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I woke up and remember having to go into my room to get some clothes or something out of my chest of drawers. I was very quiet, as I could hear Rev snoring and didn't want to wake him. Well, I got whatever it was and I was headed toward the door when I heard in a commanding voice,"Don't move or you're dead!". I turned around to see Rev with a .38 revolver in his hand pointed in my general direction, but sort of moving around so as to cover a wider target area. I remember screaming something to the effect of, "No--don't shoot." Rev replied, "One wrong move and you're dead." Well, then I started talking a mile a minute..."Rev, it's me, it's Barry, don't shoot Rev...I was only getting something from my chest of drawers..." Finally, Rev said, "Is that you, Barry?" The incident was soon over, and I had escaped with me life. I guess, from his perspective, it must have been kind of weird to be alone, blind, on the road 3,000 miles from home and rooming with a bunch of lunatic young musicians many years his junior. But to this day, the picture of Reverend Gary Davis that sticks in my mind the most is early in the morning, half-awake and blind as a bat, with a .38 in his hand pointed in my general direction. It was one of the most frightening moments of my life - Barry Melton

Author Topic: Pink Anderson - High Yellow  (Read 6742 times)

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Offline a2tom

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Re: Pink Anderson - High Yellow
« Reply #30 on: April 21, 2005, 06:34:26 AM »
Thanks John, great thread.? I'm sure there is a lot lurking in Weenine land I don't have time to go back and reread, so I appreciate a repost of the "classics".? Since this is new to me, I can't help but add a few thoughts.? No need to respond if this is a too-worn thread for y'all - thought provoking writing this, so I thought I post it.

How coud anyone who plays the CB not almost immediately come to the question "how/can/should I sing that?".? Be it racial, misogynistic, ribald, anachronistic, or simply foreign.? The thread mostly addresses non-PC lyrics, but the ideas can easily extend to something as simple as "Take this hammer and carry it to the captain" - I mean, what the heck do I know about hard labor, the railroad, or relationship to a "boss"??? I ought to sing the Day Care Blues - now that I have personal insight into.

I started making a list of ways one might sing words that are not "you:"

historical re-creation
playacting (the constant role of a performer)
cartoon (extreme form of playacting)
narrator (emotionally removed: these aren't my words, I'm just the messenger)
metaphor (e.g. expressing personal thoughts/emotions with foreign but powerful words)
disinterested (who cares what the words mean, they just sound good)
wishful (hoping your audience won't understand what they mean any more than you used to)
blissfully ignorant

Depending on where I felt I was falling on that range I could sing potentially anything - even the blatantly offensive or grossly foreign -? to needing to be more selective/revisionist/personalizing of old words.? It would also greatly affect how much I felt compelled to explain it to my audience.? I must say though that in general if I have to explain it, it will end up coming across worse then if I just let it speak for itself.? That said, I don't think I could ever perform "you keep your yellow, I like 'em black and brown", or a number of other things, convincingly.? Just too foregin, even as a metaphor.?

BTW, I would add that if you are going to sing it, I think it is a good idea to understand it.? I've made a few gaffs in not totally "getting" certain euphimisms.? Nothing will come across worse than singing "high yellow" in a way that made it clear that you didn't understand the racial implication.? Thank god for places like WC so us middle-aged white guys can air these things out!

In the end it is a moot point for me - the Back Porch is the only place I ever get to perform!? But hey, that's an international audience, Mom...


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