Hey, Soul Sista

Feb 24, 2010 at 12:00 am

Well, it looks like we still have Sam Riddle to kick around. Somehow, the government case against the political operative (should that be former?) didn't impress one Angela Woods, the lone black juror hearing the Riddle trial. Since then, Riddle has sneaked off to Birmingham to meet girlfriend, former state representative and bribery defendant Mary Waters outside a movie theater. That was a probation violation since they were ordered not to see each other after a domestic dispute during which Riddle pulled a gun on Waters late last year. So the sideshow continued with Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Gregory Bill slapping a tether on Riddle so the authorities can keep track of him.

One thing I have to agree with Riddle about: Folks who pay bribes ought to get just as much grief about it as those who accept them (or the mules who carry the loot). I think Riddle is at least knee-deep in all this bribery muck, but, hey, he beat back the prosecution this round, fair and square. Woods rightly claims that she doesn't "owe an explanation about any of it" to the public or the press. But Riddle owes her for whatever respite, albeit short-lived, he may have before they drag him before another jury. I think it would be nice if Riddle wrote Woods a song. So I have taken the liberty to pen a few words on his behalf, to be sung to the tune of Train's "Hey Soul Sister" (hey, a tune that's all ukulele and percussion can't be all bad). I'm not saying there was anything romantic going on in the courtroom, but Riddle is known to be a ladies' man, and, hey, a guy can dream:

Hey, Soul Sista (No Apologies)

I looked at you.
When you looked back,
I knew you'd be true.
I knew I wouldn't forget you,
And you came to my rescue,
Just in time.

You set me free,
Hung up the jury,
That just filled my heart with glee.
They say that I took money,
But you saw right through that, honey,
Who's one of my kind.

Hey, soul sista,
I just wanna kiss ya
Share a cup of Joe.
Don't you know,
Got some cash to blow
That what you did just made me glow?
Hey, soul sista,
You know white mista
Wants to hang a black man
Tonight, hey, hey.

She copped a plea,
Monica Conyers had much deeper culpability,
She gave me the directions,
Then I'd meet her connection,
I can't deny.

This ain't no pun
Needs be I'll go underground
And take my gun,
I feel a bond with you
Like the charisma that I abused,
It led me to be accused
Of these many crimes.

Hey, soul sista,
Ain't it time I kissed ya? 
There's a place to go.
Don't you know,
That what you did just made me glow?
Hey, soul sista,
You know white mista
Wants to hang a black man.

Tonight, yelling, screaming, lots of fights,
The jury room was an awful fright,
Bug my phone and that's not right.
Facebook, Twitter, I make sure to be in touch.
I want to see you, but not for much,
So when I depart, please don't clutch,
I'm a silly a rabbit in his hutch.

Hey, soul sista,
Ain't it time I kissed ya? 
There's a place to go,
Don't you know
That what you did just made me glow?
Hey, soul sista,
You know white mista
Wants to hang a black man

Loony lucre:  When I saw the headline in the Sunday paper saying that the federal authorities had evidence that former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick took bribes, I figured they were either ready to indict or that charges were not forthcoming and someone just wanted to leak the evidence. As of Monday the news was that they are preparing felony charges against him. Last week the word was that Kilpatrick supporters were trying to raise money to make his $79,000 restitution payments to the city of Detroit (which he didn't make, putting him in violation of his probation). Now his behavior in the past year is starting to come into focus. A few local probation violations are small potatoes when you're staring down the barrel at federal charges. Maybe he's been saving his money for this one. At least the charges would indicate that he, or his father, have some cash stashed. Some of the hallmarks of his Wayne County Court appearance here were his arrogance and his attitude that he was above all this. Let's see if he acts the same way in federal court.  

But the priest do: I played banjo at a Mardi Gras party with Marion Hayden's Bourbon Street Band last week at St. Matthew's and St. Joseph's Episcopal Church on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. A little over a year ago, I was at the same church to be the Grand Marshall at the New Orleans-style funeral for pianist Kenn Cox. That service was one of the greatest church experiences I've ever had. It had to be, for the great jazz pianist that Kenn was. Last week's party was a much more festive occasion, although I function in much the same way when I Grand Marshall a Second Line of revelers when there has been no funeral. People just like to see me dance around with a festive umbrella and bring up fond memories of their vacations to the Big Easy.

Aside from the band's music, and the delicious gumbo and beans and rice served up, there were two striking things to me. One was that the gang at St. Matthew's had the cultural stuff down pat. The hall was well-decorated, many of them dressed the part, they knew the responses when I sang out the songs (like in " Iko, Iko" — when I say "hey, now," you say "hey, now"). Generally I have to exhort the partiers to Second Line. At St. Matthew's, they know how and when to Second Line. Rather than leading, I had to catch up to them. The other striking thing was the exuberance the priest, the Rev. Shannon MacVean Brown, threw into the festivities. She came dressed in a long white gown with a tiara (I called her the fairy-princess priestess), grabbed an umbrella, and danced like the rest of us. Near the end of the evening, when we played "Mama Don't Allow (No Trumpet Playing 'Round Here)," she yelled out, "But the priest do." Hmm ... sounds like my kind of church.

Most recent years I've also played a Mardi Gras party at St. Augustine and St. Monica Catholic Church on the east side. Sadly, due to economic problems, St. Augustine didn't have its party this year. In discussing that with some folks at St. Matthew's (who generally make it to both parties), they suggested that the two churches get together and throw one big party. Now that's what the spirit of ecumenicalism is all about! 

Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and former editor of Metro Times. Contact him at [email protected]