[Dixielandjazz] Thats Why The Call Me Shine

Tom Belmessieri tbelmo at hotmail.com
Thu Nov 4 16:10:17 PST 2004

Perhaps "pipe" in this context refers to a slang word for "telescope" rather 
than a pipe used to hit someone.

-Tom Belmessieri
>From: Don Kirkman <donkirk at covad.net>
>Reply-To: donkirk at covad.net
>To: dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
>Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Thats Why The Call Me Shine
>Date: Wed, 03 Nov 2004 10:45:54 -0800
>On Wed, 03 Nov 2004 10:51:20 -0500, Steve barbone wrote:
> >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 
> >> make any sense at all given the actual wording >> (By Steve Barbone)
> >> sorry, but I think it makes perfect sense. The previous words lead into 
> >> `they call me `chocolate,` sometimes `Hey!  Rastus` and then these guys 
> >> `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 
> >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 
> >to all sorts of erroneous conclusions, just like "Westerns" and 
> >movies when you and I grew up.
>The relevance of the Gorcey reference (and it was the Hollywood film
>people, not Gorcey, that wrote the words--Gorcey was playing the part he
>was hired for) is that it was a common expression in the period the film
>series was set in.
> >> It strikes me that given the propensity of the black race to dress 
> >> it is a not difficult to accept that that a group would make such  
> >> on a passing person much as we might have said (in our younger days) 
> >> Dig those gams`( for the benefit of the younger listmembers that means 
> >> at those legs`)
>Parallel to "did you pipe her hands?" which I cited from Eugene O'Neill
>in an earlier post.
> >Are you stereotyping here? ;-) VBG. Too many Leo Gorcey movies?
> >> Your comment that blacks had better things to do than protest about 
> >> `looked at` reinforces my contention that it is not a `protest` song at 
> >Strongly disagree.
> >> It is just what it presents itself as, a song about a bright, outgoing 
> >> that passersby recognise in a friendly way. It is all very well trying 
> >> 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? 
> >opinion of what words mean out of context. From a non-American who may 
> >less historical input about US Racism. I think the oral testimony has to
> >carry more weight.
>Unfortunately, black folks are just as susceptible to urban myth, faulty
>memory, and tendentious remarks as any of the rest of us.  ISTM the
>operative phrase is "he said he believed it was about a guy."  Haven't I
>read a number of messages in DJML about people, blacks and whites alike,
>who were there at the beginning but nevertheless got things wrong,
>sometimes famously so?
> >I refer you back to the web sites that I posted about black parody and 
> >black view of the play, His Honor The Barber, and the oral testimony 
> >"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 
> >bright, outgoing (black) guy that (white) passersby recognize in a 
> >way". Certainly not since it was written by blacks. The relationship 
> >Blacks & Whites was not in any way, shape, or form in that context, 
> >in the USA at that time. Nor was the black music and theater in those 
> >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
>Are you sure the passersby in the song were white?  :-)
> >Again, rather than trying and understand it in light of our current 
> >environment, it might be better to read the history of the music and
> >theater, and "Shine" as written by the blacks.
>Remembering, of course, that over next door in the ragtime world there
>was a lot of mutual respect and admiration between blacks and whites in
>entertainment in those days; many thought or assumed the great composer
>Joe Lamb was black until he was rediscovered in the 1960s.  As early as
>the end of the 19th century 15-year-old white Texan Brun Campbell
>learned the Maple Leaf Rag directly from Joplin, as he was proud to
>remind  others. Eubie Blake and his collaborators opened "Shuffle Along"
>in 1921; it attracted large white audiences and ran for four years,
>Blake and Sissle turning out other hit shows in the meantime.
>Writing of New York soon after 1907 when Scott Joplin moved there,
>Edward Berlin in "King of Ragtime" [ISBN 0-19-508739-0] writes "Also
>important to the Tenderloin life were the many eating and drinking
>establishments. . . .  These early cabarets were the major meeting
>places for major black entertainers and sportsmen.  [. . .]  The clubs
>were also frequented by a white clientele that included both curious
>sightseers and professional performers out to observe and gather
>material on black performers."  [p. 165]  Berlin quotes James Weldon
>Johnson, one of the Johnson Brothers and Cole songwriting team, "There
>was at the place almost every night one or two parties of white people,
>men and women, who were out sight-seeing, or slumming. . . .  There was
>also another set of white people who came frequently; it was made up of
>variety performers and others who delineated 'darkey characters'; they
>came to get their imitations first hand from the Negro entertainers they
>saw here." [p. 166]
>IMO we need to be careful not to read the attitudes of the 1950s and
>1960s, of whatever ethnic group, back into the early 20th century, but
>we also need to remember that the entertainment world was not typical of
>much of the US at that time..
>donkirk at covad.net
>Dixielandjazz mailing list
>Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com

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