Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

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Questlove’s doc “Summer Of Soul” is up on Hulu - about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, unseen footage til now

it’s SO great, every performance is a knockout

― terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, July 2, 2021 1:24 AM (one week ago) bookmarkflaglink

We need a thread on this ! Awesome movie
― calstars, Saturday, July 3, 2021 9:45 PM (one week ago) bookmarkflaglink

I have just been getting into Questlove's podcast (Questlove Supreme) in the past couple weeks. Listening to him interview everybody from Jimmy Jam to Weird Al Yankovic has been really educational. And so, not knowing about the movie (which I guess he has promoted on social media, but not on the cast), I had heard enough of these that I was like "let's go to Netflix and Hulu and find some Black music documentaries." And when I opened up Hulu on my phone, just staring me in the face was Summer of Soul by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson.

So amazing and moving. The one thing I keep thinking after that is, we get one or two blockbuster performances from each of the artists - can you imagine how much amazing material from this festival they didn't include?

― peace, man, Sunday, July 4, 2021 11:32 AM (six days ago) bookmarkflaglink

I have to imagine there will more comprehensive releases of these concerts. It's kind of mindblowing that the footage and audio is so immaculate.

― Mr. Cacciatore (Moodles), Sunday, July 4, 2021 11:41 AM (six days ago) bookmarkflaglink

Sly is so awesome in this…
I teared up a bunch of times, such emotional stuff

― calstars, Sunday, July 4, 2021 11:58 AM (six days ago) bookmarkflaglink

https://www.stereogum.com/2152247/summer-of-soul-review-questlove-documentary/reviews/movie-review/I reviewed the movie for Stereogum. It really is great.

― but also fuck you (unperson), Sunday, July 4, 2021 12:00 PM (six days ago) bookmarkflaglink

This is definitely getting enough talk to warrant its own thread.

I feel downright ungrateful nitpicking, since obviously the very fact that we have this film is a gift, but I would have preferred a straight concert film. Some of the interview segments are poignant, but just as often they feel like they are putting too fine a point on what is already evident in the performance footage. I'm hoping the positive response the film is getting will eventually result in a deluxe blu-ray set with all of the available concert material.

edited for dog profanity (cryptosicko), Saturday, 10 July 2021 20:29 (three weeks ago) link

Sorry I bungled the link to calstar's review; I wanted to make sure it was included in the thread.

edited for dog profanity (cryptosicko), Saturday, 10 July 2021 20:31 (three weeks ago) link

Not to mention my further bungling of misattributing the review; sorry, unperson. Ugh. Shutting up now. Everyone go talk about this movie.

edited for dog profanity (cryptosicko), Saturday, 10 July 2021 20:34 (three weeks ago) link

I think having the full concert footage available is important, but a lot of the contextual interviews were really moving imo: there was a sense that for kids who attended in 69 their memories almost felt like a dream because the concerts weren't recognised in official culture like Woodstock etc. Seeing them see the footage again after 50 years, and having their half-memories validated was v powerful I think.

Piedie Gimbel, Saturday, 10 July 2021 21:27 (three weeks ago) link

I loved the shit outta this, especially Gladys Knight.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 10 July 2021 21:30 (three weeks ago) link

I would love a full movie just of audience footage tbh

Piedie Gimbel, Saturday, 10 July 2021 21:31 (three weeks ago) link

My review will be in uncut in a couple of weeks, but sneek preview:

SUMMER OF SOUL
(… OR WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED)
10/10
Revelatory footage of Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, the Staple Singers and Nina Simone among others unearthed after 50 years

“Do you remember the Harlem Cultural Festival?” the interviewer asks, and 50 years on, by the distant looks on some faces, you sense even people who were there are still not sure if it was all some hazy, childhood sixties summer dream. After all, until recently it had left barely a ripple in the wider culture, overshadowed by Woodstock happening a couple of hundred miles north, and the ongoing political turmoil of 1969.

“The Harlem Cultural Festival was, indeed, a meaningful entity,” the journalist Raymond Robinson wrote at the time, “but was it fully appreciated? The only time the white press concerns itself with the black community is during a riot or major disturbance…” Sure enough the tapes of these six incredible free shows that took place in Mount Morris Park through June, July and August of 1969 have languished in a Westchester basement for over 50 years.

What’s brought to light in Ahimr “Questlove” Thompson’s thrilling, vivid and timely documentary, is literally a revelation: an event which rewrites everything you thought you knew about postwar pop. Here in a park on 124th Street, as Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and the 21 Panthers Trial rolled on, as the long mourning of MLK continued and the heroin epidemic burgeoned, over 300,000 gathered to witness a stunning staging of the Black American musical diaspora: from blues to gospel to jazz to soul, Motown and Sly Stone’s psychedelic fantasia…

But in one sense the music is secondary. Witness after witness agrees they had never seen so many black people together before. The event was put together by eccentric, enigmatic lounge singer turned cultural hustler Tony Lawrence, under the patronage of Republican mayor John Lindsay and with the sponsorship of Maxwell House. The cops were largely absent, with the Panthers themselves providing security and the crowd is wonderful: grooving old guys in trilbies, ecstatic teens, jiving matriarchs, dapper dudes deciding to ditch the suits for dashikis. “It was like seeing royalty,” as one witness puts it. “When I looked into the crowd I was overtaken with joy,” Mavis Staples says, still moved all these years later.

But the music is, of course astonishing. Stevie Wonder, still only 19 but greeted as a conquering hero, spiffed up in a gold cravat, like some regency dandy, casually playing the most incendiary drum solo you’ve heard, while a courtier holds a brolly above him. Nina Simone, a visiting dignitary from cosmic Wakanda, firmly but politely asking whether we’re willing to smash “white things”. Sly and the Family Stone, and their white drummer Greg Errico in particular, slowly winning over the crowd before blowing their minds with an irresistible ‘Higher’. And then there’s Mavis Staples, humbly accepting the gospel torch from Sister Mahalia Jackson, as they’re driven to inspired glossolalia in memory of Martin Luther King…

And what about David Ruffin, a snazzy, lanky crow, leading the crowd with an unearthly falsetto on ‘My Girl’, and Gladys Knight burning up ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’? Maybe the weirdest triumph of all are the 5th Dimension, dolled out in creamsicle orange and Big Bird yellow, surely the whitest sounding group of 1969, dazzling the crowd with ‘Let the Sunshine In’.

“We were creating a new world,” one woman remembers thinking, “Harlem was our Camelot.” With Summer of Soul, that myth feels close enough to touch.

Piedie Gimbel, Saturday, 10 July 2021 21:44 (three weeks ago) link

I would love a full movie just of audience footage tbh
came here to post this exact sentiment. just seeing all those faces is amazing.
loved the doc overall, though.

tylerw, Saturday, 10 July 2021 21:47 (three weeks ago) link

Sure enough the tapes of these six incredible free shows that took place in Mount Morris Park through June, July and August of 1969 have languished in a Westchester basement for over 50 years.

I have no stake in this, but this point is contended: via Joe Lauro on FB:

"I am commenting here on “Salamishah Tillets’ recent “ Summer Of Soul” article and interview with Questlove . In the piece it is stated “ For nearly 50 years, this ( Harlem Festival tapes) just sat in a basement and no one cared”. As well as one of the key premises of the film itself, as stated in the opening montage, that the Harlem Festival footage was LOST FOR 50 YEARS.
This statement at best is hyperbole.
The reality is that in 2004 I tracked down director/producer Hal Tulchin after screening a 16mm syndication print of an episode of his first, Harlem Festival series

Mr. Tulchin and I went to lunch to discuss the Harlem Festival footage and shortly thereafter he signed a representational agreement with my company Historic Films. The idea was to license clips to third parties from the 40+ hours of Harlem Festival footage as well as develop a feature length documentary on the event. I pulled the video tape masters from his Westchester County basement, digitized the reels, logged their contents, archived the 1” submasters at the Historic Films offices and insisted that Mr. Tulchin copyright all of the reels. In fact I filled out the forms for him and filed the copyright registration on his behalf ( and on my dime) with the Library Of Congress . The Library Of Congress was also sent a complete set of videos of the 40+ hours of Harlem Festival footage as is their requirement for copyright filing. Through the years of our representation, we licensed excerpts of the footage to several productions including SONY RECORDS who used a sizable portion of the “lost” Nina Simone set in one of their home video releases.

Morgan Neville ( Academy Award Winning director TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM) Robert Gordon ( Emmy winning co-director BEST OF ENEMIES, author of IT CAME FROM MEMPHIS) and I developed a feature length documentary film on the festival framing the event within the politics and civil right unrest that existed at the time, created a trailer and shopped the production around to several possible distributors. A deal with a major distributor was in negotiation in 2007 and we were in contract negotiations. To our surprise the negotiations broke down and the rep from that company jumped ship and teamed with Mr. Tulchin dumping Neville, Gordon and myself taking the Harlem Festival project on as his own . Some 15 years later we have SUMMER OF SOUL.

As an archivist and filmmaker who has spent his 35 year career creating music documentaries, and unearthing and preserving rare musical content, I am delighted that this film has finally been produced. I only ask that credit for the Harlem Festival footages' re-discovery be properly given. Producers of a doc such as this that is touting it’s righteousness and quest for truth should at least give credit where it is due. I assure you, if it were not for my efforts the Harlem Festival master tapes would likely still be molding in Mr. Tulchin’s Westchester County basement and Questlove would still be in total ignorance of their existence.
Joe Lauro"

sleeve, Saturday, 10 July 2021 22:06 (three weeks ago) link

provenance aside, it should also be stated for the record that it’s a really excellent documentary

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 10 July 2021 22:19 (three weeks ago) link

Sing
A simple
song!
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

calstars, Sunday, 11 July 2021 01:21 (three weeks ago) link

One small detail I thought was interesting was that someone mentioned it was the “4th annual…” Harlem cultural festival. So it wasn’t a one off …I wonder what the others were like …

calstars, Sunday, 11 July 2021 12:03 (three weeks ago) link

Caught the movie in a local theater yesterday afternoon and was blown away.
I am so glad this movie was made.

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Sunday, 11 July 2021 12:16 (three weeks ago) link

Who looks more awesome in this, Sly Stone or Stevie Wonder?

I went in without reading too much about who performed - just knew there were some major Soul names involved - and that was a great way to experience it because it's just boom boom boom legend after legend, and so stylistically diverse as well.

If anyone enjoyed this and hasn't seen Soul Power, the doc about a music festival in Zaire, highly recommend that - a lot of overlap in performers and afrocentrism, for obvious reasons, takes even more of a center stage. Also, this podcast: https://norcalpublicmedia.org/afropop-worldwide/soul-to-soul-at-50-a-look-back-at-ghana-s-legendary-music-festival-on-afropop-worldwide-sunday-at-9pm

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 12 July 2021 09:51 (three weeks ago) link

Stevie is hot as fuck.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 12 July 2021 10:18 (three weeks ago) link

am hoping that there is going to be a lot more of the live footage released still.
What was here was really great

Stevolende, Monday, 12 July 2021 10:23 (three weeks ago) link

choreography of the Pips looked so weird. Too angular possibly. I guess it made sense on limited stage space or something.

Stevolende, Monday, 12 July 2021 10:26 (three weeks ago) link

Maybe the weirdest triumph of all are the 5th Dimension, dolled out in creamsicle orange and Big Bird yellow, surely the whitest sounding group of 1969, dazzling the crowd with ‘Let the Sunshine In’.

This was one of the most pleasant surprises of the film for me. I saw the 5th Dimension in the mid-70s at the Minnesota State Fair, past their prime and going through the motions for a very white audience. In Summer of Soul they are so young and full of fire, grooving joyously and obviously on top of the world.

Three Rings for the Elven Bishop (Dan Peterson), Monday, 12 July 2021 14:26 (three weeks ago) link

This was fantastic. I can see the argument about wanting more straight up performances, but I really liked the context and appreciated that it was (mostly) average attendees and not another round of Grohl and the usual suspects. Stevie's jam was so good.

a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 12 July 2021 14:31 (three weeks ago) link

Stevie is hot as fuck.

"than july" iirc

Yours in Sorrow, A Schoolboy: (forksclovetofu), Monday, 12 July 2021 15:31 (three weeks ago) link

was that Stevie skit a post credits thing on here.

Stevolende, Monday, 12 July 2021 16:46 (three weeks ago) link

Some of the Sly footage was used in Ken Burns’ Jazz in 2001. They — Wynton Marsalis, Stanley Crouch, Burns, and George Wein — attempted to establish a narrative whereby Miles played Newport in 1969, saw Sly perform there, and decided at that moment to go electric. Problem is, when Miles played Newport in 1969, not only had he already gone electric — In A Silent Way was completed that February, but not yet released, and Chick Corea was in his band playing a Fender Rhodes — but his Newport set included material that would later appear on Bitches Brew. Wynton said that Miles looked at Sly, and then looked back at himself in 1969 and saw “an old man playing trumpet in a jazz band”; in fact, Miles had already seen, played, and recorded the future. Mr. Burns’ Jazz deliberately fudged the chronology in order to paint Miles as a pandering sellout, because the only way they could paint Miles as a pandering sellout was by fudging the chronology. (For Wynton and Crouch, Sly’s music was only worthy of derision.)

All that said, for years I wondered what the Sly footage was from. There was a backdrop that said “Festival,” but it clearly wasn’t the Newport Jazz Festival — I’m pretty sure George Wein wouldn’t have shelled out for a catwalk.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 13 July 2021 21:53 (three weeks ago) link

Well that certainly throws a wrench in the whole “this footage sat in a basement unseen for 50 years” detail
Not that it really matters though

calstars, Tuesday, 13 July 2021 23:00 (three weeks ago) link

I vividly remember seeing the Sly footage in the Ken Burns doc when it aired and also wondered for years what it was from, as well as the Nina footage in the fairly recent doc about her. Thought the movie was a little disingenuous on this front but still found it very entertaining.

Chris L, Tuesday, 13 July 2021 23:44 (three weeks ago) link

"New York's WNEW-TV Metromedia Channel 5 (now WNYW) broadcast hour-long specials of the footage on Saturday evenings at 10:30 PM in June–August 1969."

So it wasn't entire unseen -- just never commercially available or considered for film-length curation. But I guess this also means there's at least 6 hours of this stuff that exists somewhere.

billstevejim, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 03:18 (two weeks ago) link

My favorite part was the guy who was like "I was a suit guy" meaning he was into the Motown groups until he saw Sly.

I imagined that was the black equivalent of rocker dudes witnessing bands like the Stooges or Velvet Underground or Pistols for the first time and being blown away.

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 03:54 (two weeks ago) link

Yup. European friends remember seeing a 1 to 2-hour compilation of clips from this festival regularly on Euro TV in the '70s or '80s; apparently a version of this was also syndicated in the USA in the same period. Four songs from the absolutely sensational Nina Simone set were included on a Nina dual disc CD-DVD in late 2005, which we enthusiastically reviewed in Arthur. Review is online here. Hal Tulchin optioned the footage many times to various parties through the years for feature docs... but in my direct experience, by the years 2006-10, he was absolutely impossible, completely out-of-touch with a reality/marketplace that had radically changed, and was unable/unwilling to see what kind of deal could be made. There's a reason this film only came out after he died.

jaywbabcock, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 03:54 (two weeks ago) link

music doc director Robert Mugge critiques the movie on Facebook

Whatever your response to Questlove's new 2-hour doc SUMMER OF SOUL, I have to take exception with his fleshing out of his title with a parenthetical variation on Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," even though neither Gil nor his song are featured in the film....

It's also depressing knowing that Questlove says he picked these brief excerpts from 40 hours of available tape, and of course, whenever possible, he picked things that fit his themes, rather than the best songs by these artists. So, instead of using some of the more brilliant songs Nina Simone was performing at that time, he used well-meaning schmaltz like "To Be Young Gifted and Black." Not exactly theme music for a revolution, or the sort of powerful work we know her by. And although I thought the Mavis Staples/Mahalia Jackson performance of "Precious Lord" was thrilling, why do I need to see Stevie Wonder playing drums, the Fifth Dimension doing their "Hair" medley, or David Ruffin performing a mediocre version of "My Girl"? Considering that a professional musician "directed" this film, I found a lot of the musical choices to be really lame.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 03:55 (two weeks ago) link

why do I need to see Stevie Wonder playing drums

What kind of question is that

JRN, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 04:13 (two weeks ago) link

lool i know he’s salty about it and rightfully so but also come the fuck on dude

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 04:39 (two weeks ago) link

I've read elsewhere that there are 50 hours, maybe more, and hope that one day viewers can go to the Schomburg Center, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, *and* The Smithsonian, among many others all over the world---and, at least on a desktop in a cubicle, make their own movies (I mean, like chosing clearly tagged files, with an overall time limit, so you could come back the next day and make another movie if the place isn't too crowded).
I would pick every performance that Questlove picked, but in the context of whole sets---at least to check out, could be not every artist was good all the way through, at least by my standards---and I agree with those who think the interviewees and okay some of the op-ed people should have their own movie---I'd make one of those two, *after* watching all the music.
This was worth seeing in a theater with a big-ass screen and surround sound: the ideal of analog x digital, with soft-edged, smog-tinted July clarity of movement and texture--all those clothes, all that matter-of-fact prime of life, even ailing Mahalia kept coming through like she'd no doubt had to do before---the camera level and steady and near the stage, and you are there--turn around through the waves of faces: all part of it, though not the overload of actually being in a crwod that size---pellucid sound, never harsh.
But yeah, sound and vision of all that has to find its way through the talk, and it does---but, if you have to go to any trouble to make it to the theater, I'd say Hulu would not be that bad a choice; you're going to find your own way though either. I got used to it, and was glad that Stevie and Sly's crew came back, but the movie as now made is about the usual talk-music ratio (but yeah, no Grohl, no Bono, no usual suspects or other fooles).

dow, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 04:41 (two weeks ago) link

I'd make one of those *too*

dow, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 04:43 (two weeks ago) link

(but yeah, no Grohl, no Bono, no usual suspects or other fooles)

Half expected Keith Morris to show up just because I'm so used to seeing him in docs.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 04:45 (two weeks ago) link

Oh that might be alright--see about his new punk legacy band Off! over on Rolling Jazz...
xp you're going to *have to* find your way though all that (talk) (and you will, but the theater experience [vs. Hulu] isn't worth lots of time and expense)

dow, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 04:49 (two weeks ago) link

I thought I might have seen some of the Sly footage on a video compilation that was circulated something like 10 years ago . I think it may have been on Trader's Den but not sure. JUst checked and it's not turning up from the search engine but it was several years ago.
Could have been dime but I think their archives list may have gone with yahoo groups.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 08:32 (two weeks ago) link

his fleshing out of his title with a parenthetical variation on Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," even though neither Gil nor his song are featured in the film....

What a weird objection, it's a phrase that's entered the pop culture lexicon ages ago. Is the suggestion that people will go see this expecting Gil to show up? Or that Gil would have been insulted to have his phrase used for it?

he picked these brief excerpts from 40 hours of available tape, and of course, whenever possible, he picked things that fit his themes, rather than the best songs by these artists.

This is called "making a documentary".

David Ruffin singing "I've got a sweeter song that the birds in the trees", then pointing at a dude literally sitting in a tree and going "I see you man", who wouldn't want that to be included? Sorry that Nina Simone transcends the one dimensional wrathful revolutionary image of her this dude prefers, and that the festival in celebrating the variety of black talent included things that he might find schmaltzy, but maybe that's part of the point?

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 11:21 (two weeks ago) link

also did he miss the part right after that where she did that spoken piece about how its time to get guns and start shooting people

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 12:17 (two weeks ago) link

But he grumbled about the getting guns to kill part too!

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 12:33 (two weeks ago) link

I thought I might have seen some of the Sly footage on a video compilation that was circulated something like 10 years ago

Yeah, I have something from one of those places (dime or trader's den) which is the full 40 minute Sly set. It has a big watermark over it so probably was a screener they sent out to market it for licensing. I hadn't noticed anything else from the festival (other than the Nina tracks Jay mentioned above from the dual disc) floating around.

city worker, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 12:48 (two weeks ago) link

https://www.documentary.org/column/summer-soul-conversation-questlove-about-black-joy?fbclid=IwAR2HbdwqjQQdNJcl3gURY_211FWfLuBzkXlxrQa-MHSIGoy6WZa8eXeEFYI

Questlove interviewed by Melissa Haizlip, producer/ director of Mr. Soul—. Once I realized that there were seven really unique drum solos from all those drummers, I initially entertained the thought of doing a supercut. To me the drums and their history, and our story as Black people went hand in hand. And the drums weren’t just a metronome source; it was way past a communication device.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 12:51 (two weeks ago) link

I'll grant the production some artistic license because having a framing thesis really contributes to making this work as both a doc and a music movie - I took the message to be that the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival could have had the broad impact on a generation's identity that Woodstock did, but didn't. It explores this idea but avoids getting heavy handed about it. The balance of context and montage with full performances is very well paced. Here's an event that could have had mythic place in (or parallel to) the Merry Pranksters/Great Society/Vietnam/Monterey Pop/Summer of Love/Black Panther/Warhol Factory/MKL RFK/Woodstock/Altamont story, but didn't, so shit let's just bask in the tunes.

In my eyes, the editing was totally guided by a musician. I loved the closeup overlay of the CryBaby while Stevie plays the clav, for instance, letting you now how he's getting that SOUND.

I was struck by how prominent guitar was still - it hadn't taken on the white boy connotations yet. That rumble of chords during Sly and the Family Stones' final rave-up, they way it brings heaviness then lightness when it stops. Pop Staples' perfect tremolo tone. The performance that was the real revelation for me was Hugh Masekela. Always there in the bargain bins, I never quite understood his "moment" before.

Citole Country (bendy), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 13:12 (two weeks ago) link

Questlove to Haizlip x-post interview spells out his intent & his background:

For me, I still got immersed and baptized in musical education without having a Woodstock of my own to claim. But I always wondered, if this [original concert] film were given the greenlight to be just as brilliant as it could have been, what a difference that would have made in the lives of young musicians such as myself, who really didn’t have musical documents growing up.

Thank God I had parents that were super hip and super cool, that would wake me up at 11:45 p.m. so I could watch the second song on Saturday Night Live before Soul Train came on. Philadelphia was weird. It was one of the markets in which Soul Train would come on at 1:00 in the morning instead of 12:00 in the afternoon like the rest of America.

So, I often wonder, had this film come out, how different music could have been. Because Woodstock defined a generation. This could have defined us, and it’s sort of weird what Soul Train wound up doing. But, no more "would’ve, could’ve, should’ve," I think that this film is still potent and it’s timeless and the fact that it’s 50 years later and we’re still talking about the same issues will show how valuable it still is.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 13:17 (two weeks ago) link

I was gonna bring up Wattstax and googling it apparently it's showing in London today!

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 13:27 (two weeks ago) link

I found a great live set by Isaac Hayes from Wattstax was out officially. Found it in Sister Ray a few years ago. THink its quite consistent across the duration.

& glad to have picked up the Hugh masekela 3cd 66-76 a few weeks ago . That's been great on the 2 cds I've heard so far.
Covers quite a wide area I think.
Also the Monterey Pop performance is so cool too.

Definitely want to pick up more Staples Singers. the early 70s soul stuff is tasty.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 13:41 (two weeks ago) link

There's a brilliant Staples box called Come Go With Me: The Stax Collection which has all their Stax albums, plus a CD with non-LP singles and their Wattstax performance.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 13:56 (two weeks ago) link

This dude (a former Crawdaddy staffer?!) gets at some of the backstory about why this footage sat there, and whether it was available on the internet, and whether anyone wrote about it in the press in the last 50 years, etc. He doesn't get it all, not by a long shot, but he gets some.

https://gregmitchell.substack.com/p/was-summer-of-soul-footage-really

jaywbabcock, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 14:02 (two weeks ago) link

2007 article in Smithsonian magazine.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/black-woodstock-summer-of-soul-146793268/

jaywbabcock, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 15:09 (two weeks ago) link

When Questlove says he couldn't find Harlem festival footage on YouTube in 2018, there's a good reason for that: "Summer of Soul"'s producer had been getting all the footage removed from YouTube for years.

jaywbabcock, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 15:35 (two weeks ago) link

I melted during the Mavis scenes, especially the duet with Mahalia. She is an absolute treasure.

Indexed, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 15:47 (two weeks ago) link

That duet is absolutely stunning.

David Ruffin performing a mediocre version of "My Girl"?

GT everlovin' FO. There's challops, and then there's just "no dude, you're wrong."

Three Rings for the Elven Bishop (Dan Peterson), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 15:52 (two weeks ago) link

yeah, Ruffin was incredibly cool and charismatic

tylerw, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 15:56 (two weeks ago) link

I'm really glad people are digging into the provenance of these tapes and just where they've been, how they might have been suppressed over the years, etc - I think this important to dig into for a variety reasons. That said, I'm kind of disappointed to see it start to overshadow what this doc accomplishes. No matter the path to how we got here, I'm seeing a lot of people enthusiastic about discovering this festival and excited about the performances, hopefully to prompt more releases of full sets.

In short, I think this doc was a slam dunk in terms of bringing this back into the public consciousness and I'm annoyed to see people focusing solely on the things it didn't do.

a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 15:57 (two weeks ago) link

xp re: Ruffin, yeah on what planet is that astonishing performance "mediocre"? Definitely one of my 2 or 3 favorite moments in this utterly stacked movie

J. Sam, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 15:59 (two weeks ago) link

conversation about black joy IwAR2Hbdwq jQQdNJcl 3gURY_211FW fLuBzkXlxr Qa-MHSI Goy6WZ a8eXe and EFYI

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 16:00 (two weeks ago) link

One unexpected joy was Oh Happy Day. I don't recall ever hearing it though it was a top 10 hit. Such a great performance.

that's not my post, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 16:34 (two weeks ago) link

Yes, agree, the whole gospel section was the highlight for me

Indexed, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 17:10 (two weeks ago) link

Yes it was. That song was ubiquitous on the radio when I was a kid because I'm lolold, but it's disappeared since. xp

Three Rings for the Elven Bishop (Dan Peterson), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 17:14 (two weeks ago) link

yeah oh happy day is awesome, loved seeing that performance.

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 17:15 (two weeks ago) link

Yes!
Oh happy day…oh happy daaay…

calstars, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 17:39 (two weeks ago) link

Made me want to check out more Gospel yeah.
Who was the hornplaying friend of MLK?

Stevolende, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 18:00 (two weeks ago) link

Ben Branch

Josefa, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 18:04 (two weeks ago) link

thanks

Stevolende, Wednesday, 14 July 2021 18:19 (two weeks ago) link

one thing that stayed w me was that incredible scene when Jesse Jackson is talking about MLK’s assassination in the moment, and the crowd emotionally responding to it, you really feel the anguish still being carried

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 18:24 (two weeks ago) link

the dots really connect there of what this gathering is intended for, the heavy spiritual purpose & need for these performances

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 18:26 (two weeks ago) link

and Nina Simone too, in the same way

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 18:26 (two weeks ago) link

yeah Jackson telling the story about MLK and Ben Branch while Ben Branch is behind him vamping the intro to the song MLK asked him to play with his final words was pretty damn powerful

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 18:44 (two weeks ago) link

Disney's blocked a bunch of the festival YouTubes.

“Heroin” (ft. Bobby Gillespie) (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 20:28 (two weeks ago) link

the dots really connect there of what this gathering is intended for, the heavy spiritual purpose & need for these performances

― terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, July 14, 2021 2:26 PM (two hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

and Nina Simone too, in the same way

― terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl)

otm

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 14 July 2021 20:33 (two weeks ago) link

looking forward to seeing this and i personally find 'the hair medley' quite thrilling even in its now-unfashionable recorded form (nb i think hair kinda sucks in general, like most musicals) so idk how its inclusion in this could possibly be considered a drawback

dyl, Thursday, 15 July 2021 00:46 (two weeks ago) link

yeah i still love it, and 5th Dimension are great anyway! ppl hating on them hate fun

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 15 July 2021 00:56 (two weeks ago) link

In short, I think this doc was a slam dunk in terms of bringing this back into the public consciousness and I'm annoyed to see people focusing solely on the things it didn't do.

Yep, totally agree. It may not be the best possible version of this documentary, but it's a Very Good one, and it will also no doubt lead to more exploration and releases from the rest of the tapes.

haven't seen it yet! but this interview with questlove was great: https://pitchfork.com/features/interview/questlove-summer-of-soul-black-music-history/

Why hasn’t there been such attentiveness toward archiving Black music, and why is it important?

I know that is my purpose. No one is more of a sentimental packrat than I am. I am a VHS-collecting, Super 8-collecting archivist. I’ll take all the first five years of Jet Magazine archives, and make my girlfriend angry because five other boxes of Right On! Magazine are in the living room. I was collecting for personal reasons. But I now see that this is important. Once I finished this, everyone was coming out of the woodworks, DMing me like, “Questlove, we have 19 hours of footage of this concert.” Wait, what?! Things I never heard of before. Somewhere between nine to 15 other incredible high-level events were filmed for posterity and rejected, so now it’s in the basement of UCLA or somewhere. I’m keeping my eye on the Universal Hip-Hop Museum that’s opening in the Bronx. I’m hoping they will preserve history. But all too often, Black culture is so easily disposable in every aspect. TikTok content creations, our slang, our music, our style. I guess the attitude has always been: It’s not a big deal. It’s just a dance; it’s just a concert. But it is a big deal. And I realized it was a big deal with our very first interviewee Musa Jackson. Initially, I was concerned because he was 5 years old [during the Harlem Cultural Festival]. What 5-year-old is going to have true insight into the magnitude of what they’re going through? But when he talked to us, he was like, “This is my first memory of life.” He’s 56, 57 now. The common thing was that no one believed. Can you imagine trying to tell people, “Yeah, in Harlem, I saw Sly and the Family Stone and Stevie Wonder”? It’s unbelievable that this could be that easily dismissed.

We conducted this interview without any context, no photos, showed him nothing. Just: “Alright, tell us everything you know.” And it was almost like talking to a medium. You don’t believe him because he was spot-on with everything. He knew the Fifth Dimension had on creamsicle outfits. When we showed him the footage, the emotional outpouring started. I realized we’re giving him his life back. Even for Marilyn McCoo [of the Fifth Dimension]. She’s done everything. She was in one of the first Black groups to win a major Grammy. I was wondering, why is this particular show hitting your heartstrings with the millions of things that you’ve done? And suddenly, I realized that she and I had something in common. No matter what job they have, every Black person in their workspace has to juggle code-switching. Between Motown and certain acts that wanted not to make it but survive, you had to code-switch.

No example is more obvious than David Ruffin’s performance. It’s in the middle of August. He has on a wool tuxedo and a coat. Why would he do this? And then I thought, man, you’d rather suffer and be uncomfortable in the name of professionalism. That’s something. That was implemented in him via his Motown charm school days. I asked Marilyn McCoo why I’d never seen them be this loose and relaxed at a performance before. She was like, “We’d been dying to perform for Black people for the longest.” At that point, they were the biggest act in the world, bigger than the Supremes. They had the No. 1 song. To them, it’s like, “We had to do this because this is our one chance to get to our people.”

Z_TBD (Karl Malone), Thursday, 22 July 2021 19:45 (one week ago) link

Caught this at the cinema last night - first visit for about 15 months. Damn. Not much to add to the glowing praise here. It's Sly who is bright in my head this morning but so many amazing performances. Not a criticism, but would have loved more jazz: the Roach and Sharrock excerpts were tantalising to say the least.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Monday, 26 July 2021 09:22 (one week ago) link

Who was Sharrock with in this.
I have the expanded Liver At The Whiskey 1969 which is great cos he's doing his own stuff with the players from the Herbie Mann band backing him and have now seen what the price that's going for is. Great performances and stuff so shame its no longer affordable.
There is some great footage of him with taht band or at least a Herbie Mann band from roughly the same time taht was up on youtube a couple of years ago. I think from Europe.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLN9O03YANU

Stevolende, Monday, 26 July 2021 12:17 (one week ago) link

Yeah Sharrock is with Mann's band, although that's not totally clear from the isolated clip of him they play toward the end.

I think from Europe.

RAI, so Italy.

"New York's WNEW-TV Metromedia Channel 5 (now WNYW) broadcast hour-long specials of the footage on Saturday evenings at 10:30 PM in June–August 1969."

I originally couldn't find the thread it was on, but I posted a YouTube of part of that concert on the Best track on Sly and the Family Stone's Greatest Hits (1970) thread in October 2019. The video has since disappeared.

Wouldn't disgrace a Michael Jackson (Tom D.), Monday, 26 July 2021 15:36 (one week ago) link

Good interview w Questlove about this---stream or download:
https://www.npr.org/2021/07/21/1018880730/questlove-on-summer-of-soul

dow, Tuesday, 27 July 2021 00:27 (one week ago) link


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