My Favourite Protest Songs – Ritchie Havens – What You Gonna Do About Me?

This is another one for the environmental vandal Trump.

This is a song off the great album The Blind Degree.  I used to play this a lot.

When things are wrong it is incumbent on all right minded people to stand up and protest. We cannot allow the greedy and selfish to trash the planet.

What you gonna do about us? We are gonna stick up for what we believe in and we’re prepared to be shot down.

What You Gonna Do About Me? Ritchie Havens

You poison my sweet waters; you chop down my green trees
And the food you feed my children is the cause of that ill disease
My world is slowly falling down and the air is not fit to breathe
And those of us who care enough, we have to do something
Oh, what you gonna do about me
Oh, what you gonna do about me

Your newspapers – they just put you on
They never tell you the whole story
They just put your young ideas down
I was wondering if this was the end of their pride and glory?
Oh, what you gonna do about me
Oh, what you gonna do about me

I work in your factories and I study in your schools
I fill your penitentiaries and your military too
I can feel the future trembling as the word is passed around
If you stick up for what you do believe in, be prepared to be shot down
Oh, what you gonna do about me
Oh, what you gonna do about me

I feel just like a stranger in the land where I was born
And I live just like an outlaw; I’m always on the run
Always on the run, they got me always on the run

Oh, your soldiers smoke marijuana, you can’t put them behind your walls
Because most of what you taught them to do is against most of your laws
We’re all fugitives from injustice now but we’re going to be free
Because your rules and regulations don’t do the things for me
Oh, what you gonna do about me
Oh, what you gonna do about me

You may be the stronger now, but my time will come around
You keep adding to my numbers as you shoot my people down
I can feel the future trembling as the word is passed around
We are going to stick up for what we do believe in, and we’re prepared to be shot down
Oh, what you gonna do about me
Oh, what you gonna do about me

I feel just like a stranger in the land where I was born
And I live just like an outlaw; I’m always on the run
Always on the run, they got me always on the run

My Favourite Protest Songs – Elvis Costello – Tramp the Dirt Down

This is a song that deals with the odious Thatcher – the purveyor of hate and division, squanderer of North Sea Oil revenue, creator of BSE and monetary meltdown through her deregulation policies, destroyer of unions, destroyer of our manufacturing industry, seller of council housing, destroyer of communities, destroyer of miners, and scourge of public services.

We’re still picking up the bill.

I’ll certainly tramp on her grave if I get half a chance.

 Elvis Costello

“Tramp The Dirt Down”

I saw a newspaper picture from the political
A woman was kissing a child, who was obviously
in pain
She spills with compassion, as that young child’s
face in her hands she grips
Can you imagine all that greed and avarice
coming down on that child’s lips
Well I hope I don’t die too soon
I pray the Lord my soul to save
Oh I’ll be a good boy, I’m trying so hard to behave
Because there’s one thing I know, I’d like to live
long enough to savour
That’s when they finally put you in the ground
I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt downWhen England was the whore of the world
Margeret [sic] was her madam
And the future looked as bright and as clear as
the black tarmacadam
Well I hope that she sleeps well at night, isn’t
haunted by every tiny detail
‘Cos when she held that lovely face in her hands
all she thought of was betrayalAnd now the cynical ones say that it all ends
the same in the long run
Try telling that to the desperate father who just
squeezed the life from his only son
And how it’s only voices in your head and
dreams you never dreamt
Try telling him the subtle difference between
justice and contempt
Try telling me she isn’t angry with this pitiful
When they flaunt it in your face as you line up
for punishment
And then expect you to say “Thank you”
straighten up, look proud and pleased
Because you’ve only got the symptoms, you
haven’t got the whole disease
Just like a schoolboy, whose head’s like a tin-can
filled up with dreams then poured down
the drain
Try telling that to the boys on both sides, being
blown to bits or beaten and maimed
Who takes all the glory and none of the shame

Well I hope you live long now, I pray the Lord
your soul to keep
I think I’ll be going before we fold our arms
and start to weep
I never thought for a moment that human life
could be so cheap
‘Cos when they finally put you in the ground
They’ll stand there laughing and tramp the
dirt down

Favourite Protest Songs – Bob Dylan – Only A Pawn In Their Game

Protest was the media term applied to a sudden popularity in songs of political/social content that sprang up in the early sixties in the Folk Scene due to the sudden rise of Bob Dylan.

For a few glorious years Bob Dylan produced three stunning acoustic albums featuring poetic songs the like of which had never been heard. This protest – songs of civil rights, antiwar and social comment – had its roots in Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Malvina Reynolds but nobody had done it as well as Dylan.

Greenwich Village was the focus for a left-wing bohemian upsurge led by the Folk Movement. A number of young singers were weighing in with their contributions as black and native American singers sang alongside each other in the clubs. They had a vision of a better, fairer America that wasn’t belligerent and didn’t practice segregation. These included the likes of Buffy St Marie, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton and Peter Lefarge. A new optimism was in the air. The fight was on.

When the Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers was shot in the back by a cowardly gunman skulking in the bushes both Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan took up the guitar and wrote songs. This was Bob’s brilliant effort. It picked out the way the gullible Southerner Whites had been cynically used by the politicians in order for them to gain power. The hatred and division they created in their wake spilled over into violence. In creating scapegoats the weaselly politicians escaped blame.

Does that sound familiar?

We’ve all been pawns in the games of the rich and powerful as they manipulate us for their wars, elections and referendums. They run the place for their own ends. Austerity is not a word they are familiar with. The hate and division they create is no concern of theirs. They care not.

Where’s the new Bob Dylan when we need him or her?

Bob Dylan – 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.

Songwriters: BOB DYLAN
Only A Pawn In Their Game lyrics © BOB DYLAN

Quote 7 – Woody Guthrie – This machine kills fascists

There’s still a lot of fascists out there that need a dose of education.

Opher's World

Woody Guthrie rambled round in the thirties, forties and fifties in America. He travelled with black and white alike. He stood for fairness and justice. He stood on picket lines with working men striking for a fair wage and fair treatment. He opposed injustice, racism, sexism and elitism.

He wrote songs like nobody had ever heard before.

The quote I am going to give from him is the one he painted on his guitar –

‘This machine kills fascists’

Woody Guthrie

It is a simple concept for a complex issue. He was saying that you do not destroy poisonous ideology like fascism and fundamentalism with guns – you destroy them with music, with words, with education. You change the minds not blow up the bodies.

That has informed my life.

Music is a powerful tool for changing people’s minds and awakening their humanity and love of their fellow men and women. The…

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Let’s Find The Power!

Looks and sounds brilliant – incredible photos from Rich!

Loudhailer UK

Post gig line-up

Give it up for the young people of The Warren at Hull Freedom Festival 2015! It was just awesome, and I loved every minute of it. So inspiring to work in such a superb supportive environment with so many talented and ace people. Everybody was buzzing! You can tell by looking at these fab photos that Rich and Dex took.

Click on an image to see the full picture and scroll through…

Songs of Freedom at The Warren

“A powerful protest song’s project giving young people a voice performing live at the Freedom Festival. In a bold creative fight-back against government cuts and youth poverty – the Warren Young People’s Project is building on the success of the pilot initiative to deliver Songs of Freedom 2. Working alongside skilled musicians and songwriters, the Project will support 16-25 year-olds to develop their vocal and performance skills through dynamic accredited song writing workshops…

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