Sunday, January 24, 2010

Does Anybody Know?

In general I am not a very politically minded person. Don't get myself all worked up over something I can do little or nothing about has always been my philosophy. But lately, probably spurred on by my own state of unemployment and by seeing what's been going on in this country over the last few years, politics has started to feel a lot more personal. When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 I felt that here was the possibility for a new beginning, a chance to set things right again. I still like and support President Obama today as much as I did when I pulled the lever to cast my vote for him two Novembers ago. What I (probably very naively) never counted on however was the fact that for most of the politicians in Washington, it was still business as usual. The Republicans have been fighting him every step of the way since day one. The good of the country be damned - as long as they can make him look bad that is all they want. Even many of President Obama's fellow Democrats have been reluctant to give him their full support, being fearful of a conservative backlash.

This past week two things happened that will have a potentially devastating effect on the future of this country. The first was the election of Republican Scott Brown as Massachusetts senator, replacing Ted Kennedy. Whereas prior to this the Democrats had a 60-40 majority in the Senate, now that majority is reduced to 59-41 which gives the Republicans a lot more filibuster power, making it much harder for President Obama to push through legislation on things like health care and restrictions on the financial services and banking industries. Even more ominous, especially over the long-term, is the Supreme Court decision which loosen the laws governing political contribution spending by industries and unions. What this does, in effect is to give Big Business even more control over the political process and more influence over the candidates who will surely be lining up and kissing ass for all this new corporate money. Just what this country needs - let's give the big corporations even more power than they already have.

So, forgive me if I sound more angry and cynical than usual. I'm certainly feeling that way and the playlist I've posted definitely reflects my state of mind. A few days ago I posted the song "Everybody Knows" on Facebook and a friend of mine commented that the big problem was that most people DON'T know. So many people just believe what they're told without question. Year after year the Republicans manage to bamboozle the people that they're screwing the most - the lower and middle-class working people.

I'll get down off my soapbox now.

Concrete Blonde - Everybody Knows
I first heard this song in the movie "Pump Up The Volume". Luckily I am not often in the mood to hear this song but when I am, this is the ultimate paean to resignation and cynicism.
Koko Taylor - Trying to Make a Living
Although for many of us it gets harder and harder, we're all out there just trying to make a living. Unfortunately, for many of our CEO's and corporate bigwigs making a living means obscenely large bonuses on top of seven or eight-figure salaries, which doesn't leave much left for the rest of us. Oh yeah, I forgot - it's all part of the trickle down theory. Silly me.
Randy Newman - Roll With The Punches
In anyone else's hands this song could be rather offensive but Randy sings it so tongue in cheek that it's real meaning is obvious. Yes, I still think the U.S. is a great place to live and I try never to lose sight of the fact that despite whatever problems I am facing I am still one of the privileged. But it does scare me to see where we could be going.
The Swamp Rats - Louie Louie
And now for something completely different. I realize I posted this back when this blog just started but what the hell. The ultimate mindless and loud version of the ultimate mindless and loud garage song. Sounds pretty good to me just about now.
Frank Evans & The Top Notchers - Gotta Get Some Money
Everybody's short of cash these days. If you want the honey you've got to have the money. Ain't that the way of the world?
The Electric Pop Group - Not By Another
These guys are my favorite new band - at least for this week. Think Jesus & Mary Chain meets Gene Clark and you're definitely on the right track. Check out their myspace page to hear more.
Etta James - Seven Day Fool
Etta James has never been anybody's fool so this guy must be something pretty special. "..Fool" has been reissued a number of times and for some reason they always use the stereo mix which lacks a lot of the punch of the mono version.
Phillip Roebuck - Jackass Blues
This is another song I am posting a second time (my bad - sorry about that) but just by its title alone it somehow seemed to fit my current mood. Taken from a wonderful 2-disc compilation "Attack of the One-Man Bands" which is available at Amazon.
Husker Du - Makes No Sense At All
I've always liked this song and have been meaning to post it for awhile. This seemed like an opportune time.
Jackie Wilson & Lavern Baker - Think Twice
Two of the best voices in Soul (or any other genre for that matter) combine forces here. I'm not sure if this was ever released as a single (although it's inclusion on a few different best-of compilations suggests that it probably was) but I'm thinking that once again, it sounds like the stereo mix dilutes a good deal of its punchiness.
The Montells - You Can't Make Me
As far as I know "YCMM" was the only release by this Florida combo but it's inclusion on one of the "Back From the Grave" comps insures them a place in garage band lover's hearts forever.
Los Valendas - The Clock Is Ticking
I know almost nothing about these guys besides what my 3 years of high-school Spanish all those years ago enables me to glean from their myspace page. They have a few albums that all seem to be out of print although you can probably track them down with a little internet detective work. Their lead singer sounds somewhat like George Harrison.
The Lovin’ Spoonful - Do You Believe In Magic
And now for the happy smiley part of our program. A friend of mine once described "...Magic" as a love song to Rock & Roll and that's exactly what it is.
The Factory - Try a Little Sunshine
I love the music from this brief period of British psychedelia. That time when bands were beginning to experiment and expand their musical ideas (often with the help of a few herbs or chemicals) but before they started taking themselves way too seriously and became "progressive".
Dr. John - Accentuate The Positive
When it comes down to it at the end of the day, the best anyone can do is to try and take the good Doctor's advice. Otherwise the bastards win.


Curty Ray said...

Everyone has their own agenda in Washington, including Obama. It would be great to have politicians that cared about their constituents and their country, not just themselves.

trugger21 said...

I would suggest that you stay off of your soapbox, since you really don't know what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Amen brother.

YankeeBoy said...

So trugger, since I assume you think you DO know what you are talking about, please enlighten us.

YankeeBoy said...

Curt, I totally agree with you. I'm not sure what Obama's angle is but I'm sure he has one. But he does seem to genuinely want to help people along the way to wherever he sees himself going.