Tuesday, 17 March 2009

John Sinclair, Charles Shaar Murray, Buffalo Bill: Crossroads

More John Sinclair ...

John Sinclair performs "The Crossroads", his poem about Tommy Johnson (not Robert) who is said to have acquired his mojo when he met a dark stranger at the Crossroads at midnight.

John was the visionary manager of the MC5 who founded the White Panthers when the Black Panthers called for support from the white population. Having caught the eye of the authorities, he was arrested for giving — not selling — two joints to an undercover cop, and served two and a half years of a draconian ten year prison sentence. John Lennon wrote a song about him (it's the one called "John Sinclair"), and a number of luminaries (including Stevie Wonder, Yoko Ono, Bob Seger, Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman and Bobby Seale) campaigned for his release which happened days after Lennon headlined a benefit Free John Now Rally.

He now lives and works in Amsterdam.

John is accompanied by Charles Shaar Murray on resonator guitar and Buffalo Bill Smith on harmonica. Recorded by Madam Miaow at the Café OTO in Dalston, North London, Saturday 14th March 2009.

UPDATE: New video from the same gig of John Sinclair reciting Twenty-One Days In Jail, accompanied by Gary Lammin and his band.

March 29th, Charles Shaar Murray article on John Sinclair in The Sunday Times:


Renegade Eye said...

We certainly were into identity politics at the time.

Sinclair according to the Black Panthers, was a white mother country radical. The Panthers used rhetoric like that, and it seemed like profound analysis at the time.

Maoist groups today, still are advocates of that position.

Madam Miaow said...

Yes, seems strange today but the impulse to help was amazing, especially as he suffered directly because of that.

I suspect class perspective is stronger today. Even Malcolm X was rethinking along class lines.

Renegade Eye said...

After Malcolm X died, nationalism flourished, Stokely Carmichael, Rap Brown, SNCC started the Black Power Movement. Nationalism is fading. Obama is definetely post nationalist.