Tag Archives: folk music

A good man, a good American. Plus he cleaned up the Hudson River

Like the great troubadours before him, he loved his nation and its people. He loved justice, the earth that nourishes us and he loved music.

And this is how a pro wraps up a career – with Bruce at his side!

And this is from the 1950’s (Seeger in the foreground):

RIP old man.

When Bruce speaks, a lotta people listen

Haven’t been paying much attention in recent years to popular music. I do notice when something happens (RIP Clarence et al) but don’t generally pay a lot of attention when soemthing new is published.

Here’s what The Guardian has to say about Bruce Springstein’s new album, Wrecking Ball.

Indeed, [the album] is as angry a cry from the belly of a wounded America as has been heard since the dustbowl and Woody Guthrie, a thundering blow of New Jersey pig iron down on the heads of Wall Street and all who have sold his country down the swanny. Springsteen has gone to the great American canon for ammunition, borrowing from folk, civil war anthems, Irish rebel songs and gospel. The result is a howl of pain and disbelief as visceral as anything he has ever produced, that segues into a search for redemption: “Hold tight to your anger/ And don’t fall to your fears … Bring on your wrecking ball.”

Springsteen plunges into darker, richer musical landscapes in a sequence of breath-taking protest songs – Easy Money, Shackled and Drawn, Jack of All Trades, the scarily bellicose Death to My Hometown and This Depression with Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine – before the album turns on Wrecking Ball in search of some spiritual path out of the mess the US is in.

I may have to borrow a dime for this one. Here’s a cut.

Veteran’s Day Friday oldie

The one. The only. Phil Ochs.


Was there ever a better 90th birthday party?

Pete Seeger had the good fortune to turn 90 during the 2009 Inauguration festivities by singing Woody Guthrie’s iconic ballad, This Land is Your Land to an enormous audience whose affection for the old man was apparent. And he got to do it with Bruce!!

Fresher than ever

Phil Ochs arrived in Greenwich Village in 1962, the same year I did. As we say, I “knew people who knew him” and my former NYC roommate insists to this day that in fact we knew him. I hope it’s so, because today I continue to honor him.

Texas born and Ohio bred, Ochs died young. Alcohol, drugs and Bipolar disorder led him to end his life.

In 1969, while legions of unwilling young men were fighting and dying in Vietnam, Phil Ochs added his marvelous music to the cacophony. Most of his songs were directed at the world he lived in, but this one – surely his masterpiece – was a cry from the heart of American history.

Were he still here, he’d weep to know that today is the 241st day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.