Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tune of the day - Voices of East Harlem 'Run Shaker Life'

This is the 'Voices of East Harlem' doing Richie Havens' Run Shaker Life' at the 'Soul to Soul Concert' in Ghana (1971).

James Brown had done a huge concert in neighbouring Nigeria one year before, so Ghanaians wanted to keep up...

After much haggling, a pretty decent bill was put together:
Wilson Pickett
Roberta Flack (who later refused to allow her performance to be released)
The Staples Singers
Ike and Tina Turner
Les McCann
The Voices of East Harlem

In the end, it was the Voices' 12-year old Kevin Griffin who stole the show, with this version of 'Shaker Life'. Love the bass, shank guitar and incredibly tight fatback drums on this... Griffin is a baptist preacher these days.

Was reminded of this by the recent trip to Ghana of President Obama (and to a lesser extent by the constant replays of Michael Jackson's early performances, with the J5).

There is a very interesting DVD available on the SOUL to SOUL concert, with lots of poignant insights from the performers on what it meant to them to visit West Africa at that time. Well worth a viewing...

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