Unchon-ni, South Korea, I remember 1962-63

   Strike up a conversation with most people who were young, free, and enjoyed American life in the sixties. You will hear, maybe even feel their urgency to bring back the nostalgia of being young during that era. It was a time, whereas the overall feeling of most people in this country was to live life to its fullest, be what you wanted to be, above all else, be happy. We not only enjoyed it for ourselves but wanted our kinfolk, friends, and neighbors to discover a path to the American Dream. Flower Power, Hippies, Love Child, Soul Brother, names we used to describe certain groups, all while wishing them “Peace, Love, and Soul.”  Find your road to happiness my man, my brother, my sister. Frequently we gave them marijuana joints as fuel for the journey. Some use harder drugs to get there, but everyone was at least taking the trip. Today, most people feel the same but are not as overt with their feelings as back in the day.

It was tough climbing the mountain of change, even though we savored the rewards. Older, conservative folks despised this new attitude. Young black folks were especially having a though transition. Their more discipline parents advised them to act in a more servitude manner in the presence of the southern white man. Don’t stare, look down, don’t talk, don’t dare talk back or act as a smart mouth negro in front of white people. It was the way most of them survived the Jim Crow Era. Black people ought to feel damn proud of the way our ancestors survived thought-out the ages. Without their efforts, patience we wouldn’t be alive today.

In the forties-fifties, they migrated to northern, eastern, and western cities, looking to improve their livelihood with good-paying jobs. They still practiced the same habits; felt that was the best way to get along with white folks. Don’t take their jobs, move in their neighborhoods, take liberties with their kind offerings. And for God’s sake, don’t try to court any of their offspring. Otherwise, a telephone pole would work just as good as a hanging tree.

The problems came when their children grew up in these cities. Youngsters found out that all people were pretty much the same, and no race was better than the other. As a result, they were having none of that servitude behavior. We did not accept our lowly position without objection. In some cases, they were sneaking around with people outside their race, even kissing or doing that thang with them. They didn’t want to disappoint their parents, but then you know the mantra of young folk, “Ahhh…we’re just having fun.”

Let’s take this a step further; I’ve written a semi-autobiography book detailing a lot about my life as one of the black children of the sixties. I left high school and enlisted in the United States Army during the fall of 1961. I had to beg my father to let me join as a seventeen-year-old recruit by promising to finish high school in the Army.

That young black boy’s first assignment out of Ford Ord, California, was a foreign country. It was April of 1962. As ordered, he boarded a troop ship out of Oakland, CA. By that time, he’d gone through Basic; Advanced Infantry Training. Now on a troopship for a twenty-three-day trip with stops in Hawaii, and Tokyo. Upon his arrival in Pusan, Korea, the Army already proved to him that he had joined the ultimate men’s club. They had rules to govern the rules. It was going to be a long three years, he thought.

His assignment to Camp Kaiser, with a local village right outside the main gate called Unchon-ni, turned out to be the best thing to happen to him. First, daily training, practice with your brothers in arms, the American Soldier. It was a fourteen months indoctrination of a war-torn country. We had a very clear understanding of our mission; to stop any advancement into the south by Charlie (North Korean Soldiers). As it was small groups (four, five, or a few more), North Korean Soldiers crossed the DMZ to raise hell, spy, or whatever.

Black GI’s are confronted with duty, honor, confusing because of race issues, demonstrations, back home. Given the oath they swore to when entering the Army, they had no choice but to become exceptional soldiers as did any dog soldier, no matter their race or origin. They found ways to justify their obedience while not sacrificing their racial identities. A quick right cross to Jim Crow’s jaw normally resolved any outstanding issues. That attitude brought about the question, what about the non-violent demeanor as played out in the US of A Civil Rights demonstrations? Conflict of responsibility between race and Army obligations was a daily reminder for Uncle Sams black soldiers.

Unchon-ni camp-town girls made the entire tour assignment worth the experience. Without flaws, they expertly played the part of girlfriend, wife, next-door neighbor, sister, brother, psychologist, nursemaid; you name it. They allowed the American GI to mature, expand their knowledge of the opposite sex. They duplicated as close to a sense of home life as one could ever wish for daily.

Readers can examine the flashback events that the primary character (Author) remembered in his life. I call this book my semi-biography that culminates with my maturing as a person. They said at the time, the US Army would make a man out of you. One learns certain things by accident. From my perspective, given the help of South Korea assignment, mission accomplished.

Unchon-ni is not only a must-read for anybody interested in the life and times of our servicemen stationed overseas.  It’s an emotional exercise in men and women relationships from all walks of life. In other words, it’s a book for anyone interested in following the path of a seventeen-year-old GI discovering who he is, where he fits in then and later in society. The experience was so rich, so real; I just had to share it with you.  

The novel is available in all formats, including paperback, B&N Nook, Amazon Kindle, or download a PDF copy. Check out the novel’s details located at the Author/Publishers site at https://outskirtspress.com/Unchonni

Peace, Love, & Blessings

Codis Hampton II, Unchon-ni Author

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Soulbeat TV’s Chaka Khan-Barry White Tribute

Saturday night, April 27, my wife and I sat in a front row seat at the Soulbeat’s TV produced Chaka Khan & Barry White Tribute. I usually don’t get into imitators of musical stars. Not because I don’t think it can be accomplished; I hate to listen to someone screw up a classic R&B song. Well, that was not a problem for all those who took the stage at Pittsburg’s California Theater. Warren Foster Sr., Chief Executive at the Bay Area’s Soulbeat Television, via Spotlight on the Bay produces quality programming. That is what assured me that the show would be real as real could get…and it was a showstopping jam that night. 

Folks there was a band name Obama. I’ve got to tell you; the Obama Band practically tore the roof off the sucker. That six-member R&B Band left an indelible impression on me. They opened up the show and played a driving R&B tuned that had me shaking my head and tapping my feet. An opening performance relayed the fact that they came to play some music. Rephrase that into the street talk, meaning…they’re gonna be jamming up in here tonight.  They could lay down the sounds of a professional band. They played the funk from a few Chaka Khan’s Band, Rufus. It was as if Rufus was performing in the house. The Obama’s never missed a beat.

They played that classic melodic cut from Luther Vandross’s and his band; A House is not a Home. Adding a few more of Luther’s hits while multi-talented vocalist Greg Ballard sang the lyrics. If you had not been at the California Theater at that particular time, you would have sworn that Luther had risen from the dead to grace the stage. 

Ballard was also the main vocalist during the Barry White song tribute. Again, if you closed your eyes, you would have thought Barry White was singing on the California Theaters stage.

Niecey Living Single graced the stage while declaring she is not Chaka Khan. She belted out in a clear voice her version of Chaka Khans and Rufus songs. Tell Me Something Good, Once you Get Started, to name a couple. I do agree with Niecey. Who will told the audience, she is not Chaka Khan. But she sang Chaka, Chaka, Chaka Khans hits with extraordinary ease of talent. And the Obamas played on.

The proof in the pudding. My wife was entertained at this show and evidenced by the patting of her feet and movement of her head during the entire show. She, along with an enthusiastic audience was well into the show and its stars.

As the Obama’s kept the beats, with the drums, percussions, guitars, synthesizers live, three background singers carried out their assignments. They chimed in at the appropriate time with blended humming or lyrics required of the songs.

And least of all, let me not forget the three shapely women dancers. They were on stage to add to the variety of the show. Their main job was to shake their rumps to the funk. Mission accomplished in my view. They certainly got my attention. That despite the presence of my lovely wife sitting in the seat beside me. Hey, …she knows where my heart lies. What can I say; I was just into the show.

An assortment of ladies from the audience joined Niecey and the cast for a vociferous version of Chaka Khans, I’m Every Woman. At that point, they all did a fantastic job. With the reason being, they were into the show.

All in all, a great time was had by all involved. Please allow me to be redundant. I want to make a point. The Thirty Dollar ticket price was money well spent.

They have numerous shows coming up. Comedies take the stage on May 3. After which, they’re bringing another Tribute Show to the California Theatre in Pittsburg.  This time for the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. I’ll also be there for that one.

I, and if you talk to Warren, realize this is not only great entertainment. It speaks to our culture. If you don’t know where you came from, you will never figure out where you are going. Hip Hop commands the scene these days. It was Blues, Jazz, and R&B that shaped the musical and overall culture in the United States. That is why shoes like these, original R&B artist touring, movies, television, speak to who we are in society. It will do you good to read up on the history of black music.  Soulbeat TV may not be the first to put on these imitation shows, but they certainly have put themselves out there as a major player of quality programming.          

Let me be another who adds a mountain of respect for Soulbeat TV’s productions. Go to the following link to see for yourself, http://www.soulbeat.tv/show-your-soul Yes, I bend the knee at productions that showcase the soul of our culture in which music is primary but only one aspect of Black History.

Peace & Blessing, stay vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                          

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at

Join us for the live broadcast of our bi-monthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

We are in a continuing effort to publicize my book, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953. Based on the life of my Grandmother. The Novel examines an era of Jim Crow that many in our society may have forgotten occurred against people of color. Meanwhile, we celebrate the publication of my latest and fifth book, Misguided Intentions. A book where family relationships questioned to the core. Read the books review at https://redheadedbooklover.com/gracie-hall-hampton-codis-hampton-ii/  Click on the publisher-Authors page at https://outskirtspress.com/MisguidedIntentions   

Get any of my books by visiting my Amazon.com Authors page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B017TYFKBI?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070

Look for new books, updates of current titles, and submission of short articles to major magazines upcoming in 2019. We love to pass on our written word. – Hamp

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at http://hcoa.net/ and http://www.chiia.com/home.html. Our Retail Site is https://frostyltd.com/frosty-ltd-com Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Do You Like Soul Music, Yeah! Yeah!

It’s easy for us old fogies…lol. When was the last time you heard that term? In fact, some of you may have never heard of or referred to older folks in such a way. As I was stating, before interrupting myself, it’s easy for the baby boomer generation to flip at hearing the beginning of a song.

Most of the time, hearing the first few notes allows us to name the song, artist, where, what and who we were doing the first time we heard a timeless classic. We might yell out, “Oh s_ _t, that’s my song.” We start to sway, bob our head, snap our fingers and tap our feet at the same time. All of those moves from a standing or sitting position. Talk about an instant flashback.

For me, it is Soul on a roll, whether it’s a bagel, garlic bread or hamburger bun, I’m getting ready to throw down, get down, get funky with it. The tune can come from the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, or even the first decade of 2000. We are talking about the BR (Before Rap) years or today’s version of Pop.  The sound of which is a blend of no real genre of music. Some of the instruments, background singers are artificially created with the help of a computer.

Hey, I’m not trying to dis anybody’s generation. Today and now is your time, your era.  Hip-Hop rules say most dope (cool) folks. I hear you. I watch most of the award shows. Although sometimes I find myself wishing that some Rappers pants, currently hanging below his butt, fall all the way down around his ankles. Just once, I would like to see that on national TV. I think that video would go viral within minutes. Seriously, every generation should be unique in their right.

It just so happens this article is about Soul music, Rhythm & Blues. Songs from artist like the Ohio Players, Maze, The Commodores, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Earth, Wind and Fire who we simply called The Elements. We name a few because it is too many to name for this article. We partied, danced and made love to the sounds of Soul Music, Brown and Blue-eyed Soul. There just is no mistaking the beat, rhythmic flow or lyrics of a love affair going good or bad. We love it.

They created such great music, although there were clunkers too. The music bought ethnic groups together. The music itself played an intricate part in the Civil Rights movement. Have you ever heard of Curtis Mayfield’s, “We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue?” How about his soulful rendition of “The Makings of You?” Gladys Knight did a version in the movie, Claudine. Does James Brown’s “I’m Black, and I’m Proud” remind you of that era? Certainly you remember Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues,” from his “What’s Going On” statement Album. Or have you heard Donny Hathaway’s  “The World is a Ghetto?”

Some of the music protested the Viet Nam War, like Edwin Starr singing “War.” The lyrics, “War, humph, good god yawl, what is it good for…absolutely nothing, saying again yawl. War…” Get the point? Tell me it doesn’t ring true today. For a complete understanding of that particular period, you only need to listen to Marvin’s entire Album of songs in the classic “What’s Going On.” The Rhythm & Blues sound caused up and coming artist from around the world to imitate its artist. Check the Rolling Stones. Oh I know, its only Rock and Roll is their theme song but check Mick’s style of singing. Or Tina Turner’s (after Ike) Rocking Soul as she calls it.

As further testament to Soul music’s appeal, numerous Old School or Back in the Day radio programs are playing Soul, R&B and Smooth Jazz for your listening pleasure in 2016. That would include me via Hamp’s Corner of America Blog Talk Radio Show.

By the way, please tune in and check out a few cuts I am going to play on this Saturday’s Show, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica/2016/03/26/hamps-selections-from-his-collection-of-soul-jazz-music-vol-xiii.Notes Piano and Guitar

The music is from the man I call the Rhythm Philosopher, Mr. Curtis Mayfield. Many of you know him from his hit and movie title “Superfly.” What you may not know is Curtis was one of the most influential artists of the day recording and releasing music that made you think about your color and economic status. Speaking of truth, you have got to hear these cuts from his “There’s No Place Like America Today.” You may listen to the lyrics of those tunes and say as of today; not much has changed.

Another testament to the everlasting popularity of Soul-R&B is the music you hear in commercials, TV programs and of course the movies. And finally, let me not overlook the current superstars of today’s recording industry. Many of whom are children of Baby Boomers and following generations that embraced Soul-R&B. They grew listening to the superstars of yesteryear. That doesn’t mean they don’t love Hip-Hop, Rap and the music of today. It simply means they are still recording Soul-R&B. Artist such as Fantasia, KEM, Calvin Richardson, India Arie and Anthony Hamilton to name a few. So…are there musical superstars that make good music today regardless if it’s Soul or Rhythm & Blues? Of course, there are…again, way too many to mention in this article. There is enough for me to say the music industry is not short of talent and professionalism, regardless of those with their pants hanging below their butt.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,


Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p65rCa-7Z

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

“In my latest book, Remember Moz, Gracie & John Hampton’s First-Born, I wanted to tell the world about a unique individual. Not because he happened to be my father but to explain who he was, where he came from, and how he evolved into the man he became up until his death. In doing so, I wrote of his ancestor’s roots back to and through the Civil War. The inclusion of his birth and upbringing in the heart of Arkansas, or Jim Crow country, add southern reluctance to learn why our country involved itself in a bloodthirsty four-year exercise in the first place? Then you begin to understand why, our parents behaved the way that they did. See if I captured the essence of this paragraph.” Get the book via the Authors Page at http://outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478766056

Or visit my Amazon.com Authors page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B017TYFKBI?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070


Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hcofa.net/




Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment