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  LISTEN TO: SNEAK PREVIEW NEW RELEASES FROM THE ALL TIME GREATS (SLOW JAMS, ROCK N' ROLL & FUNK): Clarence Burke Jr, Eddie Holman, Soul Generation, Manhattans, Persuaders, Vernon Reid, Buddy Miles, Martha Reeves, Otis Blackwell, Donny Hathaway, Voices of East Harlem, New Birth, Bar-Kay's, Chuck D, Jimmie Castor

Soul-Patrol Newsletter Headlines (10/13/2004)

1. Concert Review: Kool & the Gang In Philly
2. Interview: Marv Tarplin (Miracles Guitarist)
3. Response: The Demise of Funk
4. EDITORIAL: The MIS-Education of Lenny Kravitz

5. Concert Review: Marlon Saunders and Fertile Ground in NYC
6. EDITORIAL: On Soul Music Demographics (and beyond)

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The Soul-Patrol Newsletter is designed to keep you abreast of news and views regarding this music/culture on a bi-weekly basis. Our objective is to provide you with information (CD Reviews, Concert Reviews, Commentary, Online Events, Offline Events, etc) on a timely basis that will lead to your participation either online or offline in the many musical/cultural things that the great artists we love provide for us.

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1. Concert Review: Kool & the Gang In Philly  

Kool and the Gang

As for said Sir Kool and his Gang? Same beat different group/band...HOWEVER (and I must say HOWEVER in caps)...two things happened with one of my favorite bands (if not my favorite band) of all time.

1- The sound (ie the 'house mix) was the best I've heard on them or mostly anybody else I've ever seen at the Dell. As would be fitting for a funk/horn band like Kool and em....they had a nice tight snare drum-popping-bass-drum-thumping-horns-stabbing (as opposed to blaring)-keyboards-coloring mix. Believe me when I tell you...I don't care WHAT you play or who you play it with...if it aint a good mix you might as well go on home. This mix was DYNAMIC.

2-Sometimes it's not what you do but how you do it. They drug out Jungle Boogie,Hollywood Swinging,and Open Sesame like they were somewhere on I-95 between Philly and DC and in need of a serious bathroom break...and it still sounded good (see above).Then low and behold they unfurled their personal showcase of the night.An unexpurgated exploration into the world of funk by one of it's true progenitors. Much is (and has been) said here about JB,Sly ,George Clinton/P-Funk,and Rick James...but one of the groundbreakers (especially when you think of the imitators...BT,Confunkshun,Dazz,GAP,SOS,Atlantic and Midnight Star(s),Cameo,and to a lesser degree Ohio Playas (especially their earlier stuff) and even at their jammingest some of EWF's stuff (anybody remember Power?...if that aint a Kool and the Gang riff I don't know what else is). of the genre HAS to be Kool and The Gang. Their jazz laced -horn-driven-live-show-drummer-funk is the stuff that ALL the bands tried to copy back in the day (the late sixties and early seventies). I'm talkin East-coast style funk...not the Chicago,BS&T,Cold Blood,TOP mid-west to west coast stuff. That gritty urban stuff that picked up where JB dropped em off ,and they went some place else funk.

Any way the boys played Funky Stuff (pts.1 AND 2) for about 15minutes! When is the last time any of y'all heard that from ANY of the above mentioned cats?
HUH????? Kool and the Gang tore Funky Stuff a brand new a--!!!! FOR REAL!!!!!!! When they swung into part two I thought I was at Belmont Plateau or something....I mean there was no stepping or singing or BS'ing...just hard, tight playing, and soloing ,and Kool and the drummer laying the deepest groove that the Roots or anybody else never heard about.It was so good that it hurt,and then you wanted some more...oh yeah this was heavyweight funk...put up your dukes!!!!
HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!! I was even able to forgive them for the sins of later on in their show (y'all know the ones) called 'Joanna',Ladeez Night,Too Hot...etc.
Why? Because they dropped em all with a new (much funkier) rhythm section-type spin on em for some reason they couldn't make em sappy if they tried this night. EVERYTHING and everybody in the spot was poppin. Even though they didn't dig up Chocolate Buttermilk,or Who's Gonna Take The Weight, I was muchly pleased.HIRE THIS BAND...because they might be on a roll here....DT(alto man ,and lead vocalist of Hollywood Swinging Dennis Thomas,who actually blew one HELLUVA solo-I NEVER see him solo) said that they were gonna play a special Philly show...cause they know how we like it...and that they did!


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2. Interview: Marv Tarplin (Miracles Guitarist)

I received a call last April from Sylvia Tarplin. She said, "Zee I'm doing a 3 way with Marv". "Hey Marv, when are you going to do an interview for Soul-Patrol", I asked. Marv was not interested in this conversation at all. I told him how everyone wanted to hear his story, but we could not persuade him to do an interview. I do know that Marv is shy like that. ..No microphones in his face … that's for Smokey.

I think it has something to do with losing a loved one and granting their wishes somehow, so after Sylvia's funeral on September 24, 2004 Marv began to tell me his story.

At an early age Marv had a musical gift. He already played by ear. His mother enrolled him in music school to learn piano. Marv played the piano six months before he started playing the Guitar. I must add that I knew Marv's mother Ruby Tarplin. She used to have us over for the best soul food dinners ever. Marv lost her a few years ago.

Some of the most famous clubs were located in Detroit on Canfield & John R. Among them were The Flame Showbar, The Frolic and Garfield Lounge.

One day as Marv was walking with his guitar down John R near Canfield in Detroit, 3 girls began yelling to him out of an apartment window. It scared him at first and He didn't know if he should run or what. After seeing that it was Diana, Florence and Mary he decided to go up to see what they wanted. He used to go to Northeastern with Mary and Flo. They wanted him to be the guitarists for their group, The Primettes. He accepted and they began rehearsing.

They did amateur and talent shows at schools around Detroit and the Greystone Ballroom. Diana knew Smokey, so she had the hook up for them to go over to Smokeys house so he could listen to them and help them get their big break. Smokey liked them but he seemed to like Marv more and asked Marv if he would play with his group, The Miracles, for a few years. Although Marv agreed, he still continued to play for the Primettes. Diana Ross usually tells the story differently. I've heard her say that Smokey took Marv from them.

This Marv Tarplin, Smokey Robinson blend was really unique. They along with Warren "Pete" Moore collaborated and wrote some of the most famous songs ever. Marv, the melodies and Smokey and Pete Moore, the lyrics. "Tracks of my Tears," is listed as one of the 5 best songs ever. Other songs they collaborated on were, "Crusin", "Going To A Go Go", "The Love I Saw In You was Just a Mirage", "Aint That Peculiar", "You Really Got A Hold On Me" and my favorite "Baby Come Close". . Turn The Lights Down Low, Baby Come Close…Put your hands in mine, Oh please be kind, Let me Touch Your Heart, Let The Fire Start Ooooo so Warm, So Warm…..

Marv played guitar along with The Funk Brothers on "You Really Got A Hold On Me" . Eddie Willis of the Funk Brothers was cording on the backbeat against Marvs simple but eloquent melodic melodies. I did a little research and found that Smokey was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 as a solo artist, even though he made his most famous hits with The Miracles.

Marv Tarplin has continued to play with Smokey until this day. Even after Smokey left The Miracles in 1972 and went solo. Marv is listed in the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Marv's daughter Talease and wife Sylvia attended the 2003 Soul Patrol Convention. Thanks Marv.. RIP Sylvia I'll always love you, my dear and best friend.


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3. Response: The Demise of Funk

George Clinton

This is a response to the webpage on the Soul-Patrol site entitled: "The Demise of Funk".
Check out the page and see if you agree with this commentary from brotha "JL".

From time to time I get the chance to do a little surfing and I flip over to the Patrol to see what ya all talking about. I'm not a member, one of my friends is, don't have the time (I wish) to do the chat thing. As we vets know, the heart of true music has died like a dead dog. There are a few cuts out there, not many, but any way back to the subject matter.

G Clinton could have been the Quincy Jones of the funk. However, I do have to give him credit for taking Miles, Hendrix, Stone, Brown, and putting it together in a sweet funky package, takes talent to do that. No one has ever been able to do that. What he did was musically and spiritually powerful. He added that animated cartoon gimmick, sir nose, the space ship, star-child, etc. to catch the attention of the kids, it worked, it was bound to be powerful, and it was. Clinton gave me four amazingly funky years, the problem is with all funkateers of that era we got greedy and wanted more. We got pissed when he abused that power and came back with a watered down version of what it was. From that recent Grammy performance I saw a few months back, he's still abusing his powers. Real tired of saying that another brotha has blown another major opportunity. In my opinion Clinton blew it big time. But so did Sly and Hendrix.

I agree with a big portion of what was written on the demise of funk. Sounds like you were there. Problem is nobody cares. In this country people are assassinated for telling the truth. Point is, the true funk has been gone for a long long time, years man, I mean it died years ago. I was one of those funkateers that you spoke on. Down to the p-funk logo on everything I wore. Five-six-seven-concerts a year that was me, that was the sheeeet in 76, 77, 78, 79! Did George and drugs kill the funk? I don't know, I mean it appears to play a hell of a role to where that at now, but when lead vocalist Glen Goins, (IMO) left the group in 78 that's when it began to fall apart for me. I mean ask yourself why you was laughing and crying at the same time. Because George came out of the space ship? Not. That was part of the hype. They lost their leader, their power, they lost that churchified spiritual voice that had muggs shouting, not knowing if they was at a revival or a funk concert. Those goose bumps, that spiritual aura left with Glen Goins. Oh they did an excellent job at simulating the funk with Gary Shider, p-funk horns, Hamptons guitar. Female backing vocalist, and others was keeping it raw, they gave it that visual thing, and those funk harmonies that made it still worth seeing, after the women left it was done. Didn't see anything remotely close to the live funk shows until I saw one of the funkenstein members, Dawn Silva at the North Sea Jazz, 2002. That was a pleasant surprise. Man I admire her, she took me back to the best times of my life. Still it left an empty feeling inside, reminding me of what's been missing in my musical life.

I guess what we all need to be reading about in your next issue is what Clinton did do, and not what he ain't doing now. Cause it's over baby. Hats off Mr Soul-Patrol for keeping it real.


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4. EDITORIAL: The MIS-Education of Lenny Kravitz

Miseducation of the negro
This is my reply to certain statements made by Mr. Lenny Kravitz during a recent interview. The coments of Mr Kravitz are italicized and in red.

Kravitz wishes others also would ease up. Ever since he made his debut with the album "Let Love Rule" in 1989 with it's mix of R&B, funk, and psychedelic rock, Kravitz has been labeled a recycler - someone who borrows the styles of others. Even though Kravitz arguably has now developed his own sound, critics still charge he sounds like some other act - Prince, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, etc.

Own sound or not, the real question in my mind is...
"When is Lenny Kravitz ever going to produce an album that measures up to the RECORD COMPANY HYPE and MILLIONS OF MARKETING DOLLARS that accompanies his every move"

The subject brings out a rare display of emotion from the typically low-key musician.

Lenny please stop whining and just put out a good album (If that is indeed possible???)

So why does he think he's been criticized? "I'm a black man in rock-and-roll, first of all, and the only one right now

Personally I think this is an insult to every other Black rock n' roll artist out there plying their trade. I'll check with the Black Rock Coilition and find out if they have any actual statistical data on this, however I feel quite safe in saying that Lenny needs to wash his mouth out with soap.

(go and check your numbers Lenny)

"If I was white, we wouldn't even be having this conversation about these critics. I'd be sliced bread..."

Lenny, lets be honest for just a moment.
(And then you can return to your fantasy world)

Think back to the night of 3/15/2004 while you were sitting FRONT ROW AND CENTER at the 2004 Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies. Remember the look of sheer horror on your face as someone named PRINCE delivered one of the greatest Rock n' Roll performances of ALL TIME, just a few feet away from you.

Maybe you have conveniently forgotten about all of this, but I haven't. I was there just a few feet away from your table. Don't cha remember???
You were sitting there with a whole bunch of rich and wealthy music industry executives.
I guess they were friends of yours?
Don't just take my word for it. Ask one of them if you don't want to believe me...

Ask them to recall, how on that night PRINCE looked like he had just invented Rock n' Roll, just moments before getting his statue forever enshrining him as one of the "GREATEST OF THE GREATS"?????

Last time I looked, ISN'T PRINCE A BLACK MAN?

Or maybe he shouldn't count since he wasn't SITTING FRONT ROW AND CENTER, schmoozing with rich and wealthy multinational corporate executives while the MIGHTY DELLS WERE SEATED RIGHT NEXT TO THE KITCHEN DOOR???

Was that a consideration for you Lenny?
Did you even notice these two events?
I know that you noticed the performance of Prince, because I could see how glazed over your eyes were (like a deer in headlights kinda look) and how you looked like you wanted to run away and hide, because you KNEW that you (and everyone else there that night) were witnessing ROCK AND ROLL HISTORY RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM BEING CREATED BY A BLACK MAN. (and knowing that you have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt over the PAST 10 YEARS that YOU ARE INCAPABLE OF PRODUCING MUSIC AT A SIMILAR LEVEL????)

But all of that aside for the moment Lenny, did ya notice the Dells?
* Did you walk over and acknowledge their presence, like Prince did?
* Did you ask your rich buddies at your table why YOU weren't seated next to the kitchen door, so that the people who were actually being honored that evening could sit "FRONT ROW AND

On second thought, maybe you are correct Lenny??
Maybe if you were white we wouldn't even be having this conversation???

(Ok, now lets return to Lenny's fantasy world)

"They lie, they do things, they follow you around," he rants. "I'm not looking for the attention. If you catch me coming out of a restaurant or out of a house and shoot my photo, there's nothing I can do about it."

As my man from the old TV show "Good Times" might say...

While he still may be looking for love, he's no longer searching for happiness - he's managed to find peace within himself.

(no comment)

Perhaps it would be a useful exercise for Lenny Kravitz to read more about someone like Sammy Davis Jr. and his struggles, before he is so damn quick to portray himself as some kind of a victim???

Sammy really was THE ONLY ONE and he was able to get by some of the obstacles that he was faced with, because he was a GREAT entertainer. Perhaps Lenny will discover that the key to becoming a great star isn't by whining and trying to somehow use the fact that he is Black as some kind of an excuse as to why he isn't a "big star"???

Maybe if Lenny were to actually take the time to read up on some Black History, he would discover that the people from our community who became "big stars", didn't achieve that based on dressing the part, making the gossip columns, or WHINING to the press. These people like Sammy Davis Jr. achieved GREATNESS because they were GREAT ENTERTAINERS, who WORKED HARD to achieve their goals.

I fully realize that taking the time to find out what others did to make themselves great (and trying to emulate some of their behaviors) may not be as exciting as hanging out with record company executives, making stylish video's for eMpTVy or being photographed with Hollyweird actresses.

However my feeling is that if a person wants to be recognized as "great", regardless of their field or profession, taking the lessons learned by others who have already "walked where you want to go", might just be a good way to get started down that path.

One of the great things about taking that approach is that usually those who have already "walked where you want to go", usually leave some "footprints" for you to follow. In my experience once a person learns this, all they need to do next is to do the HARD WORK required to grow into that person's footsteps...

My advice to Lenny is to find the footsteps that Sammy left for him (and others) to follow and try to follow that path. He could do (and has already done) far worse...

(Just trying to be constructive...)

--Bob Davis

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5. Concert Review: Marlon Saunders and Fertile Ground in NYC

Marlon Saunders
Marlon Saunders, with his super-talented cute self performed first. Marlon takes a song and makes it his own. He has such presence and personality. From those low, sexy whispering notes to the exceptionally clear (and long) high notes, he just wraps you around his fingers.
Marlon sang "Afro Blue My Mind", "Love Serenade" (one of my two favorites from the cd), "The Beginning of Never", "Given a Chance" (my very favorite) - all from his cd "Enter My Mind". Marlon also sang an oldies song that he said he liked but he wanted to sing it differently.
He had someone (I'm sorry Marlon I forgot who it was) rearrange the song. Marlon wouldn't tell us the name of the song, he just started singing. The song was "I Want To Get Next To You", by Rose Royce. It was a COMPLETELY different song, it took most people a while to catch on. But since it's one of my favorites I caught it immediately. So this is now my favorite song by Marlon Saunders and I hope it puts it on his next CD. Marlon, I love you!!

Next up was Fertile Ground. This was the official release party for their new CD "Black is . . ". Now, Charles Duke (my Black Jesus) ABSOLUTELY swears by this band - he drove 4 hours to Maryland to pick up their last cd!!! And of course, Charles and the beautiful Mrs. Blanche Duke were there! Anyway, this is my first time seeing Fertile Ground.
The lead singer, Navasha Daya, is an instrument. Her voice is an instrument, her body is an instrument, her hands are instruments. This woman FEELS music through the very essence of her being. The band was amazing. I can't even describe this band, so I'm going to wait and let Charles do it for me. I will say this - I bought their newest cd "Black is . . " last night. This morning I ordered the other 3!!! GO SEE FERTILE GROUND - even if you have to drive to Maryland to do it!!


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6. EDITORIAL: On Soul Music Demographics (and beyond)

Soul-Patrol Radio
Earlier in this issue you read about yet another Soul-Patrol member (Sylvia Tarplin) that has passed way. The reality is that we are all getting older, and the inevitable result of that fact is that we will all pass from here at some point.

This should surprise nobody, and I am certainly not.
However it's reason to pause and consider the future....

My feeling is that the music and culture we are discussing here was/is the very best that has ever been created. I have absolutely no qualms about making that statement. The music and culture we are discussing here carries with it not only a body of great music, but also has embedded inside of it the story of what America was supposed to be and what it still has the opportunity to become. But that statement of fact, doesn't insure the longevity of the music/culture beyond the lifespan of the people who originally created it or the lifespan of the people who were it's original fans. In my opinion it would be an absolute shame if this music and culture disappeared from the American landscape. However, with each passing day, that seems to be more of a distinct possibility.

One of the most disturbing things for me about the people who are the original fans of this music is an "undercurrent" that suggests that the music will always be here, as if that is going to happen all by itself. Well each passing day, another artist passes and even more fans pass away. This suggests that we will eventually reach the point where there won't be enough of the original artists or fans left alive to sustain the music/culture, except as a mere object of nostalgia about a time and place that turned out to be nothing more than an anomaly in the American landscape.

Perhaps in the end, that's all it ever was?
My sincere hope is that conclusion is incorrect…

Here in the year 2004, the music/culture that we are discussing here has truly become an "underground movement" on all levels. With each passing day the gulf that exists between the original artists/fans and those who have only a superficial knowledge & feeling for it gets wider and thus more insurmountable to bridge. This is something that in my experience, the artists are struggling with and the fans are struggling with as well.

* How do we extend this music/culture in such a way that it has a life beyond that of the original artists and fans who actually created the music/culture in the first place?

* Is it even important for US to do this?

* Or should the music/culture simply exist as relics of the past, with no future whatsoever, except in the soundtracks of movies or TV commercials?

* Maybe this is something that we shouldn't bother to trouble OURSELVES about as individuals?

* Perhaps the big multi-national corporations (AOL, Clear Channel, Record companies, etc) who own the music and the networks will take care of it for US in the future and maybe we should just leave it to them to figure out?

* Perhaps we should just leave it to music fans in other countries to preserve and expand for US?

What are your thoughts?
What are your ideas?

All I know is that at the rate folks are dying, combined with the fact that this music/culture are being driven further and further "underground", it seems to me that we are quite literally running out of time to figure out the answers to these questions.

Somebody else is going to answer them for US...

Drop me an email if you have any thoughts or ideas in this topic…

--Bob Davis

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Hopefully you enjoyed this edition of the Soul-Patrol Newsletter.
We will be back in about two weeks with the next edition, with any email alerts for
local events, Soul-Patrol website updates/chat sessions or breaking news in between, as required.

If you have any comments, questions, etc feel free to drop me an email and let me know what's on your mind.

Bob Davis

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