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Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: exilestones ()
Date: September 13, 2020 16:42

Rolling Stones Friday: Sweet Black Angel




The Rolling Stones, while heavily influenced by and certainly adept at capturing the tumult of the late 1960's, were not an overtly political band. They tended to delve in the personal and avoid sweeping political statements.

This context makes "Sweet Black Angel", recorded in various forms during 1970-72 and finally released on Exile on Main Street in 1972, all the more remarkable. It is a tribute to American civil rights activist Angela Davis (photo above), a university professor who was charged with murder and conspiracy in the 1970 armed take-over of a Marin County California courtroom in which four persons died.

I love the feel and vibe of this song, especially the marimba and percussions played by Charlie Watts, producer Jimmy Miller and Richard "Didymus" Washington.

The lyrics of "Sweet Black Angel", garbled by Jagger with an exaggerated Southern twang, include:

For a judge's murder
In a judge's court
Now de judge he gonna judge her
For all dat he's worth

Well the gal in danger
The gal in chains
But she keep on pushin'
Would you do the same?

She countin' up the minutes
She countin' up the days
She's a sweet black angel
Not a gun toting teacher

Not a red lovin' school Mom
Ain't someone gonna free her?
Free the sweet black slave
Free the sweet black slave

Angela Davis went on to become a professor at UC Santa Cruz, publish books, lecture all over the world on various social justice issues, and be an outspoken advocate against what she refers to as the "prison-industrial complex."



Here's the song: [www.youtube.com]


[whenyoumotoraway.blogspot.com]

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: Taylor1 ()
Date: September 13, 2020 17:14

Unfortunately Jagger used theN word in one of the lyrics guaranteeing the song will not be viewed favorably today

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: dmay ()
Date: September 13, 2020 18:50

"Unfortunately Jagger used theN word in one of the lyrics guaranteeing the song will not be viewed favorably today"

There is much in art, music, literature, that is of another time and place and considered offensive today. One would hope that people would look at such things from a historical perspective and use things that were/are controversial as learning points to understand then and now. IMHO, it's sad that people aren't willing to put in the time, research and outreach to learn of the world and who and what's on it. But, this is a discussion for another thread or another blog.

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Date: September 13, 2020 19:50

Track Talk Sweet Black Angel: [iorr.org]

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: Hairball ()
Date: September 13, 2020 21:12

A great track I've always loved. Musically it has somewhat of a different vibe than everything else on Exile - almost a mid-'60's era sound to it imo.
I can imagine a dulcimer or some other "odd" instrument added to it, and it might have fit nicely on Aftermath or Between the Buttons.

________________
Keep on rolling.......



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020-09-13 21:15 by Hairball.

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: jbwelda ()
Date: September 13, 2020 23:52

This is about the closest they have come to playing Caribbean music if you ask me. A little more steel drum would have made it better but as it is, it is one of my five favorite songs on Exile.

jb

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: georgie48 ()
Date: September 14, 2020 00:25

Quote
dmay
"Unfortunately Jagger used theN word in one of the lyrics guaranteeing the song will not be viewed favorably today"

There is much in art, music, literature, that is of another time and place and considered offensive today. One would hope that people would look at such things from a historical perspective and use things that were/are controversial as learning points to understand then and now. IMHO, it's sad that people aren't willing to put in the time, research and outreach to learn of the world and who and what's on it. But, this is a discussion for another thread or another blog.

Well said, dmay thumbs up

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: jbwelda ()
Date: September 14, 2020 01:11

That discussion could start with a pair of my childhood favorites, Samuel Clemens' "Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and continued in his "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn".

It is sad to know in many areas, those books are banned or near so. Completely taking the whole point wrong, for the sake of one word basically.

jb

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: mosthigh ()
Date: September 14, 2020 02:01

The only live version from Fort Worth TX (early show) 24/06/1972:

[www.youtube.com]

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: ShootsWaterRats ()
Date: September 14, 2020 02:18

I think part of the reason Sweet Black Angel sounds different from most of Exile is that it was recorded primarily at Stargroves during the Sticky Fingers sessions.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 2020-09-14 02:52 by ShootsWaterRats.

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: kovach ()
Date: September 14, 2020 04:48

Quote
jbwelda
That discussion could start with a pair of my childhood favorites, Samuel Clemens' "Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and continued in his "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn".

It is sad to know in many areas, those books are banned or near so. Completely taking the whole point wrong, for the sake of one word basically.

jb

I was just gonna say the same thing, Mark Twain for goodness sake is now racist. Darn shame things can't be viewed in the context of its time.

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: Chris Fountain ()
Date: September 14, 2020 17:32

This song never entered my mind from a political or a literal sand point other than it fit Musically.


Even if this song is appreciated aside from a political message it is simply outstanding. You have to love Jagger's accompaniment supporting vocals to his own lead and Richards timely contributing backup- It is quite a song regardless if there is a political agenda or not, i don't hear politics - I hear a great song.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020-09-14 17:52 by Chris Fountain.

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: Bungo ()
Date: September 14, 2020 17:39

Hard to imagine she's not still in prison for what she did. She got off easy. Only a university like University of California at Berkeley would let her be a tenured professor.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2020-09-14 20:15 by Bungo.

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: jbwelda ()
Date: September 14, 2020 18:08

First off, there is no "University of Southern California at Berkley", its the University of California, Berkeley campus. The rest of your post is equally off target, perhaps a reading a bit of unbiased history would be a good idea before posting claptrap like that.

As for the song, I doubt Angela Davis appreciated it as its basically a slave call not unlike Brown Sugar. Angela Davis is and was an avowed freedom fighter and her position at UCB and long time tenure there reflects the campus's history but not really its viewpoints, it is only because of her strength and courage that she persevered there. Not everything is as it is reported on Faux News.

jb

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: Bungo ()
Date: September 14, 2020 20:14

"freedom fighter" !?!?

OK You're certainly entitled to your opinion I guess.

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: georgie48 ()
Date: September 14, 2020 20:19

Quote
jbwelda
First off, there is no "University of Southern California at Berkley", its the University of California, Berkeley campus. The rest of your post is equally off target, perhaps a reading a bit of unbiased history would be a good idea before posting claptrap like that.

As for the song, I doubt Angela Davis appreciated it as its basically a slave call not unlike Brown Sugar. Angela Davis is and was an avowed freedom fighter and her position at UCB and long time tenure there reflects the campus's history but not really its viewpoints, it is only because of her strength and courage that she persevered there. Not everything is as it is reported on Faux News.

jb

I did a fair bit of checking on the mighty Internet, but it appears there is no public comment by Angela Davis on SBA. Reading some statements of other celebrities in those days, I can not imagine she doesn't dig SBA's powerful statement/ cry for help. Picking on words in the lyrics 48 years later is something only people with sick minds do.
Racism was/is/and always will be discusting, but so are some of the responses of dark skinned rioters, who proof to be nothing more than the likes of soccer hooligans, who really don't give a damn about soccer. Those people have only one thing in mind ... rioting on the expensive of the true message.

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: MileHigh ()
Date: September 15, 2020 00:12

Quote
Bungo
Hard to imagine she's not still in prison for what she did. She got off easy. Only a university like University of California at Berkeley would let her be a tenured professor.

Exactly. As far as I am concerned she is a terrorist and and a real hard-core old-school leftie. The Stones wrote a nice song, but they were playing a simplistic and naive political game. Ask the families of the four people that got murdered how they feel about her.

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: jbwelda ()
Date: September 15, 2020 00:28

>Picking on words in the lyrics 48 years later is something only people with sick minds do.

Well if you are referring to me, my opinions come from some fifty years ago, when this was all current. At the time I lived about 20 miles from the civic center in question (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) and about 30 from San Quentin. So yeah, I kind of kept up on the daily news and in fact remember the sirens when the courtroom exploded with the fury of George Jackson.

And yes, freedom fighter. I know for a personal fact and not just an opinion, again from back in the days when this was relevant.

And that laughable "T" word, what a laugh. But you are right about hard core lefty. She was an avowed Communist (with a capital "C") and I attended many of her and her contemporaries speeches and presentations.

And yeah, to make an omelet you got to break some eggs. So sorry for the families and all that but basically irrelevant.

I wonder how it is she ended up walking free out of all that? Not by singing on her comrades, I will wager. I forget exactly but I believe she was exonerated and reinstated at the University after it all washed out. But that hangsman noose still sits out back in the tree, don't it.

It is obvious the authors of the song, if it were indeed about Ms Davis, probably know and respect all that. But go on, dance and shake your asses, don't mind the uncomfortable inferences.

jb

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: MileHigh ()
Date: September 15, 2020 01:43

> And yeah, to make an omelet you got to break some eggs. So sorry for the families and all that but basically irrelevant.

Irrelevant? You know when someone close to you gets murdered, you feel it within yourself. You feel yourself dying. I went through it for about two weeks. In my mind I felt my guts get stabbed over and over. I felt the blood drain from my body. I felt myself die. Over and over. My sister was murdered exactly like Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered and I lived through it, and I died though it.

Why don't you go to North Korea? Live in your Communist paradise and hope the rice crop is good every year so that you don't nearly starve to death. After all, people's lives are basically irrelevant in North Korea. You never know, a Night of the Long Knives might be just around the corner at any time. Angie can join you.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020-09-15 04:59 by MileHigh.

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: dmay ()
Date: September 15, 2020 01:48

Reading the comments and people getting upfront with each other in their comments, I refer back to my prior statement and its reference to looking at things in terms of history, what was happening then versus what's happening now, what we thought then and how do we deal with it in today's world without tearing each other apart or dismissing the other. An example: Look at "Guernica" by Picasso. It was made in regard to the Spanish Civil War but is still relevant today in terms of being anti-war. Yet, it still remains a work of contention. The same context applies to SBA. It is of its time. Some of us here lived through those times and have our own concepts/memories of what took place, who we were, where we stood at that point in time. Another example: I read Eldridge Cleaver's "Soul On Ice" and thought how cool it would be to hang out with the Black Panthers and be part of the liberation. It eventually dawned on me that I was nothing more than a dumbass white boy with no real clue about what black people went through and were going through in the U-S-of A. But, this thought was of those times, just as SBA is of its/that time. Being a revolutionary - even if you really weren't - was such a seductive thing back then.

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: Rockman ()
Date: September 15, 2020 03:01

Very well put dmay .....

it is of its time ....



ROCKMAN

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: JMARKO ()
Date: September 15, 2020 09:04

Quote
mosthigh
The only live version from Fort Worth TX (early show) 24/06/1972:

[www.youtube.com]

Also a brief instrumental snippet near the beginning of one of the discs in the 72 Dallas Rehearsals Collection.

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: resotele ()
Date: September 15, 2020 11:28

Quote
dmay
I read Eldridge Cleaver's "Soul On Ice" and thought how cool it would be to hang out with the Black Panthers and be part of the liberation. It eventually dawned on me that I was nothing more than a dumbass white boy with no real clue about what black people went through and were going through in the U-S-of A. But, this thought was of those times, just as SBA is of its/that time. Being a revolutionary - even if you really weren't - was such a seductive thing back then.

Well put. I am actually reading Wayne Kramer's (Guitarist with the MC5) autobiography DOPE, CRIME, THE MC5 AND THE HARD STUFF. Reading this book gives me exactly the same feelings ... and thoughts about context in time.

Resotele

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: Mathijs ()
Date: September 15, 2020 11:44

Quote
Bungo
Hard to imagine she's not still in prison for what she did.

She's not in prison because she was acquitted of all charges.

Mathijs

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: Doxa ()
Date: September 15, 2020 12:08

This is what I asked and speculated here ten years ago:

Quote
Doxa


Any idea what Angela Davis might think about the song?

I always thought that she might be more offended due to feminist reasons than racial for "Sweet Black Angel"... For Mick all the females seem to be just "little gals"...

- Doxa

Since then I had a chance to see her in one conference in where she was a key note speaker. I really wanted to ask that personally from her, but, you know, I chickened out... she was such a charismatic academic superstar, and so sharp and serious about the subjects in matter, so even in informal circumstances, as people were discussing with her about the relevance of Marxist theory or Herbert Marcuse to recent issues in social injustice or whatever, I just couldn't come up with a question about what she likes of or thinks about one pop song... I guess no one has ever been able to... With her that sounds just so damn irrelevant... She is so serious...grinning smiley

- Doxa



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020-09-15 12:13 by Doxa.

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: georgie48 ()
Date: September 15, 2020 12:21

Quote
jbwelda
>Picking on words in the lyrics 48 years later is something only people with sick minds do.

Well if you are referring to me, my opinions come from some fifty years ago, when this was all current. At the time I lived about 20 miles from the civic center in question (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) and about 30 from San Quentin. So yeah, I kind of kept up on the daily news and in fact remember the sirens when the courtroom exploded with the fury of George Jackson.

And yes, freedom fighter. I know for a personal fact and not just an opinion, again from back in the days when this was relevant.

And that laughable "T" word, what a laugh. But you are right about hard core lefty. She was an avowed Communist (with a capital "C") and I attended many of her and her contemporaries speeches and presentations.

And yeah, to make an omelet you got to break some eggs. So sorry for the families and all that but basically irrelevant.

I wonder how it is she ended up walking free out of all that? Not by singing on her comrades, I will wager. I forget exactly but I believe she was exonerated and reinstated at the University after it all washed out. But that hangsman noose still sits out back in the tree, don't it.

It is obvious the authors of the song, if it were indeed about Ms Davis, probably know and respect all that. But go on, dance and shake your asses, don't mind the uncomfortable inferences.

jb

I didn't realise that what I wrote would be taken personal by you. It certainly wasn't about you!
I've been around for quite some time and have experienced and seen things in life I hope you never will. Maybe AD was a communist, but many Europeans tend to laugh when Americans use the word communist. Social Democratic people are already often refered to as communists. Anything progressive has a chance to be labeled communist. We were approached in a hotel in Wyoming where a man (who wasn't a guest, just approaching people with his message) tried to convice us that Obama was a dirty communist.
History has taught us all that when people are suppressed long enough things eventually explode. One can never blame the suppressed people at any time.
The last line in my earlier response to your mail was the real message. Those people exsist both on the left and the right of the spectrum.

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: Rockman ()
Date: September 15, 2020 12:52





ROCKMAN

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: liddas ()
Date: September 15, 2020 12:59

Quote
Doxa
This is what I asked and speculated here ten years ago:

Quote
Doxa


Any idea what Angela Davis might think about the song?

I always thought that she might be more offended due to feminist reasons than racial for "Sweet Black Angel"... For Mick all the females seem to be just "little gals"...

- Doxa

Since then I had a chance to see her in one conference in where she was a key note speaker. I really wanted to ask that personally from her, but, you know, I chickened out... she was such a charismatic academic superstar, and so sharp and serious about the subjects in matter, so even in informal circumstances, as people were discussing with her about the relevance of Marxist theory or Herbert Marcuse to recent issues in social injustice or whatever, I just couldn't come up with a question about what she likes of or thinks about one pop song... I guess no one has ever been able to... With her that sounds just so damn irrelevant... She is so serious...grinning smiley

- Doxa

You never know!

My mother is a huge classic music fan and abitué of the Conservatorio of Milano

Years ago she dragged me there to see the viola superstar Yuri Bashmet.

After the concert, we went backstage to greet the Maestro.

A small crowd was ardently discussing with Bashmet the most subtle nuances of the Shostakovich piece that had been performed that night.

"Maestro, I want you to meet my son. He has a huge passion for music"

"Great, what kind of music do you like?"

I didn't know what to say!!

"Ah, he loves the Stones" said my mother.

"The Stones? Great!! I LOVE the Stones!!" said Bashmet with a huge smile.

From there on the conversation moved from Shostakovich to Keith ...

C

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: VoodooLounge13 ()
Date: September 15, 2020 15:15

I always wanted me one! hot smiley

Re: Sweet Black Angel
Posted by: wonderboy ()
Date: September 15, 2020 16:02

Radical chic(k). A certain sliver of the American left adores her and she has made a career out of it. Good for her, not so for actual black people, Cubans, eastern Europeans living under the Soviets back then.

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