Morning Song – Don’t Lose Your Steam
Faithful purveyor of Beltway Broderism Ron Fournier wasn’t the only pundit who found himself in an uncomfortable position last week. After the brutal slayings in Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights and Dallas, the leading public voices rising to meet the challenge of the moment—Dallas police chief David Brown, trauma surgeon Dr. Brian Williams and President Barack Obama—were all Black men.
Fournier at least had the grace to acknowledge (if only indirectly) his customary framework for interpreting the world had completely failed him. He had no explanation for why.
But Gregory Porter does. “Don’t Lose Your Steam” is a 3 1/2 minute master class on how a community produces men like Brown, Williams and Obama. Porter’s rich, buttery baritone grabs the listener’s ear like the imposing hand of a father on the shoulder of a son who’s about to hear “The Talk”.
Sitting on the top of the roof, the bridge is all mine
Steam engines roll by, the bridges fall down and so do my dreams.
Then the horns kick in, the drummer lays down a beat, the Hammond B3 starts swirling, and we’re talking survival skills—taught by word and song, example and image, clothes and hair, straight talk and smiles, in the barber shop and on the dance floor.
How do you get to the other side of a collapsing bridge? The same way our people have always done it in the past: with a full head of steam.