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ReleaseProduct
Bow to the People
Artist
Theatre West
Label
Strut
Catalogue Number
STRUT252
Release Date
July 2, 2021
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    320 kbps, LAME-encoded

    Available: July 2, 2021

Strut presents one of the most in-demand and significant albums from the archives of Jimmy Gray’s Black Fire Records, ‘Bow To The People’ (1976) by theatre collective Theatre West, based out of Dayton, Ohio.

Founder Clarence Young III had been a Vietnam Vet in the US Air Force and was part of a theatrical troupe entertaining soldiers in 15 countries. When he returned home in 1969, he started a theatre company in Dayton as an outlet for inner city youth to come together and express themselves. Young became widely respected as a playwright and 1971 was a breakthrough year as he received national accolades for his off-Broadway plays Perry’s Mission and The System, portraying black lives in America as life in a penitentiary. At its height, Theatre West involved around 27 members. “Everybody played everything and did everything,” recalls bassist Sigmond Dillard. “We all had to sing, dance and act all the time. If someone messed up, you came in. It was a tight unit and we were constantly helping each other out.”

“There were so many talented and gifted people in our troupe,” continues Dillard. “Rita Brown went on to New York, starring in the film Disco Godfather during the late ‘70s. Bruce Davis went on to work regularly on Broadway in Chicago, All That Jazz and more. Our Musical Director was Delbert Taylor and he also played with Gil Scott Heron’s Midnight Band and with Slave afterwards in the early ‘80s. Vibes player Ben Wilson and I also played regularly with Gil.”

Recorded at Arrest studios in Washington in ’76, ‘Bow To The People’ brought together songs from several of Theatre West’s best known plays including Bow To The People, The System and Black Love and unflinchingly explored serious issues around drug addiction, mental health and cultural awareness. “The whole idea of Bow To The People was to honour our black forefathers,” explains Dillard. “It was important to do that for the kids that didn’t know.”

Shelved following the original recording, the Bow To The People album eventually surfaced on a limited CD on Black Fire in 1993. Now receiving its first full international release, the album features the previously unreleased tracks ‘Man Of Many Means’ and ‘I Don’t Knpw Much About Love’ and has been remastered from the original tapes by The Carvery. Package features photos by Oggi Ogburn and brand new sleeve notes by Theatre West bassist and songwriter Sigmond Dillard. Released on CD, 2LP, digital and streaming.

Digital Track List

  1. 1 Searching for Ourselves 3:43
  2. 2 Crossroads 7:27
  3. 3 Bow to the People 3:05
  4. 4 Black Love 7:01
  5. 5 One Little Chance 2:58
  6. 6 Big Brother 5:10
  7. 7 Children of Tomorrow's Dreams 4:08 Buy

    Children of Tomorrow's Dreams

  8. 8 No More Junk 4:10
  9. 9 Della Get Down 5:01
  10. 10 I Am a Woman 5:11
  11. 11 I Really Like It 3:58
  12. 12 Puppet 6:15
  13. 13 Cool Out Your Mind 6:22
  14. 14 Man of Many Means (Previously Unreleased) 5:07 Buy

    Man of Many Means (Previously Unreleased)

  15. 15 I Don't Know Much About Love (Previously Unreleased) 2:51

Digital Track List

  1. SEARCHING FOR OURSELVES 3.42
  2. CROSSROADS 7.22
  3. BOW TO THE PEOPLE 3.04
  4. BLACK LOVE 6.57
  5. ONE LITTLE CHANCE 2.57
  6. BIG BROTHER 5.10
  7. CHILDREN OF TOMORROW’S DREAMS 4.05
  8. NO MORE JUNK 4.08
  9. DELLA GET DOWN 4.58
  10. I AM A WOMAN 5.10
  11. I REALLY LIKE IT 4.00
  12. PUPPET 6.14
  13. COOL OUT YOUR MIND 6.20
  14. MAN OF MANY MEANS (previously unreleased) 5.04
  15. I DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT LOVE (previously unreleased) 2.50

Track List: LP

A1 SEARCHING FOR OURSELVES 3.42
A2. CROSSROADS 7.22
A3. BOW TO THE PEOPLE 3.04
A4. ONE LITTLE CHANCE 2.57

B1. CHILDREN OF TOMORROW’S DREAMS 4.05
B2. BLACK LOVE 6.57
B3. BIG BROTHER 5.10

C1. NO MORE JUNK 4.08
C2. DELLA GET DOWN 4.58
C3. I AM A WOMAN 5.10
C4. I REALLY LIKE IT 4.00

D1. PUPPET 6.14
D2. MAN OF MANY MEANS (previously unreleased) 5.04
D3. COOL OUT YOUR MIND 6.20

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