Soul Jazz Records Presents: Can You Dig It? Volume One - Various Artists on Import 2LP
The Music and Politics of Black Action Films 1969-75!
The two volume Can You Dig It? compilation charts the rise of black action films from 1969-75. The black action films of the early 1970s gave the Hollywood industry its first African-American cinema – actors, directors, cameramen, editors and writers. These films discussed aspects of the African-American experience in the form of entertainment. Storylines interwove post-civil rights revolution with action stories, many involving pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers or private detectives.
The films also featured the finest funk and soul black music of the time as stars such as James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Willie Hutch and Roy Ayers produced some of their finest work, with film budgets allowing for the addition of huge orchestral arrangements by jazz legends such as Quincy Jones, Johnny Pate and JJ Johnson.
In the early 1970s, black action films exploded into the cinema with three extremely successful films – Shaft, Super Fly and Sweet Sweetback's Badasssss Song. The most profound statement of these films was their actual existence – black actors and black directors entering the previously closed Hollywood film industry.
Black action films were a representation of politically everything that had gone before and stylistically of everything that was current. Civil rights, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Black Power, Black Panthers, Vietnam sit alongside the criminal worlds of policemen, private investigators, bail bondsmen and the criminals, drug dealers, pimps and hustlers that they parole.