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A short treatise on good manners.

Inspired by Hank Bradley's important essay "Counterfeiting, Stealing and Cultural Plunder: a Manual for Applied Ethnomusicologists." It's now back in print and available for $17 PayPal to the author, hankbrad@comcast.net.

That and 35 years personal experience. There's no challenge offered that I myself haven't had to reconcile, placing myself in any perceived excoriation.


I knew a Zulu drumming master, with complexion alabaster
Made his living teaching African percussion
Studied every single beat, but he beats a quick retreat
Should you wish to challenge his appropriation
It can be a shock if you’ve never heard a “no.

Well there seems to be a fad, amongst the monied college grads
To dramatize the lives of Southern poor folk
With their banjos and their boots, in hipster honky tonks they scoot
Imitating those they don’t much really care for
Never crossed their mind they’d ever hear a “no.”

There’s a strange fascination, with women in this nation
To claim to be a Cherokee Princess
Sure the natives safely dead, crown of feathers on her head
But the Trail of Tears her family never dealt with
From the Rez a buffalo moans out a “no.”

Have you ever heard “no?” Anyplace you cannot go?
Is everything you find just for your pleasure?
With privilege you exert, thoughtless pain and untold hurt
Gentrifying yet another culture’s treasures?
Can tell me that you’ve ever heard a “no?”

There’s hobo Balkan band, blowing in a backyard jam
Playing tunes they learned from folk dance records
Do they care or even wonder, about the folks from whom they plunder?
Or the awful trials those people had to suffer?
From their mass graves in Screbenica I heard faint “no.”

The caucasian bluesman sat, with dark glasses and a hat
On a stage a thousand miles from any Delta
They say he come up from the south, a bogus accent in his mouth
But the urbans kids don’t care to know the difference

Have you ever heard a “no?” Found no place you cannot go?
Can you walk through any door at your leisure?
Speaking English and yer white white, does that gives you the right
To take anything you find just for your pleasure
Have you no manners at all? Tell me, have you ever heard “no?”


from Songs for the Hangman's Daughter, released March 28, 2017
National Resophonic Guitar

Words and Music, M.Rubin



all rights reserved


Mark Rubin, Jew of Oklahoma New Orleans, Louisiana

Oklahoma-born, Texas-reared, and now living in New Orleans, multi-instrumentalist Mark Rubin is an unabashed Southern Jew.

Known equally for his muscular musicianship and larger-than-life persona. Over an accomplished 30+ year career, he has accompanied or produced a virtual who’s-who of American traditional music. With Danny Barnes, he founded Pioneer Proto-Americana band the Bad Livers
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