Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sweet Honey in the Rock

Why am I so lost in a fog?
by Charlie Leck

I’m a' sittin’ here this morning’ just a listenin’ to the glorious sounds of Sweet Honey in the Rock. A day ago I didn’t know the first thing about them.

“Will you two be coming to WITNESS at the Ordway on Feb 14?” A friend, the well known music genius, Philip Brunelle, put the question to me. “Great program with our special guests, Sweet Honey in the Rock!”

“Really,” I stammered and stuttered, thinking I might pretend I knew who he was talking about and then realized I would only trap myself. “Whoever the hell Sweet Honey in the Rock is. I guess I better google her and find out.”

Philip is patient with me. He always has been. I always provide him a laugh or two.

“They are an AMAZING group of 6 women, all African American, who sing about community involvement, activism, and all the good things that you and I believe in.”

So, in the quiet of a Sunday morning – the sun still an hour away from rising – I went and found their web site. Sweet Honey in the Rock! Right there on the opening page you can click a little button (the jukebox) and sit back and let the rhythm roll all around you and listen to the voices of black America celebrating its never ending journey toward freedom.
We are the ones.
We are the ones.
We’ve been waitin’

We are the ones.
We are the ones.
We’ve been waitin’

We are the ones.
We are the ones.
We’ve been waitin’

We are the ones. We are the ones we’ve been waitin’ for…
The music pounds around me. It’s very celebratory and jubilant. It makes me want to sway and swing. It carries me to other places and other times. There’s heart in this music and, of course, soul.

Freedom’s comin’ and it won’t be long….
Feedom’s comin’ and it won’t be long ...

Well, I took a trip on a Greyhound Bus…
I got to fight segregation now… this we must
I got to fight segregation around the nation
We got to keep on fightin’ all around the world

I ain’t scared a’ nobody

You can hinder me here…
You can hinder me there…
But I go right down on my knees and pray…

Yes, I will pray for freedom…
I will sing for freedom
I got to keep on a fightin’ for freedom
I got to keep on a marchin’ for freedom

O’ my freedom is comin’ and it won’t be long!

The lovely ladies carry me back to the sixties – to Mississippi and Alabama and to Los Angeles and Chicago. I can hear Chicago’s Mayor, Richard Dailey, shouting out loud: “Shoot to kill! Shoot to kill!”

I can see the dogs unleashed in Birmingham. I can see the burned out station wagon pulled from the swampy Mississippi water.

Sweet Honey in the Rock!

Amazing that I didn’t know about them! They’ve sung at the White House. They’ve won Grammies. Though their singing members have changed, they were singing more than 30 years ago. I know them now. Their singing lifts up my heart and gives me hope.

But my people will not listen to my voice;
Israel would have none of me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
To follow their own counsels.

O that my people would listen to me,
That Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies,
And turn my hand against their foes.

Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him,
And their fate would last forever,
I would feed you with finest of the wheat,
And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.
[Psalm 81:11-16]

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