Song of the Day: “Lord, Help the Poor and Needy”


Maybe growing up with a father who was a Jehovah’s Witness caused Charlyn Marie “Chan” Marshall to develop a sensitivity to the plight of the unlucky and underprivileged. Then again, Marshall, who is widely known by her stage name Cat Power, might also have an artist’s innate empathy and receptiveness to others’ pain—something that we, as a nation, could stand to develop ourselves. Her soulful and spare ballad, “Lord, Help the Poor and the Needy,” cuts right to the quick. “Lord, help the human race,” she sings, but her mournful tone suggests that the hard work will be done by us, the earthbound, who need as much empathy as we can get.

Read more of Max Gray at Big City Sasquatch or follow him on Twitter @City_Sasquatch. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Encounters, Mount Hope, Conte,, and English Kills Review. He co-hosts the etymology podcast Words For Dinner and is a graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA program. More from this author →