As protests in America erupt following yet another violent death of an unarmed man of colour at the hands of a gung-ho American cop, I spent a while thinking this morning about how to react and how to support the Black Lives Matter cause. The best way would be to use my Just Backdated blog, which gets between three and four hundreds hits a day, sometimes more when I can somehow link it to a fan site.
Scanning the blog, however, I find that posts about black acts are pretty rare, the last being my tribute to Little Richard earlier this month, but in truth 25 out of a total of 806 posts, about 3%, is way too small really. Those posts constitute a category down the right hand side of page that I called ‘Soul/R&B/Mobo’ but the reality, of course, is that well over half my posts are probably either about Music Of Black Origin or, more precisely, about acts that perform Music Of Black Origin, most of them white.
In an attempt to remedy this I decided to look at the iTunes folder on my laptop and check how many black acts were there. Turns out there’s well over 300, a decent amount and if I was sympathetic to rap music and what passes for R&B these days, which I’m not, there’d be a lot more. I suspect there’s way more black acts than white acts but in terms of actual songs the white acts dominate. Of the black acts, only a handful – Hendrix, Prince, Al Green, Sam Cooke, Bob Marley, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Otis Redding, Miles Davis, maybe one or two more – seem to have lots of songs but none really compare to the amounts of songs I have by the likes of The Who, Presley, Bowie, Beatles, R.E.M. etc. (The total number of songs is now 20,575.)
This is obviously because I have downloaded loads of Various Artists CDs in the blues, reggae and soul genres and the result is that I have a far wider selection of black acts than white ones, which I found interesting. I also noted that these downloaded CDs, especially the reggae ones, have been played as much as, if not more than, most other CDs. For the record, here’s all the black acts I could find in my iTunes folder. I may have missed some. An asterisk indicates a mixed band. And this list is the best way I can think of to say that Black Lives Matter.
Aaron Neville, The Abyssinians, Admiral Bailey, Al Green, Albert King, Alicia Keys, All Saints, The Alley Cats, Althea and Donna, Ann Peebles, Anoushka Shankar, Apache Indian, Archie Bell & The Drells, Aretha Franklin, Art Blakey, Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup, Arthur Alexander, Arthur Conley, Aswad, Average White Band*
BB King, Barbara Lewis, The Bay-Kays, The Beat*, Beenie Man, Ben E. King, Benny Spellman, Betty Everett, Betty Wright, Big Bill Broonzy, Big Joe Turner, Big Joe Williams, Billie Holiday, Billy Preston, Billy Stewart, Black Uhuru, Blind John Davis, Blind John Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Blue Mink*, Bo Diddley, Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers, Booker T & The MGs, Booker T, Brook Benton, Buddy Guy, Buena Vista Social Club, Buju Banton, Bukka White, Burning Spear
Cab Calloway, Cannonball Adderley, The Capitols, The Capris, Carla Thomas, Cassandra Wilson, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Champion Jack Dupree, Charlie Parker, The Chantels, Charly Black, Chic, The Checkmates, Chubby Checker , Chuck Berry, Chuck Willis, Clarence Carter, The Cleftones, The Clovers, Clyde McPhatter, The Coasters, Cole Stevens, The Contours, The Cookies, The Crests*, The Crystals, Curtis Lee, Curtis Mayfield
Damien Marley, Dandy Livingstone, Darlene Love, Dave & Ansel Collins, Dawn Penn, The Del Vikings*, The Dells, Dennis Brown, Deon Jackson, Desmond Decker, Desperados Steel Band, Detroit Emeralds, Diana Ross, Dinah Washington, The Dixie Cups, Dobie Grey, Don Covay, Donald Byrd, Donny Hathaway, Doris Troy, Dorothy Moore, The Drifters, Duke Ellington
Earth, Wind & Fire, Eartha Kitt, Eddie Floyd, Eddie Holland, Eddie Taylor, Eek-A-Mouse, Ella Fitzgerald, Elmore James, Emile Ford & The Checkmates, The Equals*, Eric Donaldson, The Esquires, Esther Phillips, Etta James
Fats Domino, Fats Waller, Fine Young Cannibals*, The Fi-Tones, 5 Royales, The Five Satins, The Flamingoes, Fontella Bass, The Foundations*, The Four Tops, Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, Fun Boy Three, Funkaldelic
Garnet Mimms, Gene Allison, Gene Chandler, Geno Washington, George McCrae
Gladys Knight & The Pips, Glamma Kid, Grandmaster Flash, Gregory Isaacs
Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes, The Harptones, Harry Belafonte, Harry J Allstars, The Heptones, Herbie Hancock, Horace Parlan, Howlin’ Wolf
I Roy, Ike & Tin Turner, The Impressions, The Ink Spots, Inner Circle, Irma Thomas, Isaac Hayes
JB Lenior, Jackie Wilson, Jackson 5, James Brown, James Eastwood, Janet Kay, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Cliff, Jimmy Reed, Jimmy Ruffin, Joe Tex, John Coltrane, John Lee Hooker, John Legend, Johnny Nash, Josh White, Junior Walker, Junior Byles, Junior Kelly, Junior Murvin
Kamasi Washington, Ken Boothe, Kevin Lyttle, Kim Weston, Koko Taylor, Larry Williams, Lavern Baker, Leadbelly, Lee Scratch Perry, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Li’L Millet, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Little Junior Parker, Little Milton, Little Richard, Little Walter, Lloyd Price, Luis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, Lowell Fulsom
M People*, Mabel John, Marc Seales, The Mar-Kays, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, The Marvelettes, Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells, Mavis Staples, Max Romeo, Maxine Brown, The Melodians, Memphis Minnie, Memphis Slim, Michael Jackson, Mighty Diamond, Mikey Dread, Miles Davis, Minnie Riperton, The Miracles, Miriam Makeba, Mississippi John Hurt, The Moonglows, Muddy Waters
Nat King Cole, Neville Brothers, Nikhil Bannerjee, Nicky Thomas, Nina Simone, Norah Jones, Notch (Norman Howell),
The O’Jays, The Orioles, Oscar Peterson, Otis Redding, Otis Rush, Otis Spann
PP Arnold, The Paragons, The Penguins, Percy Sledge, Peter Tosh, Prince, Prince Far I
Ramsey Lewis, Ravi Shankar, Ray Charles, Rita Marley, Robert Johnson, The Ronettes, Ruth Brown
Sade, Sam & Dave, Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Scott Joplin, Scotty, The Selector, Shabba Ranks, Shaggy, The Shirelles, Sister Nancy, Sister Sledge, Skip Marley, Sleepy John Estes, The Slickers, Slim Harpo, Sly & The Family Stone, Sly & Robbie, Smokey Robinson, Solitaires, Solomon Burke, Sonny Boy Williamson, Sophia George, The Soul Stirrers, The Specials, The Spinners, The Staples Singers, Stephen Marley, Stevie Wonder, Sugar Minott, Super Cat, The Supremes
Tanto Metro & Devonte, Tarrus Riley, The Temptations, Thelonious Monk, Third World, Tina Turner, Tony Tribe, Toots & The Maytells,
UB40*, Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan
The Valentinos, Village People *, The Vocaleers, Wes Montgomery, Wilbert Harrison, Wilson Picket, William Bell, Womack Brothers
Yabby You, Yellowman, Ziggy Marley
The only way to follow this list would be to list those acts who wouldn't be where they are if it wasn't for Music Of Black Origin having given them the impetus to become musicians in the first place. But that's for another day. Remember: Black Lives - And Black Music - Matter.