American Fruit with African Roots: Watson's second CD Release 2008
Lawrence Larry Watson has been working on this CD for almost 30 years. The CD is a chronicle of his life and the life of many Black men coming into manhood during the 70's.
"I have been singing Zulema's song since the early 70's. I feel it is my song and the song of so many of us who have struggled with our' double consciousness' Dubious talks about in Souls of Black Folks."
Watson is now proud of his status as an elder with something to say and a message that will hopefully inspire and direct the creative energies of so many young artists. "I could not have sung these songs when I was younger. I did not have the credibiltiy of someone who has "walked the walk and talked the talk". I have something to say and I think the community's ears are tuned to hear me."
Lyrics and recording of the CD
American Fruit with African Roots is Watson's second CD and his first collaboration with his dear friend and the next great producer of the 21st century Miklos Malek of 100Music Productions. Miklos and Watson respectfully try to in 2007 recapture the songwriting styles of Gamble and Huff, Stevie Wonder and Ashford and Simpson. We introduce you to a CD featuring some of the new genius musicians who are the next wave of musical icons that will restore Black music to its former greatness.
These great artists include saxophonist extraordinaire Walter Beasley, The Miles Davis for this generation Christian Scott, former drummer for Dizzy and Chic Corea, Ken Dennard,former principal backing vocalist for Luther Vandross and lead singer for Sounds of Blackness, PatriciaLacey-Aikens, the stunning newcomer recently heard at the NFL games and featured soloist on the upcoming Keith Sweat project Rhea Dummett, famed new England soloist laying down all the soprano tracks, Gwendolyn Leathers, pianists/keyboards Vincent Brown, Yuki Hirano, and Mijin, the rightful aire to the Marcus Miller throne bassist Justin Raines, Brian McKnight's guitarist Tyrone Chase, world class percussionist Ricardo Monzon, and versatile renaissance drummer Lyndon Rochelle. The CD will be blessed with the exquisite vocals of the legendary Gospel-R&B singer TaTa Vega who was the featured vocalist on four songs on Quincy Jones's 1986 film soundtrack for 'The Color Purple'.
There is nothing fake, synthesized or over produced about this project. The strings recorded live in Budapest Hungary, under the watchful ear of Master Conductor Miklos Malek Sr. gives the project a distinct sophistication missing from the current CD offerings. Assembled choirs ranging from a children's choir from Hartford Connecticut under the direction of Terri Hess, and several Berklee alumni and students lent their voices to many of the tracks. This is a blessed project- a labor of love. The cover art is being designed by the most prolific and creative graphic designer of our time Chaz Maviyane.
Song by Song Capsule
American Fruit with African Roots (The History): The title cut is a song written by Zulema more than thirty years ago. The song tells the entire story of the "Middle Passage" our sojourn in America and the post traumatic slavery disorder that continues to impact on the lives of Africans in the Diaspora. Featuring Lyndon Rochelle, Ken Dennard, and Ricardo Monzon.
Lift Every Voice and Sing (The Faith) : Watson's arrangement was inspired by the release of Nelson Mandela from twenty-seven years of prison incarceration in South Africa. He has been performing this version of the song since 1991 all over America and the World. Finally fans will be able to purchase his version of the song.
Reparations (The Repair): The title Lawrence Watson's website is "Reparations." The song has been performed and featured on CSPAN, at the Abyssinia Baptist Church in Harlem, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. It is dedicated to the last survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Survivors. He sang for four of the survivors, all of them over one hundred years in age and one of them one hundred and six years old. There love for life and optimism about our future has re galvanized Watson's commitment to social justice. Featuring Rhea Dummett
The Tree (The Continium): A new anthem, this song honors all of those who demonstrate leadership everyday in the classrooms, urban communities, churches, courts and political platforms in America. Inspired by Law Professor Charles Ogletree, the song honors courageous Americans who are rarely featured on the six o'clock news.
Differences (The Humanity): This song about diversity features a children's choir and was the chosen song to kick off the 2004 Wang Center for the Performing Arts Annual Gala honoring Esta Gordon Epstein and Beth Nichols Lee, where an initial $350,000 dollars was pledged for a new Fine Arts Youth facility. This song was initially featured in a full-length movie and in 2000 and won the Connecticut State Education award for the best diversity centered movie-video project that year. This song was a joint writing effort between these young people and their teacher Terri Hess.
Kings and Queens-(The Legacy): Kings and Queens - The Legacy premiered this year at Harvard University Law School for the grand opening of The Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at the Harvard University Law School. Featuring Christian Scott.
Liar?Liar (The Theft): This new song chronicles the theft of Black Music and calls out all of those who have recycled and documented jazz, blues, pop, gospel and soul displacing its authentic creators and transferring that ownership into the hands of thieves of indigenous people's cultural art and expression. It is dedicated to the great Little Richard who Watson shared the stage with at the Democratic National Convention and the grand opening of the New Convention Center in Boston. Featuring Christian Scott.
Secrets ( The Hypocrisy): This song takes a stab at the "don't ask don't tell" mentality that continues to ruin individual lives, divide families and destroy many children who are forced to live with the "secrets" of child abuse and loves that don't meet the approval of those who make judgments about race, sexual orientation, class and gender. Don't ask Don't Tell has been a central mode of operation historically in African Descent families. The family "secrets" spanned the gamut from illegitimate children, molestation, family histories of mental illness, substance abuse issues folks swore they would "take to their graves!"
See Ya - Wouldn't Want To Be Ya (The Self Hate): Watson wrote this song after hearing Whitney Houston's interview with Wendy Williams. This is a musical commentary on those political, cultural and religious celebrities who violate the trust of the public with their drug abuse, sexual escapades and outright thievery, and then go public seeking our forgiveness. Featuring Walter Beasley
Don't Go There (The Confusion): Even former President Bill Clinton when being interviewed on 60 Minutes and asked about Monica Lewinsky said "Don't Go there" The song speaks to the video "whores", "Political and social wanna-bees" and "media opportunist who will do anything to attain their fifteen minutes of fame. Featuring Masayuki Hirano.
In Other Words (The Romantic Love): The song captures that innocent love that makes you babble and stumble when you are in the company of someone who takes your breath away. The twist in this song is that in 2007 love alone is not enough to justify any human being with dignity becoming another person's doormat.
Half Empty Glass (The Healing): is destined to take its place with such songs as "The Greatest", "We Are the World" and "Bridge over Troubled Waters." The song will feature the legendary recording artist Tata Vega known for her monumental vocal work in the Spielberg movie, The Color Purple where she sand "Sista", "Speak to me" and "God is Trying to Tell you something." This is the only duet on the CD and will transform the listener and the music industry.