Previous month:
March 2017
Next month:
May 2017

ELDER MUSIC: Where's Phil Ochs When We Need Him?

Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

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.

♫ Phil Ochs - The Party


MALVINA REYNOLDS would be best known for writing Pete Seeger's biggest hit, Little Boxes.

Malvina Reynolds

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.

♫ Malvina Reynolds - It Isn't Nice


TOM PAXTON was one of the earliest to write about ecological concerns.

Tom Paxton

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?

♫ Tom Paxton - Whose Garden Was This


I was nearly overwhelmed with choices for JOAN BAEZ.

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.

♫ Joan Baez - Trouble with the Truth


Unless you're really familiar with his oeuvre, you probably weren't expecting SAM COOKE today.

Sam Cooke

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.

♫ Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come


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.

Judy Collins

The song is The Coming of the Roads, another subtle protest song.

♫ Judy Collins - The Coming of the Roads


Norma, the Assistant Musicologist said, "I suppose you have to include Bob." I suppose she's right, here's BOB DYLAN.

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.

♫ Bob Dylan - Percy's Song


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.

Billie Holiday

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.

♫ Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit


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.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and 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).

Ohio.

♫ Crosby Stills Nash & Young - Ohio


It's essential that we have another song from PHIL OCHS.

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.

♫ Phil Ochs - 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.

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.

Holly Near (etc) - Singing For Our Lives



INTERESTING STUFF – 1 April 2017

GOOD DAY, EVERYONE

This is April Fool's Day. God knows I tried but I couldn't come up with any jokes to play on you that I actually like so instead, here is a small departure for Interesting Stuff – an all-animal show.

I read somewhere that watching cat videos (meaning all cute animal vids) is good for our mood and well-being. True or not, I hope you'll enjoy these. If not, at least it clears out a bit of the backlog for me.

UPDATE at 7:30AM: I just ran across Amazon's 2017 April Fool's Day video - about a special Amazon Echo skill for your pet:

* * *

BACK FROM EXTINCTION

The North American River Otter – a cute little bugger – has been brought back from the edge of extinction.

There is a lot more information about the North American river otter at the National Wildlife Federation website.

A SMALL REPRIEVE FOR ELEPHANTS

According to a story in The New York Times this week,

”...the ivory boom may be over. According to Save the Elephants, the wholesale price of an elephant tusk was $2,100 a kilogram in 2014. Last month, it was $730.

“This may be a sign of how a sustained global advocacy campaign can actually work...Last December, China responded, announcing it was shutting down all ivory commerce by the end of 2017. It seems the price of ivory has dropped in anticipation of the ban; many analysts believe it will soon drop further.”

Here's the video and you can read more at The Times.

THE AMAZING TARDIGRADE

This microscopic creature with a bunch of cute nicknames such as water bear, moss piglet and pudgy-wudgy are found everywhere on earth from the tippy-top of the highest mountains to the bottom of the seas and they are remarkably resilient. Take a look:

A GOOD DAY FOR HANK THE DOG

Cats are terrific but when you need a laugh or want to be reminded of what fun life can be, it's a good thing to watch a dog at play.

DIRTY DOGS

Cats are fastidious creatures. They spend a great deal of their waking hours “doing the laundry” and in the case of my Ollie, just a short pet on my part requires 10 minutes of licking to clean up whatever mess he thinks I've made of his fur.

Dogs, on the other hand, think getting dirty is one of the joys in life:

SOME FERAL CATS GET A JOB

TGB reader Cathy Johnson sent this video about how some feral cats got a job and with it, a safer life:

And everyone is happy. Read more at the I Heart Cats website.

AMAZING MIMIC, THE LYRE BIRD

Somehow I never heard of this bird before. About halfway through the video, he gets really amazing in his mimicry. The human in the video is the wonderful Richard Attenborough.

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL – YOU AND ME TOO

As the YouTube page explains:

”RSPCA is and always will be for all creatures great and small. However, we thought it important to remind us all that humans are included in the 'creature' list. So to create more empathy for our animal friends, it's integral we remember we are not so different!

“Thank you to Engine Group for helping to make this ad happen and a huge thank you to Geoffrey Rush, who is the voice for animals on this clip.”

More about the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Queensland is here.

* * *

Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.