musicology #179


soulsearching #1

(Bessie Smith – Poor Mans Blues)

kept a low one last week to consolidate and regroup for an assualt on this existence called life.

what has this got to do with music? I’m glad I asked..

having always provided themusicologist with a means to externalise the internal turmoil that is ever present music has always been a consistent, reliable guide and trusted companion on the journey. as we experience the rough and the smooth, (together), there is always a slice of the musical pie that nails the feeling and even though this next selection is completely self indulgent it is, I assure you, very necessary.

the idea is to try and lay down a musical dialogue between the yin and yang of a turbulent soul existing in the post modern world. sound deep? in all honesty it is..and bottomless to boot!!

day one of the soulsearching..and who better to start proceedings than the incomparable Bessie Smith…Queen of the blues with a belter of a tune from 1928 that is as true today as it was back then, especially poignant considering the ‘Great Depression’ was just around the corner. which just goes to show how little, (of substance), has changed as a result of the so called ‘age of progress’. Produced by legendary musicologist John Hammond and featuring the musical talents of:

Joe Williams, (Trombone)
Bob Fuller, (Clarinet/Alto Sax)
Ernest Elliott (Clarinet/Alto&Tenor Sax)
Porter Grainger (Piano)

a musical gem from a legendary performer…watch the ride.

mister rich man, mister rich man,
open up your heart and mind,
mister rich man, rich man,
open up your heart and mind,
give a poor man a chance

help stop these hard, hard times,

while you living in your mansion,
you don’t know what hard time means,
while you living in your mansion,
you don’t know what hard time means,
hard working mans wife is starving,
your wife is living like a queen,

please listen to my pleading ’cause I can’t stand these hard times long,
ohhh listen to my pleading, can’t stand these hard times long,
they’ll make an honest man do things that you know is wrong,

poor man fought all the battles,
poor man would fight again today,
poor man fought all the battles,
poor man would fight again today,
he would do anything you ask him in the name of the USA,

now the war is over poor man must live the same as you,
now the war is over poor man must live as the same as you,
if it wasn’t for the poor man mister rich man what would you do?

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3 thoughts on “musicology #179

  1. I found it difficult to feel blue listening to this Bessie Smith track because despite the plaintive lyrics her magnificent voice takes over the emotions…..the last verse strikes a wonderfully defiant note.

    Like

  2. a pheonomenal singer and wonderful lyrics combine to put across a powerful message that unfortuneately only the converted will pay attention to

    Like

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