Archive for Les McCaan

Louder Than A Bomb (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in I heart hip hop, I Heart Holidays, Music & Life & Sundays, politics, punk rock, Republicans scare me, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2010 by alphabetfiend

They claim we’re products from the bottom of hell cause the black is back and it’s bound to sell. Picture us coolin’ out on the Fourth of July and if you heard we were celebratin’, that’s a world wide lie. — Public Enemy

Thanks for tuning in to this special Fourth of July Edition of the Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel.

‘Cause the D is for dangerous
You can come and get some of this
I teach and speak
So when its spoke, it’s no joke
The voice of choice
The place shakes with bass
Called one for the treble
The rhythm is the rebel

So many Sundays, the punk rock gospel has been about appreciating the beauty in life and not being a hater; having gratitude and gusto; forming questions and searching for answers. All good, all valid, but this week is different. This week is about noticing the disfunction (whether in friendships, family or government) and demanding more than disfunction. Speak up, sound the truth, use your voice to fight for what’s right. Make up your own mind regardless of outside pressure. This week I urge you to doubt when doubt is warranted.

This week’s punk rock gospel selection is “Louder Than A Bomb” by masters of dissent, Public Enemy.

Last week , in “Tryin To Make It Real Compared To What,” Les McCaan and Eddie Harris sang:

The President, he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what it’s for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason

Damn. The more things change the more they stay the same. Lyrics written in the 1960’s ring true like they were written yesterday, or back when Bush was in office, or back when Bush’s daddy was in office. I wanted to address the redundancy of politics (and the resulting tragedy) in last Sunday’s Punk Rock Gospel (Tryin’ To Make It Real…) but a political rant hardly fit the emotional tenor of that post.

Still it stuck with me like a burr on a dog’s ball sack.

Now, in the wee hours of July 4th, I’m thinking about patriotism.

Have one doubt, they call it treason.

Ask one question and “the terrorists win.”

I get weary of the old refrain “If you don’t like it, leave.” (I’m so weary of it that I’m actually thinking about leaving. Life as an ex-pat may be just the thing.) A patriot is someone who loves their country and squawks when they see it headin’ off the rails, who believes in the freedom our forefathers fought for, who knows that freedom is not some hyped-up propaganda to be used against us by speech writers.

Never servin ’em well, ’cause I’m an un-Tom
It’s no secret at all
Cause I’m louder than a bomb

Today, as we celebrate the Fourth of July, on boats or in backyards, wearing flip-flops or setting off fire-crackers, flipping burgers or making vats of lemonade, let’s remember that part of loving this country is looking out for it. A patriot is someone who wants the very best for America, not just the same old same old status quo. Complacence and silence can be devastating. A human voice can be LOUDER THAN A BOMB. Don’t be afraid to light that fuse!

If speaking up makes you Public Enemy #1 then so be it. You’ll be in some fine company.

To hear “Louder Than A Bomb” as originally recorded on “It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” (without the distraction of live footage)play this sucker.

If you wanna see footage of Public Enemy performing “Louder Than A Bomb” live, here’s a pretty great version culled from many not so great versions (with bad sound, bad shots or both.)

Peace out, patriots. I have an American Flag cake to bake — whipped cream icing with blueberries as stars and strawberries as stripes. Yum. Let them eat cake! Thanks for tuning in this 4th of July. I hope Public Enemy has inspired.

Let your rhythm be the rebel!!!

Louder Than A Bomb

This style seems wild
Wait before you treat me like a stepchild
Let me tell you why they got me on file
‘Cause I give you what you lack
Come right and exact
Our status is the saddest
So I care where you at black
And at home I got a call from Tony Rome
The FBI was tappin’ my telephone
I never live alone
I never walk alone
My posses always ready and they’re waitin’ in my zone
Although I live the life that of a resident
But I be knowin’ the scheme that of the president
Tappin’ my phone whose crews abused
I stand accused of doing harm
‘Cause I’m louder than a bomb
C’mon C’mon louder etc…

I am the rock hard trooper
To the bone, the bone, the bone
Full grown – consider me – stone
Once again and
I say it for you to know
The troop is always ready, I yell `geronimo’
Your CIA, you see I ain’t kiddin’
Both King and X they got ridda’ both
A story untold, true, but unknown
Professor Griff knows…
“I ain’t no toast”
And not the braggin’ or boastin’ and plus
It ain’t no secret why they’re tappin’ my phone, although
I can’t keep it a secret
So I decided to kick it, yo
And yes it weighs a ton
I say it once again
I’m called the enemy – I’ll never be a friend
Of those with closed minds, don’t know I’m rapid
The way that I rap it
Is makin’ ’em tap it, yeah
Never servin ’em well, ’cause I’m an un-Tom
It’s no secret at all
Cause I’m louder than a bomb

Cold holdin’ the load
The burden breakin’ the mold
I ain’t lyin’ denyin’, ’cause they’re checkin’ my code
Am I buggin’ ’cause they’re buggin’ my phone – for information
No tellin’ who’s sellin’ out – power buildin’ the nation so…
Joinin’ the set, the point blank target
Every brothers inside – so least not, you forget, no
Takin’ the blame is not a waste, here taste
A bit of the song so you can never be wrong
Just a bit of advice, ’cause we be payin’ the price
‘Cause every brother mans life
Is like swingin’ the dice, right?
Here it is, once again this is
The brother to brother
The Terminator, the cutter

Goin’ on an’ on – leave alone the grown
Get it straight in ’88, an’ I’ll troop it to demonstrate
The posse always ready – 98 at 98
My posse come quick, because my posse got velocity
Tappin’ my phone, they never leave me alone
I’m even lethal when I’m unarmed
‘Cause I’m louder than a bomb

‘Cause the D is for dangerous
You can come and get some of this
I teach and speak
So when its spoke, it’s no joke
The voice of choice
The place shakes with bass
Called one for the treble
The rhythm is the rebel
Here’s a funky rhyme that they’re tappin’ on
Just thinkin’ I’m breakin’ the beats I’m rappin’ on
CIA FBI
All they tell us is lies
And when I say it they get alarmed
‘Cause I’m louder than a bomb

*Atomic Tree available as a print.

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Tryin’ To Make It Real Compared To What?! (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in I Heart My Love-Tribe, Music & Life & Sundays, politics, punk rock, Rock & Roll, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Where’s that bee and where’s that honey? Where’s my God and where’s my money?

This was one “Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel” that almost didn’t happen.  After the busiest of weeks and hours of off-line frustration in the Mississippi country-side, I said screw it all to hell and collapsed into bed with weary bones. Maybe it’ll be a Monday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel, I thought as I drifted into a deep air-conditioned slumber. Two hours later, at 4am, I awoke with a jolt to the spectres of Eddie Harris and Les McCaan. This is our Sunday, they insisted, so I reached with drowsy digits for my discarded laptop and whaddaya know?!  We suddenly (miraculously?) made contact. Now, fueled by caffeine & cigarettes, and a crazy lovely love for this song, I’m gonna knock this sucker out.

This week will be less wordy that usual, partly due to my fried-egg sunny-side up brain, but mostly because this song sings for itself.

How to introduce “Tryin’ To Make It Real Compared To What” ???

What can possibly be said about one of the greatest songs of all time?

All I can do is tell you what it means to me and urge you to form your own fibrous connection. And you will. You will. It’s that damn good.

When I was 15, my Dad and I took a long dusk-to-dark ride through the New Mexico mountains. Our headlights guided us around treacherous curves which my father — an expert driver and Motor City son — took smoothly, sweetly, safely. The moon was fat and the stars glittered like sugared candies. It was the kind of memory that sticks to your ribs; the kind of living that gives life texture, taste and deliciousness. It was the kind of  time that carves into your soul and (RE)MAKES you into a new configuration (concoction?) of your self. It was there, in that cushy comfy night, that I first heard “Tryin’ To Make It Real Compared To What.” It was also the second, third, fourth and fiftieth time. We played it over and over and over while reveling in the troubled beauty of the world.

Ten years later, my Dad was dead.

There would be no more moonlight rock-out rides; no more trading barbs over breakfast until he broke into a grin over my writerly wit; no more mounting our motorcycles at dawn and VVROOM-VVROOMing into the rising sun. 

There was no one to call when I needed to remember who it was that did that amazing fucking song. 

After all, that crazy beautiful fucker had turned me onto so many songs over the years and I figgered he’d always be around to help me keep ’em straight.

What was the song we used to play on the pontoon as we floated lazily down the Maumee River? Right. Take 5. Dave Brubeck. I remember now.

Who was it we were listening to that 3am by the fire? Ah! Buddy Holly. Duh.  

Who was it that did that kick-ass cool song that we couldn’t get enough of that night in your Lincoln, with the fat moon and her spilled candy?

Huh? Who? Hello? Dad? Where the hell you’d go? Hello?…hello…hey…hello? Daddy?

Damn that silence sucks.

Fortunately, there’s now such a thing as google. I typed in “tryin to make it real compared to what,” and was led to youtube, where Eddie Harris & Les McCaan broke my heart all over again. Then fixed it. Then broke it. It was awesome. I hit replay at least a dozen times. Oh. Such goodness. Such beauty. Such power.

My body flooded with rock & roll relief.

The song returned to me, like a gift, an act of cyber kindness, and now in the spirit of punk rock gospel, I am passing it on to you. I hope it breaks your heart and blows your mind. I hope it carves into you and sticks to your ribs. I hope it stays with you forever.

Is that too much to ask? No, I really don’t think so. Listen to it, see for yourself. Then go buy the record, download it onto your ipod, add the song to a playlist — spend some quality time with it. Let it add taste and texture to your memories… all the while striving to make it real while asking “Real?… Compared to what?”

Like a Buddhist koan, there’s really no answer but the question props your mind open.

TRYING TO MAKE IT REAL COMPARED TO WHAT

I love the lie and lie the love
A-Hangin’ on, with push and shove
Possession is the motivation
that is hangin’ up the God-damn nation
Looks like we always end up in a rut (everybody now!)
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby!

Slaughterhouse is killin’ hogs
Twisted children killin’ frogs
Poor dumb rednecks rollin’ logs
Tired old lady kissin’ dogs
I hate the human love of that stinking mutt (I can’t use it!)
Try to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby now!

The President, he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what it’s for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason
We’re chicken-feathers, all without one nut. God damn it!
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? (Sock it to me)

Church on Sunday, sleep and nod
Tryin’ to duck the wrath of God
Preacher’s fillin’ us with fright
They all tryin’ to teach us what they think is right
They really got to be some kind of nut (I can’t use it!)
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?

Where’s that bee and where’s that honey?
Where’s my God and where’s my money?
Unreal values, crass distortion
Unwed mothers need abortion
Kind of brings to mind ol’ young King Tut (He did it now)
Tried to make it real — compared to what?!

(Music break)

Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?

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