Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Be Black Baby: Gary Byrd's Presenting The Gary Byrd Experience (1972)

Gary Byrd

''Presenting The Gary Byrd Experience''

( LP RCA Victor, 1972 )
Catalog # LSP-4657

Gary Byrd was a famous NYC DJ on WWRL. His name might be familiar to some since a 45 of his was used in the Brainfreeze mix by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist. This is a 9 song LP of some pretty funky music backing Gary Byrd talking about society, politics, culture and love.
New York DJ Gary Byrd impacted the community beyond providing a socially conscious viewpoint in his programming choices. He also stepped up to the plate and recorded songs that affirmed black identity. He formed a friendship with Stevie Wonder, receiving writing credits for "Black Man" and "Village Ghetto Land" on Wonder's Songs In The Key Of Life. In 1983 he recorded the proto-rap "The Crown," which had black history as its theme.

A1. Introduction - How Long My People 2:43
A2. Little Black Baby 2:35
A3. To You Beautiful Black Sister 3:33
A4. If The People Only Knew (The Power Of The People) 3:05
A5. Black Is So Beautiful 2:57
B1. Where Were You 4:32
B2. Country Preacher 4:56
B3. Shining Black Prince 4:35

Arranged By, Conductor – Chico O'Farrill
Producer – Buddy Scott

Format:Vinyl, LP, Dynaflex
TMK(S) ® by RCA Corporation
© 1972, RCA Records, New York, N.Y. Printed in U.S.A.
On back of sleeve at bottom left corner is printed a "6".
Barcode and Other Identifiers:
Matrix / Runout: APRS-5782
Matrix / Runout: APRS-5783
Rights Society: BMI
Re-issued on CD by RCA/Get On Down Records.

 Gary Byrd Experience-back

Having been a close collaborator with Stevie Wonder for years, 1972's Gary Byrd Experience represents the talented musician's opportunity to step into the spotlight with his own group. Best known as a DJ working at New York station WWRL, Byrd's relationship with Wonder began in the '60s and continued through Wonder's prolific years in the next decade, when he helped co-write “Black Man” and “Ghetto Village Land.” Stepping out on his own with this album, Byrd's work sparkles with funky R&B flavors and early hip-hop influences. With a message of black empowerment, Byrd created slick, catchy songs like “Black is So Beautiful” and “Shining Black Prince” that featured him delivering spoken-word raps over the music a la Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets. Record collectors and hip-hop heads will also recognize the two-part track “Soul Traveling,” an ode to Byrd's contemporaries like Curtis Mayfield and Al Green, which was famously sam- pled by Large Professor for Nas' debut single “Halftime” in 1992.
From Get On Down (Buy)

CD Re-Issue Review:
A wicked lost album of righteous funk and poetic knowledge from the great Gary Byrd! Gary began his life as a soul DJ in New York, but by the early 70s, he was using his rich voice to create recordings designed to educate as much as entertain. That said, the album is as funky as it is strident, and innovatively soulful – it's got raw and heavy drums and horns the burst in, but there's also roomier, slinkier grooves created to frame Byrd's voice and mood. The arrangements are by Chico O'Farrill and he really delivers. Gary Byrd's storytelling and spoken delivery leads the way, though – righteousness without bitterness, angry yet agreeable – truly brilliant and unique work! Titles include "To You Beautiful Black Sister", "If The People Only Knew (Power To The People)", "Shining Black Prince", "Country Preacher", and "How Long My People" and more. This great 2011 CD edition from Get On Down includes the bonus "Soul Travelin' Pt I (The GBE)" and "Soul Travelin' Pt I (The GBE)".
© 1996-2013, Dusty Groove America, Inc.

 Gary Byrd Experience-label1

''Black Is So Beautiful''

Imhotep Gary Byrd
Award-Winning Radio Broadcaster | Poet & Songwriter | Executive Producer

Imhotep Gary Byrd is the award-winning host, creator, and executive producer of The GBE, the longest running Black radio broadcast in the history of New York City. His career as a multi-media radio personality, spoken word-recording artist, songwriter, and motivational speaker has always focused on “raising human consciousness thru communications.” In a career that spans over 40 years, Byrd, as a modern day griot, is dedicated to “telling our story and lifting every voice.”
Imhotep has received numerous awards and honors. Among them are the prestigious Hal Jackson Award from the International Association of African American Music and the Living Legend Award from the Living Legend Foundation. He has also been inducted into the National Black Sports and Entertainment Hall of Fame, along with the legendary Frankie “Hollywood” Crocker and Byrd’s brilliant musical collaborator, Stevie Wonder. Most recently, Imhotep was named as a Black Media Legend for McDonald’s Faces of Black History 2011 Tribute.Imhotep was also honored at the New Federal Theatre’s 40th Anniversary Gala,along with Mayor David Dinkins,Sidney Poitier,Ruby Dee,Amiri Baraka,Ntozake Shange,Alicia Keys,George Faison,Terrie Williams and others as “individuals who changed the cultural life of America”.

Background in Radio/Media
Hank Cameron, a teacher and broadcaster in Buffalo, saw a young Byrd acting in a local play and gave Byrd his first break in radio. As a teenager in the 1960’s, Byrd worked at WUFO-AM, the city’s first Black-oriented radio station (home of radio legends Eddie Ojay, Frankie Crocker, and Gerry Bledsoe). From there he became the first African American in Buffalo to broadcast on a general market mainstream station (WYSL AM/FM Radio).
In 1969, Byrd followed his mentors and went to the top Black radio station of the day: WWRL-AM in New York City. Still a teenager, Byrd became the youngest Black radio personality to work in New York City. There, in the media capital of the world, Byrd launched The GBE (The Gary Byrd Experience). The GBE innovative all-night format was both revolutionary and extremely popular and it catapulted Byrd into the public spotlight and cemented his position amongst media pioneers.
Beyond radio, Byrd has numerous accomplishments in television as well. Off camera, he was the announcer for PBS’ groundbreaking all Black variety show, SOUL! and he was voiceover specialist for Max Trax on Cinemax. In front of the camera, Byrd co-hosted Essence: The TV Show with Susan L Taylor. He has also had several feature appearances or guest performances on various television programs in the states and in the UK.
Byrd was invited to Inner City Broadcasting’s WLIB-AM by the late Chairman Emeritus Percy Sutton. At WLIB-AM, Byrd transformed The GBE into The Global Black Experience. From there he broadcasted live from the Apollo Theatre and became even more respected in his field. The extent of his popularity was evidenced in the 1992 birthday tribute to Imhotep at The Apollo. It was standing-room-only.

The Wonder-Byrd Connection
Imhotep and Stevie Wonder have collaborated on several songs that have stood the test of time. Village Ghetto Land is one of the five classics that they collaborated on and it’s from the 1976 multi-platinum album Songs in the Key of Life (Songs). Pop superstar George Michaels performed Village Ghetto Land at Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Celebration, garnering a worldwide audience of over 600 million people in nearly 70 countries. At this event, Wonder also performed Dark n Lovely, an anti-apartheid theme song from the Characters CD, written by Wonder-Byrd. The duo also co-wrote Black Man, also from Songs. At the 40th Annual NAACP Image Awards, this bi-centennial tribute song was performed by Stevie Wonder, with an added tribute to the newly elected President of the United States, Barack Obama. Michael Jackson said in Jet magazine: “Black Man is my favorite song.”
Songs is named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” A documentary DVD about Songs was created based on VH1’s Classic Albums programs. Byrd’s commentary is featured throughout, offering an insider’s narrative which threads the story together.
Other Wonder-Byrd collaborations include Misrepresented People for the opening score on Spike Lee’s feature film Bamboozled (Byrd also appears as himself in the film, interviewing the star of the film, Damon Wayans); and The Crown, a 10-minute spoken-word motivational rap classic celebrating African history and culture. The Crown (performed by Imhotep & The GBExperience), became a top five record on the pop charts in the UK and a smash hit throughout Europe in the 80’s. To date, The Crown is the only record released on Stevie’s Motown-Wondirection Records.

Spoken Word-Recording Artist; Songwriter
Imhotep Gary Byrd has always been an innovator in the spoken word/rap genre. He has numerous recordings as a spoken word poet on Real Thing, RCA, and Motown Records. As a songwriter, Imhotep has over 30 published songs. His first recording was the classic Every Brother Ain’t A Brother, followed by his first album of spoken-word poetry Presenting The Gary Byrd Experience. Are You Really Ready For Black Power? was the back side of Every Brother and was released in the UK on a compilation called Stand Up & Be Counted featuring Nikki Giovanni and the legendary James Brown. The Godfather of Soul was a friend and fan of Imhotep and dedicated his song Mindpower to that “young man up in New York with the GBE.”
As a recording artist, Byrd also recorded Soul Travelin’ backed by the Jimmy Castor Band, with producer and funk legend Jimmy Castor. Soul Travelin has been sampled by various including Jazzy B (of Soul II Soul) and Nas. A strong advocate and supporter of the independent artist movement, Imhotep Gary Byrd produced his last CD Words of Power from Planet Africa on his own label.
Byrd has also enjoyed consistent success oversees. He hosted the American Chart Countdown Show on the BBC, which was broadcast by satellite in New York and England over BBC Radio One. He also hosted a gospel radio show: Gary Byrd presents Sweet Inspirations, a live weekly trans-Atlantic broadcast from New York to England. The show spawned a compilation album by the same name which was released on BBC Records.
Contact Imhotep Gary Byrd Enterprises at gbemail2@yahoo.com
Media Contact: AKILA WORKSONGS, Inc. at 718.756.8501 or pr@akilaworksongs.com

 Gary Byrd Experience-label2

''To You Beautiful Black Sister''

Gary Byrd has been a controversial figure as a radio talk-show host in the '80s and '90s, appearing weekdays on radio station WLIB in New York City, one of several outlets owned by African-American businessman Percy Sutton's Inner City Broadcasting corporation. Byrd's musical roots extend to the '60s, when he met Stevie Wonder and wrote the lyrics for his songs "Black Man" and "Village Ghetto Land." He and Wonder teamed again in 1983, when Byrd co-wrote the historical/inspirational tune "The Crown," which was issued as a 12-inch on Wonder's Wondirection label. Wonder co-wrote the number, and also produced and sang on it. Byrd was a disc jockey in England during 1984, hosting a gospel radio program Sundays on the BBC titled "Sweet Inspiration." He wrote a poem about Halley's Comet for a European Space Agency broadcast, and later did oral narratives for syndication that were short portraits of African-American heroes.
By Ron Wynn (AMG)

On Line:
Soul Strut
Get On Down
Dusty Groove

Original post: 14/04/2009

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