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Old 08-28-2017, 07:54 PM
Perchman Perchman is offline
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Default Petty's "Rebels" offensive?

In practicing for an upcoming gig, I was rehearsing Rebels and really thought about the last verse, singing about "blue bellied devils". I've played this song a hundred times and never been concerned. Was I insensitive before? Do I stop playing it? Too political a topic?? Sorry in advance if this is crossing any forum lines.

Last edited by Kerbie; 09-02-2017 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Edited
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Old 08-28-2017, 08:40 PM
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Everything is these days.
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Old 08-29-2017, 04:18 AM
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I think that verse describing a sexual act in Cohen's Hallelujah is completely unnecessary, certainly classless and can't be excused under creative license. Otherwise, if being politically correct makes/breaks a song for you, consider that all love-lost songs are one-sided. Apply that to hero-worship songs or patriotic songs as well. Lee Greenwood's God Bless The USA drips with it to the extent that when I first heard it I knew he was most likely taking advantage of the wallet. Turns out I was right and he banked on the song big time. I dismiss him and all the for-profit loyalists as something less than artists and more like usurpers. No one I knew while I was in uniform even remotely bore such a countenance as to represent an audience for the goo Greenwood marketed. Trace Adkins, who sang Bury Me At Arlington, is another one. AFAIK neither served a day in uniform. They're carpet baggers selling loyalty elixirs and they're selling quite well.

Sorry for the rant. Music tends to get misappropriated by those who've lost their light and it gets to me at times.

Last edited by Kerbie; 08-29-2017 at 05:18 AM. Reason: Rule #1
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Old 08-29-2017, 04:33 AM
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You could substitute this uncontroversial little ditty from the mid-1800's

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Old 08-29-2017, 05:47 AM
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I suppose I'm still reeling from the sudden switch musicians have made from being the outsiders who pointed out injustice, inequality, and discomfort to a conformist society to becoming the greatest adherents of societal conformity.

Something changed.

Bob
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:05 AM
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How about The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down? Will they be pulling that from the playlists of the Classic Rock Stations? How far is all this going to go?
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitar View Post
I think that verse describing a sexual act in Cohen's Hallelujah is completely unnecessary, certainly classless and can't be excused under creative license. Otherwise, if being politically correct makes/breaks a song for you, consider that all love-lost songs are one-sided. Apply that to hero-worship songs or patriotic songs as well. Lee Greenwood's God Bless The USA drips with it to the extent that when I first heard it I knew he was most likely taking advantage of the wallet. Turns out I was right and he banked on the song big time. I dismiss him and all the for-profit loyalists as something less than artists and more like usurpers. No one I knew while I was in uniform even remotely bore such a countenance as to represent an audience for the goo Greenwood marketed. Trace Adkins, who sang Bury Me At Arlington, is another one. AFAIK neither served a day in uniform. They're carpet baggers selling loyalty elixirs and they're selling quite well.

Sorry for the rant. Music tends to get misappropriated by those who've lost their light and it gets to me at times.

Do you KNOW that Lee Greenwood doesn't feel those patriotic things? Is there something wrong with being sincere and having it make a profit? Does one have to wear a uniform to be patriotic?

I don't understand the scorn.
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:51 AM
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Do you KNOW that Lee Greenwood doesn't feel those patriotic things? Is there something wrong with being sincere and having it make a profit? Does one have to wear a uniform to be patriotic?

I don't understand the scorn.
I agree, I was quite taken aback by that post...not sure what is going on there.
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
I suppose I'm still reeling from the sudden switch musicians have made from being the outsiders who pointed out injustice, inequality, and discomfort to a conformist society to becoming the greatest adherents of societal conformity.

Something changed.

Bob
Yes, the fight for freedom to be different became the coalition to enforce political correctness and uniformity.
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:35 AM
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:42 AM
ManyMartinMan ManyMartinMan is offline
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Irrevelant posts aside........ If that line bothers you, but you otherwise want to play the song, simply change a word or two. When I play rescue missions, or similar, I make sure to try and avoid lyrics about addiction or substance abuse. However, sometimes they slip in and I simply change a word or two on the fly. No issues. Similarly, when I play Money For Nothing, I change the lyrics from "fa##ott" to boy. Again, simply trying to not be offensive, not trying to be politically correct.
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
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when I play Money For Nothing, I change the lyrics from "fa##ott" to boy. Again, simply trying to not be offensive, not trying to be politically correct.
I think Knopfler now uses "fella." Even when that song came out, I was surprised he used the term. I knew from the context the meaning he intended, but still thought it unwise to use the word.
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
I suppose I'm still reeling from the sudden switch musicians have made from being the outsiders who pointed out injustice, inequality, and discomfort to a conformist society to becoming the greatest adherents of societal conformity.

Something changed.

Bob
Folks didn't want their album to get kicked out of the bins at Walmart?

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Old 08-29-2017, 08:19 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitar View Post
I think that verse describing a sexual act in Cohen's Hallelujah is completely unnecessary, certainly classless and can't be excused under creative license.
Well, you're entitled to your opinion.
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Originally Posted by Pitar View Post
Sorry for the rant. Music tends to get misappropriated by those who've lost their light and it gets to me at times.
Ranting is good for the soul . If you can't rant on an internet forum, where can you?
But it's still just your opinion, of course.

I don't have any opinion on these "politically incorrect" songs mentioned here, because I haven't heard them, and in any case I'm not American, so have a totally different attitude to patriotism, and possibly to "political correctness".
But - IMHO - Leonard Cohen is an artist who never put a foot (or word) wrong in his entire career. Not that I heard anyway. I was always astonished at how right his lyrics were, perfectly judged and crafted; including the whole of Hallelujah. I think the verse you mention is beautifully written, and (moreover) fits the music perfectly, the work of truly skilled poet and songwriter. Just my opinion, as I say.

You're welcome to say you think it's "completely unnecessary ... classless ... can't be excused ..."; not that it actually "is". Expressing opinion as fact is what gets people riled on forums like this... at least if the view is contentious.
(BTW, "classless" is a positive attribute over here in the UK, it means free of the outdated class system. You mean "lacks class". That's not a correction, just FYI.)
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Old 08-29-2017, 11:17 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Let me presume sincerity in the original question and the follow ups, that there's a part of a piece that the performing artist finds offensive, or worries will be offensive to someone they do not want to offend.

As a person who performs a great deal of material as part of my current project (various words, mostly poetry, accompanied by a varied a range of music as I can muster) I run into issues such as this from time to time. There are several ways to deal with it.

1. You can just perform something else. There's a huge range of things to perform. We all must make choices as it's impossible to learn or work up everything. I can't tell you the things I don't perform, as they are of uncountable numbers, but as I look for material I'm naturally looking for things that attract me. Of course sometimes you love a piece, or think it's worthwhile, and yet you still have the issue.

2. Change the song. I work almost entirely with words in the public domain, and even outside of that I hold to the Folk Process, which says you can change any thing in any song for any reason, if you feel like it. Yes, you can be charged with bowdlerising a raunchy lyric or for being politically correct. How do I decide? I make the choice that feels right to me. I know it's not politically correct to be politically correct is some circles, and so my choice may offend those. So be it. I cut for length or lack of interest too, and sometimes I just forget or mangle the words and keep the "mistake".

Though with in the public domain works I have every right to do this, and I'm in the tradition with the folk process, I interrogate my intentional changes all the time. Did I betray the author, if known? If I can't do the author justice, would it be better if I chose tactic #1?

3. Perform it in character or context. Art can speak the most horrible words and thoughts. This is not always pleasant to most audiences, and actually try to do this sparingly because I believe most people have enough suffering. Yet some of the richest roles in drama are men consumed by evil, and they must be played. And I love a good Child Ballad, and most of their stories are gory. We cannot forget or never depict evil or the tragedy-comedy of the human condition. Satire is one way to perform this, another way is just to use your acting skills as musical performer and bring out he inner motivations of the character.

Or perform more than one opinion, the Walt Whitman "I contain multitudes" approach. This is harder to do in the small format of the song, but easier to do in the context of a set.

4. If it's merely offense to the audience that worries you, ask yourself if that's you aim. Offense rarely teaches the offended in my experience, but of course offending one audience to attract another is a time-honored artistic stance.

Instrumental performers have it easy. The worst and audience will think is that your music sucks.
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