No Wrong Notes
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No Wrong Notes

365 Days of Song Recommendations: Jan 31

365 Days of Song Recommendations: Jan 31

Talkin’ Bout a Revolution—Tracy Chapman

I don’t go to all that many live concerts, and I rarely ever go to festivals. But in the very late 80’s, I went to one I’ll never forget. The Human Rights Now! tour. Amnesty International. Berkeley, CA.

To be honest, I went because I wanted to see Bruce Springsteen. I didn’t really expect to enjoy his show, given that he’d be doing the whole E Street Band thing. But I was so knee-deep in Nebraska at that point, that any Springsteen was worth it to me. The concert had a great mission as well. And the bill was genuinely exceptional—I was particularly keen on seeing Peter Gabriel.

And then along came Tracy Chapman.

Tracy Chapman was born in 1964. In 1988, the year of the concert, she was all of 24 years old. Her debut album had only just come out. She was sharing a bill with some of the biggest rock stars in the world. They all came with their big rock star bands. She came with her acoustic guitar. There were some 60k people in the audience. And she walked out on that stage, and I swear to god, as far away as I was, I could feel her terror. But she got up there, and she sang, and she played, and she fucking electrified the place. I mean, just slayed it.

Don’t ever doubt that a singer with a guitar can change the world. Talkin’ bout a revolution, indeed.

From the moment she asks that first question … Don’t you know? … you find yourself wanting to stand up and holler YES!

Don’t you know?

But then she tells you it’s a whisper, and you falter …

Don’t you know
Talking bout a revolution?
It sounds like a whisper

Then she steadies you, and points you directly at what’s going on …

While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in the unemployment lines
Sittin’ around waiting for a promotion

And it hurts, and you feel the futility. But she she’s there, and she’s lifting you …

Poor people gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people gonna rise up
And take what’s theirs

And you wonder, is it real? Can we do this? Can it happen? And you’re not sure, and you wonder, and then she tells you …

Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talkin’ about a revolution

And you know it’s true. Talkin’ bout a revolution, indeed.

The first month of our #365Song playlist is complete! Check it out today, and make sure to follow for a full year of song recommendations!

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Preacher Boy

Preacher Boy

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist , poet, writer. Vintage guitars, vintage typewriters, new Moleskines.

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