|Jazz singer-songwriter Gregory Porter, backed by a quintet, at the start of his annual Valentine's Day concert in Carnegie Hall on Wednesday night.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- His rich baritone still strong after a 2-hour concert, Gregory Porter sang of a world that isn't divided by fear, hatred and racism:
When love was king
He showed respect for every man
Regardless of their skin or clan
Beside him stood his mighty queen
an equal force wise and keen
He lifted up the underneath
And all his wealth he did bequeath
To those who toiled without a gain
So they would remember his reign.
Porter introduced "When Love Was King," which he wrote, by recalling his meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing St. in London.
She said she loved his version of "Smile" -- a tribute to Nat "King" Cole, a major influence on Porter -- and asked for other songs of his she should listen to.
This is what he said:
When you and "our president" [Donald J. Trump] are sipping cognac together, listen to the words of "When Love Was King."
Once was a kingdom, far far away
Love was the rule of the day
Nothing more, nothing less
Than to give your friend your best.
There's much more story that I could tell
To make the hardest hearts swell
This is the story when love was king.
When love was king, do you remember?
When love was king, when love was king
I remember when love was king.
He ruled the land, with his fist unfurled
With open arms for the world
Of hungry children, first he'd think
To pull their lives from the brink
When love was king.
As he sang, a woman sitting in our row, on the other side of my wife, said out loud, "Obama, Obama."
Porter received a standing ovation last Wednesday night at Carnegie Hall, and many in the audience were overcome with emotion.
Below, see a short video of Porter ending the concert:
Here is a YouTube video of Porter singing "When Love Was King."