February 3rd, 2014

Welcome to the February 2014 issue of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Archives of African American Music and Culture.  Our Black History Month feature is the astounding 44-CD box set Black Europe, documenting every Black person known to have made a sound recording or motion picture in Europe from 1889 until the rise of electrical sound recording in the 1920s.  For Valentine’s Day there’s Ruben Studdard’s Unconditional Love and Diane Reeves’ Beautiful Life.

New hip hop releases include Dice Raw’s Jimmy’s Back, a concept album about Black men locked in both psychological and physical prisons, and Asheru’s pan-African hip-hop project Sleepless in Soweto. New R&B releases include Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings’ Give the People What They Want, Jennifer Holliday’s The Song Is You, and the DVD release of the music documentary 20 Feet from Stardom about legendary backup singers.

New jazz releases include the Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s That’s it!, Earl Klugh’s Hand Picked, and Calvin Keys’ soul-jazz projects Electric Keys and Turnstyle, the latter with his group Wide Hive Players.

World music releases include Femi Kuti’s No Place for My Dreams, Chris Berry with Abou Diarrassouba on King of Me, the compilation Walk In Africa 1979-81 featuring the complete catalog of the integrated South African punk band National Wake, and the reissue of Movin’ On/Kuomboka, two albums documenting the 1980s post-Zamrock sound of the group Witch.

Other reissue compilations include Juke Box Boogie: Doctor Ross & his Jump & Jive Boys, the Donny Hathaway 4-CD box set Never My Love: The Anthology, Clara Ward & the Famous Ward Singers’ In Memory of Willa Ward-Royster featuring recordings from 1949-1958, reggae artist Desmond Dekker’s Black & Dekker: The Complete Stiff Recordings, and Roaring Lion featuring rare 1970s cuts from Lee “Scratch” Perry.

Wrapping up this issue is a list of January 2014 new releases of note.

Review Genre(s): African American Culture & History


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