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Jan 04

Weedy Eighties White People Singing About Soul Stars #3: China Crisis – “Black Man Ray”

I Hate Music17 comments • 8,192 views

“Black Man Ray” is Ray Charles, who China Crisis apparently believe in. Now Ray Charles’ blackness is not a secret, so why did China Crisis see fit to remind us of it on their incomprehensibly awful single? My theories:

i) They were talking about the photographer Man Ray, and asserting that he was black. Which he wasn’t. But this was the 80s and all sorts of people were black back then – Shakespeare, Rick Astley, etc. – generally at the behest of ‘loony lefties’ who The Sun had made up.

ii) The song was meant to be a double A-Side with “White Man Ray” about snooker ace Ray Reardon but it was dropped when China Crisis decided they preferred Dennis Taylor and his clever upside-down glasses.

iii) It was a reference to the much rumoured secret weapon of the South African apartheid regime, The Black-Man Ray. Fashioned almost definately from Nazi technology this weapon was supposedly able to fire into a crowd of people of various ethnicities and just pick out those of African origin. China Crisis, not content to constantly remind the world of the crisis in China, we also warning the world of a great evil in Africa.

iv) Ray Charles being blind, the lads from China Crisis thought he might not know he was black and decided to remind him. It would explain an awful lot of the discrimination he would have put up with in his youth so you think someone, like his parents, might have told him but it was nice of CC to be so thoughtful. A bit like the Beatles did with Lady Madonna.

If only Ray Charles had been deaf as well they might have got away with it, too.

Comments

  1. 1
    LeboviciAB84 on 5 Jan 2007 #

    iv)Ray Charles being blind, the lads from China Crisis thought he might not know he was black and decided to remind him. It would explain an awful lot of the discrimination he would have put up with in his youth so you think someone, like his parents, might have told him but it was nice of CC to be so thoughtful. A bit like the Beatles did with Lady Madonna.

    Aceness abounds!

  2. 2
    Lou spowls on 14 Mar 2007 #

    Ray was a Liverpool man of Nigerian descent who managed an Arts Based Youth Training Scheme in the late 70′s to mid 80′s.
    The premises he ran offered young groups – China Crisis among them – the chance to rehearse and record.
    However, petulant youth quite often conflicted with authority, which helped set up more than one crisis.

  3. 3
    Music Fan on 14 Mar 2007 #

    SHUT YOR STUPID CUNTY MOUTH HOW DARE YOU ATTACK ELVIS HE IS THE KING YOU ARE JUST SHIT WRITER ON THE DOLL YOU CANT EVEN AFFORD PROPER BURGERS HAVE TO GO TO MICK DONALD’S FOR YOUR BURGERS WITH GREEN SAUCE TUPENCE ELVIS ATE WORLD’S BEST BURGERS THAT IS WHY HE IS BUGGER KING!

  4. 4
    nmb b on 1 Jun 2007 #

    jm

  5. 5
    frankgrimes on 8 Jul 2007 #

    tanya ill try to say this using small words,because i unlike you have a life,and i dont want to waste any of it searching out big words like sonambulent and maloderous. these big words do not fool anyone into thinking you are clever,what you say is more a giveaway. it takes more skill to build, than to tear down.as for saying you hate music full stop,i feel sorry for you .get some therapy im sure you need it

  6. 6
    Alan on 8 Jul 2007 #

    anyone wondering, “sonambulent” and “maloderous” are used in the related article: Day 62: China Crisis – AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 LOUSY TUNES.

    tanya HAS spelled ‘malodorous’ correctly in the original article, but not ‘somnambulent’ — which is as quoted above

  7. 7
    Marcello Carlin on 1 Apr 2008 #

    I did enjoy their follow-up, “Wake Up (King In A Catholic Style)” which was a wonderful fan fiction fantasy about the “Love And Pride” hitmaker dressed up as the Pope and deciding to ban condoms despite subsequent big hits like “Taste Of Your Tampon.”

  8. 8
    Drew Snider on 17 Jul 2008 #

    Just came across this after hunting the tune down (yes, on purpose). The tune reminded me of days in “rock” radio, when many of us still thought digital watches were a neat idea. And there was the overarching question, WHAT IN BLAZES WERE THEY SINGING ABOUT? Thank you, Tanya, for straightening me out on that score: I’m not SUPPOSED to know! I was starting to feel inadequate. Question: what’s worse than the song? The video!

  9. 9
    graz on 13 Jan 2010 #

    i thought he was my mate black man steev’s brother

  10. 10
    graz on 13 Jan 2010 #

    actually i believe its a anti preach song. what kind of preaching i dont know. it may have something to do with race. it is clear in the full lyrics of the song that black man ray is some form of colt leader brainwashing many into believing his philosophies and surpressing the individual soul of those who choose to follow.

  11. 11
    Mark G on 9 Mar 2010 #

    (Actually, I believe the song really was about Man Ray, who’s photographs were somewhat noir)…

  12. 12
    Seamus O'Ceallachair on 18 Dec 2010 #

    “Now Ray Charles’ blackness is not a secret, so why did China Crisis see fit to remind us of it”
    hmm…
    So…
    the fact that someone reminds you that Ray Charles is black is a bad thing is it? So black people being reminded that they are black is negative? Jeez, how racist are you??? Being black = wrong!! Pathetic!! You ought to be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. Typical right-wing person who embraces “diversity” so long as we can all be the same!!

  13. 13
    arfer ritus on 1 Aug 2011 #

    who gives a shit ,80`s rock unless you wasnt about then so your a friggin looser

  14. 14
    Joeb on 2 Aug 2011 #

    was Ray Charles blind?

  15. 15
    Tommy on 2 Aug 2011 #

    Yes. Yes he was.

  16. 16
    Roj on 16 Sep 2011 #

    Tommy…that’s brilliant. Did you listen to the track before making that post? No, no, I don’t think you needed to did you.

    Anyway hopefully Tanya is dead and her bad attitude has gone with her to the grave but more importantly:

    1. Was there really internet back in 2004. Or did she chisel this into the wall of a cave and somebody put it on the net recently.

    2. Why are we (and I include me!) commenting 7 years on giving the unutterably dull Tanya undeserved kudos.

    3. Tanya, if you’re not dead (shame but life’s not always fair) why don’t you regale us with a list of your lifelong achievements which make you such an authority on music that anybody in the developed world should give a shit about your opinion.

    Just watched China Crisis at the Hard Rock Colloseum in Singapore… there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. Anyway, they were good but the crowd was small and I don’t think we drew the best from the band.

  17. 17
    Tommy on 16 Sep 2011 #

    No, I didn’t need to listen to this or any other track to know that Ray Charles was blind. I was answering Joeb’s question, but thanks for your words of encouragement.

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