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Any Major Protest Soul Vol. 1

January 19th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

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It was difficult to come up with a name for this mix, and if “protest” implies the kind of angry, black voices that has many whites scared, then that is not quite an accurate reflection of the tone of the songs. Even if some songs are righteously angry and even militant, most are conciliatory, and a few even quite naive.

This is a mix of soul songs that appeal for a social justice, racial equality and harmony, for black consciousness, and for political activism — some deal with one or two of these issues, some with all of them.

It covers roughly the era after the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King and subsequent uprisings, to the decline of the civil rights movement towards the mid-to-late 1970s. So this mix not only addresses the racism and its effects of the time, but also the conversation within black activism between the heirs of MLK and the Black Panthers.

The timing of this post is not by chance. On January 20 — just four days after Martin Luther King Day — the most corrupt and racist US president of modern times will be sworn in. Donald Trump is, of course, a bigot of many badges: he is a xenophobe, a misogynist, a racist and so on. He despises the poor and serves the rich. He mocks the disabled and encourages the bullies. He was endorsed by the Ku Klax Klan and he did not distance himself from them. His impeachment cannot come soon enough, if the venal slimeballs in the GOP can muster enough self-interest to make real what should be inevitable.

Which brings us to 1968, when Richard Nixon was elected president. If we call Trump a racist, then on scale it is fair to describe Nixon in rather more diplomatic terms. Let’s say that Tricky Dick was not an unequivocal friend of African-Americans. There are a few echoes from 1968 in 2016. In both years, right-wing presidents were elected during times of war on the Asian continent; both were elected at a time when the hope for a better future by black Americans — raised by the Civil Rights Act and the election of a black president respectively — was followed by unrest which only the willfully ignorant or the terminally racist would see as unprovoked.

The songs on this mix speak to the Nixon era, but substitute the dated political and cultural references with current ones, and they have application even today. There were plenty more such songs than what will appear on subsequent mixes (to start with, I keep to my usual rule of one song per artist, with a couple of exceptions. I’m guessing there will be three mixes). Since the 1970s, the art of catchy black protest soul songs nearly died out. The corporatisation of music has seen to it. The militant hip hop of the 1980s was a necessary reaction to the jheri-curled soul singers of the age who kept it strictly romantic. But in the 1990s, hip hop became a vehicle for gangsta bling, spinning rims, bustin’ caps in yo ass and rampant misogyny of the kind even Donald Trump would blanche at, rather than to mobilise for social change. Pac died, and Snoop won.

Now Kanye West, that fraudster in charlatan’s clothes, requests an audience with the racist Trump. But we must take courage, there are some artists who do social commentary well — from Eykah Badu, The Fugees or The Roots in the Clinton/Bush era to Frank Ocean, Gregory Porter, Solange or her sister Beyoncé (who did so with Formation, which is no Gil Scott-Heron, though he might have approved anyway) in 2016/17. The protest soul song is making a comeback, in time to stand up to the racists who say racism is dead while revving up the racism. Now it must return to the mainstream, as it did 40+ years ago.

Maybe there is value in reviving the memory of protest and social commentary of the Nixon generation and give it meaning in the Trump era, when it is politically correct again to be racist because the racists have taken off their white hoods or “see no colour”. And if all of the above (other than my empirical views on Donald Trump and his racist pals) is rubbish, take this mix as my contribution to Black History Month.

As always, this mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-blackpowered covers. PW  in comments.

1. The Temptations – Ball of Confusion (1970)
2. The Chi-Lites – Give More Power To The People (1970)
3. The Main Ingredient – Black Seeds Keep On Growing (1971)
4. Sly and the Family Stone – Stand! (1969)
5. The Impressions – Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey) (1969)
6. Grady Tate – Be Black (1968)
7. Syl Johnson – I’m Talkin’ ’Bout Freedom (1970)
8. Billy Paul – Am I Black Enough For You (1972)
9. Lou Rawls – The Politician (1972)
10. Z.Z. Hill – Think People (1971)
11. James Carr – Freedom Train (1969)
12. Lee Dorsey – Yes We Can (Part 1) (1970)
13. S.O.U.L. – Tell It Like It Is (1972)
14. Jackie Moore – If (1973)
15. Ernie Hines – A Better World (For Everyone) (1972)
16. George Soulé – Get Involved (1973)
17. The Bar Kays – Six O’Clock News Report (1971)
18. Darondo – Let My People Go (1974)
19. Marion Black – Listen Black Brother (1972)
20. Swamp Dogg – I Was Born Blue (1970)
21. The Isley Brothers – Fight The Power (Parts 1&2) (1975)
22. Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1971)

GET IT!

Any Major Soul: 1960s
Any Major Soul: 1970s
Covered With Soul
Mix CD-R

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  1. halfhearteddude
    January 19th, 2017 at 07:21 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Hugh Candyside
    January 19th, 2017 at 08:41 | #2

    Very well said and, as usual, a great mix. I’ve been listening to a lot of Gil Scott-Heron lately. Thanks.

  3. philo kvetch
    January 19th, 2017 at 12:14 | #3

    stick to music
    your lies about politics are assholiah

  4. J. Loslo
    January 19th, 2017 at 14:58 | #4

    Thanks for these. I figured this post might generate a response from the Trumpenproletariat, and it didn’t take long. I’m not familiar with the term “assholiah.”

  5. Nick vH
    January 19th, 2017 at 15:26 | #5

    Thank you, this is so relevant and awesome. Assholiah is precious as well.

  6. mike
    January 19th, 2017 at 15:53 | #6

    Love this, and your frankness about the odious Mr. Trump is commendable.

  7. dogbreath
    January 19th, 2017 at 15:54 | #7

    Right on, brother amd! Good to hear some of these again. Cheers!

  8. bobbih2
    January 19th, 2017 at 17:37 | #8

    Thanks, your commentary is very bold and one that needs to be read by everyone!

  9. rekkids
    January 19th, 2017 at 17:38 | #9

    Well done…thank you!
    You should require a avatar for comments so everyone could see what an asshollah looked like when they say it !

  10. JOI
    January 19th, 2017 at 17:50 | #10

    Hey philo kvetch, stick to your kind and accept that other people have different opinions.

    Dude, a phantastic mix again and your commentary is spot on. I am afraid of the future with this twittermaniac in office.

  11. Timothy L Mayer
    January 20th, 2017 at 00:50 | #11

    Awesome collection. You need to make a compilation based on the movie “The Usual Suspects”. Have you seen the “Usual Suspects”? It’s an great movie!

  12. Obey Gravity
    January 20th, 2017 at 17:47 | #12

    Wow, “stick to your own kind” “other people have different opinions” ? Isn’t that a bit of a racist/sexist/xenophobic statement in itself? Possibly the reasons you don’t like Trump is because he doesn’t hide his flaws and failings as a human being but rather expresses them freely (much like so many others feel free to do) and speaks his mind.

    I get the feeling that the folk who dislike Donald Trump do so more out of a dislike for what they see in the mirror than for anything he may or may not have said or done.

    Maybe, it’s time to move on, and, much like the other half have done ‘wait and see’.

    Cheers

  13. halfhearteddude
    January 21st, 2017 at 11:09 | #13

    No, the reason I don’t like Trump is that he preaches hatred with words of violence and exclusion. I see no reflection of that when I look in the mirror.

  14. Clarence Jones
    January 21st, 2017 at 22:10 | #14

    I am 62. I grew up in Mississippi. I’ve seen this before. Scarey.
    Sticking to music, great mix!

  15. nkkuiu
    January 22nd, 2017 at 01:10 | #15

    Less break it down:

    “Preaching” — Check

    “Hatred” — Check

    “Violence and Exclusion” — Check

    You might need a new mirror……………..

  16. Rolf
    January 22nd, 2017 at 03:16 | #16

    Thanks for this mix. I’ll use it to supplement other tunes on the irony of America.

  17. halfwit
    January 22nd, 2017 at 08:45 | #17

    Here’s a nice picture for Obey Gravity’s ignorant hicksville views http://www.newyorker.com/cartoons/a20072

  18. halfhearteddude
    January 22nd, 2017 at 10:50 | #18

    You know, nkkkuiu, just saying words and adding “check” to them doesn’t make it so. Where do I spread “hatred” or “violence and exclusion”? That’s just silly.

    I’ll take the preaching, though. Some very good people have been preachers.

  19. Maria
    January 28th, 2017 at 22:23 | #19

    Racist and corrupt?! Get a fucking grip you useful-idiot.
    Never heard of fast and furious? IRS bullying.
    He’s the least corrupt, beholden to nobody about Americans. Globalists and the truly corrupt spin his words and only blind idiots more concerned with seeming hip believe their propaganda.

  20. halfhearteddude
    February 1st, 2017 at 16:52 | #20

    I almost think you might not be agreeing with me, Maria. Obviously I’m wrong, because normally Trump supporters can’t spell, punctuate, or distinguish between upper and lower case, and have such a poor grasp of grammar that they can barely mark their own names with a crooked X. You succeed in doing all these things correctly, and therefore clearly are too bright to be a supporter of the racist and corrupt sexual abuser of women. You speak the abusive and witless language of Trump supporters, but I suspect that is just a parody (hence the comprehensible English).

    I must say, you’ve got the vacuous inanity of Trumpism spot on. Well done.

  21. greengo
    February 8th, 2017 at 00:11 | #21

    Washington – can’t tell a lie
    Nixon – can’t tell the truth
    Trump – can’t tell the difference

    The warning was right there in his name
    DonT

    Thanks for all the great music

  22. Brother Michael
    April 2nd, 2017 at 18:56 | #22

    Yes, great timing! Unfortunately, my RarOpener says ‘Error Opening the File”. It does not ask for a password. Any suggestions???? Thanks.

  23. halfhearteddude
    April 3rd, 2017 at 12:34 | #23

    I guess the file got corrupted during the download. I suggest trying to download it again. And look out for Vol. 2 later this week.

  24. Charles de Lint
    May 29th, 2017 at 19:12 | #24

    Great comp. Great commentary. Love greengo’s breakdown of truth and lies.

    I was a little surprised that Edwin Starr’s War didn’t make the cut but there’s only so much room on a CD.

    This isn’t quite the place to add this but I really enjoy your comps, mostly because of the thought that goes into them. The music’s great of course but it’s the commentary that keeps me coming back.

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