Saturday, April 4, 2015

B is for Bo Diddley, Bad Brains, & Black Merda

      Bo Diddley who's real name was Ellas Bates was born on December 30th, 1928 n McComb Mississippi. Originally he learned to play the violin but after listening to and becoming inspired by the music of blues singer John Lee Hooker, he developed an interest in playing the guitar. He was sent to live with family in Chicago where he began working jobs at local bars. In 1955 he obtained a recording deal with Checker Records who was a part of the blues label Chess Records. He went on to have many hits that reached the charts and was known for songs like "Pretty Things" & "Who Do You Love", among a host of many other notable songs. He became known as a pioneer of Rock & Roll and still to this day was a major inspiration to many bands, which included the Clash (who he toured with at one point) and Buddy Holly, Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones just to name a few. Diddley's impact was noticed in the year of 1987 when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 1996 he released his last album titled "Man Amongst Men", In 2008, Bo Diddley died due to heart complications. 
   The interesting about Bo Diddley for me; is that I've heard the song "Who Do You Love" so many times before that I new the song but didn't realize who the artist was. In fact, a couple of his songs I was fairly aware of but didn't know who was actually playing the song. This is why representation and knowing one's history is so important; especially for black kids who take an interest in genres like rock & roll, alternative, heavy metal, etc... It is important that they know that they belong and that there is a legacy of black pioneers who paved the way for them to enter in and showcase their talents. For every black kid who has went to a rock show and felt out of place, know that you have every right to be there and that the reason you are drawn to the music is not solely based on it just simply being cool but that it is in your blood, it is your birth right. You have a whole legacy of artist who came before and you have a right to listen to, play and embrace "the other" type of music. There is more to black culture than hip hop and rap. Our ancestors had a hand in creating rock & roll too.

  Bad Brains is an American hardcore punk band originating from Washington D.C, was formed in 1979 by Dr. Know, who's real name is Gary Miller. They mixed punk, metal and bit of funk with reggae to their sound; which set them apart from all other bands at the time. Their inspiration was said to come from The Sex Pistols and from Bob Marley. The band was made up H.R. or Paul D. Hudson who was the vocalist, Darryl Aaron Jenifer who was the bassist, and Earl Hudson who served as the drummer. They released their debut self-titled album in 1982 and went on to release nine albums, with the most recent album titled "Into The Future" released in 2012.     They quickly became a force to be reckoned with, garnering a large and loyal fan base, which paved the way for them to become known as pioneers of hardcore punk. As time went on, due to disagreements on the direction in which the band should follow two of the members H. R and Earl Hudson ended up leaving the band to pursue other musical endeavors and were replaced by Israel Joseph-I and Mackie Jayson. 
    Today, the originally members of Bad Brains are back together and touring and making music together. In fact they will be participating in an in-studio recording session called "Woodstock Sessions" on May 30th, 2015. If you'd like to check out more information on this group like their Facebook page below:



Black Merda was a rock band from Detroit, Michigan who incorporated funk, blues and soul into their sound. The band was formed in the late 60s and was made up by Anthony and Charles Hawkins who were did the vocals and were on the guitars, VC Veasey who was on bass, and Tyrone Hite on drums and contributed vocals as well . 
   The group was heavily inspired by Jimi Hendrix and his band. The band went on to play live shows and retain a small amount of recognition. The group got it's name as an answer to the violence and killings that African Americans faced from police and the Ku Klux Klan. They released their debut album in 1970, which was self- titled and they went on to release six more albums. Although they were mildly successful, they were able to also grow a fan base and were widely accepted as forerunners of the black rock movement that was beginning to take off during the time. They even reunited in 2005, minus one member, Tyrone Hite who had passed away the previous year; they released a compilation album titled "The Folks From Mother's Mixer". 
   They began getting their due recognition when rappers like Ja Rule and Kanye West sampled their songs for their respective albums. They continued to be recognized for their work in paving the way for influencing the presence of black people in rock and heavy metal music.

                            Black Merda- Foxy Lady Cover

                                Black Merda- Cynthy Ruth

                      The Psych Funk of Black Merda- Full Album


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