30 Days of Musical Blackness With VSB, Day 16: Gladys Knight & the Pips ‘Daddy Could Swear, I Declare’

Illustration for article titled 30 Days of Musical Blackness With VSB, Day 16: Gladys Knight & the Pips ‘Daddy Could Swear, I Declare’
Photo: Motown

Happy Father’s Day!

You know what’s difficult to find? Positive songs about black fathers. I’m not saying there aren’t any, I’m just saying that the genre, as it were, could stand some more entries. So today, I decided to go with a song by Gladys Knight & the Pips. The song celebrates dads, or Gladys’ dad, by talking about what he could do almost better than anyone else: “Daddy Could Swear, I Declare” from their 1973 album, Neither One Of Us. The song was a top 5 song on the R&B charts. I guess a lot of folks had a daddy who could swear with the best of them.


Gladys Knight & the Pips “Daddy Could Swear, I Declare” (1973)

Over some of that solid funk and soul the group was known for, Gladys tells you about her father, all 5’7” inches of him who couldn’t read or write. He did, however, spend most of his time fussin’ and cussin’ when he was talking about something. You see, daddy could swear, she declares.

My own father can do the same but he tends to ration the profanity out a lot more nowadays. Either way, if you’re ever looking for a fun song about dads by a black group to put on your cookout playlist or just to jam out to on Father’s Day, this is a pretty good option.

I declare.

Happy Father’s Day!

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.


I wish I had heard this back when my Dad was alive. I would have played this song for him. He was five foot seven. Also he learned English in the U.S. Army during the Second World War. I never met anybody else who could curse as hard as him, and when he ran out profanity in English he could switch to Spanish or French and keep on cussin’.