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 | Otis Redding
The Queen is dead. Aretha Franklin, born in Detroit 76 years ago, and destined to be acknowledged as ‘The Queen Of Soul’ following her late-‘60s breakthrough, was the daughter of minister C.L. Franklin, developing her vocal prowess in the church, before embarking on a secular career in 1960, when she was 18.
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.
Otis Redding is my favourite singer of all. I became addicted to his records in the late ‘60s – my brother and sister had already brought a number of these into the house including ‘Mr Pitiful’, ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’, ‘I Can’t Turn You Loose’, ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, ‘Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)’, ‘Day Tripper’, ‘Shake’, ‘Tramp’ (with Carla Thomas), ‘Respect’, ‘Try A Little Tenderness’, ‘Hard To Handle’, ‘Amen’ and, of course, ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay’.
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.
Rufus Thomas ‘The Breakdown’ & ‘Do The Funky Chicken’
From ‘Wattstax’ 1972
Ravi Shankar ‘Dhun (Dadra And Fast Teental)’
From ‘Monterey Pop’ 1967
Like so many of my generation I was transfixed to my TV screen exactly 40 years ago today, when David Bowie performed ‘Starman’ on Top Of The Pops, and Ziggy Stardust, the singer’s alter ego, burst ever so brashly into public consciousness, ushering in a new era for Pop music.
One of the greatest bass guitarists in the history of black music, Memphis born Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, died in his sleep yesterday, following a gig the previous night with Steve Cropper and Eddie Floyd at Tokyo’s Blue Note nightclub.
Last Saturday evening I was in my hotel room in Ghent, Belgium, trying to catch up on some sleep before a gig there that night. I was awoken by the ringing of the phone, it was someone from the event letting me know what time they’d pick me up to take me for my soundcheck. No sooner had I closed my eyes to grab a couple more hours than my wife, Tracey, called me to break the news that Amy Winehouse had been found dead. Like many others that day I was shocked but not surprised, her death, at just 27 years of age, being something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, many journalists having written her obituary long ago in readiness for this tragic eventuality.