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50th anniversary of Amnesty's 700 West sessions – Part 1
July 09, 2023
During the 1970s, the Indianapolis music scene produced several important funk bands – including Amnesty, an eight-piece ensemble known for their hard-hitting grooves and soaring vocal harmonies.
In 1973, Amnesty traveled to New Palestine, Indiana – a small town east of Indianapolis. Their destination was 700 West, a modest recording studio located in the home of Moe Whittemore.
Amnesty recorded 10 tracks at 700 West. Two of those recordings were issued on Whittemore’s 700 West label – but the full sessions remained unreleased for over 30 years. In 2007 the California-based label Now Again issued the complete Amnesty 700 West sessions. The album was titled “Free Your Mind” and it became an instant classic among funk and soul music fans.
The music Amnesty recorded at 700 West has been streamed millions of times online and sampled in hip-hop tracks by Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, and Ye - the artist formerly known as Kanye West.
For the next two weeks on Echoes of Indiana Avenue we’ll celebrate the 50th anniversary of Amnesty’s 700 West sessions by looking back at a 2019 interview WFYI’s Kyle Long recorded with Amnesty’s vocalist Joe Trotter, percussionist Rafael Barnes, and sax player Gino Johnson.