While we celebrate Black History 24/7/365 here at SoulBounce, February is still a special time as we always learn something new about our culture. Case in point, we’re now hip to bestselling author Alice Randall’s novel Black Bottom Saints, a work of historical fiction about a very real, elite Black Detroit neighborhood. For those not in the know, the Black Bottom was a mecca for jazz, sports and politics that created a one-of-a-kind, memorable and unique area of Detroit during the 20th century. Records show that 80% of residents owned their homes and unemployment didn’t exist. The book recently received an NAACP Image Award nomination and now it has its very own theme song courtesy of dynamic duo Louis York.
“It’s crazy to think I used to be in the dark, my history used to be all kind of vague / I guess it took the Black Bottom Saints to learn about the joy and the pain,” Claude Kelly croons on the chorus to "Theme From Black Bottom Saints." The theme takes inspiration from legendary musicians of the time, including legends like Bessie Smith, Count Bassie, Nat King Cole, Ruth Brown and other notables, with a ragtime groove. Lyrically, the song cleverly sheds light on the history of the Detroit neighborhood, as well.
Along with the theme, Louis York has also shared a video to celebrate the legends of the Black Bottom and beyond. Kelly and Chuck Harmony sit at a piano with liquor bottles atop and sing the praises of Detroit's Black legends. We also see collector's cards of many of our favorite Black icons, including Joe Lewis, Eartha Kitt, Anna Gordy and many others.
Louis York are no strangers to a good book. As part of their Weirdo Workshop, the group has their Tiny Book Club, with events in their hometown of Nashville and Atlanta. While the pandemic has prevented the book club from meeting in person, Tiny Book Club still sends out daily meditations through their email list and holds virtual gatherings. If you’d like to join their next event, send an email [email protected] for details.