Ok people we have come to the end of African American Music Appreciation Month or some of you may know it as Black Music Month (check out part 1 of 30 for more info). It’s been great. We started it off with James Brown and the relevance of his voice in a new era, listened to Milles Davis’ greatest recording ever, acknowledged the death of Ornette Coleman and how he change the sound of jazz, celebrated the life of BB King and my experience with him, we dedicated “We Shall Overcome” to the citizens of Charleston and the tragedy that took place there, and we jammed to the greatest hip hop group ever, the Fugees “Mona Lisa can I get a date on Friday and if you’re busy I wouldn’t mine taking Saturdaaaay aaaay aaay round up the posse fugee coming round the way . . .!” That was just to name a few of the great music experienced over the past 29 days. It’s ok to go back and check out what you missed.
AAMAM is a great time to celebrate the power of black music and the swaying force it has in black culture. It’s also a great time to remember those unique and soulful artist who created it and listen to their messages they addressed in American life as black artist.
So in the end, lets just listen to some thing nice and sweet! No troubling issues about society or a cultural point to be made. Just a nice and easy up tempo contemporary song about enduring love. Justsoulyouknow dedicates this song to AAMAM!
Take a listen to soul crooner Kem and my girl Chrisette Michele work it out on the duet “If It’s Love.” Grab your significant other, pick a part and sing along. Careful, this is for the grown and sexy! Ha!
Glory, the theme song to the 2014 film Selma, about the march for voting rights that began in Selma, Alabama and ended in the state capital of Montgomery. The song, written by rapper Common and singer John Legend, which garnered and Oscar, recalled images of the march and reminded the listener of the struggles that happened not too long ago. Glory also, sadly, sent a message that those struggles long ago still exist today as it made reference to Ferguson, Missouri.
Moreover, Glory continues to speak to the struggles of our time. New verses that include Baltimore and Charleston can easily find their place in between the choruses of this song.
The struggle continues.
Remember. Step up. Press on.
“Now the war is not over
Victory isn’t won
But we’ll fight on to the finish
Then when it’s all done
We’ll cry Glory!
We’ll cry Glory!”
AAMAM is glorious!
Archie Brownlee is on the far right. (1936-1960)
The Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi were no doubt one of the greatest, if not THE greatest singing group in gospel music. Noted for their strong harmonies and hard gospel singing style the group delivered deeply emotional and spiritual Christian messages in song. Helping to catapult the group, which had its beginnings in the Piney Woods School for the blind near Jackson, Mississippi, was lead vocalist Archie Brownlee. His vocal presence was commanding and felt immensely in every song. Brownlee became famous for his ability to release an intense guttural scream in song. In a spiritual sense he was attempting to connect with the Angels and God in heaven.
Vocals like Brownlee’s were, for the most part, unprecedented in recorded gospel music of the era, rather, vocals like his were most familiar within the walls of the Black church. Many of Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi’s contemporaries heavily borrowed from their hard gospel harmonic singing style and the guttural screams of Brownlee. Pop artist such as James Brown, Little Richard, and Sam Cooke, who have their roots in gospel music, cited The Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi and Archie Brown as influential in their craft.
Take a listen to the Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi and the screams of Archie Brownlee.
“1989 the number another summer
Sound of the funky drummer . . . ”
If you know the rest of these lyrics to this song then you are the an esteemed hip hop head or you were there when legendary rap group Public Enemy dropped the song that summer of ’89 on the soundtrack to director Spike Lee’s controversial film Do The Right Thing (also released almost a year later on the album Fear Of A Black Planet).
Public Enemy wrote the song to unify Black urban youth and to encourage them to speak out against oppression and the injustices that mirrored the inequities of the Civil Rights Movement, a little more than 20 years earlier. Rapper Chuck D’s voice is hard to ignore—it demanded attention as he enlightened his listening audience on then current cultural and political situation of Black urban youth while he also encouraged them to resist oppressive powers in the summer of 1989.
To a certain extent Fight The Power is apropos in its message of encouragement today. Constant encouragement to fight an oppressive power structure is a good thing and required not just for Black urban youth but for all Americans.
AAMAM fights the power!
Six years ago today Michael Jackson (1958-2009) shocked the world when he died of an overdose in his home. The world was left with an unfillable void.
Listen to everything Michael!
Continue to rest R.I.P. Legend. Icon. King of Pop!
AAMAM appreciates Michael!
Check out “Smooth Criminal” Live!
Fugees! Straight up, no filter, one of the baddest hip hop groups on the planet. Yeah, I said it!
The Fugees (Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, and Pras Michel) exploded on onto the hip hop scene in the early ‘90s. They gave us two albums Blunted On Reality and The Score and hit after hit after hit! Their lyrical style infused intelligently packed and quick witted word play with streams of sung vocals all set to music with Caribbean undertones, which spoke volumes in terms of empowerment to youth culture like no other. And just like (snap) they were gone! The group disbanded in ’97. They left a welcomed stain on hip hop culture.
It’s a good thing there is Youtube so we all can be reminded of the how great the Fugees were
Check out one of their early supper hits “Nappy Heads.”
AAMAM has a date for Friday!
With its smooth and relaxed intro, Marvin Gaye’s 1971 hit “What’s Going On” was a departure from the glossy and neatly orchestrated Motown Sound his audience was so used too. Gaye had reached a point in his life where he felt the needed to sing about the ills of society, war, poverty, and racism rather than sing dreamy love songs. His decision to do so was well received in “What’s Going On.” Gaye self-produced his song combined elements of classical music and R&B to create a unique sonic backdrop for a powerful message addressing the problems of the early ‘70s.
Sit back and take a listen to the masterful recording “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye!
AAMAM is always smooth!