Tag Archives: Mary J. Blige

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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March 2 – Music and Movies

Dan had a dream last night (really, he woke up and called me!) – There we were on the red carpet, cameras flashing in front of our eyes, the people on the bleachers shouting “Great River Radio!” and then someone thrust a microphone in front of him and asked “WHO ARE you wearing?” and Dan, needing to tell the truth, replied “I got this from Dayton’s in 1986 – sorry about the missing button” and then he woke up.

The Great River Radio staff likes to stay in touch with culture – we’re not exactly culture hounds, but like all good English majors, we like to see movies and then talk about them.  Between songs during our show, we are often discussing something we’ve seen in the theater.  But sometimes we are faced with a choice:  music or movie?  We can’t do it all!

This afternoon, though, we are going to happily combine our interests and play music from the movies.  For the fourth year in a row, Great River Radio will get you ready for Oscar night (next Sunday) by reviewing our favorite songs from soundtracks – from the past year and earlier.  We’ve talked often of the inextricable relationship between what  we see on the screen and what we are listening to on the soundtrack – we’ll explore that relationship again today and ask, among other questions, why some songs are used repeatedly in soundtracks, and why some directors seem to be more gifted than others in “curating” songs for their movies.

Rather than letting you know what artists we are playing, we’ll pique your interest with movie titles.  You’ll hear music from one of our favorite movies of the year “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” from the Tween favorite “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,”  and from the rugged ”Hurt Locker” and “The Road.”  “The 500 Days of Summer” had a wonderful soundtrack, as did “Where the Wild Things Are.”   From older films we’ll hear songs from “The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”  We’ll also be hearing songs which have been nominated for Oscars THIS year from “Crazy Heart,” “Paris 36” and “The Princess and the Frog.”

Join GRR for music and the movies today live today from 4-6 p.m. (CST) at  http://www.stthomas.edu/ustclubs/kust/KUSTLive.html

Brian/Dan

Playlist
Down In New Orleans-Dr. John
Julia’s Theme-Alexandra Desplat
All Is Love-Karen O and The Kids
Theme from The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-Jon Brion
Unstatisfied-The Replacements
Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want-She  & Him
Loin De Paname-Nora Arnezeder
The Road-Nick Cave/Warren Ellis
Orange Sky-Alexi Murdoch
All My Days-Alexi Murdoch
Heroes And Villains-Beach Boys
Let Her Dance-Bobby Fuller Four
Up In The Air-Kevin Renick
The Weary Kind-Ryan Bingham
Meet Me On The Equinox-Death Cab For Cutie
Bella’s Lullaby-Carter Burwell
The Journey Begins-Mark Isham
All The World Is Green-Tom Waits
The Way I Am-Marco Beltrami
I Can See In Color-Mary J. Blige
Playground Love-Air
Goodbye-Kevin Shields
Fools Rush In (Kevin Shields remix)-Bow Wow Wow
Pale Blue Eyes-Velvet Underground
Life On Mars-Seu Jorge

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