Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope and Change: People Get Ready

Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions: People Get Ready


First of all, let me say that I feel absolutely no guilt about this selection.

People Get Ready was the first song I thought of for this weeks theme. I didn’t post it until now, because I wanted to save it for Inauguration Day. As I watched our new president address the assembled masses on the Mall, I knew that I made the right decision.

Curtis Mayfield was inspired to write People Get Ready in response to Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech in 1963. The song debuted two years later. Taken literally, the lyrics are religious, telling of the dream of a heavenly reward. But it is easy to interpret the song as an expression of the dreams of the Civil Rights movement here on earth. And indeed, People Get Ready became an anthem of the Civil Rights movement. Bob Marley also adopted the song for the struggles in Jamaica. The song has come to represent the dreams of oppressed people everywhere. The success of Barack Obama is, to many, the embodiment of those dreams.

Bonus Track:

Eva Cassidy: People Get Ready


Eva Cassidy’s version of People Get Ready was all but unknown until after her death from melanoma in 1996. So, when I hear her version, I am brought back to the notion of heavenly reward.

Special Announcement: keep your eyes on my blog, Oliver di Place. I should have my first album review up later this week or early next week.

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