Saturday, February 18, 2017

Gill Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson - From South Africa to South Carolina

Funny how when you listen to Gill you realize we are already back to the 70's and regressing swiftly with each executive order!

"The collaboration between Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson was now a formal one, as they were issuing albums as a team. This was their second duo project to make the pop charts, and it included anti-nuclear and anti-apartheid themes, plus less political, more autobiographical/reflective material like "Summer of '42," "Beginnings (The First Minute of a New Day)," and "Fell Together." Scott-Heron was now a campus and movement hero, and Jackson's production and arranging savvy helped make his albums as arresting musically as they were lyrically."

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Gil Scott-Heron/Brian Jackson - Winter In America

Winter in America is a studio album by American vocalist Gil Scott-Heron and keyboardist Brian Jackson, released in May 1974 on Strata-East Records. They recorded the album during September to October 1973 at D&B Sound Studio in Silver Spring, Maryland. While Jackson's piano-based arrangements were rooted in jazz and the blues, their stripped-down production for the album resulted in a reliance on more traditional African and R&B sounds. The subject matter on Winter in America deals with the African-American community and inner city in the 1970s.
The album serves as Scott-Heron's and Jackson's debut release for Strata-East Records, following a dispute with their former label and departure. It proved to be their sole release for the independent jazz label. Upon its release, Winter in America featured limited distribution in the United States and quickly became rare in print. However, with promotional help from its only single "The Bottle", it obtained considerably larger commercial success than Scott-Heron's and Jackson's previous work. The album debuted at number six on Billboard's Top Jazz Albums chart and ultimately sold over 300,000 copies in the United States.
While it was critically overlooked upon its release, Winter in America earned retrospective acclaim from several writers and music critics as Scott-Heron's and Jackson's greatest work together. Along with its critical recognition, it has been noted by several critics for its influence on derivative music forms such as neo soul and hip hop music, as many artists of the genres have been influenced by Scott-Heron's and Jackson's lyrical and musical approach on the album. On March 10, 1998, Winter in America was reissued on compact disc for the first time in the United States through Scott-Heron's Rumal-Gia Records.

Friday, February 10, 2017

King Biscuit Boy with The Meters and Allen Toussaint

I had just about forgotten about this record until I saw Blue Dragon post a couple later KBB records. Those were posted at the request of Rivercityslim and I'm betting he will enjoy this one as well.

This album was done in 1974, right around the same time as Rejuvenation.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Gil Scott-Heron - The First Minute of a New Day

As I recall, this was the first GSH album that I ever bought.

Goodbye Mr. Charlie

RIP Mr. Charlie Sims, former proprietor of Donna's (a music club), a fine cook, and an even better man. Spending time with Charlie was always a worthwhile thing - we'd drink and have a smoke and swap stories and laugh...I'll miss you Charlie.

That's Charlie in the center, Tom McDermott to the left, I recognize the other gentleman, but don't know his name. Tom posted this photo on FB, couldn't resist throwing some love Mr Charlie's way from here too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Gill Scott-Heron The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

I think it best that I not go on any overt political rant.....I'm just bringing on a Gil Scott-Heron storm and I'll let the sage speak for me...

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sugar Pie DeSanto - Go Go Power (w. suppliments)

Another repost by request:

Sugar Pie DeSanto (born Umpeliya Marsema Balinton, Oct 16, 1935) was a Fillmore girl back when that tag used to mean something, back when San Francisco still had a soul and it was centered in The Fillmore. Her 2 years junior cousin, Etta James, was a Fillmore girl too; she hung out and sang with 'Peliya's' little sister.

Post war, the Fillmore was probably the most culturally and racially diverse neighborhood in America. That both girls should come from mixed parentage  was not particularly unusual in this neighborhood; Sugar's father was Filipino, Etta's father was unknown (unless you buy her mother's Minnesota Fats story).

The neighborhood was jumping and alive with multi-ethnic businesses, and it was the heart of the Black entertainment district as well. Charles Sullivan was the Mayor of Fillmore Street and his Majestic Ballroom was rechristened The Fillmore Auditorium in 1952. Bird, Sammy, Billie, Redd Fox, Moms Mabley, everyone came to The Fillmore. Music clubs like Bop City, The Blue Mirror, and New Orleans Swing Club were places to make the scene. On the weekends and at smaller venues there were talent contests and these were usually haunted by Johnny Otis, always on the hunt for new talent.

In 1954 Otis first found younger cousin Etta at such an event and later the same year he discovered 19 year old Umpeylia at some other event and he signed her too, giving her the name 'Little Miss Sugar Pie'. At 4 foot 11inches and 90 pounds the name fits the package (DeSanto is a later addition by a disc jockey). Unfortunately, Sugar Pie performs only sporadically with Otis' small groups (not the Revue, Etta sang there), Otis records a few sides on her for Federal without much success.

After a couple of years with Johnny Otis, Sugar Pie moves on as a solo singer. She is too much a class act to say it herself, but I would suggest that during  this period Otis was just too focused on Etta, to Sugar's detriment. Bob Geddins steps in in 1957 and they have a sustained success (eventually Billboard R&B #4 after being leased to Chess) with 'I Want to Know', on which they share songwriter credit. Sugar Pie parlays the tours on her hit and her explosively acrobatic stage act into a slot with the James Brown Revue for 1959-60 and then moves to Chicago, signing with Chess, where.... Etta had signed the year before.

Despite making around 30 credible to fabulous sides in her 5 years at Chess, she is always under used and under promoted, once again in Etta's unintentional shadow. Peylia makes ends meet by exploiting a skill her cousin lacked, songwriting. In her tenure at Chess, songwriting royalties and live performances are what paid the bills. The killer stuff you hear on this set got little notice and less promotion, most of it was outright shelved.

In 1964 the American Folk Blues Festival tour took Sugar Pie to Europe, where she was the only female artist, a distinction given to only one female act per year. Other artists included Willie Dixon, John Henry Barbee, Sleepy John Estes, Clifton James, Sunnyland Slim, Hubert Sumlin, Lightnin Hopkins and Sonny Boy Williamson. DeSanto's legendary live act rocked the house every show.

Near the end of her tenure at Chess, DeSanto and James were finally recorded together on 4 or 5 songs written by Sugar Pie - one hopes it was an attempt to give her some overdue recognition - it didn't work and by the end of the 60's Sugar Pie had left both Chess and Chicago to return to San Francisco.

For the last 30 years she has been a Bay Area fixture, sometimes called the Blues Queen of SF, but she sings all genres and played in many diverse settings - a pro singer and prolific songwriter who seems to have a little wave of popularity every decade or so.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Chess Soul

Another repost by request:

"While Chess made numerous legendary contributions to the fields of blues and rock & roll, its reputation as a major mover and shaker in the soul field from 1961 to 1971 is unassailed. This 2-CD, 45-track compilation is another excellent entry in the Chess 50th Anniversary Series and shows why the label had the Windy City almost sewn up when it came to brand-name artists and material. Whether the tracks were master purchases from a smaller Chicago or Southern label (Jan Bradley's "Mama Didn't Lie," Cookie and the Cupcakes' "I've Been So Lonely," the Kolettes' "Who's That Girl?," Big Maybelle's "Don't Pass Me By" or Denise LaSalle's "A Love Reputation") or in-house productions from Billy Davis and Leonard Caston, next to Stax or Atlantic, no one stood for soul music in the 1960s like Chess Records. Featuring the label's strong hitmakers and soul shouters Etta James (the devastating "Only Time Will Tell"), Billy Stewart (the scat classic "Summertime"), Fontella Bass ("Rescue Me"), Gene Chandler ("I Fooled You This Time"), Mitty Collier ("I'm Satisfied") and Sugar Pie DeSanto ("Soulful Dress") alongside isolated moments of Chi-Town brilliance (the Radiants' "Voice Your Choice," the Knight Brothers' "Temptation 'Bout to Get Me" and Tony Clarke's "The Entertainer") with early Muscle Shoals productions thrown in to give the big picture (Laura Lee's "Dirty Man," Maurice and Mac's "You Left the Water Running"), this is one very potent two-disc anthology and an essential addition to anyone's soul collection." by Cub Koda