You don’t need me to tell you what’s going down in this country these days. You know what the score is.
Did you say you’re a public servant?
Well, then let me ask you why
You’re keeping the public uninformed
When you’re not feedin’ us with lies
Listen to our founding fathers
Sit down and read the Bill of Rights
You’d better learn how to play the game by the rules
Or you’re gonna have an awful fight
Sounds a lot like today, right?
This is Chi Coltrane, the singer and pianist most know from the hit single “Thunder and Lightning,” dropping some thunder and lightning on the president in 1972.
There it is, the timelessness of protest.
‘Cause I will not dance to your music
And I will not drink your wine
And I will not toast to your success
Because you’re no friend of mine, oh yeah, you know it
You’re no friend of mine
Nope, no friend of mine then, no friend of mine now.
“I Will Not Dance,” Chi Coltrane, from “Chi Coltrane,” 1972.
This was from Coltrane’s debut LP. So what happened to Chi Coltrane?
After “Let It Ride,” the follow-up LP, came out in 1973, Coltrane recorded sporadically. In 1977, she moved to Europe, where she found a more passionate following and released three records during the ’80s. Her last LP of new material was “The Message,” one of those European releases, in 1986. She returned to Los Angeles in 1993 and built a recording studio.
Ten years ago, in 2009, Coltrane resumed performing. That year, she also released a career retrospective comp with three new songs. In 2012, she released a live CD of a “comeback concert” in Vienna on her own label.
Now 70, Coltrane remains popular in Europe, particularly Switzerland and Germany, playing shows there as recently as last year.