The Red Hot Organization has been around since 1989. Working closely with the National Minority AIDS Council, to ensure that scarce moneys will be used to their best effect, Red Hot places a strong emphasis on AIDS research and education. Currently 33 million people are living with HIV, 2.7 million people are infected with the virus and 2 million die of AIDS annually. Red Hot was founded on the premise that even without a cure, HIV and AIDS remain a preventable disease. Music is a great vehicle to raise both money and awareness for it.
Produced by The National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner, Dark Was The Night is composed of 31 exclusive tracks and is available as a duel CD, triple vinyl, or for those younger folk who have no idea what those aforementioned things are, also available for download. I'm going to be honest here: I'm pretty much head-over-heels, especially for some of the collaborations goin' on (Dirty Projectors and David Byrne? Antony and Bryce Dessner? Blonde Redhead and Devastations?). Sorry, getting ahead of myself - here's the tracklist as promised!
1 Knotty Pine – Dirty Projectors + David Byrne
2 Cello Song (Nick Drake) – The Books featuring Jose Gonzalez
3 Train Song (Vashti Bunyan recorded, written by Alasdair Clayre) – Feist + Ben Gibbard
4 Brackett, WI – Bon Iver
5 Deep Blue Sea – Grizzly Bear
6 So Far Around the Bend – The National (arrangement by Nico Muhly)
7 Tightrope – Yeasayer
8 Feeling Good (popularized by Nina Simone) – My Brightest Diamond
9 Dark Was the Night (Blind Willie Johnson) – Kronos Quartet
10 I Was Young When I Left Home (Bob Dylan) – Antony + Bryce Dessner
11 Big Red Machine – Justin Vernon + Aaron Dessner
12 Sleepless – The Decemberists
13 Stolen Houses (Die) – Iron and Wine
14 Service Bell – Grizzly Bear + Feist
15 You Are The Blood – Sufjan Stevens
1 Well-Alright – Spoon
2 Lenin – Arcade Fire
3 Mimizan – Beirut
4 El Caporal – My Morning Jacket
5 Inspiration Information (Shuggie Otis) – Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
6 With A Girl Like You (The Troggs) – Dave Sitek
7 Blood Pt 2 (based on original song "You are the Blood" by the Castanets) – Buck 65 Remix (featuring Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti)
8 Hey, Snow White (Destroyer) – The New Pornographers
9 Gentle Hour (Snapper) – Yo La Tengo
10 Another Saturday (traditional song) – Stuart Murdoch
11 Happiness – Riceboy Sleeps
12 Amazing Grace (traditional song) – Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues
13 The Giant Of Illinois (Handsome Family) – Andrew Bird
14 Lua – Conor Oberst + Gillian Welch
15 When the Road Runs Out – Blonde Redhead + Devastations
16 Love vs. Porn – Kevin Drew
Whaddya think? It's great to see an organization use mass media to its full, constructive and communicative potential with very positive results. It's pretty obvious that the albums they put out are artist-driven. Dark Was The Night is a great demonstration of the activist in the artist and the artist in the activist. As if that wasn't enough to make you purchase this awesome album, the revenues remain local - sales stay within each country to help support local AIDS prevention and relief.
This is definitely a purchase you can feel good about.
For those Bitches in New York:
Sunday, May 3 at 8pm in Radio City Music Hall, Dark Was The Night Live will feature several of the artists that contributed to the compilation including Dave Sitek, Dirty Projectors, Feist, My Brightest Diamond, The National, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings plus more to be announced in the coming weeks. General Public tickets will be available Friday, March 13th starting at 11 AM (EDT). Purchase tickets here!