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Soul Power '74

spanky debrest

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I got the Masters Of Cinema DVD of this last week and I'm pleased to report it's astonishing. Technically, the sound and mastering is brillant, and with all releases on this label everything is produced and presented to an exceptionally high standard. And it's inexpensive too.

The films main focus (the attempt to cram the best of 3-days of concert footage from an insane cast of African and 'African Diaspora' musicians playing in an event running parallel to the Ali / Forman 'Rumble In the Jungle') is glorious with too many highlights to mention, but the behind-scenes stuff with the organisational headaches and problems is equally fascinating. And the cameramen really did do an unbelievable job - this to me is as movie-like as cenima verite can get, and man, I felt overawed with the feeling of having been there once the credits rolled.

Contrary to what I might have written above , I think my musical highlights were:

- Celia Cruz and the Fania Allstars firing on full power on stage and en route in the plane.

- Big Black showing us why he was lauded so much for his percussion skills. The man was a rhythmic tyrant

- Sister Sledge sounding fantastic (on-stage only in the extras, unfortunately)

- Sweet Charles Sherrell fronting the JBs (if only for a minute)

- Manu Dibango snake charming a bunch of kids in the street to provide him with some rhythm to work with

- The Crasaders sounding mighty thick and fat. I've never enjoyed them so much before.

It's my duty to recommend that everyone who slightly cares about any of the artists involved picks this up. It's ace.

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Great stuff. Needless to say, I'd have done the same if I had a Blu-Ray whoopsie of some sort.

Apparantly, there are some plans to release some of the entire performances but funding of the job is dependant on how much positive feedback the producers get back about Soul Power. We cannot be denied the opportunity to savour these

The audio from the James Brown set from this event has been around for years as a bootleg and although, as a fan, I recognise that the revue at this time (as helmed by Fred Wesley) was on it's last legs the sheer energy of the performance is awesome. I've uploaded this concert if anyone wants it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I watched this last night and it's as fantastic as you attest, glorious stuff. The music is frequently incredible; so much energy and just sheer joy and love. You'd end up listing every act picking highlights, but special mention for me goes to Bill Withers - I had a bit of a moment on his song, singing straight from the heart. Shame the documentary wasn't a little longer and there weren't more performances, but if like you say they're planning on releasing more depending on the success of this release I'll be happy.

Although I'm certainly no doom and gloom merchant when it comes to modern music, I couldn't help thinking what the show would be like if something similar was attempted today.

Also, the English financier was a complete deadringer for Ian Faith from Spinal Tap; his voice was almost identical. I was just waiting for the cricket bat to emerge when he was told that the festival was going to change dates.

Edit: I'd love a copy of the JB set if you have a link :)

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