Tuesday, November 09, 2010

the prayer

Video - Ray Scott's Prayer for Gov. George Wallace.

Today's selection continues the "something different" theme. Redd Foxx had a comedy routine called "The Prayer" which found Foxx taking on the tones of a black preacher to wish a litany of disasters upon Alabama governor George Wallace, then one of most prominent faces of segregationism (he of "segregation now, segregation forever" infamy). Legendary singer/songwriter/producer/"Black Godfather" Andre Williams hooked up with comedian/singer Ray Scott to record a version of the routine, in which Scott put all of his fervor into the presentation with appropriate church organ accompaniment and background vocalists adding a "church" feel. The result had a 1970 release as a Checker 45 (backed with the countrified novelty "Lily White Mama, Jet Black Dad"), which led to an LP the following year. I can understand the LP being released - Chess had a strong series of party records featuring Pigmeat Markham, Moms Mabley and others - but a 45 release strikes me as slightly unusual, as I'm sure radio airplay for "The Prayer" was non-existent, for reasons discussed below.

"The Prayer" is pretty startling despite its humorous tack, as Scott's pleading includes requests that "the Governor" (as Wallace is referred to on the record) have an auto accident (involving a gasoline truck) and end up in the hospital being operated on by "a junkie with a gorilla on his back and an orangutan in his room ... [with] a rusty scalpel in his hand," among other things. I'm sure "church folks" found the whole thing sacriligious, although the lyrics must've struck a nerve among its listeners. (I heard several party albums from the '70s which made it clear that, at least in some circles, the shooting of Wallace in 1972, which left the governor-turned-presidential candidate partially paralyzed, was seen by some as an act of justice; in the later '70s Wallace would experience a religous conversion and disavow his previous stance.) A record like "The Prayer" probably couldn't get released today, in light of the Dixie Chicks' travails following a criticism of the President at a concert, making it even more of an oddity today.

The Prayer
Written by Redd Foxx
Performed by Ray Scott

Bow your heads in prayer
We shall now pray for the governor

Oh Lord
Let the governor have a 17-car accident
With a gasoline truck
Thats been hit by a match wagon
Over the Grand Canyon

And if thats not bad enough for the governor
Let the ambulance thats taking him to the hospital
(Four flat tyres?)
Let the motor crack
Let the (block?) bust
Let the windshield crack
Let the driver have a stroke
And (?)
And run into a brick wall
Thats housing nuclear warheads and TNT

And if thats not bad enough for the governor
When he gets to the hospital
Let the doctor be a junkie
With a gorilla on his back
An orang-utan in his room
And let the hospital catch on fire
And let the hospital ceiling cave in on the operating table
And let the doctor have a rusted scalpel in his hand

Oh Lord if thats not bad enough for the governor
Lord have mercy
Let him be stranded in the Sahara desert
10,000 miles of dry sand
Lips cracked
Crawling on his hands and knees
And let him come up on a cool running fruit stand
(?) in that hot desert
And let them have a black waiter back there like they always have

And if thats not bad enough for the governor
Lord have mercy
Let lightning strike him in the heart 38 times
Let muddy water run in his grave
And let possums, 14 of them, suffering from hydrophobia
Eat through the casket looking for some new meat and make him so ugly
Until he will resemble a gorilla sucking hot Chinese mustard
Lying across a railroad track with freight trains, 22 of them, running across his kneecaps

And if thats not bad enough for the governor
(Let him suffer)
Let him live in agony
When he wakes up tomorrow morning
Oh Lord
Let him have nappy hair and be black like me


ThrowBack Gallery-Lounge said...

check this out my people

nanakwame said...

Dr. Ben stated long ago that they had black folks stuck on religion. Those who have not seen the vingettes by our comedians have missed a great part of education. The best book even among Euros is Go Tell It on the Mountain yet do they realize that Baldwin was having ambigous  conservation with his father and consciously made a difference between Religion and Spiritual, I don't think so. They come with a set mind and read it accordingly, why visual or poetic visuals are so strong. The GOP audience actually stopped a comedian who went from Obama to conservative politics, they booed him then. Dick Heads.

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