This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
Back in the day, if there was a protest in the offing, you could guarantee that Phil Ochs would be there. Even in Chicago, at the Democratic Party convention when the police riot exploded and all the performers chickened out, Phil was there (as were the MC5).
Today, thanks to you-know-who, there's an upsurge in protest music. It's not just the usual suspects either - there are many young performers getting involved. Alas, I'm not really familiar with these new voices so I'll write a column about the ones I remember.
Naturally, I'll start with PHIL OCHS.
He was renowned for his in your face protest songs but he wrote others as well. However, just about everything Phil wrote was a protest song but no one outside a small circle of friends realized that.
Sorry to disappoint you, it's not that song either. It's The Party. You might scratch your heads over its inclusion. I don't mind.
MALVINA REYNOLDS would be best known for writing Pete Seeger's biggest hit, Little Boxes.
Back then, and again these days, the powers that be say that they recognise the right to protest (they're probably just saying that for the cameras) but why not do it so it doesn't inconvenience anyone.
Malvina saw through that gambit and sang about it in her song It Isn't Nice.
TOM PAXTON was one of the earliest to write about ecological concerns.
Of course, Tom was the first to write about just about everything. In fact, he's really the first of the modern singer/songwriters. He was doing that even before Bob got out his trusty typewriter. Tom asks Whose Garden Was This?
I was nearly overwhelmed with choices for JOAN BAEZ.
I spent most of a morning playing her songs, trying to decide which one to include. I whittled it down to half a dozen, most of which you'd know. However, I finally chose one you may not be familiar with, from out of left field.
I decided on it as it's singularly appropriate for these times. The Trouble with the Truth is that there's not enough of it around these days.
Unless you're really familiar with his oeuvre, you probably weren't expecting SAM COOKE today.
We all hope fervently that Sam is correct when he sings A Change Is Gonna Come. Well, we hope it's a good change, not the ones that are already taking place.
As with a couple of songs today, I wondered if the next one really fits the bill. I decided that it did so I've left it in. It's not as if JUDY COLLINS didn't have many songs that would fit today, but this is the one I've chosen.
The song is The Coming of the Roads, another subtle protest song.
Norma, the Assistant Musicologist said, "I suppose you have to include Bob." I suppose she's right, here's BOB DYLAN.
You're probably not expecting this one. I played all the obvious songs and rejected them as I didn't think they fit the mood of the column - just a bit strident. So, after doing all that, but not checking all my Bob tracks (that'd take months), I settled on Percy's Song, a more personal protest song than the others.
A long time before any of the other songs today had popped into the mind of the various musicians, BILLIE HOLIDAY had recorded a song that set the tone for the next 60 or 70 years.
You all know that I'm talking about Strange Fruit. This is not just here for historical purposes. Rebecca Ferguson was asked to sing at the inauguration and she said she'd do so if she could sing this song. It probably won't come as a shock to you that she was refused.
In her place, however, they had Toby Keith performing a song about lynching what he considered to be ne'er-do-wells. Really! You can't make this stuff up. Well, you can, but it wouldn't be as outrageous as reality.
I'm about to be inconsistent. I was talking about the mood of the column up there in Bob's contribution and this certainly is at odds with that, but I thought it really had to be present. CROSBY STILLS NASH & YOUNG.
It's included not just because it's a great protest song, written in a blaze of white hot fury by Neil Young and then recorded and released in a couple of days when the Ohio National Guard shot and killed four students at Kent State University in 1970.
It's also present because Ohio Republican official Dan Adamini said in a tweet: "I'm thinking another Kent State might be the only solution protest after only one death. They do it because they know there are no consequences yet."
I won't even comment on that, not even about the mangled syntax.
Even Trump himself weighed in during the election saying how he liked the old days because protesters would be carried away on a stretcher (I'm paraphrasing a little, but that's the gist of it).
It's essential that we have another song from PHIL OCHS.
The A.M. said that this was her favorite of Phil's (her second was the one we started with). Certain people, especially the buffoon in the White House, should take heed of this one (yeah, as if that's going to happen). There But For Fortune.
It wouldn't be a protest column if we didn't have a singalong. To supply that we have HOLLY NEAR.
Besides the audience, Holly has some help from Ronnie Gilbert, Arlo Guthrie and (it goes without saying) Pete Seeger. This was recorded back in 1984, but it continues to be relevant. It might be the song for the next four years, Singing For Our Lives.