I felt like the inauguration required a setlist of appropriate songs with lyrics that reflected our angst. Needless to say there is no Ted Nugent.
I wear my heart on my sleeve here. But I want to make it clear that I do not demonize those who disagree with me. I have friends and family who are celebrating tomorrow. I couldn’t disagree more. But I know they are good people and I will shake their hands and hug them the next I see them because we can’t do this alone.
Read on or go directly to the playlist.
1) We start with Randy Newman and some humor with Political Science
“Let’s drop the big one
And see what happens”
2) But there ain’t much humorous going on in Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit
“Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root”
3) The Neville Brothers version of Dylan’s With God on Our Side, what can I say?
“The confusion I’m feelin’
Ain’t no tongue can tell”
4) So we change speed with the Rolling Stones and Sympathy for the Devil:
“What’s puzzlin’ you
Is the nature of my game”
5) Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain requires some explanation. George Clinton asked the guitarist Eddie Hazel to imagine he had been told his mother was dead, but then learned that it was not true. No lyrics except George’s suitably bizarre intro. Eddie goes deep and wails over the 10 minutes. Interpret as you wish.
6) Steve Earle The Revolution Starts Here
“So what you doin’ standin’ around?
Just follow your heart
The revolution starts now”
7) The Drive-By Truckers released my album of the year, What it Means in 2016 but here we are in 2017. Trayvon, Ferguson, when will it stop?
“And it happened last weekend
And it will happen again next week”
8) The Band‘s The Weight is of course a classic and classically relevant.
‘When I saw Carmen and the Devil walkin’ side by side
And I said, “Hey, Carmen, come on, would you go downtown”
And she said, “Well, I gotta go but my friend can stick around”‘
9) Billy Bragg & Wilco did a wonderful job interpreting unused
Woody Guthrie lyrics in Christ for President. We really need Woody back.
“…cast the moneychangers
Out of the temple
Put the carpenter in”
10) Bob Marley & the Wailers. No way to leave off Bob Marley.
“Won’t you help to sing, these songs of freedom
‘Cause all I ever had, redemption songs”
11) I guess Big Star might be an odd choice but The Ballad of El Goodo is a classic.
“It gets so hard at times like now to hold on
Well, I’ll fall if I don’t fight
And at my side is God”
12) An American election and I have two songs by the British socialist Billy Bragg. So be it. Waiting for the Great Leaps Forward still speaks to me.
“Start your own revolution and
cut out the middleman”
13) And two by The Band who are sort of Canadian. It is what it is…Anyway the lyrics to I Shall be Released are by a Nobel Prize winner. And as he writes:
“Any day now I shall be released”
14) Randy Newman raises his hand. He wants another word with us and starts to play A Few Words in Defense of Our Country.
The end of an empire
Is messy at best
And this empire’s ending
Like all the rest
15) So we get to the end and with another Brit. But Nick Lowe’s sentiments are pretty universal. I think we can all get on-board for:
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding
But I don’t think I should end on an uplifting note.
Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello don’t think so either.