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paul g adsett

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Posts: 1,399
Reply with quote  #1 

not given m’self the opportunity to host a week for quite a while
nestled down indoors now after a busy summer of music and travels,
grounded for a good chunk of time.
music and travels, the stuff that keeps me afloat
and occupies huuuge chunks of my leisure time.

but, there’s a whole wide, wild world (‘oh, baby. baby…') out there
and that world of reality,
seemingly increasingly unreal and polarised,
intrudes on the lighter, jollier aspects of existence.

can’t say that it was best fun being somewhat removed
from the immediacy of the ‘rapidly changing’ brexit shenanigans
for weeks on end when i wanted to be there,
adding my presence and my voice directly to proceedings,
not merely entrancedly watching what i could on intermittent tv snatches
half a globe away.
nor has it been particularly reassuring trying to keep up to date with
the most recent idiotic utterances or twitterspew
of an unprincipled incumbent of an oval office…
and, to cap it all, our voyage brought us into hong kong
we left before the weekend, so were not caught up in any street doings
(i was almost itching to view, but would've been a touch indelicate
and we'd've been rerouted away from any goings on...).

‘why can’t we all get along?
…and the wor-u-u-urld will be as one…’
he hippie-idealist in me ponders,
whilst the ardent radical in me is ready to man a barricade
to prevent us losing what we’ve achieved and to advance principled notions of
fairness / common good / mutual respect /welfare / unity in diversity,
y’know, all those great ideals.
well, plenty of those ideals, whether promoting of peace and lurv,
condemning violence and evil deeds have been expressed in music
(haydn ‘mass in time of war’ / beethoven’s 9th symphony /
frank bridge piano sonata / shostakovitch symphony no 7 ‘leningrad'’ /
britten’s ‘war requiem’
or striking a more activist position voicing opposition to being downtrodden,
agitating for change, confronting, challenging…
‘we’re not gonna take it…’ as tommy’s crew spluttered.

 so, the protest song…
yes, we have open season on the protest song.
i've whittled my picks down to these examples
and trust you’ll listen to ‘em in the spirit of how they convey their message,
rather than necessarily partisan to that particular (if there is one) cause.
have fun, m’hearties…

 let’s kick off with what is al jardine’s first lead vocal.
here (but not in competition) is the ‘party’ album track

for, choice 1, the one to vote on is the stripped back version, of that old warhorse,
without the studio party additions:
'the times they are a-changin' (party! sessions mix/session #5)'

next, radiohead get all worked up about climate change.
from the album 'kid a'  from the year 2000
(memories of a compelling performance at glastonbury 2003,
by which time they'd weathered the incomprehension
that was the reaction of a lot of people, including the music press).

going back a bit, to 1994, the cranberries from limerick ireland with 'zombie',
hugely commercially successful winner of 1995 mtv europe best song award 
and so played to death, risking losing its impact as 
an ardent, 'not in my name', 
pained response to a provisional ira bombing in warrington england
which killed 2 children and was the  focus of considerable disgust all round,
with peace marches and initiatives.
the last thing britain and ireland needs is a return to overt conflict
- so, this is pertinent in the circumstances of the botched question of
the north's position in regard to any extrication of the uk from the european union
endangering what's been peace, albeit sometimes fragile, in the north of ireland
and scuttling the 1998 good friday agreement.
and to wind up,
here's the manic street preachers,
who've never been backward in raising political moans and  groans,
moving from an art punk attitude and brusque wind up
to sheer beautiful expansiveness.
this 1998 single, 
from the 'this is my truth, tell me yours' album,
was nominated for a brit award as 'best british single'

nb, for territories that might not access the official diveo,
here's a version that'll show you the finely crafted lyrics
(doesn't look or sound as good, though).

so, there we have 'em.
nothing 'new',
nothing else from the jolly old usa
or from any other parts of the world.
go seek 'em...

John E

Posts: 863
Reply with quote  #2 
Good to see that Paul has returned from clocking-up the carbon footprints and is back to form on the Blueboard! [smile] Three of the songs below are new to me and none of them instantly grab me, but I'll vote on my initial reactions.

1. Manic Street Preachers. This at least gets it's message over clearly. I bought the Manics album "Know Your Enemy" because the tracks "Ocean Spray" and "So Why So Sad" had something of a Brian vibe. However, overall it wasn't an album that I took to.

2. Cranberries. A striking video helps to get the message over on this.

3. Radiohead. Although I've been told that I should appreciate them, I've always found their stuff rather dreary.

4. The Beach Boys. I have despised this track for more than fifty years now. I find nothing more inappropriate that people whooping it up, over one of Dylan's greatest protest songs. The Beach Boys are to blame for the whole ill-considered enterprise!

Since the first three tracks above are heavy going. Here are three that make protest fun.

1. Madelina Kay aka E.U. Supergirl. I met this young lady briefly at an anti-Brexit rally in Parliament Square earlier this year, and have followed her on Facebook ever since:


. The Blinkin' Buzzards. These are a fine house band who play a support set at the Kalamazoo Club in Crouch End each month,

3. Julie Felix. The first lady of U.K. protest, and still going strong at 81!

Al Forsyth

Posts: 3,638
Reply with quote  #3 
Some protests - or not:

I'll get my votes in by mid-week - a few more listens. 
We were in the Women's March in NYC - which was massive. My protests are usually via boycotts.
No boycott or protest here however.

A diamond necklace played the pawn...
Larry Franz

Posts: 491
Reply with quote  #4 
I like all these. Nevertheless:

Gold -- The Zombies

Silver -- The Manic Street Preachers

Bronze -- Radiohead

Pewter -- The Beach Boys -- Great song. Not sure where to put this though. I've always resented the silliness, including Michael's dumb remarks. But adding the silliness to the official version could be interpreted as a conscious decision to draw a contrast between mindless obliviousness on one side, and the earnestness of the words and Al's voice on the other side. It would be much like the disturbing radio broadcast that was added to Simon and Garfunkel's angelic "Silent Night" in order to contrast the world as it is vs. the world as it might be. In other words, Al gets it. The others at the party don't or don't care.

Oh, I also miss the piano.

"Silent Night/7 O'Clock News"

My favorite protest song, this time from Bing Crosby -- "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime" (1932; lyrics by E. Y. "Yip" Harburg, better known now for "Over the Rainbow" -- he also wrote the lyrics to the other songs in The Wizard of Oz)

Spanky & Our Gang -- "Give a Damn" (1968, that especially troubled year)

Speaking of which: "In the Land of Self-Defeat"
Since coming back [to rural Arkansas], I’ve realized that it is true that people here think life here has taken a turn for the worse. What’s also true, though, is that many here seem determined to get rid of the last institutions trying to help them, to keep people with educations out, and to retreat from community life and concentrate on taking care of themselves and their own families. It’s an attitude that is against taxes, immigrants and government, but also against helping your neighbor.

John B

Posts: 2,174
Reply with quote  #5 
'well, it was a protest song until you got a hold of it, now it's a test song'. 

1.  The Boys' 'The Times They are a Changin'

still like this best.  maybe because (call me crazy), I would have liked the Boys do this song straight.  It sort of sounds like their folk rock style.  So, earnest Al wins, good for him, whether Mike said 'bull!' or 'blubb' (like he was sinking like a stone), and even though Brian thought it made a nice musical segue into 'Heart & Soul'.   still, this is the best song, and I still like it.  and for you who hate on it, is it really worse than those multiple 'Alley Oops' and 'Hully Gullys'?  

2. 'Zombie' by the Cranberries

like the singing and part of the lyrics.   but not sure about the video.  Just makes me think, Ireland needs secularism almost as much as many Islamic countries...

3.  'If you tolerate this, your children will never be PC enough for Rachel Maddow'  by The Manic Street Preachers their name making fun of schizophrenics?  that's what I want to know.  no, not really, I don't care. But what If they were?   how could manic street preachers defend themselves?   yes, you in the back?   'they could cite a verse in the Bible.'  true dat.

4.  'Idioteque' by Radiohead

bad enough to be U2, although they (or Creed) might have called it Bibliotech...  not a fan.

Al Forsyth

Posts: 3,638
Reply with quote  #6 
It's really a timeless song...

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

A diamond necklace played the pawn...
Cindy Hood

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Posts: 1,522
Reply with quote  #7 
Paul, one of these songs, I kinda knew, one I think I've heard once or twice and the other two I've never heard before.  This is gonna be interesting....

Gold:  The Cranberries for Zombie.  This is the one I'd heard once or twice.  Best of the four.

Silver:  The Beach Boys for The Times They Are A Changin'.  If the party atmosphere wasn't there and it was a studio recording, I'd probably have given it the gold.  

Bronze:  Manic Street Preachers for If You Tolerate This Your Kids Will Be Next.  For a first time hearing this, it sounded pretty good.  I've never heard of this group before.

Tin:  Radiohead for Idioteque.  Too weird.  

It seems that all the countries on this planet are involved in some sort of unrest.  It's on the news every day, usually after the news spends most of the show on Trump and politics ad nauseam.  But, if its not violence or political corruption we have disastrous weather events that keep us all churned up inside.  Is it any wonder that most people have trouble sleeping at night?  

Good theme, Paul.

"They're not gonna catch us. We're on a mission from God".
Al Forsyth

Posts: 3,638
Reply with quote  #8 
Weighing in my protest votes for Paul A as he tries to stop a Brexit.  What a weird world that we are in now. 


GOLD to Manic Street Preachers.  The song seems to work well in totality: message delivered. A song that we wouldn't be familiar with in the States (or group).  I live geographically too close to Sandy Hook (10 or 12 miles) and also taught (not there) - so I thought that this song was current.  Wow though, is it ever relevant!

SILVER to Al and the Boys.  A classic song and my vote is for the non-studio enhanced - which would probably be tin for the Party version.  You don't party around these lyrics.  Al delivers it though - and well. It's timeless. Thank goodness for that Party Uncovered and Unplugged and it tells the story behind the album - this song recorded on the last session. 

BRONZE to Dolores O'Riordan and the band.  They also deliver it. I did see them play this at the Woodstock 94 - I was right down in the front at the smaller stage where they played (still a big stage but not like the bigger stage).  The video is interesting. I never understood the song now until you did for us here. Made it clearer. 

TIN - and it is interesting, to Radiohead.  I had to listen to a lot of versions, live and covers of this as the video was too much to take. I LIKE the Alexa Melo version of this when she hits the chorus - wow! Delivers. "Let me hear BOTH sides."  The ending is pretty cool. Listen to the Vienna Teng version also. 

A diamond necklace played the pawn...
paul g adsett

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Posts: 1,399
Reply with quote  #9 
weighing in, mr forsyth?
it demands more foresight and fortune telling
than we can feasibly fathom
to forsee the future,
for the unfathomable faultlines drawn by brexit
weigh heavily on us all, al...

i can, sadly, see the sandy hook connotations,
'if you tolerate this...' 
refers to the spanish civil war,
the words on a graphic poster,
welsh volunteers joining the international brigades
in support of republican anti-fascist-franco cause.

it predates the famous post-ww2 apologetic words by niemöller 
(often quoted differently)
'first they came for the communists
and i did not speak out
because i was not a communist.
then they came for...'.
where does one draw that red line,
that line in the sand, 
where  one's principles will not be bent further?

for me, a longtime labour party member,
the tipping point was the 2003 iraq intervention
when tony blair took the uk into that dreadful war alongside bush.
my mum had spend early adulthood in german-occupied belgium
and her anti-nazi pacificism was firmly in my genes
(and informs my pro-european union views).
i'm immensely proud of the moment she supported me
not joining our grammar school combined cadet force
(historically and traditionally a militaristic officer training type scheme ,
which was supposed to be 'voluntary' but effectively compulsory).
sat in the headmaster's office,
she had words with him,
which included 'i'm not having my son join the hitler youth!'
personally, i could not ever envisage agreeing to join an armed force
and am immensely grateful that such circumstances of conscription have not been required.

i'd not been keen on blair's 'new labour' project,
which led the party away from much of what i still believe to be its core values.
there were social advances, indeed.
plenty of progressive ideas,
but some distinctly unpalatable policies
yet, however much i had reservations about govt policies
in education and the health service,
(where the moves were towards pro-market fees and outsourcing),
and even blair sending troops into afghanistan alongside the usa
i retained my membership,
but warmongering in iraq,
that was it for me.
i rejoined the labour party when mr corbyn became a candidate for leader.

oops, i blathered on a bit, there, but, hey,
y'don't have to read it,
nor yet approve of what i say.
d'y'remember the good old days of the bluuuboard,
when there'd be heated, um, 'debates' about stuff?
we can't be doing going back to that, can we? 

Larry Franz

Posts: 491
Reply with quote  #10 
Originally Posted by paul g adsett

for me, a longtime labour party member,
the tipping point was the 2003 iraq intervention
when tony blair took the uk into that dreadful war alongside bush.

The U.S. presidential election in 2000 was a serious tipping point. Five members of the Supreme Court decided that a member of their political party would be the next president. They were assisted by the future president's brother, who happened to be the governor of Florida. It's fair to say President Al Gore would have done things differently.

Bruce Cockburn -- "If A Tree Falls"

John B

Posts: 2,174
Reply with quote  #11 
yea, (what paul said), where are you kds?  we will politely listen to your defense of Trump, if you have one.  Is there one?

I don't necessarily dislike protest songs, I just distrust the certainty of angry ones, especially thinking back to long ago events before their time.  

that being said, I just now got an email from Tulsi2020.  She is my presidential candidate.  Sincerely, she would be by far the best regarding the U.S. diplomatic and peaceful pursuits overseas, and the best overall.  I really think that. She's like the best of Micheal Moore--the film 'Where Do We Invade Next'? If interested, the campaign is having a debate watch party, at San Benito House, Bar & Grill/Garden Cafe Inn, 356 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, California.
I think it's Oct. 15th.

but...what bothers me is this interview with Samantha Power (former Obama foreign policy adviser) on Christiane Omanpour's show I think, where she speculated about all the bad effects of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria (which was after withdrawal from Libya). including, mass refugees of dark skin going throughout Europe, and THEN, came Brexit, and Trump.   How can we say it didn't go like that?   Peace people sincere ones I'm sure protested President Clinton's military support for the Serbs in the former Yugoslavia.  But what if he hadn't?   Brexit and trump might have come early.  

so...(and I know, Iraq's regime change was a monumental mistake), but what if the tipping point was the U.S. 'Atlas shrugging' ?

paul g adsett

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Posts: 1,399
Reply with quote  #12 
john b,
if only ayn rand's book were written as a true satire
and not revered in some quarters as a a how-to-do-it manual
and bible to capitalism.

i'll meet you with 'the ragged trousered philanthropists',
robert tressell's pre ww1 novel,
set in a south england seaside town.
it's a major, classic novel, bitter yet funny.

the main character, owen, looks at the plight of working people
as he works in the painting and decorating trade.
'it was because he was in the habit of speaking of these subjects
that his fellow workmen came to the conclusion that
there was probably something wrong with his mind.'

whereas, why not just accept one's lot like another character:
'he had never expected or wished to be allowed to enjoy such things;
he had always been of opinion that they were never intended for the likes of him.
he called himself a conservative and was very patriotic.'

a central section sees owen describe 'the great money trick'
using his fellow workers, a loaf of bread and knifes
to illustrate the way 'surplus value' is siphoned off by capitalists
at the expense of those who create the wealth.

still, maybe we should (not) heed one of the characters:
'much better left alone,’ chimed in old jack linden sagely,
‘argyfying about politics generally ends up with a bloody row an’ does no good to nobody.'

Al Forsyth

Posts: 3,638
Reply with quote  #13 
John B and Larry - very true about tipping points and hanging chads were the thing in 2000 and now we have electronic interference and truly a country divided. My best friend returning from Jordan two weeks ago and the people were sharing and agreeing that the overthrow of SH changed everything in the Middle East. We're in an abyss and how on earth can we get out?   

Paul A - my Brexit quick learn -

Yes, Paul, I took it as a gun issue song but yours shows me a LOT more to this. So I will forsake my forsoothery and find my faults elsewhere.

Meanwhile, now that John Lennon's (I posted Revolution earlier and he was a protester) birthday is nearly past and next year will be both he and Mr. Starkey's 80th.  Please check on what they do at Strawberry Fields with groups like the Meetles and other kind of free-lance groups of people singing and sharing.  No post from me - just go and find them on your own.  Amazing. It wasn't all protest and hogwash that brought the Beatle music to the world - they had something special to share - and share they did.  Mr. Wilson did and does this as well. Mr. Brian Wilson that is.

Okay, back to protesting.  
A diamond necklace played the pawn...
paul g adsett

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Posts: 1,399
Reply with quote  #14 
strawberry fields is an emotional spot.
lumpinthroattime each time i've visited.
we were in new york for the very first time in october 1980
ashley persuaded me that hovering around by the dakota building
was not the best use of our time  when visiting this city.

it was lennon's 40th birthday whilst we were in town
yoko arranged an airplane to create a heart shaped smoke trail over manhattan
saying 'happy birthday john...'.
i've a photo of that in the sky with the world trade centre.

we returned to nyc 6 months later.
and we duly pilgrimaged uptown to the dakota building.
amnd have returned to that central park spot a few times since...
John B

Posts: 2,174
Reply with quote  #15 
thanks, paul, I just ordered the book on Amazon.  Ayn Rand is still big in the town where I live.  I think she's not as bad or as great as they say.  I certainly have empathy for her, the Soviets screwed her over.  and thanks again, Al, I will check out SF when I go to NYC.
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