TURN! TURN! TURN! (To Everything There Is A Season) Pete Seeger takes
the listener, not just to the words and ideas of the Book of
Ecclesiastes, but to the magic song method of ancient man. The
incantation is to turn, turn, turn to a time of peace, for "I tell you
it's not too late". It has that special quality Seeger appears able to
invest into most of his work, such as "Where Have All The Flowers
DON'T THINK TWICE, IT'S
ALRIGHT: Bob Dylan is a 22-year-old American described as the most
important songwriter to have emerged in that country since Woody
Guthrie. Of this song Dylan says . . . "It isn't a love song. It's a
statement that maybe you can say to make yourself feel better. It's as
if you were talking to yourself."
BASIC WAGE DREAM has two direct influences - Henry Lawson's "Shearer's
Dream" and a piece of Sydney's industrial folk-lore about wages and
judges. It treats with humour and kindness the workers and machines
making pay by day and the dream horses and poker machines devouring it
by night. The song was commissioned from Don Henderson by the
Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations as one of
its contributions to the humour, music, folk-lore and pay prospects of
the 1964 Basic Wage Campaign. Don Henderson has emerged as one of
Australia's leading contemporary songwriters and his songs are included
in the repertoires of folk-singers in many parts of Australia and the
Hewett's SWEET SONG FOR KATIE is a lullaby to her infant daughter set
to music by young Sydney songwriter Mike Leyden. Across Australia, from
Brisbane to Perth, Dorothy Hewett has wandered speaking her verse and
helping her husband and fellow poet Merv Lilley to put poetry and song
before anyone that lends an ear.
WANT FREEDOM (the Aboriginal Charter of Rights), as arranged by Gary
Shearston, is as new and different as the Yirrkala Aboriginal bark
painting petition on reservation rights to the House of Representatives
in 1963. The Aboriginal Charter of Rights (retitled "We Want Freedom"
in its song form) was written by Aboriginal poet Kath Walker and
dedicated to the 5th Conference of the Federal Council for the
Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders held in Adelaide
in 1962. The poem also appears as the dedication piece of Kath Walker's
book of verse published in April, 1964, under the title of "We Are
Going". In the music of Gary's arrangement can be seen the modern folk
process of weaving together the old and the new as penetrating poetry
becomes a moving and powerful song. After writing the chorus, the
inspiration for his chant-like cadence in the verses came from the
"Devil Dance" (a song from Yirrkala in Eastern Arnhem Land), collected
and recorded by Sandra LeBrun Holmes. The end result of this
cross-pollination of poetry and song in the tribal and folk fields is
an anguished demand for human understanding.
KILLED DAVEY MOORE?: Davey Moore, then American featherweight boxing
champion of the world, lost his life in a fight with Cuban Sugar Ramos
at the Dodgers Stadium, Los Angeles, in March, 1963. Moore's death
raised intense controversy in the United States press and those looking
for a clean-up of American boxing. Remembering the controversy in
Sydney following the Archie Kemp-Jack Hassen fight in September, 1949,
with Kemp lingering for a time unconscious before his death, it is easy
to imagine the heat of the controversy that arose. In his very moving
song, Bob Dylan holds up to a merciless scrutiny each one of the
shadowy figures that preside, promote and praise today's gladiators.
RAIN'S A-GONNA FALL: Considered by many to be Bob Dylan's masterpiece -
so far - in his short creative life, Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" has the
imagery, vividness and poetic force that gives it a universal appeal.
It is something different to every person who can listen and learn the
many things it really does say. Written at the time of the 1962
American-Cuban world crisis, Dylan gives his picture of the world as
many young people must see it.
OLD TOWN: Ewan McColl has been described as a leader in "the greatest
revival o English song-making since Elizabethan times". This love song
of dreams by a factory gate and love by the gaswork's wall is the other
side of the "Room At The Top" story. Ewan believes the answer lies not
in marrying the boss' daughter, but in taking "a big sharp axe" to the
"dirty old town".
SAY?: "Who can take another's hand, the colour of coal, the colour of
sand?" and "travel to seek the face of a universal human race" are just
two of the eight poetic and universal questions Gary Shearston asks in
this song. It is left to each listener to seek his or her own personal
answers to them all.
LULLABY: Mike Leyden's music brings the worldwide appeal in Dorothy
Hewett's lullaby to new audiences who, though they may not have decided
the whys and wherefores of nuclear weapons, know that more and more
people are feeling what the late John F. Kennedy said so dramatically:-
"Today every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when it
may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a
nuclear sword of Damocles hanging by the slenderest thread capable of
being cut at any moment by accident, miscalculation or madness."
Shearston's DON'T WAVE TO ME TOO LONG is a song that moves on from Ewan
McColl's "Dirty Old Town". It is a love song of young men in a hurry to
change the world for their generation and those to follow to the "time
ahead for all that might have been, When swords have turned to
ploughshares and all the world is green."
ON: This popular song of Don Henderson's is as Australian as the "Basic
Wage Dream" and might seem to elevate the ideas of "step out the back
and fight it out", the Irishism of "if there's a Government here I'll
fight it" and even gunboats up the Nile. Don's sympathy for the victims
pinpoints the men who have stepped out the back so many times that "now
they're fighting to see what they're fighting about". But he shrewdly
turns the argument on the defence versus education allocations into
proof that, perhaps, "elections should be . . . the best of ten
rounds". Without mentioning Canberra, Sydney or "The Bush", '`It's On"
is unmistakably Australian folk-lore and, perhaps, folk-song too!