In this week's episode, Mark, Barney and Jasper discuss the role music has played in expressing the pain and rage of Black Americans. Touching on such seminal figures as Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield and the Last Poets, they listen to clips from a 1976 audio interview with the late Gil Scott-Heron, assessing his militant poetics and the albums he made with Brian Jackson. From there, the RBP team considers interviews with Public Enemy's Chuck D in 1992 and, from 2015, Kendrick Lamar. They also discuss a 1971 piece about James Brown by pioneering Black "rock critic" Vernon Gibbs.
Mark talks us through such highlights of the week's new additions to the RBP library — Philip Elwood's live review of Judy Garland at San Carlos' Circle Star, Roy Carr's interview with New Orleans piano great Professor Longhair, Michael Goldberg's salute to New York electro-punk duo Suicide and David Toop's tribute to '60s pop Svengali Larry Parnes. Barney cites a timely 2011 interview with Harry Belafonte, wherein the singer-actor reflects on his civil-rights activism, after which Jasper wraps up matters by looking at pieces about the boundary-pushing Peaches, the return of Neneh Cherry and the bizarre artist known formerly as Terence Trent D'Arby.
The Rock's Backpages podcast is part of the Pantheon podcast network.
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Pieces discussed: Gil Scott-Heron audio, Nina Simone, Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar, James Brown, Indie labels, Judy Garland, Professor Longhair, Suicide, Larry Parnes, Depeche Mode, Charles Brown, Harry Belafonte, Peaches, Alicia Keys, Neneh Cherry and Terence Trent D'Arby.