The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Various Artist - Honey Baby, Honey Baby (1975)

1. Titles And Openings (feat. Weldon Irvine)
2. Honey Baby Theme (Friends Of Distinction)
3. (A Song For Diana) Hey, Hey Star (vocals by Zulema and Friends Of Distinction)
4. Just Can't Say Goodbye (vocals by Zulema)
5. Salt Chase
6. Baalbeck
7. Nowhere (feat. Nat Adderley Jr., Friends Of Distinction and Tender Loving Care)
8. Honey Baby Theme (instr.)
This soundtrack features Friends of Distinction and Weldon Irvine. It's a good album, full of clean mid 70's funk instrumentals and strong vocal numbers. It's a lush, full orchestral sound, clean but featuring big beats. "Title Theme and Openings" starts the LP in strong funk style.

Jimmy Cliff - The Harder They Come (1972)

1. You Can Get It If You Really Want
2. Draw Your Breaks - Scotty
3. Rivers Of Babylon - The Melodians
4. Many Rivers To Cross
5. Sweet And Dandy - The Maytals
6. The Harder They Come
7. Johnny Too Bad - The Slickers
8. 007 (Shanty Town) - Desmond Dekker
10. Sitting In Limbo
11. You Can Get It If You Really Want
12. The Harder They Come
In 1973, when the movie The Harder They Come was released, reggae was not on the radar screen of American pop culture. The soundtrack went a ways toward changing that situation. It is a collection of consistently excellent early reggae songs by artists who went on to thrive with reggae's increased popularity and others for whom this is the most well-known vehicle. Jimmy Cliff is both the star of the movie and the headliner on the soundtrack. He contributes three excellent songs: the hymnal "Many Rivers to Cross," "You Can Get It If You Really Want," and "The Harder They Come" (the latter two are repeated at the end of the album, but you probably wanted to hear them again anyway). Interestingly, the better production values of his songs actually seems to detract from them when compared to the rougher, but less sanitized, mixes of the other tracks. All the songs on this collection are excellent, but some truly stand out. Toots & the Maytals deliver two high-energy songs with "Sweet and Dandy" and "Pressure Drop" (covered by the Clash among others). Scotty develops a mellow, loping groove on "Stop That Train" (not the same as the Wailers' song by the same name) and the Slickers prove on "Johnny Too Bad" that you don't have to spout profanity or graphic violence to convey danger. The Harder They Come is strongly recommended both for the casual listener interested in getting a sense of reggae music and the more serious enthusiast. Collections don't come much better than this.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Quincy Jones - In The Heat Of The Night (1967)

01 - Ray Charles , In the Heat of the Night.mp3
02 - Peep-Freak Patrol Car.mp3
03 - Cotton curtain.mp3
04 - Where Whitey Ain't Around.mp3
05 - Whipping Boy.mp3
06 - No You Won't.mp3
07 - (Movie Dialogue) , Keep Cool.mp3
08 - Nitty Gritty Time.mp3
09 - Gil Bernal , It Sure Is Groovy!.mp3
10 - Glen Campbell , Bowlegged Polly.mp3
11 - (Movie Dialogue) , That's Enough for Me.mp3
12 - Shag Bag, Hounds & Harvey.mp3
13 - Chief's Drive to Mayor.mp3
14 - Give Me Until Morning.mp3
15 - (Movie Dialogue) , The Wrong Man.mp3
16 - On Your Feet, Boy!.mp3
17 - Blood & Roots.mp3
18 - Ray Charles , Mama Caleba's Blues.mp3
19 - Boomer & Travis , Foul Owl.mp3
Composer, arranger, and producer Quincy Jones was a youthful veteran of pop, jazz, and r&b when he began creating film and television music in the late '60s, and he brought those lessons to bear on vivid, contemporary music that broke from Hollywood's dependence on conventional orchestration. Although not the first film composer to lean heavily on jazz, Jones was unusually versatile in effectively coupling jazz, blues, and soul accents as he did in the brooding, bluesy score for 1968's In The Heat Of The Night [...] — noteworthy for a terrific main title song featuring Ray Charles. [...] --Sam Sutherland

[...] The funky, southern soul of In The Heat Of The Night features Glen Campbell on banjo, Billy Preston on Organ, Ray Brown on bass, Rahsaan Roland Kirk on flute, and the Raelettes

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Smokey Robinson - Big Time (1977)

1. Theme From 'Big Time'
2. J.J's Theme
3. He Is The Light Of The World
4. So Nice To Be With U
5. Shana's Theme
6. Hip Trip
7. If We're Gonna Act Like Lovers
8. The Agony & The Ecstacy
9. Theme From 'Big Time' (Reprise)
A late entry into the flagging blaxploitation genre, this 1977 effort by Smokey Robinson sees him adopt typical blaxploitation instrumentation and feel while retaining some sweeter soul moments too. The best funk moments are the great theme and its reprise - both nice dancefloor chunky groovers in a late 70s straight feel (kind of Car Wash style) with good guitar, Rhodes and synth bass work. The other cuts on the album are a little too smooth and over-produced, but for a cheap and easy to find album, it's a steal.

Movie review
Big Time (1977)