Thursday, July 18, 2013

McFerrin's take on "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"

Bobby McFerrin's "Swing Low", his version of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", is getting what passes for heavy airplay on the local jazz station. That's too bad, because his rendition saps the life from the old spiritual.

McFerrin took what I have always heard as a plea from a strong, dignified protagonist to end his suffering in this world, and drained every drop of dignity and strength from it. He croons it like smooth-jazz dinner music. Ew. Really, that's my instinctive response, to shy away from it as if it were rotting food.

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