WHY THEM, WHY ME * ABDULLAH * SOUL 35051 * USA
The B side of Here I Stand, The Mighty One, this radical (for Motown) song, produced by Frank Wilson and Henry Cosby, and released October 1968 represents a turning point in the content of Motown product. Why Them, Why Me is by a young man from Brooklyn known as Abdullah a.k.a. Joseph McLean (he had converted to Islam and taken the name Abdullah while in prison) and was the first real protest song or the first song with an overt critical message by a Motown artist outside of boy/girl relationships on any of the company's labels. Sung without anger or bitterness but with an immense amount of compassion and feeling, with an androgynous sounding voice, the song is a reflection on the incomprehensibility of the Viet-Nam war, by the singer who places himself in the role of a combatant and asks the fundamental question "Why them, why me". This was the only record that Abdullah ever cut for Motown, after its release he got into a heated argument with creative division head Ralph Seltzer, and was dismissed.
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