Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blues for the Safety Boy, or...We Used to Be Ashamed (Imagine That)

Ain’t nobody rocks like a puppet. Perhaps it is the added incentive of a strangers hand up your ass which feeds the seemingly untapped amount of nervous energy which a puppet exudes. Add to that the stigma of being a ‘black’ puppet on a predominantly Caucasian street (i.e. Sesame) and you begin to see the allure that is Baby Ray Franklin.

Now, unlike Dr. Teeth & the Mayhem and the River bottom Nightmare Band, Baby Ray - little bro of Sesame Street regular Roosevelt Franklin - takes his beef to the street w/ a decidedly more bluesy improve, touching on such important urban mainstays as traffic safety; a cause close to my heart as I recall my complete bitch of an elementary school music teacher hammering away on a spinet (and my psyche) to the strains of the following tune. Feel free to sing along if you like…

"Play ball, play ball. Everyone loves to play ball.
sometimes you catch it and sometimes you miss
But when you miss, remember this:

Let the ball roll, let the ball roll
No matter where it may go
Let the ball roll, let the ball roll
It has to stop sometime you know
Often a truck will flatten a ball
And make it look like an egg
Although you can get many a ball
You never can get a new leg"

Hopefully you, the reader, have both your legs, cause you’d need to walk a mile in Baby’s shoes before you could even begin to dig the cultural implications of ‘Safety Blues’ flip , the ‘Skin I’m In’. Not since the ‘Rainbow Connection’ and ‘It’s not Easy being green' has a song so beautifully encapsulated the racial tensions extant in the Muppet world. From the saprophyte leanings of Big Bird to the urban blight of Oscar’s dwelling, only now, thirty some odd years after the fact, can the truth finally be told. Fight the power!

Safety Boy Blues - Roosevelt Franklin

Skin I'm In - Baby Ray Franklin