Given the widespread outrage at the killing of George Floyd and the resulting Black Lives Matter protests on both sides of the Atlantic, I thought it might be timely to post up on Facebook some important songs of the past that brought the struggle of black people into the popular arena, especially during the Civil Rights era. All are classics, loved by millions, but hopefully this will offer some context with regards to the times in which they were made and the weight of their subsequent cultural significance. Continue Reading →
Tag Archives | James Brown
Following the recent passing of Manu Dibango and Bill Withers, another black music icon, Hamilton Bohannon, died last Friday aged 78 – the cause of death, at time of writing, still unknown.
We’ve lost another great. Virginia-born Soul singer / songwriter Bill Withers died in Los Angeles on March 30th as a result of heart complications. He was 81.
Now in its 8th year, 20 Choice Edits & Reworks is a personal selection, based on new interpretations of tracks I’ve been playing during the previous 12 months. These don’t include official remixes of older tracks (for example, Joey Negro’s excellent update of ‘Can’t Live Without Your Love’ by Tamiko Jones this year), reflecting the more underground nature of the edits scene, where DJs share their work either digitally or via limited vinyl pressings. The full selection is available to stream via SoundCloud: Continue Reading →
The recent Childish Gambino video to ‘This Is America’ provided a genuine cultural moment, reminding us of the long-standing tradition of the protest song, and how well-chosen words (combined with imagery in this case) can pierce us on a deeper level.
The fourteenth edition of my ‘Discotheque Archives’ series for DJ Mag is now online, featuring more landmarks in pre-Rave club culture:
Here’s a short overview I wrote for DJ Mag’s Disco edition last year, outlining some of the musical threads that resulted in the evolving Disco movement’s expansion from the underground into the eye of mainstream attention as the ‘70s unfurled.
I wanted to do something to mark the 50th anniversary of 1967 – a truly magical, myth-laden, musical year when so much changed, separating old from new and leading to a seismic cultural shift, especially via the recording industry – artists becoming increasingly ambitious, with pop music no longer regarded as throwaway fodder for the kids, but the great artistic statement of the age.
Back in 1975 a single appeared on the United Artists label in the US by a new band called Banbarra, entitled ‘Shack Up’. It addressed one of the burning issues of the day, something that had been highlighted during the sexual revolution of the ’60s – co-habiting with a partner outside of wedlock, or what was more commonly referred to as ‘living in sin’.
Been meaning to get this amended article onto the blog. It’s something I originally wrote back in 2003 for Grandslam magazine as a feature revolving around the release of 2 No Wave compilations at the time, one on the re-activated ZE label, the other on Soul Jazz. The piece was originally published under the title ‘When Punk Met Funk’.