- Audio CD (12 Oct. 2009)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Double CD
- Label: Soul Jazz Records
- ASIN: B002GUJ13E
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,301 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Soul Jazz Records Presents Can You Dig It? The Music And Politics Of Black Action Films 1969-75 Double CD
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"Can You Dig It?' is as definitive as it gets, and treats its subject seriously, lovingly and with an attention to detail that makes it a necessary purchase. An exemplary collection that is near perfect.' WIRE MAGAZINE
'Can You Dig It?' charts the rise of 'Black Action Films' from 1970-75. It comes as a double-CD collection of the stunning music from these films. The vinyl is on two monster loud separate double albums.
The Black Action Films of the early 1970s gave the Hollywood industry its first African-American cinema - actors, directors, cameramen, editors and writers. These films discussed aspects of the African-American experience in the form of entertainment. Storylines interwove post-civil rights revolution with action stories, many involving pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers or private detectives.
The films also featured the finest funk and soul black music of the time as stars such as James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Willie Hutch and Roy Ayers produced some of their finest work, with film budgets allowing for the addition of huge orchestral arrangements by jazz legends such as Quincy Jones, Johnny Pate and JJ Johnson.
In the early 1970s, Black Action Films exploded into the cinema with three extremely successful films - 'Shaft', 'Super Fly' and 'Sweet Sweetback's Badasssss Song'. The most profound statement of these films was their actual existence - black actors and black directors entering the previously closed Hollywood film industry.
Black Action Films were a representation of politically everything that had gone before and stylistically of everything that was current. Civil rights, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Black Power, Black Panthers, Vietnam sit alongside the criminal worlds of policemen, private investigators, bail bondsmen and the criminals, drug dealers, pimps and hustlers that they parole.
'Can U Dig It?' brings you everything you always wanted to know about black action films.
This is an essential Soul Jazz Records release!
Top Customer Reviews
Having only seen two of the featured films (Shaft and Superfly,) I was expressly interested in the musical content of Soul Jazz Record's latest release. So what do you get? This is music of unstinting quality - thudding basslines pulsating around bursts of flighty strings.
Buoyed and beefed-up by the extra cash from film studio budgets several of black music's legends can be found on here, Roy Ayers - with two typically groovy tracks from Coffy, Issac Hayes with classics from the Shaft films, Will Hutch, Marvin Gaye and James Brown just to name a few. Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman," a personal favourite of mine appears on the second CD.
As ever with Soul Jazz compilations there is something you haven't come across before. I was new to the muted trumpet of The Blackbyrds "Wilfred's Gone" and the flute loop of Don Julian's "Lay it on your head."
The first CD concentrates a bit more on the stonewall classics whereas the second offers something for someone with a slightly broader musical pallet. And this is where Can you Dig It? really succeeds - classics and new delights together in one spellbinding package. Make this one of your essential purchases this Autumn.
Whoever put this record together knew exactly what they were doing, exemplified by the inclusion of the full 9 mins of Isaac Hayes' 'In Pursuit Of The Pimpmobile'. There's obvious choices from the genre sitting shoulder to shoulder with hard to find and rarely heard classics. Like all compilations of this nature it might be argued that there are a few glaring ommisions (James Brown - 'The Boss'?), but as many better known tracks are readily available elsewhere it was a sacrifice worth making.
I couldn't recommend this album enough and my only gripe is that Soul Jazz records haven't got their arses into gear and released 'Can You Dig It?' vol. 2.
The spread is across about ten years and the earliest track - Time is tight by Booker T and the MGs - has a soul vibe that peters out to wards the end of the 70's. Nonetheless the quality is high throughout - listen to Dennis Coffey or Grant Green to hear some exciting and well done music. There is huge variety on this disc - Sweetback's Theme by Brer Soul & Earth, Wind and Fire is a cool piece of Jazz that works well with the frantic energy of Travelling to get to Doc by Grant Green.
There are two problems with this disc: the music can occasionally be a little longer than the ideas; I would guess that this is the constraints of writing film music to a length but affects only a couple of tracks. the other is with the listener: I listened to some of this on an iPod walking around London and kept imagining myself in a long tracking shot with film titles overlaid.
This is a fabulous disc and would make terrific driving music.
2CDs are housed in a card wrap with a truly sensational 100-page booklet slotted in beside the double jewel case (there are also two VINYL DOUBLE ALBUMS (Disc 1 and 2) which are now sought after in themselves). Released October 2009 in the UK – “Can You Dig It? The Music And Politics Of Black Action Films 1968-1975” on Soul Jazz Records SJR CD214 (Barcode 5026328202143) breaks down as follows…
Disc 1 (56:40 minutes):
1. Coffy Is The Color by ROY AYERS (Coffy, 1973)
2. Blacula by GENE PAGE (Blacula, 1972)
3. Shaft In Africa by JOHNNY PATE (Shaft In Africa, 1973)
4. Brother’s Gonna Work It Out by WILLIE HUTCH (The Mack, 1973)
5. Charley by DON COSTA (The Soul Of Nigger Charley, 1973)
6. “T” Plays It Cool by MARVIN GAYE (Trouble Man, 1973)
7. Across 110th Street by BOBBY WOMACK (Across 110th Street, 1972)
8. Willie Chase by J.J. JOHNSON (Willie Dynamite, 1973)
9. Down And Out In New York City by JAMES BROWN (Black Caesar, 1973)
10. They Call Me MISTER Tibbs by QUINCY JONES (They Call Me Mister Tibbs, 1970)
11. Keep On Movin’ On by MARTHA REEVES (Willie Dynamite, 1973)
12. Theme From Black Belt Jones by DENNIS COFFEY (Black Belt Jones, 1974)
13. Freddie’s Dead by CURTIS MAYFIELD (Superfly, 1972)
14. Wilford’s Gone by THE BLACKBYRDS (Cornbread, Earl And Me, 1975)
15. Theme Of Foxy Brown by WILLIE HUTCH (Foxy Brown, 1974)
16.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When I was a kid I used to walk to the cinema almost daily to carefully study the posters for the latest films (I lived in a small town in Canada with three cinemas having four... Read morePublished 15 months ago by DanielMabuse
Back to the best afro action TV shows in the 60's/70's : I love it !
A second, third... issues would be great !
To be honest, any collection with Pam Grier on the front was always going to stand a great chance of ranking high. Read morePublished on 6 Feb. 2013 by Ben
This is the most comprehensive Blaxploitation compilation that I've heard and great attention to detail has been paid when compiling it. Read morePublished on 22 Dec. 2010 by OMG! It's got a plug!
This CD has been at the top of my Amazon recommendations for some time now, having pondered over it I finally decided to buy it after hearing Bobby Womack - 110 TH Street again... Read morePublished on 11 Aug. 2010 by dave copeland