Aretha Queen

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Aretha Franklin
thanx brooklynvegan

A chord: the briefest, most minimal spacing of the elements of the chord: two sided: statement, gound, foundation (like “call”); then response (answer): harmony coexisting as melody …
Then a punctuation:


Uh, that was more than one voice, a chorus. at least a couple of females.
Attack! a street cry!

Wha’ choo wan’ …

Jesus, that voice! The utterance is so sharp, so abbreviated, the timber unique, arresting: fragments of notes, fragments of beats … But what is it saying? Is it a known language? Could it be English?
Oh, oh, I know: it’s black English! The language as foisted onto, then adopted by, slaves, oral illiteracy (the slaves then freed!)
Wait, I can even guess that it’s saying something:

What you want,
Baby, I got!

Yes, that’s got to be it. But listen to that order of the sense: Not, “Hello, how are you. I have what you want: I’m a seller, are you a buyer?”
No: What you want,
Baby, I got!

The crio of market efficiency. (I used to hawk hotdogs in that humor.)

Meantime, the chording is setting a firm harmonic structure (in two parts, foundation, attic), the chorus sets off the solo voice like a good setting for a diamond. The chord, the verticality, horizontal over time, shares the stage with the chorus: three voices: 1) instruments (whichever ones in whatever number: minimalist though), 2) choral voices: female, two at least (here the response precedes the call), 3) that voice! that solo! that attacking, stocato, turning English inside out and sideways:

What you want,
Baby, I got!
Wha’ choo need,
You know I got it!

It’s as simple as a tinker toy: at the same time it’s a cathedral. Some woman is declaring her femaleness to a particular male (you, me, everyone), declaring her terms. But all that, the terms, is lawyer’s nonsense: the fundamental fact is: she’s wafting the scent of her womb at a male she’ll soon have as helpless as a black window holds her minuscule seducer.

Jeez, I’m listening to it, over and over. I slighted in in the 1960s (I was slighted in the 1940s, 1950s … ); now I’m gorging, ODing.

I remember the Blue Brothers. Aretha sang Think. (Aretha goes well with comedy: Belushi, Richard Pryor …)

OK, now I’m writing this, proofing this, listening to Respect over and over, thank you Spotify, and a lyric stops me dead in my tracks:

I’m about to give you
All my money …

American music: blues was in the field, jazz came from the whore houses. Jazz was fuck music. The professor played the fuck music on the piano while the paying customer was entertained in one of the rooms. There were peep holes so the professor knew how and when to goose the jazz.
Frankie and Johnnie! The whore has a lover, an unemployed, unemployable black male. The whole culture, the state, its laws, conspired to keep that black male unemployed. So: if the whore wanted her beaux to wear shoes, she had to buy them, if she wanted him to eat beef, she had to buy, and cook, the steak.
And remember, rather, realize: the whore did not choose her profession; her profession was chosen for her, just as the unemployed black male’s unemployment was chosen for him. Henry Ford joked, “You can have any color you want, so long as it’s black.” Well, a black woman could have any profession she wanted, so long as it involved lying on her back with her legs open.

Look at all these NCAA and NBA basketball players, raised by their mothers. Here and there is a Kobe Bryant, with a father in the picture; but all over, everywhere, there are welfare mothers: baby after baby: fathers no where to be found. Thanks, Mom.

Aretha’s got her eye on some male, and she’s about to give him all her money. Oh, God help us all.
You know, when the female tyrannosaur wants you to mate her, hold still, cooperate, or she’ll rip it all off.

Big Red dino
thanx panoramio

I string stuff that a rewrite might weave:

Notice that what the singer is offering the Baby is attached to a demand on her part: it’s a pre-nuptial agreement! with her the lawyer and judge. But him free to cheat, steal, renege.

The solo addresses the lover as baby. Common in English, particularly in black English. The ambiguities, multiple meanings, could be developed endlessly.
i’ll be back to do some

Next session I’ll add something about “soul” too, Aretha, Queen of Soul. And blues: Dinah, Queen of Blues … and the Christian lover of Bach’s embarrassment at hearing “soul” in black English …

2014 05 14 I sure love Aretha Franklin, but understand: my admiration is compromised: she’s a great pop singer, a great R&B singer; but I’m a jazz fan: and a Bach fan (and Handel, Mozart, etc.)

Aretha’s chorus, the Hoo girls, are homogenized: it’s not an accident that we can’t say Oh, that’s Betty and that’s Jean, there are two of them … And in the orchestra, that’s Jimmie on brass and Ralph on reeds, and Sam at the keyboard … In jazz I like to be able to name every member of the band, just by listening. No one but Lester sounded like Lester. Ben, Sonny, Flip … Stan … every voice was unique. Here Aretha is unique, she’s an individual, unique through all time; but she sings against a Communist background, a collective. Aretha is black black; the others are vanilla black, white bread black.

Pop crap, R&B, written for, produced for, profited by, the blacks who’d already had their culture stolen as well as their forebears enslaved. We had jazz. I stood up for it. I got knocked down for standing up for it. The mass audience got this pabulum instead. They deserve to lose the jazz.
I don’t deserve it; but the world does deserve it: to lose.

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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