (“said recordings” – get it?).

I am really hating my journalistic “voice” in this article. Like, a lot. But, going on…
tape

Amoeba Music has a hearty supply of used, “books on tape” and other spoken-word gems. In the Hollywood branch, they’re located in the jazz room, tucked between the classical and experimental sections. We put them there because they kept getting picked-on by the rock/pop DVD’s and vintage posters, both sections known for their name-calling and general rowdiness.

Spirit Records & Francis Thompson

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, November 26, 2007 02:23pm | Post a Comment
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter ...
                                                                                                                 Francis Thompson

A misfit Catholic from a time and a place where just being Catholic made you a misfit, Francis Thompson lived a down and out life in London's late 1800's.   An opium addict, failed doctor and failed priest who found his savior in many forms, down many an odd avenue, his story is simply fascinating.  He died Nov 13th 1907 from TB, his later years spent nursing himself after  the disappearance of his muse and savior, a prostitute who had been housing and supporting him.

 

Norman Mailer RIP

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, November 12, 2007 08:00am | Post a Comment

I remember "borrowing" a copy of a great Marilyn Monroe coffee table book when I was about 12 years old.  Of course it was for the great writings of Mr. Mailer, not the photos, ahem...

Here's a few shots of Norman Mailer's spoken word LP on the short lived Prestige  records subsidiary "Lively Arts"

 

Below is a complete list of the Label output for the Lively Arts series...In the future I'll do a photo essay for the complete series...

Prestige Lively Arts 30000 series (12 inch LP)

  • LA 30001  Billy Dee Williams - Let's Misbehave
  • LA 30002  A Taste Of Hermione Baddeley
  • LA 30003  Roddy McDowall Reads The Horror Stories Of H.P. Lovecraft
  • LA 30004  Burgess Meredith Reads Ray Bradbury
  • LA 30005  Larry Storch Reads Philip Roth's Epstein
  • LA 30006  James Mason Reads The Imp Of The Perverse And Other Stories By Edgar Allen Poe
  • LA 30007  James Mason Reads Herman Melville's Bartleby, The Scrivener
  • LA 30008  Morris Carnovsky Reads Dostoevsky's Notes From Underground
  • LA 30009  Norman Mailer Reads Norman Mailer
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