Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Music News: Lost Melvin van Peebles-Earth Wind & Fire Album Finally Coming Back After 46 Years


Melvin van Peebles’ “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” was a hit independent movie and the first of what was known as “blaxploitation” films back in 1971. It was a huge hit and established the multi-talented Melvin, a cult hero in film and music. His son, Mario van Peebles, may be even better known to you as an actor and director.

So wait– what happened to the “Sweet Sweetback” soundtrack, all music written by van Peebles and performed by a then unknown Earth, Wind, & Fire? This was two years before “Shining Star” put EWF on the map. The album isn’t on Spotify, and has been lost to the generations.

No more! Just got word from Stax/Concord that they’re finally issuing a proper LP and digital download on May 26th. I sure hope they put out a top grade CD as well. “Sweet Sweetback” ranks among the greatest R&B albums of all time. It needs to be heard again. (I’m listening right now to the press link, and kvelling.)

This reissue is part of the Stax Records’ 60th anniversary reissue series. There are new and beautifully repackaged, remastered albums by Otis Redding, Booker T & the MGs, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Floyd, William Bell, Sam & Dave, The Dramatics — with more to come! Not one of these is to be missed if you want to know anything about real R&B, and historic music. Also, you can dance to it!

Get over to Amazon and get all this stuff now! Summer is here!

PS Melvin is turning 85 in August, he’s the youngest cat around, lives right here in New York. Congrats to him!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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