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Thread: Racism in popular music

  1. #16
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    This one is completely cringeworthy at 2:26. A man, who sounds African-American, says, "What? A girl? A girl that plays saxophone? A -- a white girl from Holland plays the saxophone?"


  2. #17
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Racially-mixed band Wild Cherry's Play That Funky Music (White Boy!) I think shows a path that is neither mean-spirited nor preachy, and is just fun. It gives direct voice to the fact that White musicians have been intrigued by and borrowing from and copying Black sounds for many decades. Plus, it's a great song....

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SFiv9M577a4

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  4. #18
    Senior Member Victor Redseal's Avatar
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    Verses 4 and 5 of Rod Stewart's "Every Picture Tells a Story

    [Verse 4]
    I moved right out east, yeah, listen
    On the Peking ferry I was feeling merry
    Sailing on my way back here
    I fell in love with a slit-eyed lady
    By the light of an eastern moon
    Shangai Lil never used the pill
    She claimed that it just ain't natural
    She took me up on deck and bit my neck
    Oh people, I was glad I found her
    Oh yeah, I was glad I found her, woohoo
    Wait a minute

    [Verse 5]
    I firmly believe that I didn't need anyone but me
    I sincerely thought I was so complete
    Look how wrong you can be
    The women I've known I wouldn't let tie my shoe
    They wouldn't give you the time of day
    But the slit-eyed lady knocked me off my feet
    God I was glad I found her
    And if they had the words I could tell to you
    To help you on the way down the road
    I couldn't quote you no Dickens, Shelley or Keats
    'Cause it's all been said before
    Make the best out of the bad, just laugh it off, ha
    You didn't have to come here anyway
    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

  5. #19
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Lyrics (Continued): Here is Ride The Tiger by Jefferson Starship--

    I want to ride the tiger
    I want to ride the tiger
    It will be black and white in the dead of night
    Eyes flashing in the clear moonlight
    I want to ride the tiger.
    It's like a tear in the hands of a western man
    Tell you about salt, carbon and water
    But a tear to a chinese man
    He'll tell you about sadness and sorrow or the love of a man and
    A woman.
    I want to ride the tiger
    I want to sail through the risin' sun for you and you
    We got something to learn from the other side
    Something to give, we got nothing to hide
    I want to ride the tiger.
    Black wants out of the streets
    Yellow wants the country
    Red wants the country back
    And white wants out of this world
    Sing - sing to the sky
    I want to ride the tiger
    I want to ride the tiger.
    Look to the summer of seventy-five
    All the world is gonna come alive
    Do you want to ride the tiger?
    It's like a tear in the hands of a western man
    Tell you about salt, carbon and water
    But a tear to an oriental man
    He'll tell you about sadness and sorrow or the love of a man and
    A woman......

    Here we are on a borderline between a mentioning of race--the Chinese or oriental man is depicted as being more in touch with his emotions than the westerners--but then we attribute overall racial differences in social/political goals, perhaps not that different from political discussions of voting blocs, etc. But I still like the song!
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Jan-30-2020 at 05:32.

  6. #20
    Senior Member Belowpar's Avatar
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    OK need some help here.

    I'm trying to remember a particular popular song, that actually helped fight racism.


    Background. Dr's and Scientists realised long ago that Blood is Blood, doesn't matter who it comes from, its all the same. The US Army for a long time kept two kinds of blood (as if there are only two races!) and I believe it took a change in the law to get them to accept the facts.

    Many years ago the excellent Robert Cushman had a Radio series Book, Music and Lyrics on the BBC. He played this song about this and said it had helped change the law. I think the Lyrics were by Yip Harburg but 10 mins of Googling and I've come up with nothing.

    Anyone help?

  7. #21
    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belowpar View Post
    OK need some help here.

    I'm trying to remember a particular popular song, that actually helped fight racism.


    Background. Dr's and Scientists realised long ago that Blood is Blood, doesn't matter who it comes from, its all the same. The US Army for a long time kept two kinds of blood (as if there are only two races!) and I believe it took a change in the law to get them to accept the facts.

    Many years ago the excellent Robert Cushman had a Radio series Book, Music and Lyrics on the BBC. He played this song about this and said it had helped change the law. I think the Lyrics were by Yip Harburg but 10 mins of Googling and I've come up with nothing.

    Anyone help?
    Wouldn't surprise me. His lyrics have a strong element of social conscience. And he was one of the creators of Finian's Rainbow, which has a subplot where a segregationist senator is magically turned black.

    I checked my copy of "Reading Lyrics" but couldn't find it.

    Sometimes a songwriter feels the need to change lyrics. Two examples come to mind. Let's Do It, originally began:

    Chinks do it
    Japs do it
    Up in Lapland little Lapps do it.

    And "Puttin' on the Ritz was completely rewritten. The original was:

    Have you seen the well to do
    Up on Lenox Avenue
    On that famous thoroughfare
    With their noses in the air?

    High hats and narrow collars
    White spats and fifteen dollars
    Spending every dime
    For a wonderful time

    If you're blue, and you don't know where to go to
    Why don't you go where Harlem flits?
    Puttin' on the Ritz
    Spangled gowns upon the bevy of high browns
    From down the levy, all misfits
    Putting' on the Ritz

    That's where each and every lulu-belle goes
    Every Thursday evening with her swell beaus
    Rubbin' elbows

    Come with me and we'll attend their jubilee
    And see them spend their last two bits
    Puttin' on the Ritz

  8. #22
    Senior Member Duncan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belowpar View Post
    OK need some help here.

    I'm trying to remember a particular popular song, that actually helped fight racism.


    Background. Dr's and Scientists realised long ago that Blood is Blood, doesn't matter who it comes from, its all the same. The US Army for a long time kept two kinds of blood (as if there are only two races!) and I believe it took a change in the law to get them to accept the facts.

    Many years ago the excellent Robert Cushman had a Radio series Book, Music and Lyrics on the BBC. He played this song about this and said it had helped change the law. I think the Lyrics were by Yip Harburg but 10 mins of Googling and I've come up with nothing.

    Anyone help?
    The song is "Free and Equal Blues" - lyrics by E.Y. "Kip" Harburg with music by Earl Robinson -

    "I went down to that St. James Infirmary
    I saw some plasma there
    I upped and asked that doctor man
    Now was the donor dark or fair

    The doctor laughed a great big laugh
    And he puffed it right in my face
    He says, A molecule is a molecule son,
    And the damn thing has no race.

    And that was news, yes that was news
    That was very, very, very special news
    'Cause ever since that day we've had those
    Free and equal blues

    I never knew that the plasma in that
    Test tube there could be
    White man, black man, yellow man, red,
    Well, that's just what that doctor said..."


    Link to complete lyrics -

    https://lyrics.fandom.com/wiki/Josh_...nd_Equal_Blues



    It was originally recorded by Earl Robinson and Clarence Muse -




    The best known version is the one by Josh White -



  9. #23
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    How about "Sexism in Popular Music"? That'll be way easier.

  10. #24
    Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I just heard "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown" by Jim Croce, and realized that there is more than one instance of subtle racism in it.

    "The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there"

    Can't believe I'm wasting my time on such a pointless thread ..............

  11. #25
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryPenfold View Post
    "The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there"

    Can't believe I'm wasting my time on such a pointless thread ..............
    In London, do y'all have the "underground" David Allan Coe tapes? I bet they'd fetch a pretty penny...You don't have skinhead bands over there, do you?
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Feb-16-2020 at 03:27.

  12. #26
    Senior Member CnC Bartok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    In London, do y'all have the "underground" David Allan Coe tapes? I bet they'd fetch a pretty penny...You don't have skinhead bands over there, do you?
    Nope. Our skinheads get to become special advisers to HM Government. It only happens in this country, why don't the French have a term for "eminence grise"?

    Or maybe he's Scots, like that MacHiavelli chap?

    NINTCHDBPICT000520419260-e1569106636971.jpg

  13. #27
    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CnC Bartok View Post
    Nope. Our skinheads get to become special advisers to HM Government. It only happens in this country, why don't the French have a term for "eminence grise"?


    NINTCHDBPICT000520419260-e1569106636971.jpg
    It's happened here in the US as well.

  14. #28
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pianozach View Post
    It's happened here in the US as well.
    So that means the Marine Band is doing obscure punk covers? Be sure to vote for Elizabeth Warren.

  15. #29
    Senior Member Belowpar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan View Post
    The song is "Free and Equal Blues" - lyrics by E.Y. "Kip" Harburg with music by Earl Robinson -

    "I went down to that St. James Infirmary
    I saw some plasma there
    I upped and asked that doctor man
    Now was the donor dark or fair

    The doctor laughed a great big laugh
    And he puffed it right in my face
    He says, A molecule is a molecule son,
    And the damn thing has no race.

    And that was news, yes that was news
    That was very, very, very special news
    'Cause ever since that day we've had those
    Free and equal blues

    I never knew that the plasma in that
    Test tube there could be
    White man, black man, yellow man, red,
    Well, that's just what that doctor said..."


    Link to complete lyrics -

    https://lyrics.fandom.com/wiki/Josh_...nd_Equal_Blues



    It was originally recorded by Earl Robinson and Clarence Muse -




    The best known version is the one by Josh White -



    I wish I could thank you in person. Glad to know I'm not halucinatin' ALL the time. If I only had a memory.

    Cushman played the Josh White version but I think he oversold it, as even knowing the title doesn't pull up any links on Google..

    Great to hear it again.


    PS Were you making a point when you called him "Kip" Harburg? Just curious.
    Last edited by Belowpar; Yesterday at 14:57.

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  17. #30
    Senior Member Duncan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belowpar View Post
    PS Were you making a point when you called him "Kip" Harburg? Just curious.
    - yeah... the point I was trying to make was "Note to self: try proofreading before posting" - it was merely a typo - I had only a vague idea that "kip" meant "sleep" or "nap" in the UK but it most definitely was not intentional.

    I typed "Yip" at least half a dozen times in the thread below (most recently in the entry for February 20th - "Over the Rainbow" - Judy Garland - Number 1 song in the USA in 1939) but as mentioned previously it was merely a mistake.

    Historic Popular Vocalists - 1910 - 1949 - Songs of the Day Calendar...

    You're welcome and thank you for your kind and gracious words!
    Last edited by Duncan; Yesterday at 16:16.

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