Another sort of protest song by the jazz greats Les McCann and Eddie Harris which in 1969, could have been considered treason. A crime which was perpetrated not by the performers, but by the one who wrote the song – the late Eugene McDaniels.
Here’s an excerpt:
I love the lie and lie the love
A-Hangin’ on, with push and shove
Possession is the motivation
that is hangin’ up the God-damn nation
Looks like we always end up in a rut (everybody now!)
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby!
Since the recording of “Compared to What” it has been covered by several singer/songwriters including this version by Roberta Flack. Curiously enough, she left God out of the line “Possesion is the motivation that is hangin’ up the God-damn nation” – listen for yourself. Just another indication of the Sign O the Times?
Some 40 years later, John Legend and the Roots perform their version of “Compared to What”. It is in my opinion, a rather watered-down, diluted version lacking the urgency of Daniels’ call-to-arms lyrics with obligatory rapping and funky horn-blowing.
I know right, trying to keep it real but compared to what?