My influences – Music
Music has had the biggest impact on my life of anything. I have been transported by it, emotionally excited and cerebrally engaged.
|Roy Harper||I was fortunate enough to catch Roy when I was a mere slip of a lad and he was just starting out. I was at those gigs where epic songs such as McGoohan’s Blues and I Hate the Whiteman were new. I witnessed the passion and fury of a young Roy as he railed against the society we were imprisoned it and what it was doing to us and the world.He seemed to mirror my own views and I spent hundreds of hours listening to Roy live, talking and explaining and in song and poem, and on record. What he was talking about resonated with me and caused me to think more deeply about what I was doing with my life. Roy fed my rebellious streak and made me take a long hard look at the society I was growing up in and its values.|
|Bob Dylan||Back in the sixties there were two major issues – civil rights and war.Bob Dylan in his early albums created songs that articulated the plight of blacks in the South, the civil rights movement, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers and the cruel murder of Emmet Till.
He wrote of the futility of war, the threat of nuclear disaster and the stupidity of extreme right wing groups such as the John Birch Society.
He deployed humour and poetry to create a barbed attack on prejudice and Jim Crow and highlighted social injustice.
He awakened my awareness and raised my sensibilities.
|Phil Ochs||Phil also addressed those same civil rights issues but tended to focus more on the struggles of the working man, the trade unions and people’s rights. His songs were documentaries on politics and social issues.Dylan sneered at him and called him a journalist. Well he wasn’t the poet that Dylan was but he certainly could bring political and social issues alive.
He made me think about exploitation, racism and communism.
|Woody Guthrie||Woody was where songs about social issues started. He used his guitar to oppose fascism, fight for workers’ rights, equality and a fairer society. He stood up against exploitation in the face of violence.Woody took his philosophy with him where-ever he went – on picket lines, in radio studios, recording studios, and rambling around the country. He befriended and played with black musicians at a time when that was not condoned. Woody fought for what he believed in. His strength, fortitude and uncompromising attitude were an inspiration to me.|