Last night I discovered a wonderful new local band, the Sugarfree All-Stars. (a two-piece band consisting of an organ and a drummer that plays lots of happy, quirky music as well as the occasional Neil Diamond cover)
But this discovery made me sad, as I thought about all of the wonderful bands that have disbanded and drifted off into the ether. So this post is going to talk about one of them and provide some links to their music that has been archived at different websites.
In future posts, I’ll talk about other dearly departed bands.
This first band I came to love during my days of traveling to the Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois. I went on behalf of Exitzine (a gloriously fun project done by my friends and I back in the day) and had a blast. Cornerstone was a weird place, a mix of semi-radical politics, evangelical theology, and good music. The festival itself was ran by Jesus People USA (JPUSA), a commune in Chicago with its roots in the Jesus-hippy movements of the 1960’s.
Well besides the festival, JPUSA also had a record label and several bands. And one of those bands was Ballydowse, a glorious Celtic/anarchist/Christian/oi/punk band.
Also worth mentioning is that the band gets its name from the fictional village of Ballydowse, from the movie War of the Buttons (if you know the movie, you know how cool this is)
The last 24 hours have been rather crappy. Last night I was in the middle of an online chat with newly found friend (who I swear is my long lost kindred spirit) when my computer froze up. After trying multiple times to get it to come back to life, I tried to restart it and got the dreaded screen of death message (you know the one where you can’t load your operating system). I finally gave up and went to bed, but the next day drove to The City (more precisely Best Buy in Norman). The good news is that it looks like the data on my hard drive is savable, maybe.
The bad news is that it will take at least 48 hours to get my data onto a portable HD, and then there is no telling what will have to happen to save the actual laptop itself.
And then of course the world sucks as it always does. I found out that another friend is going to have to go into major surgery because she has breast cancer and of course the war is waging on and on.
But life goes on. Some days you just have to say, “God, I have no idea what you are doing here and there is way to much suffering going on. My problems I know are little in compared to the big picture, but they seem bigger than I can handle. And let’s not even talk about the horrible tragedies that others have to deal with. I know you are there, but I’m having a hard time having faith in the meantime.”
Oh well I guess it’s better to pray frustrated angry depressed prayers than to not pray at all.
Well on to happier subjects… if you want to hear some mighty good Okie music, I must recommend the tunes of Buffalofitz. I heard them play live a couple of years ago but I got their album just recently, and it is a treasure. Lots of good songs. I especially like “LA County Fair,” “Flatlander Blues,” and “Maggie Jean” but the whole album is mighty tasty. Sorta a rough and tumble and slightly salty kind of bluegrass, full of broken hearts and longing for better days.
This song was one of several of Dawson’s on the Juno soundtrack, and I must say that I absolutely love it. In fact, it is something I just sing to myself half the time in my head, just to remind myself that beauty and love and goodness is actually worth fighting for, and that today is a good day to live and not give up. The lyrics are silly at moments and fun as all get-out, but there’s a lot of profundity wrapped up in the giddyness too.
Here’s the lyrics from the song (if you are offended by “bad” words, I’ll warn you that there are a few in the song, but to me they are quite appropriate.
Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land
A hard-working man and brave
He said to the rich, “Give your money to the poor,”
But they laid Jesus Christ in His grave
Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand
His followers true and brave
One dirty little coward called Judas Iscariot
Has laid Jesus Christ in His Grave
He went to the preacher, He went to the sheriff
He told them all the same
“Sell all of your jewelry and give it to the poor,”
And they laid Jesus Christ in His grave.
When Jesus come to town, all the working folks around
Believed what he did say
But the bankers and the preachers, they nailed Him on the cross,
And they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
And the people held their breath when they heard about his death
Everybody wondered why
It was the big landlord and the soldiers that they hired
To nail Jesus Christ in the sky
This song was written in New York City
Of rich man, preacher, and slave
If Jesus was to preach what He preached in Galilee,
They would lay poor Jesus in His grave.
It is funny to think about this song because a friend and I were talking about Jesus last night, and we both agreed that if he came back today and spoke truth to the rich and the self-righteous like he did back then, and also brought a revolutionary word of comfort to the poor and oppressed too, the folks in power today “would lay poor Jesus in his grave,” just as quickly as they did in 33 A.D.
Today I’m really digging on the music of the Austin-band Hundred Year Storm. I had listened to them before and liked their sound, but the songs I’ve heard so far from their new album (Hello from the Children of Planet Earth), my oh my, are so good. (I’m glad to see I’m not the only one to think so, as Spin Magazine made them band of the day last week)
I especially dig the song “Mental.” The song (which can be heard on the band’s myspace page starts off with one of the most beautiful speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King that I have ever heard, and then moves into the dreamiest of Emoish music that moves and moves and moves, very spacious and powerful.
On a sidenote, one of the band’s folks is an old friend of mine, Bill McCharen. He and were in the same small group at church and later we both participated in a campus ministry internship in Austin.