John KaSandra

Band members                             Related acts

- John KaSandra (aka  John W. Anderson) -- vocals




- John W. Anderson

- The Cherokees

- The Cuff Links





Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Color Me Human

Company: Respect

Catalog: TAS 2502

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor edge wear; textured cover; white promo label

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5834

Price: $20.00


I actually saw this album at a yard sale and bought it for the record label - I happened to remember that Respect was a short-lived, early 1970s Stax-associated imprint.  As I recalled, Respect was originally intended to be Stax's social and political voice, releasing a series of collections by the likes of Jesse Jackson Jr.  I had no idea who John KaSandra was, but figured he must also be a preacher, or politician so the album might have some potential camp, or historical value.  Well, I was right and wrong at the same time..


KaSandra had actually been recording since the late 1950s.  Under his given name John W. Anderson he'd been a member of both The Cherokees and The Cuff Links (not the bubblegum pop group).  He's also enjoyed some success as a writer and producer, working with the likes of Bobby Blues Bland and Lou Rawls.  His biggest success had been placing 'Ain't Nothing You Can Do' with Bland.  He'd also recorded a pair of jazz-influenced LPs for Capitol:

- "John W. Anderson Presents KaSandra" (Capitol catalog number ST-2957)

- "A Higher Plateau" (Capitol catalog ST- 157) 


Co-produced by Darryl Carter and Tom Nixon, 1971's "Color Me Human" was best described as Clarence Carter with an activist agenda.  Similar to Carter, KeSandra's material followed the established Southern singer-storyteller format, but unlike Carter and other practioneers, exemplified by tracks such as '', '' and ''' the messages were of black self-responsibility, economic empowerment, social responsibility, etc.  On a political continuum his material had a decidedly conservative flavor (check out '(What's Under) the Natural Do'), but it was laced with humor and seldom came off as strident, or in-your-face obnoxious.  That probably didn't make him particularly popular among broad sectors of the black intelligentsia, let alone among liberals.  Still, regardless of your political stance, the man recognized a great groove, making this a surprisingly enjoyable listening experience.


"Color Me Human" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) (What's Under) the Natural Do   (John W. Anderson) - 3:00   rating: **** stars

Dressed up in a nice funk groove, as mentioned earlier, '(What's Under) the Natural Do' struck me as a mixture of Clarence Carter story teller and Rufus Thomas humor.  The track was tapped as a single:

- 1971's (What's Under) the Natural Do' b/w 'Tired Old Subject'  (Respect catalog number TAA-2501)

2.) You God   (John W. Anderson) - 3:48   rating: ** stars

A breezy reflection on man's foibles and shortcomings, 'You God' had a nice pseudo-Gospel-ish edge to it.  

3.) Tired Old Subject   (John W. Anderson) - 4:16   rating: ** stars

'Tired Old Subject' opened up with some thunderous horns and a nice touch of fuzz guitar.  Lyrically it set the base for KaSandra's half-spoke musings on the shortcomings of media and people's inability to focus on an issue for more than a couple of moments. 

4.) Walk Tall (In This Here Land)   (John W. Anderson) - 3:10    rating: **** stars

A sizzling slice of country-soul with a no-nonsense tale of black family empowerment, 'Walk Tall (In This Here Land)' would have made Joe Tex proud.  A fantastic and highly commercial track, this one would actually have made a nifty single.   

5.) Poor Black Woman's Poor Black Man   (John W. Anderson) - 3:15     rating: *** stars

Overlooking the cumbersome title, 'Poor Black Woman's Poor Black Man' added a bit of Latin percussion to KaSandra's patented social commentary.   rating: *** stars  


(side 2)
1.) Moses Part III   (John W. Anderson) - 15:12   rating: ** stars

Set to a mid-tempo country-soul melody, 'Moses Part III' was a side long treaties on the way the black community dealt with internal and external frustrations and prejudices. Occasionally engaging and quite optimistic, but stretched out over 15 minutes it quickly became kind of boring.   A heavily editted version was tapped as the album's second single:

- 1971's 'Moses Part III' b/w ''Tired Old Subject'  (Respect catalog number TAA-2504)


Not something you'd want to play everyday, but a fascinating peak into one man's philosophies and outlook on life.