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Friday, January 1, 2016

Views and Review : 'Prison Trilogy (Billy Rose)' by Joan Baez

Cop brutality has never been known by any other state as well as The United States of America in the 20th and 21st centuries,at the least.Every other day,some white police officer is found to shoot a black man,some pregnant woman is strip searched or kicked at her belly,some mentally challenged child is tormented on the streets at late night,some woman is molested and who deserve credit for all of these activities? The apparent "protectors" of law and order.Not only is the case pathetic for people out in the free world,it has been far worse inside the prisons.Several reports have been published in the past,several organisations and activists have done all that they could and are doing what they can but I want to do what I can do best : let people know.I do not know why this song reminds me of Tookie Williams and the brutal,autocratic,ruthless,shameless Arnold Schwarzenegger though I still remember Baez sang 'Swing Low,Sweet Chariot' outside the prison walls before he was injected the poison inside the walls.I don't know if he ever heard the tune,as the last of his senses seeped down,down,down to darkness......


Prison Trilogy (Billy Rose) Lyrics

Billy Rose was a low rider, Billy Rose was a night fighter
Billy Rose knew trouble like the sound of his own name
Busted on a drunken charge
Driving someone else's car
The local midnight sheriff's claim to fame

In an Arizona jail there are some who tell the tale how
Billy fought the sergeant for some milk that he demanded
Knowing they'd remain the boss
Knowing he would pay the cost
They saw he was severely reprimanded

In the blackest cell on "A" Block
He hanged himself at dawn
With a note stuck to the bunk head
Don't mess with me, just take me home

Come and lay, help us lay
Young Billy down

Luna was a Mexican the law called an alien
For coming across the border with a baby and a wife
Though the clothes upon his back were wet
Still he thought that he could get
Some money and things to start a life

It hadn't been too very long when it seemed like everything went wrong
They didn't even have the time to find themselves a home
This foreigner, a brown-skin male
Thrown into a Texas jail
It left the wife and baby quite alone

He eased the pain inside him
With a needle in his arm
But the dope just crucified him
He died to no one's great alarm

Come and lay, help us lay
Young Luna down
And we're gonna raze, raze the prisons
To the ground

Kilowatt was an aging con of 65 who stood a chance to stay alive
And leave the joint and walk the streets again
As the time he was to leave drew near
He suffered all the joy and fear
Of leaving 35 years in the pen

And on the day of his release he was approached by the police
Who took him to the warden walking slowly by his side
The warden said "You won't remain here
But it seems a state retainer
Claims another 10 years of your life."

He stepped out in the Texas sunlight
The cops all stood around
Old Kilowatt ran 50 yards
Then threw himself down on the ground

They might as well just have laid
The old man down
And we're gonna raze, raze the prisons
To the ground
Help us raze, raze the prisons
To the ground


About The Song

 Prison Trilogy was first featured in her 1972 album 'Come From The Shadows',though I think there was a single album that featured only this particular song,as the cover depicts below.The song was the very first one to be featured in the album as well and it has been entirely written and composed by Joan herself.The song conveys all that it ever was meant to in the best way possible.



Song Review

The song conveys all that it was meant to in the best way possible.The lyrics are simple,narrative,as expected in Country Music,the tune is perfect,the scales are bravo,the accordion is nice,the instrumentals work well enough and the voice is just out of the world.
The first story is that of a prisoner who fought with the sergeant for some milk and faced all the repercussions.The second story is about a Mexican immigrant who came to the States with his family,that consisted of his wife and little child.The third story is the most impactful one,perhaps.The end comes before you even expect it,the turn is strangely surprising.And then when you realise all of what has been told,you realise this has been inspirational.The anecdotes that the lyrics consist of are striking,they are as short as they could have been but they have all the components in them required to hit at the right place.
The scores are here -

Lyrics - 4.9/5
Instrumentals - 4.9/5
Melody - 5/5
The voice behind - 5/5


As a song - {(19.8/20 * 100)%} = 99%

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2 comments:

  1. I want to try and sing this song at "Peace for ALL Rally" coming soon

    ReplyDelete

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