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Saturday’s Song – Brittany Howard and Ruby Amanfu Cover Sixto Rodriguez’s “I Wonder”

June 15, 2013
Brittany Howard and Ruby Amanfu - Rolling Stone Music

Brittany Howard and Ruby Amanfu – photo credit Third Man Records at Rolling Stone Music 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Saturday’s Song. But with hope that I’ll get back into the swing of sharing a weekly tune, here’s one – a cover of Sixto Rodriguez’s “I Wonder” by Brittany Howard and Ruby Amanfu – that’s just come across my radar via my son and Rolling Stone Music.

“I Wonder” is from Rodriguez’s Cold Fact album, which became the soundtrack of my ten-month stay in Lowell, Mass. and is forever sealed to that time and place in my life.

These ladies have produced what this song grew to be in my head as I listened, dozens of times, to Rodriguez‘s original version, singing along with it – adding my own spin and echo, while my headphones drowned out the noise of the sirens of the firetrucks coming down Market Street, as I power-walked in time to the up-beat groove of this song several times a week through last winter in downtown Lowell.

It always struck me that the third verse of “I Wonder” – which is a song that was released in 1970 – mirrored the social/political/economic climate of today.

And I think this song, even this high-powered, good-vibe cover, is perhaps more political than a casual listen might lead a person to believe. I have the sense that through the lyrics, Rodriguez, who would have been in his mid-twenties when he wrote it (probably in the late ’60s), was talking to the establishment, and perhaps specifically to the masters of war, as Dylan did in his song of that title. (Dylan and Rodriguez are contemporaries, Dylan having been born a little over a year before Rodriguez. Many of Rodriguez’s songs are social/political, especially reflecting the plight in the inner-city.)

Still, I think that if you get up and dance to it, things will get better – no more tears in children’s eyes and no more soldiers will die.

Brilliant, that the cover kept the same bass “ba-da-da-da-da-da-da-da” that is the anchor of this song.

Thank you Sixto, and thank you Brittany and Ruby, for this Saturday’s Song.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 16, 2013 7:39 pm

    Mary – Yes! Same songwriter as in “Searching for Sugarman”! I loved that movie!! If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to see it asap because you will love. And whether or not political here… certainly political in South Africa.


  2. June 16, 2013 7:35 pm

    Hi Mary, This is the song writer from “Searching for Sugarman”… yes? I loved that movie! You’ve reminded me that I want to buy that CD!



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