I have long been interested in topical folk songs, inspired by the courage of old union anthems, moved by civil rights freedom singers, roused by musical calls to peace and hope. Forty years have passed since I was in the streets of Chicago at the Democratic Convention in the summer of ’68, but I am still stirred by the memory of Phil Ochs facing off against armed troops as we attempted to exit Grant Park, their machine guns deployed to protect amerikkka from his guitar.
We have struggled on and won some victories, but the fight for social and environmental justice, and peace continues. To resist the slow creep of Fascism, music is more necessary than ever. As an antidote to the incessant barrage of corporate brainwashing to which we are exposed (yes, even on Live365), we need access to the truths contained in songs of struggle, past and present. There are important lessons in this music. The late Utah Phillips said that the “long memory” is the most radical idea in this country. By playing and celebrating a century of progressive music, Flames of Discontent hopes to keep the memories of America’s people’s struggles alive. This one’s dedicated to you, Utah.