Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Music: Antiwar edition

I thought I'd offer up a couple of my favorite anti-war songs for this installment. I don't have access to my entire music collection right now, otherwise this post would have more to offer. I do have some good ones though, but they aren't of the shiny, happy, kumbaya, peace chanting variety. These tunes get down to the nitty gritty ugly realities of the politics of war.

First up is one of my favorite Afrobeat groups, Brooklyn-based Antibalas. Written by Stuart Bogie, "Indictment" takes the Bush administration to court and shows no mercy with their indictments. The mock court proceeding is enveloped by some wickedly militant funk grooves that incorporate the tension and urgency of political maladies such as war.

ALBUM: Who Is This America? (2004, Ropeadope/Artemis)
Antibalas - Indictment

Next up is a classic by Bob Dylan - "Masters of War". First released in 1963, this remains one of the sharpest and most influential songs that speaks truth to war. Aside from the Dylan original, I'm also providing a recent version of the song as performed by the Scott Amendola band. Amendola is a San Francisco-based drummer who is comfortable strutting his talented stuff in many idioms, especially jazz, funk, and rock. His band includes Jenny Scheinman on violin, Nels Cline on guitar, Eric Crystal on sax, Todd Sickafoose on acoustic bass, and Carla Bozulich provides the vocals for "Masters of War". This version of the anti-war classic is light years removed from Dylan's original from a musical standpoint, but it's certainly an inspired take that I appreciate.

ALBUM: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963, Sony/Columbia)
Bob Dylan - Masters of War
ALBUM: Cry (2003, Cryptogramophone)
Scott Amendola Band - Masters of War


Blogger Wally Conger said...

For my money, the greatest antiwar songs EVER were written and sung by the late, great Phil Ochs -- everything from "Draft Dodger Rag" to "I Ain't A'Marching Anymore" to "Cops of the World" to "The War Is Over" and on and on. IMHO, he out-Dylaned Dylan (and I'm a VERY big Dylan fan). Whenever I get in a pissy antiBush, antiClinton, antiwar mood, I slip Ochs on the CD changer. Think I'll put 'im on now.

10:54 PM  
Blogger born to run said...

Springsteen's "Devils and Dust" is a good anti-war song. Some of my favorite anti-war lyrics are from "Standing on the Moon" even though it's not really an anti-war song:

Standing on the moon
I see the battle rage below
Standing on the moon
I see the soldiers come and go
There's a metal flag beside me
Someone planted long ago
Old Glory standing stiffly
Crimson, white and indigo - indigo

I see all of Southeast Asia
I can see El Salvador
I hear the cries of children
And the other songs of war
It's like a mighty melody
That rings down from the sky
Standing here upon the moon
I watch it all roll by - all roll by

Standing on the moon
With nothing else to do
A lovely view of heaven
But I'd rather be with you

Standing on the moon
I see a shadow on the sun
Standing on the moon
The stars go fading one by one
I hear a cry of victory
And another of defeat
a scrap of age-old lullaby
Down some forgotten street

11:32 PM  
Blogger freeman said...

I've heard of Phil Ochs, but I've never actually listened to any of his music. I'll have to check him out.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Lazlo said...

I have a great Phil Ochs concert in my collection. His story, up to his suicide in 1976, is quite interesting to read as well. Handsome Johnny, by Richie Havens, Unkown Soldier, by the Doors, and of course the simple, but effective I-feel-Im-Fixin-to-die-today Rag, by Country Joe McDonald (listen to the version from the Original Woodstock Album) are some of my favorite anti-war tunes.

3:09 PM  
Blogger freeman said...

Darn, I shoulda copied that Ochs show when I went down to Columbus to visit you.

I can't believe that I forgot to mention Black Sabbath's War Pigs! Then again, I don't have any Sabbath with me right now, so I wouldn't have been able to post it. I do have a copy of Crack Sabbath covering the song with some Bush references thrown in.

George Bush, laughing, spreads his wings...

2:13 AM  
Blogger Lazlo said...

Actually, I think I may have gotten the Ochs show after you left. Email your address and Ill send you a copy.

3:17 AM  

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