Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

With and without the bells and whistles

I supported the fight against legalized discrimination yesterday at Boston City Hall, and want to post more about the stirring experience. It’s a quiet Sunday, however, and requires change of pace from the constant brute force of politics and rhetoric.

I’m a big fan of Ben Harper, of his craftsmanship and intelligence (he named his band “Innocent Criminals,” and this seems a nod to me about the struggle of African Americans in our country).

Here’s Harper doing an acoustic cover of Marvin Gaye‘s “Sexual Healing”:

As a point of comparison, here’s Ben Harper pimped out in concert clothes, full stage lighting, and a back-up band, doing the same cover of “Sexual Healing”:

Which one do you prefer? Which version pays better homage to the artistry and lyricisim of Marvin Gaye?

Or maybe, it’s simply a matter of intimacy–you, the listener, in a small white-paneled room with Harper–contrasted with the communal power of a concert stage, Harper in front of thousands, all of these folks screaming and sharing in the body-thumping pulsing and raw emotion (“Oh my darling, won’t you just heal me?”)?

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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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