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/)
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