Friday, March 16, 2007

Name this singer, win a prize.

To cleanse the palate after a week’s worth of “N-word” talk, here’s another quick contest…

Click here to listen to this week’s mystery song. (No “N-words” in it. Quite the opposite, in fact.)

The first person to post the singer’s correct name in the comments section will win a prize. That prize is the new eighth edition of the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings. It’s fun to read and is indispensable for those who want to beef up their jazz collections.

But I warn you, this is a tough one.

UPDATE (03/17/07): We have a winner. Dougfp correctly identified the singer as Elaine Brown. She also wrote the song, titled “Very Black Man.” It appears on her 1969 LP “Seize the Time,” made while she was a junior officer of the Black Panther Party. She eventually became its chairman.

“Seize the Time” is a fascinating artifact of the Black Power movement. It’s as much propaganda as art. With music arranged by L.A. bandleader and activist Horace Tapscott, the album is worth listening to for its jazz/blues/gospel flavors alone. But there’s a quality to Brown’s voice and delivery that intrigues me.

“Seize the Time” has been reissued on CD. Brown also wrote a Black Panther memoir in 1992.

Elaine Brown is still active in far-left politics. She plans to seek the Green Party’s nomination for president of the United States. (Her website is here.)

9 comments:

Dougfp said...

Elaine Brown..."Very Black Man"...

Undercover Black Man said...

Well done, Doug! I didn't think even most jazz fans would've heard of this one.

How did you come to know about it?

Dougfp said...

Well, I used to run with Elaine and the Panthers back in the '60s when I was briefly known as Doug X.

But the internet helped a little...

Undercover Black Man said...

You joke, but I was starting to wonder! ;^)

Dougfp said...

Hey, I'm good, but I'm not that good. Do I still get the prize?

Undercover Black Man said...

It's on the way.

Ortho said...

As a member of New York's Green Party, I must say Ms. Brown has my vote.

Anonymous said...

Darn it, UBM. I would have certainly won this contest! That's what I get for not checking in last week to see what's on your mind.

UBMFAN1

Undercover Black Man said...

UBMFAN1: I wondered whether you were familiar with her singing. Well, you get the consolation prize...