Five Townz celebrate Martin Luther King Day with “Black & White”
The funked-up party rockers Five Townz, whose boisterous track “Mama Told Me Not To Come” was previously reviewed on this blog, are back in action with another rowdy, cheerful single “Black & White”. The new version of this cover tune is much more amped and glam-inspired than it’s previous versions by Greyhound and Three Dog Night, respectively. The band chose to approach this meaningful track with this added “pop metal” enthusiasm because they felt it “best showcased the intensity and insanity of the race riots , the madness of the movement, the power struggles and oppression.”
In my view, Five Townz made a good move here. Only the coldest of hearts would find themselves unable to get behind an energized celebration of love and unity. The song has an interesting history and it’s because of it’s theme of collective unity that the band decided to release “Black & White” on January 16, 2012 – Martin Luther King Day.
Here’s the scoop on where the song came from, and I’m quoting from the band’s recent press release.
On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled separate educational facilities for black students was unconstitutional, thus banning segregation in the public schools (Brown v. Board of Education). Inspired by that ruling, lyricist David Arkin and folk singer/composer Earl Robinson crafted Black and White.
The band respectfully adds some lyrics that were written for the original, but never previously heard: “Their robes were black, their heads were white. The schoolhouse doors were closed so tight. Nine judges set down their names. To end the years and years of shame.”
This is quite a serious track, and it’s the choice of love over fear, the party over the giving up, that we’re hearing. When Five Townz adds the chant “The whole world is watching” towards the end, you can feel some “Occupy the world/Occupy Wall St” energy infused in the song (my interpretation). Funny that this is something Martin Luther King was working on when he died, and didn’t manage to make much headway with. Now, millions all over the world are protesting and taking effort to make positive change for everyone, not just the few at the top.
To buy “Black & White” by Five Townz, go to the band’s iTunes or Amazon page, and don’t forget to check out their Myspace as well.
-review by James Moore for Independent Music Promotions
(James Moore is a Canadian music promoter and author of the bestselling independent musician's resource guide "Your Band Is A Virus! Behind-the-Scenes & Viral Marketing for the Independent Musician".)
Copyright © 2013 - Independent Music Promotions. All rights reserved.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------CUSTOMER REVIEWS FROM AMAZON USA
* * * * * great music,
I must admit this Five Townz song took a few listens to grow on me but I am glad I gave it a few tries b/c now I am hooked on it! Despite being a cover song, this particular cover of Black & White definitely has a unique sound and is a standout for me. Five Townz once again has managed to make this song their own and infuse their amazing lyrical talent and unique sound...love, love, love it!
* * * * * Got to have it!,
Everyone who loves rock music should hear this song! These guys are doing great things with rock music that impacts in a positive way. Love It! Buy It! Well worth passing this on!
* * * * * I love these guys...,
I love these guys. If you have just heard the clip, you've got to listed to the whole song to hear the best parts. Also check out their other songs, Shambala, and Mama Told Me not to Come. I can't wait for more from Five Townz.
* * * * * edgy,
My younger cousin first alerted me to five Townz and I've been hearing this in heavy rotation on jango and just had to buy it for my mp3 player, posted a link on Facebook and I didnt realize so many of my friends had heard of it, I love the edginess and intensity of the rock and the agressive baseline sounds great when driving!
* * * * * great music,
By Giulio C.
I can't stop listening to this song. pure rock, with great guitars and great vocals!! 0.99 cents well spent, some real music nowadays is really a good thing to hear, support them!!
(source: © 1996-2014, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. http://www.amazon.com/)
FROM AMAZON UK
* * * * * Can't decide just how awesome this track is
By Nick Lange
'Black and White' combines an upbeat tempo with acoustic guitar riffs and a unique Rock 'n' Roll lead vocal. It almost embodies the sound of the 80's/90's with the love&peace attitude of the 60's, except that it is strangely modern.
Clearly Five Townz is destined for a great music career. Definitely a band to watch.
* * * * * Still my favourite band!,
After recently hearing Shambala by Five Townz, I fell in love with their style which is very different to what I normally listen to. I'd definitely recommend this to those wanting to try something new, from the few tracks I've heard i can that Five Townz has become one of my favorite bands and I can't wait to hear more.
* * * * * It's REAL!,
By Gadget Lover "Great" (TX) –
"Tommy" an Amazon reviewer in London called this version of Black and White "wonderful" and speaks of 5 Townz "improving and modernizing" 3 Dogs old recordings. I agree with the chap and must make one clarification with respect to the original. Three Dog Night's is not the original! Depending on your age and what style of music you follow, you may or may not know this tidbit I will share with fellow Amazon customers. Some of us living here in England grew up singing Black and White. Whether it was in schools, Sunday school or Church service, you may have sang it. The Spinners were always on TV and included the song in their performances, they released it on an LP and a single long before Three Dog Night. I am referring to the folk group Spinners from Liverpool (not the American R&B group). Then came the reggae version by Greyhound, which made the UK charts here as a British Top Ten and was featured on Top of the Pops here. That was in 1971. Three Dog Night's did not come about until afterward, sometime in 1972, released in the States.
5 things different about 5 Townz Black and White version compared to the others is:
1. Reference to the United States Supreme Court justices making a ruling that segregation in the public schools was illegal.
2. The obvious talent of the 5 Townz musicians shine on this hard rock arrangement.
3. The tempo is faster. It rocks way harder.
4. More substance in the lyrics. This version is at about a minute or so shorter, but says a lot more. It's a history lesson put to music.
5. Bluesy, abrasive sandpaper lead vocals and true grit suit the song well as it underscores the song's important message. Yet it’s tender and sweet when the kids come in, which reminds you a little of Pink Floyd "The Wall" and Alice Cooper's "School's Out."
I rate Black and White by 5 Townz 5 stars because, "It's REAL, just a bunch of men playing REAL instruments"
* * * * * Modernises the Original But Respects it Too,
By T. M. Lakewood "tomthumbguy" (London, UK)
Five Townz did a great cover here, not only by updating the original (as they do so well with all Three Dog Night's hits) but still respecting the original source material along the way. We dislike it when a new artist comes along and feels the need to destroy an original's style in the name of "improving and modernising things" and Five Townz knows how to do it. The song has a little more edginess to it than TDN's but not TOO much. It's wonderful.
* * * * * WOW! I'm glad I stumbled upon this band.,
WOW! I'm glad I stumbled upon this band. I first heard about Five Townz from a radio commercial on Myspace of all places. I always know if I like a song as soon as I start listening to it, because I value the way the instruments are introduced as much as the vocals. I was pleased with both and I'm already doing searches for more of their songs!
(source: © 1996-2014, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. http://www.amazon.co.uk/)
FROM AMAZON FRANCE
* * * * * Un bon rock bien percuttant,
Par Philou49 -
Voici un titre qui devrait ravir les amateurs de rock. C'est le 2ème titre des Five Townz que j'écoute et j'aime beaucoup le côté tonique et percutant de leur son.
(source: © 1996-2014, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. http://www.amazon.fr/)
ITUNES Ratings and Reviews
High Energy Rock and Sweet Harmonies * * * * *
There are not very many bands that can pull off hard rock and sweet harmony but 5fve Townz pulls it off in such a seemingly effortless manner that you cannot help but listen to this song over and over again. Everytime I listen I try to figure out the instrument components (guitar, piano, etc) that makes this perfect high energy/harmonious sound happen. The conclusion from all of my analysis is that the nuances of their instrumentation makes you hear something different everytime you play this song and like perfect alchemy, it all just works. Buy this song and all the 5fve Townz covers. You, like I, will end up hitting that ipod replay button again and again.
Makes me wanna get up and MOVE! * * * * *
by Vera Dunne
Like the header say, this album makes me want to sing and dance-or at least clap my hands! It’s fun, upbeat, and has a catchy tune. I’ve been singing it all day since I heard it. If you have $.99 to spare, THIS is the way to spend it-especially if you’re a fan of classic bands like Guns N’ Roses. Definitely check it out.
Absolutely love it! * * * * *
5T’s performance of Black and White is not what I expected. Over the top, definitely, but not overdone. The energy of the guitars and background vocals are all in synch with the rhythm section. Love the vocals, very powerful yet refined! The contrast between the frontman’s aggressive lead and the sweet soulful harmonies in the background is as different as black and white, which only adds to the whole finished production. 70’s style talkbox guitar meets today’s modern rock and alternative rock guitars. Highly recommended! 5 stars from me guys-keep it up!
This is an awesome teaser to the rest of Five Townz career! * * * * *
Black and White has a great sound with the lead singer sounding like a gritty steven tyler. Every sound works together, creating a really classic rock vibe. I would recommend this to really anyone who listens to classic rock or even newer stuff. I am excited for them to release originals.
Adrenaline Packed * * * * *
by digempire The lead singer reminds me of a young Axl Rose, which is a compliment. I think his voice meshes well with the raw sound of the music, which has a distinctive edge to it.
Definitely worth 5 stars because of all that's mentioned above, plus decent production quality and the mix doesn't cater to any particular sound or instrument, so I can actually hear the lyrics and the lead guitar at the same time. Bravo guys.
Super!!!!! * * * * *
by Art Jackson I love this song, its such a cool song, good lyrics, and good beat. Download it. There will be no regrets. In fact I rank this in my top all time favorite songs and that says a lot.
This song gets me screaming! * * * * *
by Charles Sterns
In a good way :) So, check out Shambala. Check out Mama Told Me not to Come. Rock and roll has never been better and I see that Five Townz has a great future.
From Great Britain
My favorite song * * * * *
I would really recommend this to anyone whatever music you normally listen to. It is really easy to listen to and it is my most listened song on my ipod!!!!
Wow! * * * * *
Haha, the vocals in this track remind me of Noddy Holder from Slade, having said that, don't let this put you off buying this track! The lyrics are quite catchy as I've been singing along without realising! Along with some other Five Townz tracks I own, this rates highly as a must listen to!
Catchy! * * * * *
This track is sooo catchy! It's virtually on repeat play on my iPod 24/7 - ok, perhaps not all day, buy certainly seems like it, it's infectious as I cannot stop singing along with it. Worth every single seventy nine pennies it cost me.
Brilliant! * * * * *
I LOVE THIS SONG! It's my favorite song by Five Townz - the rough vocals remind me of some of my favorite 70s hair bands! Yet the song is still original and oh so very catchy! Once you listen once all you want to do is listen again and again - it's now one of my most played songs :-)
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