“Fight On!” by The Harlem Gospel Travelers was released June 19, and its accompanying video (featuring footage from recent protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death) is as moving as the music. All proceeds from sales of the digital single, produced by Eli “Paperboy” Reed, will benefit The Movement for Black Lives.
“During slavery, songs were a form of communication for black people,” explained HGT member Thomas Gatling in a media release. “These songs became known as hymns, or as our seasoned saints call them, the songs that brought us over. ‘Fight On’ was inspired by a hymn called ‘Hold On (Just A Little While Longer),’ a song used to encourage black people to not give up. Through that song, God gave me ‘Fight On.’ It was written to amplify the voices that for so long have fallen on deaf ears and to encourage and uplift people to continue the fight for equality and against white supremacy.”
Gatling added, “Be empowered, my people. We are not thugs, we are innovators. We are intelligent and our feelings, hopes, dreams and lives matter. Fight on, and everything’s gonna be alright.”
Also arriving June 19: a cover of “Sommer,” an obscure 1970s tune, by The Ironsides, led by brothers Max and Joe Ramey. Featuring contributions from members of the San Francisco-area vintage-soul band The Monophonics, the instrumental single is the latest in Colemine’s Brighter Days Ahead series.
The idea for the song-per-week summer series came up around the time stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 were becoming the norm around the United States, according to Colemine Records owner Terry Cole said.
“We all knew it was going to have a dramatic impact on our business, our artists, our schedule and pretty much every aspect of our daily lives,” Cole said. “So, as we settled into a ‘new normal’ and started to look at the schedule, it became clear there was going to be a lull in our physical output during the summer.”
The first Brighter Days Ahead single arrived May 22, and the series will run through the end of summer. For the first week each track is on Bandcamp, Colemine will pay 100 percent of any revenues generated from Bandcamp directly to the artist, Cole added.
— By Chris M. Junior