Jacob Haller (jwgh) wrote,
Jacob Haller

On political songs

There are two songs that I consider political on the set list for Thursday. This is partly because every song I know how to play is on the set list for Thursday, but also because of the way I feel about a lot of things that have been going on in recent years.

My relationship to political songs is somewhat uneasy. There are political songs that I recognize as being really good songs but for the most part I can't see myself singing them. This is, I think, related to my general philosophy regarding my political thinking: I think it's important to me, but I don't understand why anyone else would possibly care what I think. I just don't think I'm all that insightful. (Paul Geremia comes to mind as someone I think is pretty great who occasionally writes political songs.)

So the songs I pick in this genre typically raise issues that I think are important, but how exactly they apply to today's situation is pretty much up to you to decide.

In this particular case this is all just as well, since by Thursday the political situation may change somewhat drastically one way or another.

The two songs are:

Jimmy Roger's The World's All In A Tangle, which says something but I'm not sure what it is:
The world's all in a tangle, man
Everybody wants to sing this song
The Reds is messed up over yonder, boys
And we ain't gonna be here long

That's why I'm going to build myself a cave
Move down in the ground
When I go into the army, darling, there won't be
No more Reds around

Now you know I got my personnary (?) man
I got my class card too
I begin to feel so worried that I just don't know what to do


Now we gonna march down to the waterfront
To cross the deep blue sea
My baby she begins to wonder
Just what's going to become of poor me

The other has a more overt message: Bessie Smith's Poor Man's Blues:
Mr. Rich Man, Rich Man, open up your heart and mind (x2)
Give a poor man a job to help through these hard hard times.

While you're living in your mansion you don't know what hard times mean
Poor man's wife is starving, your wife is living like a queen.

Please listen to my pleading, 'cause I can't take these hard times long
It'll make an honest man do things that he knows is wrong

Poor man fought all the battles, poor man would fight again today
He would do anything you asked him in the name of the U.S.A.

Now the war is over, poor man must live the same as you
If it wasn't for the poor man, Mr. Rich Man, what would you do?
I might as well admit that I once tried to write a political protest song, but it ended up turning into something kind of different.

Here's a recording I made in April of the Jimmy Rogers song mentioned above.
Tags: music, solo

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