What The Old Folkies Knew — Woody, and Pete, Harry and Holly

I’ve been listening to an old CD in my car lately. I use it for sustenance now, just as I have for years. It reminds me, as much as reading the Bible, what I believe on my best days, what to watch out for, and how the human condition doesn’t really change — it’s just more or less so at times. There’s hope, and joy, and peace, and bravery, and evil, and good all right there.

The CD I’m listening to now is “A Tribute To Woody Guthrie” and it’s amazingly prescient. Here’s some of the lyrics, all by Woody.

“He said to the rich ‘Give your money to the poor’….If Jesus was to preach/what he’d preached at Galillee/they would lay Jesus Christ in his grave” — from the song “Jesus Christ”

“Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered/ I’ve see lots of funny men. / Some’ll rob you with a six-gun/ and some with a fountain pen”.– from the song “Pretty Boy Floyd”.

And this one of note:
“You won’t get a name when you ride the big airplane/ All they will call you will be… Deportee”. — from the song “Deportee”

And for the women’s march, there’s “Union Maid”
“There once was a union maid, she never was afraid
Of goons and ginks and company finks and the deputy sheriffs who made the raid.
She went to the union hall when a meeting it was called,
And when the Legion boys come ’round
She always stood her ground. Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the union,

This union maid was wise to the tricks of company spies,
She couldn’t be fooled by a company stool, she’d always organize the guys.
She always got her way when she struck for better pay.”

Finally, there’s this one: “This land is your land/This land is my land/From the Redwood forests/ to the New York islands… As I was walking, a saw a sign that said “no trespassing”/But on the other side, it didn’t say nothing… That side is made for you and me”. (You know where that’s from…)

His friend Pete Seeger was a collector as much he was a creator. He heard beauty everywhere.

In the Bible, he found, “To everything, turn, turn, turn/ there is a season/ turn turn, turn”

In Africa, he found “Wimoweh” a song written by a Zulu man.

In religious humor, he found “Aphrodite in her see-through nightie./Give me that old-time religion”

In Cuba,he found “Guantanamera”, a lovely song.

In the midst of war, he composed this, as part of “Where Have All The Flowers Gone”:

“Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing? Where have all the young girls gone, long time ago?
Where have all the young girls gone?
Gone for husbands everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the husbands gone, long time passing?
Where have all the husbands gone, long time ago?
Where have all the husbands gone?
Gone for soldiers everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?”

Pete performed with next-generation folky Holly Near, who wrote this:
“Why do we kill people who are killing people to show that killing people is wrong?”

and he was an inspiration to Harry Chapin, who wrote the song “Old Folkie” about him.

Harry wrote, among other things, a song called “I Wonder What Would Happen To This World”

Now if a man tried to take his time on Earth
And prove before he died
What one man’s life could be worth
Well, I wonder what would happen to this world?

And if a woman, she used a lifeline
As something more than
Some man’s servant mother wife time
Well, I wonder what would happen to this world?

As I look around us there’s such strange things
There’s muggers and there’s jugglers and we are led by clowns
If an answer ever found us, would we change things?
Or are we just a people rotten ready for the ground

And if our future lies on the final line
Are we brave enough
To see the signals and the signs
I wonder what would happen to this world?

We see the people, we see them marchin’ down
Do we join the parade
Or do we try and turn around?”

These are the things that get me through the day. There’s a lot there to draw strength from. Just thought I’d share….

Resisting with peace,

John

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “What The Old Folkies Knew — Woody, and Pete, Harry and Holly

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s