Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: When Will We Be Paid

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. To honor Black History Month, this week’s Spotlight Song is The Staples Singers singing  “When Will We Be Paid”:

In the voices and in the sound of the Staples Singers, there’s gospel, blues, pop and jazz. Their music isn’t loud but it sure can hit hard when you stop and listen.

In their voices, there’s the voice of Dr. King. In their voices, there’s the voice of Medgar Evers. In their voices, there’s the voice of Malcolm X. In their voices, there’s the voice of Billie Holiday. In their voices, there’s the voice of Louis Armstrong. In their voices, there’s the voice of Duke Ellington. In their voices, there’s the voices of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. And in their voices, there’s the voices of Langston Hughes and Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison and Toni Morrison.

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Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: The Weight

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Song is The Band’s “The Weight”:

There is no other song that I know of that conjures up America the way that The Band’s “The Weight” does. And it’s funny. Four of the five members of the Band were Canadians.

It’s like they went down to that Mother of All Rivers, the Mississippi, dipped their hands into the water, and drank. ‘Cause the imagery that mixes place and spirituality is so American. If I were to encounter a fellow from Mars, if he asked me, “What is this place called America,” I would play him this song.

The opening chords Robbie Robertson makes, then Levon Helm all-American sings, “I pulled into Nazareth,” and later Rick Danko’s voice joins in, and then those Staples give it their stamp. I know I am in a special place. It’s timeless and grounded in the soil.

And it is easy to imagine folks like Fanny and Miss Moses, Luke and Crazy Chester. It is easy to imagine that Carmen and the Devil would be walking side by side. After all, this is the kind of place where Robert Johnson went down to the Crossroads and drank from a jug of blues.

This is just about a perfect song. I can’t think of a thing that would improve it. Like Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, this one here sure brings tears to Uncle Bardie’s eyes. Like so many of the good things in this here life, it’s something special to share.

It sure is nice to know that there was all those other performers like  Aretha with Duane Allman got the faith and baptized it with their own sound.