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  • Writer's pictureGloria Tang

Working Class Hussys New Single 'White Lady' out Today

Ian Patrick Gentles is the songwriter and multi-instrumentalist that leads the band Working Class Hussys. Its single, “White Lady,” begins with a jangly, acoustic guitar base. Once the vocal kicks in, though, the

track takes on a kind of old school, jazz age vibe. Although the song is titled “White Lady,” Gentles is

heard to sing, “Summertime’s fine with me.” It’s a sweet, summery kind of song.

Listen to the single here:

In our racially charged contemporary world, any song that even slightly refers to skin color, is likely going

to come off suspiciously socially conscious to some. With that said, however, it doesn’t sound as though

Gentles is addressing racism. At least not directly. Then again, maybe he is. Whatever the case, the song

has a lovely, lilting rhythm to it. It sounds happy, not angry.

While not especially rock and roll, the track does conclude with a truly aggressive and memorably

strummed guitar part. This is the strumming of chords, though, and not a note-bending electric lead

guitar solo. It’s an odd ending to the song, in that it’s different from the rest of the piece

Gentles sings this one with a pure, melodic voice. He’s smooth. He also sounds a little like a man out of

time. This vocal would sound just as at home in an English music hall. The instrumentation is closer to

soft rock than anything especially hard. It’s rock and it’s alternative, but it’s not abrasive.

Working Class Hussys is also an act name that is slightly retro. If you ever hear prostitutes or hookers

described as hussies, more than likely, this will be an elderly person describing them this way. These are

the same ones that refer to cars as jalopies, by the way. It’s still a derogatory term, only an old

descriptor for the world’s oldest profession. The ‘working class’ part, one assumes, distinguishes these

working girls from the more high-class variety. (You know, the one Julia Roberts played in a popular

movie). It’s probably safe to say that most ladies of the night are far from high-class sex workers.

This act is from central New Jersey. Stylistically, though, Working Class Hussys describe themselves as an

Americana/roots group. Granted, this particular track doesn’t sound too country, folk or bluegrass. It

does sound like something from the pre-rock musical realm, though. Without the recording’s electric

guitar part, it might pass for a much older recording. Furthermore, one can easily imagine it being sung

in some Broadway musical or other.

It's left to the listener to decide if this white lady is some Caucasian Karen or not. Gentles clearly has

someone or some someones in mind while he’s singing it. If he’s trying to change this white lady’s

behavior, his song is more of a nudge than a push. There’s a gentleness in the way it’s sung that makes

its message go down like the proverbial spoonful of sugar.

The track’s undeniable sweetness may distract you from digging too deeply into its lyrics and meaning.

Even if you don’t really need to know what it’s all about, this is one delightful example of musical ear



-Dan MacIntosh


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