Monday, November 3, 2008

Save the Country

Billy Bragg

Everyone who played the get out the vote rally on November 1st in Chapel Hill were absolutely fabulous. Memorable moments were created by every band who played. The one that stuck with me most (probably due to this political season) was Billy Bragg.
Billy showed up as a late addition to the bill and gave a rousing set full of politcal observation. His set began with him saying "this is a public service announcement - from the rest of the world." He went on to praise America for being on the threshold of great change that involved overcoming race as part of the bargain. He began the set with the uptempo "Sexuality" from Brewing Up with Billy Bragg. The set moved on to more substantive political songs including Laura Nyro's "Save the Country" which was very apropos with lyrics like:

I got fury in my soul,fury's gonna take me to the glory goal.
In my mind I can't study war no more.
Save the people! Save the children! Save the country now!
Come on, people! come on, children!
Come on down to the glory river.
Gonna wash you up and wash you down.
Gonna lay the devil down, gonna lay that devil down.

With the generations of children and parents milling around on a sunny afternoon this all seemed relevant. The other song that stuck in my mind was a new one from his album "Mr. Love and Justice" called "I Keep Faith in You." Billy said (and I am paraphrasing here) no matter what happens November 4th this song gets me through. Basically reminding himself that he trusts humanity to save itself:

I know it takes a mess of courage
To go against the grain.
You have to make great sacrifice for such little gain,
And so much pain.
And if your plans come out to nothing,
Washed out in the rain,
Let me rekindle all your hopes and
Help you start again,

I keep faith in you.
Yes I do, I keep faith in you.
I keep faith in you.

He closed his mini set with the rousing stand-by "There is Power in a Union." With voices singing in unison his time in Chapel Hill had come to a close.

Money speaks for money,the Devil for his own
Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone?
What a comfort for the widow,a light to the child
There is power in a Union

1 comment:

ann marie said...

Yes. And save the world, too... Great songs, both, and very fitting. It does take courage. A lot of people going against the grain right now, which is good.