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Monday, February 15, 2016

A Change Is Gonna Come (#BOTB)

        February has been designated as Black History Month in the United States and Canada.   The month-long observance was officially recognized by the U.S. in the 1976 bicentennial year.  Prior to that time a week in February had been set aside as Negro History Week.  Some consider the observance to be racist while others believe that recognizing the accomplishments of blacks in America and elsewhere is an important step in establishing greater harmony between races and instilling a value of tradition and pride within the black community.

English:
Do you know these figures from Black History? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        When I was growing up I was never around black people to any great extent.  I never had any black classmates until I started high school in East Tennessee and even then there were probably not more than 20 black students in our entire school which probably had about a thousand students.  To my recollection there was never any emphasis on black history, but apparently I did receive information about many aspects of black history because I did have a fairly extensive awareness about it.  Maybe I learned a lot on television or elsewhere since I grew up in the 50's and 60's when the Civil Rights Movement was taking a powerful hold on the nation.

        According to Wikipedia, Morgan Freeman is quoted as having said,  "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history."    Freeman has argued that there was no White History Month, because white people did not want their history relegated to just one month.[14]

       I think Freeman makes a reasonable point.  The way I see it, teaching of history should be homogeneous with events examined according to a historical timeline with references to preceding events as they apply to that timeline.  However, in defense of the the celebration of black accomplishment, I think it is reasonable for communities to have special events designated for the appreciation of what black Americans have accomplished.  Mostly though this is probably more of an issue for specific communities.

        There is no doubt that the descendants of African diaspora have made important contributions throughout the world, but so have the peoples from many other cultures.  My preference is to become aware of as much history as I can absorb and have a very keen knowledge of the history that made my country of the United States of America what it is and to discern where it can go in the positive sense.

        In any case, the following Battle of the Bands post is my recognition of Black History Month.

Battle of the Bands

   Battle of the Bands is the blogging event hosted by Far Away Series and  StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.



"A Change Is Gonna Come"

       Sam Cooke was a highly influential singer and songwriter who was known as the "King of Soul". Cooke had first hand experience with racial injustice.   His experiences led him to compose "A Change Is Gonna Come" which became a civil rights anthem.  Over the years many artists both black and white have recorded this amazing song.

       An incident in 1963 where Cooke and his band were turned away from a "whites only" Holiday Inn in Shreveport, Louisiana prompted him to write the song.  He had already felt a prodding to write an important song about change after being inspired by Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind".   Cooke's song also pays homage to the song "Ol' Man River" from the Jerome Kern musical Showboat.

        To read an interesting article about Cooke's song, refer to an article in The New Yorker magazine.  And now take a listen to two amazing live performances by a couple of legendary performers.

Luther Vandross   "A Change Is Gonna Come" (Date uncertain)

      Vandross has such a fine voice and that certainly comes across in this recording.   Luther Vandross departed this Earth in 2005 at the far too early age of 54 years.  







Al Green   "A Change Is Gonna Come"  (2001?)

       While the recording of Luther Vandross was done at a church, the Reverend Al Green's performance sounds like he's preaching a sermon in church--but after all he is a preacher.  When not performing as a singer, Al Green preaches at his church in Memphis, Tennessee.  The recording here is from a post 9/11 benefit concert for United We Stand.







Time to Vote!

        Well, let us know what you think about these versions. There must be one that you prefer over the other though I'll admit that I'm having a tough time deciding on this Battle. If you're visiting a Battle of the Bands post for the first time then let me briefly explain.  Please give each song version a fair listen to decide which one you prefer over the other.  If you don't like either then at least tell us which recording was least innocuous to you. This comes down to your preference and it's as easy as that.

     Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

FAR AWAY SERIES’ 

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

DC Relief Battle of the Bands

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Cherdo on the Flipside  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Janie Junebug Righting & Editing.
  
J. A. Scott  

Quiet Laughter

Holli's Hoots and Hollers

NovelBrews

Be ReInVintaged



Results on Monday February 22nd
      
        Cast your vote now so you don't forget!   Maybe another post or two will appear between then and now, but I'll definitely be back on the 22nd with the voting results.   My blogging has become a bit unpredictable of late so be ready for some surprises.   Let's hear a cheer for whimsicality in blogging!


         Do you think Black History should be focused upon in schools during the month of February?  When you were growing up did you receive much specific information about the accomplishments of blacks?   Do you prefer using the term "Afro-Americans" or "Blacks"?




82 comments:

  1. Great song, Sam Cooke's version is the best to my ears but in this contest Al Green gets my vote grabbed me more than Luther's version.

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    1. So many great versions of this song! I actually had a difficult time choosing until I found these two great live versions.

      First vote goes to Al Green.

      Lee

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  2. I'm just tired of the race card being played all the time, to be honest. If we did a White History Month, whites would be branded as racist. I'm sick of it. I also prefer 'black'. If you are born here you are an American. There's no need to distinguish your ethnic background. I'm American of Italian/Portuguese descent. I'm not an Italian American. I'm really fed up with the racial double standard and it's only getting worse. I'm tired of whites being blamed for slavery. My family didn't even get here till 1911. Get over it already.

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    1. JoJo, by the time the first of my ancestors arrived on this continent a good many of the African descendants were already here. I wouldn't think to call myself "Irish-American". In fact it wasn't until fairly recently that I discovered much of my family heritage came from Ireland.

      I have to agree with many of your points. While race is indeed still an issue, much of the problem has been exacerbated by certain special interest groups.

      Lee

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    2. Maybe you're not "Italian American" because your ancestors CHOSE to be here and make this their home. That's not true of many "African Americans." Either way, we shouldn't need labels to value people and the diversity among us, in our ethnic backgrounds, our values, our skills, or any of that. But if I choose to call myself a "German-Scottish-Swedish-All-American white woman," it's because all of those things have something to do with the person I am - even if they only serve as a map outlining the path my ancestors took to get here, and maybe the cultural attitudes and history they brought and passed down. Maybe. Could be they left them behind and didn't mention them.

      Why do you feel defensive about slavery? Why do you even feel you're being blamed? You're not. We're rightly to blame for perpetuating any systemic racism that runs through our communities TODAY. That's all. (I'll bet you'd bristle to hear some of the anti-Italian slurs that still linger in parts of the country, wouldn't you? Even if you don't call yourself "Italian American.")

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  3. Perpetrated and perpetuated by the highly unintelligent, divisiveness shall remain a constant tear in the fabric of American culture.
    I do wish they'd take their misguided perceptions to another country, where idiocy is acceptable.
    I like Al Green's version best, his voice reminds me of Sunday mornings and outbound trains transporting hope across the land.

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    1. Diedre, there seems to be a spirit of divisiveness pervading the entire world. In reality it's unnecessary, but certain people feel the need to cling to it.

      Another vote for Al Green--I like the way you expressed it.

      Lee

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  4. Hi, Lee!

    There was only one black child at my elementary school, a boy. I became his best friend. By the time I entered high school in 7th grade, (there was no middle school back then), my black friend had moved away from the district. I don't recall any black kids attending my high school.

    I think Black History Month has an unintended negative effect on America. It segregates. It polarizes. It has outlived its usefulness. I agree with Morgan Freeman that black achievement should be assimilated as part of American history and that any and all outdated, inaccurate texts on the subject should be updated to get it right.

    I am very familiar with "A Change Is Gonna Come" because my hometown heroes, The Magnificent Men, recorded the song and released it on one of their albums. Lead singer Dave Bupp contacted me a few years ago and asked me to create a You/Tube video for their version. Here is the video I created for the Mag Men:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XUE3Pf3-CE

    In your battle, I am going with Al Green. The Luther Vandross performance seemed jazz influenced. Green's version was gospel drenched. The pain in his voice was deeper and I felt it.

    Give my vote to The Rev. Al Green!

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    1. Shady, I agree that setting one month aside for "Black History" is polarizing. Sadly I'm afraid modern history textbooks might be getting updated to present inaccurate history that is highly biased and that denigrates some of the accomplishments of our forefathers.

      Interesting version by the Magnificent Men. Nice job with the video.

      A vote for Al Green

      Lee

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  5. Hi Lee,
    I grew up in a very white neighborhood as well. Out of 1200 graduating students in my high school, only three were black. But I grew up in NYC, so if I ventured out of my neighborhood, there were many different colors and ethnicities.

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    1. Karen, I'm not sure that there were many diverse choices available to me when I was growing up, but my father liked to expose us to as much diversity as he could find.

      Lee

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  6. I agree with Morgan Freeman about Black History Month. History is history. If blacks aren't being represented in their history books, they aren't reading the right books. If they are being represented, then it's public knowledge, so let's move on already. It's about time that it becomes OUR history... not black history or white history, These things tend to divide us IMO. So long as there as "us" and "them"... there is us and them. What we need is "we."

    There were things I liked and disliked about both of these recordings. I like Luther's voice but I don't like the shouting (or whatever you call that). The audience seemed to like it because each time he did it there was cheering. I don't like it. Al Green started out really well and then he was yelling at the end (similar to the other one). I don't understand the need to yell in a song. It's not aesthetically pleasing to this ear.

    I'm voting for Al Green, but I sure wish he'd saved the yelling.

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    1. Robin, history is a broad topic that covers a range of peoples and cultures. Kids in school need a solid overview of history with focus on specifics as they have time. As one can see by the specialized history classes in college, everything can be difficult to cover in a public school curriculum. I agree that we need more "we" in our society. All lives matter.

      Typically I'm with you on the screaming and shouting in music, but in these cases it seems to work for me. But I hear what you're saying.

      A vote for Al Green

      Lee

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  7. I go with Luther Vandross because I liked his interpretation of the song better. I didn't care for Al green's version at all because it sounded do preachy and I am not one for the voice going all painful like that especially near the end. I want to say "Quit it already, I get the point." Growing up in Canada, there were 0 kids who were black. The only time I saw any black kids was when I went to Crystal Beach (amusement park). I was enthralled by how beautiful they looked and dressed. They always seemed to have more class. I prefer to say Black because we are called White plus it is just easier to write and say-lazy of me I guess. If anyone is offended, that is not my intention but I am getting sick and tired of having to watch anything I say nowadays because everyone seems to be looking to be offended. I do wish it was just called history month but history, in general, has an uphill battle. Very few people I know personally, like history. They know so little about history period never mind what many Black people have contributed which is huge!

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    1. Birgit, bottom line is that we've become overly PC in our culture. WE get so concerned about hurting someone's "wittle peelings" that we are overly careful about the way we say things and totally avoid other things that really need to be brought out into the open.

      I always thought that I hated history, but I think it was the way it was presented in school. Looking back over my childhood up to my present day I realize that history fascinates me and I like to learn about it. Many of the books I read now are related to history.

      A first vote for Luther Vandross.

      Lee

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  8. Yea, Shreveport!
    See why I don't claim it.

    The reason there is no "white history month" is that all months are white history month.

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    1. Andrew, what happened in Shreveport to Sam Cooke was in 1963 and much has changed since then. Not to say that there still isn't some racism, but there has been extensive change overall. When I was in school I was learning something about all history every month-or at least history as it related to the United States and Western Hemisphere. Prior to college I had little exposure in school about European history or especially history in the Asian countries and Middle East or Africa. History is a vast subject that needs to be more palpable to young people so they will be encouraged to explore more about history.

      Lee

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  9. Great battle Lee. Both performances are great but I prefer Luther Vandross so please give my vote to him.

    Regarding Black History Month: I totally see Morgan Freeman's point. Black History Month was important decades ago because it highlighted all the great contributions made my blacks, but we are in a different time now. Black history should just be part of American history, period. No need to separate it because it only draws attention to the idea that we are still separating. We are a melting pot of peoples and we should all blend together. But the fact is, we still have a long way to go. Let's get with it already! I think the younger generation will stand the best chance of making the blend a true reality.

    I prefer to use the term Black as opposed to African-American. I don't see how the term black could be offensive and it makes more sense because we use the term white so often, why shouldn't we use the term black? If using the term Caucasian, then African-American fits, but I think black and white are just fine --- and they're both easier to say, from a speaking standpoint.

    Great battle and great post!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Michele, I agree that all streams of American history should be channeled into a single timeline. Separatism does not encourage unity. Attitudes have changed to a great extent among whites, but there are some black groups who want to exceptionalize their own history beyond what is currently being done.

      If we are using terms like "Black lives matter" and "Black history month" then why should the designation of "black" be offensive to anyone. It's simply a categorizing term of convenience. I'm white and that could mean a lot of things, but it's easier just to use a generalized term.

      A vote for Luther Vandross

      Lee

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  10. I agree with Morgan Freedman's opinion. Let's just make it all American history but make sure it's all included. I like Luther but for this song, I'm going with Al Green. He seemed to have more heart in it rather than just an artistic performance.

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    1. Susan GK, Morgan Freeman always comes across as such a level-headed guy, but maybe I'm influenced by his wonderful voice. That guy is so mellifluous in his intonation.

      A vote for Al Green

      Lee

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  11. It's Luther Vandross for me. I can't say why, but I just prefer his sound and interpretation.

    I'm with Morgan Freeman about Black History Month. But I do feel their contributions to this country should be honestly recognized in our history books. Of course, I haven't studied U.S. history in decades, but when I was in school, I don't remember reading much about blacks except as slaves or the occasional outstanding leader or movement. It wasn't until long after graduation that I learned, for example, about their part in the Civil War, WWII etc.

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    1. C.Lee, it's been a while since I've looked in a history text book. I'd like to see how they are teaching the subject now.

      A vote for Luther Vandross

      Lee

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  12. If we want true and total equality there's going to have to eventually be a day where there is no Black History Month, where we focus on everyone of every race with equal importance. Also, I hate that "African-American" BS. Even my black side of the family calls each other black. As my cousin says, "I'm not from Africa, mom wasn't from Africa, grandma wasn't from Africa. I'm not African." On that same note, I hate when people call me Latino. I'm not Latin. I'm an American with Mexican heritage. And by the way, Mexican - it's not a dirty word.

    Rant aside, give me Al Green. I'm not a fan of the screaming he gets into, but it's an otherwise enjoyable performance.

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    1. Beer, I hope "Mexican" is not a dirty word since I like Mexican food so much. I'm always in a quandary about what to call those from South of the Border. As you say "Latino" seems inappropriate and "Hispanic" seems kind of weird unless you know the origin of the term and then it still seems weird. Even my wife, who is Ecuadorean seems iffy about which term to use. "American" is even kind of incorrect when referring to a person from the U.S. as there is a whole range of countries that can be included thinking of both North and South America. Maybe we should all just unite into one mega-country. Then there wouldn't be any immigration issues amongst us.

      A vote for Al Green overlooking the passionate screaming in his version.

      Lee

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  13. Lee,

    Sounds like Morgan Freeman is a smart man. History is history regardless of race, sex, or religion and I'm loving some of the comments left here today. Obviously your readers are proud to be Americans first who aren't forgetting their family heritage. That's the way I feel, too. God bless America!

    Now for today's battle. You put together two fabulous R&B artists. Luther Vandross was way too young when he departed this life. I can say this because that's how old I am now. lol While I enjoyed Al Green's cover, I by far preferred Luther Vandross' rich vocals and warmth of the brass in band's arrangement. Give Vandross my vote, please. Thanks for visiting earlier and voting in my latest edition of BoTB!

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    1. Cathy, Morgan Freeman always sounds smart. I guess that's why he lands all the narration and commercial roles that he does. Who could not trust someone who sounds like that.

      Thanks for posting early so I can get a head start on voting. I guess it's late for you, but it's right before my bedtime and when I'm doing my last minute checks of my emails.

      A vote for Luther Vandross

      Lee

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    1. Jennifer, thank you!

      A vote for Luther Vandross

      Lee

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  15. Al Green sounds like he's giving a sermon? LOL, I don't know about that. It would be on interesting discourse.
    Luther Vandross though, wow, what a voice. I've always liked him. He sings 'A Change is Gonna Come' very well and I thoroughly enjoyed his performance. Please give him my vote.

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    1. Jeffrey, not quite the sermon I'd hear at the church I attend, but I've heard sermons delivered with the same passion as Al sings here.

      Another vote for Luther Vandross

      Lee

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  16. In Jamaica we are all Jamaicans but yeah we use the term black as well. Most of us are though as our motto goes "Of of many, one people." That whole African American business is what I see as segregating. We don't have African Jamaicans, Chinese Jamaicans etc as labels for us. We are all Jamaicans no matter our race or background. Just my thought. Black History Month has it's importance so I'm all for it. Hey if anyone else wants a month, go make a claim.

    Al Green is my pick of BOB. I really like how he sings it as if he is personally giving out a message that goes beyond just the song. Preacher advantage achieved.

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    1. Sheena-kay, I like the motto, "Of many, one people" which is as it should be considered. I wonder how a Jewish History month would go over? I don't think many would accept it at all though I think it might not be a bad idea.

      Yes, he's preaching the message from his heart. Al Green

      Lee

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  17. Voting for Al Green. He seems older, like he's been through more crap.

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    1. E Man, Al had a six year advantage on Luther. I think Luther's video must have been made before Al's. And I do think maybe Al had gone through more tough times than Luther.

      A vote for Al Green.

      Lee

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  18. I much prefered Luther's lower register. Never been much of a Green fan, so not surprising to me.

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    1. CW, I'm actually surprised more voters haven't agreed with you.

      A vote for Luther Vandross

      Lee

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  19. I like Morgan Freeman as an actor, but politically he is a total jackass. And... I'd like to see the context of his statement you quoted and see if he REALLY was being unbiased, or if that one piece - cherry-picked - just SEEMS that way. For example, he has labeled the entire Tea Party movement racists because they don't like Obama. That is silly. Well, at this point, anybody who DOES like Obama needs to have his head examined. There are PLENTY of people of color that would get my vote, but NOT B.H.O. Racist? No. SMART.

    As for the music: both are good. I like this BOTB very much, and think you've tied it all together quite nicely.

    However, I've always like Rev. Green's voice and I like his version better. GO GREEN.

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  20. SBB6, according to Snopes: Origins: During a 2005 interview with Mike Wallace for television's 60 Minutes news magazine program, Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman did say he found the concept of Black History Month to be "ridiculous" and maintained the way to get rid of racism was to "stop talking about it."

    They include the following video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeixtYS-P3s

    I agree about Obama. Don't know what to say about Freeman's political ideologies since I don't really keep up with him.

    Another Al Green vote.

    Lee

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  21. I grew up in Albany, NY, so my junior high and first high school were something like 50% African-American. My family also used to live in Arbor Hill, Albany's ghetto, before I could remember. We were one of the few white families there. It was quite a culture shock when there were only maybe 10 African-Americans at my second high school in Derry, PA. I was so used to living in a multicultural city. The term I predominantly use is African-American, since that's just what I've grown up with, but I do say Black sometimes. As a child, I was shocked to hear my maternal grandparents using the term "colored." My mother had to explain that was just the word they were used to using in their generation, and that they weren't racists for saying that. My other grandparents unfortunately used the N-word a lot, which I never got used to.

    My vote goes to Luther Vandross.

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    1. Carrie-Anne, colored was a very common designation when I was growing up. I don't think of it as particularly offensive though remembering signs differentiating things like motels and water fountains as being for "Colored only" I'm sure stirs up some bad memories for blacks who were around at that time.

      Another vote for Luther Vandross

      Lee

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  22. White people as a whole have had more opportunity than black Americans throughout time. With that said, I think playing the race card again and again benefits no one. We are all people who started out as babies with parents (probably) who had dreams for their children. Hating each other is a waste of time.

    Vandross, I think. Or both? 😀

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    1. Teresa, much change has happened in my generation and I'm not sure that it's usually justified to use the race card. I know of many non-whites who benefited from public programs and got more than I was able to afford for my own kids. I think respect is a responsibility that we should all share in and in essence should be color blind. It still doesn't always happen, but I think we as a nation have made great positive strides. Hate has no good end.

      Since you named the name I'm going to cast your vote for Luther Vandross. Besides, I think he needs your vote the most.

      Lee

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  23. Lee, I've always like Morgan Freeman. He just has good common sense.

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    1. Stephen Tremp, I don't know what Morgan Freeman is actually like, but he sure sounds like someone with common sense when he speaks.

      Lee

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  24. This is a tough one for me because I really enjoy both Luther Vandross and Al Green. They both bring something to the table with their versions, but overall, I am going to give my vote to Luther Vandross - because it stirred up a bit of nostalgia in me.

    ~Mary Burris
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

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    1. Mary, I have a tough choice with this pairing as well.

      A vote for Luther Vandross

      Lee

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  25. Great post Lee. I vote for Al Green.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, got your vote recorded...

      Al Green

      Lee

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  26. Excellent post. I vote for Luther Vandross as his version sounds more pacey, and the words seem clearer.

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    1. Roland, there is that difference between the two versions.

      Luther Vandross

      Lee

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  27. This is a good song, and it's one I also have on my 'Future BOTB Songs' list. I'd only selected one performer to use with it for sure, who was neither Al or Luther. So maybe I'll still use this song someday and select the Sam Cooke original to use against the cover.

    I preferred the LUTHER VANDROSS version here because I like his voice better. Al's got that half pint of "vinegar" in his voice that I do sometimes like, but not this time.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. STMcC, there are so many versions of this song--so many good ones--that it could be used for several battles. I have it lined up again for some future Battle if we keep this BOTB thing going that long. Maybe next February. You should use the song with Sam Cooke. Some good stories could be added to that post.

      Lee

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  28. Vandross!

    I agree with one of the comments above, Freeman is a smart man.

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    1. HR, an emphatic vote for...

      Luther Vandross

      Lee

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  29. I agree with Morgan Freeman, in the sense that history should be acknowledged regardless of the race involved, but PRACTICALLY speaking, I think it's a good idea to take a few moments to pay special attention when usually things just get glossed over.

    Also, Vandross all the way for me, please. ;-)

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    1. Misha, history is a totality and not something that is isolated. Recognition should be emphasized when it's been neglected, but Black History is now fairly mainstreamed into most history curricula and textbooks.

      Again it's Luther Vandross

      Lee

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  30. Al Green hands down. I love gospel music and he nails it. I'm a huge Luther Vandross fan. It is a shame he died so young. People don't take diabetes as serious as they should. I know I would be pushing up daisies if I did not take mine serious.

    Black History Month gives us all mixed feelings. I support the month in that the month meant much to black children and some black teachers. Frankly, I think it is important that white and Asian children acknowledge the accomplishments of African Americans.

    I think what many dislike is the forced focus. However without a little force, change does not always happen.

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    1. Ann, the accomplishments of the Asian community gets little acknowledgment, but they tend to be relatively quiet when it comes to activism.

      A vote for Al Green

      Lee

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  31. Wow. Both of those versions are certainly worthy, and my choice isn't by a very large margin. But my vote goes to Al Green because his version sounds more like the Southern Gospel that is such a comfort to me. Not to mention, Memphis in general is a special place for me, having grown up just an hour or so down the road.

    Now I'm off to read the rest of the comments, because I'm very interested in what others are saying regarding Black History Month.

    Thanks for this very interesting post and close battle!

    Kim (ReInVintaged)

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    1. Kim, I was a bit surprised by the candor of many of the comments. I'd like to have more reactions from those who are black.

      A vote for Al Green

      Lee

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  32. Reverend Al sounds like he knows what he's singing. Luther Vandross is a great singer, but I don't get the same sense from him. My vote goes to the Reverend.

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    1. John, Al is really convincing with his delivery I'll agree.

      Another vote for Al Green

      Lee

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  33. What a difficult decision. I choose Luther Vandross, but only because I don't care for the higher pitch of Al Green's voice. My friend Carol, who is 75 and black, and I agree that we shouldn't have a black history month, nor a women's history month. We should study the history of all people, at all times. When I was in elementary school, I remember having a few worksheets about famous black Americans. We'd read a little information about the person, and answer a few questions to show we had actually read it. What bothers me is that every year we read about the same black people: Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, and George Washington Carver. What about Phillis Wheatley? Count Basie? Thurgood Marshall? I had no idea until I was well into adulthood that Thurgood Marshall argued Brown v. The Topeka Board of Education, and I was from Topeka! If I catch on that someone wants to be described as black or African-American, then I try to use the person's preference. I like "people of color."

    Love,
    Janie

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  34. Janie, if someone prefers the designation of African-American I'll comply, but I hope they don't mind if I inquire a bit further about their heritage. I'm interested to know!

    A vote for Luther vandross.


    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'm playing out Al Green's version as I write and vote Arlee, and I've enjoyed the discussion too! I like them both - but give me Vandross rather ... too much high pitched noise by Al Green -

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan Scott, it's been a good discussion.

      Thank you for your vote for Luther Vandross.

      Lee

      Delete
  36. While Luther hams it up a little, I still prefer his version (since the Graham Parker version is not an option).

    February may be 'black history month,' but what month is "dumbass history month?"

    Oh right...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Larry, there has been enough dumbassness throughout history to make for a formidable school subject--it's far too big to be covered in a single month.

      A vote for Luther Vandross

      Lee

      Delete
    2. Or as Mr. Carlin once said, 'Think of how stupid the average person is...and remember half of them are dumber than that"

      Delete
  37. I vote Al Green.

    I've heard the same arguments for feminism from Chuck Wendig. (Warning: He uses profanity, if that affects you) Some people say we should be equal across the board and not trying to give more attention to one gender (race) over another. He had a good point that, yes, ideally that is true. But it also dismisses that there is an inequality. For me, I found myself agreeing with Chuck. And in the case of black history month, I'm going to go along the lines to say it's fine with me that it exists.

    On a side note, my dad (a short, little Asian) said he was threatened in the Army (back in the 70s) when he joked, "All this talk about white people and black people. What about us yellow people?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loni, Asians are pretty quiet on the activism front for the most part--maybe that's why they do so well academically. I don't mean to perpetuate a stereotype, but it's true that they often seem to be more focused on things other than the historical oppression they've faced.

      A vote for Al Green

      Lee

      Delete
  38. Sam Cooke is my favorite, but for this battle, I vote Al Green.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Dixie, maybe someone else will use Sam Cooke in another Battle with this song. It's a good enough song to bear repeating.

    A vote for Al Green

    Lee

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  40. I took this civil rights class in college and it completely blew my mind. So much of that history I just WAS not taught in school growing up. Black history month in school is always just the same people over and over without any real depth and then throughout the rest of the year... it's just glossed over. I wish people would teach history in its entirety, but until that can happen... I guess the month is ok? At least it's getting some information out there.
    I don't know. I just say human or person. I mean, come on.

    I'm giving my vote to Luther Vandross. Al Green has just too high a pitch of a voice for me. Startled me when it started playing and couldn't get into it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Madilyn, I took a Black Lit class back around 1972 when I was building up credits for my BA in English. I was exposed to a number of good writers of whom I knew little or nothing about. It was an eye-opening class for me as well.

      A vote for Luther Vandross.

      Lee

      Delete
  41. Sam Cooke, what a voice and what a presence! :-)

    Greetings from London.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I like the horns in intro to Luther's version, so give him my vote.

    Black History month...blah, blah, blah. You really don't want to hear what I have to say about this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FAE, Always interested in what you have to say!

      A vote for Luther Vandross

      Lee

      Delete
  43. Late voter here, but I vote for Al Green, I like his passion or drama at the end of the song. And I have a great liking for Morgan Freeman, he's a smart man! He was great in 'Shawshank Redemption' and he's great in 'Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DG, never too late to vote. I don't even mind if it's past the tally date because I like to know anyway. Freeman has done some fine work in his career.

      A vote for Al Green

      Lee

      Delete

Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
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Lee