Songwriter Marc Anthony Thompson has been making records since his 1984 self-titled debut, but it’s possibly for his 4 album trilogy (on 3 different labels to boot) as the musical collective “Chocolate Genius” (and later “Chocolate Genius Inc“) that he will be most remembered. For it is on these 4 albums that he cuts straight to the heart the most directly – a lot of the songs are about the deaths of his mother, father and sister – and makes the listener feel. Feel harder and stronger than most music makes you, than most music can make you.
It started in 1998 with the album Black Music.
Half A Man (from Black Music, 1998, Sessions at West 54th 1999)
Here is one of the most remarkably sad and poignant songs ever written and everyone should be forced to listen to it. So click play and listen! I will, however, warn anyone that has had first hand experience with a loved one and Alzheimer’s that it will either be too much to take or one of the most beautiful songs you’ve ever heard.
(Full disclosure: the whole reason this post exists is to have more people hear this song.)
My Mom (from Black Music, 1998, Sessions at West 54th 1999)
GodMusic followed in 2001.
Infidel Blues (from GodMusic, 2001, live 2009)
Then in 2005, Black Yankee Rock.
Cry (from Black Yankee Rock, 2005, live 2010)
In 2010 he wrapped up the trilogy with the fourth album Swansongs, written while his dad was dying.
Sit & Spin (from Swansongs, 2010, live on Studio 360 2010)
Enough For You (from Swansongs, 2010, live 2010)
She Smiles (from Swansongs, 2010, live 2011)
How I Write My Songs (from Swansongs, 2010, live 2011)
And just for a little fun, here are 2 videos that feature Thompson quite prominently from his stint in Bruce Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions Band in 2006.
Bruce Springsteen & The Seeger Sessions Band – Eyes On The Prize (live 2006)
Bruce Springsteen & The Sessions Band – When the Saints Go Marching In (live 2006)