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Another Country is possible

category louth | arts and media | opinion/analysis author Monday January 26, 2004 18:28author by Jenkinstown Junkies - Johnny Cash Appreciation Society (Marxist-Leninist)author email jonnyjohnnyjohnny at dannyhughes dot com Report this post to the editors

If you thought country music was just for rednecks, think again

COUNTRY MUSIC icon Willie Nelson has just written a protest song against the war in Iraq. He hopes it will stir the passions in those who hear it.

The song, "Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth?", begins:

There's so many things going on in the world Babies dying Mothers crying How much oil is one human life worth? And whatever happened to peace on earth?

This is the second protest song Nelson has ever written. The other, the Vietnam-era protest song "Jimmy's Road", was sung by Nelson at peace rallies during the Gulf War.

When asked if his new song might cause a backlash with country music fans, Nelson said, "I sure hope so. I don't care if people say, 'Who the hell does he think he is?' I know who I am."

I'm sure many readers of Socialist Worker associate country music with conservative, redneck right wing politics. Of course there is a large strand of country music that fits this stereotype, but there are a large number of country musicians creating innovative and radical music.

For instance there is Steve Earle. He describes himself as "a borderline Marxist" and as someone who "utterly resists the American capitalist ethic that if you are not entrepreneurial you deserve to starve".

On his last album, Jerusalem, there is a song titled "The John Walker Blues". It explains why a young white American boy fought on the side of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The album sent the media into a frenzy. The New York Post headline review screamed "Twisted Ballad Honours Tali-Rat". Some radio stations even burned copies of the record!

Then there are the Dixie Chicks, whose latest album has sold over 25 million copies. During their tour of Britain last year, one of the band's singers, Natalie Maines, told the audience, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."

Once again the right wing propaganda machine went into overdrive. Cumulus Media Corporation ordered all of its 42 country stations to stop playing the group's music. And in Louisiana pro-war protesters used a tractor to crush the band's CDs.

The list goes on-James Blundell, Australia's biggest country singer, released a single opposed to the war. Rock-orientated singer John Cougar Mellencamp has attacked Bush.

It is not just the political radicalisation that makes country music exciting, the music is also going through a renaissance.

This generation of country artists are looking back to earlier traditions. They are rediscovering older music forms like bluegrass, blues and the music of Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.

As with any music the term country covers a wide range of styles - with some artists performing music heavily influenced by rock, blues, gospel and jazz.

There should be no surprise that country music is political. After all it reflects the hopes, aspirations and dreams of many white working class Americans-many of whom oppose Bush's war aims and his home agenda.

Bush and Blair's warmongering looks like it is going to keep pushing a layer of country musicians to the left.

As Steve Earle said, "I'm just a songwriter who has never excluded politics from what I do, and I find it hard to write about anything else right now."

Related Link: http://www.mickeythedogisamangeyvarmint.org
author by JCAS (Anarko Commie division)publication date Mon Jan 26, 2004 19:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Just an American boy
Raised on MTV,
And I've all them kids
In the soda pop ads--
None of 'em look like me.
So I started lookin' round
For a light out of the dim,
And the first thing I heard
That made sense was the word
Of Mohammed, peace be upon him.


Ash hadu alla
Ilaaha illallah,
There is no God but God.


If my daddy could see me now,
Chains around my feet,
He don't understand
Sometimes a man
Has got to fight for what he believes.
And I believe God is great,
All praise to him,
And if I should die
I'll rise up to the sky
Just like Jesus, peace be upon him.


Ash hadu alla
Ilaaha illallah,
There is no God but God
We came to fight the Jihad,
We all offered up prayers,
Prepared for our martyrdom--
But Allah has some other plan,
Some secret not revealed.
Now they're draggin' me back
With my head in a sack
To the land of the infidel.


Ash hadu alla
Ilaaha illallah,
There is no God but God.


author by hs - sppublication date Thu Jan 29, 2004 16:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I love it,- Johnny Cash Appreciation Society (Marxist-Leninist), how do I join? Call me comrade Sue.

author by pat cpublication date Thu Jan 29, 2004 17:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

cash was the man in black!

the ghost riders in the sky were makhnos anarchist cavalry!

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