Wednesday, January 21, 2009

[The Record Crate] Let Freedom Ring

Aretha Franklin singing "America" at the Obama Inauguration

Marian Anderson singing "America" at the Lincoln memorial, 1939

The songs of the week had to be Aretha Franklin’s rendition of "America," more popularly known as "My Country ‘Tis of Thee," an inspired choice for many reasons. First and foremost, historically, it was quoted in Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech, and was possibly the only subtle yet meaningful way to reference Dr. King in the inauguration ceremonies without evoking him directly, as some of the speakers did. And subtle and meaningful are two traits that I look for out of this new president.

Secondly, African-American opera singer Marian Anderson sang it on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 in a concert staged as a reaction to the Daughters of the American Revolution barring her from singing at a ceremony of theirs at Constitution Hall because of Ms. Anderson’s race. This election was about more than dismantling racial barriers, but it was a large part of the subtext of this election.

Lastly, and maybe most symbolically, "America" is a song we can all sing easily. We may not be able to send it into the stratosphere like Aretha Franklin, or lend it a gravity that Dr. King, Ms. Anderson or the inauguration ceremonies did, but we can each embody its simple effective melody to the full of our singing abilities, and if in the spirit of all this stirring rhetoric of hope and change, we do a similar thing to the simple melodies running through the aspects of our lives, we might just hear freedom ring.

Wednesday, Jan. 21

Roger Creager at The Varsity

Thursday, Jan. 22

Mayhem String Band at Chelsea’s

Badfish, A Tribute to Sublime at The Varsity

Research Turtles and Shut up and Dance at North Gate Tavern

James Napper and Lil Nathan & the Zydeco Big Timers at Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s

Friday, Jan. 23

Meriwether, project H, and Nothing More at Click’s

We Landed on the Moon! at Spanish Moon

The Soul Rebels at Chelsea’s

Simply Sinatra at the Manship Theatre

The Molly Ringwalds at The Varsity

DJ OttO at North Gate Tavern

Jerad Perck and A Band Named Sue at Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s

Big Daddy Blue at Teddy’s Juke Joint

Saturday, Jan. 24

Cohen & Field Day at Spanish Moon

Blue Mountain featuring Cary Hudson at Chelsea’s

The Glitterboys at North Gate Tavern

Letters in Red at Click’s

Sunday, Jan. 25

Lil’ Ray Neal Blues Band at Teddy’s Juke Joint

Monday, Jan. 26

NGT’s Monday Night Funk Collective at North Gate Tavern

Ed to add: Carl Wilson came much of the same conclusions except as usual, said it quicker and better

1 comment:

  1. Im glad to see that even Aretha at the Inauguration gets only a badly produced karaoke track to sing over.