March 1st, 2013

Welcome to the March 2013 issue of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Archives of African American Music and Culture. As we eagerly await the transition from winter to spring, we pair up cool ’60s soul from the box set Cooler Than Ice: Arctic Records & the Rise of Philly Soul with the fiery guitar licks of People, Hell and Angels—a new collection of previously unreleased Jimi Hendrix tracks—and a dose of Delta gospel from the Como Mamas’ Get an Understanding.

Jimi Hendrix, who would be 70 years old this year if not for his untimely death in 1970, upheld the tradition of Black rock ‘n’ roll and sent it in new directions. This month we celebrate the ever-expanding genre of Black Rock. We review What Are You Doing Here: A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal by journalist Laina Dawes, whose reading we supplement with a playlist of Black women rockers that includes Lo Fi Deluxe by Jack Davey, Mutatis Mutandis by Nona Hendryx, and Starlight by Joan Armatrading.

We further probe the wide spectrum of Black rock with reviews of 1982: Dishonorable Discharge by Midwest proto-punkers the Puffy Areolas, Into the Future by DC hardcore band Bad Brains; a reissue of Livin’ in the New Wave by ’80s electro-funk bassist Andre Cymone, and Confess, the latest from retro New Waver Twin Shadows; as well as Just Before Music from the minimalist avant-folk musician Lonnie Holley, Making It by pop-rock band Stew & The Negro Problem, and Curva Da Cintura, a new Afro-Brazilian fusion rock release.

We dive into reggae and dig up This Generation, a new release from the Lions, as well as the newly unearthed sounds of Barrington Levy’s Sweet Reggae Music 1979-84 and Miss Lilys Family Style Vol. 1.

Jazz is represented by vocalist Jose James’ No Beginning No End, and Dwele’s Greater Than One delivers our monthly soul fix.

And last but not least, we check out the latest adventures in sound from Buddy Guy, Béla Fleck with the Marcus Roberts Trio, and Meshell Ndegeocello, whose new album of Nina Simone covers reminds us that the music of the late, great songstress (who would’ve turned 80 last month) are as present and relevant now as they ever were.

Review Genre(s): African American Culture & History


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