Sunday, April 30, 2006

"President Bystander"?!?!


Bruce? Goddamnit, man.....

Apr 30, 10:29 PM (ET)
Springsteen Expresses New Orleans' Pain
By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New Jersey's favorite son was adopted by New Orleans on Sunday, as Bruce Springsteen - through speeches and song - vocalized the anger, frustration, pain and resilience of this hurricane-battered city at the annual Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Decrying what he called "criminal ineptitude" in Hurricane Katrina's wake, Springsteen jabbed at the political powers he deemed responsible for New Orleans' slow recovery.

Perhaps the most pointed moment came as he prepared to sing an old song that he had rewritten lyrics to for New Orleans. Noting that he visited the city's ninth ward, perhaps the most devastated area in the city, Springsteen said: "I saw sights I never thought I'd see in an American city," and added: "The criminal ineptitude makes you furious."

With that, he launched into a song titled "How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?" and dedicated the song to "President Bystander." Its lyrics included the lines: "There's bodies floatin' on Canal and the levees gone to hell ... them who's got out of town, and them who ain't got left to drown, tell me, how can a poor man stand such times and live?"

Click onto the link and listen to the song. I think I'm addicted. But for the love of sensibilities, can someone just tell him to shut the frak up, and sing? Here's some background and lyrics to the song:
This song was written by Blind Alfred Reed and recorded a month after the crash of '29 that heralded the Great Depression. I first heard it on Ry Cooder's self - titled debut album (1970). To his arrangement we owe a debt. I kept the "doctor" first verse by Reed then wrote three others with a mind to the great trials the people of New Orleans have faced this year.

Here are the full lyrics:
Well, the doctor comes 'round here with his face all bright
And he says "in a little while you'll be alright"
All he gives is a humbug pill, a dose of dope and a great big bill
Tell me, how can a poor man stand such times and live?
He says "me and my old school pals had some might high times down here
And what happened to you poor black folks, well it just ain't fair"
He took a look around gave a little pep talk, said "I'm with you" then he took a little walk
Tell me, how can a poor man stand such times and live?
There's bodies floatin' on Canal and the levees gone to Hell
Martha, get me my sixteen gauge and some dry shells
Them who's got got out of town
And them who ain't got left to drown
Tell me, how can a poor man stand such times and live?
I got family scattered from Texas all the way to Baltimore
And I ain't got no home in this world no more
Gonna be a judgment that's a fact, a righteous train rollin' down this track
Tell me, how can a poor man stand such times and live?
But it was Springsteen who may have provided the most poignant moments. Springsteen eschewed the big hits he's most identified with and instead performed classic folk and gospel songs epitomized by Pete Seeger that are featured on Springsteen's new album, "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions." Though they were decades old, many of the songs seemed particularly relevant to New Orleans struggles - "Mary Don't You Weep,""Jacob's Ladder," and particularly "My Oklahoma Home," which depicts a man's loss of his home and family after the devastating dust storms there in the 1930s.

I bought this album the day it came out, last Tuesday. I like it.
But perhaps no song was as bittersweet as "We Shall Overcome." As Springsteen somberly performed the tune, some people embraced each other, others dabbed their eyes. Another emotional moment came as he dedicated one of his old tunes to New Orleans: "My City in Ruins." Though he wrote it for his favorite town of Asbury Park, N.J., its lyrics resonated with the crowd: "Young men on the corner, like scattered leaves, the boarded up windows, the hustlers and thieves, while my brother's down on his knees. My city of ruins."

I remember when the 9/11 televised "Tribute to Heroes" opened with that number. It seemed to apply to New York City as much as anything, at the time. I love that song, as I love most all of Springsteen's songs.

It's great that he has such compassion for people. And a shame that he is a product of 60's liberal-think. I'm sure the people of New Orleans appreciate his support, regardless.
By the time he sang the chorus, "Come on rise up!" the audience spontaneously rose their hands in the air, symbolizing the pain and the hope of the city.

"The Rising" is a great album, if for nothing more than addressing the impact of 9/11, and the pain we all felt. "Into the Fire" and "You're Missing" are my favorites from it.

Not all of Springsteen's two-hour long set was downbeat; his huge band at times sounded like a boisterous New Orleans brass band, with its booming horn system, while he later injected some boogie and swing with another jazzy tune. But he ended his performance on a tender note, sweetly singing, "When The Saints Go Marching In."

He's got a wealth of compassion and has a good heart, but like many liberal do-gooders, he's got a poor man's understanding of the world. In music, he's Boss; but in politics, he ain't the boss o' me.

You can listen to him pontificate before launching into the Alfred Reed song, here.

Labels: , ,

9 Comments:

Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

You make some good points.

Monday, May 01, 2006 8:52:00 AM  
Blogger Annoyed said...

"Shut up and sing"


That's my favorite thing to hear when it comes to Bruce.

LOL

Clearly proving you and everyone else who yells it wasn't paying attention the first 30 years.

He has always spoke up... About Homeless issues, Veteran issues, AIDS, Presidents... What have you.

It's just now, that the message doesn't jive with you you say "shut up and sing"

I say, rage on Boss! We need those "poor man" views now more than ever

Monday, May 01, 2006 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Clearly proving you and everyone else who yells it wasn't paying attention the first 30 years.

Dude...don't know where you've been, but people have been telling him to shut up and sing for decades!

Liberal policies are not the answer when dealing with issues of the homeless and poverty, etc.

U.S. taxpayers spent $3 trillion on Lyndon Johnson's war on poverty. Private foundations and individual and religious charities spent scores of billions more. That really solved poverty, didn't it?

Like I said: his heart's in the right place; just has a piss-poor understanding of how to really help the less fortunate in the long term.

Monday, May 01, 2006 1:04:00 PM  
Blogger Annoyed said...

You can get the song direct from his website (from the AP shows last week)


The fact is Bush knew about the pending levee breaks the night before and didn't act.

Just like he sat on his ass after being informed of the attacks on 9/11.

I agree with what Bill Maher said a few months back that we are paying the cost as a nation for Bush's "on the job training"

He is a pathetic excuse for a leader and a man. And I'm not some "liberal whackjob"

I do lean left on most social issues but find myself lined up with conservatives on issues of government.

In the end it is an artist's job to shine a light onto social issues and open these discussions up, IMO.

Just as George Cloony did last week with the genocide in Africa.

Bruce has always been a voice for the working man and never ignored where he came from...even if he finds himself miles from there now.

The situation in New Orleans was a tremendous failure at every level and yes the local government is corrupt (it always has been) but the federal reponse was/is pathetic and there are "political games being played with the lives of Americans" (see the tens of millions sinking the mud, in the form of government bought trailers)

Bush is the poorest excuse for a leader I hope to ever see in my lifetime. But, as all the conservatives like to say, "Kerry couldn't do any better"

That's all they have left now as they have stopped trying to defend Bush for Bush.

Monday, May 01, 2006 3:26:00 PM  
Blogger Annoyed said...

You asked for it :-)

Follow the link for a download of the tune.

Enjoy!

http://beta.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=download&ufid=BE93D942720266E3

Monday, May 01, 2006 3:47:00 PM  
Anonymous skye said...

In what fevered liberal dream does this meme belong?


There is no doubt Bush was warned about the potential devastation Katrina could level at New Orleans.

The MSM was frothing at the mouth in anticipation of pending disaster days before Katrina made landfall.

I was warned.

You were warned.

Everyone in the Gulf Coast was warned.

The video briefing you are referring to spoke about the danger of the levees overflowing, NOT breaching. An overflow could have been easily pumped right back into Lake Ponchartrain, as long as there was power for the pumps.

I'd love to for any liberal to explain to me how President Bush was expected to have the Levee's reinforced to withstand a Cat5 Hurricane overnight? The question that needs to be answered: Why were the levee's not built to withstand a Cat 5 Hurricane?

Where is the umbrage from liberals regarding Gov. Blanco's mistaken reassurance to President Bush that the levee's were intact hours after Katrina hit landfall? The silence on this question is deafing!

----------------------
The fact is Bush knew about the pending levee breaks the night before and didn't act.

Monday, May 01, 2006 9:19:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

You can get the song direct from his website (from the AP shows last week)

Thanks. I already had linked it on my post; what I was asking for was an MP3 file or something I am able to listen to on a cd.


The fact is Bush knew about the pending levee breaks the night before and didn't act.

You know, the DNC ran with the AP report on that video; and the AP made a retraction on that charge that Bush knew the levee might be breached.

Max Mayfield, the National Hurricane Center Director, says this on the tape: "I don’t think any model can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped [not "breached"] or not, but that’s obviously a very, very grave concern.”

Mayfield also had this to say on NBC News:
that he warned only that the levees might be topped – that is, the storm surge could push water over the top of the levees – not breached, and that on the many conference calls he monitored, "Nobody talked about the possibility of a levee breach or failure until after it happened.”

Mayfield also told Bush: "The forecast now suggests that there will be minimal flooding in the City of New Orleans itself.”

Just like he sat on his ass after being informed of the attacks on 9/11.

What was the proper reaction? John Kerry said he himself stood frozen for a good amount of time and didn't know what to do. I can't remember the exact quote now.

I approve of the President's response in treating global terrorism as a war issue, not a law enforcement issue. That treatment over the years is what led us into the culmination of 9/11.

I agree with what Bill Maher said a few months back that we are paying the cost as a nation for Bush's "on the job training"

That's an inane meaningless statement, only good for laughs. But hey, it's coming from Maher, so no surprises there.

He is a pathetic excuse for a leader and a man. And I'm not some "liberal whackjob"

lol...I only just met you, so I wouldn't call you a liberal whackjob. But I definitely disagree with you and strongly believe he is the right man, in the right place, at the right time and will ultimately go down in the history books as one of the greatest, most effective presidents in our nation's history. There! Now go ahead and call me a conservative whackjob. I think I've earned it. (~_^)

I do lean left on most social issues but find myself lined up with conservatives on issues of government.

I consider myself somewhat of a "South Park" conservative. I'm not a hardline conservative on social issues.

In the end it is an artist's job to shine a light onto social issues and open these discussions up, IMO.

IMO, I don't see it as an artist's "job", but can accept it as his perrogative. Springsteen, the Dixie Chicks, Neil Young, and anyone else has every right to speak out and make the music they want to; but freedom is a two-way street, and the Dixie Chicks shouldn't gripe when there is backlash and the reaction is negative; the consumers have the freedom to offer the feedback of trashing their cds and not buying.

For myself, I've been a longtime supporter of Springsteen's music. If I boycotted everything that carried a liberal message or was created by a liberal artist, I'd never know the joys of movies or music ever again!

Just as George Cloony did last week with the genocide in Africa.

Yeah, the Johnny-come-lately full-of-myself liberal buffoon. Where was he on speaking out when Saddam slaughtered the Marsh Arabs? Humanitarian reasons was one of about 8 reasons stated in the case for the Iraq war; not just wmds. So, would Clooney support military intervention in Darfur? Because that is what it would ultimately take. We've thrown away trillions in Marshall Plans and charitable donations for the past 4 decades, and all of it wasted on Africa. 1985 Live Aid raised close to $150 million for famine relief; yet the majority of that went to a corrupt Ethiopian government and the propping up of yet another brutal dictator, Mengistu. Good intentions with bad results.

Bruce has always been a voice for the working man and never ignored where he came from...even if he finds himself miles from there now.

I've always appreciated Bruce's charitable nature, and his non-extravagance. In college, I think, I read Dave Marsh's book describing how he showed up in his own vehicle, unassumingly, to the recording of "We are the World", whereas all the other celebrities were in limos, and making a big photo-op of it.

I can disagree with his politics, but still admire the good intentions (and some of the results) of his compassion.

The situation in New Orleans was a tremendous failure at every level and yes the local government is corrupt (it always has been) but the federal reponse was/is pathetic and there are "political games being played with the lives of Americans" (see the tens of millions sinking the mud, in the form of government bought trailers)

I think the quagmire in aid that is going on now is more abysmal than pre-Katrina and immediate aftermath 20/20 hindsight blame. I don't care what party or what President was in office; it still would have gone down much the same way. And we are all too dependant upon government to take care of us. I don't consider the government as "failing" us. Could they have done better? Hindsight has perfect vision on this, and says, "yes". Big government is a bureaucratic mess.

At the time, I followed some of the military bloggers and National Guardsmen who spoke about how unrealistic the expectations of the public were, logistically.

Bush is the poorest excuse for a leader I hope to ever see in my lifetime. But, as all the conservatives like to say, "Kerry couldn't do any better"

Well...haha...he couldn't.

That's all they have left now as they have stopped trying to defend Bush for Bush.

Don't confuse some of the conservative criticism for jumping boat; we all still love our President. Except perhaps for the fringe conservatives and the ill-informed.

Thanks for the MP3 file. You're my new hero. (Outside of political opining).

Ulp...I see skye's responded as well. Woulda finished this before her if not for the fact that "24" is on.

Monday, May 01, 2006 9:27:00 PM  
Blogger c.m.p. said...

I think I've got a guitar signed by springstein lying around somewhere.

Sunday, May 07, 2006 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

"Lying around somewhere"?! My God, friend....

Sunday, May 07, 2006 11:05:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

© Copyright, Sparks from the Anvil, All Rights Reserved