Vagrant Journalism

Published pieces from the past, the present and of the potential future.

Posts Tagged ‘h144g’

3 May 2007: Watching Colors Run, Even Without Technicolor – “Ain’t That A Shame”: Fats Domino vs. Pat Boone

Posted by Christina on March 5, 2009

boone-fatsFor this assignment we took on the issue of race and how it effected the way the populous accepted or rejected the musician. It’s the whole thing about how Elvis sounded like an African American singer but was as white as they came. Unfortunately it was a time in our history where people were encouraged to practice prejudice and so with Elvis, it was okay to enjoy the sultry, earthy and soulful voice mostly associated with African American singers because Elvis was a white man. In our assignment we were to take that thought and expand on it with the song “Ain’t That A Shame” and its subsequent cover.

Watching Colors Run, Even Without Technicolor – “Ain’t That A Shame”: Fats Domino vs. Pat Boone

When “Ain’t That a Shame” came out as a collaborative effort between Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew, it shot performer Domino above expected success. All the while, arranger/songwriter Bartholomew found a fruitful partner in Domino, as they went on to record over 40 hit songs for Imperial Records. In this era of rock and roll, it truly showcased the underdog and forever persecuted African-American as he prevailed and evaded adversity. Fats Domino was one such case and after his song spent time canoodling amongst other hits on the Top Ten, he was able to produce one genuine hit after another. In these reigning years of true rock and roll, innovative musicians like Domino led the way and remain revered to this day.

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20 March 2007: Edwin Starr’s “War”

Posted by Christina on March 4, 2009

edwin-starr

I wrote this assignment in in a history class called Cities of Sound as a song evaluation for a particular piece of music in a particular moment in history. I was lucky to find two history classes that dealt with music and have the same professor teach both.

Edwin Starr’s “War”

Protest for the Vietnam War ran rampant throughout the United States during a huge part of the 1960s and well into the mid-1970’s. In 1969, Motown released “War,” a song written by one of the founders of the Motown Sound and an essential figure of the late-1960’s sub-genre of psychedelic soul, Norman Whitfield and Motown staff lyricist and Grammy winner, Barrett Strong. Originally produced with The Temptations in mind for the vocals, it was eventually-and officially-produced as a single in 1970 with Edwin Starr as vocalist. Eventually, “War” marked one of the biggest hits in Starr’s career and brought to real fruition his reputation as one of the greatest soul vocalists of the time. His sonic transformation and obvious James Brown influenced tremolo brought a certain level of depth to the song, whereas in comparison The Temptations’ version, while still instrumentally and vocally more mature than the rest of their legacy’s bubblegum pop, lacked in the affectivity felt by Starr’s lone voice seeming to rise above the turmoil of war. Plus, this officially released version was a full Whitfield affair, complete with amplified electric guitars, overt orchestra bravado and backup singers The Undisputed Truth, a Whitfield side project where he was able to experiment production of his psychedelic soul techniques. With Starr wielding about the sonic effects of his more heartfelt and soulful expression of lyrics, the song rose to a number-one Billboard Hot 100, spending three weeks there the year of its official release.

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