Tag Archives: Amy Winehouse

March 6 – From Bessie to Badu (707)

bessie

 

badu

[audio http://personal.stthomas.edu/drgjelten/shows/GRR707.mp3]

Bessie Smith sang

I’ve got what it takes
But it breaks my heart to give it away
She said I’ve got what it takes
But it breaks my heart to give it away
It’s in demand
Folks cryin’ for it every day
I’ve been saving it up for a long long time
To give it away would be more than a crime


and Robert Johnson wrote

When a woman gets in trouble, everybody throws her down
Lookin’ for her good friend, none can’t be found
You better come on in my kitchen, baby, it’s goin’ to be rainin’ outdoors

and Maya Angelou wrote

I say,
It’s the fire in  my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally,
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I’ll be honest, when I started thinking of this week’s show, I’d forgotten that March is Women’s History Month.  I was actually inspired by a connection from our last show, in which I realized that there was a strong line of influence between some of the artists I played.  Laura Nyro was inspired by Nina Simone and Nyro, in turn, inspired many musicians.  And Simone was influenced by the huge artists that came before her: Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and others.  So I started thinking “Can we draw a line from Bessie Smith to the contemporary singers of today?”  And I decided that we could.

Now, I could have spent weeks preparing a scholarly musical lesson on women in popular music of the twentieth century.  I’m sorry, but I have neither the time nor the expertise.  So, here’s what we’re going to do.  I’ve picked songs from women artists starting with Bessie Smith and moving chronologically through the century to Erykah Badu, and I think that you can argue that each successive artist was influenced by the previous one(s).  We’ll hear from Billie Holiday, Mahalia Jackson, Ruth Brown, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, and move into Nyro, Mitchell, Joplin, Raitt, and eventually Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill and wind up with Mary J Blige and we’ll close with Erykah Badu.

I’d be starting arguments if I said I was including the most important women singers/songwriters of the twentieth century here.  Don’t want to do that. This is subjective.  But there is something for everyone on this show, and I do think this is at least a good faith effort to connect the dots between Bessie and Badu.

I hope you like it.  Let me know what you think, as always.

Today on Great River Radio, coming to you from the University of St. Thomas’ KUST.

The details:

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Playlist
Bessie Smith-Muddy Water (A Mississippi Moan)
Billie Holiday-Lover Come Back To Me
Mahalia Jackson-Didn’t It Rain
Ruth Brown-Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean
Etta James-Lover Man
Aretha Franklin-A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel…)
Nina Simone-I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free
Laura Nyro-Stoney End
Janis Joplin-Try (Just A Little Harder)
Bonnie Raitt-Women Be Wise
Karen Dalton-God Bless The Child
Joni Mitchell-Chinese Cafe/Unchained Melody
Rickie Lee Jones-Last Chance Texaco
Lauryn Hill-Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You
Amy Winehouse-You Know I’m No Good
Cassandra Wilson-Come on In My Kitchen
Black Dub (Trixie Whitley)-I Believe In You
Mary J. Blige-Real Love
Erykah Badu-On and On

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Decade of Influence (2000-2009)

Can you believe that we’re already approaching the end of another decade? Seems like just yesterday we were Livin’ La Vida Loca with Ricky. Those were heady times in pop music. But all good things must pass.

Like all responsible observers of the music history, Great River Radio is set to embark on a thorough examination of the music that really mattered in the Aughts (2000-2009). We’re preparing as any good student would – doing research, looking back on our notes, attending live shows and scouring the Internets.

Now we’re seeking your help with this simple question: What albums and/or artists in the last 10 years have had the greatest influence on music?

We’re not necessarily looking for your favorite CD or a critic’s “Best-Of” list. This pursuit of a “Decade of Influence” is quite different.

As many of you know, 10 years can be a long time … especially if you’ve been spending those years raising young children or touring with “Up With People.” So, we’ll leave you with a partial list below (courtesy of NPR) of some of the artists who definitely have had an impact on our music rotation in recent years.

Take a look at the partial list. Who did we miss? Who set us on another course? Who came out of nowhere to create a new sound? Who turned the world on with their smile?

* Once you’ve given it some thought, please post your entries (artist and album) on our “Decade of Influence” page. We’ll compare notes and share some of your suggestions during our Great River Radio – Decade of Influence show in early 2010. – Brian/Dan

Animal Collective
Arcade Fire
Bon Iveer
Bright Eyes
Burial
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Kelly Clarkson
Danger Mouse
Death Cab For Cutie
The Damnwells
The Decemberists
Eminem
Jay Farrar
The Flaming Lips
Green Day
Iron And Wine
Jay-Z
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
LCD Soundsystem
Lil’ Wayne
M.I.A.
OutKast
Panda Bear
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Radiohead
Santigold
Sigur Ros
Sufjan Stevens
The Swell Season
Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate
Kanye West
The White Stripes
Wilco
Paul Westerberg
Amy Winehouse

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