Jake Speed and the Freddies

Hard Times in Cincinnati

Citizens of Cincinnati stood up in its streets in 2001 after a white policeman chased on foot a Black teen into a dead end alley, shot, and killed him. He testified the kid Timothy had had his back to him and then turned to face him. The tools of taking life took his. Timothy was unarmed. But the cop wouldn’t have murdered him because the cop was racist, punitive, militarily unbalanced, and perplexed by nuance. The only living party upheld his belief system and the judicial branch agreed. The cop was acquitted and transferred to an easy cop gig in a majority white Township as a reward.

A folk quartet fronted by reincarnated railrider Jake Speed, a wordsmith with a machine that kills fascists and reed spitter perched under his chin. He wore old suits and hats and picked the tunes that were a product of the trade. Unshined shoes tapped their worn out heels when this old soul within a youth raised his voice louder than the rolled up windows rolling by. The tiny bit of this part of the country that somebody can be proud of finds one example in this acoustic combo. Their tunes straighten a bent back even though they’re about mean ol’ wardens and clubbing sameness on the trodden on. Ma ain’t told Pa his girl’s in a family way again. There are still lanes marked off for certain people here. Choice depends on wealth and property. The enemy’s the same now as when the dust came.