|Speak softly and carry a large guitar. Guthrie, Woody.|
Almost 30 years ago, a crazy old coot of a politician recorded some protest songs from the 60s. Armed with static-prone hair, no musical talent, and an uncanny ability to point in the air with his finger while talking, he gathered some local state musicians who, apparently, were immune to common sense. Not realizing that mixing politics – and specifically, politicians – in music is not dissimilar to mixing (often crude) oil in water, these brave artists soldiered on with their labors and produced some of the least-known independently released covers ever to grace this country. Perhaps a remarkable un-recognition in its own right.
Fast-forward to modern day. The musicians have dispersed, along with the memories of that fateful recording session. And the crazy old coot has only gotten moreso, to the point that his errant finger-pointing and presidential campaign are attracting and engaging certain segments of the population.
Not the least of whom are, yes, musicians. (Put a guitar in front of that finger!)
Dusting off an old vinyl stashed away in some Indiana Jones-style vault, a new band of Vermonteers dropped the needle on this old memory of the past and said: we can do better.
It wasn’t hard. Check out their little video here.
And while said politician / presidential candidate / Democratic frontrunner? – may look upon his recorded works, and despair, there are those who understand something more innate about it. Not about the craft, or the musicianship, but about the song selections, about the thought behind the album, even as its execution might have… perhaps waned.
The songs, all of which have their place in history. The album, which will certainly not hold such a place, held right at this link.
There are those who might believe in the past:
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
-Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister)
“The song that needs singing has already been sung before.”
-Delta Spirit (“People, Turn Around”)
And we fall partly into that category. We do, we need the old songs, the old lessons; and we need the new ones, too, the ones that explore those same themes in a new way. The songs that will lead and discover and, perhaps one distant day, recall a painful struggle’s resolution.
Trust us when we say: Bernie’s songs are not the songs you’re looking for.
But perhaps those songs, those voices, those marching feet are indeed out there.
Those links again: The Bernie Sanders Revue, and the new Woodie Guthrie redux.
Also, a re-link to our short, “A House Burning”: text and audio.