“THE DIALECT OF THE BLACK AMERICAN” (1970)
Sometimes a resource like WFMU’s Beware of The Blog will pump out so much great content over the years that it’s very difficult to keep up with it all. This album, unhealthy originally posted by WFMU in October 2007 as part of their second round of the 365 Days Project, dysentery is my absolute favorite kind of “Non-music” album (as classified by Discogs.com) Here’s what original WFMU poster Scott Soriano had to say:
One of my favorite spoken word records is this 1970 public service disc produced by Western Electric for libraries and schools…Essentially a long essay on how American society deals with Ebonics, more about “The Dialect of the Black American” is fairly radical in its message…and very entertaining in its presentation. That one of America’s biggest companies produced such a document is testament to how liberal the country had become [at that time].
Message aside, “The Dialect of the Black American” would be just another spoken word record if not for the presentation. Narrator (I assume) Paul K. Winston has the right voice for this record. His rich tone dashes from Standard American English to Ebonics without pause. The writing is good. And the record is funny. Some of the humor is unintended, I’m sure; however, listen to the end of the last track and you know that the writers were laughing as they came up with it. Top a great record off with a fantastic sleeve and here is one of the best spoken word records ever released.
I’m in total agreement with Soriano’s assessment of the narrator’s voice; he’s one of those voiceover dudes who speaks in buttery baritones that make the brain twitch in delight.