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June 27, 2021 6:39 pm  #1


Harlem Cultural Festival 0f 1969

Same year as Woodstock, there was a series of classic "mini-Woodstocks" during the course of six weeks that featured most of the top black R&B and rock artists which took place in Harlem, just 100 miles from the historic Woodstock concert.  I never heard about this series of events, until this morning when I was watching American TV's weekly "CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley." 

One of show's topics (6-8 minutes) discussed the1969 Harlem Cultural Festival and showed film clips which highlighted these concerts.  There were several interesting pieces of film that caught my eye, but in particular, a brief clip featuring the "new" Stevie Wonder - transitioning from "Little Stevie Wonder" to "Stevie Wonder" - wailing away on the drums and doing a pretty good job.  First, I have never heard or witnessed  Stevie Wonder playing anything except piano, and two, His adeptness on the drums was amazing.  He was/is good - but I wouldn't expect anything less of such a superstar.

And the point, besides bringing another piece of music history to light?  Like the Woodstock documentary but shorter, a few people put together a 2-hr documentary of the Harlem Cultural Festival which is scheduled to be released this Friday, July 2, at movie theaters and to begin airing on HULU (cable TV in the US) as well.  I am REALLY looking forward to seeing it.  The film clips I saw on the Sunday Morning show were phenomenal!!  The list of artists is way too numerous to print here, but needless to say, it pretty much included the best of the best including David Ruffin just after he split from the Tempts.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/summer-of-soul-questlove-documentary-harlem-cultural-festival/

 

 

June 27, 2021 7:42 pm  #2


Re: Harlem Cultural Festival 0f 1969

Little Rich wrote:

One of show's topics (6-8 minutes) discussed the1969 Harlem Cultural Festival and showed film clips which highlighted these concerts.  There were several interesting pieces of film that caught my eye, but in particular, a brief clip featuring the "new" Stevie Wonder - transitioning from "Little Stevie Wonder" to "Stevie Wonder" - wailing away on the drums and doing a pretty good job.  First, I have never heard or witnessed  Stevie Wonder playing anything except piano, and two, His adeptness on the drums was amazing.  He was/is good - but I wouldn't expect anything less of such a superstar.

There was an album put out in 1968 called Eivets Rednow, an LP of easy listening tunes. It was actually "Stevie Wonder" spelled backwards and the only thing on the album cover was a set of drums, which was among the instruments he played on the disc. I don't believe he sang on the record at all. A very weird release and not surprisingly, I don't think it sold very well. 

https://th.bing.com/th/id/OIP.yCoWaRoG_84GQmGo5I_cbgHaHa?pid=ImgDet&rs=1

 

June 27, 2021 9:03 pm  #3


Re: Harlem Cultural Festival 0f 1969

Years ago on Roger Ashby's oldies show on CHUM, I heard him play "Rednow's" version of Alfie. It was totally different from Wonder's usual material, and there's an explanation of the rationale behind this single and album at https://www.allmusic.com/album/eivets-rednowalfie-mw0000645199?1624845232160.
By 1968, Motown had Wonder pegged as a soul-pop shouter, so his harmonica instrumental of "Alfie," and the movie theme that had been a Top 15 hit for Dionne Warwick in 1967 was released under another name -- his own spelled backwards -- and on a different record label. This album, issued after that single made number 66 on the pop chart, consists of more harmonica instrumentals, everything from "A House Is Not a Home" to "Grazing in the Grass," and is enough to convince you that Wonder, who, after all, broke through playing harmonica, is a tuneful player of the instrument, more a Larry Adler than a Bob Dylan. Nevertheless, this is a minor item in the Wonder catalog.

 

June 28, 2021 7:02 am  #4


Re: Harlem Cultural Festival 0f 1969

This is great news.  I hope to be able to see this.  This is history.

 

June 28, 2021 2:22 pm  #5


Re: Harlem Cultural Festival 0f 1969

It's me Karen wrote:

This is great news.  I hope to be able to see this.  This is history.

Kind of interesting about "history": one of several people interviewed as part of the CBS report (don't remember who) commented that this will "change history"?!  It wont change it, but like other egregious events, history will be REVEALED.

I, too am looking forward to witnessing this documentary.

I am embarrassed that I forgot Stevie Wonder's prize instrument is a harmonica.  I mistakenly claimed his only instrument is a piano.

     Thread Starter
 

July 1, 2021 6:16 am  #6


Re: Harlem Cultural Festival 0f 1969

Here's a pretty good review of the film. It sounds great.

'Summer Of Soul' Celebrates A 1969 Black Cultural Festival Eclipsed By Woodstock

 

July 1, 2021 7:30 pm  #7


Re: Harlem Cultural Festival 0f 1969

aflem wrote:

Here's a pretty good review of the film. It sounds great.

'Summer Of Soul' Celebrates A 1969 Black Cultural Festival Eclipsed By Woodstock

Cool aflem - I have not seen this write-up.  I am excited.  I grew up in Motown and as much as I have very divergent music tastes, in my mind it is very hard to beat Motown, Chess Records and Muscle Shoals Recording Studios.  Great music!!
 

     Thread Starter
 

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