Ben Folds Rocking the Suburbs

Male, Middle Class, and White

Right now, I have created 63 artist pages on this blog, and 59 of them are white. Two of the four non-white artists covered are relatively obscure New Zealand acts.

And here’s a random selection of ten songs that my ITunes played this morning:
Trickle Down – Mercury Rev (Boces)
Go, Hippie – Fountains Of Wayne (Utopia Parkway)
Comes A Time – Neil Young (Comes A Time)
Log Cabin Fever – Split Enz (Time And Tide)
Cloud on my Tongue – Tori Amos (Under The Pink)
Archives Of Pain – Manic Street Preachers (The Holy Bible)
Whatever Happened To? – The Buzzcocks (Singles Going Steady)
In Shades – Tom Waits (Heartattack And Vine)
Twelve Hours Of Sunset – Roy Harper (Valentine)
Ride On – Parliament (Tear The Roof Off 1974-1980)

Again, it’s dominated by white artists. I’m pretty certain I’m not the only amateur album review site that’s dominated by white male acts. There are possible reasons for why this happens:

  • most music critics are white and male, so the music they prefer reflects themselves.
  • non-white musicians often play different genres of music – genres like jazz and hip hop have plenty of black representation, while genres like progressive rock and British folk don’t.

But whatever the reason, I’d like to make this site a little less white eventually. Do you have suggestions for non-white artists with strong album catalogues? I’ll certainly tackle some hip hop sometime, I’m happy to cover non-English music but don’t know much about it, but I feel like jazz is probably outside the scope of this site – it has a different vocabulary. So far I’ve covered Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder, and Jimi Hendrix and Prince are obvious artists who I’ll cover sometime, but please hit me with some more suggestions.


  1. Gil Scott-Heron, Bobby Womack, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, D’Angelo, Van Hunt, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Chuck Berry, Little Richard… all worth your time.

    Then there’s hip hop, blues and jazz!

    • OK – thanks for all the suggestions!

      These are on my radar, and will probably get a full page sometime: Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, D’Angelo

      These acts I have some music by, and will get some coverage sometime: Gil Scott-Heron, James Brown, Chuck Berry

      And these guys I know little about, and need to check out: Bobby Womack, Van Hunt, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Little Richard

  2. I’d also recommend Curtis Mayfield, a truly amazing songwriter, singer and musician, who had a long career with The Impressions from the late 50s through the 60s, before going solo starting from the early 70s. “It’s All Right” and “People Get Ready” are two of the gems from the Impressions era, while “Move On Up” and “Superfly” are two of his classic 70’s hits.

    If you’d like to get into Black blues artists, I think you should consider Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’.

    Last but not least, how about Earth, Wind & Fire?

    • Good suggestions! I have seven Curtis Mayfield albums from between 1970 and 1975. I feel like I need to check out his Impressions stuff before I make a page. I also have a bunch of Earth, Wind, and Fire albums.

      I’m not super interested in straight blues, but maybe one day.

  3. I realized that was the same for me when I got partway into my project – I’ll echo J’s suggestions, especially Aretha, she’s got a couple solid records on the 1001!
    And Missy Elliott, Aimee Mann, Emmylou Harris, and Gillian Welch are a few of the names that quickly came to mind of female artists I’ve quite enjoyed discovering recently

    • I need to check out Missy Elliott, but I have big stacks of albums by all those other female artists. Last time I tried to listen to Til Tuesday in the car, my 5 year old kept announcing “This is icky music”.

  4. It is a concern, isn’t it? I’ve often felt the same way, particularly around gender. I’m rather embarrassed to report that the recent Aretha Franklin post was one of too few at Vinyl Connection featuring female artists.
    But I don’t really want to write (or read) a blog that’s governed by rules or quotients. Amateur blogs are about our personal preferences and passions. Write about what you love, what moves you. That’s what I enjoy reading.

    • I don’t feel that gender is as much of an issue for me – obviously as I’ve covered a lot of 1970s music, it’s male dominated, but hopefully it evens out a bit. If anything, I have an issue with baritones – I find it hard to enjoy acts like Johnny Cash or The National with deep voices, as I find them monotonous. But since it’s all a hobby, enjoyment is pretty key – I don’t want to sit through a long discography of an act that I don’t enjoy.

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