"summer of soul" Tue Jul-06-21 10:48 AM by thebigfunk
Had a chance to see this on the big screen last night (first movie since COVID!) and just wanted to encourage folks to do the same if you can! It's out on Hulu but I'm glad we made the trip to the theater. The quality of the footage is surprisingly good, both the visual quality and the sound quality -- not sure how much work they had to do to clean it up but it was a lot of fun to watch.
Some highlights: - Stevie rocking out on the clavinet -- it was only '69 but he's already sounding like he's ready to drop Superstition... - As much as I love Sly I actually haven't seen that much concert footage, so "Higher" and "Simple Song" here were just a lot of fun for me - Probably the finest moment of the film is Mavis basically leading "Precious lord take my hand" w/Mahalia almost as backup even though it was supposed to be the other way around --- goosebumps!!! - Two words: Mongo Santamaria! And Sheila E talking about finer points of playing different drums with your hands - And of course, mf'in Nina not messing around w/Backlash Blues and another joint, plus what might have been the absolute debut of To Be Young, Gifted, And Black (hadn't been released yet, that's for sure -- anyone know if this was its premier?)
Only disappointments: - I wanted more about the planning of the event itself; what did those conversations with artists look like? - Some of the details on how the days were planned were pretty slim, like, start time/end time, length of an average set, etc. It seemed like a lot of these folks were coming out and doing just one song but I'm assuming that was editing, no one's flying to NYC to do a one and done, are they? - Yo Quest, what about the house band man????!?!? There was clearly some sort of house band backing a lot of folks or sitting in with each act, *that's* a story because a) they were pretty on point! and b) I can only imagine there were some names we would recognize in there but maybe I'm wrong. That's a whole different time in terms of how a band like that would work, a different mentality, and would have loved to have heard more about prep and execution. (That's the nerd in me, maybe.)
I guess that's the nerd in me though. Honestly, great time, learned some fun tidbits of trivia, and thought the history and context was handled really well, how some of the footage/soundbites of the times was woven in really artfully with some of the festival footage. The arc of moving from a cleaner suit-and-tie classic Motown image to Sly/Nina et al was told really well without beating it to a pulp, letting the visuals and the lineup do the talking. Definitely snagging this on DVD if it drops.
Anyone else seen it? Is there going to be an album or boxset for this?