Category: Jazz, Blues, Gospel and Songs of Resistance

by William “Duke” Smither “Love the life you live. Live the life you love.” – Bob Marley (a.k.a., Robert Nesta Marley, 1945–1981, Jamaican singer-songwriter, proud Rastafarian and Reggae musician extraordinaire)     Gone Too Soon… Proponents of Pan-Africanism, Ethnomusicology, and Black Music in general– but Jazz, our especially expressive music with African roots, in particular— […]

“The riverbank makes a very good road                The dead trees show you the way                               Left foot, peg foot, traveling on                                              Follow the drinking gourd…” (From “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” a Negro Spiritual)   The Slave Trade– Politicized The current flaps, flaunts and flip-flops regarding whether or not it’s politically prudent to raise […]

Ne-gro (n) – Refers to a person of Black ancestry prior to the shift in the lexicon of American and worldwide classification of race and ethnicity in the late 1960s. The appellation was accepted as a normal and was used by those of Black African descent as well as those of non-African black descent during […]

P-r-e-c-i-o-u-s  Lord, t-a-k-e my hand L-e-a-d me on, Let me stand I am tired, I am weak, I am w-o-r-n Through the storm, through the night Lead me on to the light Take my hand precious Lord, l-e-a-d me h-o-m-e…   (Thomas A.  Dorsey)   As with many of us, those lyrics began placing a song […]

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see…”  (John Newton, 1725-1807) Growing up mostly in the segregated south, on the cusp of the tense and often violent school integration years, I thought I knew for certain what […]