Big Red Sessions & Ten New Songs (double album)

by David Rovics

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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Only the download includes both albums from 2011: the full band extravaganza, Big Red Sessions, as well as solo acoustic Ten New Songs, which comes through as bonus tracks.
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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Updated version of the CD including "Song for Chelsea Manning," "I'm A Better Anarchist Than You," "Burn It Down" and "Last Lincoln Veteran." (The CD is not a double album -- the double album is only for download, and on the thumb drive.)

    Includes unlimited streaming of Big Red Sessions & Ten New Songs (double album) via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 27 David Rovics releases available on Bandcamp and save 70%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of May Day, It's Been A Year, Rebel Songs, Say Their Names, Notes from a Failed State, Viral Solidarity, Strangers & Friends, Songs For Today, and 19 more. , and , .

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1.
Tunisia 2011 05:48
Mohamed had a vegetable stand, this was his family's plight Ever since his father died on a construction site He was one of six siblings and now this would be his fate Working the streets of the city to put food on everybody's plate He couldn't afford the bribes the cops would make him pay So sometimes they'd knock his cart over and get him back that way Last December they smashed his scales to put him in his place And then for good measure a cop spat in Mohamed's face He went to see the governor, maybe there was something he could do Word came from on high -- we don't talk to people like you Mohamed Bouazizi now was living on a wire He went and bought some paint thinner and he set himself on fire Word spread through the region and soon you'd hear the same Of proud and desperate people going up in flame Sometimes windows open, sometimes the floor, it creaks But no one knew what would happen in only a few weeks When the dictator ran away People tried to hold a march for the immolated dead Police met them there with truncheons and bullets to the head People headed to the capital, they would not be deterred Sometimes this is just what happens to a dream deferred The police kept up the attack -- thousands wounded, hundreds killed With blood the streets were covered, with gas the air was filled But the people held their ground -- Tunisia's daughters and their sons And one day the cops had had enough -- they just put down their guns When the dictator ran away Now someone had to deal with this rebellious riffraff So Ben Ali called a meeting of his chiefs of staff He said these terrorists have decided to go out on the attack It's time for you, the Army, to take our country back It's time for you, the Army, to go and make a stand Show these terrorists that we are in command It's time to gun these criminals down -- that's what he said, now go The general got his orders and the general said no When the dictator ran away Ben Ali got in a plane, tried to go to France But he was a hot potato so he did a little dance Ended up in Jidda to live there in exile While his fellow warlords shiver from the Tigris to the Nile All across Arabia you can hear them talk and sing Those who'd dare throw off their shackles, who would shout "let freedom ring" Where we'll be by next year is for anyone to say But many will recall where they were on the day When the dictator ran away
2.
Private Manning was an analyst if what they say is true She was paid to read reports and find the patterns sifting through As she read the data the patterns did emerge Patterns that were clear both before and since the Surge Patterns of abuse of the most horrific kind Gunning down civilians out of view and out of mind Gunning down the opposition in the middle of the night Sending off the scholars to be tortured out of sight Sometimes you need desperate measures when you live in desperate times And Private Manning saw she was looking at war crimes She wondered what to do to allow the dead to speak She finally decided to contact Wikileaks Now it's all out on the table and everybody knows The emperor is naked, he's not wearing any clothes Now Adrian Lamo has to live within his skin He stabbed Chelsea in the back, called the cops and turned her in But not before the soldier took half a million files If you printed all the pages they'd stretch on for miles Evidence against the state right from the horse's mouth Machinations in the west, bombings in the south A treasure trove of details for all the globe to see How much they need to lie and kill for democracy How many drone strikes have hit villages leaving everyone to die They blamed on someone else – the official line, "Not I" How many coups have been plotted by ambassadors who say That free and fair elections be the order of the day Chorus Now the Genie's out of the bottle and they're trying to stuff it back And stop it from illuminating everything we lack Such as the rule of law or playing by the book Look you can read it, it's right here, the ship of state is run by crooks And they vilify the messengers, call them every name For daring to blow the whistle on the nature of their game The game of taking lives and endangering the rest In order for the wealthy few to do what they do best Dominate the world for the corporate elite But now their cover's blown from their head down to their feet And now the stars and stripes is looking much more like a rag The lid is off the box, the cat's out of the bag Chorus
3.
Riot Dog 01:59
Lots of folks are revolting They've had enough of this shit The rich are getting richer They're saying “that's it” But with Louk it's different, that's clear As he emerges from the fog Let's hear it for Loukanikos The ri - ot dog It's a fight between people But he is no pawn He knows exactly Which side he's on In the machine of capital He is no cog Let's hear it for Loukanikos The riot dog When a smoke bomb comes towards him He kicks it back at the fuzz No he acts a bit different Than a normal dog does He's got a fan page on Facebook But he's got no time for a blog Let's hear it for Loukanikos The riot dog
4.
Cordova 03:26
I am a fisherman, so were my parents Here in Cordova on Prince William Sound I'm not a treehugger but I love the mountains And hauling in the gill net with the ocean all around Life was good here, you could raise a family With a hundred thousand tons of Herring sent out every year 1989, the tanker grounded Nothing has ever been the same around here Senator Stephens said not one drop Of oil would spill on Alaska's shores And if it happened it would be cleaned up But our beaches were still covered, as was the ocean floor Four years passed, each run collapsed It was then we knew for sure the Herring weren't coming back Exxon's promises of compensation Were about as empty as a used up paper sack It was August 20th, 1993 When we fishermen decided something must be done We packed some groceries, we made some banners We headed out to Valdez Narrows beneath the midnight sun One hundred vessels took to the water Pushed through a storm and to the Valdez sea We lined up our boats, formed a blockade And waited for whatever might be A tanker was approaching It was a sight to see there in the twilight of the day We saw it turning and we all cheered and cried As tanker after tanker after tanker turned away A Coast Guard gunship from Seattle Would take three days to get up to the sound We held the line til then, then we went back Home to Cordova, to this hallowed, oiled ground I am a fisherman, so were my parents Here in Cordova on Prince William Sound
5.
Sugihara 05:06
He was raised in Gifu on the islands of Japan He was sent off to Manchuria, that's how this tale began For his next assignment in the diplomatic corps Was far-off Lithuania and the European war My grandfather was from Krakow – the Nazis came, he fled He took his family to Vilnius so they might not end up dead But the Panzers were advancing and he knew they had to go But he had to have a visa and all the embassies said no There was only one final possibility The last consulate left open, the Third Reich's Asian ally There in Lithuania there was no time to lose They came asking for a visa, thousands of Polish Jews The diplomat called Tokyo, “can I grant them this reprieve?” Three times he got his answer, “tell them all to leave” He looked into their eyes, talked to his family He and his wife decided we must set these people free Although I never met him, when all is said and done I am Sugihara's son Disobeying orders that they knew to be wrong Sempo and Yukiko started writing all day long A month's worth of visas in every twenty-hour day Sempo and Yukiko could turn no refugee away Word came from the empire, it's time to turn it in You're closing down your consulate and moving to Berlin They knew they did the right thing, of this they had no doubt They threw visas through the window as their train pulled out Chorus My grandfather crossed Siberia for five times the normal cost Fearing for the future with every minute lost He got the ferry to Kobe then to Occupied Shanghai There he spent the war years while back home his people died Sugihara-san did not seek any praise from anyone When he died the paper said his neighbors knew not what he'd done But there are forty thousand people living lives today Without Sempo Sugihara I would not be here now to say Chorus
6.
I don't drive a car because they run on gas but if I did it'd run on biomass I ride a bike or sometimes a skateboard so fuck off all you drivers and your yuppie hordes sitting all day in the traffic queues I'm a better anarchist than you I don't eat meat I just live on moldy chives or the donuts that I found in last week's dumpster dives look at you people in that restaurant I think you are so sad when you coulda been eating bagels like the ones that i just had I think it is a shame all the bourgeois things you do I'm a better anarchist than you I don't wear leather and I like my clothes in black and I made a really cool hammock from a moldy coffee sack I like to hop on freight trains I think that is so cool it's so much funner doing this than being stuck in school I can't believe you're wearing those brand new shiny shoes I'm a better anarchist than you I don't have sex and there will be no sequel because heterosexual relationships are inherently unequal I'll just keep on moshing to Anti-Flag and Crass until there are no differences in gender, race or class all you brainwashed breeders you just haven't got a clue I'm a better anarchist than you I don't believe in leaders I think consensus is the key I don't believe is stupid notions like representative democracy whether or not it works I know it is the case that only direct action can save the human race so when I see you in your voting booth then I know it's true I'm a better anarchist than you I am not a pacifist I like throwing bricks and when the cops have caught me and i've taken a few licks I always feel lucky if I get a bloody nose because I feel so militant and everybody knows by the time the riot is all through I'm a better anarchist than you
7.
I grew up on this mountain Came back here to dwell Maybe have a family Plant some corn and dig a well I was all done with the Army Back from Vietnam Where I learned how to shoot a rifle And how to set a bomb I grew up on this mountain It's in my very soul So when the company moved next door Started digging for the coal Tearing up the mountain With drillers and draglines I knew then what needed To happen to those mines 10, 9, 8 Sometimes that's just how it goes 3, 2, 1 Get out before it blows The guard, he was sleeping On duty thru the night I stepped gently on the ground And stayed well out of sight I tied sticks to the equipment Switched the timer on Then I knew that in ten seconds These dozers would be gone Chorus I had to leave the mountain I headed to the west The cops were on my trail And I figured it was best And I figured I did my small part To make the world free In my humble manner In East Tennessee Chorus
8.
John Brown 04:25
Owen Brown was an abolitionist John was Owen's son He grew up in New England He was born in Torrington John Brown was a tanner And a man of many skills And he stood up for the workers Who toiled in the mills He stood up for the Indians He stood up for the women For the oppressed and the exploited This good man stood with them So when Kansas was bleeding He went and joined the fray If the slave-trade wanted Kansas Then the slave traders had to pay Riding through the Kansas prairie With a fine and loyal band Glory, Hallelujah Beecher's Bible in his hand With two thousand of New England's Best and bravest sons Captain Brown fought in Kansas With a Bible and a gun When Free Lawrence was on fire Lighting up the night The ruffians would flee John Brown would stand and fight Lincoln called him a fanatic And he was a Christian who Thought you should do unto others As you'd have others do unto you Christ said love your neighbor And if your neighbor's held in slavery He was one who felt his duty Was to fight to set them free Chorus He drove the slave trade out of Kansas Then went to bordering Missouri Raided the plantations No compromise, said he Broke the chains and shackles Rode at night to Canada Out of the nightmare The devil's friend, America He was caught in Harper's Ferry His family lying dead They questioned him for hours As he lay there and bled They hanged him on the gallows And laid him in his grave John Brown was a Christian And he died to free the slave Chorus
9.
Burn It Down 03:00
Rodney Coronado was arrested for a speech That he gave one evening by the San Diego beach He stated his opinions, they sounded just like mine And now they want to put him behind bars til 2029 The prosecutor said the problem was the speech it showed intent I couldn’t figure out exactly what he meant You can’t describe an action and say you thought that it was swell So what’ll happen when we sing this, who the heck can tell We don’t like the condo and we’re gonna burn it down Corporate terrorists, drive them out of town We’ll bring a lot of gasoline, pour it on the floor Light a match, say a prayer and run right out the door Burn it down, burn it down, we’re going to burn it down Burn it down, burn it down, burn it down Now if you just sang that chorus then you just broke the law To be an eco-terrorist now you just gotta flap your jaw And hey who knows by the time you have a chance to blink Whether you’re a criminal might depend on what you think We don’t like the bulldozers and we’re gonna burn them down Corporate terrorists, drive them out of town We’ll bring a lot of gasoline, pour it on the floor Light a match, say a prayer and run right out the door Burn it down, burn it down, we’re going to burn it down Burn it down, burn it down, burn it down First they came for Rod, maybe next they come for you And I’ll tell you what I think all of us should do Sing this song with me, raise your fist and caterwaul If we fight together they can’t arrest us all We don’t like the Wal-Mart and we’re gonna burn it down Corporate terrorists, drive them out of town We’ll bring a lot of gasoline, pour it on the floor Light a match, say a prayer and run right out the door Burn it down, burn it down, we’re going to burn it down Burn it down, burn it down, burn it down
10.
In '48 they were driven out at the point of a machine gun Families fled in fear to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon They fled around the globe, firmly held in terror's grip And about a million refugees ended up in the tiny Gaza Strip In 1967 the IDF moved in And the refugees in Gaza became refugees again Settlers took their farmland, soldiers took the ports And the people were surrounded by military forts In 2007 they cut it off completely No access to the borders, no access to the sea The world began to see this unavoidable stamp The most crowded place on Earth was now a concentration camp Israeli jet fighters bombed Gaza from the air And they kept out the supplies needed to rebuild and repair They kept out the convoys of humanitarian aid Anemic children going hungry, crushed and burned in bombing raids From around the world good people tried To get across the border to the other side Almost all of them were turned away Deported back to Turkey, Jordan, France, the USA They were barred from ever coming back Adam and Huwaida decided on a different tack They loaded up a boat and managed to get through That's when activists in Istanbul decided what they had to do Armed with food and wheelchairs And prosthetic limbs for victims of the bombing raids to wear They packed cement by the ton They had a few kitchen knives but not a single gun They were determined to reach the bay To break the siege of Gaza and not be turned away As they left Turkish waters everybody wished them well As for what would happen, only the Apartheid state could tell All aboard the Mavi Marmara Sailing toward Goliath's kingdom armed with nothing but a stone All aboard the Mavi Marmara Tell the children of Jerusalem you are not alone Seven hundred people on board this Turkish ferry They were sixty miles from the shore out in the open sea In international waters with no plans for turning back That's when Netanyahu told his soldiers to attack They came down from helicopters, fired guns from Zodiacs They shot some people in their heads and shot others in their backs The captain raised a white flag high into the air The soldiers kept on shooting beneath the floodlight's glare The soldiers kept on shooting, it was a free fire zone So many dead and wounded, just how many isn't known So many dead and wounded, blood flowing on the floor The soldiers kept on shooting sixty miles from the shore Medics tried to treat the wounded, all they could do was watch them bleed The soldiers wouldn't let them get the urgent help they need Masked troopers held their hostages, the Navy towed the ship Just for trying to sail to the Gaza Strip Chorus They took every laptop, every camera and cell phone This is what Goliath does to those who dare to throw a stone The ghost of the Exodus is shouting at the sky But Netanyahu isn't listening, he's just watching people die For days nobody knew just what happened on that boat Because everyone was held in jail and dead men do not float All the world will remember what happened on that night And to end the siege of Gaza more will go and join the fight Chorus
11.
Pirate Santa 03:39
Santa and his elves worked on the North Pole Making toys to take to kids around the Earth They worked all year to try to fill the orders Then they flew the toys from Portland out to Perth Then the whole economy collapsed And everyone was getting fired Santa said it's time to close the workshop Santa said more urgent measures are required Santa saddled up his reindeer And with the skull and bones unfurled Santa went and joined the pirates For the good of the children of the world Santa flew down to the Gulf of Aden Waited for a good ship to attack The crew gave up without a fight Santa put the toys all in a sack Santa headed to Moldova Gave out everything and then He flew back to the Gulf of Aden To go and do it all again Chorus The world's navies tried to catch him But Santa always got away Like Robin Hood with super powers There upon his flying sleigh Eventually they got him In a helicopter raid But not before he inspired many more To take up the pirate trade Chorus
12.
Under foreign rule and the British Crown's command His father fought for Ireland fifty years before But the Free State cut their losses and the English won the war And when internment without trial was the order of the day When his brother was arrested and his friends were blown away When he was beaten near to death he decided come what may He would throw his lot in with the Provos and he joined the IRA In the Occupied Six Counties perhaps it never will be known All the foreign soldiers in Armagh and Tyrone Who decided to head back across the Irish Sea So they wouldn't have to meet the man from south of Derry He never wavered in his battle for Irish liberty And the Crown would soon regret the day they made him their enemy The Brits called it “bandit country” and it filled them all with fright In the border lands, he who walked the hills at night “Up the Provos,” that's what he said Three little words that filled the British Crown with dread With a rifle on his shoulder, a timer and a fuse Long may we remember Commandante Francis Hughes Once he was surrounded by the SAS How he might escape was anybody's guess In his boots and camouflage he didn't miss a beat He walked right past the soldiers and out into the street Once he came upon a checkpoint, the soldier didn't want to die He recognized our Francis and the soldier waved him by He didn't want to find out if he could take what he could give He knew there'd be a shootout and the soldier chose to live “Up the Provos,” that's what he said And from this farmer's son better men had fled With a rifle on his shoulder, a timer and a fuse Long may we remember Commandante Francis Hughes He was the North's most wanted man with his photo everywhere But he eluded capture with his wit and dyed blond hair For six years he was active, three times as long as most He became a legend, north to south and coast to coast He came upon two soldiers out one night on patrol They shot him in the firefight and the bullets took their toll He crawled off into the bushes but they found him the next day Put him on a stretcher and they carried him away “Up the Provos,” that's what he said With a shattered bone and a body full of lead With a rifle on his shoulder, a timer and a fuse Long may we remember Commandante Francis Hughes They beat him and they tortured him and they gave him eighty years When they brought him to the H-Blocks he was greeted there with cheers He went right onto the blanket and when the hunger strike began He was the first to volunteer along with Bobby Sands He was an Irish soldier and that's how he did his time He knew he was no criminal when occupation was the crime Bobby Sands had passed beyond us, where Francis soon would be And although he couldn't stand and he could barely see “Up the Provos,” that's what he said As they carried him to hospital to lay in his death bed With a rifle on his shoulder, a timer and a fuse Long may we remember Commandante Francis Hughes
13.
They were old when I was young Now they're all but passed away Now it's just a second hand Memory of the day When from all around the world They sailed off to Spain Where they fought against the fascists Where so many men were slain Who will recall the days When they all stood side by side Now that the last Lincoln Veteran died Beside Martin Luther King Or in a Veterans Parade You could see the men who made the journey To join the Fifteenth Brigade When men of many nations Of most every creed and hue Catholics and Protestants Atheists and Jews Joined together in the trenches To turn back the fascist tide Now that the last Lincoln Veteran died The working class of many countries Joined in a desperate bid With what weapons they could find They fought to save Madrid From Brussels and Berlin Galway and London town Who will recall the Brigadistas Who tried to take the fascists down There beside the Spanish people Even the figs and olives cried Now that the last Lincoln Veteran died The Republic had the people But the fascists had the tanks Il Duce and Der Fuhrer Deserve only some of Franco's thanks 'Cause the fuel to move the armor Came from the USA And the men that they gunned down Were from New York and Frisco Bay Uncle Sam said he was neutral Who will remember how he lied Now that the last Lincoln Veteran died Some say people get conservative The older that they age They say that being radical Is just a youthful stage But the finest communist I've known Lived to 95 And he spent his whole life fighting For humanity to thrive To forget these fallen heroes Is something I cannot abide Now that the last Lincoln Veteran died Now that the last Lincoln Veteran died There's a valley in Spain called Jaramy It's a place that we all know so well It was there that we gave of our manhood Where so many of our brave comrades fell

about

In early 2011 I wrote "Song for Bradley Manning" (later "Song for Chelsea Manning"). The Arab Spring kicked off and I wrote a song about that. I started thinking, it's been 6 years (at the time) since I did a real studio album. Which was before my daughter was born, back when I could afford to do such things. So I did a fundraising campaign to make a studio record (without Kickstarter or any of that on this occasion), raised $7,000, then pitched in several thousand of my own money, booked a whole bunch of time at Big Red Studio and a bunch of stellar Portland area musicians that Billy Oskay knew, and made this record.

Ten New Songs came later in 2011, and was a 2-day project involving me singing and playing acoustic guitar, and coming in later to record vocal harmonies with myself.

credits

released January 14, 2015

This album was very much co-produced by me and Billy Oskay, with emphasis on the latter. Of all the projects I've done with Billy, this one is his favorite, and I can see why. Each song has a distinctly different feel, which is at least as much to do with Billy's arrangement ideas than anything else. And the brilliance of the musicians involved, who were:

Vocals and acoustic guitar: David Rovics
Electric guitars: Nick Angelo, Tim Murphy
Bass: Arcellus Sykes
Drums: Demitrius Keller
Keys: Asher Fulero
Harmonium and fiddle: Billy Oskay

Claps and crowd (on “East Tennessee” and “Burn It Down”):
Lauren Sinead, Jackie Emm, Tessa Makai, Sienna Ohia, Reiko Maeda, Zach Simon, Ed Howler, Lizzy Marie

Produced by David Rovics and Billy Oskay
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Billy Oskay at Big Red Studio
Production ideas and mixing assistance: Nick Angelo
Assistant engineer: Jim Cuda
Studio intern: Zach Stamler

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David Rovics Portland, Oregon

I'm a frequently touring singer/songwriter based in Portland, Oregon, a regular contributor to Counterpunch, and host of the podcast, This Week with David Rovics, among other things.

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