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Transgression and Obedience
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I was selling F.I.F. on the genius of Joni Mitchell relative to Dylan this weekend (yummy Sake, mmmh) and now Goodbye Pork Pie Hat pops up on my iPod random play. This is from her "MINGUS" album (songs written with or by charles Mingus and recorded by Joni with a crack jazz band that included Herbie Hancock and Jaco Pastorius).  On this particular track Joni took the music that Mingus had written for his friend sax player Lester Young and wrote these lyrics (to replace the original horn lines) and then added her superb vocals.  The track has become a jazz vocal standard since then, along with Joni's Black Crow (what's it with her songs that allude to miscegenation that make them so popular among the jazz cognoscenti) and A Case of You.

Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

When Charlie speaks of Lester
You know someone great has gone
The sweetest swinging music man
Had a Porkie Pig hat on
A bright star
In a dark age
When the bandstands had a thousand ways
Of refusing a black man admission
Black musician
In those days they put him in an
Underdog position
Cellars and chitlins'

When Lester took him a wife
Arm and arm went black and white
And some saw red
And drove them from their hotel bed
Love is never easy
It's short of the hope we have for happiness
Bright and sweet
Love is never easy street!
Now we are black and white
Embracing out in the lunatic New York night
It's very unlikely we'll be driven out of town
Or be hung in a tree
That's unlikely!

Tonight these crowds
Are happy and loud
Children are up dancing in the streets
In the sticky middle of the night
Summer serenade
Of taxi horns and fun arcades
Where right or wrong
Under neon
Every feeling goes on!
For you and me
The sidewalk is a history book
And a circus
Dangerous clowns
Balancing dreadful and wonderful perceptions
They have been handed
Day by day
Generations on down

We came up from the subway
On the music midnight makes
To Charlie's bass and Lester's saxophone
In taxi horns and brakes
Now Charlie's down in Mexico
With the healers
So the sidewalk leads us with music
To two little dancers
Dancing outside a black bar
There's a sign up on the awning
It says "Pork Pie Hat Bar"
And there's black babies dancing
15th-Aug-2007 10:48 am - The Sudden Body

Fathoms the void,

admits the current

of black moving through black

black moving through blue,

opens itself upon hinges,

halving the horizon

in a single exhalation,

draws the hemispheres through

along a filament of blood,

masturbates in sunlight,

loves the bodies of men

and the bodies of women alike,

prefers rhythm to texture,

texture to hue,

wants for nothing

for more than a moment

until it wants more,

turns the color of no color

of the waves

that collapse their binaries

in glottals on the rocks

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