Vic Sadot Releases "BROADSIDES & RETROSPECTIVES", a 19 song CD project: The "Best of 25 Years of Crazy Planet & Planète Folle Bands"
Vic Sadot, a Newark, DE based singer-songwriter, has released a compilation of 19 songs from his 25 years as a working musician. The Crazy Planet Band's first concerts were at Newark Community Day and The Deer Park Tavern in the fall of 1979. Vic's band has always put its emphasis on original and topical song material with a reverence for folk, blues, and rock roots. After traveling in southwestern Louisiana in 1992, Vic returned to form Planète Folle (Crazy Planet in French), which specializes in Cajun/Zydeco and New Orleans R&B. Planète Folle released Comin' Home, a 16 song CD in 1997, featuring the original bi-lingual (French/English)Bourbon Street.
Crazy Planet released a number of songs with pop potential, such as Good Time Delaware, Beer Muscles, Respect for the Road, and Comeback Kids. This is the first time that these songs appear in the CD format. There are also 6 new songs in the offering of otherwise "retrospective" selections. Key contributions to these new songs come from the exquisite guitar of Rob Sadot, the well-selected effects of the piano synthesizer of Dean A. Banks, and the rich back-up vocals of Ellen Lebowitz, another CD Baby artist.
The lead song is Mad Cowboy Disease, a hard-hitting broadside against the Bush Administration's war policies with a hilarious rationale for such hypocritical and bellicose behavior.
You know it's kind o' Sci-Fi what's happening today
A Zombie epidemic has hit the USA
You get it through your TV...Listen well, I'll tell you how
It attacks you in the brain like contaminated cow!
It's just like in the movie... "Night of the Living Dead"
One day when you wake up, you're cracked up in the head
It happens when you fall asleep in front of your TV's
And when you start believin' bull; You've got "Mad Cowboy Disease"!
The second song is Are You A Citizen (Or Are You A Slave?). Vic Sadot wrote it with local activist Cindy Abramowicz Hubschmitt. It came out of a conversation that Vic had with a fellow at work who declines to discuss politics because "Nothing can be done! You can't change a thing". This song challenges the notion that we cannot make progress by the historical fact that we have done it before. It's done in a gentle Cajun waltz style that employs the 10 button accordion. Ellen Lebowitz adds her wonderful vocals to the back up on this and several other songs in the collection.
Are you a Citizen? Or are you a slave?
In the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave!
Well, why do you tell me then that "Nothing can be done"?
If we can't change a thing, then they've already won!
We'd still be a colony if the founders thought that way
We'd have royalty and slavery and debtor prisons today
And women would never have won voting rights
It would be the "dark ages" without doing what's right!
The CD includes Vic's unreleased tribute to Phil Ochs, the great folk singer of the Vietnam War era, who Vic interviewed in 1973 and put up in his DC apartment for a week. It was recorded in 1987 when the Crazy Planet Band was in Sound Lab Studios working on their only LP, Ride the Wind. It's called Broadside Balladeer, which now figures into the title of this CD as well. Other retrospective songs that Vic has recorded in the past but never released remain unfortunately all too relevant today. Vive Haiti! has become timely again as the current democratically elected President Aristide goes into his second exile now that a second Bush Administration has violated the sovereignty and democracy of the poorest country in the western hemisphere by planning and funding and participating in a coup with the former "terrorists" of the banned Haitian military.
Ride the Wind takes on a whole new meaning in the post-911 "war on terror" era than it had in 1988 when it was referring to the balance of nuclear terror with the Soviet Union. In the aftermath of US wars and occupations and scandals of torture and the rejection of the Geneva Convention treaty by the Bush Administration, it becomes a different song altogether:
Cold winds blow across the land... Dark clouds gather gloom
Children wake up crying... Parents rush into the room
It's just another nightmare of impending days of doom
But we're gonna tear your terror down and make the deserts bloom! Yea, that's what we assume!
It's just like us to rise again when we have sunk so low
Those who have no sense of shame will never learn to grow
We cannot live locked in the past... The winter can't stop spring
So let us join our hearts in hope... Let's hear those voices sing! Yea, let's hear those voices sing!
Other titles that are gleaned from past recordings are White Clay Creek, Our Only Chesapeake,
and Berceuse de Bonne Nuit (Good Night Lullaby) from Vic's 2003 solo CD called Songs of the Seasons; Born To Win, the B-side of the 1985 45 of Good Time Delaware; and Need To Know, Vic's reggae influenced torch love song from the Ride the Wind LP of 1988.
Another fascinating part of the "retrospective" to this CD project comes from old poems of Vic's father, Jean-Henri Sadot, that have been set to music by Vic or by his friends, who are also guest singers and musicians on B&R. Vic has rendered In Normandy When Breezes Blow into song, and he has added his own new section to the song about D-Day 1944 that he calls Our Pledge To You. Jean Sadot wrote:
In Normandy when breezes blow from the blue sea up to the highland
The trees yet echo the fierce battle below... a sound that soars above these sacred dunes of sand
You took the torch! You paved the way! You stormed the shore through fire and thunder!
You bravely gave your lives away...beneath the dear Star Spangled Banner!
Vic set his father's Spanish song about the Pyrenees mountains in the spring of 1940 to music as well: Recuerdo de Los Pireneos (Remembering the Pyrenees). Long time friend and collaborator on this project, Dean A. Banks, sings Jean Sadot's Little Girl's Bedtime, and plays the piano. The song reveals a father's warm sentiment for his daughter's innocence and antics. For example, after the little girl is supposed to have gone to bed:
It is not long before I hear
The sound familiar to my ear
The patter of her little feet
Almost as soft as my heartbeat
Reveals that she is not sleeping
To find out what she is doing
I quietly walk upstairs unseen
And there I find my little queen
Soap in her hair and even cream
Her face as straight as a sunbeam
The patter of her little feet
Almost as soft as my heartbeat
Vic's French friends in Normandy, Lionel Bernard and Jérôme Panier, did a great job on Jean Sadot's
The Statue of Liberty. Lionel set it to music. Jerome sings. They mailed their parts to Vic and he took that to recording engineer Dean A. Banks. They added keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars, and back-up vocals here in the United States by Dean Banks, Vic and Rob Sadot, and Ellen Lebowitz respectively. In The Statue of Liberty Jean Sadot calls "this gift from the people of France" a "symbol of hope". He declares that "the principles she represents speak of true fraternity", which "offers the dissident soul a spirit of good will". In this time of stress in the historic friendship between France and the United States, this song reminds us of that unique bond. Jérôme Panier plays bass guitar and sings with sincere conviction as the guitar of Lionel Bernard soars like the flame from Liberty's torch:
Raising her torch to the sky
She lights up the whole world
With her eternal message
Of sincere peace and friendship
"Broadsides & Retrospectives" manages to amuse, inform, and inspire with an array of topics that are patriotic, that protest injustice, that deliver a good time dance beat, or that draw you into a more reflective mood.