Category Archives: world music classics

Norman Whitfield (1943 – 2008)

Norman Whitfield died yesterday.

“Smiling Faces Sometimes” by The Undisputed Truth,  (Whitfield / Strong)

Now you are sad. You remember going religiously to the Passage 44 in Brussels every week to rent 10 CDs, you were determined to learn as much about music as was possible in a very short time. You discovered The Temptations at about the same time you discovered Lee Perry. Your love affair with black music was about to start.

Whitfield remains an underrated music personality. In the words of pop historian and DJ David Haslam:

“The trad agenda set by commentators in the sixties, heavy with value judgments – glorifying the work of the Velvet Underground over Motown releases, the production skills of Brian Wilson over those of Norman Whitfield, and the social significance and songwriting talent of John Lennon rather than James Brown – persists.”

David Haslam


World Music Classics: the first 100

World Music Classic is a series I started on this blog in 2007. Below are the first 100 entries in a project that will eventually include 1001 postmodern world music classics. Most of the entries have YouTube links at the top of the page. Feel free to add missing YouTube connections. The series’ future entries will mainly be posted to my FaceBook account and on my wiki. So it’s a goodbye here as far as regular WordPress/WMC entries go, WordPress/WMC will be reserved for longer articles on particular musical compositions. Hope to see you on FaceBook, for all of you who have yet resisted, I can assure you that FaceBook is an amazingly elegant platform and very suitable to quick and responsive writing.











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Introducing “Bright Stupid Confetti”

Introducing Bright Stupid Confetti[1]

Its latest post[2] gives us the following YouTube goodies:

Etymologically, the blog can be traced to bright, stupid and confetti.

Kontakte” is WMC #80.

Bra burning: the event was not televised, as it did not happen

I’ve praised the non-event before[1].

Bra burning by you.

Welcome to Miss America cattle auction.

Today’s non-event is of a different nature. It’s been exactly 40 years since the New York Radical Women did not burn their bras[2] at the 1968 Miss America contest in Atlantic City. A non-event (Someone suggested lighting a fire, but a permit could not be obtained, and so there was no burning, nor did anyone take off her bra) which went into history as a milestone of female protest against male oppression. I can’t help but wonder if the protesters had been male, would they have stopped their plan to burn the contents of their “Freedom Trash Can” for lack of a permit?

Also, in general, male oppressors would have been glad if beautiful women had stopped wearing bras; most women on the other hand thought and still think that not wearing bras is impractical.

The event was not televised, as it did not happen.

Bras bring memories.

Bras – short for brassieres – remind us of John Currin‘s 1997 painting The Bra Shop[3] and Cymande‘s song “Bra,”[4] from their 1973 debut album.

Cymande’s “Bra” (WMC#77) is not their signature song, they are better-known for tracks such as “Brother on the Slide[5], which is WMC #78; and the “The Message[6], WMC #79.

John Currin‘s 1997 painting The Bra Shop is IoEA #34.

Sylvester and set theory

Do Ya Wanna Funk (1982) Sylvester [] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Gay icon Sylvester James would have turned 60 today if he had not died from AIDS 20 years ago.

Over and Over[1],” released in 1977 on Fantasy Records is WMC#75.

From a set-theoretical point of view, the Venn diagram of “Over and Overintersects via whatlinkshere with the following compilations:

  1. François Kevorkian‘s Choice: A Collection of Classics
  2. Dave Lee‘s Jumpin’ series
  3. Brian Chin‘s Club Classics & House Foundations series
  4. Norman Jay‘s Good Times series

Sholem Stein, musicologist, dance music connoisseur and genre theorist

What S. Stein means in the above quote is that “Over and Over” is featured on the mentioned albums.

Sylvester was firmly planted in the American disco scene but was popular too in Europe at the time and the rest of the jet set world.

His best-known songs are the Hi-NRG classics “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)[2] (a previous WMC) and “Do You Wanna Funk,” songs of simultaneously gay liberation in the United States and Saint-Tropez chic in Europe.

Do You Wanna Funk[3] is World Music Classic #76.

The bawdy origins of rock and roll

“You probably don’t doubt that the origins of rock and roll are bawdy in nature. You’ve read Gershon Legman and his fellow travelers to take note. You know why Scheherazade was not killed by the king.


Yet you don’t know American record label Federal Records and their 1951Sixty Minute Man[1], on which a male singer boasts of being able to satisfy his girls with fifteen minutes each of “kissin'” “teasin'” and “squeezin'”, before “blowin'” his “top.” The single reached #1[2] on the R&B chart in May 1951 and stayed there for a 14 weeks. “Sixty Minute” defined what was to become rock and roll which has always been about wine, women and song. —The bawdy origins of rock and roll, Sholem Stein, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1998, in a Pleasantville review.”

Note by the editor: “Big Long Slidin’ Thing” is another example in the category “dirty blues,” an often-overlooked category in rock and roll historiography.


Sixty Minute Man,” “Big Long Slidin’ Thing[3] and “Number One” (the Patrice Rushen song, which I managed to sneak in by footnote) are WMC #72, 73 and 74.

You may also like Tav Falco and Alex Chilton

Tomorrow it’s been 10 years since Charlie Feathers died.

You probably discovered him by listening to The Cramps in the eighties. Maybe via the Born Bad series.


This track is the hiccup-styled “I Can’t Hardly Stand It.” It’s WMC #71.

Discogs has its first appearance on The Cramps‘s 1980 cover of the composition, released on I. R. S. Records.

If you like C. Feathers, you may also like Tav Falco and Alex Chilton.

I’m not much of an album man

“Take 4 parts blues add 2 parts country and give it to a poor white boy and you have rock.”–Duane Allman

I’m not much of an album man, I prefer singles and compilation albums. Nevertheless Sweetheart of the Rodeo is one of my top 50 albums (I feel a new series coming on).


Sweetheart of the Rodeo was the sixth album by American rock band The Byrds, released on July 29 1968. It serves here as the seminal recording of country rock. It was the most commercially unsuccessful album recorded by the group at the time of its release.

Country rock is a musical genre formed from the fusion of rock with country music, with its roots in the American folk music revival.


After the darling of the young enthusiasts, Bob Dylan, began to record with a rocking rhythm section and electric instruments in 1965 (see Electric Dylan controversy), many other still-young folk artists followed suit. Meanwhile, bands like The Lovin’ Spoonful and the Byrds, whose individual members often had a background in the folk-revival coffee-house scene, were getting recording contracts with folk-tinged music played with a rock-band line-up. Before long, the public appetite for the more acoustic music of the folk revival began to wane.

Enough facts already.

Hickory Wind[1] is WMC #69 and “Blue Canadian Rockies[2] WMC #70.

The United States of Unconsciousness

The United States of Unconsciousness is how cultural pessimists (most recently the dim-witted Roger Scruton) would like to label the olympic sport of “couch potatoing,” better known as television. That is if they (the likes of Scruton) had the fine wit, ardor and imagination of the likes of Gil Scott-Heron and Michael Franti to come up with phrases such as “Television, the drug of a nation,” poetic but seemingly straight out of Mao’s The Little Red Book (cfr Opium of the People).

However, it will take a nobrow cultural optimist to point out that many television studies have failed to point to interesting quality television such as Civilisation: A Personal View; and entertaining cult television such as South Park and Série Rose, programming which has lead to a genuine postwar global television culture.

Nevertheless, I have sympathy for the alarmists, especially if by voices of distinguished pedigree:

I give you World music classics #67[1] and #68 [2]


The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” —Gil Scott-Heron, 1970


Television, the drug of a nation, feeding ignorance and breeding radiation.” —The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, 1992

Jerry Wexler (1917 – 2008)


Respect“, a feminist anthem

Aged 91, American music journalist turned music producer Jerry Wexler died last Friday. While at Billboard magazine in 1947 Wexler coined the term “Rhythm and Blues” to replace the tainted term “race music.” He is one of the major record industry players to have marketed 1960s soul music to a white audience.


Son of a Preacher Man

He produced such hits as “Respect[1] and “Son of a Preacher Man[2], which are WMC #65 and 66.