Election 2004 - it certainly didn't get the result that the artists of this project had sung for. Even though the election is over and done, this is an excellent document of people getting involved to work for a change. This collection of songs deserves to be listened to at least till the next election...maybe there'll even be the need for an update.
The 15 artists that Waterbug brought together for this album span the entire spectrum of the singer/songwriter world, from legends like Steve Gillette and Jack Hardy, well established artists like Chuck Brodsky, Hugh Blumenfeld and Andrew Calhoun, gems the likes of Chris Chandler & Anne Feeney, Kate McDonnell or Sons Of The Never Wrong, to people still unknown to me. But don't get me wrong here, each track stands up on its own, is very finely crafted and fits into this framework of songs (and two poems) of concern. It sure is an emotional roller coaster that moves from funny and satirical to very moving lyrics.
The album opens with The Wumper by Steve Gillette, a funny tongue in cheek view from the rich with attitude that the poor can get screwed.
Mercy by Kate McDonnell is a heartwrenching appeal for more tolerance and "love thy neighbor" in times of war in the best humanistic sense.
Dan Bern demands that Bush Must Be Defeated, repeating it like a mantra and finding lots of words that rhyme with 'defeated.'"Lied" is the statement of Myshkin's Ruby Warblers and points out that the reasons to go to war have disappeared.
In Hugh Blumenfeld's King George III, George is described as a not too bright ruler and examples given of his failed politics from debt, pollution control to the war.
You Better Keep An Eye On Him demand Jonathan Byrd & Dromedary , because he's deceptive and not too bright.
The Civilised World, a poem by Les Barker asks what was accomplished by "beating the crap out of everybody" instead of to stop selling weapons and using political solutions.
Sons Of The Never Wrong sing about being Born A Thousand Times and still taking the same stand, demanding that the soldiers be sent home, and lamenting those who can't come home anymore. One verse of We Shall Overcome is sung in beautiful harmony at the end.
Chris Chandler & Anne Feeney's Carnivals #3 has the characters of government moved into a carnival show, very funny and satirical, full of great images.
Jack Hardy discovers that he's In Bed With The Enemy, from oil to multinational companies and so "it's hard to rattle your saber."
Chuck Brodsky warns of these Dangerous Times in which anybody could be a suspected terrorist because he/she doesn't display a flag or has dissenting views; thus civil rights get cut.
Anais Mitchell's Two Kids tells of the things that a kid notices, like the father storing canned supplies for emergency because some people hate the US and thinking it's her fault...then a verse is sung in an Arabic sounding language (supposedly the view of a kid from the other side)...in the end she's protected by her Superman blanket.
The other poem, Short Ode, written by Stephen Vincent Benet and performed by Andrew Calhoun, reminds us that the common soldiers are the ones that are killed and that there are still tyrants and kings.
Michael Troy sings about The Thief as a biblical story, Jesus(?) asks his father about the ways of men he doesn't understand.
Joyce Andersen's heart is Filled With Love and she points out that no matter what race or religion you belong to only love conquers fear and hate.
This is a very fine topical album. I guess most of us wished that the election would have turned out differentlyTo the musicians involved, thanks for the effort and showing your concern.
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