If history serves us right, it’s easy to see that the most influential, important acts of all time have always led to legions of acts who try and copy exactly what makes them so good. Such was the case with Michael, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Jackie aka the Jackson 5, whose rise to the top of the charts in the early 70’s with youthful, poppy soul hits like “ABC”, “I Want You Back”, and “I’ll Be There” caused small record labels around the country to try and copy that Motown magic. It was only a matter of time before “kid soul” acts – the marriage of bubblegum pop and soul – were popping up all over. The bulk of these young groups cut little more than a single or a record and were never heard from again.
On September 16, 2016, Numero Group will release the compilation Afterschool Special: The 123Ss of Kid Soul. Once again, the folks at the revered Chicago label have dug up a batch of long lost recordings, cleaned them up, and are presenting them in a gorgeous new compilation set that takes us back to a short lived musical trend that most of us have probably never heard of. With song names like “I Love You Still”, “I Want A Little Girl”, “It’s Time For Love Soul”, and “Losing My Girl” – the latter of which is performed by a group called the Brotherly Five – it’s obvious what the intentions of the kid soul phase were. What’s intriguing about the compilation as a whole is that it is a relic from a forgotten period in musical history, and this type of thing could never happen in today’s industry.
Today Glide Magazine is excited to present an exclusive sneak preview of Afterschool Special with the tune “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” by Brother’s Rap. If that song title sounds familiar, it’s because this version is a cover of the late poet Gil Scott-Heron’s famous 1970 spoken word track of the same name. Like all of the tracks on Afterschool Special, what makes this interesting is the fact that is being performed by a young kid which, given the politically charged nature of the lyrics, is weirdly fascinating.
Here’s a brief history on how Brother’s Rap and the tune “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” came to be:
King Twitty spent the early ’70s chasing limos for Columbus, Ohio’s Call & Post as their celebrity photographer. Inspiration for his Inner-City Talent Expo came while snapping a well-attended high school talent show hosted by WVKO’s Kirk Bishop: An all-city showdown. Twitty put up his own money to rent the Ohio Theater, advertised on WVKO and in the Call & Post, and plastered flyers everywhere. Tickets for the March 26, 1972 event flew out the door, hawked from Twitty’s East Broad Street office. Talent signed up to participate in the show after Twitty sent notice to the local high schools that their talent show victors were welcome to compete. Bishop, the most popular DJ with local teenagers, was tapped to host. Hot on the heels of their MoSoul-issued single “Fever In Your Hot Pants,” the Suspicious Can Openers were hired as the house band, supplying interstitial music and backing to unsupported vocalists. A special edition of local African-American paper Onyx was printed to serve as the program for the show, featuring photos of many of the featured performers: Steppin’ Slim & the Soulful Steppers, Forbidden Blackness, Final Analysis, Spaded Jade, Riots of the Capital City, the Underground Experience, and Timeless Legend. But not all of the artists were pictured, including Brother’s Rap who would later turn up on the event’s commemorative album.
A few weeks after the final bows and curtain closing, co-promoter Nick Merrick loaded up a bus with a handful of groups and drove them to Cincinnati for a series of one-take reruns of their Talent Expo performances. It is unknown who performed a cover of Gil Scott-Heron’s timeless “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Credited as Brother’s Rap, the song features a precocious, prepubescent lead delivering the highly-politicized lyrics with complete earnestness. With the exception of Timeless Legend, none of the talent exposed at the event made it past the album. There would never be a 2nd Annual Inner-City Talent Expo, and Twitty’s attention turned to city-wide drag competitions.