'Wake Up!,' John Legend and the Roots

Old soul songs that deserve to be revived

click to enlarge John Legend and the Roots
John Legend and the Roots

If you tuned into the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on Oct. 30, you might have heard John Legend and the Roots belting out some righteous tunes. They opened with selections from this new record, aimed to inspire “the hip hop generation … all grown up and ready to lead.”

The record is a batch of ’60s and ’70s soul songs curated by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, leader of the Roots. But they are a little on the obscure side — though forgotten gems like “Wake Up Everybody” (by the Philly Soul outfit Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes) deserve the revival.

Still, Stewart and Colbert seemed to hit the kind of inspiration we need a little better when they had the O’Jays pump out “Love Train” at the Rally. Wake Up! gets bogged down by spreading on social consciousness a little too thick.

DOWNLOAD: “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free”

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About The Author

Ted S. McGregor Jr.

Ted S. McGregor, Jr. grew up in Spokane and attended Gonzaga Prep high school and the University of the Washington. While studying for his Master's in journalism at the University of Missouri, he completed a professional project on starting a weekly newspaper in Spokane. In 1993, he turned that project into reality...