Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Bob's Playlist #5, August 3, 2015

1. Djelimady Tounkara, “Fanta Bourama”

2. 10cc, “Good Morning Judge”

3. Ram Jam, “Black Betty” [ When this version came out in the late 70s many people felt the song was racist. I think it was a school, maybe a university, that only recently allowed the song to be played. I’m vague on the details. It’s in the Wikipedia article about with the song or the group, I don’t remember which. So much for meaning well and remaining blithely ignorant.]

4. Lead Belly, “Black Betty” [See the Wikipedia article on this song. There was some controversy surrounding Ram Jam's 1976 release.]

5. Bobbie Gentry, “Ode To Billie Joe” [I keep forgetting that the songs that I grew up with or had a strong impact on me in childhood are not as familiar or as well-remembered by other people as they are by me.]

6. Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, “Take Me Back To Tulsa” [his version contains the original wording: “darkie pick the cotton / white man make the money.” Apparently some people feel that explicitly acknowledging race-based economic exploitation is racist. From what I can tell “darkie” was one of the much kinder racial epithets, condescending if anything. I vaguely recall it was used with a “feeling of affection.” I was surprised to find this couplet was regarded as controversial. Contemporary versions (see Asleep at the Wheel’s version) substitute poor man and rich man for darkie and white man. It struck me sanitizing the language creates the illusion of making significant changes while simultaneously making it even easier to ignore systemic racism and not only racism of the systemic kind. If I do not feel myself to be guilty of the sin of racism, then am I not innocent of the sin of racism?]

7. Bob Marley, “Redemption Song.”

8. Cake, “Short Skirt / Long Jacket” [I don’t know if your remember the NBC Show “Chuck.” This is the full version of the theme song.]

9. Tito & Tarantula, “Cucarachas Enjojadas” [I came across it on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s “From Dusk to Dawn.”]

10. The Clash, “White Riot” & “I Fought The Law” [These are both short and make a matched set.]

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