Saturday, April 05, 2008

April 4, 1968

Things I'm listening to and reading to observe the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Gospel Memories: As always, gospel music historian and friend-of-this-blog Bob Marovich is on the case. Tomorrow morning's radio broadcast, from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. CST, includes a tribute to Dr. King. Listen on Chicago's WLUW (88.7 FM), or on

Bob writes, "Dr. King was the subject of more gospel songs than any leader in modern history. Not all King-related songs were written and recorded following Dr. King's death. Some recordings sang his praises while he yet lived."

His April 6 show will feature vintage gospel music tributes to Dr. King by artists such as the Norfleet Brothers, Brother Will Hairston, Rev. Claude Jeter, Bobby Jones & New Life, Bill Spivery & the Sons of Truth, the Loving Sisters, and some of Dr. King's personal favorites, sung by Mahalia Jackson.

(Bob's blog also hipped me to a new article on Dr. Horace Clarence Boyer in the Amherst Bulletin. If you love gospel, you need to know who Dr. Boyer is. And if you already know who he is, you'll enjoy the article as well. I interviewed Dr. Boyer a few years ago, and it was such a treat.)

King: The Soundtrack Martin Johnson interviews guitarist-activist Vernon Reid on how MLK's death affected black music (

The Night James Brown Saved Boston: News and Notes' Farai Chideya talks with filmmaker David Leaf about his rockumentary, The Night James Brown Saved Boston. Many believe the Godfather's April 5, 1968 concert prevented rioting in Boston. From the film's website: "James Brown kept the peace in one of America's most racially inflammatory cities. And he did that just by being James Brown -- setting the stage of the Boston Garden on fire. And the city itself didn't burn. Boston remained peaceful and the night became legendary."

King Came Singing: A King Tribute presented at Seattle Pacific University. You can find audio and visual footage of the event on iTunes. Or scroll down on the linked page and download it that way.

Freedom Creek by Willie King and the Liberators. Movement music meets the blues. My favorite quote from the lyrics: "You know, they killed Dr. King's body, but you know they couldn't kill his mind./ Killed Dr. King's body, but you know they couldn't kill his mind/ He said I'm going away/ I'll be back my second time/ . . .May do me wrong, but my mind is strong/ Can't kill my mind."