Once again, Radio Paradise hits my music button right on the head. This morning it was Less Mccann and Eddie Harris doing their version of the song “Compared to What”, originally written by Eugene Daniels and performed by Roberta Flack more than 35 years ago. This version, performed live in Montreux, Switzerland in 1969, is truly outstanding, with masterful jazz piano driving the piece. It’s impossible to keep still listening to talent like this.
But it wasn’t just the tune that got me going. The lyrics, at the time written to protest the Vietnam war, come in as oh so appropriate today:
The president he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what its for
Nobody gives us a rhyme or reason
Have one doubt they call it treason
We’re chicken features all without one nut
Goddammit! — Try to make it real! Compared to what???”
Why are we destined to continually repeat the failures of the past?