Financial Advice

Album: The Scottsboro Boys (2010)

Songfacts®:

  • If Frank Zappa had written a song that contained phrases like:
    "There's one solution, honey
    Go get you some Jew money"
    he would have been denounced to high Heaven. As lyricist Fred Ebb and composer John Kander were both Jews, and as this song appeared in a musical that has been seen as an attack on the racial bigotry of the segregated Deep South, the thought police have allowed it to pass without comment.

    In The Scottsboro Boys, "Financial Advice" is sung by the Attorney General. It was actually prosecuting attorney Wade Wright who during the retrial said "...Alabama justice cannot be bought and sold with Jew money from New York."

    This was a reference not so much to defense attorney Samuel Leibowitz as to the bankrolling of one of the alleged victims, Ruby Bates, who had initially testified that she and her disreputable traveling companion Victoria Price had been raped by the Scottsboro Boys. The State was able, quite properly, to make much of her transformation. At the time of the first trial, she and Price had been hoboing dressed like men, now she was appearing in court in fine attire having obviously been well groomed, schooled and taken care of.

    Regardless of any racial aspects of this case, the Deep South has generally been vilified most unfairly over the years on account of it. The trial of Leo Frank, which also inspired a musical - Parade - showed that Negroes could be treated fairly in a court of law. While it is true the death sentences were Draconian and almost certainly unwarranted, what are the legal authorities supposed to do when confronted with two women who claim to have been gang raped? If there is a villain in this story it is not Alabama justice but Victoria Price.
    Having said that, this is a fairly humorous type of song in the same style as "The Hitler Rap" or "Phil Spector Is Misunderstood". >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England

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