Our Spring Feature: the Protest Songs of Andrew Robb

"It's All Good"- (from the Long Haul, 2007)

Andrew: "...this hypnotic, low-key anti-war tune came from one of those revelatory moments where observations and perceptions come together to form insight. This time, it was the local 4rth of July parade, with at least 4 generations of men washing over their traumas in patriotic ritual. The "you're with us or against us" mentality of the Iraq war was in full swing.

"..stars & stripes forever,
uniformed bellweather...
Lemmings in a line salivate
at the bewormed hook"

"Sold Down the River"- (from Tip of the Iceberg, 2008)

"I had a premonition that we were torturing prisoners after 9/11, that this was another aspect of the "means justify the ends" ethos that dominated the Bush-years. This song directly confronts that reality, and conjures the "golden rule" to imagine being the recipient of such criminal behavior..."

"His fate was more or less set,
by a mind-set infection,
sold bought and paid for, by unreflecting men....
who swore an oath
supposedly protecting
the very rights of man
they scorned with their deeds"

"The Happy Strum"- (from the Long Haul, 2007)

Andrew: "...this Bill Monroe inspired ditty came from lunchtime jam sessions at the "Bughouse Square" right across from the Newberry Library, where me and Hawk (friend & artist Dave Hawkins) used to work in the early 90's. Chicago folkster Bucky Halker was a fellow there at that time. I'm speaking out against the tyranny of work, and its diversion of prime energy (soul). The strumming hero "drops out & tunes in".

"it was 5 a.m. when the bell rung,
I'd barely slept a wink
I tossed and turned and rolled around..
It gave me pause to think.
See there's things to do and things to see
and strings to strum and what not
as I mulled this over
my fingertips grew hot..."

"Perky Madge"- (from Burning Bush, 2000)

Andrew: "...Madge is an unlikely hero, a downtrodden single mom, a common "time compression" victim, who has a revelation on the way to work and calls everything into question, quitting to find herself contemplating the play of light and shadow in her back yard. Madge encounters poetic vision because she "has the time" to.

"it dawned on Madge like a revelation,
to cease playing the dupe..
greasing the wheels of Mr. Big,
another buy more stuff fool.
She went from there to bigger things
she took the larger view,
Fat-Cat Daddy in the driver's seat
he's making all the rules..."

"Seems to Me"- (from State of the Union, 1998)

Andrew: "...an invective targeting Trickle Down economics, or (if you will), greed."

"six for me, and one for you
despite the word-massage this is what they do,
repeated over and over: "this is bold and ambitious"
seems to me, old and repetitious...."

"Say Anything You Want To"- (from the Long Haul, 2007)

One of many AJ songs with the basic message, "you can't tell me what to think", coupled with the corrolary "we have to say what needs to be said".

"You can say anything you want to
Say it to a crowd of plugged up ears
in a public place where what speaks is fear.
Homage paid to the daily grind,
where a free-thinkin' man's a rare, all too rare,
stop & stare, truth or dare, going to raise your hair
all too rare a find...."

"Odium From the Podium"- (from Low Hanging Fruit, rough mix, 2012)

Andrew: "... as we say, it's a damn shame this has bi-annual poignancy! A staple from andrew & the tree's Club Lower Links sessions circa '91/'92 to this very day, featuring a truth-syrum drenched speech by some fictional yet chronically realistic character, who increasingly resembles the Wizard from the Wizard of Oz.

"(the speech)... If elected, I will establish heretofore, a confederation of rascals-
dedicated, trained, and hell-bent on obtaining and securing
bulging billfolds of cold hard cash...
Dollops of dough; pockets overflowing with ill-gotten-gain.
This done, naturally, in the interests of the community at large,
and in the name of Truth, Justice and Right,
we will see to it...
that the vile self-serving interests of the few
are paraded and masqueraded into a vaguely understood
yet easily marketable notion of universal good.
Using the well-worn concept of Freedom, along with all means at our disposal-
straw-man arguments, cynical euphemisms, covert operations, plausible deniability,
etc, etc, etc, so-on and so-forth, blah blah blah blah blah....
Rarified, strained and perfected through the manipulation of mass-media,
to the point where the people readily and unquestioningly embrace
the very forces that oppress them!

These will be our goals!

This will be our mission,

and we will stop

at nothing!"

"Call It Progress"- (from Vita Activa, 1992)

Bluegrass on some activist steroid concoction, andrew & the tree get their "ya-ya's" out!

"...Less for More,
Sell the Store!
Feed the whales,
Tell more tales!"

"Fit for the Fight"- (from State of the Union, 1998)

Andrew: "...we saw the Neo-Con thing coming. We saw it in the mass media consolidation, and the associated flights from reality, or delirium. We knew it was "old-hat" tribal politics, right out of Freud's "Group Psychology & the Analysis of the Ego".

"...Bellicose demagogues, marring the landscape.
Using the words of revolution in vain.
It's the old shell-game: "divide & conquer",
with a dash of self-loathing, hatred, and fear....."

"Mauve & Teal"- (from Burning Bush, 2000)

A full frontal attack on Post-Modernity, everything as representation from citadels of interest..

"the forces in charge,
they're looming very large!
Displaying indiscretion, and wholesale secession..
the woman on the screen, with the mike again,
a payroll monkey!
a lion in the den!"

"I Seen Tom Joad" (tribe)- (from as-if, 1990)

...this live version is
from tribe's last concert, recorded at the Idful Studios in Wicker Park-Chicago, by Brian Deck. There were people from the Old Town School of Folk Music waltzing in the session room as we played it. Features Jimmy Tomasello on lead guitar, originally appearing on the "as-if" collection.



If you download these Mp3 files, and create a "playlist" in I-Tunes. burn the CD from the playlist and you have a new album!

You can name it anything you want, like:

"What's This Guy's Problem?"


"Chew Your Cud, and Pipe Down"


"Geez, Why Haven't We Heard This Great Music Before?"

We'll be adding to this list as new songs from our new release, "Low Hanging Fruit", come out in the next two months, and as we comb the archives for salient material.

New songs will be placed at the top of the list.







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