FORGET WOODSTOCK, PART ONE: "ARE YOU READY, BLACK PEOPLE?"—NINA SIMONE's all-time knockout performance at the Harlem Festival, 1969

Following are five YouTube clips which appear to form the whole of NINA SIMONE’s blazing knockout masterpiece set at HARLEM FESTIVAL ’69.

Other performers at the Harlem Festival—six free weekend, outdoor concerts held at the Harlem end of Central Park in the summer of 1969—included Stevie Wonder, the Staples Singers, Sly and the Family Stone (click here to watch on YouTube), B.B. King, Mahalia Jackson, The Chambers Brothers, Dizzy Gillespie, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Max Roach…the list goes on and on. It’s a host of magnificent artists, many at the peak of their powers, playing to a predominately black audience at a super-charged, awful-yet-hopeful moment in American history.

Makes you wonder: Why do we all know about Woodstock, but not about Harlem, which took place the same year?

After all, all of the performances were filmed by a professional crew led by director Hal Tulchin. But aside from four songs from Simone’s set, released in fall 2005 on a little-noticed dual-disk entitled The Soul of Nina Simone, which Arthur’s pseudonymous reviewers C & D went apeshit for way back in Arthur No. 20, none of this footage has ever been made commercially available in the United States.

Which is sad. Watch Simone’s remarkable, incendiary heart-soul-voice performance, especially the stunning “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” and the closing “Are You Ready, Black People?” and you’ll see why…

16 thoughts on “FORGET WOODSTOCK, PART ONE: "ARE YOU READY, BLACK PEOPLE?"—NINA SIMONE's all-time knockout performance at the Harlem Festival, 1969

  1. Amen!
    Seems like that Smithsonian piece ends on a weird anti-accessibility note, considering the archivist source.

  2. Pingback: YES I’M READY « GIRLS GUIDE TO ROCKING

  3. Pingback: FORGET WOODSTOCK, PART TWO: SLY & THE FAMILY STONE at HARLEM FESTIVAL 1969 - professionally filmed, yet never commercially released | ARTHUR MAGAZINE - WE FOUND THE OTHERS

  4. Pingback: Harlem Festival ‘69 « tastychemicals

  5. Pingback: Arts + Letters Links for Thursday, May 14, 2009 | Veritrope

  6. Pingback: Blue Monday « STEVENHARTSITE

  7. Pingback: Happy Birthday to You | Mighty Writers

  8. Thank God there was somebody as you that took the trouble to save such a masterpiece. if you have this for sale Pls. e-mail me. I hope that the number=just say I love him- would be included.

    MB

  9. Please get the info re: how to get these recordings in whatever form they exist. The entire Harlem Festival represents other festivals we dont have recordings of that were the creativity of the Black Power Movement and the evolution of R&B and Soul. Let us know how we can support this movement to make a documentary history of this historical concert. Bless you for sharing.

  10. Pingback: Nina Simone – Revolution | I WANT CRAYONS. 2012

  11. Pingback: Nina Simone: To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story » CULTurMAG

  12. Pingback: Nina Simone at the 1969 Harlem Festival | Harlem Arts Festival

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s