A Tribute To M.L.K.Jr. (R&F-013)

A picture taken by a friend on his recent journeys in the southern U.S.

So we should have had this post up this morning, but we had a busy day reflecting. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an amazingly important man to the history of the U.S. and without his massive contributions to the country’s civil rights movement there would probably be no such thing as disco/funk/house/techno/any underground dance music that we listen to, blog about, make and play. Furthermore, Dr. King’s speeches were sampled on tons of house and techno tracks in the 80’s & 90’s, partly because of the importance of his words to the early producers in Chicago and Detroit and partly because his messages of unity and inclusiveness fit so perfectly with the idealism of the early rave movement. The most famous of these tracks is Fingers Inc.‘s “Can You Feel It,” which had a spoken word version that sampled Dr. King’s famous I have a dream speech (this track has already been posted all over the place if you want it). If you were around in the rave days then you probably remember throwing up your hands and feeling like everything was amazing as you heard the words of Dr. King fill the room, it was a powerful experience and we hope you feel what we’re talking about when you hear these tracks today.

Reese & SantonioTruth Of Self Evidence [KMS 1988]

No one can do it quite like Kevin “Master Reese” Saunderson, who along with Derrick “Rhythm is Rhythm” May and “Magic” Juan Atkins is one of the creators of techno music. The one they call Reese started his KMS imprint in 1987 and released this early underground techno anthem on KMS 017 just before his first release as Inner City, the all-time classic “Big Fun” (which will get posted here, along with more on the godfathers eventually).

Octave OneBlackwater (TP‘s Spirit Of Detroit Mix) [Concept Music 2002]

Originally released on their own long-running Detroit imprint 430 West in 2000 to widespread acclaim, Blackwater became one of the songs of 2001 after Concept picked it up for distribution. But it wasn’t until Detroit 2nd waver and early 430 West releaser Terrence Parker did this remix in 2002 that Dr. King’s voice turned this already powerfully positive track into an even more uplifting party shaker. Both Octave One and TP are hugely important figures in the history of Detroit dance music so expect pieces on both soon…

Bobby WomackAmerican Dream [Motown 1981]

Even though it’s not electronic dance music, an old school soul track seems like it fits here. I’d never heard this track until we started our research on tracks that sample MLK so this is actually an exciting find, first because it’s such powerful song, but also because it’s gotta be a one of the very first tracks to use sampling (if anyone knows more about the history of sampling please let us know)!