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.”
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