The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture is to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Afro-Americans.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mahogany (1975)

  • Diana Ross
  • Billy Dee Williams
  • Anthony Perkins
  • Jean-Pierre Aumont
  • Beah Richards
Tracy, a young ghetto woman, puts herself through fashion school in the hopes of becoming one of the world's top
designers. Her ambition leads her into the lives of people who are determined to get a piece of her long before she
can realize her dream.

Link to soundtrack review:
Diana Ross & Michael Masser - Mahogany (1975)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Black Fist (1975)


Leroy Fisk (Richard Lawson) is a small time street fighter who gets to show his stuff to a promoter named Logan. After Leroy fights one of Logan's top guys (the hillbilly rapist from Foxy Brown) and loses, Logan decides to keep Leroy anyways and help him make some big money. Pretty soon, Leroy has his first official streetfight and he wins. Leroy's now well off and he begins buying his lady presents. Enter Officer Heineken (Dabney Coleman), a corrupt racist cop that confronts Leroy and tells him he wants part of his winnings each and every time he fights.

Link to soundtrack review
Various Artist - Black Fist (1975)

Various Artist - When We Were Kings (1997)

1. Rumble in the Jungle - Fugees feat. A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, John Forte 2. Drew 'Bundini' Brown [Live]
3. Ain't No Sunshine/You [Live] [Medley] - Bill Withers
4. Sweet Sixteen [Live]- B.B. King
5. African Girls Chant
6. When I Get to Africa [Live] - Muhammad Ali
7. The Payback [Live] - James Brown
8. Mobutu Chant [Live]
9. I'll Be Around [Live] - Spinners
10. Put It Where You Want It [Live] - Jazz Crusaders
11. Wait Till I Kick Foreman's Behind [Live] - Muhammad Ali
12. I Got Some Help I Don't Need [Live] - B.B. King
13. Gonna Have A Funky Good Time [Live] - James Brown
14. Mr. Tooth Decay [Live] - Muhammad Ali
15. I'm Coming Home [Live] - Spinners
16. When We Were Kings - Brian McKnight & King
17. Drew 'Bundini' Brown [Live]
18. I'm Calling (Say It Loud) - Zelma Davis
19. You Out Sucker [Live] - Muhammad Ali
20. Chant [Live]

Anonymous Review @
The songs on here by BB King, the Spinners, and James Brown are some great pieces of work. They're so alive and so full of energy and truly great live pieces of work. Given all of that, the "Rumble In The Jungle" song by the Fugees and the rest is a great new addition to this wonderful collection of more classic R&B. Heck this CD is almost worth the price purely for the quotes by Ali that go on throughout the piece. Ali was a great fighter but his mastery of the English language and his wit still amaze me at times. Moreover this CD is a wonderful representation of the documentary (which I feel is a must see by the way) and I can see visions of it dancing through my head.

Contributed by thecorrector

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Legend: Aretha Franklin

b. Aretha Louise Franklin, 25th March 1942, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.

Aretha Franklin's roots are purely gospel based.

Her father, C.L. Franklin, was a Baptist preacher who had become famous in his own right through his own preachings.

Aretha's father knew some of the major gospel stars, of the day in Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward.

These singers helped Aretha's vocal learnings at an early age.

Aretha was 12 years old when she was promoted within the choir to become a featured solo vocalist.

Two years later she commenced her first recordings for JVB and Checker.

Between 1956 and 1960, Aretha's releases purely concentrated on the Gospel side of her output.

Aretha auditioned for John Hammond, who signed her to Columbia.

Columbia concentrated, initially on a secular side of her vocalisings and these included 'Running Out Of Fools', in 1964, and 'Cry Like A Baby', in 1966.

Aretha relocated to Atlantic Records, after a series of twelve albums at Columbia, in 1966, where she realised her potential, releasing 'I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Loved You)', recorded in January 1967 in New York.

The album was scheduled to be made in Muscle Shoals, but Franklin's husband Ted White had an argument with the owner of Fame Studios, Rick Hall.

At short notice Jerry Wexler flew the musicians to New York.

The single went into the US Top 10 and, coupled with 'Do Right Woman - Do Right Man', only the backing track of which was recorded in Alabama.

The Atlantic period set the foundations of the career that would see Aretha becoming the undisputable 'Queen Of Soul'.

'Respect', 'Baby I Love You', '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman', 'Chain Of Fools' and '(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone' were fine examples of her portfolio.

At this time her relationship with husband and manager White waned, however, she still released R & B classics such as 'Think'.

She followed 'Think' with a cover version of Hal David and Burt Bacharach's 'I Say A Little Prayer'.

Despit a slight decline in her successes, she had a renaissance in 1970 with 'Call Me', 'Spirit In The Dark' and 'Don't Play That Song' and 'Aretha Live At Fillmore West' (1971).

The following year, another live appearance resulted in 'Amazing Grace', a double gospel set recorded with James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir.

Aretha went from strength to strength during the early 1970's and enjoyed three R & B chart-toppers, 'Angel', 'Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)' and 'I'm In Love'.

Her mid seventies career saw production input from the likes of Curtis Mayfield.

Aretha's cameo role in the film 'The Blues Brothers' enhanced her career during the late Seventies.

She moved to Arista Records in 1980 and released 'United Together' and two albums, 'Aretha' and 'Love All The Hurt Away'.

'Jump To It' and 'Get It Right', both written and produced by Luther Vandross, and 'Who's Zoomin' Who', reaffirmed her quality.

From the album, produced by Narada Michael Walden, Aretha had hit singles with 'Freeway Of Love', 'Another Night' and the title track.

In the mid-80's, she hit the charts again, in the company of Annie Lennox ('Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves') and George Michael ('I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)'), which went to number 1 in the U.S.A. and the U.K. in 1987.

Aretha's 'Through The Storm' set, from 1989, contained duets, this time with Elton John on the title track, James Brown ('Gimme Some Lovin'), and Whitney Houston ('It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Never Gonna Be').

The album also included a remake of her 1968 U.S. Top 10 title, 'Think'.

In 1991, her 'What You See Is What You Sweat' saw a couple of tracks by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager; a collaboration with Luther Vandross and a cover version of 'Everyday People' originally written and recorded by Sly Stone and produced by Narada Michael Walden.

'One Lord One Faith One Baptism' was released in 1987 and showed a return to her gospel roots.

Aretha Franklin is rightfully heralded as the 'Queen of Soul', even though that reputation was gained in the 60's.

The 4-CD box set 'Queen Of Soul', highlighting the best of her Atlantic recordings, confirmed her position as one of the greatest voices in recording history.

One famous quote of Aretha's is, 'Trying to grow up is hurting, you know. You make mistakes. You try to learn from them, and when you don't, it hurts even more'.


Aretha (Columbia 1961)
The Electrifying Aretha Franklin (Columbia 1962)
The Tender The Moving, The Swinging Aretha Franklin (Columbia 1962)
Laughing On The Outside (Columbia 1963)
Unforgettable (Columbia 1964)
Songs Of Faith (Checker 1964)
Running Out Of Fools (Columbia 1964)
Yeah!!! (Columbia 1965)
Queen Of Soul (1965)
Once In A Lifetime (1965)
Soul Sister (Columbia 1966)
Take It Like You Give It (Columbia 1967)
I Never Loved A Man The Way That I Love You (Atlantic 1967)
Aretha Arrives (Atlantic 1967)
Take A Look early recordings (Columbia 1967)
Aretha: Lady Soul (Atlantic 1968)
Aretha Now (Atlantic 1968)
Aretha In Paris (Atlantic 1968)
Aretha Franklin: Soul '69 (Atlantic 1969)
Today I Sing The Blues (Columbia 1969)
Soft And Beautiful (Columbia 1969)
I Say A Little Prayer (1969)
Aretha Franklin Live (1969)
This Girl's In Love With You (Atlantic 1970)
Spirit In The Dark (Atlantic 1970)
Two Sides Of Love (1970)
Aretha Live At Fillmore West (Atlantic 1971)
Young, Gifted And Black (Atlantic 1972)
Amazing Grace (Atlantic 1972)
Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) (Atlantic 1973)
Let Me Into Your Life (Atlantic 1974)
With Everything I Feel In Me (Atlantic 1974)
You (Atlantic 1975)
Sparkle (Atlantic 1976)
Sweet Passion (Atlantic 1977)
Satisfaction (1977)
Almighty Fire (Atlantic 1978)
La Diva (Atlantic 1979)
Aretha (Arista 1980)
Love All The Hurt Away (Arista 1981)
Jump To It (Arista 1982)
Get It Right (Arista 1983)
Who's Zoomin' Who? (Arista 1985)
Aretha (Arista 1986)
One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism (Arista 1987)
Through The Storm (Arista 1989)
What You See Is What You Sweat (Arista 1991)
So Damn Happy (Arista 2003)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Right On! (1970 film)

  • Felipe Luciano
  • Gylan Kain
  • David Nelson
I can get long-winded turning these posts into essays from the inspiration and creative kick that ensues after viewing or listening to any of the pricelessness we share here............. but this???
The Last Poets?
Right On?
Could there be anything more anthemic to the culture?
The cool?
The way they lay "high" in the cut?
Give me a second as I take a moment of silence to the prized performances from these powerful prophets.
Right On! for a long time was thought to have not existed and is often referred to as a documentary and/or film when actually what it is is a long-form video from the album of the same name.
(Funkback posted a detailed review from The Times on the left hand side in the C-box about it.)
In my view, I see them skyhigh on the rooftops and city blocks and stairsteps spittin' The Last Breaths on all issues and views that we have swirling around our gray matter today kicking out the classics from the 1970 album which lends to the question why don't all spoken word artists make long-form videos of their work?
Many answers I'm sure as to why it doesn't jump off. One of them being they have to be as cold-blooded as these brothers are/were/forever shall be to keep your attention and to spark your mindframe enough to shatter it from all four corners.
This is that rare flavor once again in B.P.
(The quality of the file isn't optimal enough to justify screen captures)
Get in.
Mr. Wone

Link to soundtrack review:
The Last Poets - Right On!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Various Artist - Wattstax (1973)

Disc One

Salvation Symphony - Dale Warren & The Wattstax '72 Orchestra
Introduction - Rev. Jesse Jackson
Lift Every Voice And Sing - Kim Weston
Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom-Boom) - The Staple Singers
Are You Sure? - The Staple Singers
I Like The Things About Me - Staple Singers
Respect Yourself - The Staple Singers
I'll Take You There - The Staple Singers
Precious Lord, Take My Hand - Deborah Manning
Better Get A Move On - Louise McCord
Them Hot Pants - Lee Sain
Wade In The Water - Little Sonny
I Forgot To Be Your Lover - William Bell
Explain It To Her Mama - The Temprees
I've Been Lonely (For So Long) - Frederick Knight
The Newcombers - Pin The Tail On The Donkey
Knock On Wood - Eddie Floyd

Disc Two

Peace Be Still - The Emotions
Old Time Religion - The Golden 13
Lying On The Truth -The Rance Allen Group
Up Above My Head -The Rance Allen Group
Son of Shaft/Feel It - The Bar-Kays
In The Hole -The Bar-Kays
I Can't Turn You Loose - The Bar-Kays
Introduction - The David Porter Show
Ain't That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One) - David Porter
Can't See You When I Want To - David Porter
Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand) - David Porter
Niggas - Richard Pryor
Arrest/Lineup - Richard Pryor
So I Can Love You - The Emotions
Group Introduction / Show Me How - The Emotions

Disc Three

Open The Door To Your Heart - Little Milton
Backfield In Motion - Mel & Tim
Steal Away - Jonnie Taylor
Killing Floor - Albert King
Pick Up The Pieces - Carla Thomas
I Like What You're Doing (To Me) - Carla Thomas
B-A-B-Y - Carla Thomas
Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes) - Carla Thomas
I Have A God Who Loves - Carla Thomas
The Breakdown - Rufus Thomas
Do The Funky Chicken - Rufus Thomas
Do The Funky Penguin - Rufus Thomas
I Don't Know What This World Is Coming To - The Soul Children
Hearsay - The Soul Children
Theme From Shaft - Isaac Hayes
In the summer of 1972, Stax Records had an idea that was larger than life. Stax's co-owner, Al Bell, had wanted to expand the soul label's West Coast presence and develop its Stax Films arm. The ideal way to do both was to stage the biggest soul concert in history -- termed by one former staff member “the black Woodstock" -- right in the center of South Central Los Angeles, a vast portion of which had been destroyed by fire in the Watts Riots. The concert, called Wattstax, proved a crowning moment for Stax as 112,000 people united at the Los Angeles Coliseum in a spirit of joy, pride and celebration. The resultant movie was a blockbuster and plays to this date in many music film festivals. And now the original two-LP soundtrack has been expanded to three CDs, including material from the original Wattstax album (which sold seven million copies in the SoundScan era alone) as well as from its sequel, Wattstax: The Living Word, along with samplings from Wattstax-related individual artist albums released in 1972-73.

On August 28, Stax Records -- reactivated by new owner Concord Music Group -- will release the first domestic reissue of the complete Wattstax soundtrack, housed in a collectible Digipack featuring rare photographs and reproductions of vintage Wattstax-era posters. The package also contains a multi-page booklet on the story of Wattstax by noted soul music historian Rob Bowman. List price is $24.98. Digitally remastered from the original tapes, the package is one of the highlights of Stax's 50th anniversary celebration, which has also featured live concerts, a film to be premiered on PBS, a film festival and an array of reissues and DVDs.

The expanded Wattstax volume features many Stax artists whose careers were surging in the early '70s: namely Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Floyd, William Bell, The Bar-Kays, The Emotions, Albert King, Little Milton, The Rance Allen Group, David Porter, The Soul Children, Mel & Tim, Fredrick Knight, Deborah Manning, Little Sonny and Richard Pryor. The set includes such hits as "Respect Yourself," “I'll Take You There," “Gee Whiz," “Theme from Shaft," “Son of Shaft," "Do The Funky Chicken," “Backfield in Motion," “Knock On Wood," “Steal Away" and more -- 47 songs in all on three CDs.

In addition to music from the concert, Stax filmed and recorded its artists all around town in clubs, churches and even in the studio. The expanded Wattstax anthology includes the best of the live festival from Wattstax and Wattstax: The Living Word plus a slew of previously unreleased festival performances, selected tracks from the club and church recordings staged during the week of the festival, and selected bits by comedian Richard Pryor that were recorded at the Summit Club in Los Angeles. Pryor's contributions were originally used in the Wattstax film to connect the music performances with man-on-the- street commentary on issues that were then pertinent to black America. Included also is an introduction by the Rev. Jesse Jackson - himself a Stax spoken-word recording artist at the time.

Wattstax was hoped to be the first step in a series of urban festivals and movies to be produced by Stax, but sequels were never to materialize. The festival hit the zeitgeist of black America at that point in time. And 35 hot summers after the festival, the music sounds as fresh as ever.

Wattstax (1973)


  • James Alexander
  • Rance Allen
  • Raymond Allen
  • The Bar-Kays
  • Andre Edwards
  • The Emotions
  • Isaac Hayes
  • Luther Ingram
  • Jesse Jackson
  • Erik Kilpatrick
  • Albert King
  • Ted Lange
  • Little Milton
  • Richard Pryor
  • Mavis Staples
  • Roebuck 'Pops' Staples
  • Johnnie Taylor
  • Carla Thomas
  • Rufus Thomas
  • Kim Weston
This is not just a concert film; it's a documentary about African-American life in Los Angeles in the early 1970's. The concert is to commemorate the Watts riots of 1965, and some of the positive changes that took place in the area. Although there is a lot of humor to be found in some of the comments that the residents make about changes in their area, it's sad to realize that the lingering problems of racism and unequal opportunities still exist to this day. However, there's a lot of joy and hope expressed throughout the film. This is one of Richard Pryor's earliest appearances on film, and he is pure genius. Ted Lange ("The Love Boat") and Raymond Lewis (Woodrow on "Sanford and Son), are some of the Watts residents who give their thoughts about the political changes. Thespian couple Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee can be glimpsed in the stands during a quick shot.

All of the musical performances are solid. The movie opens with The Dramatics' "What You See Is What You Get" which serves as a commentary on Watts itself. Some of the musical acts perform away from the concert area. The Emotions do a heartfelt rendition of the gospel song, "Peace Be Still", in a local church and blues great Little Milton does a classic, "Walking The Back Streets Crying" while sitting near a railway. The late, great Johnny Taylor sings "Jody Got Your Girl and Gone" to a nightclub audience populated by players and hustlers in full regalia. Back on the concert stage, Rufus Thomas appears in an outrageous outfit and mixes comedy along with his music. The Staple Singers, The Barkays, Carla Thomas, Kim Weston, Albert King, Rance Allen please the audience. Issac Hayes caps the night off when he struts in to the "Theme From Shaft" and The Rev. Jessie Jackson gives him a king's welcome.

Link To Soundtrack Review
Various Artist - Wattstax (1973)

Putney Swope (1969)

  • Stan Gottlieb
  • Allen Garfield
  • Archie Russell
  • Ramon Gordon
  • Bert Lawrence
  • Joe Madden
  • Arnold Johnson
Certainly one of the most hilarious films of all time. Excellent original music, clever,'s hard to be articulate about something this good. There isn't one character that you don't instantly love to watch- Myronex "Putney, there's trouble in the black room!" "My name is Rufus." The lines, thrown away left and right, are classics themselves, recalling Slapshot, Caddyshack, Anchorman, Repoman, Dolemite, any comedy whose dialog is not of the formulaic set-up punchline variety. "Putney, Myronex called you tasteless!" "My organization is pro-integration..." "Where's Lopez? 'He's in my head'" They don't sound brilliant until you hear them in the context of the scene. ...This movie will eat your brain, it's too good. I've read reviews calling this film racist, which couldn't be farther from the truth. Every scene is gold, from the Etherial Cereal commercial to the Brothers In the Black Room meeting to that haunting trumpet in the closing scene. One word - genius.

Link to Soundtrack review:
 Charlie Chuva - Putney Swope (1969)

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