We tried to go to a Bellamy Brothers concert last night.
The evening began with a rousing tribute to our brave and glorious troops, after which the crowd burst into spontaneous applause because they, too, love our brave and glorious troops.
Then we were compelled to rise and recite the pledge of allegiance (I declined), after which the woman next to us, grinning from ear to ear, shouted “AMEN!” Several men, overcome with emotion, pumped their fists in the air.
Nobody but me seemed to notice that there wasn’t actually a flag present.
Over an hour later the band still had not taken the stage. We looked around at the stone-faced polyester stretch pants and western shirts mindlessly contemplating their cell phones, and decided to call it a night.
We’re giving up.
In the future, we’ll drive a little farther to attend concerts that are more focused on music than some weird political/religious litmus test. East Texas is not for us.
Pete Seeger used to host a famous Strawberry Shortcake Festival in New England. It was purposely, decidedly non-political. He just wanted everyone to come, have some strawberry shortcake, and enjoy singing songs and each other’s company.
I miss Pete.
“Don’t Pass Me By” first appeared on The Beatles (aka The White Album). On his latest album, Give More Love, Ringo Starr slowed it down and made it much, much better:
Interestingly, the Georgia Satellites took the same song, sped it up, and made it much, much better:
Full lyrics HERE.
We went to see John Conlee sing last week, and it was a very good concert– at the age of 71 his voice is as strong and clear as it was forty years ago– but there was a strange interlude in the middle.
For some reason he quit singing songs and went into a sermon in support of the troops. He put a 5-gallon bucket at the center of the stage, and invited the audience to contribute to a veteran’s charity he had taken a shine to. One at a time grim-faced men and women, their eyes glaring and focused, strutted, their bodies lurching from side to side with each step, to the front to add their money to the pile. Several shook his hand.
Their intensity was unsettling.
The lady next to me noticed that I wasn’t cheering and applauding, and made a point of shouting and clapping even louder. She was clearly trying to make a point without actually confronting me.
I don’t think it’s healthy for a society to be as militarized as we have become.
I don’t see this ending well.
A happy little song, written in 1921, that you can sing to cheer yourself up whenever you need to.
You can read a little about it at Wikipedia, and read the lyrics HERE.
It’s not a very good video, really, so close your eyes and let your imagination make its own.
Full lyrics HERE.
(As an aside: I wish Johnny Paycheck were alive to do a cover version.)