Liz Wheatley

Music review

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Free Angela (Larry Saunders); The World Needs Changing (Ace Records); Liberation Music (Flying Dutchman Records)


At the end of 2013, Free Angela was reissued and two other compilations were released, all attempting to reflect the music of Black America in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Angela Davis was one of the best-known Communist Party activists in 1960s and 70s America. The then-governor of California, Ronald Reagan, tried to have her banned from teaching at any California university.

Sounds Like London

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Lloyd Bradley, Published by Serpent's Tail at £12.99

"Stand for long enough on any street corner in London, and you'll hear music. Chances are, these days it'll be black music of some description - dub step, hip hop, grime, reggae, R&B".

Split into three main sections ("They come over 'ere....", Nobody's going anywhere and Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner), Sounds Like London is a trip through the last 100 (well, 94) years of the influence of black music on London life.

The Last Days Of Detroit

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Mark Binelli

In 1927, as Henry Ford's Model A car rolled off the assembly lines, his River Rouge car plant in Detroit was the largest factory in the world, with 93 buildings, 16 million square feet of floor space and over 120 miles of conveyor belt. Detroit was the fourth largest city in the country and the population had doubled to almost a million in a decade as workers migrated for unprecedently high wages. Everything looked good.

In Our Name

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Director Brian Welsh, from 10 December

In Our Name is the story of Suzy Jackson, a gunner in the army, who is returning from Iraq and attempting to cope with life back in north east England. The closing credits of the film, written and directed by Brian Welsh, dedicate it to "the thousands of servicemen and women who have been incarcerated in British prisons after attempting to return to civilian life".

Up in the Air

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Director: Jason Reitman, Release date: 15 January

Up in the Air opens, with a lot of promise, to the sound of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings singing Woody Guthrie's famous song "This Land Is Your Land".

George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a man who travels to workplaces around the country to fire people on behalf of bosses too cowardly to do it themselves. He is a "transition counsellor". Walter Kirn, author of the book this film is loosely based on, said, "Ryan is like a masseur who comes in and sort of rubs your shoulders while rolling your desk chair into the elevator."

Tell It Like It Is

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Stephanie McKay

Released in July, Tell It Like It Is, by singer/songwriter Stephanie McKay, is an excellent soul album for today. Drawing on the sounds of classic soul, 1970s funk and old school hip hop, McKay's second solo album is a successful attempt to reflect and relate to the world that ordinary people find themselves in. Speaking about her album, McKay makes it clear what she is trying to do: "It used to be that albums from the past, particularly soul albums, would tackle life's issues and problems - as well as the fun... It's what I grew up on.

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