We mourn the passing of Guy Carawan (July 27, 1927 – May 2, 2015) , American folk musician and musicologist. He served as music director and song leader for the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, TN, where I met Guy and Candie in May of 2011.
We are pleased and excited to present Jeni and Billy. I met Jeni and Billy at Highlander Center in New Market, TN.
About JENI & BILLY — Acclaimed “new old music” drawn from country, Appalachian, bluegrass, country blues and folk. Great story telling. Stirring harmonies, absorbing original lyrics and a sparse, engaging sound. Guitar, banjo, harmonica, autoharp.
I thought it might be interesting to some of you if I were to make a post and keep adding to it as I progress recording a track for the new CD I am starting today. You can follow the progress by checking this page regularly.
For the first song, I choose “20 Million Things” written by Lowell George and J. Levy circa 1979.
When I start a recording, I usually know where I am heading. I usually have a plan. Plans are subject to change, but you start with a plan. On this track, I will play:
acoustic guitar in standard tuning
a second acoustic guitar capo on 5th fret
program a drum track (stereo)
backup vocal (doubled)
I start by creating a project in pro tools, and choosing a tempo. For this track I chose 60 beats per minute. Tonight was step one which consists of the piano track and a scratch vocal. The scratch vocal is rough and just a placeholder for the song. I do it in one take and don’t sweat about the quality of it. This is because I generally find it best to lay down the vocals when the instrument tracks are complete and the song has more energy. That way the vocals can more closely match the final arrangement.
Karen Brandow died last night. I share with you the words of her partner Charlie King, which express how many of us feel in this moment.
Rest in peace, Karen Brandow (1954-2014)
GD bless Karen. Thank you for the gift of her life and welcome her home. Comfort those of us who have loved her. Stir up her spirit in our midst so that the good she left undone may be done by us. Karen Brandow, Presente!
Despite all the fear mongering some politicians and pundits have been flinging about, I am happy today that the Backwards States of America have taken a step towards nationalized healthcare. I admit, I am as disappointed as anyone about Obamacare, but my disappointment is that it is not single payer, like many civilized countries have. Instead, it is a kind of bastardized “affordable” care, which may have been the only thing possible given the insurance, pharmaceutical, and medical industry lobbies which buy off our government representatives. It was all that could be accomplished in the “land of the greed”.
However, today I am happy, because my adult son, who has not had health care insurance for about 10 years, now has it, and it was indeed affordable. Like many slimy employers in the land of the greed, his would pay the fines for not covering employees until the cost of the fines exceed the cost of the insurance. To them it is a simple business decision. That is what these fine folks (read greedy bastards) think of their employees.
I watched one by one as my children left college and were immediately summarily dismissed from my health insurance and thrust into a jobless economy. People with little resources trying to start out have no insurance, and must work for employers like Walmart that limit employee hours so they don’t have to pay benefits of any kind. I think people wax nostalgic for some long ago time, when employment was full (provided you are white), life wholesome, and you had a job for life with benefits and a pension. This no longer exists, if it ever did. It is just harder to pretend that it does today, even if you believe the US brand of capitalism works.
Since it doesn’t, let’s move toward a living minimum wage and single payer health insurance. That way, even if they “bestshore” the production, folks in the sales and delivery chain can make a decent living with buying power and fuel the economy.
American capitalism has undergone much change from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century until the present day 21st century or “information age” as some would say. Although the general dynamic of a ruling class that lives like parasites on the backs of the working class has not changed, the face and methods of capitalism has.
A small thing once happened at school
That brought up a question for me,
And somehow it brought me to see
The price that I pay to be cool.
Diane is a girl that I know.
She's strange, like she doesn't belong.
I don't mean to say that that's wrong.
We don't like to be with her, though.
And so, when we all made a plan
To have this big party at Sue's,
Most kids in the school got the news,
But no one invited Diane.
The thing about Taft Junior High
Is, secrets don't last very long.
I acted like nothing was wrong
When I saw Diane start to cry.
I know you may think that I'm cruel.
It doesn't make me very proud.
I just went along with the crowd.
It's sad, but you have to in school.
You can't pick the friends you prefer.
You fit in as well as you can.
I couldn't be friends with Diane,
'Cause then they would treat me like her.
In one class at Taft Junior High,
We study what people have done
With gas chamber, bomber, and gun
In Auschwitz, Japan, and My Lai.
I don't understand all I learn.
Sometimes I just sit there and cry.
The whole world stood idly by
To watch as the innocent burn.
Like robots obeying some rule.
Atrocities done by the mob.
All innocent, doing their job.
And what was it for? Was it cool?
The world was aware of this Hell,
But how many cried out in shame?
What heroes, and who was to blame?
A story that no one dared tell.
I promise to do what I can
To not let it happen again.
To care for all women and men.
I'll start by inviting Diane.
About Bob Blue
Bob Blue (July 31, 1948 – March 17, 2006), a native of Huntington, NY and a resident of Massachusetts, was a teacher and songwriter. His most well-known song, The Ballad of Erica Levine, was occasionally performed by Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary.
Bob was a member of the band “The Nice Jewish Boys” and one of the founders of the Children’s Music Network.
There is a photo of Bob and a recording of Bob in the Children’s Music Network Blog at http://www.cmnonline.org/magic-penny/2004-bob-blue.htm
Songs that Bob wrote include “I Did It Their Way”, which is a parody of the horrors of academic life sung to the tune of “I Did It My Way”.
Bob suffered from multiple sclerosis in the last years of his life, and died from it in his home at Amherst, Massachusetts in 2006.