A New Song of the Old South

That Brer Rabbit, he’s so tricky.
First he’s Red, then Black, then White,
Pretending he’s late for some important date
While he’s zip-a-dee-doo-dah-in’ inside Alice’s hole.

And all that time he’s been playing his drums
With the Birdman,
And the Birdman says:
“You die a little bit every time you play, man.”

We’ve been drinking so much black coffee
We think we can hear them and fly
Just like the Birdman.
That’s why we drink our coffee from a shell
With Birdman’s picture painted on it.

Brer Rabbit’s gone Black again
So he can mix the power of Africa
Into his already masterful drumming
And Birdman wails out his deepest pain and sorrow
Because he’s seen enough cruelty
To make the Earth weep.
And we all weep and wail
Cause we all know this suffering for ourselves
And we’ve all caused this suffering for others.

The music tells us what we already know;
The Soul of the South moved into big cities
But was kept pure by its Blackness
And it’s songs spread over the earth
So that the world now honors the Soul
And respects the purity of Blackness.
Black mixes with Red mixes with White
Which is already so mixed up.
All become united from eating yellow corn
Which grows tall out of the black earth of the South.
It’s caressed by the vines of beans.
Southern cookin’s food for the soul,
The better for thickening up that Fat Head sound.

Brer Rabbit asks,
“Birdman, you been to the other side?”
Birdman says,
“I’m rubbing my face in it right now.”
Brer Rabbit laughs and starts drumming faster
While the Birdman dances and shrieks out his soul.
Those two don’t have much in common,
Just that they can see each other, that’s all.
Birdman is mostly so serious
Except when Brer Hare happens to run up his ass.

Birdman’s playing spirals out of Siva’s blues
Into Plato’s modes
And on through half-stepped spirals.
After that everything gets pulled into it.
They were jammin’ with us
When we cried on the Trail
And sang of God’s Amazing Grace.
They played with our brothers and sisters
Who danced all night for visions
Of their people returning.
People were killed just for dancing.
But the playing and dancing never stops,
And like the Birdman says,
Niether does the dying.

Brer Rabbit says,
“What’s gonna happen when those folks
Find out their ancestors did all come back:
Black, White and Red?”
Then he just laughs like the Devil.
And here we are cooking just the same,
Loving just the same,
Fighting just the same,
Praying, singing and dancing
Just like we always have as long as time was.
The invaders lost after all.
They couldn’t change the South.
The South changed them.

Brer Rabbit asks,
“You know what’s Black, White and and Red all over again?”
Birdman says,
“A child of the South.”