********IMPORTANT NOTE******** THIS TAPE IS STILL IN PRODUCTION

********IMPORTANT NOTE******** THIS TAPE IS STILL IN PRODUCTION; THE DEBUT DATE HAS BEEN MOVED BACK AGAIN UNTIL EARLY NEXT WEEK (MARCH 3-9). — CGB

ART: 2 photos. (1) GROUP PHOTO OF PEOPLE IN RECORDING STUDIO; (2) DON HILL ALSO HAS OPTIONAL COLORFUL PHOTO OF THE TAPE’S COVER ART (GOOD REEFER TO INSIDE STORY). — CGB

By Carolyn Bahm

Daily Journal

“Tears of Passion,” a tape of original music from a team of Northeast Mississippi artists, will hit record store shelves next week.

Songwriter Jimmy Dale Adams Jr. of Nettleton said he created the song a couple of years ago. Another one of the collaborators, Anthony Sykes-Bowdry of Guntown, identified the creation as a simple song with a soft rhythm-and-blues/pop flavor and a powerful message. “It’s a call for unity. It identifies what the Million Man March was about.”

The debut of a self-produced record usually doesn’t make the news, but this $5 single is an exception. All proceeds from sales will benefit the African-American Legal Defense Fund operating in parts of North Mississippi. The fund helps pay attorneys’ fees for black people fighting uphill legal battles.

One of the fund’s founders, Dr. Howard Gunn of Okolona, explained, “The mission is to save black males and females from unjust incarceration by the judicial system. The fund contributes for or to African-Americans who’ve been caught up in the judicial system and don’t have the means to defend themselves.”

In some cases, those arrested are not fully aware of their rights and legal options, Gunn said. To fill the gap, the African-American Legal Defense Fund was founded three months ago by Gunn, Walter Stanfill of Shannon and Jimmy Agnew of Baldwyn. The new privately funded program originally covered just Lee County and has expanded to include Pontotoc, Chickasaw and Monroe counties.

“We intend to cover many other counties,” Gunn said.

A coalition of 1,000 men originally committed to donations of $100 each for the fund, creating a backbone budget of $100,000 for 1996.

More on the music

Gunn said the “Tears of Passion” tape will supplement the defense fund’s budget, and he has personally enjoyed the music. “I’ve heard it several times, and it’s fantastic.”

Three versions of the song are on the tape: A dialog explaining the fund, then the full song and finally a version of instrumentals and background vocals. Sykes-Bowdry performed all except the guitar music, provided by Alvis Hatch of the Nettleton area.

Members of Righteous Team Productions who created the “Tears of Passion” single on the T & S Records label include Adams, Sykes-Bowdry and James Jones of Guntown. The record was recorded at Shake Rag City Publishing & Records in Tupelo with the assistance of producer Tim Prewitt. Tupelo artist Billy Clifton donated one of his original paintings for the tape’s cover.

The African-American Legal Defense Fund financed the cassette manufacturing, while Righteous Team Productions financed the recording, Sykes-Bowdry said.

The audiocassette tape will be sold for $5 at Album Alley and Soundtown Records, both in Tupelo.

CUTLINE INFO.:

Tupelo artist Billy Clifton donated one of his original paintings for the tape’s cover.

OTHER CUTLINE: (((Photographer will identify people shown in photo at Shake Rag City Publishing & Records in Tupelo or at whatever alternate location they choose.)))

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