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 | Marvin Gaye
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.
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.
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.
A couple of months ago, when I last played in Brighton, I was talking to Paul Budd, the promoter (and DJ Pablo Contraband), about how things were going with his Unity Agency (a man of many fingers in pies is Paul / Pablo). He was really excited about just having added The Reflex as the latest addition to an increasingly impressive roster that also includes the likes of Late Nite Tuff Guy, Rayko, Social Disco Club and Fingerman. The Reflex is London based French DJ / Producer, Nicolas Laugier, and it wasn’t just his work that impressed Paul, but his overall persona. Paul told me;
“Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says ‘treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.’ Man bursts into tears. Says ‘but, doctor…I am Pagliacci.’ Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.”
Alan Moore ‘Watchmen’ (1987)
Following a run of 2 years 9 months I’ve decided to wind things down with Living To Music, perhaps making it an irregular feature of the blog from herein. Up until now it had been a monthly series, but something has to give and, as I’m currently stuggling to fit in all the things I need to be doing, I can’t maintain this commitment, although I don’t want to stop the series completely.
ARTIST: SHUGGIE OTIS
ALBUM: INSPIRATION INFORMATION
LABEL: LUAKA BOP
YEAR: 2001 (ORIGINAL RELEASE 1974)
This Sunday (February 3rd) at 9pm, you’re invited to share a listening session with some likeminded souls, wherever you might be. This can be experienced either alone or communally, and you don’t need to leave the comfort of your own home to participate. If it’s not possible to make the allotted time, hopefully you can join in at your convenience at some point during the following weeks. See update here:
It’s almost 2 years since Living To Music was launched with Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’ in August 1st 2010. Since then it’s been a key feature of the blog and pretty successful in fulfilling its basic objective, which is to help get people to sit down and listen to music, as opposed to treating it as something in the background. It’s also spun-off ‘Classic Album Sundays’, which has gone from strength to strength in recent times, and is even holding sessions in the US now:
Just over 2 months on from the passing of iconic bass man, Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn of Booker T. & The M.G.’s (https://blog.gregwilson.co.uk/2012/05/donald-duck-dunn/), another of Soul’s most prolific bass players, Bob Babbitt, a member of Motown’s illustrious studio band, the Funk Brothers, died yesterday, aged 74.