First Listen: John Ellison gives America a "Wake Up Call"

(July 16, 2020) John Ellison has been on the grind since the 1960s, making his brand of soulful funk as the front man for The Soul Brothers Six. He is the man who wrote the song “Some Kind of Wonderful,” which is best known via a cover by Grand Funk Railroad.

Ellison grew up in West Virginia where his father worked in the coal mine, but music was what Ellison wanted to do – and he acted on that desire after seeing Chuck Berry perform “School Days” on American Bandstand. Ellison has been working and cutting music ever since.

However, Ellison has experienced life as Black man, and those experiences informed his latest song, “Wake Up Call,” which was inspired by current events in more ways the one. “Wake Up Call” started as a poem that Ellison wrote after seeing George Floyd’s being killed by a Minneapolis police officer in May. He shared that poem with Netherlands-based producer Roger Heijster.

(July 16, 2020) John Ellison has been on the grind since the 1960s, making his brand of soulful funk as the front man for The Soul Brothers Six. He is the man who wrote the song “Some Kind of Wonderful,” which is best known via a cover by Grand Funk Railroad.

Ellison grew up in West Virginia where his father worked in the coal mine, but music was what Ellison wanted to do – and he acted on that desire after seeing Chuck Berry perform “School Days” on American Bandstand. Ellison has been working and cutting music ever since.

However, Ellison has experienced life as Black man, and those experiences informed his latest song, “Wake Up Call,” which was inspired by current events in more ways the one. “Wake Up Call” started as a poem that Ellison wrote after seeing George Floyd’s being killed by a Minneapolis police officer in May. He shared that poem with Netherlands-based producer Roger Heijster.

Heijster decided to play the keyboards while Ellison read the poem, and both decided that the piece would be effective as a spoken word piece. The coronavirus pandemic ensured that Ellison and Heijster could not be in the same recording studio. Heijster is in Europe and social distancing would have made meeting in the same studio risky even all the players were in the same studio.

So, the players decided to use modern technology to their advantage by doing what so many other artists are doing and perform together while apart. And it works. Ellison introduces the piece by doing a monolog how multiple generations in the Ellison family have been affected by racism. Then he is joined on the split screen  by the instrumentalists. Video of the performance is interspersed with images from his family and from the history of struggle faced by Black man in America.

“Wake Up Call” is a call for all Americans to awaken and address the country’s original sin before it is too late. Check it out here.

By Howard Dukes

John Ellison - "Wake Up Call"

Follow John Ellison Online 
 
Video of the Month - Kea Michaels - "Not My Friend"
Choice Cut - Chris Jasper - "Have I Told You Lately"
Song of the Month - Tracy Cruz - "Your Love's Everything"

Leave a comment!