musicology #316


(Max Romeo – Blowing In The Wind)

Generally speaking protest&freedom springs from the well of first hand experience concerning the trials and tribulations in question. Although, I hasten to add, not always as there is also a concept known as empathy whereby others can feel/appreciate the anguish and frustrations? I’ll be honest with you up until a few months ago this was a concept that I couldn’t accept but then it was explained to me in language I understood and subsequently I felt it.

Today’s cut is, for me, an example of this. A tune that many people know, (or at least have heard), that concerns a human’s right to freedom. The human beings in question are still judged in many ways by the colour of their skin and not the love in their hearts. It might not be as blatant these days but as with all discrimination it is rife. The point I am making here is that Bob Dylan, (the songwriter and original singer of this cut), was empathising.

It wasn’t his personal experience but still he ‘felt’ it and wanted to do what he could to highlight and make comment on the situation. Sam Cooke loved it and was almost upset that it wasn’t written by him.Accordingly ‘The Lion’ was inspired though and wrote one of THE most passionate ‘songs of freedom’ ‘A Change Is  Going To Come’ which, if it hadn’t already been thrown down on themusicologist would most certainly have been in this theme.

This 1969 version is by Jamaica’s own Max Romeo who unfortunately is perhaps best known, (outside of Reggae circles), for the forgettable but, at least in the UK, popular early ‘Skinhead’ cut ‘Wet Dream’. He is MUCH better than that as witnessed by his output over the years.

Listen Tune


musicology #193

teachings of billionaire YenTzu #3

(James Carr – Life Turned Her That Way)

Stalking The Heron, (infinite patience, immediate results)

‘So his obsession for not leting go of anything finally caught up with him,’ commented Yan Kan to himself, on hearing news that the Emperor had met with an untimely end.

It had been several years now since Yan Kan had fortuitously escaped the Emperor’s wrath. It had been his experience of stalking the heron that had led him to see things in a different light. When water accumulates, it breeds predatory fish. And when rites and duties become decorations, they breed artificial and hypocritical people. The title that the Emperor had quickly invented and thrown to him that day, and which he had so obsequiously caught, were now empty and meaningless to him.

He had decided at that moment to apply his new found virtue of patience to more meaningful pursuits and departed the Court.

He would no more attach such importance to such false things. And he would no more suggest solutions that sought reward by pandering to the whims of another in authority. Any leader who demanded, needed or revelled in such bolstering was an insecure leader. How strange it is that when rulers have obsessions, thier subjects do a lot of posturing; when a ruler is crafty, their subjects are devious; and when a ruler is demanding, their subjects are contentious. Any ruler who blamed ill luck for the state of his kingdom and sought to determine outcomes by using his strength to hold on to something weaker, was bound to fall sooner or later.

Yan Kan felt no surprise that the Emperor had lost his life through his rigid attachment to his policy for growth and recognition. His wise friend Cai Tok had ben right: ‘When political leaders ruin their countries and wreck their lands, themselves to die at others hands, it is always because of their impatient desires.’

Since becoming a merchant, Yan Kan had determined to himself that he would follow the sage-like philosophy he now knew to be true: ‘To be able to use the power of other people, it is necessary to win people’s hearts. To be able to win people’s hearts, it is necessary to have self mastery. To be capable of self mastery, it is necessary to have patience.’

Yan Kan resolved to apply patience in everything, particularly when he encountered the obstacles which he had discovered were as much a part of business as they were of life.

‘The ancients were certainly wise in creating writing symbols that contained the meanings of both crisis and opportunity. I will see every obstacle as a further reminder to be infinitely patient and unattached to any particular schedule. For in such flexibility lies the power to cultivate the hidden pearl of opportunity from the grit of adversity.’