January 11th – 17th, 2010
Smokey Robinson. There is a name to take you waaaaay back before most of us at BFP uttered our first squeaks.
Motown. The Temptations. Black music going mainstream and then taking over the airways everywhere for a few years. A reverse British-Invasion in the UK. Riots in Detroit and Watts by people who had been held down too long as the handmaids for those who had and kept the money. You could put in ten years on the assembly line at General Electric in New Jersey, but if you wanted to do $500 on the never-never towards a new Chevrolet in 1963 you had better have been white.
Aretha Franklin. Pretty. Beautiful voice. Powerful. Sexy in a wholesome sort of way like Tracy Chapman is now. Not adhering to that international model look that all the big female singers have now. Aretha made it on message, energy and singing talent. No nipple rings or barbed wire necessary.
I’m almost frightened to look up Smokey Robinson’s age on Wikipedia so I won’t. I don’t care if they have to wheel him out on stage with an IV drip and an oxygen tank at his side, I’m going. (Hey… just kidding about that. The online reviews of his concerts are 100% positive and the guy is still dancing around stage in full leather tight pants surrounded by sweet young things. Whatever he’s eating, I’ll have some!)
Smokey Robinson was VP and #2 at Motown when the music was part of the big social changes and instrumental in the growth black consciousness. I don’t know what to expect of his current performance, but I’m going and nothing can stop me.