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"Compared to What"

October 29, 2012


Another sort of protest song by the jazz greats Les McCann and Eddie Harris which in 1969, could have been considered treason.  A crime which was perpetrated not by the performers, but by the one who wrote the song - the late Eugene McDaniels.


Here's an excerpt:


 I love the lie and lie the love
 A-Hangin' on, with push and shove
 Possession is the motivation
 that is hangin' up the God-damn nation
 Looks like we always end up in a rut (everybody now!)
 Tryin' to make it real — compared to what? C'mon baby!


Since the recording of "Compared to What" it has been covered by several singer/songwriters including this version by Roberta Flack.  Curiously enough, she left God out of the line "Possesion is the motivation that is hangin' up the God-damn nation" - listen for yourself.  Just another indication of the Sign O the Times?

Some 40 years later, John Legend and the Roots perform their version of "Compared to What".  It is in my opinion, a rather watered-down, diluted version lacking the urgency of Daniels' call-to-arms lyrics with obligatory rapping and funky horn-blowing.  


I know right, trying to keep it real but compared to what?

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