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Something else is working harder

"Evil man make me kill you/evil man make you kill me/even though we're only families apart."

On Wednesday, I started preparing my play list for my Friday radio show. I got about five songs into it after deciding I'd play a funk show.

Then came Thursday's shootings in Oregon. A friend said to me, "We forget all about them after the funerals are over," which the president said, in a different way, in his speech Thursday afternoon.

So I turned Friday's show into an hour of music about gun violence. I believe in the transformative power of music and hoped that maybe, one song might inspire one person to do something or say something that might make a difference, regardless of how small. And, as we've learned in our age of social media, sometimes small ideas mushroom into big ones.

Here's the playist:

• "Something Else is Working Harder," Golden Palaominos, which is about Christ coming to Earth to leave a legacy of love in our world, but "something else is working harder."

• "Johnny Was," Bob Marley and the Wailers. "Woman hold her head and cry/'Cause her son had been shot down in the street and died/from a stray bullet."

• "Decoration Day," Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, a song about a longstanding family feud. "My daddy got shot right in front of his house/He had no one to fall on but me."

• "Ten Cent Pistol," Black Keys. "The couple screamed/But far too late/'Cause a jealous heart/Did retaliate/She hit them with her ten cent pistol."

• "Machine Gun" Jimi Hendrix with his Band of Gypsies. For my money, the most powerful anti-war song ever written. Hendrix's long solo is unlike anything else he ever played. It's terrifying.

• "Bullet the Blue Sky," U2, another song about hate and war: "And I can see those fighter planes/Across the mud huts where the children sleep/Through the alleys of a quiet city street."

• "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)," Rolling Stones. "The police in New York City/They chased a boy right through the park/And in a case of mistaken identity/They put a bullet through his heart."

• "Strange Days," The Doors. As someone said the other day, those who insist on interpreting the Second Amendment as saying everyone has the unfettered right to possess firearms capable of slaughtering dozens of people are essentially saying "fuck you" to the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that the rest of us are entitled to. So: "Strange days have found us/Strange days have tracked us down/They're going to destroy/Our casual joys."

• "Sirens in the City," which I sneaked in hoping no one would realize it's about Bernard Goetz. But even his point of view contains words all too appropriate as a commentary about Sandy Hook: "There's no such thing as the law/So who's gonna save the children?"


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 3rd, 2015 11:08 pm (UTC)
Wow. I know you're not looking for a pat on the back, but what an appropriate last-minute playlist change.
Oct. 4th, 2015 01:53 am (UTC)
Thanks. Anything else would have been inappropriate.
Oct. 5th, 2015 10:53 pm (UTC)
I realize this isn't a college of musical knowledge post but seeing you went through the effort of detailing your playlist I decided to let you know I always look up the songs and bands/artists you mention. And at the risk of seeming insensitive, this time was no different.

I found the wrong band for the last song -- I just followed YouTube's suggestion -- and ended up learning about Black Slate instead. Bonus for me.
Oct. 6th, 2015 12:24 am (UTC)
I've never heard of them, but I checked that track out. Sounds to me like 72 percent soul, 28 percent reggae—but I wasn't surprised to learn they are from the UK, because the reggae they play has a quicker tempo than Marley, Tosh, and Toots (which are the only reggae artists I'm truly familiar with). Not that there's anything wrong with it.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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