Sunday, October 17, 2021

Is Joan Baez's 'Dixie' next on the cancel list?


 (My new American Thinker post)

Back in October 1971, Joan Baez had a big Top 10 hit called "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."  The original version was by The Band, but it was Baez who scored the big hit on the radio.  It is a song about the Confederacy and Robert E. Lee and a few other things that have come under fire here recently.

Check the lyrics:

Virgil Caine is my name and I drove on the Danville train

'Til so much cavalry came and tore up the tracks again

In the winter of '65, we were hungry, just barely alive

I took the train to Richmond that fell

It was a time I remember, oh so well

The night they drove old Dixie down

And all the bells were ringin'

The night they drove old Dixie down

And all the people were singin'

They went, "Na, na-na-na, na-na"

"Na, na, na-na, na-na, na-na-na"

Back with my wife in Tennessee and one day she said to me

"Virgil, quick, come see, there goes Robert E. Lee"

Now, I don't mind, I'm chopping wood

And I don't care if the money's no good

Just take what you need and leave the rest

But they should never have taken the very best

The night they drove old Dixie down

And all the bells were ringin'

The night they drove old Dixie down

And all the people were singin'

They went, "Na, na-na-na, na-na"

"Na, na, na-na, na-na, na-na-na"

Like my father before me, I'm a workin' man

And like my brother before me, I took a rebel stand

Well, he was just eighteen, proud and brave

But a yankee laid him in his grave

I swear by the blood below my feet

You can't raise the Cain back up when it's in defeat

The night they drove old Dixie down

And all the bells were ringin'

The night they drove old Dixie down

And all the people were singin'

They went, "Na, na-na-na, na-na"

"Na, na, na-na, na-na, na-na-na"

The song is about a poor Tennessee farmer in 1865 who watches "Dixie" go down in flames.  In other words, this is not a song about a guy cheering the Union Troops.

What makes this song so interesting is that Joan Baez and The Band were not right-wing conservatives.  On the contrary, Joan Baez performed many songs about racism.  I don't know why she recorded the song, but she did.  It turned out to be her best-selling single.

When will this song get canceled?  After all, Virgil Caine, the aforementioned farmer, was crushed in defeat during the last days of that war.  Like many other southern farmers, he fought for the South and had strong feelings about the whole thing.

Is this the next song to get "retired"?  I hope not, but it could be now that they got "Brown Sugar."

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