Friday, June 29, 2007

Sacrilege #6: JOAN BAEZ "Pull The Triggers, Nixxers."


Here's Joan protesting in 1965 (James Baldwin with the barefoot Baez) and in 2005 (re. the execution of "reformed" ex-crip Tookie Williams). But in 1972 the National Lampoon protested her, via parody.
Oh, the sacrilege!
How could they fug with such a well-meaning folkie?
First thing they had to do was avoid using the inflammatory title "Pull the Triggers, Niggers." They didn't need no stinkin' Sharpton to tell 'em not to be that rude. The Lampoon's "Radio Dinner" song was punningly if not cunningly titled "Pull the Tregroes." But the N-word was sung on that black vinyl of black humor.
Written by Tony "Going too Far" Hendra, and performed by a Baez soundalike named Diana Reed, the song references George Jackson. In 1970 Jackson and two other inmates killed a prison guard. As one of the "Soledad Brothers" he wrote a few books and joined rivals Eldridge Cleaver and Black Panther Huey Newton as a pet of white liberals, the kind who condoned violence as long as it was "just across the bay."
Liberals with the same perceived Baez bias against law enforcement probably admired Jackson's brother, who later in 1970 stormed into a Marin County courtroom and seized Judge Harold Haley as a hostage. Haley's face was blown off during the getaway, and Jackson was killed as well.
In 1971, after receiving a gun smuggled to him by a well-meaning white guy, George Jackson shot prison guard Jere Graham in the head, execution-style, exclaiming, "Let's see if this works." Two more guards as well as two white prisoners bled to death before Jackson was gunned down and the prison riot brought under control.
While it was actually Joan's ex-boyfriend Bob Dylan who came out of protest-song retirement to release a single called "George Jackson," the Lampoon gang mocked Baez instead.
The mock Joan sings: "Just because I can't be there doesn't mean I don't care. So next time, Brother, off a pig for me." The chorus: "Pull the triggers, Niggers, we're with you all the way, just across the bay."
Later in the song Joan is crucified for being sanctimonious ("I'm the world's Madonna...I'm needed from Belfast to Bangladesh"). She confesses to trying to right "grievous wrongs" by writing "tedious songs." All these years later, Joan Baez is still singing her heart out, and sometimes wearing it on her sleeve.

Pull the trigger on this download.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for posting this. Man, what a great tune. Was there litigation from Baaez over this? I seem to have a memory that there was, but maybe she was smart enough not to.

Richard said...

Anyone who really knows the life of Joan Baez, knows that her heart is and always was in the right place, and that her record shows she walked the walk, talked the talk, and sang the songs. Her dignity rises way above this inaccurate parody. Viva, Joan!

Anonymous said...

To whoever the fuck the commercial whore is, who's trying to pedal hard on pills, fuck off.

Anonymous said...

Yes,
there was some type of litigation over this, but I don't recall the specifics.

dick weasel said...

Joan was a sanctimonious whore. A money whore and an attention whore. She backed causes that would profit her most, period.

Ill Folks said...

Aw, I dunno, Dick, if she backed causes that would profit her period, she would've done Tampon ads. Never did.

Give props to someone who hasn't had much attention in the past 30 years, and simply goes ahead touring for "folkies" who still bother recycling paper, turning the water off while brushing their teeth, and feeling sad about the death of the guy who wrote her demi-hit "There But For Fortune."