Songs about why we vote

The Songs

“Love Louisiana” by Mariane See
“Vote Out the Old Mitchtake” by the KY Partisans
“Do Something Now” by Pete Kronowitt
Always Have a Song to Sing” by Spook Handy
The F-Word (Fascism)” by John Dillon
“Yo! Semite!” by Si Kahn
“I do the Best I Can” by Tom Smith
America the Possible” by Susan Shann
“A Perfect Storm” – written by John Dillon, performed by John Dillon and Vivian Nesbitt
“Freedom is a Constant Song” by Si Kahn
“Say Can You See” by Scott Cook (#1 song on The Folk Chart, August 2020)
“The Ballad of Nasty POTUS” By Richard Pollay
“There’s No Difference Between Trump and Biden…” by Robert Katz
“Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” by Walkabout Clearwater Chorus
“Legacy” by Ginny Gill
“Long Time A Comin’ ” by Marth Hathorne and Bill Foss
“Trust” by Virginia Gill
“You Must Be A Socialist” by Rob Katz
Vaccine” – by Dr. Squat & The Fact Checkers
Women Vote 2020by Lynn Marie Smith
“Vote for Me” by Children of Selma
“Donnie Took a Dump All Over Twitter” George Man
“Get Him Out” by Robert Cray

Love Louisiana – written and performed by Mariane See

“The tune is very old style Cajun.  I’ve found that that many of those old tunes have very simple lyrics about things like an old wagon, making popcorn, having gumbo, and lots about being truly miserable.  So one about going to vote should not be too far from the norm!”

Oh mon amie
Mon amie
Come with me
Mon amie
We go demain, 
Demain, 
Because we care for Lousian 

Tell Maman               ( Kind of a chorus)
Tell Papa
That we all 
Go ensemble
We go to vote 
We need to vote
To say we care
Oh we love Lousian

We have our land
Et les bayoux 
We have musique
Et les pirogues
We have our pride
Et aujourd’hui  
We love our home
Louisian

We go ensemble
Avec famille
I go with you
Mon amie
And we will vote
Yes we shall vote
To say we love 
Louisian,
(Repeat last line 2x)

“Vote Out the Old Mitchtake” by the KY Partisans

Song written by JD Lester and Diane Timmons
Vocals by Diane Timmons and Claire Rose
Guitar and mandolin by Art Mize
Piano by Diane Timmons
Recording engineering by Art Mize
Videography by Kenzington Stalwart and David Harl
Video editing by David Harl

“Do Something Now” by Pete Kronowitt

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio…was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.” John Lewis, the civil rights leader and congressman, in the NY Times July 30, 2020 There are things you can do. Voting is not enough. Getting involved in mid-October is not enough. Please donate, volunteer, organize, do whatever bit you can. Here are a bunch of good options, by no means exhaustive. Would love to see your recommendations in the comments too.

https://swingleft.org/ https://sisterdistrict.com/ https://www.techforcampaigns.org/ https://votefwd.org/ https://fairfight.com/ https://blackvotersmatterfund.org/ https://floridarrc.com/ https://resistancelabs.com/ https://www.openprogress.com/ https://colorofchange.org/ https://www.fieldteam6.org/ https://postcardstovoters.org/

Thank you to the many folks who made this video possible: Ivan Rhudick – video production & editing Lia Wesp – graphics Veronica Maund – recorded video clips of and backing vocals on the song Produced by Pete Kronowitt & Spencer Hartling Recorded, engineered & mixed by Spencer Hartling at Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco, CA Mastered by Jacob Winik John David Coppola – acoustic and electric bass Darian Gray – drums Justin Kohlberg – acoustic and electric guitar Veronica Maund – backing vocals

Always Have a Song to Sing by Spook Handy

Will American Democracy long endure? If they COULD take away the “Hammer of Justice” (as many are trying to do today), we would still be free because the “Bell of Freedom” in our hearts will always have a place to ring and we’ll always, always, always have a Song to Sing. Recorded Live at the Westin Crown Center, Kansas City, MO at the International Folk Alliance Coference, Feb 19, 2017. A Jondo Media production. Videographer: Chris Wenske.

When Pete Seeger and Lee Hayes wrote “The Hammer Song” (“If I Had a Hammer”) they took John Henry’s hammer from the labor movement and placed it squarely in the hands of the civil rights movement, announcing that the hammer of justice, the bell of freedom and the song we sing were for ALL of us.  Today there is reason to fear that “those people” with the political power, if they could, would break the hammer of justice.  But they can’t.  Because you and I and everyone else who embodies the principle of justice – we ARE the hammer of justice.  In a similar fashion, the bell of freedom is not just a piece of metal hanging up somewhere in Philadelphia.  The bell of freedom is in our hearts.  It is up to US to make it ring.  And most important is the song that we sing – the song about love between ALL of our brothers and ALL of our sisters  – regardless of the color of our skin, the language we speak, who we love or how we identify.  I am dedicated, and I think it is fair to say Pete was, too, to the proposition that no matter how bad things can get, the bell of freedom in our hearts will always have a place to ring and we will always, Always, ALWAYS have a song to sing!

© Spook Handy, 2019 Dingleberry Pickens Music Society (BMI)

If you could break the Hammer of Justice
Defy democracy
Gag the press – make arrests
I would still be free
Cause the Bell of Freedom in my heart
Will always have a place to ring
And we’ll always, always, always have a song to sing

Always, always, always have a song to sing
Always, always, always have a song to sing
The Bell of Freedom in my heart
Will always have a place to ring
And we’ll always, always, always have a song to sing

Some may fight among us
Ask who here is to blame
Some will cry and wonder why
But let’s not play that game
There’s a voice inside of each of us
Can you hear it call our name?
Saying we’ll always, always, always have a song to sing

In our darkest hour
There is no time to hide
So let’s stoke our inner fires
And keep the flame alive
If we raise our voices up as one
We will not be denied
And we’ll always, always, always have a song to sing

The F-Word (Fascism) by John Dillon

Not in America, how absurd
We’d never thought we’d have to use the F-word
But rising from the ashes of political mayhem
It’s F – A – S – C – I – S – M
In Madeleine Albright’s book she wrote it
No longer can we laugh or sugar coat it
We’ve got to call it out before it’s too late
This is the American Fascist State

Lie by lie, norm by norm
Manipulating reality’s become an art form
Like the frog, we’ve been boiling so slow
We didn’t even notice we’d fallen so low
What were we thinking, a tv star?
Who bankrupted businesses, and paid off porn stars
We took the bait that sealed our fate
This is the American Fascist State

With Barr at his side they break the rules
Elected republicans say it’s all cool
Unconfirmed puppets, guardrails long gone
Imaginary enemy, battle lines drawn
He’s divided America, wants us to fight
In MAGA country, great means white
Where love and civility are trumped by hate
This is the American Fascist State

Have we passed the point of no return?
Can we not see it, will we not learn?
The American experiment’s gone horribly awry
It’s up to you and me, vote or die
Our democracy can’t take another four years
Of private police and profiteers
We already know they’re gonna cheat
But if we all show up we won’t be beat
Vote everyone, don’t hesitate
Don’t want this American Fascist State
Vote out this American Fascist State
Don’t want this American Fascist State

Recorded Monday, August 31, 2020

Words and music to “Yo! Semite!” by Si Kahn. © 2020 by Joe Hill Music LLC.

paintings and animation by Lisa Bastoni. Isa Burke plays fiddle and Sean Staples on mandolin, banjo and bass

“I do the Best I Can” Words & Music by Tom Smith

Check out Tom’s get out the vote page at https://www.tomsmithmusic.com/?p=6032

I Do the Best I Can
by Tom Smith (ASCAP), TomSmithMusic.com
© 2020 Peabody Hill Publishing (ASCAP)

An old man on a stage, his age belies the power of his song
With a voice that may be shaky, he clearly sings of making right from wrong
Because he’s old he is told, “It’s time to bring your singin’ to an end”
He replies “As long as I can play my banjo I will do the best I can”

I’ll do the best I can
I don’t listen to the noise
I wake up and take a stand
Put my heart into my voice

Stones are smoothed by grains of sand
So even though I’m just one man
I do the best I can

That phoebe in the rafters of my front porch doesn’t stop to take a rest
When she hears that music flowing from her feathered offspring filling up her nest
To and fro, bugs in tow, on a task that never seems to end
I ask her how she does it, and she tells me “I do the best I can”

I do the best I can
I don’t listen to the noise
I don’t claim to understand
I don’t have a choice
But I’ll sing in the end
This is where it all began
That’s why I do the best I can

Sometimes I count myself among the many who are ready to give up
Perhaps we’ve started way too late and the distance is too great to make it up
But step by step, we can get farther from the start than from the end
For the sake of all our children and their children I’ll do the best I can

I’ll do the best I can
I won’t listen to the noise
I’ll wake up and take a stand
And put my heart into my voice
I will get there in the end
I’ll sing it once again

I do the best I can
Just do the best you can
Don’t listen to the noise
Wake up! Take a stand!

Put your heart into your voice
You will get there in the end
Every woman, child and man
Do the best you can

CODA

We will get there in the end
If together hand in hand
We do the best we can

America the Possible / Susan Shann / © 2020
 
Tell me why just being who you are should be a crime
Why the color of my skin determines if that fate is mine
If Jesus Christ were here, he would be weeping for us all
‘Cause if we can’t lift each other up, together we will fall
 
And you can say “That’s not my problem”, sit out on the sidelines
Or you can join in the fight
Either way it’s a decision, one you’ll have to live with
In the struggle between wrong and right
Oh, I believe together we can be unstoppable
Yes, I believe in America the possible
 
For every name heard in the news, ten thousand more unknown
Living in the shadows of a promise they have not been shown
Behind our differences we share a common dream
A country where all people live in peace and harmony
 
And we can say “That’s not our problem”, sit out on the sidelines
Or we can join in the fight
Either way it’s a decision, one we’ll have to live with
In the struggle between wrong and right
Oh, I believe together we can be unstoppable
Yes, I believe in America the possible
 
Some say “Do unto others…” Some say “Every man for himself”
Me, I want to live in a country where worth isn’t measured
By race, religion, gender, or wealth
 
Sometimes the lines get drawn, sometimes the truth gets lost
Between victim and oppressor, we may never know the cost
Maybe we can’t undo the damage of the past
But we can start right here, right now to find true freedom… at last
At last, oh at last
 
I won’t say “That’s not my problem”, I won’t sit out on the sidelines
I’m gonna join in this fight
‘Cause I know that my decision, is one I’ll have to live with
For the rest of my life
Oh, I believe together we can be unstoppable
Yes, I believe in America the possible
Yes, I believe in America…
 
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
And to the republic for which it stands
One nation, under God, Indivisible
With liberty and justice… for all… It’s for all… It’s for ALL… Ooh

“A Perfect Storm” – written by John Dillon, performed by John Dillon and Vivian Nesbitt

Free MP3 download: https://tinyurl.com/prfstrm

30 Sec. Save Our Democracy (chorus) Video link: https://vimeo.com/434911514

“A Perfect Storm” highlights how the trifecta of the Covid-19 pandemic, systemic Racism and government Corruption has motivated people of all ages and races to take to the streets and make their voices heard. John & Viv’s aim is to harness this energy and inspire massive voter turnout in November. John says, “We hope DJs will play the song and use the PSA in their shows as often as possible between now and November.”

Virtual Choir of Resistance: Vivian Nesbitt, Dan Navarro, Tret Fure, Joe Jencks, Cathy Fink, Daniel Boling, Jono Manson, Steve Gillette, Cindy Mangsen, Don Richmond, Jon Gold, Tom Naunas, Jackson Dillon, Jessica Dillon, Sidney Dillon-King, Tony Glaser, Katie Anne Mitchell,
Catherine Reid, Annie & Rod Capps.
Mixed by 7-time Grammy winner, Joel Moss, videos by John Dillon

FREEDOM IS A CONSTANT SONG

I remember 1965
In a country church singing freedom songs
Good people struggling to survive
Asking, why must we wait so long?


Late this evening I can hear
    From my window hight above
Young marchers singing back the fear
Against the chill of a dream gone wrong
They bring us courage, hope and love
For freedom is a constant song
Freedom is a constant song


50 years since I first learned
These songs of longing to be free
Past all the bridges that they’ve burned
They hearten and encourage me


I am so grateful that tonight
I saw these marchers come again
No work to do except what’s right
No words to say except amen


Words and music by Si Kahn.
© Joe Hill Music LLC (ASCAP)
All rights reserved.
“Say Can You See” by Scott Cook (#1 song on The Folk Chart, August 2020)

I love this country, I love the people and the land
But there’s a lot of stuff happening that I can’t understand
We got billions for bailouts, we got trillions for wars
But it’s hard for working people to make a living anymore
 
Hear me out for a second, this ain’t a partisan song
It ain’t about right and left, it’s about right and wrong
We’re fighting over the scraps while a few are living like kings
‘Cause screwing us over’s a bipartisan thing
 
And it’s working people who made this country great
Not the greedy opportunists or the peddlers of hate
And if a new day’s coming, it’s gotta come from you and me
Oh say, can you see?
 
See, I got a neighbour, we don’t always agree
He’s a bit of a redneck, according to a hippy like me
But if you’re in the ditch, he’ll pull you out, I know he will
And that’s more than I can say for all those dickheads on the hill
 
And it’s working people who made this country great
Not the greedy opportunists or the peddlers of hate
And if a new day’s coming, it’s gotta come from you and me
Oh say, can you see?
Oh say, can you see?
 
He works hard for his family, he’s got loyalty and pride
The company took all he gave and then cast him aside
See, there’s profit in poverty, hell, there’s profit in prisons
And they don’t even pay taxes, they just buy politicians
 
In New York Harbour there’s a lady with a flame
Still calling in the huddled masses in Liberty’s name
But there’s fear on the airwaves and hatred wrapped in the flag
Turning strangers into enemies and our riches into rags
 
And a revolution to break the grip of greed
Don’t need a strongman or a saviour, but I believe we’re gonna need
Whatever magic this old world’s got left to start
And all the ammunition in the chambers of our hearts





Scott Cook
prairie balladeer, awestruck vagabond

“The Ballad of Nasty POTUS” By Richard Pollay

The Ballad of Nasty POTUS
Title concept: bumper sticker seen in Palm Springs, CA
Lyrics: Rick Pollay (2020)
POTUS: Secret Service acronym for the transient tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Wash, DC

  1. Last time you went out to the polls, as you may now despair,
    some voted for a Twitter troll with orange face and hair.
    He moved his family to the swamp but never built his wall
    and then the COVID crisis struck – exposed his skills to all (and hastened his downfall).

He has no use for scientists or anyone with facts
The media or experts, too. That’s just how he reacts.
He said it was under control and gave it his own spin
by recommending using bleach and hydro-chloroquine. (Good God. Hydro-chloroquine.)

(C1) Super callous fragile racist sexist Nasty POTUS
There’s never been a President quite so braggadocious.
He thinks that he is super smart but merely is atrocious.
Super callous fragile racist sexist Nasty POTUS

  1. (What we) read and hear, to go by him, is only more fake news,
    and we should know, not half as true as Twitter tweets he spews.
    His tribe of Twits might have regret ingesting all his swill
    and taking no precaution to stop from getting ill.

He never keeps safe distance or wears his own face mask.
He doesn’t have a master plan or take on any task.
Even when the death toll grew, he kept on being smug
and said to all: “It’s not my fault” with a feeble shrug.

(C1) Super callous fragile racist sexist Nasty POTUS
There’s never been a President quite so braggadocious.
He thinks that he is super smart but merely is atrocious.
Super callous fragile racist sexist Nasty POTUS

  1. He thinks his genes and big fat head – make him extra smart
    But it operates like a never used and rusty old spare part.
    Tests, he says, just make it seem that many folks are sick.
    We need to open up the bars and school rooms double quick.

He knows no shame and says the blame is on the Democrats.
That’s why it really hurts the poor, the sick, the old, the blacks.
He doesn’t really give a damn, just as we suspected,
as long as he himself can golf and never get infected.

(C1) Super callous fragile racist sexist Nasty POTUS
There’s never been a President quite so braggadocious.
He thinks that he is super smart but really is atrocious.
Super callous fragile racist sexist Nasty POTUS

  1. Millions now are unemployed and struggle without work.
    That doesn’t seem to bother him or touch his little smirk.
    The market still looks good to him. Recession can’t be looming,
    ‘cause profits from the prisons, guns and HMOs are booming.

So when the cat has got your tongue there’s no need for dismay
Just recall this catchy phrase, you’ll have a lot to say
Super callous fragile racist sexist Nasty POTUS
Get out the vote to replace him before he gets ferocious.

(C2) Get out and vote. The choice is black and white.
Get out and vote to spare us from this plight.
You’re sick of him. Reject the parasite.
Get out and vote. Get out and vote, while you still have the right! (x2)


Dumb diddle dumb. Dumb diddle dumb, that no one can deny.
Dumb diddle dumb, Dumb diddle dumb, but oh boy could he lie!

Verses can be sung to various tunes: e.g. “Enjoy Yourself” Carl Sigman (1949),
Maid of Amsterdam (trad), Ballad of the Flying Cloud (trad), etc,

“There’s No Difference Between Trump and Biden…” by Robert Katz

“The song may not seem directly like a get-out-the-vote song. But it’s intention is to get out the vote for people who are considering not voting for president because they think Biden isn’t progressive enough.”

There’s no difference between Trump and Biden
There’s no difference except

Biden will fight climate change
climate change Trump continues to deny
Biden would raise the minimum wage
Trump think that wage is already too high

Biden wants health care for everyone
Trump would destroy Obamacare for sure
Biden would raise taxes on the rich
Trump would lower them even more

But other than that there’s no difference between Trump and Biden
There’s no difference
Absolutely no difference
except

Biden’s for public college for free
Trump thinks free public college is bad
If a student struggles with insolvency
He should just get money from his dad

Biden wants judges like RBG
Trump appoints judges like Kavanaugh
Biden believes in the Constitution
Trump believes he’s above the law

But other than that there’s no difference between Trump and Biden
There’s no difference
Absolutely, positively no difference
except

Biden’s for reforming immigration
Biden will treat our allies well
Trump’s for family separation
Trump thinks our allies can go to hell

Biden fights for civil rights
Trump stirs up racial unrest
Biden believes the scientists
Trump believes that he knows best

But other than that there’s no difference between Trump and Biden
There’s no difference
Absolutely, positively, definitely no difference
except

Biden will focus on common goals
Trump divides us everyday
Biden will fight for gun control
Trump’s a puppet of the NRA

Biden’s got lots of empathy
He treats people with dignity
Trumps treats people insultingly
He always asks what’s in it for me

So to review there’s no difference between Trump and Biden
There’s no difference
except

Climate change, health care,
college for free
minimum wage, taxes on the rich
Kavanaugh above the law
RBG
It’s easy to tell which man from which

Immigration, separation, civil rights
Belief in science, treat out allies well
Common goals gun control, racial fights
More differences than I have time to tell

If you don’t believe there’s a big difference
Between Trump and Biden
You don’t know what you’re talking about

 Walkabout Clearwater Chorus assembled the audio of this version of “Keep Your Eyes On The Prize” for the election. 
   
Legacy” by Ginny Gill
      
Voting lyrics to “Long Time A Comin’ ” by Marth Hawthorne and Bill Foss

      
“Trust” by Virginia Gill
       
“You Must Be A Socialist” by Rob Katz
     
“Vaccine” by Dr. Squat & The Fact Checkers
     
Women Vote 2020 by Lynn Marie Smith: Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) video… Lynn Marie Smith is the lead singer and (we’re told probably) the author of the lyrics. The other singers include members of the DC Labor Chorus.
    

Vote for Me”
   
“Donnie Took a Dump All Over Twitter” George Man
      
“Get Him Out” by Robert Cray