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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who Is Marion Black?

Possibly the only picture of him (?)...

Only recording a handle of 45s, Marion Black is a man who should have been a legend, but as Dante Carfagna and Rob Sevier put it in the liner notes to Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label, “Black’s career slowed down when it should have sped up.” All I have thanks to Numero Group, is three songs (planning on getting the other two when the paycheck roles in). Most people will know Marion Black’s distinctive soulful voice as a sample in rjd2’s eerie track “Smoke & Mirrors” off his 2002 album Deadringer. The moment I heard Black’s voice I felt like I was listening to a being from centuries ago. The cracks and the dust reveal wisdom and sorrow. The song sampled is “Who Knows” a song that I can’t even begin to describe. It’s got an amazing bass line, drums that hop along, and the piano perfectly compliments his voice; haunted, soothing and full of longing. Here are the lyrics, simple and efficient, but yeah I’m having a hard time talking about this; just read and listen.

“Who knows what tomorrow will bring
Maybe sunshine, and maybe rain
But as for me I'll wait and see
And maybe it'll bring my love to me
Who knows
Who knows
Who knows it better than I
That it's she who's keeping me alive
Keeping the little girl as my goal
Makes my life worth living you know
Another day
Another day
Just another day
I wanna live
To share the love that only she can give
And if she don't come on home
I pray the lord will help me carry on
Another day
Another day
Just another day”

The deep soul of that song is complimented by the mournful protest of “Listen Black Brother,” A song about black on black violence. His impassioned vocals plea and cry out shaking all of our socially shaped sensibilities. The third song I have “Come On And Gettit” is completely from left field (Although I can’t be sure since I only own three of his songs!). It is as if he turned into James Brown and drank a hundred Red Bulls. The energy in this freak workout of a song is insane! He yelps and shakes, getting in a groove so funky it should be illegal. Whoever is playing the guitar in this track isn’t human, they’re from another world.

I feel like I’m having trouble comprehending the genius that is Marion Black, but with so little information on the man, how could anyone get a grasp of all this? I’m just happy Numero Group (An amazing archival label) is giving us all an opportunity to hear songs and artists who got left behind in history with a capitol H. I can only try and persuade you to listen to Marion Black, but when you do listen you’ll be won over easily by this lost legend.

Marion Black-"Who Knows"
Marion Black-"Come On And Gettit"

Numero Group: Buy the Eccentric Soul series and other great compilations


Anonymous said...

That man was a genius, nothing less!

Anonymous said...

followed you here from last.fm because I'm also completely in love with "Who Knows"—can't wait to hear more of Black's work. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

You should also check out "Go on fool", another famous song by Marion Black.


Anonymous said...

You. Rule. Thanks so much, been searching for some of Black's stuff for so long now! It's nice to see you have a nice passion for good music like this. Peace.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for anything about Marion Black too. I can't stop listening to "Go On Fool"...this entry kind of crushed my hopes of finding an album from him online. Did his career really die out that quickly?

sankofa said...

The black family would like to thank all of you, for your kind words and enjoying my uncle's music so much. I am his niece and when I called my father and told him I foulnd something on the net, he was surprised and proud. you might want to find my uncle's music critical list. thats my favorite! again thank you we are proud of him and his voice stills sound good.

William Benton said...

Glad to see this.
I love all of Marion's released songs and "Who Knows" is one of my favorite songs ever.
Many thanks for this post.
It's great to see the Black family is aware of the love and respect for Marion that is out there in the world.

\ said...

also I fell in love with 'Who Knows' so I googled for Marion Black and I found your blog. I was like 'whoah, whoever posted this rocks'. thank you so much for this post!

huge respect for Marion,
greetings for the Black family.

Anonymous said...

Discovered "Who Knows" on the end credits of "Who Killed The Electric Car ?" last night. Wow, what a beautiful bit of work. Did the rewind, rewind, rewind bit to figure out what it was, from the miniscule on screen credits & googled it as soon as I got in from work the next day ! Many thanks to you for posting this wonderful track & obviously to Marion too.

Perrata 2000 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard said...

I heard "Who knows" on an episode of Weeds, abandoned the telly and rushed to google it, and found this blog. I can't believe I never heard of Marion Black before. Excellent material. Big hi to his family. Thank you for the post.

Gypsy Framer said...

OMG! I found "Who Knows" by accident while searching on iTunes. What an amazing piece of music! 2 seconds into the sample and I was HOOKED! I had to know who Marion Black was and what else he accomplished. Very bummed to learn there is little info and so few and precious recordings of his.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mp3s!!

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Anonymous said...

absoloutely incredible, couldn't believe 'who knows' and 'come on and gettit' actually existed, so versatile and such a powerful and unusual voice.
i hope your recognition comes soon dude..

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