[Dixielandjazz] Thats Why The Call Me Shine

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 3 07:51:20 PST 2004

on 11/3/04 7:07 AM, PATRICK LADD at pj.ladd at btinternet.com wrote:

> We can speculate all we want about "pipe" meaning "look at" but that doesn't
> make any sense at all given the actual wording >> (By Steve Barbone)
> Hi Steve,
> sorry, but I think it makes perfect sense. The previous words lead into it.
> `they call me `chocolate,` sometimes `Hey!  Rastus` and then these guys say
> `Look at Sambo` or `Pipe the Shine`.
> I too remember Leo Gorcey using the phrase `Pipe that broad`

Of course, that is from a white guy trying to be hip. A sort of lovable dead
end kid. Yeah right. There is a big difference between Leo Gorcey and the
plight of Blacks in the USA in those days. Gorcey is a product of "White"
media trying to portray life in the white ghetto as glamorous. Leads folks
to all sorts of erroneous conclusions, just like "Westerns" and "Gangster"
movies when you and I grew up.

> It strikes me that given the propensity of the black race to dress flashily
> it is a not difficult to accept that that a group would make such  comment
> on a passing person much as we might have said (in our younger days) `Hey,
> Dig those gams`( for the benefit of the younger listmembers that means `Look
> at those legs`)

Are you stereotyping here? ;-) VBG. Too many Leo Gorcey movies?

> Your comment that blacks had better things to do than protest about being
> `looked at` reinforces my contention that it is not a `protest` song at all.\

Strongly disagree.
> It is just what it presents itself as, a song about a bright, outgoing guy
> that passersby recognise in a friendly way. It is all very well trying to
> make a connection between someone who happened to be the companion of
> someone who was beaten up but it is pretty tenuous There is no reference to
> such a thing apart from the somewhat spurious connection of the name.

Well, the oral testimony is from a black song writer of the times. He was
the husband of one of the singers in the play. He said he believed it was
about a guy named "Shine" who was beaten up during a race riot in NYC. He
was there at the time. To me, that's connection. Your view is based upon? An
opinion of what words mean out of context. From a non-American who may have
less historical input about US Racism. I think the oral testimony has to
carry more weight.

I refer you back to the web sites that I posted about black parody and the
black view of the play, His Honor The Barber, and the oral testimony about
"Shine" being beaten up, not the companion of someone who was beaten up.
That is direct connective reference. Also, to get back to the time in
question, 1910, it would have been impossible for it to be "a song about a
bright, outgoing (black) guy that (white) passersby recognize in a friendly
way". Certainly not since it was written by blacks. The relationship between
Blacks & Whites was not in any way, shape, or form in that context, anywhere
in the USA at that time. Nor was the black music and theater in those days.
Black historians present it as being part of black music and theater that
was being written in order to help them gain some measure of equality

Again, rather than trying and understand it in light of our current personal
environment, it might be better to read the history of the music and
theater, and "Shine" as written by the blacks.


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