The Philosophy of Rahsaan Roland Kirk

"God loves Black sound."

"Y'know, Music is a beautiful thing.
When I'm reincarnated, I'm gonna come back as a musical note!
That way can't nobody capture me.
They can use the hell out of me
but ain't nothin' too much they can do to me.
They can mess me up. They can play the wrong note.
They can play a C, but they can't really destroy a C.
All it is, is a tone.
So I'm gonna come back as a note!"
    — Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Transcripted Excerpts of Raps & Lyrics

Talk (Bright Moments) (Bright Moments)

Yes yes . . . .
You know it's good to be in a place that feels like you're in your house, you know?
Now, it's a beautiful thing, we're glad you people are assembled here with us on this Saturday night . . .
You know what I mean? You don't feel like Saturday night people.
Some Saturday night people, that's the only night they get out and they act like it.
You know like when you cage something up and when it gets out, they act like it,
that's the way most Saturday night people act.
Now, we would like to think of some very beautiful Bright Moments. You know what I mean?
Bright Moments . . . .
Bright Moments is like . . . eating your last pork chop in London, England, because you ain't gonna get no more . . . cooked from home.
Bright Moments is like being with your favorite love and you're all sharing the same ice cream dish.
And you get mad when she gets the last drop.
And you have to take her in your arms and get it the other way.
Bright Moments.
That's too heavy for most of you all because you all don't know about that kind of love.
The love you all have been taught about is the love in those magazines.
And I am fortunate that I didn't have to look at magazines.
Bright Moments.
Bright Moments is like seeing something that you ain't ever seen in your life and you don't have to see it but you know how it looks.
Bright Moments is like hearing some music that ain't nobody else heard, and if they heard it they wouldn't even recognize that they heard it because they been hearing it all their life but they nutted on it, so when you hear it and you start popping your feet and jumping up and down they get mad because you're enjoying yourself but those are bright moments that they can't share with you because they don't know even how to go about listening to what you're listening to and when you try to tell them about it they don't know a damn thing about what you're talking about!
Is there any other Bright Moments before we proceed on?
Testify! . . . .
Bright Moments.
Bright Moments.
Bright Moments is like having brothers and sisters and sisterettes and brotherettes like you all here listening to us.

*     *     *     *

Clickety Clack (Bright Moments)

Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Bring that man's baby back.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
I want my spirit back.
Clickety clack
Bubble music being seen and heard on Saturday night
Blinding the eyes of ones that's supposed to see.
Bubble music, being played and showed, throughout America.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Somebody's mind has got off the goddamn track.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Won't somebody bring the Spirit back?
You didn't know about John Coltrane.
And the beautiful ballad he wrote—wait a minute—
And the beautiful ballad he wrote called "After the Rain".
You didn't know about Lady Day and all the dues that she had to pay.
The Beatles come into the country, they take all the bread,
while the police hittin' black and white folks upside their head.
Tom Jones and Humperdinck got everybody uptight.
They make people that can sing wanna get out and fight.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
What is this madness that Nixon has put upon us?
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Won't somebody bring the Spirit back?
Who will it be?
Who will it be?
It certainly won't be someone that says that they're free.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Won't somebody bring the Spirit back?
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack . . . clickety clack

*     *     *     *

Old Rugged Cross (Blacknuss)

Now, a whole lotta things been bothering me, because a lot of people think that things is cool.†
People riding around in those cars and riding them airplanes, pocket full of money and everybody think that things is cool.†
Even old jive president—Accident I mean—would make you think that things is cool.†
But Iím here to tell all oí yíall, and him, too, that we got a cross that we must bear, and the cross gets awful heavy.

Now there's the black cross, the green cross, the white cross, the double cross, the criss-cross, and the lost cross.
And the cross gets awful heavy at different times, but one is supposed to keep on going on and carrying the cross on his shoulder,
because you ain't supposed to let no cross cross you up.
You're supposed to let a cross help you get across.
And if you let a cross help you get across, you won't get crossed up but you'll be on the cross 'cause you done got across on the cross.
So if you can remember this, you won't get lost on the cross while you're trying to get across.
So we're just here to let you know about it.
I know that you knew already, 'cause y'all the hippest people in the world, hip black and white.
But you still know that you got a cross you must deal with.
So when it crosses you up, go on and deal with it,
and leave it alone.

*     *     *     *

Search for the Reason Why (Volunteered Slavery)

It's a joy to feel the sun upon me
The moon, the stars, they always seem so free

Music that makes us cry
Love that money canít buy
Letís all search for the reason why

Raindrops fall from the sky so small
Canít you feel the birds sing their song?

Everyone has a dream (Everyone has a dream)
Everything has a scheme (Everything has a scheme)
Letís all search for the reason why

Why . . . . oh why?
Why . . . . oh why?

Everyone has a dream
Everything has a scheme
Letís all search for the reason why

Music that makes us cry
Love that money canít buy
Letís all search for the reason why

Everyone has a dream
Everything has a scheme
Letís all search for the reason why

(Now) Music that makes us cry
Love that money canít buy
Letís all search for the reason why

Why Ö why Ö why† Ö why
Why Ö why Ö why!


Note: The recordings these words are transcribed from may be packaged in more than one way. For example, the albums Volunteered Slavery and Blacknuss are available individually but have also been packaged together in a CD called Left Hook, Right Cross. For more information about Rahsaan Roland Kirk, this book is available:

Kruth, John. Bright Moments: The Life and Legacy of Rahsaan Roland Kirk. New York, NY: Welcome Rain Publishers, 2000.


Black Studies, Music, America vs Europe

the Rahsaan Roland Kirk website

allmusic ((( Rahsaan Roland Kirk >Overview)))


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Uploaded 19 May 2003
Revised 2 June 2003
Link added 7 August 2007

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