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Dave Godin's column for Soulful Kinda Music. Issue 54


SO, LETíS SEE YOUR MUSH! 

Whatever you do in life, there will always be those who either knock it or willfully misinterpret your motives. Why they do this of course is beyond the scope of explanation in a magazine devoted to Soul music, and needs to be explored in the journals of Freudian psychology, but it always riles me somewhat that these people are always at pains to preserve a degree of anonymity (or ďprivacyĒ as they would no doubt term it). Right from the start of my life as a Soul music commentator, (well, perhaps more accurately, from the moment when I became popular enough to negotiate!), I insisted my photo accompany whatever I did as well as my name. Now this wasnít from any sense of vanity, (how boring oneís own face becomes after a few years of living with it), but because I believe in accountability, and, if people disagreed with what I wrote or said, they could identify me in a crowd and talk to me about it. So often Iíve encountered people who get wound up about something somebody has written or said, (the Internet is a paradise for nerds and armchair revolutionaries), and yet cannot reply on equal terms because they donít have the same access. Writing a letter to the editor can be deflected by censorship. And as a keen student of anarchist philosophy, I know full well how power corrupts as surely as night follows day. As I have spent most of my life trying to counter the viciousness of power structures, (a fancy term for bullying), whether they be through denial of access, the advantage given by a proper education, or simply the denial of the basic worth and value of each and every human being, I have always sought to make sure people know who I am, where Iím coming from, and how they can identify me. And you know, the strangest thing that these anonymous gurus never learn is that if you do this, the irony of it all is that when you do meet people and they recognise you, ninety nine times out of a hundred they will have nothing but embarrassingly nice things to say to you, and the other one percent involves clearing up misunderstandings. As I have so often said, nobody has infallible good taste, and all you can do is write what you feel and hope others might agree or gain some new experience through it. Itís otherwise known as conviction, and if we extend to everybody the right to have convictions, we begin to demolish these childish notions of ďexpertsĒ, ďgurusĒ and... no, I wonít call them wankers, since so often it seems to me they donít even have the imagination to enjoy that activity with pleasure and without guilt. So, when anyone who persists in hiding in the shadows, donít get too upset when they write something thatís not backed up by them putting their picture where their mouth is! Many of them regard Blackamerica as a household pet to be guided and nurtured by their aesthetic insights and their idea of emancipation is simple the imposition of their personal notions on everybody else. They think they are doing Blackamerica a favour when in actual fact theyíre displaying their own misguided, genteel form of racism! 

Those of you who have access to the Internet should try and tune in to New Black City radio - http://www.newblackcity.com - a truly radical voice of Blackamerica with good discussions, phone-ins and music. Although personally I can pass on the religious superstition bits, ideas I donít share never frighten me, and in any case, it is good to hear all viewpoints in order to test your own convictions from time to time. Jacob Israel has a three hour show every Saturday night, and he really is something else.  

Catalogues! The record companies donít issue annual catalogues on the scale they once used to, (can you believe I actually have a London-American catalogue from 1958!) but ACE and DEMON-WESTSIDE still keep this faith. The latterís strongest catalogue access of course is to the HI catalogue, with just about everything the great Al Green put out, as well as a recent release of two double-CDs of everything Ann Peebles recorded from 1969 to 1981. Willie Mitchell and other HI luminaries also feature in depth, as well as excellent compilations from other labels by such greats as Judy Clay, Marie Knight, Betty Harris, Huey Piano Smith, Harold Burrage, Willie Clayton, Swamp Dogg, Little Eva, Toussaint McCall and many others. You can get copies of this catalogue by sending six first-class stamps Demon/Westside, 4th Floor, Holden House, 57 Rathbone Place, London W1T 1JU. 

The ACE-KENT catalogue of course is a treasure trove of great stuff, full of so much of interest to not only Soul fans, but those who love the whole spectrum of Blackamerican music. Exceptionally well produced with colour reproductions of all the covers, and with informative and intelligent comments on each one, if you are on the Internet you can order a free copy by going to:

http://www.acerecords.co.uk/catinfo/catalogform.html

or otherwise write to Ace Records (Sales & Distribution) Ltd., 42-50 Steele Road, London NW10 7AS. Look after it too - can you imagine what these will be worth in 50 years time?! 

Finally, a word for veteran and staunch Soul brother Les Pyatt, his partner Shirley and son, Tommy. As many of you know, Tommy was recently the victim of a vicious attack by mindless thugs which left him in a critical and life-threatening state. Thankfully he has now made some recovery and is making steady progress, and the additional good news was the way Soul people rallied in this crisis with messages of support and well-wishing. It reflects well on the scene and how its positive attitude towards life itself can always be relied upon, just as this positive vibe is always reflect in the music we love. We have been taught by masters. If you would like to send Tommy a message, his address is 45 Coniston Drive, Stalybridge, SK15 1EE. 

Until next time. Keep the faith.