Friday, December 15th, 2017

Hudson Valley Sally's CD

Diamonds and Pearls (2017)

Everything there'd be room for with a vinyl album... and more!



  • LINER NOTES
  • TRACK DETAILS
  • LYRICS
  • OVERVIEW


1. The FM Band

Comments by Mike Lavery:

In January, 2002, a Canadian Pacific Railroad train hauling tanker cars filled with anhydrous ammonia derailed near Minot, North Dakota. A deadly cloud of gas was released from at least one of the cars.

Minot police sought to warn citizens of the town and called radio station KCJB, the designated Emergency Broadcast System station for the area. But no one answered. KCJB was airing programming from Clear Channel Communications, a giant communications conglomerate which owned 6 stations in the Minot market. It was licensed locally but operated nationally.

Hundreds of persons were injured. One died.

At the time Clear Channel owned 1150 stations out of the 13,000 licensed in the United States

In 1945 the FCC reserved a portion of the FM spectrum, from 88.1 to 91.9 megahertz, for non-commercial educational purposes. And for the most part, even in today's media consolidation reality, the stations at the lower end of the FM band, are locally owned and operated. They are willing to take chances on challenging music, challenging issues. And they'll answer the phone when an emergency threatens the community.

Local radio is fighting for its life. Losing local radio could put the life of our nation at risk.

-- Mike Lavery broke into local radio by hosting a weekly show for his high school. He built a news department for the campus radio station at the University of Missouri. He served as news director for stations in Missouri and Illinois and hosted syndicated interview programs on international issues focusing on the developing world. Discussions with Mike started the train of thought that led to the song The FM Band.


2. Power and the Glory
More coming soon. To learn more about Phil Ochs, here's a good place to start:

www.SonnyOchs.com


3. Diamonds and Pearls
More coming soon.


4. Our Soup of Many Lands

Comments by Ruth Indeck:

"Our Soup of Many Lands" © 1995 was a track on Ray's 1997 album A Friend Like You.

In the current climate of immigrant-bashing, this song takes on new relevance with its story of people of many cultures working together. It was written in the context of one of Ray's favorite things - a gourmet dinner! Ray was an amazing cook himself - his favorite cuisine was Chinese and he sometimes would spend a whole weekend shopping, prepping and cooking a Chinese banquet.

In 2007 the lyrics were published at the beginning of the "Soup" section of the "New Jersey Peace Action 50th Anniversary Cookbook: Ordinary People Making History and Soup."

Ray wrote many empowering, socially relevant songs that activists can sing today. He passed away in October, 2014, but his songs continue to be performed by the Ray Korona Band, Hudson Valley Sally, and others, and many are on YouTube. You can watch videos, order CDs or tracks, and learn much more about Ray's life, his songs, the Ray Korona Band, and more at:

www.RayKorona.com


The Ray Korona Band at the People's Voice Cafe; Ray at center with guitar.


5. Song About A Miner
More coming soon.



6. A Spider's Web/Tomorrow Is A Highway

A Spider's Web and Tomorrow Is A Highway are two songs that Pete Seeger co-wrote that never became widely known. The first is based on a poem that E.B White wrote as an anniversary present to his wife. Pete set it to music to make it a love song to his own wife Toshi, a mutual passion of six decades. For Pete, "love" was both personal and political.

In the spring of 1948 Pete Seeger and Lee Hays got together to write songs of hope as the cold war and the McCarthy era loomed. Pete and Lee thought Tomorrow Is A Highway was exactly the song to warn of the danger. The other was just a little ditty they tossed off casually - so when The Hammer Song became famous Pete slapped his forehead in wonderment and said "Gosh, I guess we wrought better than we thought." Indeed! And Tomorrow Is A Highway is another fine song that can help us through this new time of peril.


7. The MacKenzie-Papineau Brigade

Notes from band-member David Tarlo, native of Quebec:

The Canadians who fought in Spain organized themselves into The MacKenzie-Papineau Brigade. Probably the best known of them was Dr. Norman Bethune, who in Spain created the first ever mobile blood transfusion units, treating the soldiers on the front lines. The Mac-Paps, as they were called, included English and French Canadians, but in Spain they spoke one language "¡No Pasaran!"

A little more background. We started singing songs from and about the Spanish Civil war partly because John's father was in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade - Americans who went to Spain to fight fascism and try to stop Hitler and Mussolini before what became WWII. I knew John's father - he was a fine man. His two books - Comrades, about his time in Spain, and Legacy, about the rest of his amazing life fighting for social justice, should be required reading.

My parents were also involved in support work for the Mac-Paps up in Montreal, where I was born. My mother told me about working with Dr. Bethune in a kids program. He was a big hero for us growing up.

In Sally we also sing songs about this fight against fascism from Ireland, Russia and Italy. So naturally I was interested in singing something about the Mac-Paps. I did some research, including contacting some people in Canada who had been involved in that struggle and others who sang songs from that period, and could not find a single one about the Mac-Paps.

So the job fell to me, and this song is the result. More about Dr. Norman Bethune here:




8. Annie
More coming soon.


9. When I Sing My Song
More coming soon.


10. Not Another Gun

Notes from band-member John Fisher:

In June of 2001 James Durst and I travelled to Germany with the Walkabout Clearwater Chorus to sing at a Festival in Dortmund, Germany. My father, Harry Fisher, was there also to give a presentation about the recently published German Edition of his book "Comrades, Tales of A Brigadista In The Spanish Civil War."

James, my father, and I spent a lot of time on the trip talking about an intriguing contradiction. My father, by temperament and belief, was a lifelong pacifist. And yet he took up arms to join the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War, and then was a B-26 turret gunner in WWII. My father thought that despite his loathing for violence, stopping fascism was a moral obligation.

But he kept coming back to the fact that despite doing what he felt needed to be done, he hated guns. Hated them! In fact he said that unlike the fictional warriors portrayed in popular culture, every veteran-friend who had actually experienced violent combat, hated guns and wanted nothing to do with them after the war. It's insane that we spend so much money to kill people and so little on what people really need.

We never resolved the contradiction, but the thought lingered. In September, right after September 11, the issue became much more emotional. We couldn't think of a way to write a song to address 9/11 directly, but my father's hatred of guns inspired a different approach, which wound as the song Not Another Gun.

It's interesting that right at the same time Pete Seeger must have been going through a similar thought process because at the same time we were writing Not Another Gun, Pete was writing Take It From Dr. King, with an anti-gun message. James was having frequent conversations with Pete during that period, so it's possible there was some cross fertilization. We'll never know.


11. The Ballad of William Worthy
More coming soon. To learn more about Phil Ochs, here's a good place to start:

www.SonnyOchs.com


12. Gracias A La Vida
More coming soon.


13. Magic Penny

Comments by Nancy Schimmel, Malvina Reynolds' daughter:

It was the usual junior high school dance - a few boys gathered the courage to cross the vast expanse of green-and-black asphalt tile between their side of the cafeteria and ours to ask a few of us to dance to "Slow Boat to China" or "Little White Lies". When fast numbers came on, we danced with each other because the boys didn't know how.

My father picked me up. When we got home, my mother had a new song ready to try out on us. It must have been in 1948 or 1949. The joyous dancing till the break of day in the song was a figment of her imagination, no relation to the dance I'd just taken part in.

Here's the original lyrics:
Chorus:
Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away
Love is something if you give it away, you end up having more

It's just like a magic penny, hold it tight and you won't have any
Lend it, spend it, and you'll have so many, they'll roll all over the floor

Chorus

Bridge:
They said don't play with fire, once burnt twice shy
But now I've played with fire, and all I want to do is fry

Chorus

So let's go dancing till the break of day, and if there's a piper, we can pay
For love is something if you give it away, you end up having more

Chorus

©1958 Northern Music
At first it was called "Love Is Something," then "Magic Penny." Malvina had planned to put the song in her first little songbook, "Song in My Pocket," put out by the California Labor School in 1954. But she reconsidered, and wrote this letter to the illustrator and designer of the book
Dear Irving: ...I am afraid we'll have to make another shift in contents. Discussion with a number of people, independently, has convinced me that "Magic Penny" is liable to a sexy interpretation that we cannot afford in a book of this kind. Perhaps without the "bridge"... it would be all right, but I do not think we can chance it. Sometimes you get so close to a thing you cannot see it as well as the casual eye...

Yours,
I believe her hesitation to include "Magic Penny" was due to the political nature of most of the songs in the book and of the California Labor School itself. She wouldn't have wanted the book or the school attacked for a side issue.

Universal Pictures wanted the song for a 1958 teen movie called "Summer Love," but they too were wary of that bridge, and asked Malvina for a re-write. She substituted another verse:
Money's dandy, and we like to use it, but love is better if you don't refuse it
It's a treasure and you'll never lose it, unless you lock up your door
It was sung by Molly Bee in the film and on a sound track album released the same year.

In 1964, the song was included in the book of Malvina's songs put out by Oak Publications. In her notes on the songs she wrote:
Magic Penny: A love song. I do not recommend it as a model of locution. The phrase should probably be, 'Love is something which, if given away...' I prefer the living language.
"Magic Penny" has been used in Girl Scout songbooks (sometimes without attribution), church services, and school assemblies all over the country. It has been recorded by over fifty singers, mostly in albums for children. This probably would not have happened with the original bridge. With kids, I often sing the song without either the old bridge or the new verse. If I do use the new verse, I sing it Judy Fjell's way, "Money's dandy if you like to use it" rather than "Money's dandy and we like to use it." It doesn't make assumptions about the audience that way, and sounds more natural to me.

Pete Seeger pointed out that the shape of tune is similar to "Buffalo Gals," though the details are different. I didn't think the song had inspired any parodies, but here is a verse learned from Young Friends (Quakers) and sent to Malvina by Betsy Cazden (musicologist Norman Cazden's older daughter).
Food tastes better when you give it away, give it away, give it away
Food tastes better when you give it away
It always seems like more

It's just like a loaf of rye bread
Hold it tight and it ends up dry bread
Share it around and it's all inside bread
Till everybody is full
For food tastes better, etc.
At the request of Beth and Scott Bierko, I wrote a substitute verse for the one my mother added for the movie:
Money doesn't have magic in it
Things we buy might break in a minute
Love's a circle so let's begin it
And bring it to every door
-- Nancy Schimmel is a teacher, author, and storyteller. Learn more about her: HERE.

14. Sister Moon
More coming soon.


15. National Anthem: Arise! Arise!
More coming soon. To learn more about Jean Rohe's music, here's a good place to start:

www.JeanRohe.com


Hudson Valley Sally does vocals on all songs. The Children's Chorus of the Cathedral School in New York City join us on Magic Penny and Sister Moon.

We are grateful to Fred Gillen, Jr., Paul Magliaro, and Guillermo Cardenas for adding instrumentation in songs, as noted below.

Song Composer Instruments
1. The FM Band words and music by John Fisher © 2017 David: banjo; John: guitar; Fred: bass; Paul: drums
2. Power and the Glory words and music by Phil Ochs © 1964 David: banjo; John: guitar
3. Diamonds and Pearls words and music by John Fisher © 2017 David: banjo; John: guitar; Laurie: percussion; Terry: banjolele
4. Our Soup of Many Lands words and music by Ray Korona © 1997 David: banjo; Fred: bass
5. Song About A Miner words and music by John Fisher © 2012 David: banjo; John: guitar; Fred: bass; Guillermo: percussion
6. A Spider's Web music © Pete based on poem by E.B. White David: banjo; John: guitar
Tomorrow Is A Highway words and music © Pete Seeger and Lee Hays David: banjo; John: guitar; Laurie: percussion; Fred: bass drum
7. The MacKenzie-Papineau Brigade words and music by David Tarlo © 2017 David: banjo; John: bass; Laurie: bodhran; Guillermo: percussion
8. Annie words and music © Fred Small David: guitar; John: guitar
9. When I Sing My Song words and music by Laurie Siegel © 2011 a capella
10. Not Another Gun words and music by John Fisher and James Durst © 2001 David: guitar; John: bass; Fred: washboard
11. The Ballad of William Worthy words and music © Phil Ochs David: banjo; John: guitar; Terry: banjolele, Fred: washboard and shakers
12. Gracias A La Vida words and music © Violeta Parra John: guitar; Guillermo: percussion
13. Magic Penny words and music by Malvina Reynolds © 1966 David: banjo; John: bass; Laurie: guitar; Guillermo: percussion
14. Sister Moon words and music by Pete Seeger, with Steve Siegelbaum, John Fisher © 1996 David: banjo; John: bass; Laurie: guitar
15. National Anthem: Arise! Arise! words and music © Jean Rohe David: banjo; John: bass; Paul, drums

All arrangements © Hudson Valley Sally 2017.

Lyrics to original songs on Diamonds and Pearls


The FM Band
words and music by John Fisher (c) 2017
Track 1.

Chorus:
Turn on the radio, don't listen to the talk shows
Turn that dial, where the music flows
You can find a song, that might-a been banned
Down at the bottom, of the the FM band



verse 1
John Lennon and Yoko sang at a naked love-in
Puff The Magic Dragon, what was he really smokin'
A song to set me free, stairway to Heaven
At WFUV, ninety point seven

verse 2
He sang bring the troops home, they blacklisted Pete Seeger
Strike for bread and roses,sang Mimi Farina
You can hear Phil Ochs sing the Power and the Glory
At WIOX ninety one point three

verse 3
When Elvis got mad at a radio show
He’d take out a rifle and shoot the radio
No need for you to fire your gun
At WFDU eighty nine point one

verse 4
Hip hop, folk rock, zydeco, soul
Reggae and rap, classic rock and roll
You know where they got 'em, even a big brass band
It’s all at the bottom of the FM band



Diamonds and Pearls
words and music by John Fisher (c) 2017
Track 3.

verse 1.
I see a river flowing to the sea
I never heard an ocean say don't you come to me
Oh, welcome is the way of the world

Chorus:
Earth makes a diamond, oyster makes a pearl
Welcome is the way of the world


verse 2.
Honeybee out in search of nectar to bring home
I never heard a goldenrod say please leave me alone
Oh, welcome is the way of the world

Chorus

Bridge 1:
Deep inside the earth some old fossils you will find
Just leave them in the ground, another million years of time
The earth will make them welcome, and when nature's work is done
And every ton of that gooey stuff a diamond will become

verse 3.
There are hungry ones who shiver from the cold and from the fear
Soup kitchen )never says you're not welcome here, Oh...

Chorus

verse 4.
A boat on the ocean with a fleeing refugee
How can any nation say don't you come to me, Oh...

Chorus

Bridge 2:
In the far Pacific Ocean, an underwater farm
An oyster is invaded by a seed might do it harm
But the oyster makes it welcome and uses every tool
And helps the seed to grow into a rare and precious jewel

verse 5.
This old planet's like a boat on a vast and empty sea
So I had better welcome you and you to welcome me, Oh...

Chorus (2X)



Song About A Miner
words and music by John Fisher (c) 2012
Track 5.

verse 1.
I remember the 1950s, little boxes all the same
Back of the bus and the fallout dust, the Committee said 'name the names'
But also a time that remembered those Who labored with their hands
There were songs that came from the factories and the farms across the land, like...

Chorus:
...a song about a miner, remember Tennessee Ernie Ford
Loaded sixteen tons and still he owed his soul to the company store
The Silhouettes sang sha-na-na-na, get A Job and earn your pay
There were songs of working people on the radio every day


verse 2.
Loading up the Banana Boat until the tallyman come
Matilda take my money, to Venezuela then she run
Johnny Cash in Folsom Prison, tryin' to Walk The Line
There was corn in the field and wheat in the bin and Kisses Sweeter Than Wine, and...

Chorus

verse 3.
Tugboat out on the river, Mack The Knife is back in town
If Irene turns her back on me I'll go to the river and drown
The song of the House I Live In, a worker's humble pride
The engineer on the Rock Island Line says I'm carryin' all pig-iron ... and

Chorus

verse 4.
I remember the 1950's, there were songs of every kind
Mabeline, Sweet Little Sixteen, Love Potion Number Nine
Why Do Fools Fall In Love, Earth Angel, Blueberry Hill
And also songs of working folks and I remember them still, like...

Chorus



The Mackenzie-Papineau Brigade
words and music by David Tarlo (c) 2017
Track 7.

verse 1.
The winds of war in thirty-five
The world turns its head from the rising fascist tide
Not the MacKenzie-Papineau Brigade

verse 2.
The cry from Toronto, from Montreal
Cross Canada, unions rally to the call
The MacKenzie-Papineau Brigade

verse 3.
To France, to Spain 'cross the Pyrenees
Some try by boat, but are blown out of the seas
The MacKenzie-Papineau Brigade

Bridge:
English is our tongue, ici on parle francais
United here in Spain, 'No Pasaran' we say
The MacKenzie-Papineau Brigade


verse 4.
Fighting at Jarama, at Arragon
Before the killing's through nearly half of them are gone
The MacKenzie-Papineau Brigade

verse 5.
In the battlefields, 'neath a Spanish moon
Come driving out to heal us, our medic doc Bethune
The Mackenzie-Papineau Brigade

Bridge

verse 6.
Survivors sail back to Canadian land
Their own government persecutes this brave and loyal band
The MacKenzie-Papineau Brigade

verse 7.
So let us sing the praise of those worthy volunteers
May their names be remembered, over all the years
Long live the MacKenzie-Papineau Brigade (2X)



When I Sing My Song
words and music by Laurie Siegel (c) 2011
Track 9.

When I sing my song I'm gonna sing out loud
When I sing my song I'm gonna sing out loud
I'm gonna sing out strong and I'm gonna sing out proud
When I sing my song I'm gonna sing out loud

When I sing my song I'm gonna sing out loud
When I sing my song I'mgonna sing out loud
I'm gonna sing out strong and I'm gonna sing out proud
When I sing my song I'm gonna sing out loud

When I speak my mind I'm gonna speak it clear
When I speak my mind I'm gonna speak it clear
I'm gonna speak out without shame and doubt, speak out without fear
When I speak my mind I'm gonna speak it clear

No matter who tries to stop my I'll have my say
No matter who tries to stop my I'll have my say
Cause we're in a bind and humankind won't make it any other way
No matter who tries to stop my I'll have my say

Many voices make a stronger song
Many voices make a stronger song
So if you want to fight to keep your rights, lift your voice and sing along
Many voices make a stronger song

When I sing my song I'm gonna sing out loud
When I sing my song I'm gonna sing out loud
I'm gonna sing out strong and I'm gonna sing out proud
When I sing my song I'm gonna sing out loud



Not Another Gun
words and music by John Fisher and James Durst (c) PhoeniXongs ASCAP 2001
Track 10.

verse 1.
We need more food for our hungry ones
Takes a lot of work to get the job done
We need more food by the tons and tons
What we don't need, any more guns

verse 2.
We need education for our younger ones
Takes a lot of work to get the job done
We need better schools for our daughters and our sons
What we don't need, any more guns

Chorus:
'cause any more guns is many more tears
We've got enough guns for a thousand years
Shut the factories then retool
Not Another gun for another damn fool


We need to clean the river of the pollution
Takes a lot of work to get the job done
Dredge up the poison where the Hudson runs
What we don’t need, any more guns

Chorus

Bridge:
'cause guns don't hammer and guns don't saw
They can't help build anything at all
The can't help a seed grow tall into the sky
They only make people bleed, they only make people die

We must declare our independence from petroleum
Takes a lot of work to get the job done
Gather up the power of the water wind and sun
What we don't need, any more guns

Chorus (2X)







A great deal of thought went into the selection of songs and arrangements in our CD Diamonds and Pearls. Here is a snapshot of our process.

Many of the songs address pressing issues explicitly. Some are originals: Not Another Gun (gun control), The FM Band (the importance of independent media), Diamonds and Pearls (the value of welcoming immigrants), and Song About A Miner (the dignity of working with one's hands).

We have created unique arrangements of songs we love for their messages and musicality. These include Fred Small's Annie (LGBTQ rights), Phil Ochs' Power and the Glory (the meaning of true patriotism), and Ray Korona's Our Soup of Many Lands (diversity).

Other songs convey more subtle messages. Diversity of languages is a source of cultural richness, as conveyed in our arrangement of Violeta Parra's Gracias A La Vida. Sometimes the power of song is not its explicit message, but the way singing together creates a spontaneous community of voices. When I Sing My Song, another original, says it, and makes it happen.

A Spider's Web and Tomorrow Is A Highway are two songs that Pete Seeger co-wrote that never became widely known. The first is based on a poem that E.B White wrote as an anniversary present to his wife. Pete set it to music to make it a love song to his own wife Toshi, a mutual passion of six decades. For Pete, "love" was both personal and political.

In the spring of 1948 Pete Seeger and Lee Hays got together to write songs of hope as the cold war and the McCarthy era loomed. Pete and Lee thought Tomorrow Is A Highway was exactly the song to warn of the danger. The other was just a little ditty they tossed off casually - so when The Hammer Song became famous Pete slapped his forehead in wonderment and said "Gosh, I guess we wrought better than we thought." Indeed! And Tomorrow Is A Highway is another fine song that can help us through this new time of peril.

Legacy of the past: we progressives have not developed in a void. We are a link in a very long, continuous chain stretching over centuries. We want to learn from and honor our predecessors, as in the original The Mackenzie-Papineau Brigade and Phil Och's The Ballad of William Worthy.

Looking to the future: the most important audiences for progressive music now are young people. They will be the beneficiaries of what we accomplish, and the victims of what we don't. We were delighted to have a children's chorus from the Cathedral School in New York City join us on Sister Moon (another little known Pete song), and Malvina Reynold's Magic Penny. We intentionally end the CD with Jean Rohe's National Anthem: Arise! Arise! with the line, "We see the future in your eyes." We do, and that's why we created this CD.