Pick of the Political Pops: Joni Mitchell “Big Yellow Taxi”

This week we were reminded again by those who know that global warming is going to kill the planet and take us all with it. Then again we were reminded of that last week and the week before and every week for the past thirty years or more. Here at Americana-UK Towers we are fond of doing our bit and we often recycle the hopes and aspirations of the musicians that send us their stuff on the Compost Heap of Shattered Dreams. At least we are not like that Australian geezer who thinks it will be a good idea to resurrect the coal mining industry or that Brazilian geezer who wants to open up the rainforest to mining concerns or Donny John who… well who knows what he wants this week but its bound to be bad for the environment somehow. The simple fact is that we are fucked – so we are going to do the only thing we know to cope in such a situation. That’s right pour a stiff drink and play some tunes. Joni knew what was happening even back then:

Pick of the Political Pops: Borns “It’s My Party”

Political anoraks amongst our readership will, like us, have been glued to our TVs recently taking in all of the rich drama and nerve-tingling excitement that is party conference season. Or maybe not. These things tend to be back-slapping, self-congratulatory things custom made for the soundbite generation and thin on actual content. Hell, most of the ‘announcements’ are pre-published to the media so we don’t even get the sharp in takes of breath when something monumental (or even mildly interesting) pops up. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Borns “It’s My Party””

Pick of the Political Pops: John Cale “Buffalo Ballet”

The track ‘Buffalo Ballet’ taken from John Cale’s 1974 album ‘Fear’ describes the scene in Abilene, Texas, the sparse piano-based sound lulling you into a deceptive ease as it starts off describing the town as “young and gay” with “cattle roaming.” Idyllic ay! The next verse goes on to describe a sleepy, almost decaying scene before the killer bridge: “We all joined in and all joined hands; All joined in to help run this land; Then soldiers came, long long ago; Rode through the town and rode down those who were sleeping in the midday sun.” The scene describes the US cavalry’s defense of landowners against peasant populations, often immigrants, while nowadays the peasant populations often form the cavalry. Cale himself called the song a “European version of the Old West.” (Paul Kelly’s version is better than the original imho but not available outside of Australia on YouTube sadly.)

Pick of the Political Pops: The Kinks “Here Come The People In Grey”

Few people realise that Americana-UK Towers is in fact a local authority owned country pile for which we pay a weekly rent to The People’s Republic of Liverpudlia. This is a fair and equitable situation since, when we are done with it, the property will pass to someone else who can make equally good use of it. We are guaranteed a roof over our heads and the local authority have an asset which will be used for years to come to benefit those needing a simple place to live. Perfect. We were a little surprised, greatly amused and whole-heartedly pissed off this week then when PM Terry Might got on her less-than-high horse to pontificate about the benefits of social housing. Here’s a quote that we lifted straight from the BBC News website: Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: The Kinks “Here Come The People In Grey””

Pick of the Political Pops: Pedro Piedra “Inteligencia Dormida”

This week we were reminded of the anniversary of the 11th September. Yes – the US/CIA backed military coup in Chile in 1973. History buffs will recall that the democratically elected socialist leader Salvador Allende was overthrown in a military coup (facilitated at least in part by Nixon/Kissinger although they denied it) fronted by the dictator (and later friend of Thatcher) General Pinochet. Estimates say that some 40,000 people were incarcerated in The National Stadium of Chile whilst a further 130,000 political enemies were arrested in the following years many of whom were tortured and ‘disappeared’. Obviously the Cold War was pretty hot in South America. We don’t claim to be au fait with much Chilean music but this tune “Sleeping Intelligence” will do for our Jukebox in The Bunker this week:

Pick of the Political Pops: Jim White “Static On The Radio”

There’s a reason why we designed The Bunker here at Americana UK Towers as we did. Principally it is a little oasis of calm in the maelstrom that is the modern world – with its sturdy five lever locked solid oak door we can shut the rest of the world out whilst we indulge our passions of music, hard liquor and the ability to bask in our own arrogance. Increasingly it’s becoming a necessary place for our mental well-being. To all intents and purposes the world has gone fucking mad. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Jim White “Static On The Radio””

Pick of the Political Pops: Josh Rouse “Slaveship”

This month marks five hundred years (1518) since the first direct shipments of slaves from the continent of Africa to the Americas began. Emperor Charles V of Spain sanctioned the move because the native American populations who had previously been ‘pressed’ into service had been decimated and needed to be replaced. Previously African slaves had to have been born under Christian dominion and because many of the slaves leaving Africa had been either muslim or animistic in religious belief they were thought to have been a seditious risk to the native populations. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Josh Rouse “Slaveship””

Pick Of The Political Pops: Grant Lee Buffalo “The Last Days Of Tecumseh”

This week we have been ruminating on the fact that this week is the fifty year anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by The Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany and Poland (a combined force under the direction of The USSR). Some one hundred and thirty seven civilians were killed and a further five hundred were seriously wounded. All, really, because people had expressed discontent with totalitarianism and just wanted an easier life. Here’s a cheer then for the underdogs, the repressed and the put upon who still exist in all corners of the world and who still dream of voicing their discontent and hope for an easier life.

Pick of the Political Pops: Aretha Franklin “Chain of Fools”

News of the death of the “Queen of Soul” felt like a hammer blow yesterday given the state the US is in right now, and though Franklin claimed that she wasn’t a political singer, many of her best-known songs had a clear resonance with the womens and civil rights movements. She also gave the world a song originally heralded as an anthem of female independence but which soon “transformed it into an angry rejection of the chain of command” for African-American soldiers returning from the Vietnam War. As Lee Andresen wrote in Battle Notes: Music of the Vietnam War: “Although songs like ‘Chain of Fools’ and ‘Respect’ didn’t directly address the war, tapes of [Franklin’s] music became as essential a part of field kits as C-rations and morphine.” Elsewhere RS notes her 6 best country interpretations.

Pick of the Political Pops: Hank Williams Jr. “Big Fool Of The Year”

This week we were struck (once again) by how differently people are treated depending on which side of the political divide they fall into. Granted the only thing we like falling into here at Americana-UK Towers is a gently drunken slumber but it piqued our interest that one fellow, a life-long anti-racist, can’t seem to do enough to persuade others of his credentials (despite all of the evidence being there) whilst another has been gently ticked off (and has indeed seen his cachet rise with some in his own ranks) for saying some quite obviously and overtly racist (and indeed sexist) things. Not fair we thought. But hardly surprising we thought. There really are some foolish people in the world we thought.