Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Can Black Men Sing The Whites? Not According To Liberals

I think it was Columbia records producer Tom Wilson (with whom I shared an elevator and have an amusing anecdote about-which can wait for another day) who said that apart from, perhaps, English choral music there is no such thing as "White" (as distinct from "Black") music.
If not Tom then certainly someone else of his standing said this, which statement I take issue with. Irish, Scot's, Elizabethan (I can't imagine a Black 'Greensleeves') Appalachian, Gregorian chants, are definitely "White" music amongst numerous other examples.
Of course Blacks can participate in each and every one of these aspects of basically European musical cultural heritage, and could certainly do justice to them-but an indefinable "something" would be missing.
This came to mind when I was watching videos of the immortal Otis Redding. His versions of "Pain in my heart" and "I've been loving you" are incomparable and I can't imagine any White singer coming within a country mile of his performances. And yet when he performs the Rolling Stones "Satisfaction" there is just something missing, it doesn't seem to work like the other songs do.
Strangely, even Devo's oddball version of "Satisfaction" somehow works better than Redding's soulful attempt which, to me, comes across as Los Vegasy.
Conversely, although Eric Clapton is a brilliant musician and does Bo Diddley's "Before you accuse me" very well, if you played the two versions, one after the other, Clapton’s has nothing of the raw power, depth of feeling and frankly quality of voice that Mr. McDaniel had.
To fall into the trap of liberal political correctness and pretend there are not inherently differences in music as far as presentations, based on cultural inheritance and physical differences, is to deny reality. These grand achievements by both White and Black artists are a tribute to these inheritances and are to be celebrated not denied.

No comments: