- 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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ball_(priest))
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 https://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/records/sydneycarter.html#lovelyinthedances)
- She Shanty (Sharon Abreu) A shanty of
the high shes, for the healing and empowerment of women.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Change in the Climate (Sharon Abreu) -
Global warming (aka global climate change). A hot rap.
- Estuary (Sharon Abreu) - Celebrating the
life in estuaries, where fresh and salt water and sea life come together
in a community of great diversity.