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Morning Song – Everyday People

September 11, 2015

Regular readers are well aware of this little blog’s First Rule Of Cover Songs:  you’ve got to bring something new to it.

Well, that’s just what Jon Batiste & Stay Human did the other night on CBS.  In this case, it wasn’t about the arrangement of the song.  It was all about the performers—guitarists Buddy Guy and Derek Trucks, pianist Ben Folds, the horns of Beirut, singers Brittany Howard, Aloe Blacc, Susan Tedeschi, Paul Janeway, and the incomparable Mavis Staples.  From hip-hop to country, indie-rock to neo-soul, blues to jazz to world beat to gospel, it was about as radically inclusive a musical moment as broadcast television can provide.

One of the mementos Stephen Colbert has on his new “Late Show” set is the pennant his mother brought home from the 1963 March on Washington.  (I’m going to go out on a limb and guess there weren’t a lot of white mothers raising their children in South Carolina in the 1960s and 70s who’d participated in that particular event.)  So I think it’s safe to say that the choice of Sly & the Family Stone’s “Everyday People” to close his first night as host of the Late Show wasn’t an accident, but more like a  declaration of principles.

Colbert is a comedian and an entertainer, so consider this performance—yes, he sang along too—as close as he’s likely to get to Martin Luther nailing 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg.  More like 1 thesis:

We got to live together.

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