Ray Charles’ songs will always bring a smile to my face and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was no exception. I listened a good three times until I realized I wasn’t paying attention to the lyrics and I didn’t know any connection to the CRM. After some research i learned that this was actually a cover of a song/poem written by NAACP organizer James Weldon Johnson in 1900. This song would also be referred as “The Negro National Anthem” as it became popular in the black community.
I read the poem and I sense that it was written in a much more sorrow context than the happy upbeat song would lead us to believe. The song includes Ray Charles unforgettable voice and his piano along with a choir of women. The song and poem makes a lot of emphasis on God and Religion so I think a happy and gospel take on the song was a good choice. It also helps motivate others to feel optimistic and encouraged to “march till the victory is won”
I definitely like the song. I’m just not sure if the song could do the words written justice. I say this only because I didn’t really understand what he was singing about until i pulled out the lyrics separately. The poem is beautiful and should definitely be read aside from this song to be able to bear the weight of it’s message. That being said I appreciate Ray Charles trying to bring the song back into importance in 1970 and giving it a more happy air.