retro record

LISTEN: This mid-century drag queen’s love song proves drag has always been political

Decades before Rupaul’s Supermodel of the World or Divine’s My First Album, drag queen Minette’s topical tunes were immortalized on vinyl.

The French-American queen’s 1968 recording album Come To Me At Tea-Time (available to stream in full here) isn’t full of campy or comedic performances. Instead, she sang earnestly about issues of the time.

Her song “LBJ, Don’t Take My Man Away” is as much a protest song against the Vietnam War as it is a vaudeville-blues ode to her beau. Among tenor-tight lines about her love are lyrics like “LBJ, I hear you escalatin’/LBJ, instead of arbitratin’/LBJ, that is so aggravatin’ to this heart of mine.”

The song is joined by fellow anti-war B-sides like “Pentagon, Please Be Gone” and “Hey! Hey! LBJ, How Many Kids Did You Kill Today?”, far from the cabaret standards of the era.

You may recognize her voice from the soundtrack of the iconic drag documentary The Queen, where she performed the jazzy classic “Am I Blue”.

Minette was a talented musicologist and pianist even late into life, with a nerve and a cheek that endure long after her time.

Hear Minette’s timely presidential plea in “LBJ, Don’t Take My Man Away”: