It’s only been 50 years, but Dale Jones’ music and message are loud and clear again.
Jones, a West Philadelphia-born bandleader, proto-performer and political activist who died in 2006, released two high-profile funk and jazz albums with James Brown and Gil Scott Heron.
Two were released. The court is closed. A raw, energetic psychedelic rock beat, and Dale Jones’ positive attitude, Originally covered by Jones’ uncle Herbie Jones, horns arranged by band veteran Duke Ellington.
Each was an early 70s entry point, as black liberation politics merged with the far-reaching musical vision of bands like Jones and Philadelphia-connected minds like the Sound of Freedom, the Nat Turner Rebellion, and the Sun Ra Orchestra.
Both LPs were released in extremely limited editions – 500 copies b Court is closed. And 2,500 copies for Positive Vibes. Echoed by songs like “In Black America” and “Times Are Hard, Friends Are Few,” each became a popular commodity among collectors, revered for their muscle and dark tales of urban life.
After 50 years, Nat Turner, the only surviving member of the Philadelphia funk group Rebellion, has finally seen his debut album.
Now those stories and the story of Dale Jones are being told again.
This was due to the re-release of Jones’ music by Los Angeles-based Now-Again Records. He released both albums as well as a third CD with hits like “Attica” and “Big Feet (Philly Reggae)” in one package. three. Plate. Music is also available through streaming services.
The LP package billed Dale Jones as “Underground Philadelphia’s response to Amiri Barakis and Gil Scott Heron on the black American experience.” This is no exaggeration. The reissue lifts the curtain on a little-known chapter in Philadelphia’s music history and gives new voice to inspiring, unfairly unheard music. “It’s not just hometown vibes,” says Philadelphia DJ Cosmo Baker. “It’s very strong. That’s great.
Now-Again was directed by Eoten Alapatt, whose interest in music began when Jones was a teenage hip-hop fan of Jones’ brother Wayman in Mount Airy, Connecticut in the 1990s.
According to Wayman Jones, the shot was worth it. The drummer, who joined Delin’s band when he was 16, spoke on the living room sofa, sitting between his older brothers Simon and Dick.
“Dick and I always wanted to release again Dale Jones’ album ‘Positive Vibes,’ ” said Wyman Jones.
Dick Jones said Dale was a “creative force” among seven siblings who grew up in West Philadelphia, the son of father Simon, a World War II veteran and beautician, and mother Ellen, a nurse.
The court Closed at 309 S. Broad St In 1973 . It was recorded at Regent Sound Studios, which later became an outpost of Sigma Sound Studios.
It’s been a great year for the Philadelphia Sound. Philidelphia International Records produced powerful songs such as the Ojays’ “Love Train” and the Invaders’ “I’ll Always Love My Mother.” But the social consciousness says, “Is black enough for you?” Movement. Grew up listening to songs like Billy Paul? and “Don’t Call Me Brother” by the O’Jays.
Meanwhile, Dale Jones took control of the subway. The group performed at the Advocate Church in North Philadelphia and the Lee Cultural Center in West Philadelphia, and visited HBCUs such as Cheney University and Howard University in Washington, DC.
“Dale was on a different path,” says Philadelphia musician Alfie Pollitt, who played with Teddy Pendergrass and Billy Paul. He remembers attending concerts with the original slave singers at Temple University’s Thomas Hall, where he and Jones played piano and sang Negro-soul.
“Great records are distributed all over the world,” Pollett said. “At the same time, Dale was busy with his business. He was like the dead poets or James Brown. Or a combination of both.
Jones’ music touches on difficult subjects like drug addiction, but is also hopeful. “Hey! Get off the needle and go with your brother,” Jones sings on Needle ‘N Spoon.
However, since the recordings were released undistributed on Jones’ Hikeka label, their commercial potential was limited. Dale Jones In his self-published books in the 1980s and 1990s, he called himself a “war reporter.”
“He wrote about the war on Africans in Africa and the war on Africans in America,” said Dick Jones, 74, owner of Self-Aware Bookstore in West Philadelphia.
“From the day they were born to the day they died, I never saw them negotiate,” said 85-year-old Simon Jones. According to Dick Jones, he was once fired from an alternative newspaper in Philadelphia for a column critical of Nelson Mandela.
Positive vibes It remains a favorite of Jones. “He’s always wanted to make music that inspires and informs,” says Wayman Jones. “Educate yourself and learn. She was still growing.
It did not bring commercial success and the band stopped at the end of the 1970s, but thanks Positive vibes, Dale Jones’ reputation has grown over the decades. Earned by diligent drummers.
“I found this record on a search engine 20 years ago,” said DJ Baker of Philadelphia. “It was a great record in the special funk and soul community.” A physical copy sells for $1,000. Rare yard fenced. Three to four times more.
Alapat heard for the first time Positive vibes He studied in the 1990s and in 2006 The court is closed And Del Jones decided to look for him, only to find out that he had recently died.
Quarantine “Sistah Kee” Jones, widower of Alapat Jones, creative director of hip-hop producer J. Dilla’s Estate, said years passed before she was mentioned to Dick & Wyman.
In 2019, Alapat was in Philadelphia with producer Madlib. Made in America . When a journey to self-knowledge in search of Dick turns up nothing, Alapat goes to Mount Erie, fingers crossed, and knocks on Wyman Jones’ door.
“I was listening to music at home, so that’s always a good sign,” she says.
During the three-hour conversation, Wyman Jones was impressed by the expertise of the Dale Jones duo and a deal was reached.
The reissue took three and a half years, including restoring the flood-damaged tapes at Del Jones’ home in Philadelphia’s Winfield neighborhood.
“Our goal was to spread Dale’s message and music while understanding his sacrifice,” Wyman Jones said. Now, “there’s a real sense of completeness when there’s a word like that. The family is satisfied with Dale’s work and how it will be judged after 50 years. We are close to the experience.
© 2023 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit www.inquirer.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.