Soul Vibes — News and Views

Voting Advice: New York State

  1. Register. The deadline is Friday, October 9
  2. Confirm: Make sure you’ve successfully registered to vote in this Presidential election
  3. Vote:
    1. In-person voting
      Polls are open from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM Tuesday, November 3rd (You do not need to bring ID. [ID rules may vary for absentee ballots and first-time voters])

      To find your polling place you can look up on the New York State Board of Elections website
    2. Vote by Mail/Absentee Voting
      You can vote by mail for specific reasons, including fear of coronavirus. Your ballot request must be received by Tuesday, October 27th and your completed ballot must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, November 3rd and received no later than Tuesday, November 10th (The US Postal Service recommends mailing ballots at least a week before Election Day.)

      You can hand deliver your ballot to your county board of elections no later than Tuesday, November 3.
    3. Early Voting
      Polls are open from Saturday, October 24th through Sunday, November 1st.

Kamala Harris

On August 11, 2020, the Democratic presumptive Presidential candidate, Joe Biden named Kamala Harris as his running mate, making her the first Black, Jamaican-American and South Asian-American woman to run on a major political party’s presidential ticket.

If elected, Harris—the daughter of two immigrants—will become the nation’s first Black vice president, the first female vice president, the first Indian-American and the first Jamaican-American to ascend to the office.

It has been suggested that Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is betting that, on balance, Harris will have broad appeal with Black women and other voters of color and serve as an anchor for the Democratic Party– all while boosting turnout among white liberals and pulling support from independents and Republican-leaning white voters who have soured on President Donald Trump.

Facts about Kamala Harris

The first Black woman to be elected district attorney in California history, first woman to be California’s attorney general, first Indian American senator, and now, the first Black woman and first Asian American to be picked as a vice presidential running mate on a major-party ticket.

Kamala Devi Harris was born in Oakland, California on October 20, 1964, the eldest of two children born to Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher from India, and Donald Harris, an economist from Jamaica.

Her parents met at UC Berkeley while pursuing graduate degrees, and bonded over a shared passion for the civil rights movement, which was active on campus. After she was born, they took young Kamala along to protests in a stroller.

Harris’ parents divorced when she was 7, and her mother raised her and her sister, Maya, on the top floor of a yellow duplex in Berkeley.

Harris attended middle school and high school in Montreal, Canada after her mom got a teaching job at McGill University and a position as a cancer researcher at Jewish General Hospital.

After high school, Harris attended Howard University, the prestigious historically Black college in Washington, D.C. She majored in political science and economics, and joined the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the pre-eminent Black sorority.

She attended law school in San Francisco at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, graduating with her J.D. degree, in 1989

In 1990, after passing the bar, Harris joined the Alameda County prosecutor’s office in Oakland as an assistant district attorney focusing on sex crimes.

In 2003, she ran for district attorney in San Francisco against incumbent Terence Hallinan, her former boss.

She was elected in a runoff with 56.5 percent of the vote. With her victory, she became the first Black woman in California to be elected district attorney.

Some advocates say Harris didn’t do enough to address police brutality while she was attorney general, especially after she refused to investigate the police shootings of two Black men in 2014 and 2015. She also didn’t support a 2015 bill in the state assembly that would have required the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor who specializes in police use of deadly force.

She married Doug Emhoff, a corporate lawyer in Los Angeles, in 2014 at a small and private ceremony officiated by her sister. Emhoff has two children from his previous marriage; they call Harris “Momala.”

Before she was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2017, Harris served as: San Francisco district attorney from 2004-2011; and California attorney general from 2011-2016.

She won her U.S. Senate race in 2016, defeating fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez, a moderate congresswoman with 20 years of experience.

Harris is among the best-known Black women in American politics, with appeal to both moderates and liberals.

By choosing Harris as his political partner, Biden may well be anointing her as the de facto leader of his party in four or eight years.

In her speech she paid tribute to pioneering women before her, including her late mother, while pledging to tackle the “structural racism” that continues to hold other Americans back. “That I am here tonight is a testament to the dedication of generations before me,” Harris, D-Calif., said. “Women and men who believed so fiercely in the promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all. They organized, marched, and fought—not just for their vote, but for a seat at the table.”

Harris, 55, made history as the first Black woman and Indian American woman on a major party presidential ticket. She paid special tribute to her Indian immigrant mother for raising her and her sister to be “proud strong Black women.” And she called out persistent racial inequalities, which the coronavirus pandemic further exposed.

“While this virus touches us all, let’s be honest, it is not an equal opportunity offender,” Harris said. “Black, Latino and Indigenous people are suffering and dying disproportionately. This is not a coincidence. It is the effect of structural racism.”

Harris said the racial inequities are evident in education, technology, health care, housing, job security, excessive force by police and the criminal justice system.

Harris said the racial inequities are evident in education, technology, health care, housing, job security, excessive force by police and the criminal justice system.

“And let’s be clear—there is no vaccine for racism,” Harris said.

“We’ve gotta do the work. For George Floyd. For Breonna Taylor. For the lives of too many others to name.”

Dealing With the Coronavirus

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause various respiratory illnesses including the common cold and more dangerous conditions such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS. These viruses are named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from the surface of the organism.

The virus behind the current disease outbreak that started in China in January and since named COVID-19 is a new strain that had not previously been identified in humans.

Coronavirus infections are transmitted in the same way as many other respiratory illnesses. The virus seems to spread through droplets in the air from a cough or sneeze. They can land in the mouth or nose of a person nearby—within 6 feet—or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Symptoms emerge within 2 to 14 days and can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. However, infected persons can be asymptomatic.

Practical Tips for Dealing With Coronavirus

  1. Move away from someone coughing in public transport
  2. If you feel sick, stay home
  3. Wash your hands frequently. Do it this way:
    Wet your hands with clean running water and then lather them with soap, including the backs of your hands, between your finger, and under your nails. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Then rinse your hands with clean, running water and dry them with a clean towel or let them air dry.If not, use a hand sanitizer but make sure the label says 60% alcohol.
  4. If you need to sneeze or cough, do so into your elbow.
  5. Keep surfaces in your home clean. Alcohol is a good disinfectant for coronaviruses.
  6. Dispose of tissues in a wastebasket after you blow your nose
  7. Get the flu vaccination

Adapted From The New York Times

Pat Kelly

Renowned rocksteady and reggae singer, Pat Kelly, who started his career in the mid-1960s, died July 16, 2019, from complications of kidney disease. He recorded as a solo act and a member of the Techniques, with Winston Riley and Bruce Ruffin. His distinctive falsetto graced several hits for the group, including “There’ll Come a Time”, “I’m in the Mood for Love”, and You Don’t Care” a remake of the Impressions’ “You’ll Want Me Back”).

Some Musicians/Singers Born in September

Barry Gibbs of the Bee Gees Born September 1, 1946
Gloria Estefan (“The Rhythm is Gonna Get You”) Born September 1, 1957
Billy Preston Born September 2, 1946
Beyonce Knowles Born September 4, 1981
Freddy Mercury of the Group Queen Born September 5, 1946
Buddy Miles (“Down by the River”) Born September 5, 1947
Jackie Trent (“Then Only Then”) Born September 6, 1940
Macy Gray Born September 6, 1967
Sonny Rollin – Tenor Saxophonist Born September 7, 1930
Little Milton – Blues singer and guitarist Born September 7, 1934
Buddy Holly Born September 7, 1936
(Died February 3, 1959)
Gloria Gaynor Born September 7, 1949
Otis Redding – Major soul/R&B singer Born September 9, 1941
(Died December 10, 1967)
Micheal Buble Born September 9, 1975
Jose Feliciano Born September 10, 1945
Harry Connick, Jr. Born September 11. 1967
Judy Clay (of Billy Vera and Judy Clay fame) Born September 12, 1938
Barry White Born September 12, 1944
Jennifer Hudson Born September 12, 1981
Gene Page Born September 13, 1944
Joni Sledge – Sister Sledge Born September 13, 1956
Amy Winehouse Born September 14, 1983
BB King – Blues singer & guitarist Born September 16, 1925
Earl Klugh – Jazz guitarist Born September 16, 1954
Brook Benton Born September 17, 1932
Bebe Winans – Gospel singer Born September 17, 1962
Frankie Avalon Born September 18, 1940
Bill Medley – Righteous Brothers Born September 19, 1940
Freda Payne – Soul singer Born September 19, 1942
Nile Rodgers – Chic Born September 19, 1952
Eric Gale – Jazz guitarist Born September 20, 1938
John Coltrane – Saxophonist/composer/bandleader Born September 23, 1926
Ray Charles – Robinson legendary singer/musician Born September 23, 1930
Julio Iglesias Born September 23, 1943
Bruce Springsteen Born September 23, 1949
Dee Dee Warwick  – Soul singer; sister of Dionne Born September 25, 1942
Cecil Womack Born September 25, 1947
Olivia Newton-John Born September 26, 1948
Koko Taylor “Queen of the Blues” Born September 28, 1928
Ben E. King – Renowned soul singer Born September 28, 1938
Cissy Houston – Sweet Inspirations Born September 30, 1933
Johnny Mathis Born September 30, 1935
Frankie Lymon Born September 30, 1942
Marilyn McCoo – 5th Dimension Born September 30, 1945

Wilburn Theodore “Stranger” Cole

Called a stranger by his family due to the fact that he did not resemble any of them, Cole has a long lasting career in music that dates back to the early days of ska. His first hit was a song he wrote called “In and Out of the Window” for Eric Monty Morris. The success of this song gave him the opportunity to record his own songs. In 1962, Cole recorded his debut song “ Rough and Tough”, which became an instant hit. He went on to record a duet with singer Millicent “Pasty” Todd called “When I call your Name”, which was also met with great success.

Known to be shy when singing he engaged in a series of duets with Gladstone Anderson and Hortense Ellis. He also worked with the top producers of his time such as Bunny “Striker” Lee, Lee “Scratch“ Perry, and Sonia Pottinger.

In 1971, Cole migrated to England where he toured extensively. In 1973 he moved to Toronto, Canada, where he worked as a machinist at a toy factory and later opened up the first Caribbean record shop.

Cole’s son Squiddly is a drummer for Ziggy Marley and Mutabaruka, carrying on his father’s musical legacy.

Delroy “Cool Operator” Wilson

Regarded as the first Jamaican child singing star, Delroy George Wilson was born on October 5, 1948. Wilson began his recording career at the age of 13 while still a student at Boy’s Town Primary School. Barely out of short pants, he recorded his first single, ”Emmy Lou”, for Producer Clement “Coxsone” Dodd. His early years with Dodd yielded a number of ska hits, the biggest of which was the Lee Perry- penned “Joe Liges”, an attack on rival producer and former Dodd artist, Prince Buster. Wilson later followed up with “Spit in the Sky”, yet another lyrical attack on Buster. But it didn’t stop there, Wilson went on to record:

  • One, Two, Three
  • I Shall Not Remove
  • Look who is Back (Duet with Sun Smith)
  • Prince Pharaoh (the only recording featuring Coxsone)

It was in the mid 60’s when Wilson’s voice began to mature and as he left his teenage years behind that he began to transition from ska to rocksteady. This would be his peak production period. His songs included one of the first rocksteady hit records, “Dancing Mood”, and also Jerking Time, Feel Good All Over, I’m not a King, True Believer in Love, Rain from the Skies, Conquer Me, and Won’t You Come Home”, a duet with Ken Boothe. His hit with Boothe went on to become one of the most versioned tracks ever.

Wilson left Studio One and recorded tracks for other labels before him and his fellow artists created their own “D&C” label in 1972. Under this label he recorded the song “Better Must Come”, a song that was later used as the People’s National Party political slogan and campaign song. This same year Wilson recorded the hit “Cool Operator”, which later became his nickname.

It was in 1976 that Wilson recorded “I’m Still Waiting”, which met with some crossover success. This was followed by “Last Thing on My Mind”, which sailed up the Jamaican music charts to occupy the #1 spot.

In his later life, Wilson drifted in and out of the limelight. He eventually died on March 6, 1995, due to complications of liver disease. He will always be remembered for his earlier works. His son Karl “Konan” Wilson is carrying on his legacy to this day.

The Gaylads

Groups dominated the early Jamaican popular music scene with many of the early stars going that route before branching out on their own. Most of the biggest hits came from groups. Some operated as duos, while most were three-part harmonies. The Gaylads belong in the latter category, and were the equal of the more celebrated outfits. Perhaps, in some other time, they would have been celebrated as superstars, rather than being second cousins.

Starting out at a time when “gay” could have been used as a prefix to “lads”, without any sexual connotation and anti-gay backlash, the group crafted several #1 hits with a high-pitched style uniquely their own.

Winston “Delano” Stewart, a castoff of Boris Gardiner’s Rhythm Aces, and a prospective

singer-songwriter named Harris “BB” Seaton joined together in early 1963, and had some success as Winston & Bibi”. Produced by iconic producer Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, they charted with tunes such as “Whap Whap”, “River Jordan”, Brown Skin Gal, and “Gal and Boy” aka “Emmanuel Road.

Later in 1963, they added a third member, Maurice Roberts, and thus the Gaylads group was born. The group’s early output was overseen by the aforementioned Coxsone Dodd, and featured hit such as “Lady With the Red Dress on”, “Stop Making Love Beside Me”, and “You Should Never Do That. They also provided backup to other artistes vocally and instrumentally with Stewart and Seaton playing guitar and Robert string bass.

With Seaton providing most of the songwriting, they followed up their early single efforts with their debut album entitled “Soul Beat”, which featured the enduring classic “Come Love Me With All Your Heart Girl”. Seaton even wrote the Ken Boothe Classic, “The Girl I Left Behind Me” in 1967. Their sophomore album, “Sunshine Is Golden”, signaled the end of their association with Dodd and his Studio One label.

Signing with Sonia Pottinger, the only female record producer, in 1968, the trio scored immediately with the rocksteady gem” It’s Hard to Confess”, and continued with the nonsensical nursery rhyme–themed “ABC Rocksteady”, and “Over the Rainbow’s End”.

Their next stop, in 1969, was Leslie Kong’s Beverly’s Records where they set the nation on fire with a track called “There’s a Fie, pun intended, but the pièce de résistance was their tribute to Jamaican ladies, aptly entitled “My Jamaican Girl”.

At this time, Stewart migrated, and the group suffered a double whammy, when Kong died of a heart attack. Soon thereafter, Seaton also migrated, and Roberts brought in brothers Rondel and Hopeton Thaxter. After one album, Roberts rechristened the group Psalms in response to pressure from anti-gay activists. Psalms became a backup band for Bunny Wailer until Roberts’s death on August 14th, 2015.

Jackie Edwards

He has been called the Nat “King” Cole of Jamaica, and in many ways, it is an apt description of this talented, versatile singer and songwriter.

Born Wilfred Gerald Edwards in 1938, and one of fifteen siblings, he began performing at the age of fourteen. In 1959, he came to the attention of producer Chris Blackwell. After securing four, self-written number one singles in Jamaica, in 1962, he traveled to London with Blackwell, where he joined the latter’s Island Records. There he worked as a singer-songwriter, recording as a solo artist and also half of a duo with Millie Small. He also performed more mundane tasks such as delivering records.

Edwards wrote both “Keep on Running” and “Somebody Help Me”, which became No. 1 singles in the UK for The Spencer Davis Group in the mid-sixties.

When Blackwell began steering Island toward rock in 1972, Edwards returned to Jamaica, and worked with Bunny “Striker” Lee who paired him with the Aggrovators backing and session band.

Somewhat forgotten today, possibly because he was more mainstream than the dreadlocked Jamaican singers of that era, Edwards was a versatile performer and as good a songwriter as the island has ever produced. He died on August 15, 1992 of a heart attack.

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