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MP3 David Rovics - We Just Want the World

Modern folk songs of social significance along the lines of Phil Ochs, Billy Bragg and Bob Dylan

14 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Political, FOLK: Modern Folk

Dear listener,

Well, it''s been a while, but here''s a new recording of original songs. I started recording some stuff at Soundsmith Digital Audio in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts early in the summer, and eventually finished tracking by the end of the summer. There were various delays -- unremarkable, as these things go, I''m told -- and now, at the end of 1998, here we are. It was a long and somewhat haphazard process, and I''d do most of it over again if I could, but that''s also not uncommon.

All in all I''m pretty happy with the results, though. Some of the songs were left just with my voice and guitar (for one reason or another). Two of these songs (The Death of David Chain and Henry Ford Was A Fascist) were recorded while I was on the road last fall, specifically in September courtesy of enharmonic studios in Charlottesville, Virginia. All of the songs on this CD were written by me, except for Judi Bari, which is basically an old song by Earl Robinson (Joe Hill, the song made famous by Paul Robeson) that Robert Hoyt and I re-wrote slightly while hanging around Macon one night.

Most of the songs here do have accompaniment, though, and we ended up really featuring the virtuoso banjo playing of Eric Royer. Sean Staples was kind enough to put down some very tasty mandolin tracks on several songs. Ken Porter came in at all kinds of odd hours and banged masterfully on all kinds of percussive instruments. Peter and Laurie Siegel came in one night to add some lovely vocal harmony to the whole thing. Rich Caloggero did some convincing acoustic afro-pop guitar accompaniment on the title track. I am very grateful to all of these aforementioned good friends not only for their irreplacable musical contributions, but for being so darn understanding about my financial destitution as well...

Other musical contributors include Joe Kessler on fiddle, Matthias Lupri on drums and percussion, Timo Shanko on stand-up bass, Perry Yeldham on electric bass, Chris Delmhurst on cello, and the very versatile Holbrook Gracia and his friendly gang of interns at Soundsmith, who co-produced and engineered the whole thing. Holbrook also filled in here and there on percussion, guitar and bass.

I feel compelled to thank all kinds of other people profusely for all kinds of things here, but there are really far too many people to make such an effort very practical in such a small space as these liner notes. I''d like to thank all of the activists and others throughout the land who have brought me to their area, put me up, put up with me and otherwise made my life worthwhile, and I''d particularly like to thank Anne Chamberlain, without whom this recording could not have happened (at least not this year, barring divine intervention or something along those lines). My deep gratitude also goes to the Martha Porter Boschen Fund for their generous support.

OK, enough of that. See you on the road and in the streets!

Aim high and throw hard,

1. Minimum Wage Strike I actually wrote the words to this song just before the walk-out at McDonald''s in Ohio in the spring of ''98, but it''s dedicated to those courageous workers and to the rest of the fast food industry. If there''s going to be a real future for the American labor movement, it''s got to start there. Long live the IWW!

2. We Just Want the World -- not its ashes. There''s certainly no future for any of humanity''s hopes and dreams if the earth itself is strangled to death by oil spills and chainsaws.

3. The Death of David Chain I was on my way to a forest defenders'' gathering in western Pennsylvania when I heard about the murder of Earth First! activist, David Chain, known to his friends and comrades as Gypsy. Now the Humboldt County Sheriff''s Department is charging Gypsy''s friends and fellow activists with his death. The timber wars continue.

4. Judi Bari Judi Bari was someone I and many other people really looked up to for a lot of reasons, and her premature death was a major blow to the environmental movement and the movement for social change as well. She understood that these two movements are fundamentally inseparable, and her work as an organizer, writer, speaker, and musician is a testament to her broad activist vision. When we have our Truth Commission, perhaps we will know the details of exactly who took the lives of Judi Bari, Anna Mae Aquash, Fred Hampton, Martin Luther King and so many others of this society''s best and brightest, who lost their lives in the struggle to make a better world.

5. Cannabis Cafe This is a song about a wonderful place in Vancouver, British Columbia. Some things change over time, and I''m happy to say that at least we will be seeing more places like this open up around North America. Spark it up and pass it this way!

6. Parking Lots and Strip Malls There is nothing inevitable about "progress." It only happens because certain forces in society make it happen, and others fail to stop it from happening. Some countries have banned the construction of any new malls. Some countries still have decent mass transit, too. My friend Mark Robinowitz says that the trick is, if you don''t want ''em to build the mall, don''t let ''em build the highway in the first place.

7. Song for Boxcar Betty Boxcar Betty was an organizer with the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies) earlier in this century. I''ve been accused of not writing enough love songs, so I wrote one for Betty, and I mean it, by the way. "OBU" is the acronym for "One Big Union."

8. Contras, Kings and Generals A song for the beautiful, suffering people of Iraq, and all the other victims of America''s genocidal foreign policy.

9. Henry Ford was a Fascist Henry Ford was an openly anti-semitic, greed-driven capitalist who used Jewish slave labor in Germany to help the Nazis kill American soldiers and many, many other people. History is rarely as clearcut as it appears in the capitalist American ("mainstream") press, and WWII was no exception.

10. Song for Hugh Thomson I was in a wonderful cafe (Hyperion Espresso) in Fredericksburg, Virginia, when I read in the paper about this helicopter pilot who landed in My Lai near the end of this horrible massacre perpetrated upon Vietnamese peasants by American troops. I never knew until I read this article that certain American troops were also involved with finally putting an end to it. The only reason Hugh Thomson''s heroic story emerged after thirty years was because the government of Vietnam was preparing to give him a medal for his actions, and the U.S. Army decided it wanted to try to avoid being upstaged.

11. T-Stop Cafe For those of you not from Boston, the "T" is the short name for the MBTA, Boston''s subway system. Along with many other musicians past and present, I''ve spent a lot of time playing on the red line platform at Park Street and other places. Thanks to the efforts of folks like Stephen Baird and Ned Landin, street music is alive and well in Boston, I''m happy to say.

12. Too Proud to Beg This song is based on an article I read in the New York Times one day, hanging out with my dear friend Chrysler at a blueberry stand in northwestern Connecticut. I wrote the song during the heat wave in the summer of ''95, about a man who died at that time while he was living in his car.

13. Glory and Fame (edited) I already recorded this song on my CD, Make It So, and might not have recorded it once again, except that when Anne Feeney heard me sing it around a campfire at the Kerrville Folk Festival, she said she liked it but that it might stand a little editing. I had long thought that myself, and after she made the suggestion, Chrysler helped me cut out half the verses during a long drive one night someplace in the midwest. My other name for the song is "Labor History 101." I used to call it "Ballad of the Proletariat," but Pete Seeger suggested I change the title, pointing out that "proletariat" is a "long, Latin word" which "might as well be in Swahili, or Chinese." I originally wrote the song in the spring of ''93, and it has obviously been a victim of the "folk process."

14. If I Die Tomorrow More thoughts on some of the various ways one might meet death prematurely in modern America.

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