Singing While Black, by Cornelius Eady

Singing While Black, by Cornelius Eady


I was living life as a nickel / When I wanted to be a dime / Angels dance on a pin / If being poor ain’t a sin / It’s an imaginary crime. / A low wage / And a big city / Never seems to rhyme.

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SKU: 978-1-936715-81-7 Categories: , Tags: , , ,

This is the second in Cornelius Eady’s series of Limited Edition chapbook-CDs (following the 2013 Book of Hooks.) It’s hard to imagine a more timely collection than Singing While Black. The chapbook opens with poems Eady often brings to the mike before his blues-folk band, Rough Magic, performs, including: “Aretha Franklin’s Inaugural Hat,” “Otis Redding, being pulled from Lake Monoma,” and “Emmett Till’s Glass Top Casket.”

Lyrics of the thirteen songs of the contained CD follow, threading Eady’s familiar preoccupations: the truth of our history; the blues of our daily struggle; the sweetness of our self-delusions and occasionally, our moments of ringing clarity. It is no accident that Eady is already the recipient of a slew of literary awards. Singing While Black underscores his importance, as well, as a contemporary songwriter and musician.

          Words and Music: Cornelius Eady
You tried to reach out and grab his hand
But he was made of barb wire
Don’t patty-cake with a rattlesnake
Or try to kiss a fire
Keep your mouth half-shut
Jesus tried to save the world
They hung him up like a scarecrow
Changed the water into wine
Refused that boy like a Negro
Keep your mouth half-shut
Three ships sailed into the bay
They claimed the world was Christian
You tried to give them your proper name
They weren’t there to listen
Keep your mouth half-shut
He tells you this
He tells you that
He’s a fountain of sorrow
Any beggar who steals your time
Won’t give it back tomorrow
Keep your mouth half-shut