Billy Preston: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — February 27, 2022

368) Billy Preston — “Hey Brother

I offer today’s song as a tribute to the courageous and resolute Ukrainian people fighting for their freedom (and, ultimately, for all of ours), their country and their lives. I think Billy would approve:

“Hey, brother, where you goin’ with that stick in your hand? He said, “Goin’ over here. Goin’ to destroy another man’s land.” . . . I’ll tell you what’s wrong, I was born to be strong. To be tied down, I can’t stand it. Listen, wrong or right, black or white, we all deserve an equal right. Hey, brother, learn how to live with one another.”

As Bruce Eder says, “Hey Brother”, a ’68 A-side and ’69 album track, is “a topical rewrite of ‘Hey Joe'”, the folk song of disputed authorship indisputably made famous by Jimi Hendrix’s brilliance. (https://www.allmusic.com/album/thats-the-way-god-planned-it-mw0000264134) Billy transformed the song into a soulful ode to freedom and equality.

Of course, Billy Preston needs no introduction, but let me quote from Bruce Eder:

Billy Preston spent most of the 1960s as a working musician . . . . one rooftop concert and the “Get Back” single later, he was among the most famous musicians ever to work with [the Beatles] on a recording. Preston was also the first artist that Apple Records pulled away from another label to sign, buying out his existing contract and four finished songs [including “Hey Brother”] for an upcoming LP from Capitol Records.  Preston finished what became [the album] That’s the Way God Planned It . . . with George Harrison producing . . . . Sadly, the LP never sold the way Apple’s management had hoped [peaking at #11 in the UK but only #62 in the U.S.] . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/album/thats-the-way-god-planned-it-mw0000264134

As Sharon Davis writes, the album “remind[s] us of Billy’s enormous and irreplaceable contribution to music.” (http://www.bluesandsoul.com/review/1353/thats_the_way_god_planned_it_billy_preston_appleemi/)

“Hey, brother, where you goin’ with that stick in your hand? He said, “Goin’ over here. Goin’ to destroy another man’s land.” ‘Cause one man but nothing to the other man but all together we stand and divided we fall. It’s sad to know today people aren’t willing to show a little love for you. (chorus: “Love”) And we need more love. (Love) We all need love. (Love) That sustains enough love. (Love) Gimme some love. (Love) Callin’, buddy, I want love. (Love) ‘Cause I loved the most, I paid the price that cost too much for freedom. Look, just understand, I’m a man. I come from that same mother called nature, yeah. I’ll tell you what’s wrong, I was born to be strong. To be tied down, I can’t stand it. Listen, wrong or right, black or white, we all deserve an equal right. Hey, brother, learn how to live with one another. Hey, brother. Hey, brother. Learn how to live with one another. Hey, sister.”

I have added a Facebook page for Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock! If you like what you read and hear and feel so inclined, please visit and “like” my Facebook page by clicking here.

Pay to Play! The Off the Charts Spotify Playlist!

Please consider helping to support my website/blog by contributing $6 a month for access to the Off the Charts Spotify Playlist. Using a term familiar to denizens of Capitol Hill, you pay to play! (“relating to or denoting an unethical or illicit arrangement in which payment is made by those who want certain privileges or advantages in such arenas as business, politics, sports, and entertainment” — dictionary.com).

The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.

When subscribing, please send me an e-mail (GMFtma1@gmail.com) or a comment on this site letting me know an e-mail address/phone number/Facebook address, etc. to which I can send instructions on accessing the playlist.

Just click on the blue.

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