Friday, February 12, 2010

In Performance @ The White House

Last night on PBS, Obama hosted a celebration of the music of the Civil Rights Era. As always, Smokey Robinson was fantastic. As always, I found Natalie Cole kind of creepy. And as always, I had no idea what to expect from Bob Dylan. Before he came out though, Jennifer Hudson sang a couple songs; she's pretty fantastic. I've never seen Dreamgirls, & @ 1st, I wasn't sure who she was. But her voice... wow. Yolanda Adams also has a nice voice, but she's really fucking weird lookin'. I've never even been a fan of a little plastic surgery, but hers is freakin' freaky. John Mellencamp basically gave a "I'm not racist; I have black friends" speech, but we'll let it slide because he does have 30 years of civil rights work under his belt. (And because he's new here on Visions of Ypsi.) I'm not embarrassed to admit that Joan Baez's "We Shall Overcome" brought a few tears to my eyes... it clearly brought some to Obama's eyes too. The Bind Boys of Alabama were great, but that just seems to be their M.O., & The Freedom Singers were really good too. They closed w/ a cool group version of "Lift Every Voice & Sing" which I am covering this week in class so I suppose we'll watch that clip them too.

As far as Dylan was concerned, I was expecting one or two songs (wee only got one), but I couldn't figure out which it would be. I was kind of hoping for "Pawns in the Game" or "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll," but I expected "Blowin' in the Wind." We got a sweet acoustic version of "The Times They are A'changin'" and it was fantastic. I was worried that a single song on TV would be shit... like the Grateful Dead, he usually needs a few songs to really get going, but it's really, really good. Just him, Tony Garnier on upright bass, Patrick Warren on piano. Watch it here now!

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