THE NEW ROTARY CONNECTION / “I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun”

MP3 04 I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun (Riperton).mp3 (5.27 MB)

In honor of the coming New Year, this week we're featuring songs about the sun. So with no ado or preamble, here are five of my favorite classic sun songs:

Lonnie Liston Smith – “Sunbeams” – From Reflections Of A Golden Dream (Bluebird/RCA, 1976)

Lonnie Liston wrote many songs about the sun, “Quiet Dawn,” “Love Beams” and “Sunset” among them. My favorite is probably “Sunbeams.” Kalamu and I have had out it before about how to categorize Lonnie’s smooth, easy blend of funk and jazz. Kalamu called it “a soft light show.” I just call it good.

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Rosinha De Valença – “After Sunrise” – From Rosinha De Valença (Som Livre, 1973)

Rosinha De Valença is a Brazilian guitarist probably best known here in America for playing with the Sérgio Mendes’ Brasil 65. But in 1960s-era Brazil she was a well known bossa nova musician and bandleader. (Or so I’m told.) I like her tune “After Sunrise” for the way she mixes the rough with the smooth – the gentle flute and acoustic guitar mix nicely with the sudden rattles and scrapes of the percussion instruments.

The Wailers – “Sun Is Shining” (Upsetter Version) – From Soul Revolution (Trojan, 1971)

Instead of telling you what I like about this version of Bob’s sun song, I’ll quote Kalamu from back in July ’06 when I first posted it:

"Maybe it’s my imagination, or my music-writing tendency toward exaggeration, but I swear I be feeling Bob’s smile beaming thru the track upful in my ear making me shout an affirmative response to Bob’s closing words when the track comes to an abrupt halt: yeah, man, I and I believe ya!"

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Rotary Connection – “I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun” – From Hey, Love (Chess, 1971)

This was Minnie Riperton before she was Minnie Riperton. (Listen really carefully and you might even here her singing somewhere in the mix. emoticon) We’ve talked about this one before: orchestral, almost operatic yet somehow funky and raw too. That single phrase – “I am the black gold of the sun” – always makes me feel good.

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Roy Ayers Ubiquity – “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” – From Everybody Loves The Sunshine (RCA, 1976)

You can’t talk about sun songs in any meaningful way without talking about this one, the classic. My parents’ generation loves it as a personal anthem. My generation loves it by proxy due to the numerous versions, remakes, samples and interpolations of it. For me, the most brilliant thing about this song is Ayers and Co.’s Zen methodology of lyric writing. Instead of trying to tell a story or make a specific point, they just repeat all sorts of shit about feeling good in the sun. It doesn’t get any better than…
Just bees and things and flowers.
Does it? Or how’s about those times when you or I get to…
Feel what I feel when I feel what I feel when I’m feeling.
Do what I do when I do what I do when I’m doing.
Look, I know it’s wintertime and many of y’all are stuck in cold, dark places. But spring will be here soon. The plants will grow, the flowers will bloom and the trees will turn green again. In the meantime, I hope the sun songs bring a little brightness to where ever you happen to be.

Happy ’08 everybody!!!

—Mtume ya Salaam

            Here Comes The Sun               

I just want to quickly add in Nina’s “Here Comes The Sun” to this lineup of classic sun songs. I’ve chosen a bouquet of sunshine for y’all in the Covers section. Happy New Year!

—Kalamu ya Salaam

This entry was posted on Monday, December 31st, 2007 at 12:58 am and is filed under Classic. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “THE NEW ROTARY CONNECTION / “I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun””

jOHN Says:
December 31st, 2007 at 1:27 pm

Yes these were marvalous times times that we must carry with us and propagate today,



Ken Says:
January 5th, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Can’t go wrong with Roy Ayers. That groove is hypnotic.

How about:

“Happier Than the Morning Sun”–Stevie
“Lovely Day” (indirect reference to sun)–Bill Withers

At his best, Withers’ songs sing/sound like hymns.

audiologo Says:
January 6th, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Thanks so much for this! These endless gray days are too much! I’ve been sending b.o.l. to everyone I know living absent the sun right now. Wish ya’ll would put this out as a Breath of Life release!

Loving the Rotary Connection–I haven’t heard them in ages, yes, yes! Oh, and can’t forget the Simone, of all things!

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