Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Music: Save the Children

While looking for videos of Marvin Gaye's live performances, I stumbled across this beauty. The nine minute clip of Gaye performing "What's Goin' On" and "What's Happening Brother," is interspersed with footage shot mostly on the south side of Chicago. The contributor's caption states that it was an excerpt from an out-of-release documentary, Save the Children, from 1973. I went to Internet Movie Database for more information about the film. It was directed by an African American, Stan Lathan, a pioneer in the desegregation of television from behind the camera. He's still around, most recently producing the Def Comedy Jam series on HBO. The talent on Save the Children is amazing: Cannonball Adderly, Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes, The Jackson Five, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Curtis Mayfield, Wilson Pickett. Unfortunately, the original contributor was right; the film is completely out of print. Additional excerpts of the concert, including performers not listed on the movie credits, have surfaced on the internet.

More from Save the Children [Link]

Save the Children was the unifying theme for the Chicago Black Exposition of 1972. In 1970, the first Black Expo was organized by the Southern Christian Leadership conference's Operation Breadbasket, directed by a young, charismatic Rev. Jesse Jackson. A photo from a Chicago Tribune article about the exposition plans shows Jackson, exchanging a "soul handshake" with Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley.

The entertainment part of the expo was especially well-attended. Since proceeds from the expo were intended to fund the mission of the SCLC, the royalty of Motown were more than honored to perform. In 1971, the SCLC suspended Jackson, pending an investigation into financial irregularities and the incorporation of the Black Expo as its own foundation. Jackson broke with the SCLC, and started his own organization, Operation P.U.S.H. (People United to Save Humanity), and continued to sponsor the expo through it. The entire staff and board of directors of Operation Breadbasket went with him, leaving the SCLC effectively with no fund-raising unit. It was a humiliating blow for SCLC president Ralph Abernathy, who eventually resigned. The Operation P.U.S.H. sponsored Black Expo continued until 1976, when exhibitors became sparse in part due to the economic recession.

In 1973, Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church honored Dr. Abernathy for his 18 years of service to the civil rights movement. Still devastated by Jackson's betrayal and the defections from SCLC, he took the pulpit and lashed out at the black community, accusing it of "giv(ing) only lip service to the dream of Rev. Martin Luther King Junior," adding that "(we) spend our money on marijuana, dope, liquor and booze, big fine cars, and walk around in fancy cloths[sic] to make us think we are free." In contrast, Jesse Jackson appeared on Sesame Street, reading his inspirational poem, "I am Somebody." It was a supremely media-savvy appearance, signifying that the movement had moved on.

"Daley's Soul Handshake Opens 3d Black Expo at Amphitheatre." Chicago Tribune. Sep 30, 1971. (photo) [Link]

"Black Expo in Chicago" Time. Oct 11, 1971. [Link]

"Abernathy blasts blacks for rights movement woes." Chicago Tribune. Jul 26, 1973.

Profile and Interview with Jesse Jackson. The New Internationalist. August 1973. [Link]

"How PUSH came to shove in Expo fund hassle." Chicago Tribune. Apr 22, 1975.

"I Am Somebody" (Wikipedia entry) [Link]

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Amusing Searches

was louie armstrong gay?

ladie feeding her [censored] to dogs

nude photos of telly savalas

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Feliz Navi Nada

from the Merry MeX-mas album

El Vez! website [Link]

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Music: Merry Christmas

Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special, 1988. I hope it's not a fruitcake.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Music: German Soul

That's right, German soul. I don't think the modifier "blue eyed" is required. The above is Hildegard Knef performing "Von nun an gings bergab" (From here on, it gets rough), in 1970. I've been waiting months for someone to post this Tom Jones-ish turn by Howard Carpendale, "Du hast mich," also from 1970:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Music: Vashti Bunyan

Vashti Bunyan dropped out of the music business twice. The first time was in 1967, after releasing just three singles. In 1970, she was persuaded returned to the studio to record the album Just Another Diamond Day. The album sold less than a thousand copies. Bunyan moved to the Isle of Skye, and spent the next 30 years homesteading and raising a family. In the meantime, Just Another Diamond Day developed a cult following; original copies were selling on eBay for over $1,000. She recently returned to performing, and recorded a new album,Lookaftering, in 2005. The clip above is Vashti--she didn't use "Bunyan" early in her career--looking a little awkward while lip-synching to "Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind." The catchy, Dylanesque tune was written by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger.

Vashti Bunyan Interview. Perfect Sound Forever [Link]
Vashti Bunyan. FatCat Records [Link]