Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

Album: Mingus Ah Um (1959)
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  • Joni Mitchell lyrics:

    When Charlie speaks of Lester
    You know someone great has gone
    The sweetest swinging music man
    Had a Porkie Pig hat on
    A bright star
    In a dark age
    When the bandstands had a thousand ways
    Of refusing a black man admission
    Black musician
    In those days they put him in an
    Underdog position
    Cellars and chitlins'

    When Lester took him a wife
    Arm and arm went black and white
    And some saw red
    And drove them from their hotel bed
    Love is never easy
    It's short of the hope we have for happiness
    Bright and sweet
    Love is never easy street!
    Now we are black and white
    Embracing out in the lunatic New York night
    It's very unlikely we'll be driven out of town
    Or be hung in a tree
    That's unlikely!

    Tonight these crowds
    Are happy and loud
    Children are up dancing in the streets
    In the sticky middle of the night
    Summer serenade
    Of taxi horns and fun arcades
    Where right or wrong
    Under neon
    Every feeling goes on!
    For you and me
    The sidewalk is a history book
    And a circus
    Dangerous clowns
    Balancing dreadful and wonderful perceptions
    They have been handed
    Day by day
    Generations on down

    We came up from the subway
    On the music midnight makes
    To Charlie's bass and Lester's saxophone
    In taxi horns and brakes
    Now Charlie's down in Mexico
    With the healers
    So the sidewalk leads us with music
    To two little dancers
    Dancing outside a black bar
    There's a sign up on the awning
    It says "Pork Pie Hat Bar"
    And there's black babies dancing
    Tonight Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 1

  • Keith Mccarthy from Southern CaliforniaThis song was also covered beautifully on acoustic guitar by John McLaughlin on his "My Goals Beyond" album.
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