Gravy & Biscuits

Description

“Gravy & Biscuits” is composed with the voice of Peggy Terry, interviewed by sociologist Studs Terkel. She speaks of the Great Depression, her perceptions of changes to the United States government in the depression’s wake, and her earliest memory of wondering, “Why?”

Turkel used audio technologies to record, document and write history in the voices of ordinary people–letting people, rather than scholars, make the historical record, supplanting the written, protocol-ridden voice of academia with the profound and infinitely nuanced depth of the human voice.

Throughout the work, Peggy Terry’s voice resonates with 12 tones of Hindi Pentatonic scales, with a changing selection of those resonant frequencies processed through Iron Curtain electronics and hardware manufactured in the Pacific Northwest–blending the sonic landscapes of two geo-politically disparate regions with common histories of isolation and fiercely independent culture-making.

Image. Angela White. Gelatin silver print of found negatives damaged by Hurricane Gaston. A collaboration of global weather patterns and family portraiture.

Lyrics:

otherotherotheotherotherotherotherother

milk milk milk

a hatred of one human 4 another
milk milk milk
i think the rich were as contemptuous of the poor then as they are now

otherotherotheotherotherotherotherother

milk milk milk
a hatred of one human 4 another
milk milk milk
i think the rich were as contemptuous of the poor then as they are now

this may sound impossible but
we picked oranges and grapefruits and lemons and limes
because all kinda propaganda

hatred hatred
hatred hatred
we were migrant workers down there
hatred hatred
hatred hatred

of one human for another
i was pregnant
the minute the war ended
started me thinking
of one human for another

i read in the paper
this may sound impossible but
a hatred of one human for another
milk milk milk milk

otherotherotherotherotherother

a hatred of one human for another
i think the rich were as contemptuous of the poor then as they are now

this may sound impossible but
we picked oranges and grapefruits and lemons and limes
all kind of propaganda has been going on
started me thinking

i read in the paper
it was president Roosevelt’s cufflinks
and it told that some of them were rubies
about how many pairs of cufflinks he had
this may sound impossible
of precious stones
i just wondered, i’ll never forget

all precious stones
there’s one thing
i just wondered, i’ll never forget, i was sitting on an old tire

and we were hungry

not just hate Russians and Chinese and Germans

and we were hungry

all precious stones, these were his cufflinks

and we were hungry

all precious stones, these were his cufflinks

and we were hungry, and so poor

not just hate Russians and Chinese and Germans

make us hate each other, i think

and i was wondering why it was that one man

why? why? why?

if the government had tried to do to a country what we’re doing now to Vietnam

why? why? why?

could have all those cufflinks

when we couldn’t even have enough to eat
what we’re doing now to Vietnam
could have all those cufflinks
when we couldn’t even have enough to eat

we lived on gravy and biscuits

and i think maybe that was my first thought of wondering

why?