A. Say You'll Be Mine / B. Your Love Makes Me Crazy
7" Vinyl including lyric sheet and artwork design by Raimund Wong.
Don Blackman is a truly iconic, cult artist. A pianist, songwriter, producer, and vocalist from New York he is a mystical figure for record collectors, one of those artists where if you found an old dusty record with Don's name on it, you'd buy it on sight. Hip-hop heads, jazz, funk, disco, rare groove, and soul fans all share a love for his music, it seems to possess a quality that resonates with a wide spectrum of music lovers. Don is best known for his 1982 magnum-opus, the eponymous album released on Arista GRP. It featured the all-time classics 'Heart's Desire' and 'Holding You, Loving You', and is consistently remarkable throughout. He also collaborated with other greats such as Bernard Wright, Weldon Irvine, Roy Ayers, and Lenny White.
We couldn't quite believe it when Chicago DJ/digger/producer, Marc Davis (Black Pegasus), told us he had heard of a vault of unreleased Don Blackman material. Marc had reached out to Don Blackman's children, Irene and Kyle, in 2019, building a relationship with Kyle with whom he shared a musical affinity. To Marc's delight, Kyle confirmed that there was a treasure trove of Don’s music that had never seen the light of day. As Kyle described it, “In 2013, shortly after my dad’s passing, my sister and I collected all of his possessions and put them in a storage unit. After 2 years I finally got back into the groove of things and went through the unit. I came across forty years’ worth of music history. Hundreds of cassettes, CDs, Disks, reel-to-reels, paperwork, photos and VHS tapes. It took about ten years to organise and digitise everything. All of this magic was almost thrown away in the trash, never to be seen, never to be heard forever.”
Two tracks were selected, 'Your Love Makes Me Crazy' and 'Say You'll Be Mine'. 'Your Love Makes Me Crazy' is as funky as it gets, with infectiously catchy vocal hooks, and a serious jam, whereas ‘Say You’ll Be Mine’ is a classy, soulful boogie, instrumental number, that shows off Don’s masterful piano playing. Both tracks warrant full attention and capture a genius at work. He was also a one-man show when it came to production. He played all of the instruments and emulated the sounds of different instruments through patches on his keyboard. He recorded these tunes in his home studio in South Jamaica, Queens, New York City.
On first hearing the tracks, Marc knew he wanted to extend the songs and enlisted fellow Chicago legend, Tone B. Nimble, to work on the project with him. Their extension/edit of the songs was conducted in a way that was respectful and true to how the tracks were originally recorded by Don. They extended and re-sequenced the groovy parts of the songs organically for the DJs and dancers.
In Marc's words, "Don Blackman was a true musician and an awesome songwriter. The beauty in it is many people are just now discovering him and his music which helps keep his legacy alive."
A huge thank you to Kyle, Irene, Marc, and Tone for allowing us the honour to release these raw-soulful nuggets from a true master of his craft. The final words on this release are best coming from Kyle…
“We are very excited and thrilled to continue to share all of this unreleased magic with the world. We hope that this music will help, heal, and inspire a new generation of artists to never give up, and to strive for what their hearts desire.”
RIP Don Blackman, your light shines on.
7" Vinyl includes lyric sheet insert.
Artwork design by Raimund Wong.