Some Wednesday Love: “I Am The Black Gold of The Sun,” Nuyorican Soul and Rotary Connection
There are just some songs that help to make your life a little more worth living, and this has turned out to be one of those songs for me.
During these parlous and difficult times, you need music to remind you and tell you once again that you are a child of the Universe, and that you are unique in the world. There is no one else like you, not even if you are a twin.
I heard “I Am The Black Gold of The Sun” for the first time, truth be told, while I was working, as I am, for one of Madison‘s department stores one day. I was astounded; it kinda woke me up. Thereafter, I would wait for the Muzak track to repeat. It moved me so much I started hunting for it on You Tube. At first, I thought the chorus was singing, I am the black hole of the sun, but I thought, “How could a song celebrate the smothering of life, if that is what a black hole does?” And then I found that the original came from Rotary Connection, the Chess Records “psychedelic soul” experiment that featured Minnie Riperton, with Charles (later of Earth, Wind and Fire) Stephney producing and Riperton’s husband Richard Rudolph providing lyrics.
The video clip of Rotary Connection is more a paean to black women, who were experiencing a cultural grand coming out in the Sixties and Seventies as well. Photos of Angela Davis walking with Jimi Hendrix; reconstructed African hairdoes and fashions on African American women, Rolling Stone Brian Jones with his black woman of the moment, Donyale Luna; Miles Davis with his then-wife Betty; Pam Grier looking sexy and fierce at the same time; model Naomi Sims who died a couple of years back; poet Nikki Giovanni, who looks sooo young; , Elaine Brown of the Panther Party; the original actors of the rock musical Hair, interspersed with the members of Rotary Connection are just a few to look out for. Makes one think that those fashions are coming right back at us again with these new generations. Especially that Missoni stuff that some folks are wearing, which is really about 58 years old. Sorry, yall. Target wasn’t the first to feature it.
When I heard this song, it made me feel that I wasn’t just a cog in the wheel; it made me feel love for me, just as I was, even as a shop girl. Thank you for resurrecting this song, Nuyorican Soul, in all your manifestations, guys….wink, wink.
I love all the versions, really. But this one has all the lyrics. Jocelyn Brown‘s call and response with the chorus sends chills up and down my spine. It’s a great song to wake up to, to sing la-la-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la, laaaaaaaaah at all the cares and tribulations of the world. It makes me keep on keeping on to work to overcome them all.
Good morning, all. Wherever you are, no matter what time your day begins.
- Album: Various artists, Chicago Soul (Soul Jazz Records) (independent.co.uk)
- …I Do Know Minnie Riperton Left a Legacy (idontknoweverythingbut.wordpress.com)
- A Meeting of Minds in the Land of Black Gold (thehiddencrate.wordpress.com)