Right now, I’m in the midst of reading several books that aren’t Blaxploitation paperbacks. So during this little hiatus, I had to get my Blaxploitation fix by going back to the funk and soul jams. Description and track listing:
More Urban funky Soul taking you back to what life was like in black america during the 1970s.
Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City by Bobby “Blue” Bland (1974) – Perhaps best known through cover versions and samples. While it is ostensibly a love song, some critics have also heard it as a lament on urban poverty and hopelessness.
I Wanna Get Next to You by Rose Royce (1976) – A soul brother’s lament as he pleads his love for a beautiful woman. The young woman is unkind and does not understand his affection for her. As he wastes his own money calling her she does not respond. Regardless, he still wants to “get next” to her.
Trouble Man by Marvin Gaye (1972) – Relating the song to the travails of the movie’s leading character, named “Mister T”, and also relating to issues in his private life, Marvin called this one of the most honest recordings he ever made.
There’s Nothing in This World that Can Stop Me from Loving You by Tom Brock (1974) – From Brock’s one and only album, the song was later sampled by producer Just Blaze for the single “Girls, Girls, Girls” on Jay-Z’s album The Blueprint.
Are You Man Enough? by The Four Tops (1973) – Appearing as the second track on the soundtrack to the movie Shaft in Africa, the song reached #2 on the American R&B chart and #15 on the Billboard chart.
Message From a Black Man by The Temptations (1969) – In its early days Motown didn’t directly address political issues but as the decade rolled on and young Black men were either being shipped off to Vietnam or getting edgy in the streets back home, it was hard to ignore the rise of revolutionary movements. The Temptations left you in no doubt where they stood with these strong lyrics.
Ellie’s Love Theme by Isaac Hayes (1971) – Get lost in this sexy, hypnotizing gem and have a natural high.
Magic Mona by Phyllis Hyman (1979) – One of Hyman’s most sought after songs came from the soundtrack to the basketball movie The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh. In the film, Mona is an astrologer who helps coordinate all the players’ star charts so they’ll know their strengths and weaknesses for each. For her theme song, producers recruited Hyman whose amazing voice makes this one unforgettable.
Hard Times by Curtis Mayfield (1975) – A lament to ghetto living, the song’s message is delivered over an arrangement that is soft and a track that is chilly. You can almost feel the dead eyes on you as he softly sings “cold cold eyes, upon me they stare”.
Mr. Welfare Man by Gladys Knight & The Pips (1974) – An anthem for single moms everywhere, it’s a wonderful track that demonstrates a woman’s assertiveness and independence.
Listen to the entire playlist here. Or check out prior volumes: