Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Baraka Rhyme

Good evening and welcome to your Election Night coverage. I'm Pryce Obsesiant, with the news you can trust and the music you must.

Admit it, you woke up today -- well. you're woke as fk even when you're asleep, as we know, so let's just say when you opened your eyes this morning -- gripped with anxiety about the direction of the world and wondering when ol' Commie Joshy was gonna post some visceral Marxist rantings.

Well, I could certainly try, but there's just no possible way any spittle-inflected, dyed-red-in-the-face polemical posturings would ever be a trillionth as entertaining and informative then what would happen if I were to let someone way more qualified and articulate do it.
If today is a day to express political perspectives, well... what could be more fun than an award-winning Leftist poet -- caught in a phase where he almost wanted to become a rock star -- delivering a manifesto for Socialist Revolution over the top of a band supplying deep beats, fiery horn blasts and massed, joyously-sung vocals like something out of the 1977 P-Funk Earth Tour.
I guess if I had to describe this hour of church, I'd say it was indeed what things might have sounded like if Frantz Fanon had fronted Parliament-Funkadelic at the peak of their 1970s hallucinogenic heyday, and George Clinton had just stayed a master hairdresser in Plainfield.
Let's face it, there's nothing to make a critique of middle class bourgeois functionaries' complicity in Capitalist omnicide pop than grooves straight out of a Betty Davis record. If I'm in luck, I just might picked up... and tortured in political prison under the coming Fascist regime.
This tape is really what archival music restoration is all about: unrecorded group, person not really associated with performing music giving it a go, and on top of that its 43rd anniversary just happens to fall on the day of decision everyone is busy sweating out.
What really puts it over the top is that it isn't just Baraka raving about guillotining the ruling classes for 57 minutes and change; he is more of a poetic link that introduces the more purely musical bits, and then interweaves himself into the "song" segments as a kind of Leninist hype man for the band, who absolutely burn down the Philharmonie like Mandrill on Karl Marx.

Anyway, calm yourselves and get up and dance to this show... I worked on it all day yesterday, removing hundreds of distracting FM noise bursts and fixing the tape flip to be a little more seamless, as well as sprinkling a tiny pinch of audio pixie dust on it to make it really storm the shit outta the Bastille. It's truly the tits in several different and highly relevant ways.

Amiri Baraka and The Advanced Workers
Berliner Jazztage
Berlin, Germany

01 Advanced Workers/band introductions
02 Better Red, Let a Handful of Others Be Dead
03 Third World Blues (Party Red People)
04 An American Oppressed Story
05 The World Is Me/Sparky, Like This Is What I Meant
06 America? Where Is This Place?
07 A Poem for the Transformation of America (Revolution Superpower)
08 New Days
09 Too Much Sick Music
10 You Was Dancin', but You Shoulda Been Marchin' So You Can Dance Some More Later On (fragment)

Total time: 57:16

Amiri Baraka - vocal recitations
Levi Evans - tenor saxophone  
Moses Samson - keyboards & vocals
Keith Eversley - guitar & vocals
Thomas Lewis - bass & vocals
Theodore Matthews - drums
Joe Caposella - vocals
Mary Davis - vocals
Joe Williams - vocals & harmonica
Larry "Fritz" Lewis - vocals & percussion

sounds like a master off-air FM reel, possibly recorded from WDR radio
tape flip in "America? Where Is This Place?" smoothed, FM noise bursts removed, 
slightly remastered with titles & personnel clarified by EN, November 2020

Yeah, this is, on the surface, a kind of dated artifact, with the names named being of another time and epoch. But the drill-down lessons are eternal, and once you envision it as part of a continuum that -- despite the antiquity of its specific time and place, seem to want to point to a road not taken to a possible future and not the past -- it becomes something worth hearing again and again.
Especially on a day like today.

I'll be back soon, once I figure wtf I am gonna do about November, and we all figure out what the US is gonna do about November, December and January... as the saying goes, we can burn the further bridges when we come to them. Stay cool out there and All Power to All People, everywhere and forever plus one day.--J.

10.7.1934 - 1.9.2014 

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