The Official Site for David Freeman Coleman

The Official Site for David Freeman Coleman
a.k.a. Funkyman

Did He Ever Talk About . . . ?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

50 Years

On Saturday night, the choirs at Dana Hall School presented a choral tribute to Motown. There are several things about this that I hate.

1. Choral arrangements of Motown are GARBAGE. Could they be more square? They sound nothing like the original thing. which means . . .
2. I HAVE TO DO ALL OF THE ARRANGEMENTS. And that's a lot of work especially since . . .
3. It's an ALL GIRLS school. I love my students, but writing for SSA all day runs low on my variety meter.
4. The girls have to audition for the solos, which breaks lots of hearts because everyone who auditions can't get one.

Of course, there are several things I like about this.

1. Motown songs are AMAZING. If you don't like these songs, check your pulse.
2. I am very proud of the work both I and the girls did. It was an amazing concert.
3. Several of the girls came into their own as singers with the solo opportunities.
4. Everyone that night left with a smile on their face.

Motown is an important part of American history, and yes, an important part of Black history, which still has significance though my fellow idealists would scoff otherwise. I find it funny that the same people who want to live in a world where we don't need Black History are the same ones stressing the importance of learning the history and cultures of societies centuries and millenia old. The Civil Rights Act is not 50 years old yet and this is OUR country. Wounds are fresh . . . but we've come a long way. For the long journey ahead, I ask patience from my fellow idealists. One day, our children's children's children will be able join hands in the streets of Mississippi to Boston to Paris to Bangkok to Baghdad to say . . . "Wow, is it the 100th anniversary of Tiger Woods' affair already?"

Anyway, on to the show!

As I was studying the songs of Motown, I noticed a lot of things people don't commonly catch when grooving to the funky tunes.

- Martha and the Vandellas - "What is a Vandella" you ask? EXACTLY. A female thief (vandal/vandella). And their songs: "Heatwave" and "Nowhere to Run" are actually visions of burning in eternal hell fire.
- Smokey Robinson - One of Motown's lead songwriters. "Smokey?" Because there's SMOKE coming from hell perhaps?
- The Temptations - Right. The 7 deadly sins.

- Marvin Gaye - "Sexual Healing," "Let's Get it On," "Gotta Give it Up," "I Heard it through the Chatroom," "What's Going On . . .Baby?" "How Sweet it Is to Be Loved in a Bayou," "Ain't No Marvin High Enough, Ain't No Valet Low Enough" etc., etc.
- The Supremes - Sounds good right? But all of their songs are about infidelity "Where Did Our Love Go?," "Stop in the Name of Love," "Baby Love." What's so supreme about women who have no self-respect and stay with this cheating man and keep singing songs about him?
- Michael Jackson - "The Love You Save" sample lyrics - "When Alexander called you, he said he rang your chimes." I rest my case.
- Gladys Knight & the Pimps - I mean COME ON! Can we have some tact please? This is one of the . . . what's that you say? Oh. Pips? My bad.

- What the heck is a "PIP??????????" THANK YOU!
- Stevie Wonder - As in "I WONDER why they couldn't come up with a better name for one of earth's most gifted humans." How about Stevie BAMMMMM!?
- Boyz II Men - Someone skip spelling class that day? And Roman numerals? Wow.
- The Jackson 5 - . . . Because . . . their last name is . . . Jackson and there are 5 of them. OK, we're done early today!

OK, joke's over. I love Motown, obviously. Otherwise I wouldn't have done a tribute. For more info on Motown, click here. I want to thank Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, and all of the amazingly gifted songwriters, musicians, and artists that literally shaped and defined the 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's. For more than 50 years, you have uplifted the entire human race and continue to do so.

Yesterday, Today, and Forever

- Funkyman

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