music


On a balmy summer night where the air was filled with the smell of onions and green peppers and various meats roasting on grills, and the laughter of children and the chatter of parents, friends and lovers, my wife and I turned a corner and stepped into a magical moment.

There in front of us was a stage with a cellist and a guitarist/singer and from this duo flowed the sound of the soul and agony of a people.

The song was “On The Turning Away” which was written by David Gilmour and Anthony Moore of Pink Floyd but had been totally brought under the craft and control of these two gifted musicians.

The crowd was captivated, the lyrics told our struggle –  stuck in this materialistic, I, me, mine, society where it is so easy to turn away from those who are truly in need. This was also in the middle of the G.W. Bush years. It was the finale of the show and we were blessed to have caught it.

This wasn’t about “bling” this was not a “performance”, this was one of our few elder statesmen speaking heart to heart –  not for “press” or “fame” but for what we used to call “the people” –  the hurt, the downtrodden, the forgotten…. 

He left us today and we mourn.

But I’ll always have that moment.

Richie

May God bless you Richie Havens

Jan. 21, 1941 –  April 22, 2013

Advertisements

May each and everyone have a truly peaceful and blessed Christmas.

In the midst of it all remember that Jesus IS the reason for the season!

Hey all,

Take a drive through the inner city here in Detroit and you’ll soon find areas that appear deserted. Whole blocks with only one or two houses. Burnt out structures and overgrown vacant lots, just blocks from thriving communities.

In the last mayoral debate both candidates seemed open to shrinking Detroit by fencing off unused portions of the city. Can you imagine what would go on in these “fenced off” areas? Who will stop the dumping and who will maintain those areas?

Now businessman John Hantz of Detroit has a proposal for some of the vast areas of decline – Urban Commercial Farming….

farming-grafic

 

Is it just me or does this look like a 21st century plantation? Insert a “Big House” and put up the necessary fences (and anybody who has farmed in the city knows about crop theft) it would be hard to tell the difference.

It’s not a bad idea really, but I just don’t see the future of Detroit as the center for northern “farm hands” and when a dedicated workforce can’t be found, how long would it be before someone would figure out that cheap labor could be had from say Ryan Correctional, Wayne County Jail, Scott Correctional and others?

Put up six or seven of these ten square block farms and we’d soon become prison wonderland (why get your GED? there’s always work at the farm).

Who wants to visit a city that is surrounded by penal colony farms? As if it isn’t unsafe enough here already.

We have a void in this city in property and employment, but I don’t see the answer in creating thousands of low paying jobs. Sure, any job is a good job – but why is it that the ones who tell you that usually are being paid a lot more than you?

See ya

Hey all,

Today we learn a word from the dictionary.

Prodigal

[prod-i-guhl]

–noun

a person who spends, or has spent, his or her money or substance with wasteful extravagance; spendthrift.

“And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.”
(Luke 15:13-14)

Michael Jackson

See ya….

Hey all,

When I was young, I thought that the Grammy Awards were given in recognition of outstanding musical achievement, and for a while I found that to be true.

Then something happened, and suddenly it seemed just about anybody could win a Grammy with the right amount of sales and publicity. The Nielsen ratings of the Grammy Award Show became more important than the content and merit.

After Stevie Wonder’s justly earned Grammy streak, the “Machine” took over and the major record labels began to pump money all over the place near Grammy time.

herbie-hancock.jpg

Well last night things took a step backwards and forwards at the same time…. Herbie Hancock won the Grammy for Album of the Year! That was a step back to the days of recognizing true artistry, and a step forward from the folly of trying to increase over-all record sales by pandering to the lowest common denominator.

If you haven’t heard “River: the joni letters” CD you can go to Download.com and hear ten tracks from it.

river-51qk36dujxl_ss500_.jpg

It was a great choice that the Academy made when they chose to honor this CD, Joni Mitchell is an extraordinary artist – so is Herbie (and Wayne Shorter who provides his virtuosity throughout).

Then there is Tina Turner with her take of “Edith and the Kingpin”, one of my favorite Joni tunes. Nora Jones is also there.

There may still be hope for this industry after all…. “Yes we can!”

See ya.

Hey all,

Though it may be seem a small accomplishment to many, it’s a great accomplishment to me – my post “Hurt people, hurt people.” has been viewed over a thousand times! Now, I know that many blogs get that kind of traffic in a hour’s time and it took me a few weeks…. but hey, a thousand is a thousand!

Been finding some great music lately and I thought I’d share what I’ve found with you. I’ll start with a fantastic saxaphonist named J. White.

jphiwhite.jpg

J. is from Detroit, but currently resides in Arkansas where he completed his studies at the University of Arkansas. His current project is named “Melodies From My Heart” and you can hear samples from it HERE.

This is an outstanding work from an artist I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot from in the future. J. has a heartfelt lyrical style that shines on each track. My personal favorite is “Relaxation” which reminds me of Stevie Wonder back in the “Talking Book” days. You can hear a clip from that track – and BUY the CD at CDBaby.

==============

I was thinking back to the old days in Detroit when the music scene was sooo vibrant, I began looking around for others who had memories of those old days and I ran across a great site full of information about things like the 20 Grand, Motown, and a lot of the smaller labels and studios back in the day. The site is called Soulful Detroit, and you can spend quite some time there remembering or learning about Detroit’s early musical days – Enjoy!

Oh, and for those of you who haven’t bought your copy of my new CD “The Late Show” – click HERE and get busy!

See ya.

Hey all,

Due to the policy of WordPress, I can’t show the teaser video for the song “Rural” from the CD “The Late Show” here.

BUT, you can see it at

A Wendell Spencer Review!

See ya.

Next Page »