Daily Archives: April 20, 2021

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Sheep Labor!

This story in today’s New York Daily News, “Sheep Labor: 5 New Workers Sink Their Teeth in Job on Governor’s Island,” just made me go: “Awww…”

Cheers to Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad and Philip Aries

Song of the Day #1860

A fortuitous “Song of the Day” in light of today’s verdict in the Chauvin trial.

Song of the Day: Strange Fruit features the words and music of Abel Meeropol (though credited under the pseudonym, “Lewis Allan,” because Meeropol was a member of the American Communist Party at the time). It was recorded on this date in 1939 by the great Billie Holiday (who was born on the 7th of this month in 1915). This song is at the center of the plot to the 2021 film, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” which shows how the FBI and other political authorities persecuted the singer (played brilliantly by the Oscar-nominated Andra Day), as a means of stopping her from performing this powerful protest against the lynching of African Americans. It remains what jazz musician and historian Leonard Feather once called “the first unmuted cry against racism,” as important on this day as it was over 80 years ago. Check out the original 1939 Holiday recording, and renditions by Diana Ross (from her 1972 Oscar-nominated performance in “Lady Sings the Blues“), Nina Simone, and, from the 2021 film, Andra Day [YouTube links]. I’ll be featuring two more selections from film music this coming Oscar weekend.