Ole Neil Put Her Down

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I didn't know it was possible to write nearly 2600 words on the subject "Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd: Friends or Foes?," but Thrasher's Wheat not only pulls it off but manages to make it interesting, at least to those of us who are tickled to hear that Young has covered "Sweet Home Alabama" in concert.

[Via Todd Morman.]

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  1. I always took Sweet Home Alabama to be racist. Any other reading seems to be a stretch.

    1. Racist about what?

  2. Yes, but will he cover Zevon’s All Night Long? (to take this to a meta-level)

  3. My favorite musical dust-up occured when Woody Guthrie wrote This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land (originally titled God Blessed America)
    in response to Irving Berlin’s God Bless America.

    Who can forget John Lennon’s accusatory How Can You Sleep? followed by Paul’s unapoligetic Silly Love Songs.

    What’s better than dueling songwriters at ten paces?

  4. OU812?

  5. On my way to work the other day, they played a Neil Young song, “The War of Man” or somesuch. Basically talking about evil hunters and evil industrialists.

    Neil Young has got to be the biggest sissy with a guitar this side of Chris Martin.

  6. FYI…The Drive-by Truckers (mentioned extensively in the article) do a song called “The Three Great Alabama Icons” (http://lyrics.duble.com/D/drivebytruckerslyrics/drivebytruckersthethreegreatalabamaiconslyrics.htm) which, while discussing Ronnie Van Zandt and George Wallace, does a reasonable job of casting doubt on the claim that “Sweet Home Alabama” plain racist.

  7. Yes, 2600 words is too long. Lost interest at about 1250.

    But if you have a link debunking Paul’s death, I’m all over it.

  8. casting doubt on the claim that “Sweet Home Alabama” *IS* plain racist.

  9. I think the linked piece is a rather long-winded way of saying, “Nothing to see here, move along….” But then, I had read an interview some time ago in which Neil complimented Sweet Home Alabama and even said he’d much rather sing that than Southern Man, and that when he heard his name in it he liked it even more. I didn’t know he actually did play it in concert.

    I see nothing racist about SHA, unless saying leave us alone and let us solve our problems on our own and we’re not all bad you know and quit being so sanctimonious is inherently racist, and I don’t think it is.

  10. Mediageek-Maybe, but his version of “Rockin in the free world” with Pearl Jam is some good shit.

  11. “I see nothing racist about SHA, unless saying leave us alone and let us solve our problems on our own and we’re not all bad you know and quit being so sanctimonious is inherently racist, and I don’t think it is.”

    At the time, considering the South, it kinda was inherently racist, because, you know, they weren’t really trying to solve those problems.

  12. I wanna add that my own interpretation of “Walk On” is that it’s about former band mates, but probably not CS&N but rather earlier ones, perhaps from his youth when they didn’t make any money, thus the line, “then the money was not so good…” Perhaps these were guys who never made it, thus their resentment at Neil who did. I think the idea that it’s a response to SHA, which I’ve heard before, is clearly ludicrous.

  13. Fyodor- When they refer to loving George Wallace, and claim, “We all did what we could do,” it’s hard to read it otherwise. When the song is in response to Young’s criticism of sourthern racism, it’s even harder. When you’ve heard one of the VanZants make racist comments at a concert, it’s next to impossible.

    1. You sound like a fanatic.

      The south is fine – there were some injustices there but nothing any worse than the mexican invaders and blacks preying on white people.

  14. Watch it, Number 6, or you’ll be sent back to the Village 🙂

    Actually, I always thought that the idea behind the song was that the South wasn’t all bad, not that racism is cool. We’re not all racists and hillbillies down here, you know, and we occasionally get offended by the implication that we are (notice how Neil Young didn’t call the song, Some Southern Men). There’s also a little “worry about your own problems, and we’ll worry about ours” language, but I doubt it’s meant to be taken all that seriously. As I recall, band members made some strong statements against Wallace and racism over the years. Hard to reconcile that with performing a racist song.

    In these song feuds, who has scored the greatest blow? This one isn’t much of a feud, so it’s out.

  15. M1EK: “At the time, considering the South, it kinda was inherently racist, because, you know, they weren’t really trying to solve those problems.”

    Why does the assumption that the south was “inherently racist” prove that southerners weren’t “trying to solve those problems?”

  16. they weren’t really trying to solve those problems

    By 1973? Not at all? I don’t think that’s very accurate, but I’ll leave it to the historical experts to argue about it. Anyway, even if a majority of the populace in a given geographical area are one way, that doesn’t mean that they all are. One may criticize the song’s nonchalance and possibly even denial by focusing only on the good things in the state, but that hardly makes it racist. BTW, I always thought they were expressing regret about Wallace, while also saying, oh well, ya takes the good with the bad, so stop bellyaching and take in the good. Again, whether that’s the “right” message for them to make, I think the “stretch” is to call that racist.

  17. Thrasher’s Wheat says that SHA gave LS a racist image. “Not withstanding the fact that the band often performed with a Confederate flag as a backdrop, the label and perception has been hard to shake.”

    Someone might mention to TW that “notwithstanding” is one word, and that it does not mean “in part because of,” as he appears to assume. The Confederate flag, as used during the struggle for integration, was a symbol of racism, not the opposite.

    1. The Confederate flag means a whole lot of different things to different people. I’m not a southerer but mostly it is about DIXIE – a fond name for the south and I don’t think they are even thinking of or referring to blacks here.

  18. Rabbi Rashi said, “clearly, the phrase ‘in Birmingham they loved the Gov’nor’ is an endorsement of the segregationist policies of George Wallace.”

    Rabbi Hillel said, “I read this passage quite otherwise. It is clear that *Sweet Home Alabama* does not endorse racism, but simply repudiates sanctimonious outsiders. This point is emphasized by the anti-racist lyrics of the song ‘Curtis Loew.'”

    Rabbi Mazeltov said, “Yet in a performance of this song, Van Zant endorsed racism, indicating that the lyrics are racist.”

    Rabbi Joseph said, “But did not Neil Young sing those lyrics at a concert once? Neil Young would not wish to endorse segregation.”

    Rabbi Joshua said, “Much further study of these texts and of the sources is required before we can come to any firm conclusions.”

  19. When they refer to loving George Wallace, and claim, “We all did what we could do,”

    I always thought that meant that they didn’t support Wallace but weren’t going to cry about things not going their way. Again, arguably they should care more, but it’s hardly racist.

    When the song is in response to Young’s criticism of sourthern racism, it’s even harder.

    Maybe the linked piece isn’t such a waste of time after all. Did you read it, Number 6?

    When you’ve heard one of the VanZants make racist comments at a concert, it’s next to impossible.

    Well, you got me there. Since I don’t know if it’s true or not, I won’t comment. I still think the song is not inherently racist, but obviously that doesn’t mean that it could not possibly have racist motivations. Just like supporting the legal right of an employer is not inherently racist, but that doesn’t exclude the possibility (nay, likelihood) that many who support that position may very well be racist.

  20. It seems to me that using song lyrics is probably not the best or most accurate way to make an argument–less so if you try to be sarcastic or ironic about it. After all, it’s gotta rhyme and fit in with the Melo-Dee–yuh know!

  21. LOL, The Talmud!! Yes, it can get quite tough to figure out how many rockstars can dance on the tip of a song lyric sometimes!!

  22. I always took the song to be an attack on the sanctimonious and stereotypical veiws of pompous Northerners towards the South in general. I don’t see the song as making a statement on race relations in either direction. LS were a bunch of working class kids from Northern Florida. The song was released in 1974.

    1. Me too – it’s a good song to listen to and I have a bunch of music videos on youtube.com under MajorSteele and I plan to do a video of that. It won’t be nearly as good as they are and I think they were just having fun and making a great song to see and listen to. That guitar playing can’t be beat though.

  23. Cap’n Obvious,

    To give M1EK perhaps more credit than he deserves, he was saying that the song was inherently racist, I guess because it was defending the South at a time when M1EK claims the South (the whole entire monolithic place, apparently) was doing nothing to solve racial problems.

    So he wasn’t saying what I think you’re saying he was saying, but I think what he was saying is equally (or at least almost as!) fallacious.

  24. The only way to see “Sweet Home Alabama” as a racist song is to interpret it as an outsider who doesn’t understand the complexities of the South, IMO. If your only understanding of the South comes from watching Hollywood movies and old TV coverage of the Civil Rights movement, I very much doubt that you understand the South (or this song).

    I can’t claim to know what was in the minds of the band members who wrote the song, but I do have a pretty good understanding of the southern mind. I grew up in the South during the ’60s and ’70s. There is an odd sense of “place” here that you don’t tend to find in other parts of the United States. (You see the odd dualities that we don’t have time to talk about here in much of southern literature.) The South feels like a nation unto itself, but many of us seem to have an odd sort of love/hate relationship with the region. I’m proud to be FROM the South, but I don’t always like BEING here. I identify with the place and the people, but I don’t identify with various racists who have been a part of the landscape here. (And when I say that, I’m talking about troublemakers of both races who have used hate to gain or retain power.)

    When I hear “Sweet Home Alabama,” I hear someone who is challenging an unfair blanket indictment of their home. (Yes, Lynyrd Skynyrd is from Florida, but they came to Alabama to record their early work.) I don’t hear the song as racist in the least. In fact, why wouldn’t Neil Young’s attacks on southerners be the bigoted songs? He is the one indicting an entire region for the sins of a vocal minority. I see Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song as simply saying, “Sorry, buddy. That’s not me, so don’t lecture me and paint with that broad brush.”

    The people of the South is unfairly stereotyped to such a large degree that it creates serious resentment. I’ve had people treat me in a normal, professional way start treating me like an idiot when they find out I live in Birmingham. They are so bigoted (maybe not consciously) that they assume every stereotype they’ve seen in movies must be true of me. I must live in a trailer and beat my toothless wife while I gather books to burn. The truth is that people are much more alike in different regions than people realize. There are bigots everywhere. The racial problems of the ’60s became apparent more quickly here because we had a much higher black population and there was a lot of stored-up resentment left over from the days when blacks had been slaves just a few generations before.

    It’s interesting that people still associate Birmingham and Alabama with violent racial protests, but places such as Boston don’t get painted with the same brush. Remember when forced busing came to Boston in the early ’70s? There were violent riots and buses were burned as white parents (and maybe blacks, too) protested against outsiders forcing change on them. Those people were every bit as racist as the southerners of the early ’60s, but nobody stereotypes Boston as a racist city. Could it be that journalists KNOW people from Boston, so they KNOW that most people in Boston aren’t really hate-mongering racists? Could it be that most journlists don’t know people in the South, so it’s easier to believe their preconceived notions?

    A couple more minor points. Most people don’t realize it, but the voters of Birmingham had already voted to get rid of Bull Connor when he turned the police dogs loose on black protesters. He was a racist and most people in Birmingham were far more moderate. They voted to move to a mayor/council form of government (away from a commission form) in order to sweep out the people such as Connor. He was a lame duck waiting for the changeover to happen (at which time he would lose power) when the protests happen. The vote to change forms of government was widely seen as a slap at him and the policies of his allies. I can only assume that he took the opportunity to lash out because of his wounded pride. If the protests had happened just a bit later, the police response would not have been the same.

    One part of “Sweet Home Alabama” is just wrong. Birmingham was not a strong area for George Wallace. His strength was in rural areas, not the cities. Also, most people don’t realize that Wallace started his career as a moderate on the subject of race, but he lost and early race (in the ’50s) to a candidate who was willing to stake out a radical conservative position on the issue. Wallace famously declared privately that he was never going to be “out niggered” again, at which point he became the firebrand playing to rural crowds to grain power.

    One final clue as to how contradictory the South can be is seen in Wallace’s last run for governor. In 1982, he had been out of office four years, but was trying for a comeback. For the first time ever, a strong GOP challenger mounted a serious campaign. Wallace won, but he only won because he was able to get black votes. Wallace was a politician, not an ideologue. When blacks were voting in large numbers, he made peace the black leaders and bought them off in the same political ways that he had bought off other interest groups in the past. Take away Wallace’s black votes and he couldn’t have won.

    “Sweet Home Alabama” isn’t a racist song. It’s a song that says, “I’m a southerner, but I’m not that ‘southern man’ who Young sings about.” You can indict specific people for specific racist things, but most of us are just decent people who aren’t responsible for what some other people did. And a few of us are even libertarians. 🙂

  25. “Just like supporting the legal right of an employer…”

    was meant to say:

    “Just like supporting the legal right of an employer to discriminate…”

    in my post of 2:32

  26. Does any one else see a very strong resemblance between Neil Young and Cornelius from “Planet of the Apes”?

  27. Following the George Wallace lines with the “Watergate/Does your conscience bother you” lines, I think, supports the argument that they’re acknowledging that Wallace wasn’t their cup of tea while not taking direct blame for them; i.e., just as every American isn’t responsible for Nixon, every Alabaman isn’t responsible for Wallace.

    That having been said, what kind of cretin listens to the words of a rock song? The real question is how many times Neil heard the song before he realized he’d been namedropped in it.

  28. Ahem.

    Patterson Hood, once again Ladies and Germs

    “…And you know race was only an issue on TV in the house that I grew up in. Wallace was viewed as a man from another time and place. And when I first ventured out of the South, I was shocked at how strongly Wallace was associated with Alabama and its people.

    Ya know racism is a worldwide problem and it’s been since the beginning of recorded history and it ain’t just white and black but thanks to George Wallace, it’s always a little more convenient to play it with a Southern accent.”

  29. To recap:
    An entire swath of our country refused to let black people drink from the same water fountains, among other much more important offenses. An unarguably race-baiting governor (remember his apologies late in life) was forced at gunpoint, literally, to accept black students into the state schools.

    Neal Young criticized this in a song.

    LynSkyn, fired back, with the notable line “In Birmingham we luv da guvnor, ohh ohh ohh, now we all did what we could do” hmmm.

    Many people on this blog are defending LynSkyn, with a, surprise, libertarianish outlook of, leave us alone northerners (read: federal govt)

    Classic case of Ideology overwhelming common sense. The south was right to be criticized. In language you Libertarians can understand, the market was reacting against them.

  30. That having been said, what kind of cretin listens to the words of a rock song?

    Oh, you stirring-the-pot contrarian, you!!

  31. Anyone else ever notice that the chord progression in Ben Harper’s “Please Me Like You Want To” is lifted directly from SHA?

  32. “Mediageek-Maybe, but his version of “Rockin in the free world” with Pearl Jam is some good shit.”

    *Mutters agreement under breath.*

  33. Matt,

    First of all it wasn’t “oh oh oh” but rather “boo boo boo”.

    Second, there’s a number of nuances to this matter that you seem to either glibly or ignorantly ignore. But since it all proves that libertarians are slaves to their ideology (even though libertarian issues hardly play into this discussion at all), I guess it’s a lot easier to merely write off what people who disagree with you say than to try to understand them.

    BTW, was the writer of the linked article libertarian or conservative or southern? I think plenty of people take this POV. Which, you may not have noticed, not all the libertarians here even do.

  34. LynSkyn, fired back, with the notable line “In Birmingham we luv da guvnor, ohh ohh ohh, now we all did what we could do” hmmm.

    Thought it was “THEY love the governor”.

  35. MattD5, you aren’t even quoting the lyrics correctly. It doesn’t say anything like, “In Birmingham, WE love the governor….” It says, “In Birmingham, THEY love the governor….” There’s a huge difference. BTW, this ENTIRE country used to allow slavery, not just the South. Slavery is a historic problem. It was ended in the North and West for reasons that were primarily economic, not moral. Change was slower coming to race relations in the South for various reasons, but it’s not because southern people as a whole were different from what people were in other areas. Of course, it’s easier for you to just buy the standard interpretation. That way, you don’t have to look any deeper at the facts.

  36. It should be noted that the Drive By Truckers are the greatest rock and roll band in the whole fucking world.

  37. Anyone else ever notice that the chord progression in Ben Harper’s “Please Me Like You Want To” is lifted directly from SHA?

    D-C-G wasn’t new when Skynyrd found it….

  38. FWIW, I spent a year living in Mobile AL and am now of the opinion that gun-rack pickup driving, JD swilling, sister-fucking, bible thumping, high-school dropout, red-necks, can be found at any given street corner in the state of Alabama. I’m not saying everyone in the state is such a person, but they let them walk around unaccosted in broad daylight.

  39. I also remember a quote somewhere from Neil about SHA where he just shrugged & said “it’s a better song.” Which is pretty class, especially considering that “Southern Man”‘s pretty darned good, too.

    As for the lyrics, I always had a much bigger problem with “Now Watergate does not bother me”…. And he *does* say, doesn’t he, that the “government’s true” in the land where the skies are so blue?

  40. Even if SHA is racist, I still enjoy the song. It does after all speak of my ancestral home. Like much art you can enjoy despite whatever shortcomings it might have from a modern, tolerant perspective (thus I can watch or read the The Jew of Malta or The Prioress’s Tale without it ever bothering my conscience).

  41. Warren, you’re welcome to visit any of dozens of neighborhoods here in Birmingham if you’d like to see that you’re mistaken. And I’ll take you to dozens of places in non-southern areas where you can find the kind of people you’re talking about. If you saw that “at any given street corner” in Mobile, you were VERY selective about where you went.

  42. Matt Welch,

    No, the line goes like this:

    Sweet home Alabama
    Oh sweet home baby
    Where the skies are so blue
    And the governor’s true

    David McElroy,

    The lyrics are like this:

    In Birmingham they love the governor
    Now we all did what we could do
    Now Watergate does not bother me
    Does your conscience bother you?
    Tell the truth

  43. Warren,

    Having lived in rural New England I can categorically state that gunracks, beer drinking or racism aren’t something exclusive to the South.

  44. David McElroy,

    He apparently never went to the places that I frequent on Old Shell Rd. or Dauphin.

  45. Hakluyt, just to be clear, I’m very familiar with the lyrics. I wasn’t quoting the entire verse because I was pointing to the difference between “we” and “they” in what someone else had quoted, because I thought it completely changed the quoted interpretation. I also thought Tim Cavanaugh had already covered the rest of that verse in a way that I agreed with (when he spoke of the parallel between racial problems in the South and Watergate for the entire country).

  46. Wow, Hakluyt listens to Skynyrd….

  47. matt,

    Heh. Why is that surprising?

  48. David McElroy,

    That’s cool.

  49. matt,

    Skynard, Zeppelin, Bad Company, etc. are part of the music of my youth. Though so is Brahms, Bauhaus, Vivaldi, Dvorak and the Sex Pistols.

  50. The bit about “The governor’s true” is telling, don’t you think? To me, that sounds like admiration for Wallace’s repugnant antics.

    David McElroy-We’re (mostly) libertarians here, so I’d presume that we all understand that individuals are not defined by the region they live in. However, it’s also the case that while racism was (and still is, to some extent) prevalent around the US, it was especially virulent in the South. For reasons too complex to go into here (and that you are probably familiar with anyway), the south had a different sort of culture and class structure than the rest of the country, and a by-product of that was a particularly ugly form of racism.

    Despite all this, I still turn up the radio when SHA comes on.

  51. IMO, “Southern Man” was much more a warning than a criticism.

    Now, can somebody please explain the lyrics to “After the Gold Rush” to me?

  52. Dvorak and the Sex Pistols.
    That may be the first time those three words have ever been put together in that order.

  53. Number 6,

    I start all road trips to Bayou la Batre with SHA.

    That may be the first time those three words have ever been put together in that order.

    My real introduction into “classical” music (obviously I’m not discussing any actual periodization here) was Dvorak’s “New World Symphony.”

  54. As for the lyrics, I always had a much bigger problem with “Now Watergate does not bother me”…. ?

    Comment by: Matt Welch at December 7, 2005 03:09 PM

    Matt,
    I take that line to mean “I didn’t vote for that asshole Nixon either.”

  55. That may be the first time those three words have ever been put together in that order.

    I count five words in:

    Dvorak and the Sex Pistols

    But…point taken! 🙂

  56. In other news can we finally answer the following question:

    Did Christ own the garments he wore?

  57. Well, I met Governor Wallace and I was at Watergate and I am a Southern Man but I don’t know anything about this Leonard Skinner or Neil Young. Lieutenant Dan says they’re all sissy boys who can’t fuck straight. I’m not quite sure what that means.

  58. For the record, I’m delighted that Skynrd is finally getting into the R&R Hall Of Fame.

  59. If you saw that “at any given street corner” in Mobile, you were VERY selective about where you went.

    Not at all. I encountered it down-town, in the burbs, across the bay in Fairhope, indeed everywhere I set foot in the state. I?m fully prepared to believe you that such is not the case everywhere but it definitely was my experience.

    I?ve certainly encountered similar folks north of the Mason-Dixon. I can?t speak of rural New England, but they?re not unheard of in the Great Lakes region. There are even places where they herd together.

    My point, the thing that made the biggest impact on me, was how accepted they were by the community at large. That was definitely different from the Northern suburbian culture I?m use to.

  60. Forrest Gump,

    Too bad you didn’t shoot the scenes from the Bayou in the Bayou. You assholes went to S.C. instead.

  61. Warren,

    Well, you know, Southerners are nore tolerant of diversity.

  62. Hak:

    I was (mostly) just kidding. Forgot the to include the :). But you’re not the type I think of when I picture the average LS fan. But of course, I probably don’t fit my own stereotpye either since I’m a fan of Southern rock and LS in particular.

    BTW, Bad Co. – love them….I think they’re pretty underrated when it comes to classic rock bands.

  63. I count five words in:

    Dvorak and the Sex Pistols

    D’OH! That crack you just heard was my hand hitting my forehead. Clearly, I need more coffee, stat.

  64. Number 6:

    Most libertarians might understand that people are individuals, but the vast majority of people don’t know that (or at least they act in very different ways). I don’t see this song as a stamp of approval for Wallace, but rather something of a joyful and even playful regional pride. It doesn’t sound as though it was written to be taken terribly seriously (and some of the band members’ comments about it reinforce that, IMO).

    Actually, I don’t think the culture and class structure were much different in the South than they were in MANY parts of the country. It’s just that there were so many blacks here that it was more visible and it bubbled to the surface far before it did in most places, because the greater numbers of blacks gave them the hope and courage to confront the establishment. The civil rights movement simply brought things to the surface here that I believe existed in many, many places. I think that there is racism everywhere, but it’s normally kept underneath the surface (as was the case here before the mid to late ’50s). I think that ugly class differences exist everywhere. The lines might form along racial lines or vocational lines or a dozen other things.

    The fact that Japanese Americans were sent to concentration camps during the ’40s was a terrible, terrible thing, far worse than having separate water fountains and soda counters, in my opinion. It’s an example of the sort of racist behavior that lies just beneath the surface in most people. We might recognize it as repugnant today, but it was just normal at the time. I doubt many people would see it as indicative of today’s typical Americans. Unfortunatley, stereotypes perpetuate the myth that the racist white person is indicative of today’s southerners.

  65. matt,

    My parents listen to C&W exclusively, so in reaction to that I went the other way.

  66. matt, speaking of Bad Company, I heard a weird news item about Paul Rodgers being the new front man for Queen. That strikes me as odd for some reason.

  67. Matt: Touch?. But it’s more than just the chord progression. If you don’t know the Harper song I’ll play it for you & you’ll see what I mean.

  68. Hak:

    I can’t stand modern country (at least the crap you here on the radio anyway) but some old-school country is tip-top in my book.

    PL:

    Yeah, I think they’re on tour right now. It does seem strange. I believe they’re performing both Bad Co. and Queen songs.

  69. matt,

    There are some good C& W artists out there. Ever try Bering Strait?

    Anyway, you can blame C&W’s current lack of originality, diversity of sound, etc. on Chet Atkins and his so-called “Nashville Sound.” C&W is slowly clawing its way of what I consider the dark years from the 1960s-1990s.

  70. “Chet Atkins and his so-called “Nashville Sound.”

    That’s what artists like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson were fighting against, wasn’t it?

    Never heard of Bering Strait, but school and work have put me way behind on discovering good newer musicians.

  71. matt,

    I also like a lot of the work of Emmylou Harris, like the song “Slow Surprise.”

  72. i am coming along pretty late to this thread, but walk on being a comment to neils former unsuccessful band memebers is interesting. in case noone has mentioned it yet he was in an early band with rick james. yes that is super freaky.

  73. matt,

    Yeah, that’s part of it. Bering Strait is from Russia (thus the notion that they play “redgrass”). Despite their poor record sales and zero airplay, I find them to be one of the best groups in the C&W scene these days.

  74. I find them to be one of the best groups in the C&W scene these days.

    If you don’t include Dale Watson in that cluster I can’t take you seriously.

  75. I like C&W, provided it’s Shania Twain, on television, on mute. Or any other hot female C&W star. . .still on mute.

  76. Happy Jack,

    Heh.

    ____________________________

    So, does Gimme Three Steps represent a dislike of blonde people? 🙂

  77. they’re performing both Bad Co. and Queen songs.
    As I mentioned in another thread, they already have a live album out. It is epically bad. Not in a “so bad it’s good” way either.

    You can always rely on me to weigh in on the real topics of the day.

  78. mk:

    Well that’s disappointing to hear.

  79. To recap:
    An entire swath of our country refused to let black people drink from the same water fountains, among other much more important offenses. An unarguably race-baiting governor (remember his apologies late in life) was forced at gunpoint, literally, to accept black students into the state schools.

    I know I’m getting old when I hear people lumping together events that I remember as occurring at distinctly different times into a formless mass, as though everything was occurring at the same time, concurrently.

    By the time both Southern Man and Sweet Home Alabama had been recorded, the days of segregated drinking fountains and the National Guard having to force schools to admit black students were long over. They’re artifacts of an entirely different time.

    Rachael Yamagata has a song out called “1963” that refers to people “wearing flowers in their hair”.

    Flowers in their hair?! In 1963??? That didn’t happen until a few years later, IIRC. A few years can change quite a bit. These youngsters!

    I really have to wonder if people get events that have occurred in living memory so balled up if there’s any chance at all of understanding more distant historical events in their proper context.

    Both Neil Young and Lynyrd Skynyrd always bored me to tears. Why two such dismal acts are the subject of a hot discussion on libertarian internet forum 30 years after the fact baffles me totally.

  80. David MCElroy: Actually, lots of people do “stereotype Boston as a racist city.” This is partly due to the busing brouhaha and partly due to the long history of racism by Red Sox management. This reputation co-exists with Boston’s equally strong reputation as a center of liberalism, leaving the unfortunate Hub as an object of disdain on both left and right.

  81. I don’t need to RTFA after the false claim that Sweet Home Alabama was a response to Southern Man. Hopefully in one of the eighty one previouse posts someone has corrected the record that SWA was a retort to Young’s song “Alabama”. Which kicks ass, by the way, idiotic lyrics notwithstanding.

  82. “William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll …”

    Now that’s a song worth talking about. Not a wasted word (and not a single explicit mention of race).

    Old Zantzinger is said to have a different opinion of its overall aesthetic merit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lonesome_Death_of_Hattie_Carroll
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/fridayreview/story/0,,1424244,00.html

  83. Ok…I belive it is official….you have all beaten the Skynyrd / Young thing to death…maybe now we should delve into some music with much more social relevance and meaning. I suggest we all analyze the meaning of the Grateful Dead’s China Cat Sunflower…….IMO clearly a dissertation regarding the perils of post-communist kleptocracies

  84. Has to do with the need of many people to feel superior to others, and painting some classification of people with a very broad brush. Hence the incest allegations usually thrown in as a kicker. Also confusing racist with racial. One would think people who regard themselves as intelligent would be above such and not undermine common ground.

  85. Hey, if Dan Rather could sing along with “What’s the Frequency Kenneth?”….

  86. “I always took the song to be an attack on the sanctimonious and stereotypical veiws of pompous Northerners towards the South in general”

    Pompous Northerners? Neil Young was born in Toronto–that’s Southern Canada, as I look at the map.

    And Pro Libertad’s scolding that Young didn’t call the song “Some Southern Men”–well, he didn’t call the song “Southern Men,” either, but “Southern Man”, singular. If you are going to insist he state literally what he means, then read him literally–as if he’s talking about a single person, not casting a generalist aspersion on the South.

  87. Huh? Listen, my point only concerned why Skynyrd might’ve felt a need to respond, not whether Young “intended” his song to be of limited applicability. Didn’t sound like it in the song, so what kind of response would you expect? I get the impression SHA was a little tongue in cheek, anyway, so I’m not sure how much this all matters.

    Incidentally, trying to refute that the song included a few barbs against the north by saying that Young was Canadian doesn’t make much sense, either. Only one verse is about Young. I doubt the band would bother inserting a snide comment about Watergate in another verse to offend a Canadian, so who else would they have been speaking to but the north?

  88. I don’t need to RTFA after the false claim that Sweet Home Alabama was a response to Southern Man. Hopefully in one of the eighty one previouse posts someone has corrected the record that SWA was a retort to Young’s song “Alabama”.

    You might not have to RTFA, but if you’re going to claim TFA doesn’t link “Sweet Home Alabama” to “Alabama,” you might want to R it first just to make sure.

  89. One would think I could at least read more than half the first sentence of the article before flying off at the handle.

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