The Spirit House Movers: Black and Beautiful, Soul and Madness

[11 March 2010]

By Ron Hart

Led by the legendary revolutionary black poet Amiri Baraka back when he was known as LeRoi Jones, the Spirit House Movers was a spoken word collective a la the Watts Prophets and the Last Poets based out of Jones’ cultural center in Newark, New Jersey, named, well, the Spirit House. The group’s long-out-of-print 1968 album on the Jihad label run out of the Spirit House (which also released music from Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra) finally sees a wide release courtesy of the Sonboy imprint as part of their reissue campaign of the Jihad catalog. The Movers incorporated elements of Motown soul and Bronx-born doo-wop into the fire of Baraka’s militantly incendiary prose. Black and Beautiful, Soul and Madness is where the calm of the Coasters met the fury of the Black Panthers and should be studied and heeded as much as it should be listened to and heard.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/121180-spirit-house-movers-black-and-beautiful-soul-and-madness/