Good morning on this Swapshop Saturday, just spreading the love with a Blue Peter painting I did earlier and a few BP inspired and intended song titles, like strawberry jam on a hot buttered soulful toast, in remembering the musical prophet from Philadelphia Billy Paul.
 
 
‘It’s Critical’ that we remember Billy Paul one of the deep and philosophical ‘Black Wonders Of The World’. Billy Paul was for Philadelphia International Records what Marvin Gaye was to Motown, musical griot and deliverer of the the gospel and spiritual truth. Before Tashan kindly gave me his song ‘Soul Survivors’ to use as my radio show theme tune, I’d previously chosen Billy’s version of ‘Only The Strong Survive’ as my intro.
 
I loved Billy’s voice and smoothness and he was clearly someone who was clearly proud of his ‘Brown Baby’ heritage. Billy most certainly helped to ‘Let The Dollar Circulate’ in Philly International Records and often advised everyone in ‘America( We Need The Light)’. Billy was so full of ‘Enlightenment’ and will be fondly remembered for his effort to ‘’Bring The Family Back’ as he educated many in the ‘Game Of Life’.
 
Always championing ‘People Power’ whether he was ‘Takin’ It To The Streets’, encouraging the population including ‘Me & Mrs Jones’ to ‘Let’s Make A Baby’, or identifying the phoney ‘False Faces’. Billy Paul had style, a voice of pure ‘Peace Holy Peace’ quality and most certainly for me was a ‘First Class’ act, one of the true ‘Black Wonders Of The World’, so ‘Thank You For (This Blessing)’ Billy Paul passed 5 years ago today 24th April 2016 R.I.P.E(Rest in Peace Eternally)
 

On this 5th Anniversary Wayback Wednesday we pay homage to Prince Rogers Nelson who sadly passed on this day in 2016. We did a front cover special designed by Scott Gray in Ibiza for our issue 64. Here is the 4 page homage with words of wisdom from Sheila E, Mica Paris, Dez Parkes, Ronnie Stephenson( UK Prince) and myself. Read, enjoy and play your Prince records loud and proud .

From my mid 1970s to my late early 1980s teens on the London west end club circuit, there was one dancer that people used to talk about as someone who was pure dance poetry in motion.

I never saw him in his hey day but I ended up living on the same road as him circa 1994 in Forest Gate East London. The folk law legend as he was previously to me Trevor Shake, I found to be a humble guy who was generous in sharing music and his experiences with me. When I started The Soul Survivors Magazine’s interview features I wanted to document his journey. 12 years later after much deliberation Trevor agreed to speak with me.

Many people asked me to document him and in doing so his story has been well received. We had edited his feature as a special without adverts or intimidate editorial as we have done in the original digital and printed issue as a collectors item special. Read and enjoy…Fitzroy

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Good afternoon and TGIF(Thank God It’s Friday) fellow soul survivors ‘Tonight’s The Night’ like Betty Wright when the much anticipated ‘ Rodney P’s Jazz Funk’ gets aired on BBC4 9pm. The black & white Candid Camera shot of Cleveland Anderson and myself in the late 1970s/Early 80s. Original Perivale jazz funk soul boys from the hood. Cleveland is now an in demand music artist agent who handles The Jackson’s (original surviving members & brothers of the J5), and I am the owner, publisher of The Soul Survivors Magazine. We are both featured in this documentary so we just sharing the Perivalian ❤️.

It’s been a long time ‘ Waiting To Exhale’ moment coming, but finally and flipping the ‘ Usual Suspects’ script, Acme Productions under the flagship of ex Touch Magazine’s Jaimie D’Cruz decided upon highlighting the UK’s African Diaspora 1st & 2nd generation Windrush children to talk about their ‘black experience’ about a homegrown music movement that they love unconditionally of their culture, and from their personal perspective( big ‘ Sigh’ like Roy Ayers). 9pm tonight BBC4 ‘Rodney P’s Jazz Funk’
Enjoy Fitzroy ????????

Good morning on this Throwback Thursday. Just got these in my inbox one more sleep ahead of the eagerly awaited Rodney P’s Jazz Funk documentary this Friday night BBC4 9pm. These are some of the stills from the filming sessions of the documentary. This is for the first time told from the perspective of the 1st & 2nd generation African Diaspora Windrush children, who for the first time as a collective in the early to late 1970s, felt they could express themselves in rhythm and dance like their ancestors before them, being at one with the music mentally, physically and spiritually. However without seeing it there are already some negative energies from a couple of posts that have been brought to my attention about a big shit storm coming come 22.01pm Friday night and there after, judging the documentary like it’s gonna be reporting fake news. It’s part of a series about black influences in the UK, so the suggestion that it has the wrong people in it and that certain people should either oversee and present it, is farcical as it’s not about you..for a change. Oh the irony especially in this current racial climate, that we as black people have a chance finally to tell our own story from our perspective, on a subject that is undeniably in our cultural DNA and birthright. How dare we???. Anyway enjoy the stills of the dancers, Jerry Barry, Ian Milne, Basil Isaacs, Perry Louis and original jazz funker Carl Cox, Greg Edwards, Jason Jules, Cleveland Anderson and Rodney P.. the countdown continues in just 36 hours just over and two more sleeps peeps..Peace!!
This is a true story first published back in June 2011 which has relevance in todays Pandemic racial climate. I’ve seen so many closet covert and overt racist and bigots show their Cyndi Lauper ‘True Colours’ in the past less than a week on social media, that it has become the norm to witness it unfolding from those in the UK, who claim to love BLACK MUSIC. Not that I need an excuse, but they make it so easy for me to show their hypocrisy, especially when things have been documented in the magazine reflecting this ‘WHITE ELEPHANT’ in the room that some are not prepared to discuss . However I’m a Souljah in protecting the music of my heritage from this kind of abuse. I reiterate again..it’s not about likes..but sharing the ugly truth that has been staring us in the face, blatantly, subliminally, covert and overtly..now is the perfect time to tackle it. I do appreciate that some may wish to comment..freedom of speech and all that. ❤️
 
This time 9 years ago in issue 30 I interviewed Morgan Khan of the pioneering Street Sounds brand fame in issue 30 of The Soul Survivors Magazine. In light of the recent exposure of so called ‘black music loving RACIST hypocrites in their highly and now disrespected positions, here is an extract of the interview, which highlights the bigotry and racism, from someone of the infamous Funk Mafia who remained nameless. This was not for want of me wanting to find out who Morgan was talking about. Like the film ‘They Live’..there are various amounts of these alien types who walk among us. Remember this was 41 years ago 1979 when the subject song came out…
 
Fitzroy: “Was your break into the industry when you were a plugger or working in club promotions possibly at Pie Records?”
 
Morgan: “I was asked to evaluate a specific label and their new type of music. So I went to New York and met Joe and Sylvia Robinson and walked in to the studio and heard Sugar Hill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’. When I heard that record, I’d never been so excited and came back and insisted to Derek Honey the MD of Pie he got hold of that record. I remember taking that record as an acetate to a soul weekender and this is an absolute true story. I played it to one of the Funk Mafia DJ’s who put it on and listened whilst between records. He took it off and frisbee’d it towards me and it hit me cutting my head open. He said “ Never give me shit like this again, why are you giving me this nigger talking over ‘Good Times’ ?” And he was one of the big DJs. I remember looking at him in disbelief thinking he couldn’t see it’s potential, as it wasn’t a jazz funk or what was a conventional record. That was my first counter of the prejudice but I knew inherently inside it was a huge record.Three months later although it never got to number one, millions of records were sold and it still holds the record of the most selling 12 inch single. More importantly it was something from street culture with the talk, the dress and the attitude of the then movement, saying “fuck you the man, we ain’t playing by your rules, this is a revolution from a new generation” and thats what hip hop is. Who would believe nearly 30 years later hip hop would be the new dominant music form?”
 
To order this issue as a hard physical copy please go to https://www.thesoulsurvivorsmagazine.co.uk/product/issue-30-june-july-2011/

Greetings on this early June Flashback Friday’s Fitztory. Back in December 2016 I for-filled a long time reunion of being in the same space again with spoken word griots The Last Poets, whom I had the fortune to DJ for at The Jazz Cafe in 1995. I hung with them practically a whole weekend and managed to secure a joint interview with Lloyd Bradley featured in issue 68 Feb 2017. I asked one short question and this is the answer I got from both Abiodun and Umar, both relevant to what’s happening in the current climate.. read and enjoy Fitzroy Anthoney Facey
 
Fitzroy: How did you feel about Public Enemy?

 
Abiodun: “I loved them and Chuck D. (Umar: Chuck D still owes me some money.) (We all burst out laughing.) Abiodun: Chuck D and I have a running joke because my original name is Charles Davis and my nickname was Chuck, and Chuck D says ‘He’s The Original Chuck D”. (Umar: My boy from PE was Professor Griff.) Abiodun: I went down to Hicksville and laid down some stuff with Professor Griff. Umar spent some time with Flava Flav who was considered a clown, but he was more of a distraction maybe to make people feel comfortable. Chuck D would drop in some stuff and when they did that collaboration ‘Self Destruction’, that was important because we were talking about the same thing earlier. Donald Trump is nothing for us, this is child’s play. Umar made a statement at Ronnie Scotts last night, that for 400 years we have had presidents who are not on our side, this is nothing. Even black people said when Barack came that the post racial period is over (Abiodun laughs….) Well Trump is making it clear that that post racial period is over. No we are back to the racist times goddam it, with his “I’m making America ‘white’ again.” even though he says ‘great’. We know what he means. There are some people who have maintained the tradition on some level of what we did but now there is no movement. In the absence of a movement the circus comes to town. There is no better evidence of that than what just happened with the elections.”
 
Umar: “Just to show how deep things were back then. When we first started, we used to meet at Mount Morris Park. On Saturdays you’d have The Last Poets on one side, The Nation Of Islam on another side, the Black Panthers in another and The House Of Elijah somewhere else. One day something happened and the police came into the park to get a brother. There were about 10 police cars trying to force their way in, but the brothers came forward and told the sisters to get back. Man, us brothers just stood in a line with brother Hakim and others from the House of Elijah and said to the police “You ‘all ain’t coming in here, this is our day.” One of the police officers looked at another and said “Charlie what you think we should do?” Charlie said “I think we better find something else to worry about.” and they left. That’s how we rolled back then.”
 
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Greetings fellow soul survivors and welcome to today’s Friday Fitztory. It felt so poignant to share this today with all that is happening and escalating in Minneapolis Minnesota USA with the brutal racist murder of George Floyd. Both Prince and Sound Of Blackness are a big part of the twin city Minneapolis musical and community fabric. Recorded and published 4 years ago in 2016, look at how providential this conversation extract is in relevance of the present moment with the Black Lives Matter movement which as an African Diaspora man, the cause is important, between myself and Gary Hines of SOB. Read and enjoy Fitzroy Anthoney Facey

 
Fitzroy : I’m going to move things up to date with your new single ‘Royalty’ one that you’ve dedicated to the late Prince who supported your work. The song is about up lifting of people of the Diaspora. We know what’s happening worldwide but more so what’s happening in America. We have our version over here, not on the scale of the USA as the gun laws are very different and with less highlighted prominence. I’ve entered ‘Royalty’ into the People’s Black Music Chart as it fits in with the Sounds Of Blackness ethos of embracing all aspects of black music. There is a disparage in the understanding between the black and white communities which is evident when you see some of the social media comments from those who clearly think on an extreme level, justifying for some of the brutality. I sometimes ask myself are we not watching the same video? (Gary: “Right I hear you.”) How is the song being embraced with its timing being paramount right now?
 
Gary Hines: The urgency and necessities of Royalty have a few foundations. About a year ago Sounds Of Blackness released a song called ‘Black Lives Matter, No Justice No Peace’ and that was in response for what has been going on for generations with the disproportionate incidences and interactions with the police to this day. At the time Prince released a song specifying what happened in Baltimore called ‘Baltimore’ and despite people playing it down, Prince was always about the blackness of his people’s consciousness. Prince called me sometimes at three in the morning wanting Sounds Of Blackness to impress upon the youth how important it was to know who we are. That was a genesis for ‘Royalty’ and a local radio station KMLJ brought together Sound Of Blackness and The High School For Recording Arts as we were speaking about collaborating doing a song, so this is all the recipe of recording Royalty. We’ve just released a ‘reggeaton’ version and a video of the song available.
 

 

Morning I’m just sharing this weeks Friday Fitztory with you featuring extracts from our interview this time 8 years ago with Gwen McCrae. I got an FB 8 year anniversary poke yesterday from a photo of me holding this magazine issue at an event, so it prompted me for this post. Gwen McCrae has recorded many hits including ‘90% Of Me Is You’,’All This Love I’m Givin”, ‘Funky Sensation’, Keep The Fire Burning’ and ‘Doin’ It’ that has rocked many a dance floor like her other classic ‘Rockin’ Chair’. It seems poignant to share this bearing in mind that Betty Wright whom Gwen worked closely with past away recently, and Gwen mentions her in these segments. Read and enjoy  Fitzroy
 
Fitzroy: “You’ve been making records from the year before I was born as far back as 1963 . How did you get to liaise with Betty Wright and the Stone Alston label in 1967 where you stayed for another 12 years till your 1979 departure?”
 
Gwen McCrae: “Betty Wright is like a sister to me she was born on the 21st 1953 and I was born on the 22nd December 1943 10 years apart and you can imagine the heat with us both being Sagittarius. It was hot between the vocals and the records, she was there before I was and I just came in to do what I had to do as did she and we just moved on in our careers.”
 
Fitzroy: “The record that became an underground then overground anthem in the mid to late 80’s again endured much more attention from it’s 1979 album release ‘Melody of Life’ which is ‘All This Love I’m Givin’’. That record’s funk template and production does not sound typical of its era but to date it still creates a massive response. Any memories on what you thought after the recording session that years later it would be so mammoth an anthem?”
 
Gwen McCrae: “I really did like it and agree that it wasn’t a typical sound of the time. Betty Wright wanted to do an album on me and that was one she’d written for me. It did nothing in the States and was surprised how it was received in Europe when I came for the first time. She wrote it especially just for me Gwen McCrea and it showed I was versatile and I could change from one cloud to another like a red to a blue cloud to a green cloud.”
 
Fitzroy : “In 2006 Henry Stone decided to re cap and relive the famous TK/Cat era by asking you to sing some of its famous catalogue.You mastered every song covered apart from your own including ‘Clean Up Woman’, ‘Jazz Freak’ ,’Party Down’ and ‘Misty Blue’ like you did it originally. What was it like to re some of those Miami classics with some of the original musicians as it sounds wonderful 20 years later?”
 
Gwen McCrae: “It was cool and another point to prove I could do anything with the christ that lives within me as I live for good and to make it right and satisfy my people because they love me. I sing because they’re crazy about me and I want them to remember and never forget me me as oh that Gwen McCrae I loved her so much as I loved to be loved..I couldn’t get it through man or women so I can get it through the world you know what I mean. It was good to see Latimore Timmy Thomas Clarence with his crazy self, We’re all doing good ,To sing with Latimore I’d never think that would happen so you never know what the future has inside of you.I try to tell young people to strive for the gusto and strive for perfection as god has a plan for you whether you become the president, a singer a writer or a DJ and your great as it, god will create a space for you to make a living”
 
Greetings, hope all are good in their iSOULated hoods. Today’s Friday Fitztory shares excerpt of a two part interview conducted with the self proclaimed ‘refugee from across the sea’ Mr Soul Spectrum’ Greg Edwards. This was published in issue 35 7-8 years ago on the cusp of the festive period of 2011 / 2012. Like many I listened to Greg religiously Saturday nights, between 6 and 9pm in the late 70s and early 80s. His history is simply prolific and in particular for being probably like Carlsberg, the most celebrated black DJ in the UK, with a unique status to have a far reaching forum both on radio and in the clubs, like the hugely celebrated white DJs championed during that golden jazz funk and soul era. I’ve been fortunate to DJ with Greg over the years and acknowledge him with a 40 years award for being a ‘Master Of The Airwaves’ in our 2017 Under The Bridge event. Greg did share with me that after witnessing the documentation of other DJs prior in The Soul Survivors Magazine, he was anticipating his ‘bathroom call’ to be spoken to. I replied “Greg you were always on the cards but it’s all about timing.”.. To order you hard copy go to
 
 
Until then Read and enjoy Fitzroy
 
Fitzroy: “It’s interesting you use that phrase painting pictures as my next question points that out. Your Soul Spectrum show on Capitol was where I heard you Saturdays 6-9pm. I so remember dancing and practicing my dance moves in front of the mirror like Saturday Night Fever’s Tony Manero. You had the lingo and street patter that flowed like water from a tap. It was that smooth like we’d hear in Blaxplotation films but now you helped painted those visual in our imaginations. What you said earlier about the BBC exec who pulled you into the office about your music choice, begs me to ask you about working in a white corporate environment. What was your personal black experience like in witnessing what it took to make the music more accessible, as you clearly came across quite a few restrictions?”
 
Greg Edwards: “There were restrictions and prejudices and I had to put up with a lot of people making phone calls and writing letters..a lot of which they wouldn’t allow me to see after a while. I’m talking things like take all that jungle music off and put on proper white music etc. I also had the inverse prejudice in terms of presentation. It’s alright if Robbie Vincent took a high moral ground and played a black record speaking very heavily and politically on black politics, but If I played it, I’d be accused for using the radio for black propaganda. I had to find different ways of doing things and refused to do clubs that wouldn’t let black people in, as I did black clubs that refused white people. I had to take my own moral stand and not use the radio for preaching that sort of thing as I’d be taken off radio.”
 
Fitzroy: “Now I’ve spoke to various DJ’s of different ethnic backgrounds Colin Curtis, Morgan Khan, Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Bob Jones, George Power and Dez Parkes and the industry racism perspective is always denounced. As young blacks coming from the Caribbean listening to music of our heritage, we were grateful to hear the music on radio or in a club. Because of the shortage of black DJs and presenters playing the music, we weren’t really bothered who played it, they could have come from out of Mongolia. But when you came along it was like Muhammad Ali winning the heavyweight championship in 1964, it was a moment where we young blacks saw someone who was a reflection of us, up there getting recognised in what they’d do. So we’d notice that amongst the Funk Mafia you were the only black DJ…”.
 
Greg Edwards: (Greg interjects and laughs) ..”People always mention that but it depends on your perception and I didn’t make any noise about it… where Bob Jones, Robbie Vincent and Chris Hill worked, I wasn’t invited to play at 80% of those places. I did the Royalty in Southgate and they refused to accept that the Best Disco In Town existed at the Lyceum, even though the show was on the radio and had 2000 kids having fun in it every week. There was only a handful of clubs where we worked together. A lot of club owners took it for granted that I was white as the other DJs playing the music were white. On at least two occasions where I was booked and turned up, they saw I was black and I was refused entry because the bouncers didn’t check with the management.”
 
Fitzroy: “But how did you deal with that?”
 
Greg Edwards: “I’ve had to deal with it all my life so it didn’t upset me I just got in my car and go home and did the same if they would let black kids in I would not return to the club.”
 
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