What’s My Lyric: Civil rights photographer Robert Houston reads ‘Logic of Color’ by Wye Oak

Modified: October 28, 2016

Robert Houston documented the Civil Rights movement with photos of Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others. Portrait by J.M. Giordano.

Robert Houston documented the Civil Rights movement with photos of Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others. Portrait by J.M. Giordano.

Great songs can mean different things to different people. And hearing Robert Houston, who photographed many of the luminaries of the Civil Rights movement, read the lyrics to Wye Oak’s song “Logic of Color” gives the song a stark new perspective.

Houston is one of several subjects of “Struggle: Portraits of Civil Rights and Black Power,” an exhibit by J.M. Giordano at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History and Culture. (Giordano is hosting a gallery walk at noon Saturday.)

It was a cold reading — Houston hadn’t listened to the original song beforehand.

“When I first read it, I was filled with questions,” he said. “Which way is this going to go?”

Here is Houston’s reading:

Afterward, we played “Logic of Color” for Houston, who said singer Jenn Wasner’s voice reminded him of jazz singer Julie London.

“Whenever she sang, her facial expression was as though she was a robot,” Houston said. “She did not emote very well at all, but her voice was golden.”

Here’s a video of London performing “Cry My A River”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXg6UB9Qk0o

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