Don’t you just love it when your elected officials lie to you? And ain’t it grand when the CEO bankrupts the company but walks away with a hundred million dollar golden parachute? And what about having your rights abridged? Isn’t that one of your favorite things? No? Well, I’ll be damned. It turns out that regular folks tend to get a little pissed off at being lied to and cheated. In fact, I got so mad this one time that I wrote a novel. Some people write plays. Others make movies. But today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is about the songwriters who didn’t like what they saw and said what was on their minds. That’s right, it’s time for some protest songs.
Now one of the facets of the cultural diamond that was the Nineteen Sixties was the rise of the protest song. Emerging from the Eisenhower years and all that whitebread music of the don’t-rock-the-boat variety, the country was suddenly shaken by the fight for civil rights, the war in Vietnam, and the rise of what Eisenhower himself called the military-industrial complex. Of course protest songs had been around long before the Sixties. In fact they’ve probably been around as long as we’ve had songs. And the reason for that is simple: there have always been things worth protesting. So we’ll hear a couple of protest classics from 1963 and 1968, first what’s been called ‘the bluntest condemnation in Dylan’s songbook’ and later, Chicago Transit Authority taking their cue from the demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. And just to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same, we’ll get outraged about some more recent shenanigans from the likes of John Fogarty, Graham Parker, Ian Hunter, and Steve Earle. But first, let’s hear what the troubadour had to say about the fine folks in the military industrial complex.
|Bob Dylan||Masters of War|
|John Fogarty||Deja Vu (All Over Again)|
|Ian Hunter||Fuss About Nothin’|
|Graham Parker||Stick to the Plan|
|Steve Earle||Amerika v. 6.0|
Yeah, it sucks that your HMO ain’t doin’ what you thought it would do, but everybody’s gotta die sometime. That’s “Amerika version 6.0,” Steve Earle’s indictment of the current state of affairs up to and including the insurance companies, also known as the original death panels. Before that, Graham Parker taking a closer look at everything from the flooding of New Orleans to extraordinary rendition. He could have called it Stay the Course or Don’t Cut and Run but instead he called it “Stick to the Plan.” At the top of the set Bob Dylan’s classic “Masters of War” a song that surprised the writer himself as he’d never written a song where he hoped out loud that someone would die. After that, John Fogarty making the point that what’s past is prelude. The old ghosts keep rising and day by day we count the dead and the dying. It’s like “Déjà vu All Over Again.” We followed that with a recording from the 1968 Democratic National Convention when the whole world was watching the Chicago Police do their thing. That led into Chicago Transit Authority’s “Someday.” You better run you know, the end is getting near. Feel the wind of something hard come whistling past your ear. After that, Ian Hunter singing one from the point of view of the folks who run the whole show. Ah, you’re making a “Fuss About Nothin’.” Trust me, I’m protecting your interests, these credit default swaps are fabulous…In other words, I got a bridge I can sell ya, here in the Way Back Studios. That’s all the time we have for protesting today but we’ll be back another time with some more. In the meanwhile, if you’re looking for the set lists or the show commentaries or if you’re just wondering, who is this guy, you can find all the answers at my website, billfitzhugh dot com. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I hope you’ll join us again next time for a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, right here, in the Deep Tracks.