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Sunday, February 20, 2005



Great song--Thank you!

I didn't know about his connection to Billie's "Strange Fruit." I'm getting ready to write about that song. I searched iTunes and found, like, a dozen different versions...

The connection between music and political protest is a fascinating one. Hope you share more of your own reflections about this link as you see it operating in your father's life and the lives of his contemporaries.

Ben G.

Glad you like the song. I've been meaning to write a post that includes it for ages.

You may know there is both a documentary film about Strange Fruit (by Joel Katz, I think) and a book by David Margolick. The film is much better than the book.

There is some older material on Hungry Blues from this summer about Ray Charles and the Civil Rights Movement. Charles was a featured performer in a concert in Birmingham in 1963. My father was one of the organizers for it. You can find the posts with documentation and some discussion under "Some Research" in my sidebar.

There are a couple of other posts where I dicuss Ray's politics a little further and include an excerpt to a fabulous op ed by Julian Bond:

Also from the summer, Coming Round To Satchmo touches upon the music and polics intersection in a personal mode, similar to this post.

There's a book someone mentioned to me, which I need to find the reference for, about 1920s jazz and left politics. And I have done a little research about this myslef. If you go through old issues of the New Masses from the 30s and 40s you'll find numerous ads for leftist (i.e., communist) events that include performances by the jazz talent of the day, Duke Ellington, Frankie Newton, Fats Waller, etc. Also there were a number of musicians, including Frankie Newton, who used to be on staff at Camp Unity, a leftist adult summer camp in Wingdale, NY, outside Manhattan. Ellington has an FBI file because he performed in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, but that has more to do with McCarthyism than his stated politics, I think.

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