I made a reference to Josh White’s “Free and Equal Blues” the other day and got a lot of blank looks from people of my own generation. Dammit, what’s the point of folk music if folks don’t hear it?
Performed by Josh White, lyrics by “Yip” Harburg and music by Earl Robinson, 1944. Probably the only song to mix blues and humor with chemistry in the service of human equality.
According to legend, Harburg and Robinson wrote the song as a way to skewer a policy of the US Army that allowed medical patients to request blood from their own race. This required the Red Cross to segregate blood by donor.By the end of the war the policy had been changed. Not bad for a four minute song.