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
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Eddie Vedder often changes the words when he sings "Yellow Ledbetter." The basic story is about a guy whose brother dies in the first Gulf War. Apparently, bad news in the army is given in yellow envelopes.