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Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:46 pm
by NormanD
I'm more bothered by the lack of musicians who are committed and active leftists. B. Bragg is frequently wheeled out, and he always comes out as a Vote Labour socialist with rambling romanticism of a long-gone age of Old Labour.

The most openly leftist musician I ever heard was Steve Earle. In a tv documentary about him he said: "I call myself a socialist in the sense that..... " (Here we go, I thought, he's going to start on about Jesus being the first socialist, or how 'fair' Sweden is) "....in the sense that I believe everything Karl Marx wrote in Das Kapital".

Fair enough.

Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:32 am
by Adam Blake
NormanD wrote:The most openly leftist musician I ever heard was Steve Earle. In a tv documentary about him he said: "I call myself a socialist in the sense that..... " (Here we go, I thought, he's going to start on about Jesus being the first socialist, or how 'fair' Sweden is) "....in the sense that I believe everything Karl Marx wrote in Das Kapital".

Fair enough.



The Henry Cow's and Robert Wyatt also.

Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:23 am
by Garth Cartwright
i try not to let it bug me either. Merle Haggard, for a long time, was a vocal Nixon and Reagan supporter. So it was nice when he denounced GWBush and supported Obama. But even if he didn't I would still love his music.

As the excellent James Brown doc' makes it clear JB believed in Republican-style bootstrap capitalism - he had lifted himself out of poverty so why couldn't the rest of black America? Ray Charles was also found later in life endorsing Reagan for surely the same reason. Ray and JB did suffer a lot when young and it made them both rather mean and ruthless adults - very Republican values.

I met Gary Numan a couple of times in the 90s - a friend did his PR - and he was a very pleasant bloke. I never discussed politics with him and figured his enthusiasm for Thatcher was akin to that of many footballers ("I've been poor and now I'm rich so why should I have to pay so much tax?"). Did he treat his wife and the fans and those around him decently? Yes, that's more important than how he votes.

Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:53 pm
by Jamie Renton
NormanD wrote:I'm more bothered by the lack of musicians who are committed and active leftists.


Jake AKA Captain Ska is the only musician I know of who has taken a consistent and vocal lefty stance over the last few years. He's got a tale or two to tell of well known, supposedly alternative/rebellious types who've turned down the offer to collaborate with him on the grounds that it would be bad for their careers.

Corporate shills the lot of 'em.

Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:24 pm
by Gordon Neill
I think one might as well ask if there are any good openly left-wing musicians. As far as I'm concerned, politics and music are awkward bedfellows. And it's always politics that likes to be on top, pumping away to the wrong beat.....

PS To deliberately misinterpret the question: Ross Perot plays the accordion, Ted Heath was a bandleader before becoming ...er......Sir Edward Heath the organist and conductor, Richard Nixon played the piano and accordion (but not at the same time), and Bill Clinton played the saxophone and encouraged others to play the pink oboe. And I believe Nero was an accomplished violinist.

Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:37 am
by Pete Fowler
There was a moment, and that’s all it was. The counter culture in the 60s coincided with the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-Vietnam War protests to produce a progressive moment; the world seemed to be changing; and the young were in the vanguard of that change. Not surprisingly, pop and rock echoed the new sounds in the streets and on the campuses – indeed, they were pro-active, with some of the songs acting themselves as catalysts for change: You don’t need a weatherman....they’ve got the guns, we’ve got the numbers....paranoia strikes deep....there’s something in the air. The music changed because the culture changed. The culture changes were reflected in the musical changes. A moment of symbiosis.

It was the greatest illusion of my life. It led me to believe that a money-grabbing uptight son of a PE teacher was a street fighting man; it made me think that a stoned-out cockney singing about this generation was a radical leftie.

Not many of those voices were genuine. They simply caught the way the wind was blowing.

No Woody Guthries, to tell you the truth. Indeed, the whole period is perhaps best summed up by that single image:’ this machine kills fascists’ became Donovan’s ‘this machine kills’. Kills what? St Albans folk singers? Pheasants in the fields? Hurdy Gurdy Men?

‘Left’ and ‘Right’ are meaningless now. And in rock terms, they’ve been meaningless ever since the late 60s. Sometimes, the pose has been adopted, but it’s remained a pose. I mean, think of it – were the Pistols on the right or the left? Jarvis sang of the common people, Oasis made a career out of being common people: but did they have any sense of politics?

Politics and Pop, presently, are not even bedfellows. And it’s been a long time since they were.

Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:35 am
by will vine
Thanks Pete, I wish I'd said that.

Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:04 pm
by Jamie Renton
Beautifully written as always Pete. And I agree with much of what you say. But there has been politicised pop music since then. OK, the Pistols were never lefties as such but how about The Clash, The Specials, The Redskins, Billy Bragg and Captain Ska? All far more openly politicised than most of the generalised platitude peddlers of the 1960s (even if not all the music that some of them made is that great).

Maybe you just said "I won't get fooled again".

Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:05 pm
by Jamie Renton
Jamie Renton wrote:Beautifully written as always Pete. And I agree with much of what you say. But there has been politicised pop music since then. OK, the Pistols were never lefties as such but how about The Clash, The Specials, The Redskins, Elvis Costello, Billy Bragg and Captain Ska? All far more openly politicised than most of the generalised platitude peddlers of the 1960s (even if not all the music that some of them made is that great).

Maybe you just said "I won't get fooled again".

Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:43 pm
by Rob Hall
(Seeing as how we're now listing leftie musicians) whatever happened to Manu Chao?

Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:51 pm
by Jamie Renton
Rob Hall wrote:(Seeing as how we're now listing leftie musicians) whatever happened to Manu Chao?


Disappeared in a puff of smoke

Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 4:03 am
by Garth Cartwright
If we skip left/right terminology and simply focus on good protest/political records it all becomes a lot easier. To my mind, Woody Guthrie and Curtis Mayfield were the finest writers of such songs and both wrote so many great, pointed songs that remain timely I keep going back to them.

I agree with Pete that the 60s/70s was a big illusion when it came to the idea that rock stars were squaring up to the status quo: Dylan sang protest songs cuz he knew his audience would lap them up. Some, like Hattie Carol, were pretty potent. Others sound pretty trite now (and I imagine did then). I got out my old copy of John & Yoko's Some Time In NYC the other day. Even if JL briefly fancied himself as a protest singer he wasn't much cop at it. Still, nothing as awful as Imagine's platitudes on there.

Rap remains the language of protest. Thought it's depressing that there is so little politicised rap. That said, NWA's Fuck The Police is surely the greatest protest song of the 20th C and remains extremely relevant. I don't think you could label NWA left or right wing. Angry, articulate youths - often the best for voicing what's wrong.

Jamie, I've never heard of Captain Ska. I know I'm out of touch with what the kids listen to but a quick google suggests they are pretty obscure. Care to enlighten me on who they are?

Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:07 pm
by NormanD
Garth Cartwright wrote:NWA's Fuck The Police is surely the greatest protest song of the 20th C and remains extremely relevant.
Here's another police fucker, from nu?-Klezmer singer, Geoff Berner
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knnLr65EeGg

Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:42 am
by NickH
After his involvement in the civil rights movement, a pity to see James Brown endorse Nixon during the excellent Mr Dynamite doc. Seem to recall Brown backed Reagan in the 1980s too.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... r-dynamite

Re: Good Right Wing Musicians?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:58 pm
by uiwangmike
I came across this in the comments under the Telegraph obituary of Andy Fraser.

"In May 2008, Conservative leader and Old Etonian David Cameron named "The Eton Rifles" as one of his favourite songs. Cameron is reported to have said "I was one, in the corps. It meant a lot, some of those early Jam albums we used to listen to. I don't see why the left should be the only ones allowed to listen to protest songs.""

"Cameron's praise for the song earned a scathing rejection from Paul Weller, who said, "Which part of it didn't he get? It wasn't intended as a jolly drinking song for the cadet corps.""

[...]

In November 2011 Guardian music critic, Alexis Petridis, questioned Cameron further; "You said the Jam's song Eton Rifles was important to you when you were at Eton. Paul Weller, who wrote the song, was pretty incredulous to hear this, and claimed you couldn't have understood the lyrics. What did you think that song was about at the time? Be honest.' To which Cameron replied; "I went to Eton in 1979, which was the time when the Jam, the Clash, the Sex Pistols were producing some amazing music and everyone liked the song because of the title. But of course I understood what it was about. It was taking the mick out of people running around the cadet force. And he was poking a stick at us. But it was a great song with brilliant lyrics. I've always thought that if you can only like music if you agree with the political views of the person who wrote it, well, it'd be rather limiting."