Wow! Just wow! This will split listeners: some of you will find the vocals irritating, but I have to tell you that I absolutely love this album.
Welcome one and all to the world of kid-funk superstar Angela Simpson. In a similar vein to the Jr and his Soulettes album Psychodelic Sounds (which I featured way back in 2009) this, I promise you, is killer stuff!
Young Angela Simpson was born to sing: she started performing before she was three years old when, reciting bible verses in church, she would punctuate her praise with arm swoops and the occasional drop to her knees, James Brown-style. The Harlem-born Miss Simpson went on to perform at the legendary Apollo Theatre before, at the age of six, recording her only album Angela.
Issued by Spectrum Records in 1972, many of the proto-rap songs on the album were based on the poetry of Langston Hughes, an American social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist who was one of the earliest innovators of jazz poetry. Angela’s mother was also a poet, and she instilled in her daughter a love of literature.
L’il Miss Simpson would go on to appear at several large-scale gospel gigs and a couple of 45s were culled from the album, but none of her releases troubled the charts, and the child prodigy soon vanished from the New York stage.
In 2005 – still living in Harlem - Angela quit her job as a teacher of Black Literature to home school her children. She is not – I hasten to add - the same Angela Simpson who, in August 2009, murdered the wheelchair-bound Terry Neely in Phoenix, AZ.
Here are a couple of tracks from Angela – the super funky Rapping and Angela’s description of her hood, Lenox Ave.