From the first gentle chord in ‘Let’s Get High’, it’s clear we’re not dealing with another Afro Man-esque tribute to marijuana. This kind of high is a spiritual one, fuelled by love, peace and harmony in the hope “the world will be a better place for you an me”. Trumpets soothe in the first part, a blue guitar goes to work in the second and, by the third, we’re taken into much funkier territories on our journey to spiritual enlightenment.
The People’s Workshop was formed in 1976 at Texas Southern University, as a space for students to express themselves away from the constraints of a Western classical music education. By the 80s, the programme had been granted non-profit status and had gathered enough momentum to move off the TSU campus and become the first black organisation to present shows in major performance venues in the Greater Houston area. Freshly reissued by BBE, Houston Talent Expo ’82 presents some of the best original work from the young and talented composers, musicians and singers from that fruitful period. Centred on gospel, funk and soul, the music contains powerful and positive messages, born from a spirit of togetherness that to combat the black struggles at the time. This is the kind of righteous music that’s missing from music today. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Afro Man!
Houston Talent Expo ’82 is out now – buy from the BBE website.