Listen, Whitey! The Sounds of Black Power 1967-1974 takes its title from the B-side of a 1972 Folkways release -- a half-hour documentation of reactions to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Anyone offended or amused by the title should consider what might prompt the exclamation. The disc was released around the same time as an accompanying 200-page book that is rich with photos, record-sleeve scans, and text. Much of the music covered in the book, such as Detroit's Tribe organization, Eddie Kendricks' People...Hold On, and Kuumba Toudie-Heath's Kawaida, does not appear on the disc, but there is a bounty of rare material, none of which should ever be inaccessible again. Three selections come from Motown subsidiary Black Forum, including Stokely Carmichael's "Free Huey" -- an excerpt from a 1968 speech that covers the genocide of Native Americans, defense of activist H. Rap Brown, and "patience with our people" as a means of empowerment -- and the phenomenal song "Until We're Free," recorded by Elaine Brown a year prior to her becoming the leader of the Black Panther Party. Many other prominent figures, including the in-exile Eldridge Cleaver and the pointedly humorous Dick Gregory, along with pioneering firebrand groups the Last Poets and Watts Prophets, are present with other highlights. Tributes to George Jackson and Angela Davis, from Bob Dylan and John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band, as well as the un-ironic "I Hate the White Man" -- from English folk musician Roy Harper -- represent the contributions from non-black sources. This disc, containing a thick booklet full of images and illuminating text (provided by author and compiler Pat Thomas), is a crucial piece of U.S. history that is deeply resonant in the present. The same thing can be said of the book.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman