Classics / Highlights

Classics // Joan Baez – “Oh Freedom”

Around time of the protests against Governor Scott Walker’s attempts to limit collective bargaining rights for public employees in Wisconsin, I wrote about what I thought Pete Seeger would think.   At 91, he voiced his support for the public employee unions.  We cannot, though, rely on Pete forever.

The anti-war and civil rights movements of the 1960’s spurred some of the greatest protest songs of the 20th century – songs like Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” to Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Not to say that there hasn’t been powerful protest music since then – Gil Scott Heron, Marvin Gaye and Black Sabbath come to mind – but there is something about protest music from the 60’s that draws not only like-minded individuals, but also those who otherwise wouldn’t have considered themselves part of the protesting left.  That is the power of a good protest song.

I have yet to feel a call-to-action from music that has come out during the Great Recession, but the songs of two former Tufts students, who go by The Bull and the Bear, strike a cord with the music of yesteryear and foster images of Joan Baez at the Newport Folk Festival in 1966.

“Recession Sessions was born out of the desire to capture the Great Recession in song.  From early worries of stagflation to recent murmurs of a third round of quantitative easing, our goal has been to chronicle the major events of the crisis as they unfold.  Three years after Lehman, how far have we come? What could be around the corner?” – Ryan Stotland and Kyle Thompson-Westra, The Bull and the Bear

The album cover looks like something out of  a Ian Falconer illustration or a Roald Dahl novel.

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More Protest Music!


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