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Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Topic started by: wreid75 on February 02, 2013, 09:40:41 PM

Title: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: wreid75 on February 02, 2013, 09:40:41 PM
Unfortunate I was never able to know any of the wonderful prewar musician that I annoy my friends and family with today.  Several people who frequent this site did get to know some of these gems of American music.  Did any of them speak with any of you about racism when they were young and the unusual paradox they must have experienced in the 60s when they were being showered with affection with one hand and denied rights with the other?  Also did any of them feel like they were being used or taken advantaged of?  The 60s were racially charged and these men were quite old by then so perspectives may be vastly different that we might expect.  I hope someone out there can shed some light on this.
Title: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: Bill Roggensack on February 02, 2013, 10:18:01 PM
I never had a chance to meet any of the folk revival discoveries of the 60s myself, but can give you a couple suggestions that should be easy to find.
1. A recoding called "Blues in the Mississippi Night" with Alan Lomax interviewing and listening to conversations between Memphis Slim, Big Bill Broonzy, and Sonny Boy Williamson. They go into the topic of race and made Lomax promise not to release the interview until after all were dead.
2. A series of in depth interviews originally published in Living Blues, and reissued as "The Voice of the Blues : Classic Interviews. . " by Jim O'Neal et al.
Several of the cornerstone books on blues history also delve into this topic, as do numerous songs recorded "in the day."



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Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: Bunker Hill on February 02, 2013, 10:50:44 PM
I never had a chance to meet any of the folk revival discoveries of the 60s myself, but can give you a couple suggestions that should be easy to find.
1. A recoding called "Blues in the Mississippi Night" with Alan Lomax interviewing and listening to conversations between Memphis Slim, Big Bill Broonzy, and Sonny Boy Williamson. They go into the topic of race and made Lomax promise not to release the interview until after all were dead.
See this discussion scroll down to reply 20 http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=6854.15 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=6854.15)
Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: Bunker Hill on February 03, 2013, 01:47:38 AM
Here are, by today's standards, the thoroughly UnPC sleeves of those two 1957 LP. 
Title: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: Bill Roggensack on February 03, 2013, 12:14:11 PM
Thanks BH - I had forgotten that the liner notes were buried in Weenie's backyard. How could anyone resist listening to the recording (which is still available) after reading those notes?


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Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: Randy Meadows on February 03, 2013, 01:38:33 PM
In the late 60s and early 70s in Mississippi deep south when I was young, the role was just assumed and old black men still called white guys sir, etc...
Because... there was still alot of racial tension.. and it was better to keep the match away from the haystack... this progressed quite quickly with integration through the early 1980s..
in school and through TV cartoons, sports, etc the dividing line between race lessoned.

I'm very sure that any negro performer or professional from the early 20th century was constantly scrutinized and treated unfairly.. He knew this... Some found relief by moving North towards Chicago, others stayed and "Fought" so to speak.. It shows and was captured in the lyrics... Thank God...
Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: wreid75 on February 03, 2013, 02:55:06 PM
Thanks guys!!!!!!!!!  The though came to me when listening to some songs thinking how big the stones must be on these guys to even sing this.  It progressed to wondering how suspect a man must feel to be treated like dirt his entire life by a race of people only to have some young cats who know your music swoop in to take you on a fantastic voyage of musical idolatry.  One minuet no one cares a bit about this old music you did when you were young only to be swept away to a parallel  where all of the fans are white, young, and in some cases come from across the pond.  Where the people around you just using you or helping you?  I know that in the vast majority of cases these were people who just wanted what was best for the musicians but after a life time of being pooped on how could they see it that way?
Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: Johnm on February 03, 2013, 04:26:10 PM
Hi wreid75,
I'm not sure what you mean by being objectified in this context.  What is or was the object that people were being turned into or perceived as?  Racism is more clear.  I knew Sam Chatmon and he sang songs that spoke to his own experience and those of his family around these issues--"The Yellow Coon Has No Race" and "I Have To Paint My Face" ("to change myself from this Ethiopian race").  The issue of racism was not exclusively a matter of how Blacks and Whites saw each other and made assumptions about behavior, character or attitudes according to race, though.  Racism was also an issue within the Black community.  Go to the Jim Jackson Lyrics thread.  An extremely high percentage of his song lyrics speak of different behavior, sexual desirability, and qualities of character depending on whether a person was yellow, black or brown.  And Jim Jackson's lyrics were by no means exceptional in this regard.  Most of the blues lyrics from the 1920s get into these issues to a greater or lesser extent.  Such references become much less common in the later decades.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: Randy Meadows on February 03, 2013, 04:49:31 PM
From Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence in the movie "LIFE"
" in reference to "Natchez Under the hill"...
Hey Tiny, Black folks allowed down there?.... In which Tiny replied... "Green is the only color Under the Hill"...


As most people would, the early musicians put themselves into their own comfortable surroundings when possible...
In each community,  family members were needed for crops or to work at home to manage financially.

The "Entertainers" or musicians who we consider "Professional"; as to say "made a living using their music" did so by receiving their encouragement to publish and to face the white and negro public.
 and in some lonely cases, alone..... and ONLY for the Love of music and hope for success...
Those are the ones that are the heart of the music... All of those mentioned above.... and so many more that create the perspectives that make up the soul of the Blues...
Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: jrn on February 03, 2013, 05:52:02 PM
Being born and raised in Mississippi, I can assure y'all that racism is still alive and well here. So much so that I consider myself lucky that my parents weren't like that, and I wasn't raised in that kind of environment. Both my parents were the black sheeps of their families in that respect. We don't associate with a big part of our extended family for this very reason.

I'm not sure if any of this is relevant to this thread, or why I even I chose to share it. But it is something that has bothered me deeply most of my life. I guess I'm lucky that my parents taught me to embrace things that were different, not shun them.

Thanks Mom and Dad for turning me on to the blues so many years ago.

Jason
Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: Rivers on February 03, 2013, 07:04:18 PM
Absolutely relevant Jason.
Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: frailer24 on February 03, 2013, 11:05:12 PM
Jason, I am glad I was raised not to judge by color as well. You have spoken your mind quite well. Larry
Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: cih on February 03, 2013, 11:51:43 PM
The complications for a black performer a century ago are demonstrated well by Ernest Hogan, who despite writing 'All Coons Look Alike to Me', regularly brought lawsuits against those who infringed upon his civil rights. Very difficult in the cold light of today to understand this situation I think.
Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: Mike Billo on February 04, 2013, 07:13:04 AM

 Big Walter Horton told me that, whenever they played for White people, in the South, it was a common practice (still going on when he left in the late '50's), to break plates, glasses and any other kitchenware the Musicians had eaten off of, so they would never touch the mouths of the white folks.

   
Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: GhostRider on February 04, 2013, 11:50:18 AM

 Big Walter Horton told me that, whenever they played for White people, in the South, it was a common practice (still going on when he left in the late '50's), to break plates, glasses and any other kitchenware the Musicians had eaten off of, so they would never touch the mouths of the white folks.

   

Please tell me your kidding

Alex
Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: oddenda on February 04, 2013, 05:30:33 PM
Besides being chased by Buddy Moss with a pistol in the 70's (see "Oddenda & Such" columns of mine in B&R), my experiences were generally good. Older folks like Wilie Trice ALWAYS kept a distance and he always referred to me as "Mr. Pete", and Bastin as "Mr. Bruce". That was as loose as he could go, no matter how friendly we became over the years. And we were friends, of that there is no doubt - my last meeting with him before he died tells me that.

pbl
Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: Johnm on February 04, 2013, 06:02:50 PM
Your experience was much like my own, Peter B.  I always operated from a "friendly but not familiar" stance.  I wouldn't have presumed to have acted like I was these older musicians' new best friend.  I would say, too, in my experience, the better I came to know musicians, the more I was interested in them as people and the less I was interested in them as repositories of music.  After my first meeting with Sam Chatmon, I don't know if I ever discussed music with him again.  We talked about life stuff, family, jobs, dogs he had had, and stuff like that.  He was very grandfatherly to me, with life advice and so on.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: Rivers on February 04, 2013, 08:06:00 PM
I totally know how it feels. By a series of accidents, starting about 9 months before I was born, I have a British accent and currently live in Texas.  :P
Title: Re: Racism and feeling objectified
Post by: Mike Billo on February 04, 2013, 08:53:34 PM

[/quote]
Please tell me your kidding
Alex
[/quote]


      No Alex. I'm afraid I'm not kidding. He assured me it was a common practice.
      What horrible excuses for human beings.
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