Protest Song of the Week: “We’re Not Free” by Boscoe

Boscoe is like a much more politically militant wind and fire of the earth than if the band had worked with the Last Poets or Watts Prophets. In fact, both Boscoe and Earth Wind and Fire originate from Chicago’s south side.

As the Numero Group’s label describes, the South Side was “an epicenter of African American musical creativity in the early 1970s: The Chicago Art Ensemble, Sun Ra’s Arkestra, Phil Cohran’s Artistic Heritage Ensemble, and others led the indictment away from the mainstream. commercial music. “

The Pharaohs, Pieces of Peace, and Earth Wind and Fire later appeared and gained national and international recognition. However, despite her explosive, funky, and sincere sound, Boscoe never gained recognition.

“We Ain’t Free” is a dark and ironic parody of “The Star Spangled Banner”.

MOJO, a music magazine in the UK, called it a “jazz-funk locomotive” which “strongly suggests”.

“Can’t you see / we are not free,” sings the band. “Here in the land of opportunity, here’s what I see.”

The group does the sources of discombobulation before a pause develops into a kind of call and answer with a slave master.

Boscoe does not proceed in a subtle way, so it is clear who or what the slave master is.

“If it were up to me, you’d never be free,” the song screams eerily.

From there, the band plays about three minutes of psychedelic funk before ending with the sound that spurs this sonic vortex against systemic oppression.

Boscoe was apparently concerned that a more commercial record label would force them to water down their lyrics. They released their only album alone and it became relatively little known. But almost 50 years later, their lyrics resemble calls for justice at demonstrations by Black Lives Matter.

Listen to “We Aint ‘Free” by Boscoe:

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