Washington Breakdown

Almanac Singers
Lingua: Inglese

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(Pete Seeger / Lee Hays)
From/da "Songs For John Doe"

The third verse refers to Vito Marcantonio, a Congressman from East Harlem who supported radical causes.
Financier J. P. Morgan symbolized the capitalist evils of the 'money trust' that gave major corporations and financial institutions enormous political clout.
Republican Wendell Wilkie unsuccessfully ran against Roosevelt in the November 1940 Presidential campaign. Although supported by many isolationists, Wilkie generally agreed with Roosevelt's foreign policy.
Ronald D. Cohen & Dave Samuelson, liner notes for "Songs for Political Action," Bear Family Records BCD 15720 JL, 1996, p. 77.)
(from this page).

The Almanac Singers.
The Almanac Singers.

Questa canzone degli Almanac Singers di Pete Seeger, scritta in un momento in cui gli Stati Uniti erano ancora neutrali nella Seconda Guerra Mondiale, conteneva una critica feroce contro il presidente Roosevelt e la sua decisione di iniziare il riarmo del paese.
Con un tempismo estremamente sfortunato l'album venne pubblicato proprio poche settimane prima che Hitler invadesse l'Unione Sovietica.
A seguito dei fatti del maggio 1941, però, l'album fu ritirato in tutta fretta ed il gruppo pubblicò un nuovo disco di canzoni anti-hitleriane tra le quali spicca Dear Mr. President, un talking blues che si rivolge direttamene a Roosvelt dicendo "Lo so che non siamo sempre stati d'accordo in passato, ma la prima cosa da fare è battere Hitler. Il resto può aspettare"

The song dates from the period in which the United States was strictly neutral but had begun re-armament and the first peace-time US draft (Act passed Saturday, 9/14/40). On October 16, 1940 it was announced that 16,500,000 men had registered.

This song and its album, "SONGS FOR JOHN DOE" proved something of an embarrassment to the Almanacs. Just a few weeks after it was released in May 1941, Hitler ordered the invasion of the USSR. The album was shelved and they soon came out with anti-Hitler songs.
( Notes based on those of Guy Logsdon & Jeff Place from the Folkways album "That's Why We're Marching"
Copyright Abby Sale, 1997. Used by permission. All publication rights are retained by author, but limited broadcast license will probably be granted on request.)

Set to the tune of 'Jesse James,' 'The Ballad of October 16th' was one of Lampell's earliest works; the title of this vitriolic anti-Roosevelt song refers to the day in 1940 when Congress passed the peacetime draft law. "No other peace song of the pact era proved more popular in the Communist movement," Richard Reuss later wrote. Critics from both the right and the left would later use 'The Ballad of October 16th' to embarass the Almanacs after the left turned to a pro-Roosevelt stance.
( Ronald D. Cohen & Dave Samuelson, liner notes for "Songs for Political Action," Bear Family Records BCD 15720 JL, 1996, p. 77.)

from This page

Dear Mr. President is direct antithesis of the songs of this album where Seeger says directly to Roosvelt: "We haven't always agreed in the past, I know / But that ain't at all important now / What is important is what we got to do / We got to lick Mr. Hitler, and until we do / Other things can wait."
Franklin D., listen to me,
You ain't a-gonna send me 'cross the sea,
'Cross the sea, 'cross the sea, You ain't a-gonna send me 'cross the sea.

You may say it's for defense,
But that kinda talk that I'm against.
I'm against, I'm against,
That kinda talk ain't got no sense.

Lafayette, we are here, we're gonna stay right over here...

Marcantonio is the best, but I wouldn't give a nickel for all the rest...

J. P. Morgan's big and plump, eighty-four inches around the rump...

Wendell Wilkie and Franklin D., seems to me they both agree,
Both agreed, both agreed,
Both agree on killin' me.

22/8/2005 - 23:47

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