The Love You Save May Be Your Own - Joe Tex
In the states in the early 60's if you were a successful soul singer who'd made the crossover onto white radio and white audiences it was a very hard decision to cut sides were in favour of black civil rights as it meant risking your career. So the smart move was to put the message into a song that didn't mention the issue of black emancipation head on. In 1965 Sam Cooke released "A Change is Gonna Come" and the Impressions put out "People Get Ready" both of which spelt out a clear message to those in the know, while going over the heads or under the radar of those who might take offence. In short, they were rallying cries for the cause, with the singers showing that they were not sitting on the fence. Joe Tex was the first Southern Soul singer to cross over to Southern white audiences so his contribution to the genre the following year was particularly courageous. I love this, you could think he (the persona of the song) was just an unlucky guy, an outcast who is forgiving. But many of Joe's early hits were delivered in this southern gospel preacher style, where he sermonised on the rewards of fidelity and true love. So he disguises this list of the day to day ravages of southern racism under very thin guise of a sermon on love gone wrong:
The chorus is:
But I ain't never in my life before
Seen so many love affairs
Go wrong as I do today
I want you to stop
Find out what's wrong
Get it right
Or just leave love alone
Very Christian advice to young lovers. But if you listen to the litany of things that are actually going wrong, there can be no doubt as to what he's talking about:
"People, I've been misled and I've been afraid I've been hit in the head and left for dead I've been abused and I've been accused I've been refused a piece of bread.... I've been pushed around I've been lost and found I've been given till sundown to get out of town I've been taken outside and I've been brutalized And I've had to always be the one to smile and apologise"
When Joe released this, in 1966, the civil rights protests were at their height, and his own peaceful stance of resistance is there for all to see, but the determination is also there, reinforced by the bass, drums and brass as he starts the second verse with the words "Listen to me". And the west in general, and Trump and co, and Marie Le Pen and the rest could do a lot worse than listen to him, and his not so simple but profound message:
"The love you save today may very well be your own."