Finding grace in the second verse

The weekend’s news was filled with the glitter and fluff of New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world. According to several reports, the criticism of Mariah Carey’s appearance Saturday night on national TV quickly dissolved into trashing Carey, her plea to the audience to sing, and barbs between Carey and the show’s producer over sound systems and lip-syncing gone bad.

I was reminded of the incredible grace that Patti Smith displayed, and received from the audience, when she performed on behalf of Bob Dylan’s recognition as the 2016 recipient for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Smith lost her way in Dylan’s winding second verse of A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall. When she realized she was repeating words, tried to find her place, and had to pause again, Smith told the audience,“I’m sorry, I’m so nervous.”

The audience, filled with dignitaries, responded with grace and kindness by offering applause. Smith regained her composure, the musicians helped her return to the song, and Smith finished the song.

The audience at Times Square on New Year’s Eve isn’t there to be somber and sit still. It is due professional respect, the same kind that Smith extended to her audience in Sweden last month, and that she received in return.

Patti Smith writes in The New Yorker on her Nobel Prize performance

Still timely after 42 years

Instead of a Friday Photo, I’m posting a Friday Video. This song by Stevie Wonder has been discussed as one of the best protest songs ever. Released in 1974, it is still timely.

Don’t sit out on the work that needs to be done

James Taylor’s song Shed a Little Light, is not new, nor is my posting it here on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Performance of the song in the video below is unique.

When Taylor’s summer tour last year took him to Columbia, South Carolina, he was joined by the Lowcountry Voices, a group based in Charleston.

The night following the Columbia concert, I was lucky enough to see James Taylor in North Carolina. As soon as Taylor and his band began singing Shed a Little Light, the audience came to its feet, but not for a standing ovation.

We stood as a sign of respect for the people of Charleston, still reeling from the massacre at the historic Mother Emanuel Church. We also stood because the song, as beautiful and subtle as it is when sung, is also, in many ways, a protest song.

Dr King’s work is unfinished. Don’t sit out on opportunities for greater equality.

Shed A Little Light
James Taylor

 

Let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
In our desire to see the world become
A place in which our children
Can grow free and strong
We are bound together
By the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead
We are bound and we are bound

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

(chorus)
Shed a little light, oh Lord
So that we can see
Just a little light, oh Lord
Wanna stand it on up
Stand it on up, oh Lord
Wanna walk it on down
Shed a little light, oh Lord

Can’t get no light from the dollar bill
Don’t give me no light from a tv screen
When I open my eyes
I wanna drink my fill
From the well on the hill

(do you know what I mean? )
– chorus –

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Oh, let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood


Oh let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women, living on the earth
Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
With a desire to see the world become
A place in which our children can grow free and strong
We are bound together by the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead, we are bound then we are bound

There is a feeling like the clenching of the fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
Though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

(Shed a little light ohh lord) Shed a little light oh lord
(So that we can see) Ohh now
(Just a little light ohh lord) Just a little light oh lord
(Gonna stand it on up) Stand it on up
(Stand it up ohh Lord) Get down
(Gonna walk it on down) Gonna shed a little
(Shed a little light ohh lord)

(Can’t get no light from a dollar bill)
(Don’t give no light from the TV screen) No No No No
(When I open my eyes, I want to drink my fill)
(From the well on the hill)
Then you know where I’ll be

(Shed a little light ohh lord) Shed a little light oh lord
(So that we can see) Ahh yes
(Just a little light ohh lord) Just a little light oh lord
(We’re gonna stand it on up) Stand it on up
(Stand it up ohh Lord, Stand it up ohh lord)
(Gonna walk it on down) Gonna shed a little
(Shed a little light ohh lord)

There is a feeling like the clenching of the fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
Though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Oh let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women, living on the earth
Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
With a desire to see the world become
A place in which our children can grow free and strong
We are bound together by the task that ties before us
And the road that lies ahead, we are bound and we are bound

Oh let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women, living on the earth
Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
With a desire to see the world become
A place in which our children can grow free and strong
We are bound together by the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead, we are bound then we are bound

There is a feeling like the clenching of the fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
Though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

(Shed a little light ohh lord) Shed a little light oh lord
(So that we can see) Ohh now
(Just a little light ohh lord) Just a little light oh lord
(Gonna stand it on up) Stand it on up
(Stand it up ohh Lord) Get down
(Gonna walk it on down) Gonna shed a little
(Shed a little light ohh lord)

(Can’t get no light from a dollar bill)
(Don’t give no light from the TV screen) No No No No
(When I open my eyes, I want to drink my fill)
(From the well on the hill)
Then you know where I’ll be

(Shed a little light ohh lord) Shed a little light oh lord
(So that we can see) Ahh yes
(Just a little light ohh lord) Just a little light oh lord
(We’re gonna stand it on up) Stand it on up
(Stand it up ohh Lord, Stand it up ohh lord)
(Gonna walk it on down) Gonna shed a little
(Shed a little light ohh lord)

There is a feeling like the clenching of the fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
Though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Oh let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women, living on the earth
Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
With a desire to see the world become
A place in which our children can grow free and strong
We are bound together by the task that ties before us
And the road that lies ahead, we are bound and we are bound