03
Aug
09

Greed, or how seriously fucked up record companies can be

Once upon a time, some white dude wrote a musical arrangement for an a cappella African-American work song. He recorded it and released it under his band’s own label and it became a regional hit. Producers in New York thought it was a cool song, but instead of picking up the dude’s band, they decided to form a new band around him. Either the old band guys were poor musicians, or the new guys gave better head; who can say? The new guys didn’t even have to record a new version of the cool song; the producers just stuck the old version on their album unchanged. This new band only recorded one other album which didn’t sell well. Dude that did the cool song had left the band after the 1st album, so the 2nd album was just a bunch of guys that had nothing to do with a cool song cashing in on it’s success. The only thing more fucked up than that in this whole situation was the fact that the NAACP and the Congress of Racial Equality called for a boycott of the song. It was a black work song 1st recorded by a black man named James Baker in 1933. It was also recorded by Lead Belly in 1941. No call for a boycott of those recordings, though.

Anyway, the band was Ram Jam, the song was Black Betty and here they are getting goofy while playing it. The lead guitarist/singer is the only one I can gaurantee had anything to do with the song originally.

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