My influences – in Music – Cerebral lyrics that mean something!

My influences – Music – Cerebrally

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.

 

Cerebrally
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.

Bob Dylan – It’s Alright Ma – I’m only bleeding – some thought

Bob Dylan – It’s Alright Ma – I’m only bleeding – some thoughts

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Once again this is quite a long quote of a poem/lyric that is one of Bob’s best – but then he was covering a lot of ground in this diatribe of vitriolic social comment.

It was written in the sixties but still is relevant today.

Look at the themes of hypocrisy, understanding life, impotency in the face of the establishment, religion, education, lies, the rat-race, politics and how to ignore all the pretence and senselessness of modern life.

The opening stanza itself is a poem – life and death and trying to understand what is going on – there is no sense in trying – it is beyond human understanding. The light of life can be snuffed out in an instant by a knife. The light of the sun blotted out by a balloon. Life is fleeting and the darkness comes quick.

The imagery is dense.

This quote is full of quotes – (he not busy being born is busy dying) (Don’t hate nothing at all except hatred) (it’s easy to see without looking too far that nothing much is really sacred) (I got nothing ma, to live up to) (who despise their jobs, their destiny) (meanwhile life goes on all around you)

The whole poem is a mess of quotes. I think I’ve fulfilled my challenge fifty times over.

Bob Dylan was a genius. I think he got caught up in the machine and it nearly killed him. He reined in his talent.

I urge everyone to go back to those early sixties albums, dig ’em out – they are full of mind blowing gems of social comment and thought. The man is a genius.

If you try to take the establishment on you end up getting injured badly. But it’s alright ma – I’m only bleeding.

Here’s a short quote:

‘Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon, there is no sense in trying

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
Plays wasted words proves to warn
That he not busy being born is busy dying

Temptation’s page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover that you’d just be one more person crying

So don’t fear if you hear
A foreign sound to your ear
It’s alright, Ma, I’m only sighing

As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don’t hate nothing at all, except hatred

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far that not much is really sacred

Our preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the President of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked

An’ all the rules of the road have been lodged
It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge
And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it

Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on all around you

You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks they really found you

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit
To satisfy insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it that you belong to

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to

For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despise their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Do what they do just to be
Nothing more than something they invest in

While some on principles baptized
To strict party platform ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize and say, “God bless him”

While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole that he’s in

But I mean no harm nor put fault
On anyone that lives in a vault
But it’s alright, Ma, if I can’t please him

Old lady judges watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn’t talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares propaganda, all is phony

While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer’s pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death’s honesty
Won’t fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes must get lonely

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
False goals, I scuff at pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say, “Okay, I have had enough, what else can you show me?”

And if my thought dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only’

If you would like to try one of my books they are all available on Amazon.

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New definitive book on Rock Music from its roots – Rock Routes

New definitive book on Rock Music from its roots – Rock Routes – out now in paperback for £9.57.

I spent years writing this and have been holding it back. I decided to release it now. I don’t know why.

If you like Rock Music you will adore this! It gives you my personal take on all the genres and their major exponents and essential tracks. It’s informative and readable. It sheds light and is a great guide. Why not give it a try?

Blurb

This charts the progress of Rock Music from its beginnings in Country Blues, Country& Western, R&B and Gospel through to its Post Punk period of 1980. It tells the tale of each genre and lists all the essential tracks. I was there at the beginning and I’m still there at the front! Keep on Rockin’!!

Poetry – It’s no good wishing – a poem that says get up and change it – make it good!

Poetry – It’s no good wishing – a poem that says get up and change it – make it good!

If you want a better world you have to make one; nobody else will do it for you. With every deed, action and thought you can change the world. You must strive. You must be ceaseless.

There is no superior force to even the score.

The selfish and greedy get bloated on the apathy of others. If you want to stop them exploiting everyone on the planet, wielding destruction and misery, you have to oppose what they are doing and make things better.

There’s a much better way of running this world.

It starts with us.

It’s No Good Wishing

 

It’s no good wishing

Cos life ain’t fair

It’s no good wishing

Wishing ain’t gonna get you there

 

It’s nice to dream

It’ll all work out fine

It’s nice to dream

It evens out in time

 

The bastards get theirs

And the victims come through

“Evil sickheads

It rebounds back on you”

 

It’s no good pretending

There’s a heaven up there

With some nice guy in a beard

Who’s gonna make it fair.

 

One day you’ll die

And it’ll all be alright

You get your rewards

They’ll get the shite

 

It’s no good fearing

You’ll get punished for wrong

On judgement day

The weak will be made strong

 

There’s a hell down below us

To even things out

Eternal pains and pleasures

All fairly dished about

 

It would be nice

If our karma rang true

You get what you deserve

It always comes through

 

But life ain’t like that

And neither is death

No evening up

No new life’s breath

 

When your heart stops beating

And your eyes no longer to see

You will feel nothing

You’ll just cease to be

 

No fires of redemption

No eternal life

No new battles to face

No love and no strife

 

When your eyes close

The universe fades

And it won’t even miss you

As you rot in your grave

 

So if you want justice

Or some better deal

You’ve got to make it happen

With all of your will

 

It’s no good wishing

Cos life ain’t fair

It’s no good wishing

Wishing won’t get you there

 

OPHER 20.9.96

Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez and the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s

Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez and the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s.

 

Back in the early 1960s the Civil Rights Movement was picking up momentum. Martin Luther King was organising marches, sit-ins, boycotts and protests. There was a move towards gaining equality for people regardless of creed, race or religion. Segregation was rife and needed to be utterly destroyed.

The Folk Movement had come out of the Left Wing protests of the 1950s with its social messages from the likes of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and the Weavers. It stood for freedom, equality and fairness. It supported the unions, fair pay and social justice.

The songs that came out of the early sixties were termed protest songs. They were songs for human rights and justice.

Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton were at the forefront singing songs that helped rouse the conscience of the world. The white liberals and radicals joined with the blacks to fight for equality.

With songs like ‘Blowing in the Wind’, ‘To Ramona’, ‘The Ballad of Hollis Brown’, ‘The Ballad of Medgar Evans’, ‘Links on the Chain’, Power and the Glory’, ‘Only a Pawn in their Game’, ‘Chimes of Freedom’, ‘We Shall Overcome’, ‘Here to the State of Mississippi’ and hundreds more, the singer/songwriters took a stance, sang their truth, and opposed the Jim Crow laws. They put their bodies on the line. They supported the freedom riders and went on the marches.

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez performed at the great march on Washington that drew a million people in to hear Martin Luther King speak.

Their voice told the black protestors that they were not alone. White supporters went down South to support the protests and were killed by the rabid racist Klu Klux Klan along with the blacks they were supporting.

Bob Dylan – To Ramona – Protest song of Civil Rights, Racism and Hope.

Bob Dylan – To Ramona – Protest song of Civil Rights, Racism and Hope.

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This was the young Folkie Bob Dylan following in the Protest footprints of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.

This is a song directed towards a young black girl suffering racism and abuse. Bob directs all his poetic brilliance to give her reassurance and advice. He’s telling her she’s great and she just needs to believe in herself and ignore all the fools that are undermining her.

Good advice. Great song – one of his best. This is what music should be – full of sensitivity and meaning.

This is precisely how Bob changed the whole face of Rock Music. He raised our sensibilities, raised the standard of lyrics and focussed us on social improvement.

Thanks Bob.

“To Ramona”

Ramona, come closer
Shut softly your watery eyes
The pangs of your sadness
Will pass as your senses will rise
The flowers of the city
Though breathlike, get deathlike at times
And there’s no use in tryin’
To deal with the dyin’
Though I cannot explain that in lines.

Your cracked country lips
I still wish to kiss
As to be by the strength of you skin
Your magnetic movements
Still capture the minutes I’m in
But it grieves my heart, love
To see you tryin’ to be a part of
A world that just don’t existv It’s all just a dream, babe
A vacuum, a scheme, babe
That sucks you into feelin’ like this.

I can see that your head
Has been twisted and fed
With worthless foam from the mouth
I can tell you are torn
Between stayin’ and returnin’
Back to the South
You’ve been fooled into thinking
That the finishin’ end is at hand
Yet there’s no one to beat you
No one to defeat you
‘Cept the thoughts of yourself feeling bad

I’ve heard you say many times
That you’re better ‘n no one
And no one is better ‘n you
If you really believe that
You know you have
Nothing to win and nothing to lose
From fixtures and forces and friends
Your sorrow does stem
That hype you and type you
Making you feel
That you gotta be just like them.

I’d forever talk to you
But soon my words
They would turn into a meaningless ring
For deep in my heart
I know there is no help I can bring
Everything passes
Everything changes
Just do what you think you should do
And someday, maybe
Who knows, baby
I’ll come and be cryin’ to you.

Bob Dylan – Forever Young – A song of heart-warming sentiment.

Bob Dylan – Forever Young – A song of heart-warming sentiment.

I dedicate this to all the followers of my blog.

After the brilliance of the sixties, following his ‘accident’, Bob went into a poor phase. It gave rise to a new excellent phase in the seventies with the albums Blood on the Tracks, Planet Waves and Desire. It did not reach the heights of either of the two majestic brilliance of the acoustic and then electric sixties phases, but it was still great.

This song was typical. While it lacked the social significance the level of poetic imagery was great. The sentiments were warming. This wasn’t the snarling Dylan of Bob in his vitriolic hipster phase, this has the sound of a happier man.

“Forever Young”

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Bob Dylan – Only a Pawn in Their Game – Lyrics about the cowardly murder of the civil rights leader Medgar Evans.

Bob Dylan – Only a Pawn in Their Game – Lyrics about the cowardly murder of the civil rights leader Medgar Evans.

 

Medgar Evans

Medgar Evans was shot in the back by a cowardly gunman who hid in the bushes. He was killed in front of his wife and children.

The aim of the murder was to strike terror into the community so that they would not rise up and seek their rights.

The aim of Islamic extremists is to impose their distorted view of religion on other people. They want to stifle free speech and the rights of the individual. They use hate, extreme violence and terror to get their way.

Like the Klu Klux Klan they will be defeated.

As Dylan pointed out the terrorists who are blowing themselves up or attacking innocent people have been duped. The people organising the killings are well away out of danger.

The perpetrators are pawns in the game.

The only way to deal with fascism is through education.

“Only A Pawn In Their Game”

A bullet from the back of a bush took Medgar Evers’ blood
A finger fired the trigger to his name
A handle hid out in the dark
A hand set the spark
Two eyes took the aim
Behind a man’s brain
But he can’t be blamed
He’s only a pawn in their game.A South politician preaches to the poor white man
“You got more than blacks, don’t complain
You’re better than them, you been born with white skin” they explain
And the Negro’s name
Is used it is plain
For the politician’s gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man’s used in the hands of them all like a tool
He’s taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
‘Bout the shape that he’s in
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.From the powerty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks
And the hoof beats pound in his brain
And he’s taught how to walk in a pack
Shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide ‘neath the hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain’t got no name
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.

Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught
They lowered him down as a king
But when the shadowy sun sets on the one
That fired the gun
He’ll see by his grave
On the stone that remains
Carved next to his name
His epitaph plain:
Only a pawn in their game.

Talkin’ John Birch Society Blues – Bob Dylan

The Far-Right John Birch Society was set up in 1958 in the heat of the McCarthy witch-hunts. They believed that Communism and Socialism was infiltrating into American society and had to be rooted out and eliminated. They were extreme, paranoid and saw conspiracy in everything. They were totally opposed to big government, opposed to civil rights (a very white group),  and opposed to any form of redistribution of wealth.

Back in the early 60s the John Birch Society was the antithesis of everything the sixties represented. We were pushing for equality, freedom, civil rights, and a fairer society. They were paranoid dinosaurs trying to hand on to an establishment under threat. They wanted a nice white society, based on unbridled capitalism, ruled by an elite, and based on strict conformist conservative values. We were the new vanguard of liberalism and a society that was not full of greed, warmongering and run by a wealthy elite.

Hence Dylan’s ridiculing of the fear-ridden extremists.

The irony is, that in the age of Trump, this extremism, paranoia, racism and hatred of socialism has become mainstream!

Talkin’ John Birch Society Blues – Bob Dylan

Well, I was feelin’ lowdown and blue,
I didn’t know what in the world I was gonna do,
Them Communists they wus comin’ around,
They wus in the air,
They wus on the ground.
They wouldn’t gimme no peace…

So I run down most hurriedly
And joined up with the John Birch Society,
I got me a secret membership card
And started off a-walkin’ down the road.
Woah boy, I’m a real John Bircher now!
Look out you Commies!

Now we all agree with Hitlers’ views,
Although he killed six million Jews.
It don’t matter too much that he was a Fascist,
At least you can’t say he was a Communist!
That’s to say like if you got a cold take a shot of malaria.

I got up in the mornin’ ‘n’ looked under my bed,
Well, I wus lookin’ everywhere for them gol-darned Reds.
Looked in the stove, behind the door,
Looked in the glove compartment of my car.
Couldn’t find ’em…

I wus lookin’ for them Reds everywhere,
I wus lookin’ in the sink an’ underneath the chair.
I looked way up my chimney hole,
I even looked deep inside my toilet bowl.
They got away…

Well, I wus sittin’ home an’ started to sweat,
Figured they wus in my T.V. set.
Peeked behind the picture frame,
Got a shock from my feet, right up in the brain.
Them Reds caused it!
I know they did… them hard-core ones.

Well, I quit my job so I could work alone,
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes.
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they wus red stripes on the American flag!
Ol’ Betty Ross…

Well, I investigated all the books in the library,
Ninety percent of ’em gotta be thrown away.
I investigated all the people that I knowed,
Ninety-eight percent of them gotta go.
The other two percent are fellow Birchers… just like me.

Now Eisenhower, he’s a Russian spy,
Roosevelt, Lincoln, and that Jefferson guy.
To my knowledge there’s just one man
That’s really a true American: George Lincoln Rockwell.
I know for a fact he hates Commies cus he picketed the movie
Exodus.

Well, I finally started thinkin’ straight
When I run outa things to investigate.
Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else,
So now I’m sittin’ home investigatin’ myself!
Hope I don’t find out nothing… good God!

Bob Dylan – Only a Pawn in Their Game – Lyrics about the cowardly murder of the civil rights leader Medgar Evans.

Medgar Evans

Medgar Evans was shot in the back by a cowardly gunman who hid in the bushes. He was killed in front of his wife and children.

The aim of the murder was to strike terror into the community so that they would not rise up and seek their rights.

The aim of Islamic extremists is to impose their distorted view of religion on other people. They want to stifle free speech and the rights of the individual. They use hate, extreme violence and terror to get their way.

Like the Klu Klux Klan they will be defeated.

As Dylan pointed out the terrorists who are blowing themselves up or attacking innocent people have been duped. The people organising the killings are well away out of danger.

The perpetrators are pawns in the game.

The only way to deal with fascism is through education.

“Only A Pawn In Their Game”

A bullet from the back of a bush took Medgar Evers’ blood
A finger fired the trigger to his name
A handle hid out in the dark
A hand set the spark
Two eyes took the aim
Behind a man’s brain
But he can’t be blamed
He’s only a pawn in their game.A South politician preaches to the poor white man
“You got more than blacks, don’t complain
You’re better than them, you been born with white skin” they explain
And the Negro’s name
Is used it is plain
For the politician’s gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.

The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man’s used in the hands of them all like a tool
He’s taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
‘Bout the shape that he’s in
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.

From the powerty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks
And the hoof beats pound in his brain
And he’s taught how to walk in a pack
Shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide ‘neath the hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain’t got no name
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.

Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught
They lowered him down as a king
But when the shadowy sun sets on the one
That fired the gun
He’ll see by his grave
On the stone that remains
Carved next to his name
His epitaph plain:
Only a pawn in their game.