Under the heading you are never too old to learn; you are never too old to learn

My brother Rob is the music person at the store.  When he arrived with this record and jacket, I found myself on the topic of Billie Holiday, and then on to “Strange Fruit”.  For the uninitiated Strange Fruit began life as a poem written in the 1930s by a New York Jew and activist, Abe Meeropol who may be  better known for adopting the sons of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.  The song was a controversial ballad, the lyrics of which describe a lynched black man hanging from a poplar tree.  Mr. Meeropol’s  inspiration for writing the poem had been an infamous photograph of a 1930 lynching in Marion, Indiana, showing the bodies of victims Abram Smith and Thomas Shipp hanging from the limbs of a tree, above the heads of dozens of white observers.  You will find many and varied accounts of the lore surrounding Billie Holiday and this song, but none so graphic as the Swedish Sonet record cover for a 45 rpm  of the song which eerily reproduces that photograph.

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