“One Day” by Matisyahu (2009)

14 11 2016

My last post about the election was pretty apocalyptic. Apologies. Must be the funk I’m in.

That doesn’t discount the battle ahead, though. We will have to fight to keep what we have.

I’ve worked with a lot of tough people. Organizers, activists, musicians, writers. We have a lot going for us.

Hope is both required and justified.

This is a great song about hope. For us all. We need more anthems like this.

“All my life I’ve been waiting for
I’ve been praying for
For the people to say
That we don’t wanna fight no more
There will be no more wars
And our children will play
One day”


“Tyler” by UB40 (1980)

20 01 2009

UB40 helped bring reggae to the masses.  They had some huge hits, mostly cover versions they did mid-career (“Red Red Wine” written by Neil Diamond, for example), but I particularly like their first records.  And this track is one of my favorites.  It’s heavy and raw, like the band playing in an awesome garage party, in a Michigan November.  It’s freezing cold, but everyone’s warm and sweaty from all the dancing.

This song is about a man, Gary Tyler, sitting in a Louisiana prison since 1975 for a murder a lot of people think he didn’t commit.  He’s been in prison since he was 16.

“Tyler is guilty the white judge has said so
What right do we have to say it’s not so?”

(Thanks to BowcatJukeboxxx for uploading the track to YouTube)

“The Harder They Come” by Jimmy Cliff (1972)

30 10 2008

You know I love reggae.  After all, you and I sing with your “Uncle Bob” Marley all the time, especially on the way to school in the morning.  But let me tell you another reason I like it:  some of it is downright revolutionary.

Jamaica sits just below Cuba, not too far south of Florida.  And like so many other countries in the region (and around the world), they have struggled against outside forces that moved in years ago to exploit their resources.  Some will tell you that’s a liberal opinion, but it is actually historical fact.  Just check the dictionary definition of “colonialism.”

You can boil human history down to a struggle between the “have’s” and the “have not’s.”  Those who “have” do everything in their power to hold onto or increase what they have, and the “have not’s” do the best they can to survive (or even mildly flourish, like the middle class in the U.S. for a short while).

Jamaica’s struggle is recent and very close to us.  You would enrich your understanding about human civilization by reading the histories of countries like Jamaica.  And not just from textbooks, but from people who were there.

But if you can’t do that, listen to their music.  It helped move the fine people of Jamaica to make their lives better.  That’s what makes people like Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff so extraordinary.  They were outstanding musicians.  And they were prophets for their people.

“Well they tell me of a pie up in the sky
Waiting for me when I die
But between the day you’re born and when you die
They never seem to hear even your cry”

“Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley (1977)

8 09 2008

I know you already like Bob Marley, and that makes me very happy.  Very few people have laid such “positive vibrations” on this planet.  How could anyone not like this song?  It’s perfect for a Saturday morning, maybe after letting yourself sleep in a bit, you put in some Bob Marley and sit outside to enjoy a slow cup of coffee.

This song just makes me feel good.  And who can’t use more of THAT?

Another terrific thing about Bob Marley is that his music is internationally known and loved.  You could go to any country (that hasn’t been completely cut off from outside music) and find Bob Marley fans.  It instantly gives you something in common with people around the world.  And if you play an instrument, you might even find yourself playing Bob Marley covers with people who don’t even share your language.

Bob’s music gives us all the means to be goodwill ambassadors to all our brothers and sisters on this planet.  And I think that is most excellent.