Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dead Air Church: Shining Star

Dead Air Church brings you Earth, Wind & Fire's wonderful Shining Star recorded live (1975) on the old Midnight Special TV show. I recall this fairly well, since I taped it on an ancient RCA tape-recorder with the extremely low-tech microphone propped up in front of the TV. (Many of us regularly taped the show, which was a great way to get live recordings.)

This song is about human dignity and self-respect, and goes out this week to our newly-retired blogger Brownfemipower. I will dearly miss your spiritual writing and fierce insight. Also, to Blackamazon, who is able to bring down the wrath of feminist publishing with three little words! An amazing and powerful woman, whose words command earth-shaking responses. These are the women the world requires!

At the end of this song, unlike the recorded version, there is a "call and response" segment, which first entered mass-marketed popular music (to my knowledge) with the Isley Brothers' Shout. This is a worship style of the African-American church, that evolved from African community-debate tradition:
In Sub-Saharan African cultures, call and response is a pervasive pattern of democratic participation -- in public gatherings in the discussion of civic affairs, in religious rituals, as well as in vocal and instrumental musical expression. It is this tradition that African bondsmen and women brought with them to the New World and which has been transmitted over the centuries in various forms of cultural expression -- in religious observance; public gatherings; sporting events; even in children's rhymes; and, most notably, in African-American music in its myriad forms and descendants including: gospel, blues, rhythm and blues, jazz and jazz extensions.
Not surprisingly, this song has been covered by Christian artists also, notably the pioneering Christian metal band Stryper.

And before there was Samuel L. Jackson, there was... Maurice White!!! One of the coolest guys ever; the very measure of cool even though people used to call his hair a "half-ro" since half of his hair was gone. Unfortunately, White has Parkinson's disease now and is no longer in the music business. He was quite the marvel in his day, as was Earth, Wind and Fire--inventive, fabulous funk-originators.

And yes, he popularized the sparkly-jacket-with-no-shirt look, imitated by 70s lounge lizards everywhere. Singing effortless harmony with White is multi-talented Philip Bailey.

Enjoy, and live the message!


Earth, Wind & Fire - Shining Star

[via FoxyTunes / Earth, Wind & Fire]


Ken Albin said...

A great song! I knew the lead guitarist of Stryper when I was in high school so that also brought back some memories.

Blackamazon said...

Thank you