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  •  Music has always (24+ / 0-)

    had the power to teach, and sometimes that lesson is accompanied by a very wry wink and a nod.

    When I was a little-bitty luvs, and was attending music classes as part of my elementary education, we were. of course, instructed in the history of American music.  We studied the great classics of American melody from various eras -

    Black, black, black is the color of my true love's hair

    and

    I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair

    and

    My Old Kentucky Home (unabridged version - luvs is a very old horse lover!)

    and two songs that we learned, but never really discussed - one was "The Yellow Rose of Texas" and the other was "Sunny Side of the Street"

    I came home from school one day, and while I was setting the table for dinner, I found myself singing the catchy tunes.  My mother's mother, who was staying with us suggested I stop my evening chore long enough to have a chat.

    I should say now, that my Nana, that petite, silver-haired, soft-spoken Grand Dame of our family; steel-spined arbiter of all that was "class" . . . Well, her mother escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad.  Nana had a great sense of nuance.

    It was she who explained who  the "Yellow Rose" of Texas was - a mulatto - a woman of mixed racial heritage, Caucasian and African-American.  

    And the "Sunny side of the street"?  That tune epitomized the black humor (no pun intended, of course) of fair skinned African-Americans who "passed" for white, which was how our family survived the Diaspora and Jim Crowe.  

    Quite an education, at that.  

    And yet. the songs are not dimished by the knowledge of their subtext, any more than the work of the Beatles's would have been, had their original intent been known from the time they released the single.

    That's the nice thing about music.  It embraces all, and even if it chastises, it teaches and heals.

    Our promises are made in proportion to our hopes, but kept in proportion to our fears.-LaRouchefoucauld

    by luvsathoroughbred on Sun Sep 25, 2011 at 02:21:53 PM PDT

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