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MMD > Archives > December 1996 > 1996.12.30 > 06Prev  Next

Re: "Questionable Words" on Rolls
By Karl Ellison

True story: When I lived in Connecticut one of my better friends was Joey, who happens to also be African-American. At a party, which I hosted with Joey and other friends, someone started playing a newer QRS version of "Mississippi Mud", where the words have been changed to "when the _people_ beat their feet on the Mississippi Mud."

There was one guest who later told me that, until this part had passed, she really got flustered thinking of what might have been sung by some well preserved and partially pickled guests. Yikes! Fortunately, everyone sang the printed words. I would have really felt bad if they hadn't. I don't think Joey had heard of the song before anyway. Next party I host, there are four rolls I know of that will be weeded out beforehand for this reason. Unfortunately, three of them are really good tunes!

It seems that the big names in the roll business have socially neutered these lyrics in today's releases, while others are into total preserv- ation, like my Artcraft 1925 "KKK March"; It's a terrible tune, too.

I never have met any musical bigots, come to think of it. ;-) Yet, I feel this attribute adds monetary value to the rolls, since it's unlikely they're going to be made again.

- K a r l B. E l l i s o n

[ Editors note:
[ My band asked our black jazz fans how they felt about songs like this
[ (and we perform "Mississippi Mud", too!). They said, in effect, "It's
[ history; songs are history, and you can't bury history and ignore it.
[ Besides, the cute songs which you play aren't derogatory -- they just
[ use the language _everyone_ used in those days."
[ The "KKK March" is also history, and it deserves preservation as an
[ example of the bad stuff with little artistic merit. Songs and poems
[ like this are intentionally created to titillate the buyer with
[ inflammatory bigotry.
[ Thankfully, among the jazz music fans I haven't met any musical bigots
[ either, Karl.
[ Robbie Rhodes

(Message sent Mon 30 Dec 1996, 16:01:06 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Questionable, Rolls, Words

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