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Carol Cooper

Carol Cooper

Carol Cooper is a New York-based journalist and cultural critic who has been reviewing music, books, film, and live performance for over twenty years. Her work has appeared in national and international publications including Actuel (Paris), The Face (London), Latin New York, The Village Voice, Essence, Elle, New York Newsday, and The New York Times. Her essays have also been anthologized in following collections: Rock She Wrote, The Rolling Stone Book of Women in Rock, Brooklyn, Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough: Essays in Honor of Robert Christgau and Rolling Stone Press: The '70s. Her own collection of music, film, book, and nightlife essays Pop Culture Considered as an Uphhill Bicycle Race is available internationally from Amazon.com. Ms. Cooper has also done short tours of executive duty in the music industry, serving as East Coast Director of Black Music Artists and Repertoire for A&M Records in the mid-'80s, and National Director of Black Music Artists and Repertoire for Columbia Records in the early '90s.

Carol Cooper online

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List of articles in the library by artist

Tori Amos: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Live Review by Carol Cooper, New York Daily News, May 1996

Performing non-stop for nearly two hours on Monday night, Tori Amos sang and played like a woman possessed by the need for release. ...

Dallas Austin: Manchild In The Promised Land

Profile and Interview by Carol Cooper, Fanfare, July 1995

1991 WAS A banner year for Dallas Austin. The Atlanta writer-producer was barely out of his teens when two records he made for Motown with ...

Anita Baker, Roberta Flack: Anita Baker: Rhythm Of Love, Roberta Flack: Roberta

Review by Carol Cooper, Newsday, September 1994

In a long list of thank you’s on her first new album in four years, Anita Baker cites Roberta Flack "for loving me anyway." Now ...

Kurtis Blow: A B-Boy's Progress

Profile by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, September 1983

WHEN RAP WAS first struggling out of the youth-center playgrounds and into big-time notoriety, Kurtis Blow was there. ...

The Braxtons' Right Risks: So Many Ways

Review by Carol Cooper, Newsday, 1996

THE STORY goes that The Braxtons originally were a quartet. Producers L.A. and Babyface pulled Toni Braxton out of the bunch, because, at the time, ...

Brooks & Dunn: The Long Road Home: Brooks & Dunn Risk Backlash With a Great Rock Album

Review by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, August 2003

IN THE RURAL east Texas graveyard where my father and his parents are buried, just a stone's throw from a black church built on land ...

David Byrne Looks Forward...and Back

Interview by Carol Cooper, The L Magazine, Fall 2004

Q: AS A SOLO ARTIST you have worked with horn sections and now with string sections to color and embellish your songs. Aside ...

Chic: Bernard Edwards, 1952-1996

Obituary by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, May 1996

Bernard Edwards, Tony Thompson, and Nile Rodgers were in Tokyo for the latest in a recent series of reunion concerts when Rodgers discovered his friend ...

The Commodores: The Past Of Young America

Review by Carol Cooper, Newsday, 1995

The Commodores: Best Of The CommodoresVarious Artists: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown: A Tribute to Berry Gordy JUST WHEN we were sure ...

Coolio: The Big Payback

Profile and Interview by Carol Cooper, Rolling Stone, September 1994

COOLIO gets a phat return on his dues with 'FANTASTIC VOYAGE' ...

Morris Day, The Time: Now Is The Time For Morris Day

Interview by Carol Cooper, Face, The, December 1985

He played the senior dude in Purple Rain, the one who nearly stole the show from his real-life hometown rival Prince. He calls his autobiographical ...

Bo Diddley: The Bo Diddley Beat Just Keeps Jangling Along

Live Review by Carol Cooper, Newsday, December 1995

Bo Diddley: Chicago Blues, New York, NY ...

E.S.G.: Emerald Sapphire & Gold: Alive, Well And Working In The South Bronx

Interview by Carol Cooper, Dance Music Report, September 1990

Being one of the most widely imitated and innovative live bands of the early '80s isn’t necessarily a bed of roses. ...

Faith Evans: Faith

Review by Carol Cooper, Newsday, 1995

TWENTY-TWO-YEAR-OLD Faith Evans was already a successful songwriter before mini-mogul Sean "Puffy" Combs signed her as a solo act to his Bad Boy label. This ...

Aretha Franklin: Return Of Soul Sister Number One

Comment by Carol Cooper, Pulse!, June 1996

ARETHA – a name so singularly musical that it rolls off the tongue like an incantation. Almost four decades after 1967’s ‘I Never Loved ...

Funkmaster Flex

Profile and Interview by Carol Cooper, Newsday, 1995

EASTER SUNDAY, 10:30 p.m. The police are manning barricades on West 27th Street to disperse an overflow crowd that has flocked to the Tunnel to ...

Marvin Gaye: Midnight Love (CBS)

Review by Carol Cooper, Musician, February 1983

UPON RELOCATING to England in 1981, Marvin Gaye complained to London's New Musical Express that his last Tamla release, In Our Lifetime, was flawed because ...

Gonjasufi: Cameo Gallery, Brooklyn

Live Review by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, September 2012

Gonjasufi Presses On in the Midst of Technical Chaos ...

Kenny Gonzalez, L'il Louie Vega, Masters at Work: Pure Percussive Pleasure: Kenny Gonzalez and Louie Vega

Report by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, October 2006

GOTHAM'S HIPPEST and happiest underground nightlife owes its origins to the ever-streetwise and affable duo of Brooklyn's Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez and Bronx-bred "Little" Louie Vega, ...

Macy Gray, Mya: Macy Gray: The Trouble With Being Myself/Mya
: Moodring


Review by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, October 2003

BOTH WOMEN crouch nearly nude on their album covers, gazing with feral yet somehow fetal reproach at potential consumers, like naughty fairy changelings who've had ...

Green Day: Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, NY

Live Review by Carol Cooper, Newsday, 1995

BY MATCHING the cheeky insouciance of the early Beatles with the amphetamine hooks of the Ramones in the late ‘80s, Green Day graduated rock and ...

David Guetta: Nothing But the Beat

Review by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, August 2011

David Guetta's Dance Music Melting Pot ...

Isaac Hayes: We Like Ike

Profile by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, July 1995

As an opinionated teen in the early ‘70s, I hated Barry White for stealing Isaac Hayes’s sound – even though by 1973 Hayes had evolved ...

House Of Pain: House of Pain: House of Pain (Tommy Boy)

Review by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, July 1992

SPUN OFF from the inspired lunacy of Cypress Hill rapper B-Real's 'Gee, Officer Krupke' whine, the semi-Celtic cartoon called House of Pain is a concept ...

Freddie Jackson: Private Party/Christopher Williams: Not a Perfect Man

Review by Carol Cooper, Newsday, 1995

FREDDIE JACKSON and Christopher Williams are mature, polished performers with superb voices. Both were signed to their respective labels at a time when each record ...

Janet Jackson: Discipline

Review by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, February 2008

SURE, MADONNA repeatedly toyed with BDSM in her videos, but she never publicly admitted to breast and genital piercings like Miss Jackson did. So, in ...

Etta James, R.I.P.

Retrospective by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, January 2012

ETTA JAMES used to tell a story about meeting Billie Holiday in which Holiday told her — fatherless wild child to fatherless wild child — ...

Kid Creole & The Coconuts: August Darnell And The Creole Perplex

Essay by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, July 1982

"The dominant feeling of the black poet is one of malaise, better still of intolerance. Intolerance of reality because it is sordid, of the world ...

Kid Creole & The Coconuts: To The Life Boats

Profile by Carol Cooper, Face, The, September 1983

"Strange, how potent cheap music is."– Noel Coward, Private Lives ...

Fela Kuti: Army Arrangement (Celluloid)

Review by Carol Cooper, Spin, May 1985

IF YOU haven't yet heard of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, it isn't because he hasn't been trying to get your attention. ...

Leadbelly: The Long Goodbye: Huddie Ledbetter’s Living Will

Essay by Carol Cooper, L.A. Weekly, November 1994

According to their most recent videos, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and Madonna all aspire to the power, wisdom and durability ...

Madonna: Thoughts On Madonna's MDNA Tour in America

Live Review by Carol Cooper, Rock's Backpages, September 2012

AS I WRITE THIS Thursday night, I can hear Madonna singing from Yankee Stadium through the window of my Harlem apartment. ...

Bob Marley & the Wailers: Confronting Marley’s Legacy

Retrospective by Carol Cooper, Record, The, September 1983

NEW YORK – King Tut was playing Munich when I arrived in January of 1981 to pay my last respects to Bob Marley. I remember ...

Pablo Moses’s Acid Reign

Profile by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, January 1984

RASTA IDEOLOGY has always been profoundly Spenglerian. The German philosopher’s contention that our parasitic, capital-based machine age will be defeated by "another power, not by ...

Maria Muldaur: A Multifaceted Muldaur

Profile and Interview by Carol Cooper, Newsday, April 1996

"IF YOU THINK about it," Maria Muldaur remarked during a recent showcase for her new blues album, Fanning the Flames, "a tarantella is really just ...

Me'Shell Ndegeocello: Meshell Ndegeocello: Weather

Review by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, November 2011

'WEATHER' ISN'T the first Meshell Ndegeocello single to fall into the category of "freak folk," but the album of the same name is her first ...

Ozomatli: Don't Mess With the Dragon

Review by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, April 2007

IF YOU'RE A giddy optimist like me, you hope to one day hear Ozomatli's cheerfully rebellious politi-pop wafting from every car radio in New York ...

Johnny Pacheco: Latin Swing's Last Lion: 
Johnny Pacheco Returns to the New York His Salsa Once Changed

Profile and Interview by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, January 2004

DAPPER, CHARISMATIC, and 68 years young, Johnny Pacheco is one of New York's cultural lions, a Juilliard alumnus who revolutionized the way Afro-Latin swing, a/k/a ...

Pebbles: Straight From The Heart

Review by Carol Cooper, Fanfare, September 1995

PEBBLES IS one of the shrewdest women in show business. In 1987, this Bay area femme fatale exploded on the scene with the hit single ...

Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Maxi Priest: Lee Perry: From the Secret Laboratory (Mango)/Maxi Priest: Bonafide (Charisma)

Review by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, November 1990

THIS YEAR'S New Music Seminar featured a panel called ‘Reggae in the ‘90s: Does Dancehall Rule?’ Both Jamaican and New York’s regional enthusiasm for dancehall ...

Iggy Pop: Roseland, New York, NY

Live Review by Carol Cooper, Newsday, April 1996

In 1967, when The Doors released their first LP, a young ex-drummer named James Osterberg formed the Psychedelic Stooges to voice the primal urges of ...

Prince: 3121

Review by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, May 2006

IN HIS LONG-AGO heyday Prince complimented Kid Creole's backup girls by admiring how Adriana Kaegi "used every beat of the music in her choreography." Evidence ...

Prince: Come (Warner Bros.)/1-800-New-Funk (NPG/Bellmark)

Review by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, August 1994

IF YOU HEAR the sound of a gauntlet slapping the floor, it’s only the echo of Come (Warner Bros.) and 1-800-New-Funk (NPG/Bellmark) hitting the racks ...

Prince: The Gold Experience

Review by Carol Cooper, Rolling Stone, November 1995

With this LP, our former Prince turns in his most effortlessly eclectic set since 1987’s Sign O’ The Times. ...

Prince: Someday Your Prince Will Come

Essay by Carol Cooper, Face, The, June 1983

THE THING TO BEAR IN MIND is that Prince does not do interviews. He certainly didn't do this one, nor any of a dozen others ...

Tito Puente Live At SOB’s, New York: At The Top Of His Game

Live Review by Carol Cooper, Newsday, June 1995

Raising his drumsticks like a doubled scepter over a gleaming set of timbales , Tito Puente announced to Monday night’s capacity crowd at S.O.B.’s, "Tonight ...

Otis Redding: The Definitive Otis Redding

Sleevenotes by Carol Cooper, Rhino Records, 1993

THE HISTORY In June 1993, Essence magazine published the results of a listener poll conducted by WBGO-FM’s Felix Hernandez, host of the weekly rhythm & ...

The Tony Rich Project: Words

Review by Carol Cooper, Rolling Stone, 1996

If ’94 and ’95 were the years that quirky auteurs like Dionne Farris and Des’ree caught the public’s imagination, 1996 may be the year that ...

Run DMC: Run For It

Profile and Interview by Carol Cooper, Face, The, November 1984

DESPITE WHAT you may have read, there is no such thing as a monolithic black American style. The attempt to pigeonhole black creativity into narrow ...

Salt 'N' Pepa: Salt 'n' Pepa: Cool, Hot & Vicious (Next Plateau)

Review by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, January 1987

I DON'T KNOW about you but I've been waiting quite a while for a girl rap group to duplicate the success of platinum playboys like ...

Scissor Sisters

Profile by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, June 2003

NO ONE-SENTENCE summation (no matter how correct or clever) really does justice to the Scissor Sisters. As a girdle-tight, piss-elegant rock unit unafraid to play ...

TLC: Pretty Young Things

Interview by Carol Cooper, Rolling Stone, August 1995

The women of TLC stay cool under fire ...

Warren G: Regulate…G Funk Era

Review by Carol Cooper, Newsday, 1995

IN THE early to mid ‘80s, two of the most successful rap records concerned vigilantism. The Rake’s 'Street Justice' and Kool Moe Dee’s 'Wild Wild ...

List of genre pieces

A Look At Pop Around The Globe — From Operatic Creole Harmonies to Riot-Grrl-Inspired French Rappers

Overview by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, October 2011

THE END of the year brings a flurry of world music albums with commercial intentions ranging from the archival to the optimistically opportunistic. ...

Outward Is Heavenward: Modern Gospel

Report by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, July 2006

THERE'S SO MUCH going on in gospel music today that you may have missed when Kirk Franklin paused from promoting Hero, his latest chart-topping CD, ...

Putumayo: The Little Label That Could

Report by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, July 2004

WHILE THE REST of the music industry downsizes like mad, an 11-year-old independent label the majors used to snicker at has scored a 15 percent ...

Check Yo’self At The Door: Cryptoheterosexuality And The Black Music Underground

Essay by Carol Cooper, Vibe, 1993

I) Time Considered as a Helix of Semilegal Nightclubs ...

Jamaican Sunrise: The Promise, Problems and Ethos of Rasta Reggae

Essay by Carol Cooper, Black American, The, 1980

AS A BAROMETER of social pressure, and an indicator of public opinion, reggae music has no peer in the modern world of multi-media. As an ...

Surf Pop: The New Wave

Retrospective by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, September 1996

WAS ANY underground music more quickly and thoroughly mediated by outside forces than surf music? On the cusp of the ‘60s, California’s coastal teen subculture ...

The Black Music Association Movement Of Jah People

Report by Carol Cooper, Soho Weekly News, June 1979

DURING A DEFINITIVE rendition of ‘Exodus’ which capped an hour-long show by the Wailers, Stevie Wonder joined Bob Marley on stage and moved 2,000 members ...

The House that Rap Built

Overview by Carol Cooper, Village Voice, May 1990

ON FRIDAY night at the Tunnel, Bronx, Jersey, and Brooklyn posses with high-top fades, or one patch of hair dyed psychedelic orange, bob and weave ...

The Noise From Brazil

Overview by Carol Cooper, Elle, August 1989

MARCO AURELIO DA SILVA, known as Mazola, sits hunched over the console in one of Rio’s top recording studios, waiting for a live horn section ...

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