One of Record Collector magazine's "Top 12 of 2012"
Noted music producer and scholar Pat Thomas spent five years in Oakland, CA researching Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975.
While befriending members of the Black Panther Party, Thomas discovered
rare recordings of speeches, interviews, and music by noted activists Huey
Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Elaine Brown, The Lumpen and
many others that form the framework of this definitive retrospective.
Listen, Whitey! also chronicles the forgotten history of Motown Records.
From 1970 to 1973, Motown’s Black Power subsidiary label, Black Forum, released politically charged albums by Stokely Carmichael, Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, Bill Cosby & Ossie Davis, and many others, all represented.
Also explored are the musical connections between Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Graham Nash, the Partridge Family (!?!)
and the Black Power movement. Obscure recordings produced by SNCC, Ron Karenga’s US, the Tribe and other African-American sociopolitical organizations of the late 1960s and early ’70s are examined along with the Isley Brothers,
Nina Simone, Archie Shepp, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Clifford Thornton, Watts Prophets, Last Poets, Gene McDaniels,
Roland Kirk, Horace Silver, Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, Stanley Crouch, and others that spoke out against oppression.
Other sections focus on Black Consciousness poetry (from the likes of Jayne Cortez, wife of Ornette Coleman),
inspired religious recordings that infused god and Black Nationalism, obscure regional and privately pressed Black Power
7-inch soul singles from across America. 90,000 words of text are accompanied by over 250 large sized, full-color reproductions of album covers and 45 rpm singles — most of which readers will have never seen before.
15-page excerpt including the Table of Contents, Introduction and complete Chapter 1 (download 1.7 MB PDF):
“The revolution was vaguely televised but it was even better and bodaciously
visualized in multiple forms of media and by every means necessary. Most
memorably by the very people who were making the revolution pop and
populist in the Black Power and Pan-Afrikanist 60s and 70s. Listen, Whitey! is
a phenomenally detailed memory jogger, smile-getter and page-turner for those
who were valiantly there, drunk on possibility and militance. It’s also a historical
cornucopia for those who weren’t around then and likely had no idea how artfully
and aggressively those on the radically Afrocentric frontlines once seized the
means of media production back in the day. Look out newjacks, post-blacks
and radical rookies - this Molotov romancing family album is about to grab your
mama.” – Greg Tate, author of Flyboy in the Buttermilk, Midnight Lightning: Jimi
Hendrix and the Black Experience and Everything But the Burden: What White
People Are Taking from Black Culture
"Listen, Whitey! is required reading for anyone who either remembers or wants
to learn about the Black Power era in American culture. The images alone
are worth the price of admission: record jackets, posters, magazine articles,
manifestos. I've been poking around in archives and writing about the era for
decades and Pat Thomas managed to surprise me on more or less every page.
The quality of the writing stands up to the presentation, earning this book a place
beside Bill Van Deburg's New Day in Babylon and Peniel Joseph's Waiting 'Til
the Midnight Hour on the short shelf of books which speak with equal strength
to scholars and general readers." – Craig Werner, author of Higher Ground:
Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and the Rise & Fall of American
Soul and A Change Is Gonna Come: Music, Race & the Soul of America
"For millions around the world, the artists and activists of the Black Cultural
Revolution powerfully revealed the shape and promise of transformative social
and political change. The era's music and manifestos still hold beacon-like
appeal for those who continue to imagine and fight for a new dawning of freedom
for all. Pat Thomas's Listen Whitey!: The Sounds of Black Power is a huge
contribution to our understanding of this crucial moment in our shared history,
and a document that resounds with as much beauty, passion and hope as the
records of that fervid time."
– Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of The Hip-Hop
Generation and Who We Be: The Colorization of America
“With Listen, Whitey! Pat Thomas has accomplished what so many others could
not: he has produced a comprehensive, badass treatment of the radical music
and cultural production of the Black Power years.
“Listen, Whitey! is one of those rare works that does not seek to expose and
exploit but to celebrate the works of black radicalism, delivered in a format that is
accessible and almost as righteous as the material itself.
“Pat Thomas is an organic intellectual that captures the disorder and controversy
of the times with his own flavor and style. He operates with wit and an
appetite for accuracy to tell a story from a period steeped in racial hostility and
“Pat Thomas gets down with the raw funk of it all. You will feel the Black Power
exploding off the pages.” – Rickey Vincent, Ph.D., author of Funk: The Music,
the People and the Rhythm of The One
"It took Thomas five years to put together what he describes as 'a definitive catalogue
of Black Power-related recording,' but Listen, Whitey!... is far more than that.
An exhaustive guide, with an introduction by producer/director Stanley Nelson,
to speeches, poetry and music...,
it also maps the complex relationship between music and politics.... With reproduced record sleeves, adverts and magazine
covers, Listen, Whitey! is quite simply ace."
– Lois Wilson, MOJO
"The statistics of how man young (and old) black Americans fill the nation’s prisons is
sickening. In the UK (post-riots) the relationship between the authorities and young
blacks is as strained and tense as it always has been. Pat Thomas’s wonderful book
Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power takes this on-going issue back to
the 1967-74 period when musicians both black and white spoke out against the injustice.... The revolution started here!"
– Jon "Mojo" Mills, Shindig!
sumptuous publication is that rare beast in literature – a coffee table tome that
you can actually read...
It is tempting to say that the text reads as a liner note to the soundtrack of the
movement spearheaded by Huey P. Newton, Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale et
al, but the author has done much more than simply home in on the recordings that
illuminate both the personalities and the militancy of America’s ethnic minorities
between the late 1960s and mid-70s... What Thomas does is give a sense of the complex manner in which artistic
and political impulses came together in a culture of resistance..." – Kevin Le Gendre, Jazzwise