Monday, 7 January 2019
Monday's Long Song
"Back to pit boots and purridge" as an old uncle used to say at the end of the holidays.
At present I am reading the final book in Stuart Cosgrove's soul trilogy, Harlem 69 and very good it is too. Today's artist, Donny Hathaway features prominently in the book which got me reaching for the extremely reasonably priced 5 album cd boxset I bought a few years back. A must for anybody with even a passing interest in this extremely talented but much troubled composer/arranger/musician/singer who tragically died way too soon when he took his own life in January 1979 at the age of 33.
The Ghetto was Hathaway's first single, taken from his debut album Everything Is Everything. The song is probably Hathaway's most enduring solo recording filled with social consciousness and which I think introduced the concept of "the ghetto" within black culture and was not to intended to be a negative but truthful portrayal of the vibrant, sometimes dangerous but continually happening neighbourhood around Howard University where Hathaway and the song's co-writer Leroy Hutson lived when they composed this wonderful track when still students at the university. The version posted is for the excellent 1972 album Live. Where this amazing bit of jazzy funk magic is nearly doubled in length but could easily go on for a further 12 minutes without ever getting boring. On the album there is also a brilliant drawn out interpretation of the debut album's title track which is equally as good as the version of the Ghetto. What is really great about this live album is that it manages to retain the feeling of fun from the band and crowd that was obviously going on and also gives you the impression that this would have been one heck of a groovy evening to have witnessed.
Donny Hathaway - The Ghetto (live)