For all of us who remember a time when there wasn't an internet, or a Google, or cellphones with Twitters and Skypes and MTV videogames, sometimes you just have to take a step back and appreciate what we have available at our dusty fingertips. As lovers of music - real, good music - it's been especially impressive. In a few keystrokes you can go from Blk Jks in today's South Africa (fire, by the way, total fire) to Golden Era hip hop videos ripped from the Box and posted on YouTube to classic performances by some of music's greatest jazz, funk, and soul artist, performances from days before I was born, in far flung cities and far away times. That's what I'm feeling this morning. My boy Lo sent me a buttery link for the weekend, and I knew it had to be shared with the La MoDa fam.
My moms was sort of a hippy, so I grew up on a steady diet of public television (on our 13" black and white): Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Nova, the American Experience, old BBC reruns of Dr. Who, Voyage of the Mimi, public television laced me with the knowledge as a kid. It almost makes me want to make a donation and rock a PBS tote bag just thinking about how much dope shit I caught on commercial-free public television as a yout'.
I was obviously too young to see "Soul" when it was first broadcast, but thanks to the wonders of the amazing time machine that is the internet, that wrong can be righted! WNET Thirteen in New York, who originally broadcast this show, described it thusly:
This entertainment-variety-talk show was not only a vehicle to promote African-American artistry, community and culture, but also a platform for political expression and the fight for social justice. It showcased classic live musical performances from funk, soul, jazz, and world musicians, and had in-depth, extraordinary interviews with political, sports, literary figures and more. It was the first program on WNET to be recorded with the then-new technology of videotape, and most of the shows were recorded in real-time—not live, but unedited.
Just look at some of the guests: Earth, Wind and Fire, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Tito Puente, Ron Carter, Willie Colon, Max Roach, are you f*cking kidding me?!? I think my impressionable young mind might have EXPLODED if I'd been exposed to this much top shelf musical power as a child! I have spent all morning going through the different episodes of this show, and each one is another gold mine of music and culture (Tito Puente's afro alone is worth the price of admission). If you love good music, I implore you to spend some time with these episodes.