Jefferson Parson's a rebel who's plied his craft for 36 years now, pictured inside the CD cover in a mug shot for Washington DC police in '71, arrested for protesting the Viet Nam War. Still fitting quite snugly in the era, his disc echoes Country Joe & The Fish, the Dead, the live and loopy side of David Bromberg, and Jim Kweskin…but more Country Joe than anything else. His themes, on the other hand, are timely and unambiguous: the composer's as deadset against the realm anciens now as he was more then three decades ago.
The 17 cuts on Baby all take undisguised shots at the BushCo LLC administration and its innumerable crimes and depredations, sparing nothing...not even what might have been the Left-kindred, now spineless, Dems captained by the yammering Nancy Pelosi and accomodationist Harry Reid (and let's not leave out the next Zell Miller: the ironically surnamed David Obey). Just as Joe McDonald experimented with non-rock modes, Parsons also grabs a few leaves from the jazzbos, stuffs rap inside 'em, and monologues poetically, angrily, and scatologically in the title cut. Then Cyber War proceeds to appropriately discombobulate the atmosphere by entering a cold computer-glacial alien interlocutor to take the rapper's place, foreshadowing the future and the exasperating imperishability of the reptiles in our midst. The song's actually a call for the present generation and its offspring to shoulder the task of railing without cease against bullshit.
The tone of The Baby and the Bathwater is pleasantly loose, folky in the most working class sense, even a bit inebriated. That it displays varying levels of engineering hardly affects its raison d'etre, in fact adding to it. The disc presents music from the people, and Parsons selected a gathering of back-up musicians and singers who ring through Seeger-ish dockyards and corner taverns. The writer himself plays guitar and sings while shaking his fist at The Masters, calling out a laundry list the media refuses to touch. Though cut from a different cloth, this militant musician has much in common with David Rovics (reviewed elsewhere in FAME), and I wouldn't be surprised to hear of his irreverent presence in some far more gritty protest rally than Cindy Sheehan or Amy Goodman might ever concoct, an Abby Hoffmanish affair celebrating the down 'n dirty side of things on its own turf. We have way too little of that any more.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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