This is a CD of not only conflicting musical influences, but of conflicted sensibilities. The resonant MOR stylings of Dean Martin, Andy Williams or Jack Jones cannot be easily reconciled with the dark virtuousity of Pink Floyd or Jimi Hendrix. MOR vocalists in the 1960s appealed to the J & B whiskey crowd, mostly avoiding political reference (apart from Bobby Darin), although to my ears some of the songs they were singing seemed more cynical than many of the outwardly sardonic songs of the day. So what would the hybridization of Roger Waters and Andy Williams set against a socio-political call to reality sound like?
For better or worse, Americans Idle. There is no claim that I sing nearly as well as Andy Williams, nor possess a shadow of the vision of Roger Waters, but then I'm a physician and not a full-time musician. And as a physician, not a day goes by when a patient is seen who cannot afford medication or care due to lack of or insufficient health care coverage. And rarely a day goes by when a patient, many times the very one who cannot afford their medication, will reference the evils of socialism, death panels and Barack Obama. It is a segment of our population that is utopian in their world view of personal responsibility, free markets and Christian charity. A view they hold dear, but one that endangers those who are unable to meet their parental or biblical behavior standards, or for whom Christian charity will not take care of their health care needs or feed their family (you know, those lazy unemployed and poor people--now THAT'S Christian!).
They are shouting on television, at town hall meetings, at anti-government rallies. Yet these Americans are as idle as those transfixed on the outcome of latest reality show while paying little attention to the demise of their democracy. How else can people protesting vehemently against their own best interests be described? Repelled by the thought of the government attempting to provide medical coverage for their fellow Americans, labeling virtually any governmental intervention as socialist, then voting for representatives who openly despise the government that is supposed to be working in the interest of our general welfare and maintenance of the commons. All the while these representatives are working for the millionaires and billionaires who are paying them, representing the interest of the transnational corporations by shipping jobs overseas, cutting taxes and eliminating regulations.
This CD is a tribute. A tribute to an America on a journey to a Twilight Zone of a monotheistic alternate universe and into the inner sanctum of reality in your TV and TV in your reality. An America in which millions of citizens are induced to shout down representatives of their government making an attempt to provide affordable healthcare for millions of their fellow Americans. An America in which millions believe in governmental death panels, that they don't have jobs because of Barack Obama (socialist), and that the outcome of the latest reality show is more vital to their existence than that of the latest election.
It also is a musical alternate universe bringing together songs that don't frequently show up on an album together, or that don't really appear on albums period. Elliot Ross is the foundation of the sound, as comfortable with the out-of-time sessions that comprise a quarter of the album as he is with a six minute version of Seasons in the Sun. Add in the selection of mostly local talent that he culled together and mixed, a peppering of samples from influential idlers, and a lot of me singing with myself and you might end up finding your own inner sanctum, like it or not:
Brother Can you Spare a Dime-- Not with 3 Republican presidents racking up over 10 trillion dollars in debt over a 30 year span, without any fight or shouts of "you lie" from Republicans. Now with a black Democrat in the White House, it's time to panic about the deficit, slash funding for social programs, and deregulate. Welcome to 1929. In more ways than one.
Look What They've Done to My Song Ma-- I wrote new lyrics to this melancholic song after George W. Bush was appointed by the Supreme Court in 2000. I was right.
The Last Seven Days-- The most vocal and powerful in the religious right seem to be the most hateful and corrupt, promoting war, guns and fear, perhaps in the interest of fulfilling this song's prophecy.
We'll Meet Again-- George W Bush assuages his guilt for making certain thousands will never meet again by making a joke out of his lie.
Death Panel Medley-- There are those who still believe, so if it's true lay me down on my slab, show me video of butterflies in the meadow, and play these songs for me (as sung by Andy Williams though).
Brother Where Are You?-- The most overtly Christian political party feigns poor when it comes to the sick and less fortunate, even if it happens to be their "heroes", 9/11 first responders who have become deathly ill.
Greenfields-- Not for long
Ol' Man River--Let's get rid of all those regulations that are stifling the free market, and the job creators, once and for all. Nobody MAKES these people work in coal mines or on oil rigs...
Simple Song of Freedom-- Spread that USA democracy, the brand that doesn't have the money for its own citizens health care, disaster relief and unemployment insurance, mostly because it's so busy spreading that USA democracy.
Americans Idle-- Not only the ones who vote for the winners of a singing competition instead of voting for their representatives, but those who mercilessly protest against their own interests with the objective of idling our government.
The Show Must Go On-- Take off your shoes, hand over your laptop for a "check", go through the body scanner, then a patdown, a random luggage check at the gate and it's on to Disney World. Now that's freedom worth fighting for.
September Song-- US death toll from 9/11 attacks=2,752; US death toll from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan=6,244; We are more than one step ahead of the terrorists.