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Joan Baez


By David Swanson

Joan Baez was great tonight in concert. Hadn't seen her since Crawford.

A few of the tunes she belted out:

Christmas In Washington
By Steve Earle

It's Christmastime in Washington
The Democrats rehearsed
Gettin' into gear for four more years
Things not gettin' worse
The Republicans drink whiskey neat
And thanked their lucky stars
They said, 'He cannot seek another term
They'll be no more FDRs'
I sat home in Tennessee
Staring at the screen
With an uneasy feeling in my chest
And I'm wonderin' what it means

Chorus:
So come back Woody Guthrie
Come back to us now
Tear your eyes from paradise
And rise again somehow
If you run into Jesus
Maybe he can help you out
Come back Woody Guthrie to us now

I followed in your footsteps once
Back in my travelin' days
Somewhere I failed to find your trail
Now I'm stumblin' through the haze
But there's killers on the highway now
And a man can't get around
So I sold my soul for wheels that roll
Now I'm stuck here in this town

Chorus

There's foxes in the hen house
Cows out in the corn
The unions have been busted
Their proud red banners torn
To listen to the radio
You'd think that all was well
But you and me and Cisco know
It's going straight to hell

So come back, Emma Goldman
Rise up, old Joe Hill
The barracades are goin' up
They cannot break our will
Come back to us, Malcolm X
And Martin Luther King
We're marching into Selma
As the bells of freedom ring

Chorus

____________

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains,
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways,
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests,
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it,
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin',
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin',
I saw a white ladder all covered with water,
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken,
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin',
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world,
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin',
Heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin',
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin',
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter,
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony,
I met a white man who walked a black dog,
I met a young woman whose body was burning,
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow,
I met one man who was wounded in love,
I met another man who was wounded with hatred,
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin',
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner's face is always well hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin',
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

_______________

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you and me
Says I, "But Joe, you're ten years dead,"
"I never died," says he, "I never died," says he.
"In Salt Lake, Joe, by God," says I
Him standing by my bed,
"They framed you on a murder charge."
Says Joe, "But I ain't dead," says Joe, "But I ain't dead."

"The copper bosses shot you, Joe,
They killed you, Joe," says I.
"Takes more than guns to kill a man,"
Says Joe, "I didn't die," says Joe, "I didn't die."

And standing there as big as life
And smiling with his eyes
Joe says, "What they forgot to kill
Went on to organize, went on to organize."

"Joe Hill ain't dead," he says to me,
"Joe Hill ain't never died.
Where workingmen are out on strike
Joe Hill is at their side, Joe Hill is at their side."

"From San Diego up to Maine
In every mine and mill
Where workers strike and organize,"
Says he, "You'll find Joe Hill," says he, "You'll find Joe Hill."

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"Joe says, "What they forgot to kill
Went on to organize, went on to organize."

yes, these words resonate today...

We heard Joan at the Sept. 24 Operation Ceasefire concert; she sang these songs then too.

Anthems for our time; inspiration for tomorrow.

Be well, David Swanson. You have done good work this week...

Readers: This man is everywhere...spreading reason and truth.

In 1974 Joan Baez gave a concert in Hamburg, Germany. I was an American teaching in a German High School (Gymnasium Langenhorn, Foorthkamp 36). I had always been a fan of Joan's voice and spirit. I grew up in Middletown, RI, right next to the Folk Festival. Dylan, Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie... those were the days.

In any case, I sent a note backstage asking Ms. Baez if she would like to have Thanksgiving dinner with my students and some other teachers at school.

She said "YES"

What an afternoon and evening.

Those were the days! I married that wandering folk singer, Arlo, in 1969. We raised a bunch of folksingers. I'm posting Pete Seeger's new song he wrote right after 9/11. He asked our daughter Sarah Lee and her husband Johnny Irion to record it...it's an important song, it's a great song! You can find it on iTunes. The title of their new CD is "Exploration."
Here are the lyrics!

Dr. King
Words and music,
by Pete Seeger

Down in Alabama
Nineteen hundred fifty five
Not many of us here
Tonight were then alive

A young Baptist Preacher
Led a bus boycott
He showed the way
For a brand new day
Without firing a shot

Don’t say it can’t be done
The Battle’s just begun
Take it from Dr. King
You too can learn to sing
So, drop the gun!

Oh, those must have been exciting thirteen years
Young hero’s, young herons
There was laughter there were tears
Students at lunch counters
Even dancing in the streets
To think it all started
With Sister Rosa refusing to give up her seat
(chorus)

Songs, songs kept them goin’ and growin’
They didn’t realize the millions of seeds they were sowin’
They were singing in marches even singing in jail
Songs gave them to courage to believe they would not fail

(chorus)

Sing about Alabama nineteen hundred fifty five
Since 9/11 we wonder, will this world survive?
The world learned a lesson from Doctor King
We can survive, we can, WE WILL!

SO, WE SING……(chorus)

I was a student in Gymnasium Langenhorn in those years. Unfortunately I was not taking part in that historical event (don't even remember it took place) - but I am VERY curious who you are. I do remember two US-teachers in our school: one of them died in a plane crash later on (John - forgot his family name), the other one was a Mr. Aman(n). Is it you?

Michael Weidemann

Here is another important song for us! Pete wrote this right after 9/11 and asked our daughter Sarah Lee Guthrie and her husband Johnny Irion to record it. Sarah asked Pete if she could write a verse for Cindy Sheehan and Pete was delighted and looking forward to it.
You can find the song they recorded on their new CD titled "Exploration" on iTunes. LET'S ALL SING ALONG WITH PETE!!!

Dr. King
Words and music,
by Pete Seeger

Down in Alabama
Nineteen hundred fifty five
Not many of us here
Tonight were then alive

A young Baptist Preacher
Led a bus boycott
He showed the way
For a brand new day
Without firing a shot

Don’t say it can’t be done
The Battle’s just begun
Take it from Dr. King
You too can learn to sing
So, drop the gun!

Oh, those must have been exciting thirteen years
Young hero’s, young herons
There was laughter there were tears
Students at lunch counters
Even dancing in the streets
To think it all started
With Sister Rosa refusing to give up her seat
(chorus)

Songs, songs kept them goin’ and growin’
They didn’t realize the millions of seeds they were sowin’
They were singing in marches even singing in jail
Songs gave them to courage to believe they would not fail

(chorus)

Sing about Alabama nineteen hundred fifty five
Since 9/11 we wonder, will this world survive?
The world learned a lesson from Doctor King
We can survive, we can, WE WILL!

SO, WE SING……(chorus)

I'm sorry. I forgot to label the chorus in the song.
The Chorus in Pete's song,"Dr. King", is:

Don't say it can't be done
The Battle's just begun
Take it from Dr. King
You too can learn to sing
So, drop the gun!

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