"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Monday, January 01, 2007

songs that made america great
An internet comment about an obscure 1975 album that has and thoroughly deserves a cult following and the subsequent discovery that said album was rereleased in 1997 has prompted me to pony up some yen for my very own copy of Patrick Sky's masterpiece "Songs that made America Great"
Click the link and go have a listen -- I think you'll agree it isn't for everyone, but it should be. He should have won a grammy for "Rambling Hunchback Blues" alone. My former partner in musical crime Rick Bauer aka Sonny Lematina, introduced me to this album 15 years ago and I've been searching for it ever since. I used to cover "Rambling Hunchback Blues" between John Prine tunes at folk clubs to considerable appalled indifference. Ah misty, water-coloured memories....

Sky wrote almost all the material on the album except for this dirge by Dave Van Ronk. Luang Prabang was the capital of the kingdom of Laos, but if you think of it as Baghdad, you won't be far wrong -- Its raw, but its right.

Luang Prabang

When I got back from Luang Prabang
I didn't have a thing where my balls used to hang
But I got a wooden medal and a fine "hoorang"
And now I'm a fuckin' hero

Mourn your dead, land of the free
If you want to be a hero, follow me
Mourn your dead, land of the free
If you want to be a hero, follow me

And now the boys all envy me
I fought for Christian democracy
With nothin' but air where my balls used to be
Now I'm a fuckin' hero

Mourn your dead, land of the free
If you want to be a hero, follow me
Mourn your dead, land of the free
If you want to be a hero, follow me

And one and twenty cannon thunder
Into the bloody wild blue yonder
For a patriotic ball-less wonder
Now I'm a fuckin' hero

Mourn your dead, land of the free
If you want to be a hero, follow me
Mourn your dead, land of the free
If you want to be a hero, follow me

In Luang Prabang there is a spot
Where the corpses of your brothers rot
And every corpse is a patriot
And every corpse is a hero

Mourn your dead, land of the free
If you want to be a hero, follow me
Mourn your dead, land of the free
If you want to be a hero, follow me
--© Dave Van Ronk

1 comment:

Scout said...

am i missing something or do we have a lack of iraq and afghanistan war protest songs going on????

hey, happy new years!