(originally posted 9/2/13)
I've had this record sitting in my stack of potential 45's of the day for years, and I had forgotten how AMAZING it is; thankfully, it popped up on shuffle play on the ipod during a long road trip I took last week. Until this morning, I had no idea the story behind it and how HEAVY it actually is (a BIG thank you to Ayana @ darkjive.com and her research on the group).
I strongly recommend reading the whole story at the above link, but, in a nutshell, songwriter/ musician/ civil rights activist Oscar Brown Jr (composer of "Work Song" among other classics) contacted the notorious Chicago gang The Blackstone Rangers in 1967 about the possibilities of life beyond gangs. It turns out that the gang was full of talent, and Brown created a show call Opportunity, Please Knock that showcased the talents of these young people that didn't really have much of a chance in life. The show was a success and there was even a performance from the troupe on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
As for the record, it's extremely powerful stuff even without knowing the back story. Learning what I did this morning makes it even more extraordinary.
THE OPPORTUNITY PLEASE KNOCK CHORUS - ALL THIS TALK ABOUT FREEDOM