Lord Revive Me: A soul-stirring playlist curated by the music supervisor for “Greenleaf” on OWN

 

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My good friend Angela DJ Moonbaby Jollivette has landed an amazing new dream job as a music supervisor for season 2 the popular series “Greenleaf” on the OWN Network. She places all the music for the show and has compiled their “Season 2 Soundtrack”! It has been doing well on the gospel music charts and it’s currently entered into the Grammy Awards Visual Media Field’s Best Soundtrack Compilation category, which if you are a voting member of the Recording Academy then I encourage you to check it out (if you’re not and are eligible, sign up)!

She has placed that soundtrack also on Spotify and includes some gorgeous music – one song from each episode, but what I really wanted to share about is the “B-Sides” Soundtrack which are songs inspired by Season 2 that didn’t quite make it to the show but really capture the mood of the show. I have to say, this playlist is on FIRE!

Whether it’s inspiration or revelation, these songs definitely gave me the lift I need to feel better because with all that’s going on in our country right now, it’s easy for me to get down. I need this playlist daily.

https://open.spotify.com/user/djmoonbaby/playlist/0LHjei6hWgcQxA6g9KJFlr?si=XbIkeW8K

Some songs that need to be highlighted include the beautiful Liz Vice with her song, Empty Me Out. Liz Vice is a young artist from Portland and this song is off her debut album, “There’s A Light”. It has been well received and featured on a lot of favorite lists. Such a soothing vibe and a reminder of how faith works: ego off to let God in.

Moonbaby went diggin’ in the crates to find a couple Aretha Franklin including  “Are You Leaving Me”. Another notable old school song featured is That Shall He Also Reap by Mattie Moss Clark, the mother of popular Gospel group, The Clark Sisters. Mattie Moss Clark, according to wikipedia, ” is credited for creating the three-part harmony (separating vocal parts into soprano, alto and tenor), a technique which is prevalent among gospel choirs today.

Other notable songs for me include Shirley Caesar’s Lord Revive Me, Yolanda Adams’ Open My Heart, and one of my favorite under the radar artists, The Bayou Maharaja James Booker. There are so many more or I’d be mentioning the entire playlist. Just go now and renew your mind and spirit with this playlist. Lord knows we all need it right now at this moment in history. Be blessed my brothers and sisters. Stay strong and encouraged.

Rootnotemusic guesting on Unrestricted with DJ Moonbaby this Thursday 7/21

June 24 on ASPiRE TV: Miles Davis tribute featuring DJ Moonbaby with Robert Glasper and Terrace Martin

Grammy Pro is “Buzzin’ with DJ Moonbaby”

DJ Moonbaby recommends: Choklate & FKA twigs

 

 

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James Booker: Producer Scott Billington on the enigmatic “Bayou Maharaja” (Part 2)

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This post is a continuation of my last post by the same title. We were discussing the genius and legacy of James Booker with renown roots music producer Scott Billington, who produced Booker’s last album, Classified, and through Rounder Records is re-issuing it with previously unreleased tracks. I’ve heard the entire album and would recommend that anyone who is a fan of authentic New Orleans or blues music should have this in their collection. Also, important to note, there is a new documentary awaiting distribution which should also help in bringing a wider audience to this 20th Century unheralded piano genius, “The Bayou Maharaja: The Tragic Genius of James Booker”. The trailer is below the interview. For this post we continue with our conversation with Scott about the art of producing and the art of producing an album with someone as enigmatic as James Booker.

Rootnotemusic: In the liner notes you talked about that this was one of your earliest producing experiences. How did you come to that experience, how did you end up there at that age?

Scott Billington: Well, I was probably really naïve in thinking that I could just walk up to James Booker and say ‘Hey you want to make a record?’ and he would say ‘Sure!’

Rootnotemusic: So you had heard him play at the Maple Leaf and were like ‘I gotta make a record with this guy.’

Scott:  Yeah. Soon after I first heard Booker, we [Rounder Records] put out a record he had made in Switzerland, a beautiful record, and we called it New Orleans Piano Prince Live. And then I heard him at the Maple Leaf. My friend Tom Smith, a writer from Connecticut, says ‘man you gotta hear this guy he’s playing in the window of a laundromat.’ The Maple Leaf had washing machines in the back at the time. It wasn’t the iconic club it is today, but it was on its way. 
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James Booker: Producer Scott Billington on the enigmatic “Bayou Maharaja” (Part 1)

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James Carroll Booker III (1939-1983) was one of the foremost musical and piano geniuses of the 20th century, yet his name is not as widely known beyond music lovers, musicians, and New Orleanians. That should change because his last album is being revisited by a reissue of his album Classified by Rounder Records by renown roots producer Scott Billington, who did the original sessions for the album in 1983. Scott has produced and played on more than 100 recordings and won two Grammy Awards and has been nominated for 10. I had the good fortune of speaking with Scott this past week about the “tragic genius” of James Booker, who died at the age of 43 before he could become the household legend his legacy deserves. He’s been called the Piano Prince of New Orleans, a wizard, the King of New Orleans Keyboards, a tragic genius, and the Bayou Maharaja. Who was this man who was so talented and brought to the surface so much tragic emotion? Talking with Scott, who knew him well, sheds some light on this enigmatic genius. He suffered from mental illness and addiction which stymied his rise to his proper place among musics’ legendary geniuses.  This interview will be two parts as there is too much great info for just one post.

 

Rootnotemusic: People have called James Booker a genius. What do you see as his specific genius that is different from any other artist that sets him apart from other musicians labeled genius’ of his generation or his style of music?

Scott Billington: He could play more piano than anybody I ever heard. He could synthesize so many different styles of music.

Rootnotemusic: I heard gospel, ragtime, jazz, blues, classical.

Scott: He was a brilliant improviser. He had a classical background. He studied classical music when he was a boy and had a teacher that taught him Chopin and Rachmaninoff. He could do things with his mind that many other people couldn’t do. Earl King, the New Orleans piano player had many Booker stories. One of them was about showing up at a gig and the bandleader handed Booker a fairly complicated score and Booker looked at it for 10 or 15 seconds and Booker said “Okay I got it” and set it aside. And the bandleader said “What do you mean? You can’t play that!” Well he did.

Rootnotemusic: He was a true genius.

Scott: Yeah, Earl King said he had a photo mind, a photographic mind. Earl King told another story about the organist Jimmy Smith being in New Orleans and playing a show. They were backstage and they had an upright piano and Booker was back there and he said to Jimmy Smith ‘I really liked your show, but you made a mistake on the bridge to this song.’ And Jimmy Smith said ‘I didn’t make a mistake.’ And Booker said ‘Yes you did’ and he went to the piano and showed him. And Jimmy Smith said, ‘damn I guess I did.’ Booker said ‘well do you want to hear it backwards?’ and he could play the same song backwards and forwards with both hands at the same time.

Rootnotemusic: Why do you think he never achieved the wider notoriety of other musicians of his talent?
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