“…Nancy Dupree’s 1969 album Ghetto Reality, essentially an inner city version of the Langley Schools Music Project, but with the kids writing their own songs rather than covering contemporary pop hits.” – Mike McGonigal
In 1969 Nancy Dupree was running an after school music program in Rochester, New York. She helped the kids in the program write songs that related to there own experiences and feelings. The results are presented on this LP, and they are really something else. There are black power anthems, odes to stealing candy, a beautiful tribute to James Brown and an even more beautiful tribute to Martin Luther King. Not a novelty record with kids being goofy but rather a heartfelt work of art, Nancy Dupree sensitively accompanying the kids singing on piano. A real classic.
Nancy Dupree initially found her elementary school music students in Rochester, NY resistant to participation in class.
Once she dropped the standard literature (which asked "Mr. Bear" to "come and") and began composing music that bore relevancy to contemporary society and to their very tuned-in and grownup interests, she found they immediately took to performing.
Her songs addressed, for example, the contributions icons James Brown and Jelly Roll Morton (aka "Docta King") made to society, the intangible assets each child naturally possessed ("What do I have? Guts...heart...and soul") and fighting for civil rights ("I want my freedom; I want it now"). Not only did singing about meaningful issues in real musical styles reveal the immense talents the students had, but it gave all a critical lesson in empowerment.
1 What Do I Have? 3:01
2 James Brown 2:48
3 Bag Snatchin' 2:46
4 Docta King 5:35
5 Virgin Mary 3:00
6 I Want 3:34
7 Frankenstein 0:55
8 Cold 2:16
9 Jingle Bells 3:48
10 Call Baby Jesus 4:12
Nancy Dupree - Ghetto Reality (1970)
(320 kbsp, front cover included)