1. John Ball (S. Carter) - Remembering and honoring the wisdom of John Ball, a 14th C. priest executed for his efforts
    on behalf of English working people. Ball, a priest from Kent, England, and a "social agitator," preached to rouse and encourage rebel peasants in the 1381 Peasants' Rebellion. (See http://www.otal.umd.edu/~mhill/wathistory.htm) Sydney Carter is best known for writing the lyrics to Lord of the Dance. He wrote John Ball in 1981 to commemorate the six hundredth anniversary of the Peasant's Revolt ( also called "Wat Tyler's Rebellion"). John Ball found in Wycliffe's translation of the Bible into English new hope for an egalitarian England. Some modern scholars claim that the few fragments of John Ball's verse that survive are, in fact, the first flowering of political poetry and protest song in English. He is, in a sense, the direct literary ancestor of such modern figures as Woody Guthrie, Allen Ginsberg, Ewan MacColl, and Bob Dylan. Ball was executed for his efforts in behalf of English peasants, and he has since become something of a folk hero. Victorian poet and artist William Morris wrote a story called "The Dream of John Ball" that used Ball as a focal point for Morris's own intense socialism. Another version of Sydney Carter's song may be heard on the CD Lovely in the Dances (Plant Life PLR 032), sung by John Kirkpatrick and Carter himself, recorded in 1981 (See http://www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/~zierke/folk/records/lovelyinthedances.html)
  2. She Shanty (Sharon Abreu) A shanty of the high shes, for the healing and empowerment of women.
  3. Tom Littletree (Michael Hurwicz) - Honoring our indigenous people. This was inspired by a newspaper article about a man in Hawaii, a native Hawaiian, who was arrested and referred to in a newspaper as "homeless." He objected, saying that all of Hawaii was his home. That sounded about right to me. I translated the story into territory that I know a little better.
  4. Cuckoo Round (unknown) A round from Renaissance England, - celebrating the Cuckoo bird, a sign of Spring. This is one of those songs that's easy to start singing, hard to stop.
  5. Mary & Julia (Sharon Abreu) - Honoring forest defenders trying to save the Redwoods. This song is about California Redwood Forest activists Redwood Mary and Julia Butterfly Hill. When Julia Butterfly Hill was living for two years in Luna, one of the ancient Redwoods she was trying to save, Redwood Mary was Julia’s feet. Mary would travel around the U.S. and beyond, giving presentations and setting up speaker phone interviews with Julia, who had a cell phone up in the tree with her. (Please read Julia’s book, “The Legacy of Luna”).
    Less than 3% of the old growth Redwood Forest remains, due to unsustainable logging as the result of corporate greed and lack of political will to save this natural and national treasure, made so famous in Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land Is Your Land”. The unsustainable logging has also resulted in mudslides that have damaged houses. It has poisoned the soil and ground water, and further threatened already endangered species of fish, like the Coho Salmon. There are about three main logging companies responsible for this clearcutting. Among them is Mendocino Redwood Company, owned by the Fisher family, who also own The Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic clothing stores. They want to cut down all the Redwoods and poison the soil with herbicides so they can then plant vineyards and make even more millions of dollars selling wine. You can help by boycotting their stores and writing them to let them know you are boycotting them. There are many disturbing aspects to this story. One is that the State of California sold off this precious State forest – public land - to the corporations. Another is that the Fisher family claimed they would log the land sustainably. They lied. They have clearcut the trees – clearcutting means taking everything. That is as far from sustainable as you can get.
  6. Change in the Climate (Sharon Abreu) - Global warming (aka global climate change). A hot rap.
  7. Estuary (Sharon Abreu) - Celebrating the life in estuaries, where fresh and salt water and sea life come together in a community of great diversity.