The Séguin brothers – Oxford Town

Robert et Richard Séguin

Bob and Richard Séguin

P.E. Trudeau once said that living next to the U.S.A. was like sleeping next to an elephant – you can’t help but be affected by what it does. In the 60s, we had mixed feelings about our southern neighbours: we loved the music, we hated the politics. It was a time of bigotry, racial riots, lynchings and murder. Such was the state of civil rights in the U.S.

I’ve heard it said that the purpose of art is to hold a mirror up to the face of the world. If so, the greatest artist of the 60s was Bob Dylan. Dylan took the folk music scene by storm at the start of the decade with his “protest songs”, of which “Oxford Town” was a prominent one.

“Oxford Town” was written for the James Meredith incident. On October 1, 1962, James Meredith, a black man, entered the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford as a student, the first African-American to do so. Meredith’s enrollment to the university sparked controversy and riots throughout Oxford. President John F. Kennedy sent U.S. Marshals to the campus and later, as the riots turned violent, the U.S. Border Patrol, the U.S. Army military police, and the Mississippi National Guard. It was a battle siege. When the tumult finally settled, hundreds were injured and two men were dead. James Meredith graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1963 with a degree in political science.

Richie Havens 1941-2013

Richie Havens
1941-2013

Dylan wrote “Oxford Town” in 1962, a deliciously subversive song played in a major key, with a happy melody contrasting the dark lyrics. In 1966, Richie Havens, one of Woodstock’s favourite sons, completely transformed the song into a brooding black civil rights anthem, sung in a minor key. Our version of “Oxford Town” is inspired by the late and great Richie Havens’ brilliant rendition of the song.

Roch Tassé

Roch Tassé

With this piece we can also introduce our collaborating musicians. Some of you may remember Roch Tassé, who played percussion on my first recordings. A long-time friend, Roch will add drums, congas and other percussion instruments to a number of our future recordings. I’ve known Paul Sorensen for almost 20 years and even as a 14-year-old, it was easy to see that he was a born musician.

Paul Sorensen

Paul Sorensen

Paul, a member of the Toronto Reggae/Afrobeat band The Fugitive Minds, will enhance some of our recordings with his excellent bass playing. Check out The Fugitive Minds website at://thefugitiveminds.com/

These musicians will form an acoustic band for some of our upcoming recordings, but this is our electric band. So turn up your speakers and listen to our version of “Oxford Town.”

 

Bob Séguin – voice
Richard Séguin – electric and acoustic guitars
Paul Sorensen – electric bass guitar
Roch Tassé – drums, congas, shaker

 

Oxford Town

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