Tag: 70s soul

Throwback: Black History Month: Al Green

JOVM’s William Ruben Helms celebrates Black History Month — and pays tribute to Al Green.

Throwback: Black History Month: Chaka Khan

Today is day two of Black History Month. And throughout this month I’ll feature Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles that I think can guide you towards understanding the Black experience. Throughout the month I hope that you’ll appreciate these facts:

Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
Black history is American history. The end.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

When I got up today, my mind was set on one thing: the legendary Chaka Khan, one of the greatest voices in R&B and pop. Her flirtatious and brash cover of Prince’s “I Feel For You” still slaps — and it was one of the first pop songs to prominently feature rap in any fashion, presaging much of what you’ve heard on the radio over the past 35 years. “I’m Every Woman” is a joyous feminist anthem. And she was down with the Black Panthers in their heyday. So fuck yes to all o that.

Throwback: RIP Bill Withers

I had some loose-held editorial plans for the site over the next 24-36 hours or so but when I saw a friend’s Facebook post on Bill Withers’ death, I scrapped those plans for a little bit. We’ve heard most of Withers’ work so much that it’s part of our collective consciousness — and yet, the songs hold up and resonate 40 some years after their initial release. They’re that timeless. And I suspect that kids 50 years from now, will hear the same things that our folks and we have heard in the material. Long live, Bill Withers! 

I came across some live footage of Withers shot in 1972 and 1973. The 1973 footage shot by the BBC may be the most famous of the two, and as a photographer it’s intimate, capturing Withers with some tight close ups, in which he seems to explode into your living room. 

Also before, I forget Still Bill is arguably one of the best albums ever written and recorded. Nuff said.