1/19/20: Week 12: "Coal is Our Future". tRump ended the war on coal in 2018. Here's a quote from aboard Air Force One, on Sept. 7, 2018: "No administration has done what I've done. I just left Montana, and I looked at those trains and they're loaded up with clean coal — beautiful clean coal. And those trains were empty two years ago. They were empty; they were dying. Nobody's done what I've done." (from Factcheck.org)
So, I thought I should write a song celebrating beautiful, clean coal. You don't hear anything about the resurgence of the coal industry lately. Maybe that's because mines are closing and people are being off. Thanks, stable genius!
This song uses a traditional song that I heard decades ago as "Down in the Coal Mine", performed by the Ian Campbell Folk Group.
This as performed at Roslindale Open Mike; here's the video. Also, here are the lyrics and a demo recording.
1/12/20: My Week 11 contribution is "Change Can't Wait".
Hopefully 2020 will be a year of change. I wrote "Change Can't Wait" the day Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley won her primary election in 2018, defeating a long-time democratic congressman. She riffed on the phrase "Change Can't Wait" in her speech, though she didn't call it a victory speech. So, this song is a co-write with Congresswoman Pressley, since the refrain and the verses are largely her words. I gave her a copy of the Roslindale Open Mike performance and the lyrics at a speech she gave at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute soon after her election. We need her, the rest of the Squad, and the democratic congress people to make the changes we need in 2020.
This was performed at Roslindale Open Mike. Thank you Junko, Ken, Bo, and John for your support.
Here are the lyrics and a demo recording.
1/5/20: Welcome to 2020!
My Week 10 contribution is "Trump-Gazi". This is a rap I wrote just after the 2018 election when the Democratic Party took back the House of Representatives. I knew the table was going to be turned and there would be non-stop investigation of the Orange Menace. Right away I wrote "Trump-Gazi" inspired by how the Republicans hounded Hillary Clinton, including the endless Benghazi hearings.
Turns out, I was right. So, I'm putting "Trump-Gazi" as Week 10 because as soon as Congress gets back in session in 2020, the investigations will continue with the Removal Hearings in the Senate that follows last month's impeachment. Unless Nancy Pelosi decides to hold onto the impeachment articles and to keep investigating.
I performed the song at Roslindale Open Mike with my friends. Thanks to Junko, Karen, Ken, Chris, John and Bo.
There's also a demo recording and lyrics.
12/29/19: This week's contribution is "Planet Ocean". The video includes a few of my favorite pictures and video clips around Boston Harbor.
Though my eyes have been glued to the impeachment hearings, I need to give my brain a rest and pace the rage, so this week I offer a prayer to the ocean. I recently wrote "Planet Ocean" as a sound- picture. Our planet should be called planet ocean instead of planet earth, because it is mostly ocean and I think life on this planet started in the ocean and the ocean is key to our salvation.
We performed this on 12/9/19 at Roslindale Open Mike. Thank you, Karen, Chris, Ken, Bo, and John. And thank you to the audience for singing along.
Here is a demo recording and the lyrics.
12/22/19: Just in time for Christmas, it's a political holiday song! Here's"Must Be Donald".
So now it's time to celebrate Christmas and take a break from our day to day strife. Turns out I wrote an appropriate, light-hearted, though a little mean-spirited, Christmas Song that was performed as part of"Open Mike – The Musical", which had its debut and final performance in December 2017 at Roslindale Open Mike (ROM).
"Must Be Donald"is a parody of "Must Be Santa". Here's the video from"Open Mike – The Musical"with the lead sung by Karen Sauer. She also provided all the props. Thank you Sue, Ken, Bo, David, Karen, and Neal.
There was also a previous performance, led by me—here's the video. Thank you, Bo, Karen, Ken, and Neal. Finally, here's a demo recording and the lyrics.
12/15/19: "Space Force Anthem" is my contribution for Week 7. In addition to the video, here is a demo recording and the lyrics. I had to go with Space Force Anthem this week because funding for the Space Force is included in the Defense spending bill that is being approved this week. And these brave spacemen will need an appropriate anthem to blast them off into space. It might get lonely up there, but at least they will have this inspiring song to keep them company.
12/7/19: "Twenty-Fifth Amendment" is a new Schoolhouse Rock song). In addition to the video, here is a demo recording and the lyrics.
We will have a national election in November 2020. We will probably have an impeachment in a few weeks. But we could have a new President TODAY if the Vice President chooses to take that approach. I wrote this new Schoolhouse Rock song, "Twenty-Fifth Amendment", to explain how the process works. But I doubt if the lapdog Pence would dare to try it.
Since the impeachment is unlikely to result in a removal from office and a twenty-fifth amendment removal is also unlikely, we need to focus on doing everything we can to have a victory in the 2020 election. What are you doing to help take back our democracy?
"Twenty Fifth Amendment", a new Schoolhouse Rock song, was performed with Ken Porter at Roslindale Open Mike on 9/24/18. Thank you, Ken.
12/1/19: "FAKE!" Week 5 of Persist-Resist-2020 features "FAKE!". It hopefully speaks for itself. Here is FAKE! the video, a demo recording, and the lyrics.
I wrote this song right after the inauguration of you know who—remember the "American Carnage" phrase. One of the first things he did after being sworn in was to apply for reelection and to start having campaign rallies. That's what led to this song. I never suspected it could get so much worse than what I feared three years ago. I heard someone on MSNBC this week explain the tRump strategy: "Deny, Delay, Deflect". Maybe there's a song there. I also liked Eric Swalwell's characterization of Ukraine-gate: "Defense Dollars for Dirt". Lot's of "D"s, but I give tRump lots of "F"s.
What are you doing to help take back our democracy?
Thank you to Karen Sauer and Chris Lee for helping me pull off this performance of FAKE! at the Roslindale Open Mike at 11/25/19. Together we three are The Tritones!
My next performance is with the Tritones, featured at the Cantab Lounge open mike hosted by Geoff Bartley on 12/30/19. Details are on my Gigs page.
11/24/19: "Pocahontas"is a parody of the Neil Young song. I cringe every time I hear you know who refer to Senator Elizabeth Warren by this name.
Pocahontas is a parody of Neil Young's Pocahontas. I don't really understand his song, but my parody is from the perspective of the orange menace disparaging Senator Elizabeth Warren. While Senator Warren is my favorite for our next President, I'm afraid she is too liberal to sin the party's nomination. But she is exceedingly well-prepared and has learned how to appear in public.
I think my performance of this song at Roslindale Open Mike captures the Neil Young voice. I didn't realize how easily this would come to me. I guess I'm able to channel my inner Neil.
Here is a demo recording and the lyrics.
11/17/19: "Our Statue in the Harbor is Crying". Thank you to Karen Sauer and Chris Lee for helping with the performance at Roslindale Open Mike—together we are "The Tritones".
This week's contributions is one of the first songs I wrote after the 2016 election. It was originally called "Your Statue in the Harbor is Crying" and told the story of an Iraqi translator who served our military but wasn't allowed to immigrate here because of the Muslim Ban. I revisited it a few weeks ago and re-wrote it to be "Our Statue in the Harbor is Crying" to talk about the deplorable way we are treating refugee children at our Southern border and kicking out medical immigrants.
My father's family came here from Ireland, probably during the potato famine. My mother's family came here from France in the 1600s, via Quebec. Both Catholics with large families. We are all from somewhere else…yearning to breathe free.
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Doesn't that poem on the Statue of Liberty take your breath away?
Here is a demo recording and the lyrics.
11/10/19: "Pacing the Rage" I'm a regular listener to Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on WGBH's Boston Public Radio (BPR) show. Most weeks they have on security consultant Juliette Kayyem as a guest. Perhaps you've seen her as an expert on CNN. In this era, Juliette started using the phrase "Pacing the Rage" as a way to keep from totally blowing up. So, I wrote a parody of Bruce Cockburn's song "Pacing the Cage". I performed it at Roslindale Open Mike (ROM), ably backed up by Charlie Ortolani and Ken Porter and pitched the recording to BPR, and they played a portion of it! Here's a recording of the BPR segment and the whole ROM performance. and the lyrics. Pacing the Rage has helped me cope with my PTSD—Perpetual Trump Stress Disorder. I hope it helps you, too.
11/3/19: "She Persisted": Here we go…Today I am kicking off the first week of "Persisting and Resisting 2020" as we approach the all-important 2020 election. My first weekly contribution is the song "She Persisted". I wrote "She Persisted" in early 2017. It was one of the first songs on the Persist theme. It was part of the crop of songs for the 2017 version of February Album Writing Month (www.fawm.org), but I didn't write any music for it at that time. So, a few days ago I wrote the music and here is the demo recording. This song had to do with Senator Elizabeth Warren getting shut down by Speaker Mitch McConnell when she was ready a letter by Mrs. Coretta Scott King and the Speaker invoked little used "Rule 19". Here's the chorus:
Though men told her to stop
Against the odds she didn't quit
'Til she came out on top
So, I'm going to tell my daughter
To work hard and resist
If you want to get things done
You damn-well better persist
...and a link to the back story... https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/08/the-history-of-the-senates-rule-19-suggests-it-is-very-loosely-enforced/
10/12/19: I’m kicking off a final, full year of persisting and resisting, one year before the election. Each week I plan to post a song and/or an essay. It will also include some dirty tricks.