Aug 112010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

In some ways, “Rednecks” is the most Randy Newman of all Randy Newman songs. It takes the classic Newman trope of the unlikeable narrator to its logical extreme: a proud racist boasting his ignorance and dropping the N-bomb right and left. It’s a scathing indictment of Southern bigotry…except it isn’t. What looks like a smarmy Californian taking pot shots at the South turns on its axis in the final verse about just how “free” the black man really is up North.

Yes he’s free to be put in a cage in Harlem, in New York City
And he’s free to be put in a cage on the South Side of Chicago and the West Side
And he’s free to be put in a cage in Hough in Cleveland
And he’s free to be put in a cage in East St. Louis
And he’s free to be put in a cage in Fillmore in San Francisco
And he’s free to be put in a cage in Roxbury in Boston
They’re gatherin’ ’em up from miles around
Keepin’ the n*****s down

Never one to shy away from sensitive issues, Steve Earle covers “Rednecks” with a giant pair of country-rock cajones. His Texan drawl adds an authenticity to the tune that the frog-voiced Newman could never pull off.

MP3: Steve Earle – Rednecks (Steve Earle cover)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Check out more Steve Earle at his website or MySpace.

Cover Me is now on Patreon! If you love cover songs, we hope you will consider supporting us there with a small monthly subscription. There are a bunch of exclusive perks only for patrons: playlists, newsletters, downloads, discussions, polls - hell, tell us what song you would like to hear covered and we will make it happen. Learn more at Patreon.

  2 Responses to “Song of the Day: Steve Earle, “Rednecks” (Randy Newman cover)”

Comments (1) Pingbacks (1)
  1. funny how a person presents them selves as country when they are not American taliban was your down fall would never go out of my way to hear or see you
    Im sure you dont care funny thing is I dont either

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>