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The Man Of Action's Rent Party

hosted by Rich Jackson  //  Tuesday at 1p est

 

Tuesday
Jun112013

Summertime Treats

 

 

Summer time is here music lovers! The beach and parks are ready for you to take them over. But wait…Do you have the proper music to celebrate the great season? Of course listening to The Rent Party will make the summer more fun. But I have a few items that will make it even sweeter.

ON THE AIR

I’m not afraid to mention others who do a great job on the air. They all add something magical to the radio experience and make listening worthwhile. So give these shows a listen to and just have fun grooving on!

 

Area 24 Radio: If you like other music than the music I play check out my other teammates. You’ve heard me mention them before and I mean it. The DJ’s at Area 24 Radio have fun with what they do and it shows. If I didn’t feel that way I wouldn’t mention them. Listen, Experience & Enjoy.

 

The Group Harmony Alley: Christine Vitale at WFDU Sundays at 7pm. The High Priestess of Harmony brings you a classy group harmony show that is real and no fluff stuff. A great show because she has a great selection of music. Doesn’t hurt that she’s a 5 Royale fan either. You can find her at www.wfdu.com

 

The Malt Shop Hop: Peter Merret PBS Australia Wednesdays at 12pm(Australia Time). My Brother on the other side of the world. Peter puts together a great show with some great tunes. Sure he’s in Australia but the man can jam! Tune in and he’ll make you a believer. You can find him at www.pbsfm.org.au

 

 

Music

Here are some artists to make the summer cooler:

 

The Dreamlovers: Great Philadelphia group sounds here. There are a couple of CDs with their music. They are more than just “When we get married” Which is a great song but they have several others including “Take it from a fool”, “Together” & “While we were dancing” just for starters. Have fun singing along with some true Philly legends.

 

 

The Crows: The group that made “Gee” is a truly underrated one. There is a Crows CD that has some great music to groove to. They had some great jazzy sounds and could sing a ballad too like “I love you too”. Plus the CD also has the original ‘real’ version of “Gee” which is up-tempo without the echo. The Crows will add some zip to your summer.

 

 

 

 

Kim Weston: There are a couple of great CDs for this Motown Diva. Either way you can’t go wrong with her. On her Greatest hits CD she does a rendition of “Lift Every Voice” which is amazing and her duets with Marvin Gaye are timeless. In the NYC area she is over looked but do not overlook her CDs she will definitely make the summer cooler.

 

Orquestra Oriental: My Latin music pick: This is one of the bands Ibrahim Ferrar (of Buena Vista Social Club fame) sang with. This band of Brothers are incredible with their rhythms and arrangements. I know of one CD they are on and it does feature Ibrahim singing on several tracks. These are original tracks and not messed up like Buena Vista when the producer decides he wants to add his bad playing to the mix. It’s hot and just right for the summer.

 

Billy Stewart: How can you go wrong here? One of the most dynamic singers of all time and because of that you have to find his music. He started out as Bo Diddley’s piano player (after growing up and singing in a group with Marvin Gaye) and graduated up to singing superstar. He never sings a song the same way once and does some fantastic work with group sounds as well as solo work. Find a CD that covers the majority of his work and not just one that has 10 of his songs. BTW music lovers Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire plays drums on some of his songs.

 

Jimmy Rogers: My blues pick: A member of Muddy Waters band. He is almost forgotten with his solo work. But this guy is one good blues player. For one the band who backs him features Little Walter or Walter Horton or some other Chess label all star. This guy can put together a tune and play his butt off. Even though you may have heard of him find one of his CDs. His Chess material from the 1950’s is very hot. You can’t go wrong here.

 

Now you have some suggestions to make the summer more fun. I hope you enjoy them.

Thursday
Feb142013

What's up with R&B History

 

 

 

I hope your 2013 is going well. It’s Black History month or also known as African Ancestry month. That time when we reflect on what’s gone on before us and what we can do in the future to better it. I never would have thought back in the 70’s as a kid that not only would I be into R&B as I am but I would be doing a radio show like this one. Thanks to all of you who have tuned in! And thanks to the Are 24 radio staff!

Now that we’re in the 21st century we have to take a real look at Rhythm & Blues music. You can’t have it any better than we have now with all of the recordings that are out and interviews that have been done. Even some new books to shed light on certain R&B topics like Motown or on artists. Even great music shows like WFDU’s Christine Vitale’s Group Harmony Alley, WBGO’s Portraits in Blue or even before that The Great Ronnie I’s many shows. Of course how can I forget The Man of Action’s many shows too. These programs spotlight(ed) many artists, periods and genres in rhythm & blues. But there still seems to be a problem in telling of the correct history of rhythm and blues. The two biggest offenders are books and shows.

You may have already heard me mention it on the Rent Party. It’s a problem that needs to be dealt with.

The biggest problem or blessing with the history of R&B is that it’s so huge that no matter what the period is, that the music was regional and each region produced it’s own stars and sounds. And many of these starts never got national attention. Many of these histories on the subject leave this out. To research it is a very big task especially since some of the recordings no longer exist. But some ‘authors’ don’t even get close to the truth (and don’t care) and in my opinion embarrass themselves.

Sure the author wants to get their name out there and have a payday but in many cases they are outsiders writing my musical history and don’t care about what they write as long as they get a check and credit for something.

There are several reasons why the books are damaging to the history of R&B in what they write. The most important reason is they distort the history as to what may have been really going on. I can recite many inaccuracies found in the books but here are some of the big reasons why they are inaccurate:

  • Improper Research: How many times has an author researched a subject but it only turns out they had more homework to do. Example- Soul music started in 1956. Obviously they never listened to the music of the period (which has been available for years) and took the word of someone else because soul music starts in 1953 with The 5 Royales leading the way (Group of the year 1953). That’s a full three years and many records before James Brown recorded ‘Please, Please, Please’ (the song that’s usually cited for soul music’s beginning is actually a 5 Royales imitation). All the author has to do is listen to some records and read some books on the hits of the period (believe me they exist). Doesn’t sound too hard to me.
  • Racism: Oh yes the BIG One! It’s a fact that there are not many African American music history writers. The reason as too why has been covered in many areas of media. And since whites are writing about African music history they see it from a Euro centric point of view and with a Euro centric aesthetic. When this happens (and it has) a couple of things also happen either by omission or commission-
    1. De-Africanization of the subject: Where the author leaves out specific information about the subject to favor information that might appease white readers. Example- Group harmony singing is based on barbershop quartet singing. Really…many things happen in Black barber shops and singing isn’t one of them. Truth be told there was singing in Black colleges and let us not forget in African based churches. Most authors forget about the singing in the fields during slavery. And that was based on West African singing and not on slave interpretations of Wagner. These authors don’t do any research on African music. Because there lies the key to the puzzle. The African was stolen away from Africa but yet Africa is still in the African. Certain practices were still kept alive and singing was one of them. Jimmy Ricks wasn’t hit in the head by a cotton bale and decided he would sing with The Ravens, there were musical traditions passed down from Africa that survive here.
    2. Anglicization of the subject: Where the writers see things from a euro centric point of view which does not have any bearing on the truth. Example-Look in some of Joel Whitburn’s and Norm N. Nite’s books. Now look at the R&B acts listed; the only achievements they will lists are their pop chart hits. I’ll use the 5 Royales again as an example. They might list their pop chart hits and say nothing about their R&B achievements or how they were R&B superstars and innovators that influenced music for decades. They like many others has shortchanged the reader in essential information.
    1. Anglicization II: When the authors speak on an African musical form and add white artists as if they had something to do with the musical form. How many times has it been discussed among African American writers about how white music critics infringe upon black musical history by including others that had nothing to do with it’s advancement. Benny Goodman listened to jazz and tried to play Big Band jazz. Made his money on the sweat of African American arrangers, musicians and composers who made him famous. Yet he has nothing to do with the advancement of Big Band Jazz. Like Dion and the Belmonts, The Beatles and Elvis Presley had nothing to do with rhythm and blues history other than they might have liked it and may have listened to it.

 

This may sound heavy to some people but I say “Tough”. This society still has not recognized the achievements and contributions of brown skinned people in it. So it must start to learn now with the truth. And part of that truth is it does appear that the authors have misrepresented rhythm and blues history, as I said before either by omission or commission but it has been done. And I haven’t seen them try to clean it up.

It’s like they could really care less, that they are sending the message loud and clear that “It’s just Black history and doesn’t really matter. They don’t really matter because we do not see them as human. Just as long as they keep singing and playing that’s fine for us.”

It’s not like this message hasn’t been sent out before. Check your history because it has been said before in one way or another.

Here in the New York City area the local oldies station WCBS-FM had that attitude and approach. Ronnie I had mentioned it on his shows many times. That station has a disregard for telling the truth about African American music and it showed in the programming. But if you don’t really know what the histories are then you would never know the difference. And many of these so-called writers should be ashamed of themselves for damaging something they claim they love and enjoy.

And that leads me to the radio programs. Now I’m not talking about the programmed ones on your local radio station. I could go on about those forever but I’m talking about the “specialty” shows you know the “Doo Wop Shop” or the “Golden Oldies Time” shows that are on the radio and internet radio.

Here in many cases you have hosts who lead you to believe that they know about the music but in fact they really don’t (like the programmed show hosts). They might have read one of the ‘history’ books (most really don’t because the liner notes are enough) or the truth is in most cases repeat stories they have heard as if they were gospel. No research is involved and listeners are short changed in the process. And you can have entertainment and education at the same time.

Many of these shows are knock offs of shows they have heard and liked before (and if that show was bad guess what you get?) with the same music and same stories. Why don’t the hosts take the time to learn a little something about the music they’re playing?

They’ll continue to tell you that The Marvelettes gave the Supremes “Where Did our Love go” because they felt sorry for them, that no African American artist had their picture on an album cover before 1965, Detroit had no musical artists before Motown and they’ll lead you to believe that Bo Diddley sang two or three songs because that’s all they play.

It’s bad enough to have a mediocre show but to constantly give out bad information is even worse when they could have done a little reading on their own.

Another peeve is they only play one kind of music as a representation of African American music. That’s because they have distorted the definition of the music to the point of it not making sense. And that plays into the racism involved in the music.

Take a look at the doo-wop or group harmony communities. Ask them the big question… What is doo-wop or group harmony singing? Then when they give you the beginning of a distorted answer about how it’s the music of 50’s and early 60’s and they tell you about the artists like The Orioles, The Harptones& The Cadillacs. Then ask them why not The Midnighters (Hank Ballard & crew), The Du Droppers, The Miracles or Impressions? They’ll tell you it’s different. Different??? They’re all groups who harmonize from the same time period from the same cultural communities but somehow they became different. What is different is that the groups they choose to recognize groups that are palatable to their Euro centric tastes and leave out the groups who have a “rough or raw sound”. You know the code words for “They sound Black.”

How foolish do you sound when you realize that they have the same musical cultural practices, discriminated against for the color of their skin together and their communities gave their musical tradition a name, now an outsider comes in, and tries to change the genre because it doesn’t meet up to their so called superior aesthetic. Then after that they attempt to Anglicize the movement in the process. Again some research and self-honesty is needed here.

And don’t let me get started on the White radio hosts who try to co-opt Black music. I’ll save that for another time.

The R&B history situation appears to be in the same shape Egyptology is in. That field had lied for so long about Kemet (the original name of Egypt) and whom the Kemetians are that they now have to go back and change what they had written for over one hundred years or so. From the fact that the people of Kemet were actually Black or Sub Saharan Africans (another silly term that is not factual) to the real impact that kingdom had on everything from philosophy, math, science, religion and language in the Western world. This originally came about due to racism in the field.

Looks like the same thing is happening here in R&B but it can be changed because unlike the Kemetian situation most of the texts are at our disposal and we have the recordings to listen to and most important there are people who were there who can tell us (we just need to ask the right questions).

These are some of the issues with R&B’s history but the most important ones. Racism, lack of research and ignorance of subject is hindering the truth from getting out.

The fakers should put the pen down and/or step away from the microphone.

I bet after reading this most of you didn’t know the history of R&B was in trouble? Or what the truth about the whole movement may be, but we can gather from the records involved and knowledge we have of some the artists that; R&B didn’t just happen in six major cites only (you’d be shocked to find out what Cincinnati has to do with it), it wasn’t done for a 20 year period and only one type of music was created.

 There was a lot going on with a lot of people involved in it. The movement spans from Africa to the Caribbean to the United States (the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade) over a 400-year period. And even if you wanted to just keep the time period to the 20th century the trail is still the same.

You have many fun roads to travel on this journey of information but I wish many more would travel on them instead of taking the road to Ignorance. Because if you’re going to be stupid, keep it to yourself.

 

Saturday
Feb092013

Thoughts in a blizzard

Well here I am sitting here in this blizzard staring at the snow and cursing that I couldn’t be snowed in at Area 24 Radio. Now that would be a lot of fun like being trapped in the candy store and having a sweet tooth.

But all of this sitting around has got me thinking about some really prolific artists and the music they’ve made and it’s impact. Think for a second…can you name the number one artists of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s? If you don’t know that’s ok. I’ll help you out.

I’m going to talk about the Superstar in the 1940’s and I’ll talk about the other two some other time.

This Titan of the 1940’s is none other the one and the only Louis Jordan. Forget the Broadway musical for now because it doesn’t really do him justice. Take a look at his recording legacy. This man came from Chick Webb’s orchestra to revolutionize the music of the time to make it Rhythm and Blues.

He went from the big band concept back to the hot combo concept (which was still around with the hot jazz guys) but this combo was playing the music of big bands as good as the big bands and if not better in some cases. The Tympani Five could hang with The Count and The Dukes orchestras.

They would drive audiences crazy with their Boogie-woogie rhythms and knock them out with ballad pieces to boot.

I’m saying all of this so you can go out and listen for yourself to the great music of Louis Jordan. The man dominated the 40’s in a way that many could not and did not even to this day.

True Jordan didn’t play at the Super bowl half time but if it was around at his height they might have let him play even with the segregation.  And don’t bring up music videos- why…because he was one of the pioneers of that medium. Look it up it’s there.

I also love the great stories he tells in his songs. They are epic and funny at the same time. His influence on songwriters is felt for a long time. Chuck Berry has said many times what Louis meant to him. Many have wished they could craft a song as well as he does.

When you listen to his songs and his magic hits you, you know you’re going on a fun journey whether it happy or sad you’re hooked on his groove and can’t get out of it.

I’m not going to write about all of his achievements and everyone he’s influenced. His music speaks for itself. True I’m trapped in a snowstorm so I have time to listen to him. But you can listen to him while reading this whenever you’re reading it. So go and find yourself some Louis Jordan. He’s on youtube and he’s waiting for you to jam along with him.

**Please do not listen to Louis Jordan and the Tympani Five while doing dangerous activities such as brain surgery, monster hunting, nuclear fission, handling a death ray or osmosis. **

 

 

Thursday
Dec132012

The Gifts that keep Jammin'

I haven’t been on for a while but that doesn't mean that I can't keep up with you here. While the Man of Action has been away I have been busy. Talking to some of you, doing research, jello wrestling and getting ready with some new shows. But I thought I would pass along some advice seeing that some of you wanted to know what music to start buying for yourself or friends'

OK so you're digging the sounds of The Rent Party and you want to listen to some more great sounds or pass them  on to friends without scaring them away from your new musical bliss with the 'hardcore stuff , you want to be cool without being nerdy. Just for you I'm going to give you some album-oops I mean CD titles and artists so you can groove away.

Let's start with the ladies;

  • ·         "The Ultimate Marvelettes" CD is a great look into a group that Motown kind of ignored after they had so many early hits for them. The Marvelettes were blessed with two great lead singers who just jam on every tune. The CD takes you through the early material, which has a Chantel’s like sound to the late 60's where they had a real soulful sound with the Motown arrangements to match. If you like the CD I suggest you find the Box set, which has even more great stuff.
  • ·         The Velvelette's Anthology is next on the list. This group of ladies was forgotten altogether sans a couple of specials. I believe their two known hits are “He's Really Saying Something" & "A Needle in a Haystack” but I'm telling you they are more than that. You'll hear those songs and more, plus some unreleased material as well. You'll find yourself dancing and singing along with this CD just as much as the Marvelettes CD. With these two CDs you'll start to look at Motown a little differently.
  • ·         Memphis Minnie is one of the greatest blues singers you might not have heard of this High Priestess of the blues recorded between the 30's and 40's and she could jam with the best of them. Big Bill Broonzy and many other Blues masters witnessed this goddess do her thing. Find any of her CDs and just listen to her jamming with her husband on many funky tunes like "Me and my Chauffer Blues". You can't go wrong with Memphis Minnie'

How about the gentlemen;

  • ·         On the group harmony front have some fun with The Cadillacs; there are several CDs & albums to choose from, from this venerable group' Speedo Carroll has passed on a few days ago but his legacy with this incredible group is always worth listening to. Great ballads and even greater house rocking tunes makes them a fabulous introduction into group harmony sounds.
  • ·         Another fun CD to jam with is from Motown. "Meet the Temptations" is a great first album by the Motown icons. The album is made up of several of the group’s first singles. It features the original five and David Ruffin-sorry Ruffin is not an original but he is featured on two of the songs ("The Way you Do, The Things You Do" is his first recording with the group). Fun songs and some early hits by the Temps. Also this album features the highly underrated Paul Williams on the lead on several of the songs. Most djs will tell you it's Ruffin but they're wrong it's Williams before he goes to the background.
  • ·         For blues fans seek and find Sonny Boy Williamson (the second one), Real Folks Blues". Sonny Boy is one of the baddest harmonica players ever and this album or CD is a blast! you'll sing along and laugh (he’s a great story teller) and you'll jam the whole way through especially since he has an all-star band backing him up.
  • ·         For fans of great music from Cuba might I suggest Orquestra Aragon’s CD “That Cuban Cha Cha Cha". Groove to the jams that Fidel and Che might have danced along to. Aragon is one of the premiere Cuban bands of all time. They're still around and jamming just as hard.

I hope you like these suggestions. If you get the music please let me know how you like it or not. I could have suggested much more for you but why bore you. Now guess what Capt. Al might get for the holiday?

Well I have to go and prepare for the Ultimate R&B Oldies show, so sit back and relax because the Man of Action will be back soon.

Monday
Jun182012

Greetings and salutations

Hello Area 24 Radio Family!!! I’ve finally sat down to write in the blog. First of all let me thank the staff here for letting me on the air here at Area 24 radio. It’s great to be on a team that’s trailblazing their way on the internet.

If this is your first time here with the Man of Action then I take it that you’re in to R&B of years gone by. That’s a good thing. The show is not a “Safe” show. I can jam with the best of them spinning the songs that move you not the safe song you might be used to.

 If you say “Since I Fell for You” I’ll say Buddy Johnson or the Harptones (as well as many others) and not Lenny Welch. Lenny did a nice job but so many better versions were done way before he came around and I believe that they should be remembered and honored. To many of the Heroes and She-roes of Black music are forgotten and ignored. This show will honor their contribution to our music that has shaped the world’s musical landscape for over 100 years.  Like I said it’s not a safe show, but it is a good one.

A little info about your host: been on the radio for almost 30 years and put together this show back in the 80’s while in college (that’s when I met Captain Al of Lost at Sea fame). It has evolved a lot and I’ve had lots of fun over the years. The latest bit of fun on the show now is the inclusion of music from across the African Diaspora during the 50’s & 60’s. You can’t take the African out of African music and the Rent Party keeps it there.

 The rhythms, instruments and traditions came from West Africa across the Atlantic (via the evil slave trade) went to the Caribbean and South America then made its way to the United States. The music developed in the last century in these areas is connected and there is some beautiful music made in Havana, Puerto Rico, New Orleans, Jamaica, Detroit and New York City.

Believe me when I say it’s no mistake when you play Graciela followed by Martha Reeves then throw in some Sonny Boy Williamson they all fit rhythmically. And they all influenced each other. Tune in and I’ll drop some info nuggets your way about it (what little I know).

Like I said it’s not a ‘safe’ show but it’s a fun show with some great music. I rock the boat on musical myths and misconceptions and rock the house for two hours from my Pyramid of Power. If you have the Monday blues I’ll get you in your Tuesday groove at The Man of Action’s Rent Party!

Thanks for tuning in.