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.
This post is a bit more than a photo of Michael Jackson and his sister Janet. Although a lot could be said about the photo above that could range from the perils of a dynastic family to androgyny to nepotism and on and on . . . However this post is a video presentation. Below you will find Michael Jackson’s 18 year-old “Scream” video. This video, in my opinion, is one of the best videos ever filmed. The video’s imagery hinges itself on classic escapism; Michael and Janet are literally escaping unknown ills in search of solace and unfettered leisure all within a futuristic setting. The video is the suggested remedy to the song “Scream.” Michael’s song as announced by critics during the time of its release was a critical, angry, and vengeful response to his treatment in the media and his proclamation of frustration, social and personal injustice. Michael was simply tired of it all. The pairing of the song and video is a wonderfully awesome account of call and response between sonic and image. The analysis of this fact would be amazing, but as Sweet Brown said, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” To do it right one would have to explore the very nature of social injustice, resentment, the realities and purpose of pop culture in the media, fame, race, responses to stress, dance as celebration and of course the future; space travel, weightlessness, spaceship aesthetics (and connect it to Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey and might as well add in Star Wars and Star Trek while your at it), not to mention sibling rivalry and support and finally, why is it in black and white?
In the end, this amazing video allows Black artists through R&B and Soul to continue their sentimental conversation of life in America, which began in the sorrowful hums and moans while crossing the Atlantic to the Southern field hollers and ring shouts to the first utterance of a Blues riff in a juke joint. This is Black music! Black music, since its beginning has always told a story of sentiment with emotion. Listen to the conversation and have a great BMM!