Ramona Candy Studio
Enjoyed your performance at Cuyler Gore Park for Juneteenth Celebration. Your words and direction to the audience is what we need everyone to catch on to. Of course, you may quote me. I remember your wonderful performance and any words I said about it are certainly for all to hear and see.
-By Ramona Candy
Camille Yarbrough had to come along eventually, someday, somehow. In a special way she had been predestined. Before Yarbrough there had been blues singers, before them the musicians, preceding them, all kinds of innocent tribal performers and before them were the African griot, the teller of stories.
Into the intricate fabric of western culture, we have seen the evolving sophistication of the ballad singers, the pop singers, the gospel singers, the Super stars. Add to that collection, the performing writers, poets and occasionally a combination of both.
Camille Yarbrough is an attempt to actualize the crafts of the ancient griot and preserve the roots of the descendents of the people who were the subject of these tales.
-By Charles Farrow
The Black Collegian
Camille’s first recording is one of the strongest debuts to be offered on wax. True to the west Afrikan “Griot’ tradition out of which she works, the meaning of the music is the predominant element. A griot is not only musician and storyteller but also oral historian, news bringer, spokesperson, and interpreter of law, custom and morals. And the message moves, undiluted truth; whether it be the brash and bashing analysis of male/female misunderstanding and fights in “But It Comes Out Mad”or if it be the soaring, sweet love shout of “Take Yo’ Praise”, a Black woman celebrating the love of her man.
-By Kalamu ya Salaam
The Iron Pot Cooker / Songs / Dream / Panic / Sonny Boy the Rip-Off Man / Little Sally the Super Sex Star (Taking Care of Business)
This is a classic from deep back in the day. 1975, a high point of black power-oriented popular music. Popular! The music not only had a message, it was a message of critical consciousness, opposition to the status quo, a call to get up and do something about prevailing conditions. Onward. March. Struggle. Fight. Like that. But it was also street oriented, i.e. it dealt with issues common among the working class and the unemployed in the ghettos and inner cities of America.
There are no dreams of little white girls and little black boys holding hands and pledging allegiance. There is a reason most youth have probably never heard this one. A complex reason. A reson that includes why many of us in our forties and fifties didn’t hear it . The reason is real: this is the music of movement and consciousness raising, not of status quo dreams and fantasies.
Camille Yarbrough is a musician/performance artist and writer whose 1975 album was critically acclaimed when initially released. The songs are all adapted from her touring one woman program “Tales of an African American Griot.” In 1988, British DJ Fatboy Slim remixed “Take Yo’ Praise” and produced “Praise You” an international hit, which was also picked up for major commercials. Camille has a self-produced CD Ancestor House, that is available from CD Baby. She has produced four, award-winning children’s books: Cornrows; Tamika and the Wisdom Rings; Shimmershine Queens; and The Little Tree Growing in the Shade.
The featured track “Dream…,” is an interlocking trio of stories illustrating the underbelly of ghetto life in unsparing detail. Camille’s storytelling ability is unparalleled as she conjures up portraits of the negative in order to teach us the positive. Is there a difference here between what Camille does and gangsta rap? I believe so. Regardless of how real the scenarios are, one can never get the impression that Camille is glorifying or celebrating these demented characters, even as we are given a sensitive insider’s understanding of the characters conditions and consciousness.
I bet you listen more than once to this track. Bet you do. And bet you come away not only impressed with Camille’s griot abilities, but also fully aware that there’s nothing positive about these street folk who survive in hyene fashion by eating the flesh of others. Ultimately, even studying the results of depression is uplifting when recited by a fully conscious African American griot.
The Black American
… getting back to Camille Yarbrough. Buy her album. Don’t rip it off. Buy it. Buy it unless you’re starving. If you’re starving, rip it off. The sister’s message should be told to everyone. It’s a must for anyone black. If only all black women could relate their feelings and explain the way she does , I think the black men could be persuaded to stop their nonsense and get it together.
-By Ron Simmons
The Washington Post
Camille Yarbrough bares her soul in The Iron Pot Cooker and makes no attempt to give the ghetto mass-audiences appeal. She is honest in her approach, true to her feelings and if the result is bitter and unstylish, it is more likely an overdose that an overstatement of reality.
-By Fred Schulte
Poetress-soul singer Camille Yarbrough has stylish traces of Nina Simone and Gil Scott Heron but her own style of singing and recitation of the ‘black experience’ are outstanding. Her songs are all thought provoking and the instrumental work aids and abets.
The Ann Arbor News
Have no doubt about it- Camille Yarbrough will touch your consciousness, and perhaps your soul, not only with her message, but with her presentation of the message. It is one of the most powerful albums we have heard for some time.
Buffalo Evening News
… It’s sure enough for real.
Omaha World Herald
She’s angry, black and forceful, yet singer Camille Yarbrough is also quite obviously compassionate and realistic. The Iron Pot Cooker shows us a marvelously but most of all a very strong woman.
-By Will Smith
While her poetry may resemble the philosophy of other young writers, aesthetically she brings greater artistic vision into the reality of experiences and through words and rhythm paints collages of life.
… She mingles metaphor and literary personification with passionate skills. She’s makes sense out of emotional chaos and the germs of her ideas prints to action with intensity from deep sources of her imagination. therefore , Miss Yarbrough’s presentation is audibly great and flows with emotional dynamics and lyrical nuances.
-By Earl Calloway
The Sunday Denver Post
Each of her songs is a drama, and Yarbrough is an actress extraordinary. She interprets her own song-poems with compelling and (for the listener) exhausting intensity. With compassion and stark honesty, she draws from the black experience for her subject matter. In that way, and as a composer-performer she could well be called “a female Gil Scott-Heron.” Only she sings and reads better than he does.
The album is taken from Yarbrough’s concert presentation called, “ Tales and Tunes of an African-American Griot.” If she comes across in real life as powerfully as she does in this recording, Yarbrough’s live performances must be dy-no-mite.
-By Arlynn Nellhaus
Camille Yarbrough is one of those rare talents who rips straight to the heart with her music. The album is a heavy black experience piece. It’s not for the faint of heart or for those who’d like to drift through life with rose colored shades over their eyes.
-By Ceaser Williams
This is unnerving insight into a slice of contemporary life. A powerful, challenging album. She not only evokes ghetto life in stark images, but also uses a tight, funky back-up band to accent the emotional drive of he words, It is a tough, often bitter and ultimately moving performance.
The National Observer
She not only evokes ghetto life in stark images, but also uses a tight, funky back-up band to accent the emotional drive of her words. It is a tough, often bitter, and ultimately moving performance.