Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Snake

Prince Dan Igor Glenn & The Slap Bass Band

The Snake

From the EP Breakfast In The Afternoon
no label

Born and reared in Alabama, Dan "Igor" Glenn began singing gospel music at a young age. By age five, he knew hundreds of hymns and songs by heart.  He moved to Arizona in the early 1960s with a passion for architecture.  After finishing up a residency at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West School he changed course to study music at Arizona State University.  He soon found Crazy Ed's, a jazz hot spot founded by Ed Chilleen, who also started Cave Creek bars the Horny Toad and Satisfied Frog.

He sang with the New Christy Minstrels as they toured the world and composed and arranged for many well-known artists. In addition to being an entertainer, he also publishes cartoons with a music theme.

Though “retired” he still books himself and his “Jazz Cowboys” anywhere from cruise ships to state fairs. He finds time to host a weekly American Folk Music Gathering at The Beatitudes in Phoenix where he and his wife Barbara live.

The Snake

"The Snake" is a song written by Oscar Brown in 1963. The lyrics tell a story inspired by Aesop's fable of The Farmer and the Viper.  (Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BC)

Oscar Brown Jr. (1926-2005) was an American singer, songwriter, playwright, poet, civil rights activist, and actor. He ran unsuccessfully for office in both the Illinois state legislature and the U.S. Congress. Brown wrote numerous songs (only 125 have been published), 12 albums, and more than a dozen musical plays.

The song tells the story of a kind and tender woman who finds a frozen snake on the ground on her way to work one morning. The snake begs the woman to take it home and take care of it. She obliges and takes the snake to her home and puts it by the fireplace with a silk blanket, some honey, and some milk. When she gets home from work later that evening, she finds that the snake is now warm and revived. Feeling happy for the snake's recovery, she picks it up and gives it a tight hug and kisses it on the head. However, the snake is actually vicious and gives the woman a bite, fatally poisoning her. She asks the snake why it bit her even though she took it in and cared for it, to which it responds: "Shut up silly woman! You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in!"

The song gained renewed attention during the campaign for the 2016 United States Presidential election. Republican candidate Donald Trump read its lyrics at several campaign rallies to illustrate his position on the Syrian refugee crisis, claiming that the decision to allow people claiming refugee status to enter the United States would "come back to bite us", as happened to the woman who took in the snake in the song.  The daughters of songwriter Brown – whose work has been characterized as "a celebration of black culture and a repudiation of racism"  – have asked Trump to stop using their late father's song, saying: "He’s perversely using 'The Snake' to demonize immigrants" and that Brown "never had anything against immigrants."

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