After several weeks on sabbatical, this columnist returns to the Examiner with a different approach towards the topic of classic soul as well as the history of contemporary popular music and what is needed to preserve these classic sounds. The reason for this new or different direction was the response this columnist had received towards certain articles. It seems that the postings that earned the highest feedback were the ones regarding TV-One’s Unsung and how classic soul artists who are still going strong – two features that each dealt with issues folks could relate to such as manic depression/bipolar disorder (Donny Hathaway & Phyllis Hyman – two artists featured in Unsung) and how older artists are making it in today’s marketplace.
Therefore, the thrust of future features from yours truly will deal with subjects such as how we as a music community can preserve the history of contemporary pop music (with emphasis on the classic stuff) for future generations. In addition, I will tackle the on-going conversation as to how the industry can uphold the levels of excellence set by folks such as Berry Gordy, Jerry Wexler, Gamble & Huff and Al Bell and apply them to today’s artists. Finally, I will be interviewing artists had hits during the “golden age of Top 40 music” who are not only going strong today but how they have adapted today’s technology (Internet, web sites, downloads) to further their success – and how other veterans (and newbies) can do the same.
Of course, feedback from you will always be welcome – whether you are just a casual reader or a member of the music/broadcasting industries. This will be a journey that I hope will bring about some great discussions and actions. I look forward to the ride & hope you will to.
THE R&B EXAMINER HITS THE ROAD…
Starting after the New Year I will be making myself available for lectures & discussions at colleges, universities as well as community groups across the country (even abroad if scheduling allows). Topics will range from how artists young & old can preserve (and sell!) their music using today’s technologies, ways that communities can demand quality music on the radio & TV – even if means doing it yourself via the Internet. Of course, teachings on the history of rock & soul music will be part of the curriculum. Interested parties can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org for available dates and rates.