Tuesday, 28 September 2021

I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun

In 1971, (The New) Rotary Connection releases their fifth and final album, Hey, Love. The writing was already on the wall: superlative singer Minnie Riperton had already been presented as a solo artist the previous Christmas; although a few years away from career-defining song, Lovin' You, her prodigious talent was unmistakable. The last gasp of the Rotary Connection was no half-baked effort, however, and contained the epic blast of celebration and affirmation that is I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun.

A quarter of century later in 1997, Kenny 'Dope' Gonzalez & 'Little' Louie Vega aka Masters At Work revisited this classic as Nuyorican Soul. Apart from the switch from male to female lead vocals - superbly released by Jocelyn Brown - it's a pretty faithful take on the song.

Their remix as Masters At Work ups the funky beats and sprinkles in some Q-Tip for good measure...

...but the winner for me is the 4 Hero Remix, which retains much of the original, then explodes into a breakbeat and strings frenzy in the latter half, to stirring effect.

Last but not least is a more recent take from 2018 by Toshio Matsuura Group, the Japanese DJ and producer joined by an impressive line up, including Tom Herbert (The Invisible, Acoustic Ladyland) on bass, Dan Leavers (The Comet Is Coming) on piano, Crispin "Spry" Robinson (Galliano) on percussion, Tom Skinner (Sons Of Kemet) on drums and Cuban vocalist, composer, arranger, choir director, and band leader Daymé Arocena on vocals. This version is heavier on guitar and drops into a rousing samba for the climax. You can buy the song here.


  1. That 4 Hero Mix of I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun is a true Dance Music Epic. There is the this late 60s/early 70s Psychedelic Funk feel to the track. It feels at home on a hot Summer's day on a street in Harlem with kids playing in the spray of an open fire hydrant or as the soundtrack to a mystical gathering on a grassy hilltop full of young men and women looking for the key to find themselves. It's tender, caressing, insistent and energetic. It is my favorite thing 4 Hero have ever put their name to.

    1. Beautifully put, Echorich. Another favourite 4 Hero remix, albeit for much different reasons, is their take on Pulp's This Is Hardcore which I prefer to the original.