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Middle East Stereotypes in American Music

GUEST,JR 15 Apr 04 - 02:31 PM
Jim Dixon 15 Apr 04 - 03:50 PM
GLoux 15 Apr 04 - 04:00 PM
Backstage Manager(inactive) 15 Apr 04 - 04:36 PM
mg 15 Apr 04 - 06:13 PM
Don Firth 15 Apr 04 - 06:28 PM
Marion 15 Apr 04 - 06:28 PM
GUEST 15 Apr 04 - 06:36 PM
Marion 16 Apr 04 - 12:35 AM
Stephen R. 16 Apr 04 - 12:43 AM
LadyJean 16 Apr 04 - 12:46 AM
Art Thieme 16 Apr 04 - 12:48 AM
Jim Dixon 16 Apr 04 - 08:12 AM
Pied Piper 16 Apr 04 - 08:22 AM
Jim Dixon 16 Apr 04 - 09:20 AM
M.Ted 17 Apr 04 - 04:13 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 19 May 12 - 04:21 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 19 May 12 - 04:22 AM
melodeonboy 19 May 12 - 07:51 AM
Joe Offer 19 May 12 - 09:33 AM
melodeonboy 20 May 12 - 07:21 AM
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Subject: Middle East Stereotypes inAmerican Music
From: GUEST,JR
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 02:31 PM

Hey-

I need some help.

I intend to investigate the Middle East in American music. By using lyrics, and if possible music videos and others' works, I will evaluate how the music artist presented Middle Eastern concepts, words, traditions, etc. My main focus will be on pop music and other mainstream music. Does anyone know of any songs....

For example.. outkast "Bombs Over Baghdad"

THANKS


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Subject: Lyr Add: AHAB THE A-RAB
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 03:50 PM

Here's a hit novelty song I remember from my childhood, probably sometime in the late 50s or early 60s. The website where I found it attributes it to Ray Stevens, but I wouldn't rely on that; I suspect he only did a cover version, not the original. Other websites mention Kinky Friedman. The lyrics are correct as far as I remember them. "Arab" is pronounced "Ay-rab" throughout.

Copied from http://www.songlyrics.com/song-lyrics/Ray_Stevens/Miscellaneous/Ahab_The_Arab/169093.html

AHAB, THE ARAB

Let me tell you about Ahab the Arab
The sheik of the burning sand
He had emeralds and rubies just drippin' off 'a him
And a ring on every finger of his hand
He wore a big ol' turban wrapped around his head
And a scimitar by his side
And, every evenin', about midnight
He'd jump on his camel named Clyde, and ride

[Spoken] Silently through the night to the sultan's tent where he would secretly meet up with Fatima of the Seven Veils, swingingest grade "A" number one US choice dancer in the sultan's whole harem, 'cause, heh, him and her had a thing goin', you know, and they'd been carryin' on for some time now behind the sultan's back and you could hear him talk to his camel as he rode out across the dunes, his voice would cut through the still night desert air and he'd say (imitate Arabic speech and finish with "Sold! American) which is Arabic for, "Stop, Clyde!" and Clyde'd say, (imitate camel sound), which is camel for, "What the heck did he say anyway?"

Well, he brought that camel to a screechin' halt (verbal screeching sound)
In the rear of Fatima's tent
Jumped off Clyde, snuck around the corner
And into the tent he went.
There he saw Fatima layin' on a zebra skin rug
With
[Spoken in falsetto and possibly with female backups] "Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes and a bone in her nose ho, ho."

[Spoken] There she was, friends, lyin' there in all her radiant beauty, eating on a raisin, grape, apricot, pomegranate, bowl of chittlin's, two bananas, three Hershey bars, sipping on a RC co-cola listenin' to her transistor, watchin' the Grand Ole Opry on the tube, readin' a Mad magazine while she sung, "Does your chewing gum lose it's flavor?" Yeah, Ahab walked up to her and he say, (imitate Arabic speech), which is Arabic for "Let's twist again like we did last summer, baby.!!" Ha, ha, ha!! You know what I mean! Whew! She looked up at him from off the rug, give him one of the sly looks,

She said (suggestive giggles, then outright laughter) "Crazy, crazy, crazy baby!"

('round and around and around and around, and around and around and around)

Yeah, and that's the story 'bout Ahab the Arab
The sheik of the burnin' sand
Ahab the Arab, the swingin' sheik of the burnin' sand


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes inAmerican Music
From: GLoux
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 04:00 PM

I don't know about stereotypes, but Sheik of Araby came to mind.

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes inAmerican Music
From: Backstage Manager(inactive)
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 04:36 PM

Jim Dixon,

"Ahab the Arab" was most definitely written by Ray Stevens, long before Kinky Friedman came on the scene.


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: mg
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 06:13 PM

Hi Ho Kaphusalem the....

Abdul a....Amir in Ivan Skavinsky Skvar...

mg


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 06:28 PM

Midnight at the Oasis?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: Marion
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 06:28 PM

Hi JR. If Disney showtunes would qualify for your project, then you should have a look at the Aladdin movie, especially the introductory song, "Arabian Nights".

I don't remember the exact details - but apparently when the movie was first released there was a line in this song about chopping off hands. There were complaints, and they editted that bit out.

Here are the words as I remember them:

Arabian Nights

I come from a land, from a faraway place,
Where the caravan camels roam.
Where it's vast and immense and the heat is intense
It's barbaric, but hey, it's home!
When the wind's in the east and the moon's in the west
And the sand in the glass is right,
Come on down, stop on by, hop a carpet and fly
To another Arabian night.

Arabian nights, like Arabian days
More often than not, are hotter than hot
In a lot of good ways.
Arabian nights, neath Arabian moons
A fool off his guard could fall and fall hard
Out there on the dunes.

Good luck, Marion

PS There's also that pop song called "Walk Like an Egyptian." Other than the title, I have no idea what it's about.


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 06:36 PM

"I Thought You Were An A-rab" by Tom Paxton.


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: Marion
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 12:35 AM

Question for you, JR: does your project concern only how the modern Middle East is depicted in song, or are you also interested in treatments of its ancient history?

Because if it's the latter, then of course any song referencing a Bible story has some Middle Eastern connection. I expect that you'd be able to find other pop songs with references to the Thousand and One Nights stories, and to Cleopatra and other figures from Pharaonaic Egypt. I'd be more surprised if there are pop songs that mention the Crusades, but you never know.

Are you writing an essay? If so, please consider posting it here when you're done. It sounds like an interesting project.

Some other possible leads:

I believe the Nylons did a song called "King Tut".

If you're interested in the Bible stories, then of course there are the showtunes from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Godspell.

Afghanistan isn't exactly the Middle East, but you might be interested in Steve Earle's song, John Walker's Blues. See this thread for a discussion of that song.

I've heard that Bruce Springsteen did a song called "Paradise" about a Palestinian suicide bomber.


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: Stephen R.
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 12:43 AM

I'm the sheikh [pronounced 'sheek'] of Araby, / Your love belongs to me . . . .

Stephen R.


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: LadyJean
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 12:46 AM

Back in the early eighties, there was a parody of the Beach Boys "Barbara Ann" called Bomb Iran. (One of my favorite Post Gazette cartoons, published on March 17, 1980, showed two drunks in shamrock hats in a police station. The arresting officer is saying "Sean O Casey and WB Yates here for writing *$#%@! Iran in green paint on a squad car.) I believe there was a country and western song called Cheaper Crude or No More Food. "The Sheik" starring Rudolf Valentino, was a popular film in the twenties, and romantic males were called Sheiks. Check out popular songs from the twenties.


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: Art Thieme
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 12:48 AM

"Blood Oranges" by Tom Russell


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 08:12 AM

You're right, Backstage Manager: "Ahab the Arab" was written and first recorded by Ray Stevens. It was a top-10 hit in 1962. There is a copy of the lyrics on his web site.

* * *

Lyrics below transcribed from The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music:

SHEIK OF ARABY
Words, Harry B. Smith & Francis Wheeler. Music, Ted Snyder. 1921.

1. Over the desert wild and free
Rides the bold sheik of Araby.
His Arab band at his command
Follows his love's caravan.
Under the shadow of the palms
He sings to call her to his arms:

CHORUS: I'm the Sheik of Araby.
Your love belongs to me.
At night when you're asleep,
Into your tent I'll creep.
The stars that shine above
Will light our way to love.
You'll rule this land with me,
The Sheik of Araby.

2. While stars are fading in the dawn,
Over the desert they'll be gone.
His captured bride close by his side,
Swift as the wind they will ride.
Proudly he scorns her smile or tear.
Soon he will conquer love by fear. CHORUS

[AMG - All Music Guide lists about 500 recordings of this song. Some notable ones are The Beatles, Sidney Bechet, Milton Brown, Eddie Condon, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, Harry James, Spike Jones, Leon Redbone, Django Reinhardt, Art Tatum, Jack Teagarden, and Fats Waller.

[Lyrics sung by Jim Kweskin with Maria Muldaur are posted here.

[The song was inspired by the 1921 silent film "The Sheik" starring Rudolph Valentino.]


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: Pied Piper
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 08:22 AM

I was riding on the Mayflower
When I thought I spied some land
I yelled for Captain A-rab
I have yuh understand
Who came running to the deck
Said, "Boys, forget the whale
Look on over yonder
Cut the engines
Change the sail
Haul on the bowline"
We sang that melody
Like all tough sailors do
When they are far away at sea

I always found this perplexing

TTFN
PP


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 09:20 AM

I searched The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music for words like "Arab" "sheik" and other associated words, and found these songs:

Araby.
Araby's Daughter. From "Lalla Rookh."
Bagdad.
Burning Sands. The Answer to "The Sheik."
Fly to the Desert, from Lalla Rookh.
Geo. Schleiffarth's Vocal Compositions. No. 7. We Draw the Line at That.
Lovin' Sam (The Sheik of Alabam)
Marie Cahill's Arab Love Song.
Tahmineh. Amour d'Orientelle.
The Rose of Algeria. Twilight in Barakeesh. (Zoradie and Chorus).
The Travelers. My Arab Lady.
While the Incense is Burning (I Dream of You).


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: M.Ted
Date: 17 Apr 04 - 04:13 PM

Don't forget about Disney's "Aladdin"--also do a search at Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee on stereotypes.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Eastern and Western Love (Romberg)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 19 May 12 - 04:21 AM

Guest JR's request is old, but someone might still be interested in Middle Eastern stereotypes in American music. I think this is a very good example.

Let Love Go/If One Flower Grows Alone In Your Garden
From The Desert Song (1926)
Sigmund Romberg, Oscar Hammerstein II

Let love come as some rare treasure,
Lightly granted by Allah,
Love will come so do not measure,
Hours enchanted that can't return.

One woman you have once caressed,
Will strike you very like the rest;
Her kiss is neither worst nor best,
That is love's way.

So, let love come as some rare treasure,
Lightly granted by Allah,
Love will go, so take it while you may,
So take it while you may!

If one flower grows alone in your garden,
Its fragrant sweetness will soon pass away,
If one flower grows alone in your garden,
Soft petals blooming must wither someday.

Love's bowers must be overflowing
With sweet passionflowers of varied perfume;
So gather your precious collection,
A harem of blossoms love's fire to consume.


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 19 May 12 - 04:22 AM

ETA: Those lyrics were typed from memory.


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: melodeonboy
Date: 19 May 12 - 07:51 AM

You've heard of Ali Baba, forty thieves had he
Out for what we all want, lots of L.S.D.
He also had a camel, stole it from a zoo
How he loved the camel, and the camel loved him too
(Oh, how the how the camel loved Ali Bar Bar!)

Ali Baba's camel loved Ali Baba so
No matter where he went to, the camel had to go
Some say that he's in Heaven, but this I know is true
Wherever you think Ali has gone, his camel's gone there too

Crossing the Equator, oooo, how hot it was
Poor old Ali Baba cursed and swore, because
He was so very thirsty, and everybody knows
It's horrible to walk for miles with sand between your toes
(Oh, how the camel loved Ali Baba... brrrrr!)

Ali Baba's camel turned round and licked his hand
He said, "Oh, Ali Baba, I surely understand
We must find an oasis and get a drink somehow
But, hark! I hear the temple bells, they'll all be open now"
(Bleah bleah. Glorious beer, fills you right up with it... aaahh)

They entered for the races at the desert sports
There goes Ali's camel in his filthy cotton shorts
The starter cracked his pistol, off the camel's hared
Ali Baba's camel wins by half a camel's hair
(Hey Ali Baba! Hey Ali Baba!)
(Your camel loves you! Your camel loves you!)

Ali Baba's camel had run for miles and miles
His tail was pointing backwards, that's how a camel smiles
But Ali and his camel, they both were out of breath
They'd run so far, they laughed so much
They laughed themselves to death
[Sounds of crying and wailing)

Oh! Gather round the campfire! Sing a roundelay!
But don't sing out of tune, though
('Cause eggs are cheap today!)
Sing of Ali Baba, sing about his men
Sing about his camel, and then sing it all again
(Oh, how the camel loved Ali Baba)

Ali Baba's camel loved Ali Baba so
No matter where he went to, that camel had to go
Some say that he's in Heaven, but this I know as well
Wherever you think Ali has gone, his camel's gone to.....


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 May 12 - 09:33 AM

What's the song title and were's it from, melodeonboy?

As I walked the streets of Egypt the last couple of weeks, I found it hard to blend in with the crowd. I was immediately recognized as a tourist, of course. Many people called out, "Welcome, welcome, how are you?" Lots of people said "Welcome to Alaska" - their comment on the heat, I suppose. A good number, though, called out, "Hey, Ali Baba." I didn't quite get what that was about. One guy said, "Fuck you" - but that was only one guy.

But I wonder what they meant by "Hey, Ali Baba."

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Middle East Stereotypes in American Music
From: melodeonboy
Date: 20 May 12 - 07:21 AM

It's called "Ali Baba's Camel", Joe. The version I know was done by The Bonzo Dog Band in the 60s, but I believe it was written in the 30s by a chap by the name of Gay.


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