Charles Mingus Fables Faubus
On September 4, 1957 Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus had called out the National Guard to prevent nine black students from entering Little Rock’s Central High School. The Soviet Union used the event to propagandize tales of the horrors suffered by African Americans.
Jazz bassist Charles Mingus composed “Fables of Faubus” in reaction. It is one of his most explicitly political works. He recorded it for his 1959 album, Mingus Ah Um, but his label, Columbia, refused to include the lyrics. so he recorded song as an instrumental.
On October 20, 1960 he recorded Fables of Faubus with lyrics for the album Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus with the more independent Candid label. Contractual issues with Columbia forced Candid to re-name the song Original Faubus Fables.
The 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.” See this Musiqology article for more.
|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.