August 22, 2012

"Sparkle"

Entertaining movie for women.

It's a remake of the little-known 1976 backstage musical about three black sisters who form a girl group in Harlem in 1958, now restaged in 1968 Detroit. So, it's a lot like the early 1980s musical about the Supremes, Dreamgirls, but the songs are better. The new version of Sparkle keeps much of the original score by the late Curtis Mayfield, who composed the movie's songs as a follow-up to his hit score for Superfly. (A few new songs by R. Kelly are added.) 

Listening to Sparkle's first couple of talent show numbers, I realized this movie had to be a remake because Hollywood can't come up with movie songs this good anymore. Hollywood used to remake movies because the originals had turned out better than expected, like The Manchurian Candidate. But it makes more sense to remake films that flopped for fixable reasons, but have underexposed resources.

Mike Epps has the most interesting role as the show-biz villain, rather like Purple Rain's Morris Dees Day. Epps even has an albino sidekick. (Why? Because black albinos are interesting to look at. I told, you this movie is entertaining.) Epps is the bad guy whom the bad girl eldest sister is attracted to. Epps plays a black stand-up comic who is a regular on white people's TV because he tells jokes making fun of black people for being so stupid as to burn down their neighborhoods in the 1967 Detroit riots. I watched a lot of television in 1968 and can't actually recall any comedians like that, but it's an intriguing concept. 

The late Whitney Houston plays the mother of the three singers. She's a former singer who became an alcoholic, found Jesus, quit show biz, and now wants her daughters to follow a more bourgeois path through life than she did. (They live in a large, spotless how-can-they-afford-that house.)

Jordin Sparks, the winner of American Idol a half decade ago, plays the ingenue, Sparkle, who is both sweet and -- for unexplained reasons -- a pop songwriting genius in the style of Curtis Mayfield. Nor is any attempt made to explain why Sparks/Sparkle has a white accent when the rest of her family have black accents. As I pointed out four years ago, Sparks' father was an NFL cornerback and her mother is white:
Whites like blacks, but black teens these days don't like much of anything they consider white. They like just hip-hop and basketball (and, okay, football, too). Almost everything else is considered a violation of keeping it real. ... 
So, the small number of mulattos who grew up with one non-black parent and thus get introduced to a wider range of cultural options beyond rap and hoops are disproportionately taking the plums that people a generation ago assumed blacks in general would be achieving. ...
There's somebody who's an even better example of this rise of the new mulatto elite, but I can't quite think of his name at the moment. 

One interesting scene shows black teens at Thursday night bible study grooving to Eric Clapton's Cream playing  "Sunshine of Your Love" on Whitney's new color TV. That's kind of surprising because this is in contrast to Dreamgirls, in which white music is all stolen from blacks and blacks don't like any white music. I was only a kid in 1968 so I don't have a good sense of which version of history is really true. My impression is that blacks weren't as reflexively anti-white in musical ideology back then, and might well have thought that while Cream wasn't to their taste, it was still pretty cool in small doses, but I really don't know.

In reading about Curtis Mayfield on Wikipedia, it said that both Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton cited Mayfield's guitar playing for the Impressions as an influence. My guess would be that the original plan in the movie was to use a Hendrix clip, but that didn't work out for intellectual property rights reasons or whatever so they went with a Clapton clip instead.

The polemical theme of Prince's brilliant Super Bowl half time show a few years ago was that white and black America need each other musically and it was time to get over this who stole what from whom grievance, which is why he covered songs written by whites and famously covered by blacks: "All Along the Watchtower" (Dylan/Hendrix) and "Proud Mary" (Fogerty/Ike and Tina Turner). Or at least that's what I imagined Prince was arguing.

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

Black kids will be apoplectic if they ever realize that a bunch of white Hippies invented Rap back in the 60s, as documented in "The Electric Koolaid Acid Test". But I'm guessing they're not too big on reading "white" literature.

Kylie said...

"Entertaining movie for women."

Uh oh.

I know a red flag when I see one.

eah said...

OT

Australia to increase refugee intake to 20,000 annually

Australia says it will increase its intake of refugees to 20,000 a year, from the current 13,750, in line with recommendations by an expert panel.

Please note: an "expert panel" has decided that the number should be increased to exactly 20k. So don't even think of questioning this recommendation, or of having any other ideas whatsoever. I mean, who are you -- even if you happen to be Australian -- to question the result of sober deliberations by an "expert panel"?! Give me a break.

And I consult one at any and every opportunity. 'Too many cooks spoil the broth' - bah.

agnostic said...

Culturally, whites and blacks were much more on the same page in the later 1970s and '80s. Mixed-race groups hit it big during disco, but you could argue that was whites moving toward the black side, not too exceptional.

What about blacks moving toward the white side? Well Prince obviously -- 1999 is an electronic / synth album, and Purple Rain has a good dose of synth too. Black guitarist Ray Parker Jr.'s most famous song, "Ghostbusters," is dominated by synthesizers.

Then there's all those New Wave, New Romantic, Synth-Pop, etc., groups from the UK that had one or more blacks. That's a fairly white style of music. There was:

Dexy's Midnight Runners, Thompson Twins, The Beat / General Public, The Specials / Fun Boy Three, Haircut One Hundred, Culture Club, Power Station, Big Country, Dream Academy, Simple Minds, Big Audio Dynamite, Public Image Ltd (for a time), Fine Young Cannibals (if you count mulattos)... and others can chime in with those I left out.

The only American group in that style I know of is The Nails. (They did "88 Lines About 44 Women," one of those songs you'll instantly remember but never knew who sang it or what it was called).

Fittingly, when there was that brief new wave / post-punk revival in the mid-2000s, two of the main bands had a black -- the Libertines and Bloc Party (both British, as before).

Anonymous said...

Just watched a clip from the movie on Youtube. The cast clearly lacks in the diversity department. Or, put another way, it appears 100% diverse.

agnostic said...

And of course that wasn't the first time that musical groups started off being comfortable with racially mixed groups, and then later it became almost totally self-segregated.

Same happened with jazz. There was some mixing through the 1920s, but during the '30s and especially '40s and '50s, white and black mainstream musicians tended to go their separate ways.

Note that cultural integration shows the opposite pattern of physical integration. The Jazz Age saw the height of race riots in America, circa 1920. And all of those black musicians played in disco and new wave bands at a time when there was white flight to the suburbs, in the wake of major race riots.

But during the mid-century, first the Army, then a bunch of particular sectors, and finally in 1950s the whole society was physically desegregated. Same deal over the past 20 years of the PC era, anti-redlining, affirmative action, etc. Yet culturally blacks and whites lived in separate worlds during these periods.

Anonymous said...

Steve, that faux naievity is endearing, but surely you know your enemy better. There is no white rock. Bill Haley ripped the whole-thing-forever-after off a blind negro orphan in nineteen-fifty something.

Gilbert P.

Anonymous said...

Whites like blacks, but black teens these days don't like much of anything they consider white.

Actually whites don't like blacks:

http://racehist.blogspot.com/2011/08/few-of-whites-best-friends-are-black.html

"Four findings stand out. First, the few survey estimates of close adult interracial friendships may overstate their actual prevalence, especially whites’ reporting of close friendships with blacks. My results show that very few whites have black friends who are close enough to be in their wedding party (3.7%), less than all previous estimates among adults. I reasoned that estimates of cross-race friendships for whites based on the wedding party photos would be lower than those based on existing survey measures because wedding parties include only the closest friends who may often have to conform to intergenerational norms about racial contact and the expectations of extended family. Wedding parties also limit the pool of friends to a small number and cannot be exaggerated out of normative pressure. Compared with what would be expected if there were homogenous opportunity for friendships, whites are most likely to have a close E/SE Asian friend and least likely to have a black friend. These results suggest that Jackman and Crane’s (1986: p. 460) declaration using data from 1979 still rings true: “only a tiny minority of whites could rightly claim that ‘some of their best friends’ are black.”

Second, I hypothesized that there would be an asymmetry, by race, of inviting a friend to be in the wedding party and being invited to be in a friend’s wedding party, with whites being invited more than they invite friends of other races. Adjusting for group size, whites and E/SE Asians are equally likely to invite and be invited, but whites invite blacks only half as much as blacks invite whites, and E/SE Asians invite blacks only one- fifth as much as blacks invite E/SE Asians. This finding is consistent with the notion that whites are less accepting of interracial friendships, a finding that is no longer detectable in survey-based attitudinal data."

Zambo Quadroon said...

"Mulatto" .. Heh heh. Good way to show how out of date your ideas are.

From Wikipedia; 'The term is not commonly used anymore and is generally considered archaic because of its association with slavery and colonial and racial oppression; accepted modern terms include "mixed" and "biracial."'

You're a comedian.

Anonymous said...

"...which is why he covered songs written by whites and famously covered by blacks..."

Most of the "jazz standards" put into the jazz canon by black jazz musicians were written by whites. Of course a racist like Wynton Marsalis will tell you the black musicians were "improving" that sappy white music.

Anonymous said...

Whenever anyone tries the "whitey stole our music" thing, I just remind them that whitey invented all the instruments, scales, chords, and modes used in jazz, blues, and rap.

stari_momak said...

It's pretty funny that the old Saturday Night Live had a skit making fun of Pat Boone's covering a minor Ray Charles hit, when Charles's signature song was written by Hoagy Carmichael (whose version I personally prefer). Carmichael also wrote Nat King Cole's signature "Stardust".

Svigor said...

But it makes more sense to remake films that flopped for fixable reasons, but have underexposed resources.

I'd like to see them give Lynch's Dune a CG/soundFX makeover. They don't need to remake it, just give it a total makeover.

black albinos are interesting to look at

They're creepy.

Camlost said...

Curtis Mayfield was brilliant and never got the credit he deserved.

Anonymous said...

"hating" white music is something sophisticated black people do. Simple black people, like the ones in the ghetto are more impressed with the ability to produce sound that is not noise = music.

I noticed this by playing guitar on my front steps in the ghetto one day. I played all Led Zeppelin and had a bunch of black people come listen and watch.

They liked it.

This is especially true of the old black people. The ones who grew up when a guy playing guitar on the corner was common.

but I would not try this on the campus of Howard University; because some afrocentric knuckle head would attack me for playing "white music".

To sum up, the simple black people respond to you playing guitar the same way children do. They don't analyze the politics of the sound, they are impressed with you making the sound.

In other words, they are normal.

Harry Baldwin said...

My impression is that blacks weren't as reflexively anti-white in musical ideology back then, and might well have thought that while Cream wasn't to their taste, it was still pretty cool in small doses, but I really don't know.

As I recall, in the mid 1960s you didn't have different radio stations catering to blacks and whites, at least in my mid-sized market. Pop music produced by blacks was just part of the mix.

Miserable Old Brit said...

"Eric Clapton's Cream playing "Sunshine of Your Love" on Whitney's new color TV. That's kind of surprising because this is in contrast to Dreamgirls, in which white music is all stolen from blacks and blacks don't like any white music."
The unbelieveable fact is that a lot of British groups including Cream, the Rolling Stones, the Animals etc deliberately set out to "steal" (or why not say "play") black american music and believed they had succeeeded!
That's right, Mick Jagger thought he sounded like a black blues singer singing Little Red Rooster.

sunbeam said...

I have very little to add to this.

As far as what music is called "black" goes, I like or at least will tolerate anything that came along before the 90's.

Rap or hip hop, whatever you want to call it is something else. To my ears there is nothing there. A total waste of time. The very beginnings of rap, "proto-rap" like the Sugar Hill Gang are at least listenable. Later stuff isn't to me.

I don't think this is because it is designed to "get my goat."

I think it is dreck. I can't understand why anyone would listen to this, or why anyone would imitate any parts of it.

Seems like a total dead end to me. Also the image of hip hop I have is that either it is bad pop music (is there any other kind?) or bad poetry. A lot of it really isn't music in my book, just a reincarnation of poetry.

Bad poetry, but poetry nonetheless.

In my opinion blacks have been sitting it out creatively as far as music goes since the 70's.

On a semi-related note, have you ever noticed how Hollywood can't seem to get good intro music for shows anymore? If you watch the re-run shows, I am amazed at things like the Peter Gunn theme, the intro to Bonanza, and Hawaii 5-0.

These weren't anomalies, maybe it is just taste but they had much better jingle writers in the old days. Most of them today are eminently forgettable. Heck the Soul Train intro is aces compared to what we hear today.

Even more or less throw-away shows that hit it big like Batman have themes that stick with you. Or Gilligan's Island. Few people don't know the words to that one.

So what happened to the Hollywood Music people? That is a question worth asking.

Is it some generational, get off my lawn thing? My judgement is that we have crap music now, which explains why the Geritol Generation Rockers stick around so long and everyone else seem to be one hit wonders.

Heck I had no idea what Jordin Sparks was. I had heard the name, but I would never subject myself to American Idol.

The British shows that do this are so much better than ours.

Anonymous said...

Prince can be a freak but he is really quite a unique talent, who must really be disapointed in the complete split-up of American pop music, into racial and ethnic camps.

peterike said...

Agnostic, those new wave bands may have had a token black or three in them, but what percent of their audience was black? The tinniest fraction.

Whites are far, far more likely to listen to black music than the other way around. Hell, jazz would have vanished off the earth entirely by now were it to rely on a solely black audience.

MQ said...

Almost all great native American music has an element of cultural miscegenation. That obviously goes for white music -- classic early country has huge, huge blues and jazz influence. Jimmy Rogers sounds like a blues singer today, Bob Wills mixed blues, big band jazz, and traditional (white?) folk songs to make Texas swing, etc. -- but it's true for the influence back from white to black. E.g. Chuck Berry was then influenced by Bob Wills. You almost can't separate things. What influences are present in the slick orchestral yet still incredibly funky quality of Motown?

An interesting example coming out of the 70s period Steve is talking about is George Clinton / Parliament Funkadelic. A Motown group heavily influenced by psychedelic drugs, the hippie movement, and jam bands goes on to be instrumental in disco, rap, and psychedelic jam music.

Kylie said...

"Black kids will be apoplectic if they ever realize that a bunch of white Hippies invented Rap back in the 60s, as documented in "The Electric Koolaid Acid Test". But I'm guessing they're not too big on reading "white" literature."

Black kids are unlikely to realize and/or read anything that goes against the narratives prevalent in the black community. E.g., the government invented AIDS, whites stole black music, etc.

Anonymous said...

http://vjmorton.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/2011-top-10-number-10/#more-2778

Anonymous said...

Culturally, whites and blacks were much more on the same page in the later 1970s and '80s. Mixed-race groups hit it big during disco, but you could argue that was whites moving toward the black side, not too exceptional.


These days blacks have moved towards the white side in a big way, though there's a good chance they don't even realize it. Many black stars have hits with songs written for them by white song-writers. The aforementioned Jordan Sparks is a good example - check out the songwriters of her two biggest hits, Let The Music Play and Tattoo.

Truth said...

" Black kids will be apoplectic if they ever realize that a bunch of white Hippies invented Rap back in the 60s"

Well OK then.

Clutch cargo cult said...

Not sure why but your riff on Epps as the ahistorical sell out black comedian reminds me of the first few minutes of this clip featuring Brit comic Charlie Williams. In it he plays to an all white club in Rhodesia taking the piss out of both blacks and whites.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S2NKlMW0vc&feature=related

Somehow a better snapshot of black/white relations then anything hollywood would produce.

Anonymous said...

Black kids will be apoplectic if they ever realize that a bunch of white Hippies invented Rap back in the 60s, as documented in "The Electric Koolaid Acid Test". But I'm guessing they're not too big on reading "white" literature.

Rap certainly wasn't knowingly borrowed from whites as other musical forms were from blacks (blues, early rock, early electronic music, ska). A bunch of freakniks rhyming on LSD isn't inventing rap or hip hop culture for that matter. Sounds like you need to read more white literature on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Rap certainly wasn't knowingly borrowed from whites as other musical forms were from blacks (blues, early rock, early electronic music, ska)


Blues, early rock, early electronic music and ska were not "borrowed" from blacks, either knowingly or unknowingly.

Anonymous said...

"There's somebody who's an even better example of this rise of the new mulatto elite, but I can't quite think of his name at the moment."

Eric Holder

--Risto

Anonymous said...

"Dallas Blues" written by Hart Wand, was the first true blues song ever published.


within weeks of its publication [in 1912] it was heard the length of the Mississippi River, and its influence on all the blues music that followed is well documented.



So what sort of black man was this "Hart Wand" fella?

Hart A. Wand (March, 3 1887-August 9, 1960), was an American early fiddler and bandleader from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, he was of German extraction. In the musical world he is chiefly noted for publishing the "Dallas Blues" in March 1912 (copyrighted in September). "Dallas Blues" was the first ever published twelve-bar blues song.


Little is known about Wand. He was named for his maternal grandfather, Hart P. Ancker. Wand was an 89er, coming with his parents, a brother, and two sisters from Kansas at age two. His father John, an immigrant from Frankfurt, Germany, and successful druggist in Topeka, immediately after the run set up a tent drugstore in what would become Oklahoma City.

I'm willing to concede that blacks made sizable contributions to blues music, but that they "created it" after which which white men "borrowed" or "stole" it is a complete and utter crock.

pat said...

I read your earlier posting on Paul Potts and "Nessun Dorma". You said in passing that blacks have vocal advantages but just don't care for opera.

You should probably clear all your opera posts with me first.

First of all Pavarotti sang Nessun Dorma a lot and his version was quite famous but it never was his role. There is an tenor web site that has over a 150 versions of Nessun Dorma - most of them recorded well before Pavarotti came on the scene. It's always been a hit tune. The best one is probably by Daniel Barioni.

But Pavarotti was a Donizetti tenor not a dramatic. He sang it on stage but when he and Caballe appeared locally, I had tickets but skipped it. I went elsewhere that night.

The role of Calaf was written for a tenor like Franco Corelli, Mario Del Monaco or James MacCracken. The best Calaf I ever heard live was Nicola Martinucci. All real drammatics. The role is brutal. Calaf sings over the whole chorus and orchestra in the firt act, in the second act he engages in a singing contest with Turandot - a drammatic soprano. The only easy moment all evening is the third act solo Nessun Dorma. Any lyric tenor can get through it though hardly anyone else will sound as good as Pavarotti. Paul Potts is just a bad joke.

I have known many blacks who were mad to sing opera. But, in fact blacks seem to at a disadvantage in opera singing. There have only been a handfull of black male opera singers. There are now two new black Rossini tenors, but no really good black baritones or bass-baritones since Simon Estes. There has never been a top flight operatic black bass. The women have done better Lyontine Price and Martina Arroyo were as good as any white soprano ever was. The same was true for the lighter voices of Reri Grist and Kathleen Battle. Marian Anderson, however, was a concert singer not an opera singer.

Albertosaurus

rob said...

Zambo, both 'biracial' and 'mixed' are much less clear than mulatto. Biracial does not specify the two races, and just 'bout anything can be mixed. Even the widely widely disparaged halfrican is better than either: at least it names half of the admixture.

Truth said...

""Dallas Blues" written by Hart Wand, was the first true blues song ever published. "

LMAO; "Published" being the operative word. the first Jazz record published was made by white guys too. Now, if you tell me that the first guy on the Delta complaining about how hard his life was with a harmonica in his mouth was a kraut from OK, then we have something.

Seneca said...

"Anonymous said...
Whenever anyone tries the "whitey stole our music" thing, I just remind them that whitey invented all the instruments, scales, chords, and modes used in jazz, blues, and rap."

Actually, the five note pentatonic scale used in blues and rock is of African origin I believe.

The biggest difference between Western traditional music and African originated music is the African emphasis on the up beat rather than the down beat and the poly rhythmic nature of African music (layering one rhythm on top of the other).

American's of both races should be proud of the fact that if the races had not mixed in the U.S. the world would not have blues, jazz, soul, or rock. It was American slaves being exposed to Western harmony and melody (Western music had more sophisticated scales and the concept of harmony) in traditional church songs which gave birth to these traditions.

I would guess that Country and Western, Blue Grass, and Swing forms of music traditionally associated with U.S. Southern and Western Whites were also a result of a cross fertilization of some kind.

What is interesting is that the early White contribution to jazz is almost completely buried (courtesy of Ken Burns et. al.) in history.

For example, when African American Lester Young, possibly the most influential jazz tenor player ever, was asked who his inspiration was in a 1940s Downbeat interview he responded with the name Frankie Baumgartner a White "high society" jazz player of German origin famous in the 1920s.

There were also a lot of mixed race (who had both White and Black members) funk groups in the 1960s and early 1970s ...many in fact: Tower of Power, Cold Blood, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Sly and the Family Stone, Brother to Brother, Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters, Mother's Finest... etc...

There was even some all White funk bands like Wild Cherry (of "Play that funky music White Boy" fame) and Edgar Winter's White Trash (brother of Johnny Winter) who sold a lot of records in the Black community.

White Trash had a live show at the Apollo which was immortalized on a double LP and the Harlem audience you can hear was grooving on them.

I knew a few Blacks back in the day who loved these groups.

I am not sure what has happened to Black/White relations in the U.S. but it seems to have gone down hill and fragmented particularly in the music sphere though I guess there are a few White cross over artists in rap (M&M for instance) and hip hop or whatever they are calling it these days.

Anyways, that's my two cents for what it is worth.

Anonymous said...

"One interesting scene shows black teens at Thursday night bible study grooving to Eric Clapton's Cream playing 'Sunshine of Your Love' on Whitney's new color TV. That's kind of surprising because this is in contrast to Dreamgirls, in which white music is all stolen from blacks and blacks don't like any white music."


Who wrote the script? Movie reality is never real reality. I mean consider the mountain-sized Negro in GREEN MILE who just loooooves his wittle white mouse.

That said, there never was a single white America or a single black America. So, while most blacks didn't go for white rock, some did, especially in the late 60s and early 70s when Rock music seemed to be the baddest music around. Consider the greatest black rocker of the 60s was Hendrix who played what was closer to 'white rock'. He even had two white guys backing him up. Also, guys like Otis Redding showed up at Monterey, and blacks who went to see Redding got to see other stuff too and came to dig it.
Though much of rock music was grounded in blues, blues had remained traditional. And Jazz had become passe by the late 60s, which is why Miles Davis played a new kind of rock jazz to white crowds with BITCHES BREW.

Granted, not all kinds of white rock appealed to blacks. Country rock--Grateful Dead, Crosby Still Nash, etc--didn't appeal to blacks. And most blacks weren't into Beatles either. But blacks would come to Stones concerts and check things out.

Those were heady days when things were more up in the air due to anti-war protests, nomadic youths, drug culture, radical movements, and etc. Regardless of which side appealed to the other side first, there were bridges founded on seemingly common interests. But when the fires of radicalism burnt out, the war ended, and politics got splintered with the rise of feminism and gay liberation, the bridges among the cultures faded away, and people started to go back or revert to their separate ways(especially with increasing white flight to the suburbs).

Anonymous said...

In the late 60s, there were bridges not only between whites and blacks but between whites and India(Asia)--with interest in Eastern mysticism --and bridges between whites and American Indians. When was the last time you heard of white people wanting to touch Indians? Perhaps, most of these overtures were white-to-black, white-to-India, white-to-American-Indians, and etc, but it went the other way too. If you build a bridge, you not only go to the other side, but the other side comes across checks your side out.
But in the end, India turned out to be too dirty, American Indians turned out to be too boring, and blacks turned out to be too dangerous. And so whites burned their bridges, and non-whites also went their separate ways. There's no one like George Harrison to be leading a concert for Bangladesh. there's Thomas Friedman promoting India as part of the Flat World, but then Indians are praised for being just-like-us than for offering something different.

The changes are also reflected in the relationship between Jews and blacks. Many Jews and blacks mixed in the 60s politically, culturally, and etc. David Horowitz used to hang with the Panthers. Though most Jews remained liberal, many grew disillusioned with black politics and manners. So, even as the Jewish-black alliance was maintained, most Jews and most blacks no longer mixed like they had in the late 60s and early 70s. In DESTRUCTIVE GENERATION, Horowitz wrote of Fay Stender, a Jewish leftist who went out of her way--even put her life on the line--to defend some black 'revolutionary' in Soledad prison. She went fully over to the black side.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fay_Stender

We don't really find alliances like that anymore. Instead, Jews live in their own privileged and enclosed world and hire/recruit their Haute Negro in the form of fancy clean-cut Obama to show off their 'commitment' to 'diversity' and 'equality'.

I suppose the sexual bridge between black(males) and white(females) is much bigger than before, but it's pure animalism and has nothing to do with ideals and hopes as dreamed in the 60s. From dreaming to reaming.

peterike said...

From Wikipedia; 'The term [mulatto] is not commonly used anymore and is generally considered archaic because of its association with slavery and colonial and racial oppression; accepted modern terms include "mixed" and "biracial."'

Translation: you WILL bow to PC oppression and Orwellian language manipulation, or you shall be judged guilty of CrimeThink.

All the more reason to use "mulatto" every chance you get.

Anonymous said...

Tying this thread to Steve's sports/steroids screeds, the white bass player for Tower of Power: Victor Conte, the owner of BALCO, PED supplier to the stars.

Anonymous said...

the first Jazz record published was made by white guys too

You got a cite for that?


the first guy on the Delta complaining about how hard his life was

LMAO. I know this must be a mind-blowing concept to you self-absorbed blacks, but people were having hard lives, and were writing songs about those hard lives, long before the first black slave set foot in North America. The notion that writing songs about how life sucked was some remarkable black innovation is just comical.

I notice that blacks in Africa, were life sucks a good deal more than it does in America, never managed to "create" blues music. Or any other music worth a damn.

Anonymous said...

the five note pentatonic scale used in blues and rock is of African origin I believe


Ha, ha.

Examples of use of pentatonic scales include Celtic folk music, Hungarian folk music, West African music, African-American spirituals, Gospel music, American folk music, Jazz, American blues music, rock music, Sami joik singing, children's song, the music of ancient Greece[3][4] and the Greek traditional music and songs from Epirus, Northwest Greece, music of Southern Albania, folk songs of peoples of the Middle Volga area (such as the Mari, the Chuvash and Tatars), the tuning of the Ethiopian krar and the Indonesian gamelan, Philippine kulintang, Native American music, melodies of Korea, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, China and Vietnam (including the folk music of these countries), the Andean music, the Afro-Caribbean tradition, Polish highlanders from the Tatra Mountains, and Western Impressionistic composers such as French composer Claude Debussy.[citation needed] Examples of its use include Chopin's Etude in G-flat major, op. 10, no. 5, the "Black Key" etude,[1] presumably in the major pentatonic.

Note that all pentatonic scales are "five note". That's what "pentatonic" means.

Where blacks and music are concerned, many otherwise intelligent people turn into complete idiots willing to believe transparent nonsense. It's really odd.

Compared to black under-representation in other intellectual fields, they actually do rather well in music. Still, they only do about as well as their share of the population suggests they should. But many people who should know better are under the impression that blacks are to music what Europeans are to physics. And that just ain't so.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the five note pentatonic scale used in blues and rock is of African origin I believe.

Actually, the pentatonic scale can be found in just about every musical culture around the world, from Chinese to Scottish to Inuit. And no, they didn't steal it from the Africans.

Anonymous said...

All the more reason to use "mulatto" every chance you get.

You'll come off as seeming gay if you did that.

Truth said...

" But many people who should know better are under the impression that blacks are to music what Europeans are to physics..."

Semitic Europeans?

"
You'll come off as seeming gay if you did that."

I think you mean "Ghey."

Truth said...

You got a cite for that?"

Yes.

"...people were having hard lives, and were writing songs about those hard lives, long before the first black slave set foot in North America."

Yes, and European composers were writing concertos at their country homes long before your great-great-great-great-granddaddy started his indentured servitude; that doesn't mean that they are considered "country" artists, now does it, Sport?

Anonymous said...

European composers were writing concertos at their country homes long before your great-great-great-great-granddaddy started his indentured servitude; that doesn't mean that they are considered "country" artists, now does it?


What is that even supposed to mean?

Oh, I forgot - you being you, it was just a silly attempt at snark and completely devoid of any intellectual content, or even of any attempt at intellectual content.

Anonymous said...

Gilligan invents rap!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTSrde9IJ9g

Anonymous said...

"Where blacks and music are concerned, many otherwise intelligent people turn into complete idiots willing to believe transparent nonsense. It's really odd.

Compared to black under-representation in other intellectual fields, they actually do rather well in music. Still, they only do about as well as their share of the population suggests they should. But many people who should know better are under the impression that blacks are to music what Europeans are to physics. And that just ain't so."


ROTFLMAO

Case study in over excitability and projection.

Ad Hominem much?

Got some issues and a little little thin skinned are you?

No problem the posters on the board can roll with it.

josh said...

Re Anonymous:"...blacks would come to Stones concerst and check things out...". Like the poor guy at Altamont?

Anonymous said...

Case study in over excitability and projection.

Ad Hominem much?

Got some issues and a little little thin skinned are you?



Now that is "thin-skinned, ad hominen, excitability and projection".

Pointing out that blacks are represented in music in proportion with their share of the population is none of those things.

Anonymous said...

"You got a cite for that?"


Yes.

Only Troot would think that it bolsters his case for The Black Origins of Music in America to point out that many early jazzmen were white.

Cue his next bizarre non sequitur response involving European aristocrats and Jews.

Anonymous said...

ROTFLMAO


Says the person who thought that the pentatonic scale was of African origin.

Another Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Actually, the five note pentatonic scale used in blues and rock is of African origin I believe.

Actually, the pentatonic scale can be found in just about every musical culture around the world, from Chinese to Scottish to Inuit. And no, they didn't steal it from the Africans."

I think you missed the point of the post because of musical ignorance (and perhaps excessive immodesty and failure to recognize your own intellectual limitations).

There are numerous five tone scales of different “types” (i.e. using different five note combinations which are virtually infinite in combination) from different cultures and anyone who is musically literate would know this.

The “type” of pentatonic scale used in American blues and rock music is what is different from Western traditions.

The so called “blues pentatonic” type of pentatonic scale used in American blues and rock music has a flatted third (the third note is lowered a half step) and a sharp fourth or flatted fifth (the fourth note is raised or the fifth note lowered a half step) in addition to three other notes is African derived. That's a fact musicologists accept (different cultures have used different pentatonic scales).

Just use your common sense and your ears, where in the history of Western music in Bach, Beethoven, etc… do you hear a reliance on a blues pentatonic scale?

It’s easy really if you have any training. You don’t.

You can still be proud to be White, while giving Blacks some credit for contributions they made to the American historical experience particularly in music.

Whites like you, who are too anxious too discredit any Black contribution are the ugly flip side of SWPL Ken Burns types who never met a Black who wasn’t an all suffering saint or the Afro-Centric posters on the web who think that Egyptians went to the moon and that Whites stole all their technology. Yikes.

I am White, but you are just as much of a turn off to me as the other two aforementioned groups.

Anonymous said...

Semitic Europeans?


So we can add physics to the long list of topics you are not qualified to speak of.

You're the sort of black man who gives black men a bad name. Or maybe you're a Stormfronter trying to make blacks look stupid? If so, it's working.

Seneca said...

Another Anonymous said

"I think you missed the point of the post because of musical ignorance (and perhaps excessive immodesty and failure to recognize your own intellectual limitations)."

Yes, I agree the anonymous posters who think that the different pentatonic scales used by different cultures are all identical and for that reason Africa is not the source of the "type" of pentatonic scale used in American blues and jazz music because of some Wikipedia article they grossly misunderstood are imbeciles of the highest order.

By that I mean it is rare that someone can be so grotesquely stupid and yet so full of themselves at the same time.

See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blues_scale for a partial but incomplete discussion of the African origins of the "blues scale" or the five note pentatonic scales used in jazz and rock music.

riches said...

Sadly, the usual sophisticated comments aren't as abundant on this topic.

I think commenter Seneca means Frankie Trumbauer.

And the guy who was wowing the ghetto youts with his Zep guitar riffs was able to do so for the same reason Clapton and the Rascals’ insipid “Groovin’” were urban hits. The label for these white acts was Atlantic Records which had a long open door at r&b stations..

Seneca said...

"riches said...
Sadly, the usual sophisticated comments aren't as abundant on this topic.

I think commenter Seneca means Frankie Trumbauer."


Yup, your right thanks!

Anonymous said...

See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blues_scale for a partial but incomplete discussion of the African origins of the "blues scale"


There is no "African origin" for the "blues scale".

Anonymous said...

You can still be proud to be White, while giving Blacks some credit for contributions they made to the American historical experience particularly in music


I give blacks credit for their considerable contributions to music. It's just that "creating the blues" is not one of those contributions. Nor is creating the "five note pentatonic scale", which was your original suggestion.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blues_scale


The hexatonic, or six note, blues scale consists of the minor pentatonic scale plus the ♯4th or ♭5th degree[1][2][3]. A major feature of the blues scale is the use of blue notes,[4] however, since blue notes are considered alternative inflections, a blues scale may be considered to not fit the traditional definition of a scale.[5] At its most basic, a single version of this "blues scale" is commonly used over all changes (or chords) in a twelve bar blues progression.


Note that the first recorded instance of a blues song with a twelve bar blues progression was in "Dallas Blues", mentioned above. Claims that this was some sort of ancient African cultural practice are not supported.

The heptatonic, or seven note, conception of the "blues scale" is as a diatonic scale (a major scale) with lowered third, fifth, and seventh degrees[7] and blues practice is derived from the "conjunction of 'African scales' and the diatonic western scales.

There is zero historical support for the idea that "blacks created the blues", or that "blacks created the five note pentatonic scale", or that "blacks created the twelve bar blues progression", or any similar claims. Your own link fails to make such a claim.

Anonymous said...

See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blues_scale for a partial but incomplete discussion of the African origins of the "blues scale"


If by "partial but incomplete" you mean "non-existent", sure.

Severn said...

I agree the anonymous posters who think that the different pentatonic scales used by different cultures are all identical and for that reason Africa is not the source of the "type" of pentatonic scale used in American blues and jazz music because of some Wikipedia article they grossly misunderstood are imbeciles of the highest order.


Sorry, Charlie, I don't see any person here who has expressed the belief that "the different pentatonic scales used by different cultures are all identical". Perhaps that makes you the "imbecile of the highest order"?


Africa is .. the source of the "type" of pentatonic scale used in American blues and jazz


If you think that to be the case then you are of course free to introduce evidence to support that contention.

Or you can continue to use this "argument from authority" in which you claim to be the authority.

Anonymous said...

I notice that blacks in Africa, were life sucks a good deal more than it does in America, never managed to "create" blues music. Or any other music worth a damn.

You hadn't really "noticed" that so much as assumed that.

Severn said...

The best evidence we have is that "the blues" originated in America around 1900. Perhaps the late 19th century at the earliest. It's not of African origin. (Which is not the same thing as saying that it has zero African or African-American influence, before some people have a heart attack)

The lack of ancient blues songs of unknown origin supports this. If "the blues" were being played in 1800 or 1700 there should be some surviving blues music from that time. In folk music "John Barleycorn" is believed to have originated in the 16th century at the latest. If blues were really old there should be some really old blues songs floating around.

Of course some people are playing fast and loose with definitions. I notice that at least some commentators use "blues music" interchangeably with "the music played by black people". So by this definition, whatever music blacks in America were playing in (let's say) 1776 was "blues". But I assume we want to be a little more stringent than that.

Nobody knows who "created the blues". It's impossible to attribute its creation to any one person or even small group of persons. Like many other genres of music, the blues are a mixing of several different influences. W.C Hardy, the "Father of The Blues", "was an educated musician who used folk material in his compositions. He was scrupulous in documenting the sources of his works, which frequently combined stylistic influences from several performers. He loved this folk musical form and brought his own transforming touch to it."

Anonymous said...

You hadn't really "noticed" that so much as assumed that.

You are free to correct a mistaken assumption on my part - if you can. But if you could, you'd have done so already.

Seneca said...

Severn and the other White-Centric folk,

You and the others can continue thinking African-Americans had nothing to do with the creation of the blues which directly led to rock, etc.. or that the blues pentatonic scale is indigenous to Western music traditions and that the scale has nothing to do with the pentatonic scales used in West Africa...

I think I understand where you are coming from now.

I get it ... White people created it and Blacks stole it!

Good luck with that argument...

Hope you meet up with the Afro-Centric people who think Whites stole their space technology.

I expect a real good time will be had by all.

Don't forget to take your meds before the get together.

Wouldn't want things to get out of hand.

Good luck!

Truth said...

"Oh, I forgot - you being you, it was just a silly attempt at snark and completely devoid of any intellectual content, or even of any attempt at intellectual content."

Well, I guess I have to explain it to you, now don't I?

The earlier poster, (or you, whatever) insinuated that someone singing about hard times was making "blues" music. I countered that one making music in the country is not exactly making "country" music. Not really complex.

Truth said...

"Only Troot would think that it bolsters his case for The Black Origins of Music in America to point out that many early jazzmen were white."

OK, now I'm physically ill.

"So we can add physics to the long list of topics you are not qualified to speak of."

Excellent comeback, loved the stats and examples you used to support your brilliant thesis.

Miserable Old Brit said...

Pity the greatest racially-mixed group of all time seems to be forgotten. When Louis Armstrong's All Stars first formed in 1947 Jack Teagarden played trombone and sang some great duets with Louis. Barney Bigard was one of those New Orleans Creoles who were rather prominent among jazz clarinettists.

Severn said...

You and the others can continue thinking African-Americans had nothing to do with the creation of the blues


You are an completely illiterate. NOBODY has said that "African-Americans had nothing to do with the creation of the blues". On the contrary, I've said that they did have something to do with it. I'm just pointing out that the notion that African-Americans single-handedly "created" the blues out of nothing is incorrect.


I think I understand where you are coming from now.


Given your demonstrated inability to read and comprehend simple English sentences, I doubt that very much indeed.


I get it ... White people created it and Blacks stole it.


So you're assuming that I'm as stupid and dishonest as you are with your "Black people created it and White people stole it" line. But as usual you are wrong. I've never claimed that "White people created it and black people stole it".

Severn said...

If anybody had a single shred of solid evidence to support the claim about how the "blues pentatonic scale" originated in West Africa, they'd have produced it by now.

Mr. Anon said...

"Truth said...

""But many people who should know better are under the impression that blacks are to music what Europeans are to physics..."

Semitic Europeans?"

Right. All physics was invented by jews - jews, right out of the ghetto, like Newton, Planck, Maxwell, Helmholtz, and Heisenberg.

In typical ignorant fashion, the auto-idiot known as "Truth" thinks that all physicists were jews because Einstein was, and that's the only physicst he's ever heard of.

"So we can add physics to the long list of topics you are not qualified to speak of."

Yes. Ask "Truth" about his water fueled car.

Anonymous said...

If I were black I would be pissed about all these whites that can´t admit that black music is good, perhaps at their peak even better than white music.

It doesn´t matter who invented the pentatonic scale or whatever gibberish, that is the white claim to fame musically ( of course I realize whites enormous contribution to music). It would be like Chinese saying "whites really aren´t good and war and conquest because we invented gun powder". That would sound stupid right??

This goes for athleticism as well. Watch the NBA dunking contest and say with a straight face that blacks aren´t physically more capable. It can´t be done honestly...

As a believer in HBD, I am confortable admitting these things. At the same time I realize that whites put other races to shame in many ways, due to their superiority in so many ways...

Truth said...

"In typical ignorant fashion, the auto-idiot known as "Truth" thinks that all physicists were jews because Einstein was, and that's the only physicst he's ever heard of."

Not true, Grasshopper, you have a PHD in physics and I've heard of you and all your excellent work...

...Oh wait, no, I haven't, scratch that.

Anonymous said...

If I were black I would be pissed about all these whites that can´t admit that black music is good,


Who are "all these whites" you speak of? I don't see any such people on this thread. Some black music is good, some is not. I am under no obligation to pretend that every song written by a black person is good, any more than I am under an obligation to pretend that every song written by a white person is good.


It doesn´t matter who invented the pentatonic scale or whatever gibberish, that is the white claim to fame musically ( of course I realize whites enormous contribution to music). It would be like Chinese saying "whites really aren´t good and war and conquest because we invented gun powder". That would sound stupid right??


That does sound stupid, right, though I suspect not in the sense you intended. Thee is not any doubt that the Chinese were the first to discover gunpowder. There is considerable doubt about who first played a pentatonic scale, or a blues pentatonic scale.


This goes for athleticism as well. Watch the NBA dunking contest

What on Earth does that have to do with the topic here?


As a believer in HBD, I am confortable admitting these things


As a believer in HBD I am comfortable in admitting the truth. The truth is that there is zero basis for the claims that "blacks invented the blues".

If any of the people who insist on the contrary position had any facts whatsoever to support that position, you'd be citing those facts. Instead all you have is attitude.

Anonymous said...

You are free to correct a mistaken assumption on my part - if you can. But if you could, you'd have done so already.

Or you could just do a simple Google search.

Anonymous said...

Or you could just do a simple Google search.


Or you could just do a "simple Google search". Surely somewhere out there on the internet there is some website with some Afrocentric writers claiming that blacks invented twelve-bar blues music? It's sort of pathetic that you cannot find somebody - even a crank - to support your views. You are reduced to asking your opponent to please-please-please do your research for you.

Anonymous said...

"I watched a lot of television in 1968 and can't actually recall any comedians like that, but it's an intriguing concept."

It's not exactly the same, but I remember watching Stu Gilliam on The Dean Martin Variety Show doing a fairly funny routine in which he mocked his wife's silly Afrocentrism.

Anonymous said...

Sinead O'Conner did pretty well covering Prince's, "Nothing Compares 2 U." Blacks secretly like Steely Dan, I read it on the SBPL website. The first Rap song was "Reeling In The Years".

Anonymous said...

"I notice that blacks in Africa, were life sucks a good deal more than it does in America, never managed to "create" blues music. Or any other music worth a damn.

[...]

Or you could just do a "simple Google search". Surely somewhere out there on the internet there is some website with some Afrocentric writers claiming that blacks invented twelve-bar blues music? It's sort of pathetic that you cannot find somebody - even a crank - to support your views. You are reduced to asking your opponent to please-please-please do your research for you."


-

Did blacks "invent" lamenting about hard times? No, nobody really did. But this culturally specific subjective expression of a universal experience is what made the music distinctive and broadly appealing. Just to be clear, I'm not one of the Anons claiming blacks gave birth the blues scale or 12 bar blues or whatever. The question of their racial genesis is utterly irrelevant to me. Art is inseparable from the people who actually make it. Blues be black music.

Though it almost goes without saying the difference between old school white "country" and black "blues" was often just labeling.

Anyway, my contention is with the idea that Africans never created any "music worth a damn". Why should I waste "research" time on a glib, easily falsifiable remark like that? Music is a huge part of African cultures. Of the Africa-invented genres, Afrobeat is most famous. A single Nigerian musician created an entire music genre out of jazz, funk, chants, traditional african music and political protest. You could easily discover all this by typing "African music genres" or something into Google. Let me do so again... Oh!—Here's a list of genres you didn't bother to find!

Hence my equally glib but accurate response that a simple Google search would be sufficient

unix said...

""But many people who should know better are under the impression that blacks are to music what Europeans are to physics..."

Semitic Europeans?"

Right. All physics was invented by jews - jews, right out of the ghetto, like Newton, Planck, Maxwell, Helmholtz, and Heisenberg.

In typical ignorant fashion, the auto-idiot known as "Truth" thinks that all physicists were jews because Einstein was, and that's the only physicst he's ever heard of."

That is so true. The Germans and French were making huge strides in physics during the 19th century, and there weren't many Jews involved before the 20th century. There weren't any Jews involved (at least directly), in German physics and technological advances after the 1930s. Don't underestimate the Germans. Thousands were snapped up by America and Russia after WWII to get their space programs going. NASA was headed by Werner von Braun, after all, brought over in Operation Paperclip.

Severn said...

Art is inseparable from the people who actually make it. Blues be black music.


As I pointed out earlier, there are some people for whom "blues" means "whatever music blacks make". So it's pointless to get into a discussion of the origin of the blues which these people, because their definition is so circular - black people made and make blues, because blues is what black people made and make.

Using this definition, any "blues music" made by whites - like the song "Dallas Blues" mentioned above - is not really blues music.

I wonder how far you'd be willing to extend that line of thought though. If "art is inseparable from the people who actually make it", then surely "rock-n-roll be white music"?


Though it almost goes without saying the difference between old school white "country" and black "blues" was often just labeling.


Indeed. White and black musicians in America were borrowing ideas from one another right from the beginning. Which is why we can speak of the black influence on blues music, but not that they "created it" out of their own heads.

It seems significant that the quintessential "black" musical instrument - the banjo - is now mostly used in "white" blue-grass music while the quintessential musical instrument of "black" blues music is the white mans guitar.


my contention is with the idea that Africans never created any "music worth a damn".


It's hard to quantify musical worth. But we can say that African music has essentially zero commercial worth - people aren't willing to pay money for it. On some level that has to be a reflection on the music itself.


Here's a list of genres you didn't bother to find!


Most of these are not "African" genres at all. Reggae is not African, for instance, it's influences include American rock, jazz, and blues. The ones which are truly African, like makossa, have as much worldwide musical impact as Mongolian folk music. I think it's safe to say that Africans in Africa do not display any particular musial genius.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to quantify musical worth. But we can say that African music has essentially zero commercial worth - people aren't willing to pay money for it. On some level that has to be a reflection on the music itself.

Have you looked at the Top 100 Billboard recently? The financial value of music is completely determined by the short-term tastes of middle class teenagers. Many American bands I love aren't on the list and never be because they don't appeal to America's teenage zeitgeist.

Most of these are not "African" genres at all. Reggae is not African, for instance, it's influences include American rock, jazz, and blues.

Music genres aren't born of nothing. They all have obvious aural and cultural "influences". Early rock and roll sounds a lot like R&B, blues and country. No surprise. They all grew up listening to and performing that music.

Severn said...

Many American bands I love aren't on the list and never be because they don't appeal to America's teenage zeitgeist.

Do any of these American bands you love play makossa? Unless they do I don't see your point.


Music genres aren't born of nothing. They all have obvious aural and cultural "influences"

That they are not born out of nothing is the point I've been making all through this thread. The "influences" are only obvious for music in the modern era - the 20th century and later. It's not so obvious what the influences were for older genres of music - for folk, country, blues, jazz, etc. It's obvious that folk influenced blues. Some people have clamed that blues was also influenced by the songs slaves sang, but there's no hard evidence to support that.

Anonymous said...

Many American bands I love aren't on the list and never be because they don't appeal to America's teenage zeitgeist.

-

Do any of these American bands you love play makossa? Unless they do I don't see your point.


Commercial value has nothing to do with the intrinsic worth of music.