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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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Various Artists - (Berry Gordy's) The Last Dragon (1985)

1 The Last Dragon Dwight David 7:26
2 7th Heaven Vanity 3:51
3 Star Alfie 4:42
4 Fire Charlene 3:58
5 The Glow Willie Hutch 5:07
6 Rhythm of the Night DeBarge 3:50
7 Upset Stomach Stevie Wonder 6:23
8 First Time on a Ferris Wheel " [Love Theme from Berry Gordy's "The ...] Smokey
Robinson, Syreeta 4:18
9 Peeping Tom Rockwell 4:33
10 Inside You Willie Hutch, Temptations 7:17
East met West for 1985's action-packed The Last Dragon (or Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon, depending on how you want to look at it), a vehicle for Gordy's Motown label that employed Vanity in a lead role as popular veejay Laura Charles, the object of affection for Taimak's talented martial arts hero character Leroy (or "Bruce Leroy," as he was respectfully referred to). By no means is the movie a classic, and neither is the Motown-heavy soundtrack. You'd be missing the point if you thought of them in those terms. The movie was marketed at kids, and it provides good-natured fun and action. And as far as the soundtrack is considered, it was, after all, released in 1985 -- hardly the best year for chart-aimed R&B. More than anything, the soundtrack is known for having delivered DeBarge's "Rhythm of the Night," the feel-good, Carribbean-inflected, Diane Warren-penned summer hit. Motown vets Willie Hutch, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, and Smokey Robinson (with Syreeta) each provide songs, none of which are entirely notable when compared to the remainder of their discographies. Relative new kid on the block Rockwell punches in with "Peeping Tom" (Were all of his songs about voyeurism, or what?), and Vanity's rockin' "7th Heaven" continues her fixations on the number seven and sexual innuendos "hidden" deep inside metaphors. One minor gripe with the 2001 reissue (released in conjunction with the DVD) is that Motown blew it by not emptying the vaults to include Angela's composition, the charming and willfully irritating post-Cyndi Lauper/pre-Jill Sobule chestnut that her boyfriend/supreme creepo Eddie Arkadian was so hell-bent on having Laura Charles play on her program. But if you really have a problem with that, Sho'nuff has a pair of Converse you can plant your lips upon.
by Andy Kellman

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Super Fly T.N.T. (1973)


He's on vacation overseas. But no way can fast, flashy, fierce Priest stay out of the action long. Ron O'Neal returns as Priest and Alex Haley provides the script for the sequel to Superfly. We catch up up Priest in Rome, where the one-time crime-lord, weary of the hustling in Harlem operation and eager to get his head clear, is ready for some permanent R'n'R. He has no interest when an African freedom fighter (Roscoe Lee Browne) asks for his help on a gun-running mission. But Priest ultimately discovers he cannot turn his back on the land of his ancestors. He joins the fight. And when he's in a fight, it means war.

Juice People Unlimited - Disco Godfather (1979)

1. Disco Godfather
2. Shermanizing / One Way Ticket To Hell
3. I Never Wanted To Say Goodbye
4. Spaced Out
This LP is going to have a few of you soundtrack junkies reaching for the phone. "What the hell - that was issued on LP?!" Yup. Rudy Ray Moore's finest disco cash-in moment was immortalised on wax by the obscure Apple Juice label. Wait until you hear who's in the band, too: James 103rd St Band Gadson, Paul Jackson Jr, David Shields... all top session players and true to form, it's tight. If you're looking for out-and-out funk, don't buy this, but if you're looking for quality live disco sounds with a funky feel then check it out. Plenty of groovy voiceovers for the sampler too! Find a copy of the movie and you'll hear almost all of the tracks in their entirety during the they-go-on-too-long dance sequences, and if you're wondering what 'Shermanizing' is, just watch RRM kick some butt!

Provided by Curtis Lamont

Coffy (1973)


As a nurse, Coffy (Pam Grier) has seen the ill effects of drugs up close, but it isn't until her little sister becomes addicted to heroin that she finally decides to wage a one-woman battle. Disguised as a prostitute, Coffy goes on a killing rampage, at first going after street dealers and pimps such as sleazy King George (Robert DoQui), then gradually working her way up to bigger honchos. She's shocked, however, when she discovers that her politician boyfriend (Booker Bradshaw) is involved.
Link to soundtrack review:
Roy Ayers - Coffy (1973)