Tag Archives: immigration

Ban It All

Why not just ban everyone and everything? You can’t be safe if you don’t, right? Your chair could break under your weight and you’d fall to the floor and you could get a splinter from the wood in your wrist and that could get infected with some sort of bacteria and then that infection left untreated, because, well, no healthcare, could spread and spread and spread all over every part of your body and then it could become airborne and leak into other peoples’ eye sockets and they’d be infected.

Ban It All
It feels good when there’s no escape, right? RIGHT!?

See what I’m saying. Ban chairs, splinters, bacteria, breathing on other people. Just make it all illegal. Put us all in prison. Build walls around us. Chain us to the roof of a car. Do whatever you have to do. Just don’t let any of us people out into the world. WE ARE DANGEROUS.

Anyway, here’s a song about that.

This new one uses some elements of a couple other songs I’ve recorded (this one and this one), as well as this Woody Guthrie one. It’s nice that I can go back to songs I wrote 7 years ago and just take themes and ideas and update them just a little bit. Takes almost no time or effort on my part. Kind of wish that wasn’t the case, though. Kind of wish I wasn’t updating songs about being left behind and shut out and kicked down and dragged around.

Oh, and if you can’t read between the lines, this song is dedicated to Donald Trump, a piece of rotted chair cushion foam left out in the back alley during a week when it rained for 6 days straight. Fuck that guy and his whole entire administration.

Over the Border Wall

When a wall goes up there’s so many ways to get to the other side. You can go over it, under it, break it down and go through it, jump it, fly it, pole vault it. Doesn’t even matter if it’s a border wall or a house wall or a city wall or a hotel wall or a wall in your head or heart. Just bust on through.

Get over the border wall at all costs.I’ve been think about this song for a long while now. Not just days and weeks and months, but years. It’s a old Carter Family tune that I first heard probably about a decade ago. Their tune is called Over the Garden Wall. Ten years ago I was thinking a lot about immigration. A lot about Mexico and all the countries south of Mexico. I wrote one called On the Banks of the Old Rio Grande. And another called Brown-skinned Woman. And I started reworking this one, replacing garden wall with border wall. Just fits good. But I must have gotten distracted or something because I never finished it or recorded it.

Who knew, 10 years later…

And, of course, now I’ve been thinking about it again. With so much talk the past months about building a damn wall between the US and Mexico how could I not. Locking people out. Locking people in. I didn’t really need to change much from the Carter Family version. I did almost changed the line “while the old feller was snoring asleep” to “while the old feller was writing a tweet” but I felt that was too easy a jab. And also only pointed a finger at one man. If a wall goes up who’s fault is it really? Some bigot elected official? Some racist sheriff? Someone else? You? Me? Has nothing been done in 10 years? In 20 years? In 200 years? Who’s fault is that?

If a wall gets built, climb it. Both ways. Then move the Statue of Liberty to the mouth of the Rio Grande and let everyone in and out.

Like a very wise man once said:

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
-Woody Guthrie, This Land Is Your Land

Green Gas: The Talkin’ Headline Blues #124

The Talkin’ Headline Blues is a weekly series of recordings using unedited headlines from CNN.com written as a song. This week’s topic: Green Gas.

Green Gas: The Talkin' Headline Blues #124

Green man on moose gets gas.
Dog boy!
Where you’re you can fight reform.
Nostalgia iceberg!

Brown-skinned Woman

Songs About America Week

Here’s the song I was gonna post yesterday. It’s called Brown-skinned Woman. It’s a song I patterned after the Cater Family song Hello Stranger. Check out the Carter lyrics here.

I wrote this song back in early May of this year. I wrote it about the Great State of Arizona, which is part of the United States of America. That’s why I included it this week. I think it’s a good representation of what America and Americans hold most important. At least in certain places and at least about certain types of people.

The many different shades of color depicting the state of Arizona. Note, no brown-skinned colors allowed to depict the state.Anyway. That’s all I have to say about that.

Here’s one last note. This recording is probably the final version that will end up on the full-length album that I’m working on. It’s now all recorded and mixed. It’ll be sent off in a package to be duplicated by next week (or whenever I get the artwork done). So this is a sneak peek for you.

On the Banks of the Old Rio Grande

Protest Week

Here’s the Final Installment of Protest Week in honor of National Protest Week. The song for today is On the Banks of the Old Rio Grande. This song is patterned after the traditional tune On the Banks of the Old Tennessee, which I learned from Old Paul Tyler.

There wasn’t a whole lot of re-writing to do with this one, just changing a couple words here and there. It’s a song I’ve performed live a lot, both as a slower version, as recorded here, and as an uptempo piece. This recording was done on June 18, 2010 during a giant storm arching its way across the city. I went out on my back porch, hit record, and sang into the small mic of my computer. One take.

This song doesn’t have a whole lot to say, doesn’t try to tell you what to believe, ain’t trying for to persuade you about anything. It’s just a song. Just someone singing.

I wrote this one a couple years ago. It was one of those really easy ones to sing and I’ve never quit on it like a lot of the tunes I’ve written and then stopped enjoying or stopped understanding. I get this one loud and clear. I know why I wrote it and I know why it’s gotta be said.

Anyway, that’s the end of protest week. I think National Protest Week just keeps on grinding along all through the year, but I gotta move on to something else. I think next week, starting on Monday, June 28 is gonna be Blues Song Week. I’ll post a new blues song I wrote yesterday down here in Mississippi. Then each day I dig back through some old songs and old recordings and post one and write about it in relation to the blues, which I don’t know a whole lot about, but maybe by the end of the week I’ll learn something.

Also, don’t forget that the Barehand Jugband is playing at the Old Town School of Folk Music on Saturday 6/26. We’re opening for Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur. The show starts at 8pm. Before that, in the afternoon, around 12pm we’ll be playing a few tunes and sitting for some questions on the radio show Somebody Else’s Troubles. You can find that at 88.7fm on your dial or at WLUW’s website. Either way you get to listen for free. I won’t be at either of those, because I’m in the south, but both will still be really okay.