Today’s protest song (the Third Installment) in honor of National Protest Week is called Who Juiced the Major Leagues? It’s a song about baseball written about one year ago when a certain star hero baseball player was accused of and then admitted to using steroids. The song is patterned after Bob Dylan’s song from the early 1960’s Who Killed Davey Moore?
I’m posting this from the road on the way down to Mississippi so there’s not gonna be a whole lot of self-inflicted discussion about this song. There’s not much to say anyway. It’s a song about baseball. Baseball’s the American game. It’s a song about America. We’re all Americans. That’s it.
Tell me what ya think of the song.
Okay. so here’s the Second Installment in honor of National Protest Week (which just happens to be this week, if you didn’t know). This is a song that I wrote way back in 2008, probably around the springtime. It’s called We Don’t March.
This one is a pretty straight-forward, over-the-top, preachy protest song. I don’t sing it out live anymore, and hardly ever play it around the house, except that I’m still really in love with the melody. I stole it from an old Carter Family song (again) called We Will March Through the Streets of the City. You can check out the lyrics to that one here and see the similarities. Or just go listen to it.
For one reason or another I find it pretty easy to rewrite Carter Family songs, probably because the melodies are timeless, but the words aren’t. Maybe the words are too. Words never go away. Maybe it’s the ideas, but I don’t think they were trying to say anything different than what I’m trying to say. It just sounds that way because a lot of their songs have the word “jesus” in them, and the word “god” and “lord” and “pray” and those seem to be strange words for a songwriter these days. Either they mean something different in 2010 than they did back in 1925 or maybe we all understand a little less about the words or ourselves.
Anyway, I wrote We Don’t March kind of as an anti-protest protest song, although I’m not sure it turned out that way. There were a lot of immigration rallies going on back in 2006 and 2007, and then, either they fizzled out or everyone turned their attention to something else. And that puzzled me a little. I always thought, and was brought up to believe, that Americans never give up and that they always lend a hand to someone in need. I guess that hand’s gotta be the right one though. So I wrote this one, and I suppose I’m kinda shaking my finger at everyone else and at myself (even if I don’t say that in the song).
The recording was done live at the Elbo Room on July 21, 2008.
So, here’s the first song in honor of National Protest Week. This is a new one that I finished on Friday last week. I’ve had the chorus running around through my head for a few months now. I picked it up from the old Woody tune The Sinking of the Reuben James. It’s a song I’ve really always loved and I couldn’t quite understand why until I sat down and went about learning the guitar parts a few weeks back. Turns out it’s just an adaptation of the Carter Family’s Wildwood Flower, which is another really great song and probably one everyone knows, or should know, on guitar. Anyway, this new song kinda fell into place over the next couple weeks pretty easily. It’s called The Sinking of the Deepwater Horizon. It’s what you’d call a current-topical-protest-song, I guess.
I really struggled in the beginning with this one because writing a good protest song is really hard. I’d say 99% of them get up there on a high-horse and don’t ever come down. They preach and they yell and they don’t say very much. The first few drafts of mine were exactly like that and lots of other songs I’ve written are exactly like that (some of which I’ll post this week in honor of National Protest Week).
So, this song (hopefully) does not tell you what you oughta think or believe or be fighting. I think it just states some facts and then puts the bulls-eye right squarely where it oughta be placed.
Okay, that’s enough talking. Listen to this first installment of my protest songs in honor of National Protest Week and let me know what ya think.