First Listen: A shining final recording from Ronny Jordan

 

(February 11, 2021) Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” is one of the definitive protest songs of the 1960s. The tune was inspired by a specific protest - the closure of a Los Angeles night club. However, because of the lyrics that paint a picture of young people protesting injustice being judged by the old people in the establishment and harassed by law enforcement, and because it was released in 1967 at the height of the Vietnam war, “For What It’s Worth” became an anti-war anthem. In fact, plenty of people think the song is about Vietnam.

 

(February 11, 2021) Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” is one of the definitive protest songs of the 1960s. The tune was inspired by a specific protest - the closure of a Los Angeles night club. However, because of the lyrics that paint a picture of young people protesting injustice being judged by the old people in the establishment and harassed by law enforcement, and because it was released in 1967 at the height of the Vietnam war, “For What It’s Worth” became an anti-war anthem. In fact, plenty of people think the song is about Vietnam.

Like other socially conscious songs from that era, ranging from “Blowin’ In the Wind” to “Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud),” “For What It’s Worth” has aged very well. The current era of social awareness and unrest was in its early stages when the late, great guitarist Ronny Jordan used his six string to record an unfinished instrumental version of the 60s anthem prior to his tragic death in 2014. U-Nam and Jordan had been friends and collaborators for years.

U-Nam and producer Vernon Clark tracked down the original tapes in hopes of completing the song so that it could be included on album Cool Guitars that is due to drop in February. The updated version gives the track an element of funk and an instrumental conversation between Jordan, U-Nam and bassist Alex Al –  a legend in his own right who has provided the bottom for just about everybody. U-Nam’s reimaging of the song honors his late friend and brings back a song that is both timeless and timely.  Check out “For What It’s Worth” here.

By Howard Dukes

 
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