MUSIC MONDAY: “Ring of Fire” – Black Voices in Rock And Country Playlist (LISTEN)

by Marlon West (FB: marlon.west1 Twitter: @marlonw IG: stlmarlonwest Spotify: marlonwest)

Happy Music Monday! In the weeks since Beyoncé’s recent Country releases, there’s been much debate on her Country bona fides, though the sista has never been shy about voicing her Texas pride.

From Beyoncé’s history with the genre, from the song “Daddy Lessons”, from her 2016 album Lemonade, to the Stetsons worn by Destiny’s Child, many Country devotees ignore her roots and those of other Black artists.

While talking to a good friend and colleague last week, he pointed out that it’s not musicians that draw designations often based on race, it’s the so-called fans. It is also music writers and editors who act as gatekeepers.

Ray Charles, James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Aerosmith, Love, Brittany Howard, Lola, Valerie June and so many others can’t be bothered. Music is music.

It has been a long-running theme of my playlist and missives here on GBN, that the roots and current impact of Black artists on Country Music and Rock ’n Roll is deep and continuing.

Rhiannon Giddens is present playing the banjo (an instrument whose roots go back to Africa), on “Texas Hold ‘Em”, and with The Carolina Chocolate Drops. As is Lil Nas X, who was also soundly rebuffed by Country music gatekeepers initially.

I’ve included The Black Pumas, TV On The Radio, Clarence Clemons, Tracy Chapman and of course Lenny Kravitz, who all reject rock music being the domain of white artists.

So, please enjoy this collection of artists that aren’t inclined to be labeled and defy labels.

And as always, stay safe, sane, and kind.

Marlon West (photo courtesy Marlon West)