When it gets good

You might notice how in many forms of African-derived music, a melody- and harmony-driven music will over the course of the piece devolve into domination by the rhythm section. Right now I cannot find any examples other than what just reminded me of this, a long YouTube video of a 1973 performance by Earth, Wind and Fire. At 30 minutes in some band members move out into the audience while others, guitarist and drummer, maintain the rhythm. Now, you can see the same thing in a blues performance when the guitarist gets down to highly syncopated strokes on the guitar and maybe raps on the guitar with his hand. In the Black church, this is almost de rigueur as members begin to be filled with the Holy Ghost, i.e. “shout”, become possessed. The highest exemplar of this in the church setting is a tarrying service. To my shock, I see I have not described a tarrying service here on the blog. I’ll try to get to that tomorrow but it involves church ladies dressed in white dancing in a circle around the the person “tarrying” or waiting for the Holy Ghost to possess him. Here there is only tambourines, hand clapping, and foot-stomping, recalling African drum patterns.

I will try to find some examples of this devolution but my point is that this reveals, to my mind, the extreme power of African music, that when push comes to shove, Black people, even in the U.S., still love to move to pure rhythm.

BTW, Earth, Wind and Fire got very elaborate after this 73 performance. I’ll have to watch more and listen to my one album to see if they stayed this good. If you go to this site (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JfoBbXTm7s), read the comments; they reveal the attitudes of people in a positive way, reveling in the music of the 70s with its extensive use of congas and fusion with Latin music.

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