Sunday, January 28, 2018

Beatnik Youth - Double CD Review

The story of the Beatnik Youth album begins in London. John Sinclair was visiting to perform with guitarist Al Clayton and his band The Dirty Strangers, Gigs organised in part by Ian Grant, including a double bill with Zodiac / Youth. Martin ‘Youth’ Glover came into John’s orbit and found a kindred spirit in John, proposing they work on a jazz project together. 

Sure enough plans were laid out for John to travel to Kingston College Of Music in London, to a recording session set up by Youth. The list of musicians in the large room was staggering: George Butler, Hugo Wilkinson and Steven Pratt on drums, Al Clayton and Brian James and James Sedwards on guitars, Youth on bass, Angie Brown and Mark Stewart on vocals, Alex Ward on saxophones and piano, Michael Rendall on organ plus recording duties. The energy in the room was huge.
John’s words switched from a whisper to a roar, screaming against the wall of guitars for his old gang, and then undressing the piano with a hushed prayer to Thelonious Monk. The musicians tracked all afternoon and managed to subtly fuse straight ahead rock & roll with a jazz sensibility, and a tonal blanket of sound that exploited all the instrumentalists and vocalists at the session.
Over the next 12 months, Youth, John and Michael Rendall edited, shaped and overdubbed new parts to create Beatnik Youth V. 1.0. New editions included such UK heads as Bobby Gillespie and Howard Marks R.I.P who added the perfect authentic taste to an underground classic. The late great Mick Farren penned some delightful liner notes, and Ian Grant of track records, quickly produced a small run of 300 copies on compact disk. Due to unforeseen obstacles, Beatnik Youth 1.0 was never properly released, and so sat as an unreleased album project, poems and sound in purgatory.
Enter Mark at Iron Man Records. After unprecedented support from Mark in preparing and releasing the album Mohawk by John Sinclair in 2014, he expressed interest in reviving the Beatnik Youth project from its zombie state. Three years later, in 2017, we can thank Mark, and Ian, and Youth and John for combined efforts to give the album a proper release and promotional campaign worthy of the material. Thanks are also due to Sean Newsham at Mutante for his excellent work on press, and to all the reviewers and writers who picked up on this sleeping giant.
In the space of three years this team of volunteers for the most part, led by Youth and Mark, created a separate mini-EP titled Beatnik Youth Ambient that featured two ambient remixes of tracks from the original session, plus two new works with material from Howard Marks and a new piece called ‘Do It’ by John. The album was mastered and pressed to 12” vinyl. Youth stayed up all night and drew the artwork himself depicting John among a whirlwind of illustrated 1960s psychedelic symbolism. Beatnik Youth Ambient was released July 28th, 2017. Pick up a slice of this historic wax and let it spin, you’ll be lifted I guarantee.
Beatnik Youth V. 2.0 is the new album, a deluxe double CD with re-mastered and re-edited tracks including the new recordings from Beatnik Youth Ambient resulting in 90 minutes of music. The album has been lovingly designed and constructed by Russ Clarke. If anyone is familiar with a Jack Kerouac 1st edition, or the events that unfolded in Detroit in July 1967 you may find this album interesting. The double CD with unlimited streaming and download is available now via BandCamp and will also be available from Cargo (see end notes).
And finally, to the music: “Testify,” opening like the doors to a Persian hash lounge, with piano and guitars and singers swaying to the breeze of the bard’s voice. The tale begins, the great world outlook of John Sinclair is accompanied by a chorus of cherubs repeating the word ‘testify.’ The poet returns with “friday the 13th,” a lament to Thelonious Monk and John Lennon, the tragedy spilling onto the keys, Alex Ward hammering and the guitar feedback building, the poem zooming to a grand concrescence of heart and head, leaving the listener engrossed. Drums dart in and out, the 2nd poem ends with a statement of intent for there to be more men like Monk and John Lennon, and that we should be able die when it’s time for us to die, not by some punk with a weapon. The drums return and the bard delivers “Fat Boy,” guitar feedback buzzing under another blistering poem critical of the American love affair with bombs and destruction, and the atrocity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Good Stuff. Classic British rock & roll, driven sideways by George Butler on drums and vamped up and out by a chorus of guitarists, the poet reads and bleeds for his friends, his music and loves, his poetry and beatnik lifestyle. The title of the poem ‘the screamers’ opens with ‘the screamers, stagger down overgrown sidewalks, of memory…” and goes on to juxtapose lyrics from Bo Diddley, paying homage to Chuck Berry and Jimmy Reed, the foundations of modern Rock & Roll.
“Everybody Needs Somebody” returns with another locked rock beat boosted by the chorus of voices singing ‘Everybody Needs Somebody’ and a swell of organ keeping the tension. The poet dives into “monk in orbit,” a most delightful historical tale of Allen Ginsberg turning on Thelonious Monk to LSD, setting John in his element of Bebop and Beatnik legends colliding in history by way of a technicolored gyroscopic portal of poetry. Featuring Andrew Robinson on synth dotting some buzzed phrases and electric kool-aid to the brew. The bard returns with his own anecdote and ode to Allen Ginsberg, reaffirming the trio of Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg as the beats who started it all.
“Change My Life” opens with another straight-ahead beat and the return of Angie Brown and the vocals searing underneath the bard, describing how and why early blues musicians would modify the beat, the tempo, and so change the whole feel of the song. Changing beats. Al Clayton, James Sedwards and Jesse Wood exchange riffs, as Mr. Pratt drags the beat through an indie pop swamp. An upbeat beat poem about changing beats.
“Ain’t Nobody’s Business.” Testament to the genius of Youth and how he can rearrange and compose music for poems, turning them into totally new beasts, bringing back the chorus of voices, guitars and stomping drums at all the right places. Short and sweet, wrapping up John’s testament to an individualist anarchist perspective—our right to our own bad habits, a provocative role call of examples.
“My Buddy,” the poet’s tribute to Henry Normile, describing the tragic murder in Detroit of his best friend, made brighter in verse by describing Marcus Belgrave, his upturned horn, and the snowflakes falling inside as Belgrave played for Henry’s funeral procession. Recalling Henry’s last wishes that dance off the tongue like acrobatic spit balls ‘Cocaine, Pussy and Lobster, in that order.’ The weight and depth of a friendship forged in Detroit, a litany, epitaph, the poet’s Buddy, Henry Normile. “A….fucking…men” James Sedwards takes a tight solo around the Zodiac, Angie Brown kicks into another dimension of harmony, soul in the spirit of Badu, the music closes the poem with a well pitched instrumental epilogue.
“That Old Man” oozes the bass beauty of Youth, soothing organ of Michael and the gentle crooning of Angie Brown, who breaks into a captivating vocal solo demonstrating her range and soul power. The drums sound like the work of Fly. The poet serves up feedback from the long winding roads and mystery of love and relations. In his gentle and authoritative tone, the poet opens with a line from fellow poet Robert Lowell, “living without you is like learning to walk.” The poem goes on to question the distance between ex-lovers, counting the blessings of family, friends, and co-conspirators, “that old man, / still alive and kicking / with both feet” Yeah yer’ right.
“Brilliant Corners.” Jettisons off into a bed of ambient jelly, as if John’s voice were slowed down 1000 times, the work of Youth and Michael Rendall exploring the interspace of the poetry, like electronic seagulls, and thunder far off in the distance, the tide of a new Blade Runner washing over the synths. The poet delivers a long poem detailing the trajectory of the beats, now familiar names from these poems, Ginsberg, Kerouac, Burroughs. Introducing each revolutionary writer with biographical and bibliographic precision. The deep knowing and passion for each and every character, now bringing the be-bop all stars off the page and into the music. Ambient angels the size of cruise ships howling just beneath the storm clouds, sunlight occasionally breaking through, shrieking upon the faces of the genius under observation. Pistons hiss, and synthesizers gurgle as the poet fills in the points on a road map to his life’s journey. The track is brought to a close with an epilogue by Mark Stewart.
“Culture-cide.” An upbeat Brit funk protest anthem, programmed by Primal Scream and featuring guitar by Keith Levine, with a chorus hook sung by the Scottish band The View, and a part sung by Bobby Gillespie, the song chugs along with some big hats and menacing synthesiser garnishing. More vocals appear courtesy of Robb Spragg, of Alabama 3, adding to the gang. The poet brings the latest feedback from the frontline of the war on some drugs in America, his poem “It’s All Good” presents some hope by paying full respects to all the growers and suppliers of cannabis in Amsterdam, at the Cannabis Cup, and all around the world. Just when you thought it was over, a familiar Welsh voice starts up, it’s Howard Marks, on an hilarious philosophical journey through some reasoning about the war on drugs. Howard explodes into a surrealist rollercoaster of observations and uncensored provocation.
“Red Dress” (“Ruby My Dear”). A softly spoken jazz delight, once again visiting the music of Thelonious Monk, here talking romance of the woman in the red dress. Alex Ward on keys, with big Al Clayton and James Sedwards cooing from the tree tops, a pair of guitar cats playing under moonlight. Angie Brown swoops down to deliver the soul from above, high up there in the sensual regions of soul. “The music is soft and sweet and deep with intelligence.” I, Fly, lay down some sweet brush strokes, and the band drift across the sleeping city moments before dawn.
“Sitarrtha.” Back in the great temple of music we started in, saxophones squeal and rise in the distance, percussion swirling like a desert dust devil. “What is jazz?” The bard asks, and then goes on to present alternative scenarios as to the what. “What is blues” and a similar answer.  I, fly, on drums with dampened sticks stroking the toms, breaking the beats. And the poem builds and charges up, bootstrapping from each previous statement, into the meat and the marrow of the listener. The saxophones reaching higher, the drums and percussion speed up, voices and saxophones shriek at each other. The bard walks straight into a pole, such is the force of the music. First hand experience of contact with John Coltrane, left in a John Coltrance. Leaving us with a choice to become as real as they are, those legendary musicians. The song and the poem demonstrate tension, build up and release respectively.
“Do It.” An ambient techno track produced by Youth and representative of his excursions into techno and electronica. John shares more advice on making it as an artist, retelling his experiences and then giving us the best advice he can, the only advice you can give: “Do It.” You have to make it through your actions, you have to get up and do these things which artists dream up, that is the perfect sentiment to summarize this album and the efforts to present it, for you, dear listener. Together with the time and money and logistics, it’s the willingness to do it, that made this all happen. Do it. Do it. Do it.
Beatnik Youth approaches a Magnum Opus in its reach, quality and totality. Here is the music and wefted into it, the history, a one-stop shop for first-hand feedback from the fabled 1960 cultural revolution, from John Sinclair, who Mick Farren so aptly called ‘The Last Of The Beatnik Warrior Poets.’ This album bridges British and American culture, outside of the mainstream channels, producing a lasting testament to our rebellious ancestors and innovators of hip.
—Steven Pratt
Amsterdam, 2017
John Sinclair – “Beatnik Youth” on Double CD released 2017 by Iron Man Records.
All Press enquiries to Sean Newsham : sean@mutante.co.uk
Catalogue Number: IMB6032
Label: Iron Man Records
Distribution: Cargo
John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth Double CD, Download, Stream via Bandcamp
John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth Double CD via Big Cartel
Cargo Records Direct


https://ironmanrecords.net/2017/12/john-sinclair-beatnik-youth-double-cd-review-by-steve-fly-amsterdam-2017/

Steven Pratt - Fattening Blogs For Snakes 2018. (A Project of the John Sinclair Foundation) www.johnsinclair.us ------ radiofreeamsterdam.org

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Radio Free Amsterdam Christmas Specials



Merry Christmas
 to all our listeners and supports out there. Radio Free Amsterdam presents a fine selection of seasonal Blues Jazz and funk stocking fillers. Shows from John Sinclair, Leslie Keros, Soul Lucille, Cary Wolfson, Harry Duncan and more RFA DJ’s.
Check back in over the holiday period for updates.

Lucille DJ is on the air from the heart of Italy with a killer hour of soul & super heavy funk and a guest spot by John Sinclair with soulful Christmas tunes by Detroit Junior, Clarence Carter, Rose Graham, Al Green, Pearl Bailey, Short Stuff, Jim Cagle, The Beginning Of The End, Count Sidney & His Dukes, James Brown, Earl King, Thornetta Davis, Sir Mack Riice, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Louis Armstrong, Gary Walker, Jimmy Jules & The Nuclear Soul System, Rufus Thomas, Electric Jungle, Milly & Silly, and The Drifters.
 The John Sinclair Foundation Presents
FUNKY FUNKY CHRISTMAS
THE SOUL LUCILLE SHOW 124
Lucille DJ, controradio-fm, Florence, Italy, December 20, 2017 [DLSL-0124]
Detroit Junior: Christmas Day
Clarence Carter: Back Door Santa
Rose Graham: Black Christmas
Al Green: Feels Like Christmas
Pearl Bailey: Jingle Bells Cha Cha
Short Stuff: Merry Christmas Baby
Jim Cagle: Santa Claus Jr
The Beginning Of The End: Gee Whiz It’s Christmas
Count Sidney & His Dukes: Soul Christmas
James Brown: Soulful Christmas
Earl King: Santa Don’t Let Me Down
Thornetta Davis: Boogie Woogie Santa Claus
Sir Mack Rice: Santa Claus Wants Some Loving
Donny Hathaway: This Christmas
Stevie Wonder: What Christmas Means To Me
Louis Armstrong: ‘Zat You Santa Claus?
Gary Walker: Santa’s Got A Brand New Bag
Jimmy Jules & The Nuclear Soul System: Xmas Done Got Funky
Rufus Thomas: I’ll Be Your Santa Baby
Electric Jungle: Funky Funky Christmas
Milly & Silly: Getting Down For Xmas
The Drifters: White Christmas
 A JOINT PRODUCTION
Hosted by Lucille DJ for Radio Free Amsterdam
Produced & recorded by Lucille DJ at controradio-fm, Firenze
Post-production, editing & annotation by John Sinclair
Executive Producer: Steve Pratt
© 2017 Lucille Mancini. Used with permission.

Leslie Keros and Bill Dahl are throwing down some deep Christmas soul and blues sides featuring Booker T. & the MG’s, Roy Milton & the Solid Senders, Titus Turner, Jimmy Liggins & His Drops of Joy, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Julia Lee, John Lee Hooker, the Marshall Brothers, Sugar Chile Robinson, Oscar McLollie & the Honey Jumpers, The Moonglows, The Cadillacs, Albert King, Detroit Jr., Big Bud, Amos Milburn, J. D. McDonald, Nathaniel Mayer, and Ike & Tina Turner.
The John Sinclair Foundation Presents
CHRISTMAS SPIRITS
MOOD INDIGO 60
Leslie Keros, WDCB-FM, Chicago, ­­­­­­Christmas 2015 [LKMB-0116]
Booker T. & the MG’s: We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Roy Milton & the Solid Senders: Christmastime Blues
Titus Turner: Christmas Morning
Jimmy Liggins & His Drops of Joy: I Want My Baby for Christmas
Lightnin’ Hopkins: Merry Christmas
Julia Lee: Christmas Spirits
John Lee Hooker: Blues for Christmas
The Marshall Brothers: Mr. Santa’s Boogie
Sugar Chile Robinson: Christmas Boogie
Oscar McLollie & the Honey Jumpers: Dig That Crazy Santa Claus
The Moonglows: Hey Santa Claus
The Cadillacs: Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Albert King: Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’
Detroit Jr.: Christmas Day
Amos Milburn: Christmas (Comes But Once A Year)
Big Bud: Snowman Rock
  1. D. McDonald: Boogaloo Santa Claus
Nathaniel Mayer: Mr. Santa Claus
Ike & Tina Turner: Merry Christmas, Baby
Lightnin’ Hopkins: Happy New Year
A JOINT PRODUCTION
Hosted by Leslie Keros for Radio Free Amsterdam
Produced & recorded by Leslie Keros at WDCB-FM, Chicago
Editing, post-production & annotation by John Sinclair
Executive Producer: Steve Pratt
Sponsored by Hempshopper & Ceres Seeds, Amsterdam
© 2015, 2017 Leslie Keros. Used with permission.


Episode 736 is a special rebroadcast of the first part of John Sinclair’s R&B Christmas Special for the year 2000, just now discovered in a showbx full of cassettes and transferred into the digital domain just in time for the 2017 holidays, with timeless R&B and jazz seasonal music by Louis Armstrong, Milton Batiste, the New Birth Brass Band, Louis Prima, Count Basie & His Orchestra with Joe Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra, Jimmy Rushing, Oscar McLollie & His Honey Jumpers, Eartha Kitt, Gladys Bentley, Mabel Scott, Big John Greer, Babs Gonzales, Don Vappie, Wallace Johnson, and James Andrews.
The John Sinclair Foundation Presents
SANTA’S SECOND LINE
JOHN SINCLAIR RADIO SHOW 736
WWOZ-FM, New Orleans, December 17, 2000 [20-01751]
Little Walter: Juke with John Sinclair Intro
Louis Armstrong: ‘Zat You Santa Claus?
Milton Batiste: Big Fat Santa Is Coming To Town
New Birth Brass Band: Santa’s Second Line
Louis Prima: What Will Santa Claus Say?
Count Basie & His Orchestra & Joe Williams: Good Morning Blues
Ella Fitzgerald: Santa Claus Got Stuck In My Chimney
Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra: Boogie Woogie Santa Claus
Louis Armstrong: The Santa Claus Blues
Count Basie & His Orchestra & Jimmy Rushing: Good Morning Blues
Oscar McLollie & His Honey Jumpers: Dig That Crazy Santa Claus
Eartha Kitt: Santa Baby
Gladys Bentley: Jingle Jangle
Mabel Scott: Boogie Woogie Santa Claus
Big John Greer: We Wanna See Santa Do The Mambo
Babs Gonzales: Bebop Santa Claus
Don Vappie: Too Fat For The Chimney
Wallace Johnson: Christmas Comes But Once A Year
James Andrews: Christmas In New Orleans

A JOINT PRODUCTION
Hosted by John Sinclair for Radio Free Amsterdam
Produced, edited, assembled & annotated by John Sinclair
Executive Producer: Steve Pratt
Special thanks to Leni & Sunnny Sinclair
Sponsored by Hempshopper & Ceres Seeds, Amsterdam
© 2000, 2017 The John Sinclair Foundation



Leslie Keros is playing holiday music with co-host Bill Dahl providing historical continuity for a program of tunes by the Lionel Hampton Orchestra with Sonny Parker, Ramsey Lewis, Eric Reed, Freddie King, Nicole Henry, Lou Rawls, Dave McKenna, James Brown, Solomon Burke, Rufus Thomas, Lowell Fulson, Jesse Thomas, Roy Milton & His Solid Senders, Harry Allen, B.B. King, and The Drifters.
The John Sinclair Foundation Presents
CHRISTMAS BLUES
MOOD INDIGO 59
Leslie Keros, WDCB-FM, Chicago, December 21, 2016 [LKMI- 0059]
Lionel Hampton Orchestra with Sonny Parker: Merry Christmas Baby
Ramsey Lewis: Christmas Blues
Eric Reed: Christmas Blues
Freddie King: Christmas Tears
Nicole Henry: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Lou Rawls: Christmas Will Really Be Christmas
Dave McKenna: An Eggnog, Some Mistletoe And You
James Brown: Merry Christmas I Love You
Solomon Burke: Presents For Christmas
Rufus Thomas: I’ll Be Your Santa Baby
Lowell Fulson: Lonesome Christmas (Part 1)
Jesse Thomas: Christmas Celebration
Roy Milton & His Solid Senders: New Year’s Resolutions
Harry Allen: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
B.B. King: Back Door Santa
The Drifters: White Christmas
A JOINT PRODUCTION
Hosted by Leslie Keros for Radio Free Amsterdam
Produced & recorded by Leslie Keros for WDCB-FM, Chicago
Post-production, editing & annotation by John Sinclair
Executive Producer: Steve Pratt
Sponsored by Hempshopper & Ceres Seeds, Amsterdam
© 2017 Leslie Keros. Used with permission.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

John Sinclair - Cross Road Blues (Live, Amsterdam, 2017)





Cross Road Blues by John Sinclair. A poem taken from his book of blues in verse: Fattening Frogs For Snakes. (2002). Here performed at Cafe Zamen in Amsterdam North, as a part of the Radio Free Amsterdam Soundsystem event.

Recorded in Amsterdam North, September 1st, 2017.

John Sinclair - Words

Vicente Pino - Guitar

Oscar Jan Hoogland - Keys

Steven Pratt - Camera / Production








Steven Pratt - Fattening Blogs For Snakes 2017 (A Project of the John Sinclair Foundation) www.johnsinclair.us radiofreeamsterdam.org

Radio Free Amsterdam (Dot) org

http://radiofreeamsterdam.org/




Steven Pratt - Fattening Blogs For Snakes 2017 (A Project of the John Sinclair Foundation) www.johnsinclair.us radiofreeamsterdam.org

Friday, October 13, 2017

John Sinclair w/ Oscar Jan Hoogland - Friday The 13th



John Sinclair recites 'Friday The 13th' a poem dedicated to Thelonious Monk. Accompanied by Oscar Jan Hoogland on keys. Recorded in Amsterdam North, September 1st, 2017. John Sinclair - Words. Oscar Jan Hoogland - Keys. Steven Pratt - Camera / Production. 


www.radiofreeamsterdam.com
www.johnsinclair.us 
www.flyagaric23.com


Steven Pratt - Fattening Blogs For Snakes 2017 (A Project of the John Sinclair Foundation)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Women Who Dare



"Women who Dare"
Oct. 5 through Oct 15, 2017

Leni Sinclair -- Detroit Rock 

Louise Schmid & Sophia Lerta -- Art Residency Conversation

Penny Arcade -- Performace


Mila Jansen -- reading from unpublished manuscript

Michka -- Medical Cannabis in Greek and new writing


“Women who dared in Western World during the 70s”

Curator: Sofia Lerta
Opening: Friday 6.10, 17:00
Leni Sinclair (Photographer)
Detroit Rock, 1964-1975. Total access, back stage pass.
From East Germany to Detroit, photographer and activist, we travel us through her photography on rock music trails from 1964 to 1975.
Louise Schimid and Sophia Lerta (Painters)
From Glasgow to Athens: A Home Debate.





FATTENING BLOGS FOR SNAKES 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

Amiri Baraka Lecture: at the Charles H. Wright Museum (2013)





Amiri Baraka is the author of over 40 books of essays, poems, drama, and music history and criticism. He is a poet icon and revolutionary political activist who has recited poetry and lectured on cultural and political issues extensively in the United States, the Caribbean, Africa and Europe. With influences on his work ranging from musical orishas such as Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk and Sun Ra to the Cuban Revolution, Malcolm X and world revolutionary movements, Baraka is renowned as the founder of the Black Arts Movement in Harlem in the 1960s that became, though short-lived, the virtual blueprint for a new American theater aesthetics. The movement and his published and performance work, such as the signature study on African-American music, Blues People (1963) and the play Dutchman (1963) practically seeded "the cultural corollary to black nationalism" of that revolutionary American milieu.

Other titles range from Selected Poetry of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones (1979) to The Music (1987), a fascinating collection of poems and monographs on Jazz and Blues authored by Baraka and his wife and poet Amina. The Essence of Reparations (2003) is Baraka's first published collection of essays in book form, radically exploring the interrelated issues of racism, national oppression, colonialism, neo-colonialism, self-determination and national and human liberation. He has taught at Yale, Columbia, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His awards and honors include an Obie, the American Academy of Arts & Letters award, the James Weldon Johnson Medal for contributions to the arts, Rockefeller Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts grants, Professor Emeritus at the State university of New York at Stony Brook and the Poet Laureate of New Jersey.
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit - MOCAD 
FATTENING BLOGS FOR SNAKES 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

Don Was Revue offers Rebellion at Concert of Colors

John Sinclair performs as part of the Don Was Detroit All-Star Revue Saturday night, July 15, during the Concert of Colors at Detroit’s Orchestra Hall (Photo by Barbara Ingalls)

...and John Sinclair, accompanied by guitarist Jeff Grand and the house band, delivered a lengthy musical poem about the ‘67 riots especially written for the show.
By Gary Graff, The Oakland Press

DETROIT -- “It’s been a good show, hasn’t it?” Motown veteran Carolyn Crawford asked the crowd at Orchestra Hall on Saturday night, July 15.


And when it comes to the annual Don Was Detroit All-Star Revue at the Concert of Colors, that kind of question is purely rhetorical.


Over the past 10 years, Oak Park native Was (nee Fagenson), a Grammy Award-winning producer and musician, has made his Revue a highlight of not only the festival (which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year) but of the metro area concert calendar in general. Combining established and up-and-coming artists -- as well as a tremendous house band -- Was’ shows have been exhibitions of musical imagination and invention that fans still refer to years later.



Saturday’s theme, “Songs Of Rebellion” -- inspired in part by the 50th anniversary of the Detroit uprising -- was a loose one. The 16 songs hailed mostly from the 60s and 70s and from the R&B realm, with no real commentary during the show to tie things together. Rather, Was and company let the music speak for itself, and if the show ran a bit long at nearly two and a half hours you’d be hard-pressed to find anything that could obviously be taken out of the mix.


Outside of John Lee Hooker’s “Motor City’s Burning” there was surprisingly little in the eclectic set list specifically from Detroit artists -- no Motown or Bob Seger’s “2+2=?,” for instance, that would seem to fit the theme. That said, there was no shortage of killer moments throughout the night. The idea of “best” is relative, but standouts included a moving version of the Staples Singers’ “Respect Yourself” by the Albion duo “The War & Treaty,” an exuberant romp through Johnnie Taylor’s “I Am Somebody” by Detroit stalwarts Melvin Davis and Dennis Coffey, a soulful treatment of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” by the Howling Diablos’ Martin “Tino” Gross and Harmonica Shah,” and a roof-raising rendition of Gregory Porter’s “1960 What?” by the house band -- most of Was’ band Was (Not Was), featuring solos by saxophonist David McMurray and trumpeter Rayce Biggs.


McMurray and Biggs also featured on an extended version of the Roberta Flack/’Eddie McCann & Eddie Davis classic “Compared To What” sung by Malik Alston, while guitarists Brian “Roscoe” White and Randy Jacobs livened the Chi-Lites’ “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power To The People” with solos, Jacobs playing part of his between his legs. Stefanie Christian and Nadir turned Sly & the Family Stone’s “Stand” and the Isley Brothers’ “Fight The Power” into powerhouse vocal showcases, and John Sinclair, accompanied by guitarist Jeff Grand and the house band, delivered a lengthy musical poem about the ‘67 riots especially written for the show. The Tom Robinson Band’s “Power In The Darkness” -- sung by the Layabouts’ Alan Franklin, was an inspired surprise.


Crawford’s performance of “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” the “Black American National Anthem” that dates back to 1899 and tied a fitting bow around a night of provocative message music. As the entire cast on stage for the end of the song, it capped another solid year for Was’ Revue and stoked expectations for next year’s 11th edition.


The Concert of Colors continues Sunday, July 16, in and around Detroit’s cultural center. Admission is free. Visit concertofcolors.com for details.

http://www.theoaklandpress.com/arts-and-entertainment/20170716/review-don-was-revue-offers-rebellion-at-concert-of-colors

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Brothers and sisters! Wayne Kramer uploads rare/remastered MC5 footage to YouTube

Without much fanfare, over the last two weeks Wayne Kramer of explosive rock 'n' roll legends the Motor City 5 has uploaded remastered clips of live MC5 performances from 1968 (at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago), 1970 (the blistering Tartar Field show), and 1972 (at a club in Paris). They haven't gotten to the Beat Club TV performance from Bremen, Germany in 1972 yet. But if there is anyway they can improve on the quality of this, that will simply be the best thing on the Internet, ever.

READ ON...


FATTENING BLOGS FOR SNAKES 2017

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Review: John Sinclair - Beatnik Youth Ambient




Rarely does a new record come through our post box with so much historical background than John Sinclair’s latest offering ‘Beatnik Youth Ambient’ on Iron Man Recordings.

John’s legacy is depicted aptly in this content-heavy exploration through ambience, free form Jazz and sound-scape structures. The renegade poet has led a life that few of us would be familiar to. Following the Vietnam war, droves of protests sprung up attacking the Nixon presidency and their handling of the war. Whist the War on Drugs developed it’s motto, debatably as a strategic move for mass incarceration of black Americans (see the documentary 13th for a splendid explanation of this), the White Panthers also founded a movement to attack the poisonous racism and injustice that was being seen. John Sinclair played a pivotal role within this, alongside his group MC5, which then led to his 10 year imprisonment sentence.

His omnipresence was felt by thousands and whilst slogans of ‘Free John Sinclair’ rung from the the crowds, artists like Yoko Ono and John Lennon dedicated songs for his release which duly came in 1971.

On this release, John teamed up with Youth, who’s career spanning 30 years has recently honoured him an Outstanding Contribution Award by the Music Producers Guild. Youth was Paul McCartneys ‘Fireman’, and has worked with the likes of Primal Scream, The Orb, The Charlatans and The Verve. The pair teamed up to create this 30 minute tip of the hat to the Beatnik generation.

This isn’t so much a standalone body of music, any more than a recital of a brilliant mind, canvased in awe-inspiring soundscapes.

Opening track ‘Do It’ sets the tone for the release with ruminative dialogue from John, blanketed by some broody synth structures. The maturity of the track sometimes getting lost by gimmicky trigger sampling of his spoken word.

“Out of the darkness of the Second World World, before the soldiers, before the soldiers came back to turn America in to a vast suburban wasteland. Dreamed up by real estate developers with huge dollar signs in the eyes, and nothing at all in their hearts.” John provides us a distopian setting for the introduction of some of the most influential Jazz musicians for generations; Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Kenny Clarke – creativity spawned from traumatic periods. A gesture to the long-heralded relationship between creativity and suffering. Enter Jack Kerouac, and the narrative unfolds into what formed the Beatnik generation.

War on Drugs is a smokers delight, launching a middle finger up at the slogan, whilst humorously drawing parallels between vegetarians and our insatiable desire to declare a war on plants, before inciting some revolutionary mindset with impeccable unease. Things settle down somewhat with the psychedelic lulls of Sitartha that holds your hand on a little journey. Far out.

Beatnik Youth Ambient will be available on Vinyl Mini LP and Digital download from Iron Man Records, releasing 28th July 2017.

http://www.conemagazine.com/john-sinclair/

FATTENING BLOGS FOR SNAKES 2017