Thursday, February 26, 2004

Thanks to the playlists in the great book by Tim Lawrence, Love Saves The Day, a review of which by our homie Philip Sherburne in the upcoming music issue of Boldtype is highly anticipated, I've been obssessed with Lamont Dozier's "Going Back To My Roots". (BTW even more highly anticipated in these parts is our boy Peter Shapiro's book on the subject of disco, which will contextualize the movement against race, class, and generation in New York City, due out later this year!)

Anyway, back to the record. I'd only been familiar with the F.P.I. Project version which was a huge Dave Moss (kind of the Bay Area's Larry Levan) track back in 1989, and my copies are probably sitting in a friend's crate somewhere in Northern California. Found out more recently about the Odyssey version (early 80s). But this one, from 1977, is the original and a classic.

Interesting background on the track: it was inspired by South Africa's post-Soweto uprisings in the mid-70s, which resulted in martial law being declared and thousands of student and anti-apartheid leaders, including Bantu Stephen Biko.

So here's Lamont Dozier's Pan-African manifesto. The version I've got--almost 10-minutes from the 2-CD Best Of set--is bracing. It starts with that famous Sunday morning piano line, then takes a while to wind up. About five minutes in, it takes on a distinctly West African feel, with highlife-style talking drums and vocal arrangements, and then in the last 3 minutes, it shifts into an almost township mbaqanga feel with a completely different rhythm and melody line. Just amazing. It could go for another 10-minutes, and would remain gripping.

The rest of the 2 CDs are just OK. Dozier's arrangements are always interesting, but lyrics? That was for the Holland bros.

posted by Zentronix @ 3:48 PM   0 comments links to this post


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