Charles Mingus

September 4, 1957, BLACK HISTORY & the Cold War: Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus called out the National Guard to prevent nine black students from entering Central High School in Little Rock. The Soviet Union used the event to  propagandize tales of the horrors suffered by African Americans.

orvul faubusFrom Wikipedia:  “Fables of Faubus” is a song composed by jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus. One of Mingus’s most explicitly political works, the song was written as a direct protest against Arkansas governor Orval E. Faubus and first recorded for Mingus’s 1959 album, Mingus Ah Um. Columbia refused to allow the lyrics to the song to be included and so the song was recorded as an instrumental on the album.

It was not until October 20, 1960 that the song was recorded with lyrics, for the album Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus, which was released on the more independent Candid label. Due to contractual issues with Columbia, the song could not be released as “Fables of Faubus,” so the Candid version was titled “Original Faubus Fables“.

charles mingusThe personnel for the Candid recording were Charles Mingus (bass, vocals), Dannie Richmond (drums, vocals), Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone), and Ted Curson (trumpet). The vocals featured a call-and-response between Mingus and Richmond.   Critic Don Heckman commented of the unedited “Original Faubus Fables” in a 1962 review that it was “a classic Negro put-down in which satire becomes a deadly rapier-thrust. Faubus emerges in a glare of ridicule as a mock villain whom no-one really takes seriously. This kind of commentary, brimful of feeling, bitingly direct and harshly satiric, appears far too rarely in jazz.”

Oh, Lord, don’t let ’em shoot us! Oh, Lord, don’t let ’em stab us! Oh, Lord, don’t let ’em tar and feather us! Oh, Lord, no more swastikas! 

Oh, Lord, no more Ku Klux Klan!Name me someone who’s ridiculous, Dannie. Governor Faubus! Why is he so sick and ridiculous?

He won’t permit integrated schools. Then he’s a fool! Boo! Nazi Fascist supremists!

Boo! Ku Klux Klan (with your Jim Crow plan) Name me a handful that’s ridiculous, Dannie Richmond.

Faubus, Rockefeller, Eisenhower Why are they so sick and ridiculous?

Two, four, six, eight: They brainwash and teach you hate. H-E-L-L-O, Hello.

 

 

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