The Giants

•November 21, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Fletcher Henderson Band:

Billie Holday and Count Basie: God Bless the Child

Eric Dolphy: God Bless the Child

Billie Holiday: Strange FruitĀ 

Champion Jack Dupree: The Woman I Love

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Voodoo Child

•November 21, 2007 • Leave a Comment

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Change Is Gonna Come

•November 21, 2007 • 2 Comments

Loius Armstron: Black and Blue

Billie Holiday: Strange Fruit

Big Joe Turner:Keeping Out of the Grass

LEs Paul and Mary Ford: Multitracking

Chuck Berry

Nina Simone

Sam Cooke: Change Is Gonna Come

Eric Dolphy: God Bless the Child

John Coltrane: Alabama

Sly and the Family Stone: I Want to Take You Higher

Curtis Mayfield: People Get Ready

Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On

Stevie Wonder: Living for the City

Art Ensemble of Chicago

Bad Brains: Re-Ignition

Redemption Song

The Message (Video)

Fishbone

this is a labor of love.

•November 18, 2007 • Leave a Comment

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Everything that we see has a context, a story that it tells either directly, or indirectly. When we look at a building we are learning something about the skills and preferences of the architect as well as the time frame in which he or she lived and chose their materials. A television show about dinosaurs that was made in the 1970’s might look pretty unsophisticated to eyes used to computer animation and high-definition. And yet everything we see has been part of a process that has taken place over time, by people who have made choices defined, in part, by the available technology, the latest customs and fashions, and the things that people understood to be true at that particular moment.
Since African Americans first reached the North American continent we have contributed enormously to the development of this country, mostly in work that was unpaid. Creating wealth for others was the reason Africans were brought to the New World in the first place, and we did that for 265 years You could estimate that at about 10 generations of human beings who, for the most part, were born into slavery, and died without ever once drawing a free breath. The list of wars fought, children reared, inventions created, books authored, industries and economies created from the dust and brought to flourishing health is long, illustrious, and mostly unsung. Ten generations of unpaid labor went into the building of this country, and the story of that contribution is not truthfully told, to ourselves as an American family or to the world as a democratic nation. And if we don’t know our real history, do we really know who we are?

So how do you understand the history of a people? Sometimes you have to pick a lens through which to see, a context, a setting; you have to define the boundaries so the story doesn’t lose all definition. This website is my attempt to tell something of American history through what is commonly known as its “only indigenous art form” – music, specifically African American music.