Tuesday, May 09, 2006:

Black Merda -- The Folks from Mother's Mixer

Black Merda
Black Merda -- The Folks from Mother's Mixer
Black Merda are the self-proclaimed "first black rock group," a psychedelic funk-rock outfit out of Detroit who recorded two albums (in 1967 and in 1971) which for various reasons fell off the map. Musically, they're a bit like Hendrix crossed with Funkadelic, with dips into Curtis Mayfield, The Stylistics, and acoustic blues.

Their first album was on Chess, at a time when the label was being sold to GRT Corp and Marshall Chess had flown to the U.K. to work with the Rolling Stones. It's a safe bet the first album didn't get the attention it deserved, and the liner notes say that the second album didn't either. Black Merda have been getting plenty of respect lately, though, with the Beastie Boys, Mojo Magazine, and Rolling Stone all singing their praises.

The band were originally VC L. Veasey on bass and acoustic guitar, Charles Hawkins on guitar, Anthony Hawkins on guitar, and Tyrone Hite on drums, with the band sharing vocals. Hite left the band after the first album and was replaced with Bob Crowder.

Their first two albums have been re-released on one comp; I started out picking favorites but it ended up being half the album so I'll skip all that.

And no, Merda here is not what you might be thinking if you speak Italian, Spanish, or French--it's pronounced like "Murder." The group's name was a pointed comment about the political climate at the time; they thought "Murder, Incorporated" sounded too gangster, then they decided to change the spelling from "Black Murder" to make it less negative.

Veasey and the Hawkins brothers are still together, welcoming the renewed press attention, and hoping to tour as a result. Awesome.
[The Folks from Mother's Mixer ]
[Official site]
[Good lengthy writeup at the Detroit Metro Times]

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Comments:
Wow, what a great period piece. It's from that brief strange moment in history when everything mixed together: soul singing with funk rhythms and psychedelic guitar and revolutionary lyrics.

Did you notice that when you follow the Amazon link, it says that "Customers who bought this album also bought Hook and Sling, by Eddie Bo?"

Didn't notice that at amazon, rosswords. It explains a lot, though--I found them through amazon.com, because they kept suggesting this disc on the "recommendations" link. So I looked them up on allmusic.com and decided it was worth the risk.

I can only imagine what kind of weird shit you were buying at Amazon that they recommended this to you. Checking out Chairman Mao's Guide to the Funky Chicken?

Uh, no. I think it was probably the two Eddie Bo CDs. With Chairman Mao's Guide to the Funky Chicken they start recommending regional cookbooks.

You're kind enough to tell us how to pronounce 'merda' cos yup, I laughed out loud.
Excellent tracks !

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