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Saturday, January 4, 2003

KRCB-FM had its annual sixties and seventies show today. Since the program is all about folk and acoustic music, you can imagine (if you were alive then or knew someone who was) what kind of music they played. There was more Buffy Sainte Marie and Phil Ochs than Led Zeppelin and the Archies. In fact, there was no Led Zeppelin, no Archies, and nary a sign of the Village People. A healthy dose of Pete Seeger, however.

I heard a lot of protest songs that have been out of circulation for a long time. Even more amazing is how appropriate they seem again. History really does run in cycles, probably because we forget after a few years what we did to ourselves in the previous generation. I hope this means that the future is a little more hopeful than the present makes it seem.

It's hard for me to get my work done while I'm listening to this kind of music, because If you emphasize production values over music and message, it's probably not a folk song. it forces me to sing along. That's what folk music is all about. If you can't remember it well enough to sing it, and if it isn't simple enough for the limited range of your average tone-deaf frog-throated warbler, it's useless. If you emphasize production values over music and message, it's probably not a folk song.

We didn't end the war with overdubs and a lush string section, that's for sure.

The program is on for four hours every Saturday. I don't plan my Saturdays around it, exactly, and sometimes I even forget that it's on. But when I'm home, and when I remember, I can find something to do while I'm listening. Usually there are threads of ideas running through groups of songs within the show, rather than a single theme for the whole four hours.

There's really nothing else quite like it available on the radio, and it's helped me design my personal music collection by introducing me to some artists, and reminding me of others.

partly cloudy

My sunset oak, on a January afternoon.

It wasn't all protest songs, of course. It wasn't even all exactly "folk" music, although Simon and Garfunkel singing "The 59th Street Bridge Song" comes pretty close, as do the Byrds with "Turn, Turn, Turn" and Joni Mitchell singing "Chelsea Morning." That was mainstream music back in those days, when you could hear almost anything at almost any time on almost any radio station. Now you have to have a schedule to find music you like. Or I do, anyway.

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Pumpkin Man (mentioned yesterday) is 32 Afterschool Special-type minutes about a magic pumpkin who helps a kid deal with his parents' divorce. Hedwig and the Angry Inch isn't your typical rock musical. In fact, it isn't your typical anything. Unique and entertaining, but you'd better have an open mind about gender issues. (I know you do.)

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Displaced
"It's time to surrender, since that seems to be the only way to break the cycle. Let's move on to some other dilemma, and worry that to death for a few days."

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But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we're forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God's on your side.