Steinski & The Mass Media - The Motorcade Sped On

from by Turn Me On, Dead Man Recordings

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"The Motorcade Sped On" by Steinski & The Mass Media is a hip hop sample-based sound collage that was initially released in 1986. This track takes sound clips from news reports of the Kennedy assassination along with samples of JFK's speeches and arranges them over a sample of the drum pattern from the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women." Steinski finds Walter Cronkite's rhythmic groove to form the "chorus" of the track. The "verses" contain samples from KBOX (Dallas) radio reporters Sam Pate and Ron Jenkins, who were covering Kennedy's motorcade through Dallas, and Ike Pappas of WNEW (New York), who was reporting on developments surrounding the accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

Steinski asserts, “I doubt you'll meet anyone less analytical regarding this sort of thing than me. I work very much in a stream of consciousness vein, just flowing along and grabbing for whatever seems appropriate at the time.” Still, "The Motorcade Sped On" is arranged more or less in chronological order of how events unfolded in November, 1963. The first two verses of "The Motorcade Sped On" includes initial reports of the assassination, in which the journalists struggled to make sense of what was going on during live coverage. Sam Pate and Ron Jenkins were positioned at different locations on JFK's motorcade route. Pate was at Dealey Plaza where the shooting took place, and his reports make up most of the first verse. Jenkins was located farther down the route closer to the Trade Mart. His description of the chaos that erupted after the motorcade scrambled away from the site of the shooting make up the second verse. The third verse is Walter Cronkite's announcement of President Kennedy's death. The fourth verse shifts the focus to events two days later, when Oswald as he was being transferred to the county jail by the Dallas police. Reporting on live television, Ike Pappas moved close enough to Oswald to ask him, “Do you have anything to say in your defense?” just before Oswald was gunned down by Jack Ruby. The track also includes a couple of brief samples from Lenny Bruce’s observations about stereotypical views of Jews in regard to Jack Ruby. Recordings of JFK's speeches are used at key points throughout the track. Most of the clips are from Kennedy’s inaugural address, but also included here is the famous line "Ich bin ein Berliner" from JFK’s speech at the Berlin Wall on June 26, 1963.

"The Motorcade Sped On" has already found its way onto a couple of interesting releases. NME magazine included it on a 7" vinyl compilation called NME's Hat-Trick, which was given away with the February, 1987, issue of the magazine. Steinski explained that Island Records arranged for the track to be included on the NME compilation, "Just after I put the record out, I got signed to Island Records; Island helped publicize the record through their UK connections."

Later "The Motorcade Sped On" was included on Stay Free's Illegal Art Compilation CD. Illegal Art is a record label founded by "Philo T. Farnsworth" in 1998 to challenge existing copyright law. The Illegal Art compilation CD was released in 2002, gathering tracks that had all run into copyright issues that prevented them from wider distribution. The liner notes for the compilation CD explained, "Most of these tracks would never have existed if the artists had adhered to copyright law." The CD also included liner notes for each track, and it had this to say about "The Motorcade Sped On" (with a footnote "*used without permission"), "Steven Stein created this cut-up of Kennedy assassination coverage. His label, Tommy Boy, was unable to officially release it because CBS refused to grant clearance for the use of Walter Cronkite’s voice. It was instead released as a white label 12-inch single in 1986."

In 2008 Illegal Art released a compilation of Steinski's work called What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective that included "The Motorcade Sped On". Steinski explains, "Illegal Art approached me about putting together a retrospective comp (bless their hearts), and I felt we weren't taking too big a risk putting the JFK piece out again due to it being so far under the radar at that point." Steinski gave his permission for the song to be used on Conspiracy A-Go-Go, and it's still as powerful today as it was upon its initial release.



Ed McMahon: And now, here's Johnny
[Opening chord from "A Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles]
JFK: Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your [three gunshots]
[drums begin]

Walter Cronkite: Here is a bulletin
Walter Cronkite: Here is a bulletin
???: What is it?
Sam Pate: Stand by please
Sam Pate: Stand by please
Walter Cronkite: In Dallas, Texas [gunshot]
Sam Pate: It appears as though something has happened
Sam Pate: in the motorcade route
Sam Pate: in the motorcade route

JFK: ich ich ich bin ein ein ein Berliner

Walter Cronkite: Three shots were fired
Walter Cronkite: three
Ron Jenkins: Put me on, Phil, put me on
Walter Cronkite: Three
Ron Jenkins: Put me on, Phil, put me on
Walter Cronkite: Three
Walter Cronkite: President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting
Sam Pate: Stand by please
Sam Pate: Stand by please

Chorus:
Walter Cronkite: More details just arrived
Walter Cronkite: Mrs. Kennedy jumped up
Walter Cronkite: she called, "Oh no"
Walter Cronkite: Oh no
JFK: The energy
Walter Cronkite: Oh no
JFK: The faith
Walter Cronkite: Oh no
JFK: The devotion
Walter Cronkite: Oh no
Walter Cronkite: The motorcade sped on

JFK: The world is very different now

Ron Jenkins: Something has happened here
Ron Jenkins: We understand there has been a shooting
Ron Jenkins: Something has happened here
Ron Jenkins: I can see many, many motorcycles
Ron Jenkins: I can see many, many motorcycles
Ron Jenkins: Mrs. Kennedy's pink suit
Ron Jenkins: something has happened here
Ron Jenkins: many, many motorcycles
Ron Jenkins: Mrs. Kennedy's pink suit
Ron Jenkins: something has happened here
Ron Jenkins: something is wrong here, something is terribly wrong

Chorus

JFK: ich ich ich bin ein ein ein Berliner

Walter Cronkite: The flash
Walter Cronkite: Apparently official
Walter Cronkite: The flash
Walter Cronkite: Apparently official
Walter Cronkite: President Kennedy died at 1:00 PM central standard time
Walter Cronkite: Time
Walter Cronkite: Time
Walter Cronkite: Time
Walter Cronkite: Time
Walter Cronkite: Time

JFK: We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution

Ike Pappas: There is the prisoner
Ike Pappas: There is the prisoner
Ike Pappas: Wearing a black sweater
Ike Pappas: Do you have anything to say in your defense?
[gunshot]
Ike Pappas: Oswald has been shot
Ike Pappas: Oswald has been shot
Ike Pappas: Jack Ruby
Ike Pappas: Jack Ruby
Lenny Bruce: Ruby
Lenny Bruce: Came from Texas
Ike Pappas: He runs the carousel club
Ike Pappas: Here is the ambulance

Chorus (2x)

credits

from Conspiracy A​-​Go​-​Go, released November 1, 2013
previously released as a single in 1986
also released on NME's Hat-Trick, February, 1987
also released on Stay Free's Illegal Art Compilation CD in 2002
also released on What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective in 2008
written by Steve Stein

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