Archive for Woody Guthrie

A sign of the times

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2008 by macmystery
How is this guy not on the list?

How is this guy not on the list?

If you’ve ever read Rolling Stone or Entertainment magazine, or a newspaper for that matter, you’ve read one of those “Top 10 (fill-in-the-blank) of all-time” lists.

Top 100 songs, albums, guitarists, movies, actors, movie quotes, sex scenes, etc. of all-time.

Well, the Los Angeles Times Music Blog has issued it’s list of the top 15 songs of all-time about being broke. Given the state and direction of the economy, that’s to be expected.

Songs on the top-15 list include:

Blind Alfred Reed, “How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live?”

Geto Boys, “Ain’t With Being Broke”

The Clash, “Career Opportunities”

Crystal Waters, “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)”

The Beatles, “Can’t Buy Me Love”

Bruce Springsteen, “Atlantic City”

Dolly Parton, “Coat of Many Colors”

Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Fortunate Son”

Loretta Lynn, “Coal Miner’s Daughter”

Sham 69, “Hey Little Rich Boy”

Bob Marley, “Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)”

Pulp, “Common People”

Erik B. and Rakim, “Paid In Full”

Desmond Dekker, “The Israelites”

Ruben Blades, “Adan Garcia”

The best of the rest include: Soundtrack to “Annie,” “Hard Knock Life”; Roger Miller, “King of the Road”; Townes Van Zandt, “Marie”; Stevie Wonder, “I Wish”; Ray Charles, “I’m Busted”; Randy Newman, “Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)”; Merle Haggard, “Workingman Blues”; Phil Collins, “Another Day In Paradise”; The Temptations, “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”; Gwen Guthrie, “Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent”; Elvis Presley, “In the Ghetto”; Run DMC, “Hard Times”; Donnie Hathaway, “Little Ghetto Boy”; Clarence Carter, “Patches”; Kanye West, “Spaceship”; Jerry Reed, “She Got the Goldmine, I Got the Shaft.”

In the initial top 15, I’m very familiar with the songs by Reed, Springsteen, Marley, Parton, Lynn and CCR and understand their inclusion.

Reed’s song, recently covered by Springsteen on the Seeger Sessions, is as authentic as you get. Shortly after releasing it, his most well-known song, he died of STARVATION. I’d call that authentic.

I’m not sure the Beatles’ song fits here, and many of the others, I’m simply not familiar with.

It’s much the same for the next 16 listed … in fact, I know more songs on this list.

But just to show how these lists can be off … I think it’s virtually impossible to have a list of the best songs about being broke and not including some songs from Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. These artists chronicled the Great Depression and influenced the next generation of artists.

And how can there be so few blues artists on the list?

Just goes to show that these lists, as much as they reflect a consensus among a certain group of people, even more so they reflect the breadth, or lack thereof, of that group’s musical knowledge.

Here’s a couple songs from the list:

Bruce does Philly

Posted in Music, Politics with tags , , , on October 5, 2008 by macmystery
Bruce played Saturday to a crowd estimated to be as large as 50,000 in Philadelphia.

Bruce played Saturday to a crowd estimated to be as large as 50,000 in Philadelphia.

Bruce Springsteen played a free acoustic gig in downtown Philadelphia Saturday as part of a voter registration drive for the Barack Obama campaign.

The crowds was estimated to be as large as 50,000. You can read the wire story here. Or you can check out Bruce’s official site.

The songs included: “Promised Land,” “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” “Thunder Road,” “No Surrender,” “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street,” “The Rising” and Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”

Here’s what Bruce had to say to the crowd.

“Hello Philly,

I am glad to be here today for this voter registration drive and for Barack Obama, the next President of the United States.

I’ve spent 35 years writing about America, its people, and the meaning of the American Promise. The Promise that was handed down to us, right here in this city from our founding fathers, with one instruction: Do your best to make these things real. Opportunity, equality, social and economic justice, a fair shake for all of our citizens, the American idea, as a positive influence, around the world for a more just and peaceful existence. These are the things that give our lives hope, shape, and meaning. They are the ties that bind us together and give us faith in our contract with one another.

I’ve spent most of my creative life measuring the distance between that American promise and American reality. For many Americans, who are today losing their jobs, their homes, seeing their retirement funds disappear, who have no healthcare, or who have been abandoned in our inner cities. The distance between that promise and that reality has never been greater or more painful.

I believe Senator Obama has taken the measure of that distance in his own life and in his work. I believe he understands, in his heart, the cost of that distance, in blood and suffering, in the lives of everyday Americans. I believe as president, he would work to restore that promise to so many of our fellow citizens who have justifiably lost faith in its meaning. After the disastrous administration of the past 8 years, we need someone to lead us in an American reclamation project. In my job, I travel the world, and occasionally play big stadiums, just like Senator Obama. I’ve continued to find, wherever I go, America remains a repository of people’s hopes, possibilities, and desires, and that despite the terrible erosion to our standing around the world, accomplished by our recent administration, we remain, for many, a house of dreams. One thousand George Bushes and one thousand Dick Cheneys will never be able to tear that house down.

They will, however, be leaving office, dropping the national tragedies of Katrina, Iraq, and our financial crisis in our laps. Our sacred house of dreams has been abused, looted, and left in a terrible state of disrepair. It needs care; it needs saving, it needs defending against those who would sell it down the river for power or a quick buck. It needs strong arms, hearts, and minds. It needs someone with Senator Obama’s understanding, temperateness, deliberativeness, maturity, compassion, toughness, and faith, to help us rebuild our house once again. But most importantly, it needs us. You and me. To build that house with the generosity that is at the heart of the American spirit. A house that is truer and big enough to contain the hopes and dreams of all of our fellow citizens. That is where our future lies. We will rise or fall as a people by our ability to accomplish this task. Now I don’t know about you, but I want that dream back, I want my America back, I want my country back.

So now is the time to stand with Barack Obama and Joe Biden, roll up our sleeves, and come on up for the rising.”