IU site Black Grooves reviews sounds of summer

Here’s a guest post about summer’s special soundtrack courtesy of newsroom colleague George Vlahakis, who typically blogs at IU Inc.:

Back in 1969, Sly and the Family Stone came out with “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” which Billboard magazine today ranks among the Top 10 best “Summer Songs of All Time,” along with “Summer in the City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful and “Wipe Out” by the Safaris.

The months of June, July and August always have their special soundtrack. If you’re looking for some suggestions, the Archives of African American Music and Culture at Indiana University Bloomington has kept up with the latest grooves since 1991.

The archives include music and materials covering the full range of African-American cultural expression, including R&B, hip-hop, gospel and the blues. Its holdings document the development of black radio and include personal collections of Johnny Griffith, Johnny Otis and Ray Charles’ biographer Michael Lydon.

Each month, Black Grooves, a music review site hosted by the archive, highlights the latest new releases and quality reissues in all genres composed or performed by black artists. All of the recordings also are part of its permanent collection.

This month, Black Grooves is featuring albums that spice up Fourth of July celebrations: Satchmo at the National Press Club: Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours (complete with recipes); BeBeWinans’ patriotic offering America America; and the party-igniting Twenty Dozen by NOLA’s Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Reissues covered this month include Paul Simon’s Graceland 25th Anniversary box set and Time Will Reveal: The Complete Motown Albums of Debarge. New releases being reviewed include Ruben Studdard’s Letters From Birmingham and Betty Wright and The Roots’ Betty Wright: The Movie.

Sly and the Family Stone were at Woodstock and are part of the archive’s collection. So is Will Smith, who as the “Fresh Prince” (with DJ Jazzy Jeff), before becoming a movie star, suggested in his 1991 hit “Summertime” that it’s “time to sit back and unwind.”

Good advice.

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