Category Archives: Songs

Everyday People

I have often wondered what it would have been like to be an adult in the 1960s, what with the crazy headlines of war, protests, riots, assassinations, and struggles for civil rights.  Half a century later, my imagination doesn’t have to work very hard.

In 1968, Sly and the Family Stone released the song “Everyday People” as a call for peace.  Recently, the great organization, Playing for Change, released a timely rendition of the classic song featuring celebrities and school children.

Today, I share it with hope, and for hope.  Hope that I somehow correctly embedded the video so that it shows up on the blog and in the automatic emails, but more importantly, hope that we might learn to live together.  “And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo.”

 

Your Time Will Come

A friend introduced me to the music of Johnny Clegg several years ago, and I am eternally grateful.  Clegg’s official website describes him as a “dancer, anthropologist, singer, songwriter, academic, activist and French knight” and that he “campaigned against the injustice of apartheid South Africa and been instrumental in putting the new South Africa on the map as a cultural ambassador.”  Pretty cool, right?

Clegg performed at Pepperdine last weekend, and one of my favorite moments in the concert came when Clegg referred to Nelson Mandela’s world-changing endurance to introduce the song “Your Time Will Come.”  Clegg said Mandela taught us that to live with such patience you must believe that everything will be alright in the end, and if it isn’t, then it isn’t the end.

The lyrics to “Your Time Will Come” are mostly in Zulu with an English ending.  Since my Zulu is a little rusty, here are the lyrics fully translated into English:

You were lying, do not tell lies.
You told lies, trying to mislead me,
so that I would give up my faith and hope.
That is what you said — you said that our future is hopeless,
our tomorrow is bleak, you were lying,
trying to mislead us.
No can do! We will never relinquish our faith.

Chorus:
Everything will be all right —
It’s just when this will be, we cannot know.
Everything will come right, I tell you friend.
Do not throw away your hope.
Me holding on one side, you holding on the other side
together we will pull through,
you and me, you and me.

My spirits are down,
I say to you child of my aunt, you have caused me great fear.
You told lies, trying to mislead me,
so that I would give up my faith and hope.
That is what you said — you said that our future is hopeless,
our tomorrow is bleak, you were lying,
trying to mislead us.
No can do! We will never relinquish our faith.

Chorus:

Everything will be all right —
It’s just when this will be, we cannot know.
Everything will come right, I tell you friend.

It will be all right my friend, I’m telling you.
Come true courage, for it is you who gives
life and takes it away,
me on this side, you on the other,
we will hold it together.
Don’t listen to the lies of my compatriot.
We will be victorious in the end, just you and me,
just you and me.

I saw the Berlin Wall fall
I saw Mandela walk free
I saw a dream whose time has come
Change my history — so keep on dreaming.

Dream on dreamer, dreamer.

In the best of times and in the worst of times
gotta keep looking at the skyline
not at a hole in the road
Your time will come, sister, your time will come
nobody’s gonna rush history, we have to ease it along
— just ease it along.

Indomitable Freedom

post1Christmas added several items to my sports movie collection, and the first new flick into the DVD player was The Hurricane, a 1999 movie featuring Denzel Washington as Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a boxer and convict whose triple murder conviction was set aside after decades in prison due to the love and dedication of others. It was Rocky meets Shawshank Redemption meets To Kill a Mockingbird, which is quite the inspirational combination.

The most memorable scene occurs just prior to Carter’s exoneration when he and his young friend, Lesra, have a brief conversation through prison bars. Carter utters the most famous line in the movie: “Hate put me in prison; love’s gonna bust me out.” His young friend brazenly-yet-facetiously responds, “Just in case love doesn’t; I’m gonna bust you out of here.” Carter erupts in laughter, and then, tenderly, reaches through the prison bars to wipe tears from his young friend’s face, and says, softly, “You already have.”

Yes.

This entire blog is predicated on the idea that humanity can be liberated from any circumstance that aims to imprison us—that in our hearts, we can rise above anything. I believe that in the depths of my soul. Argue with me all you want.

But even those who buy the premise may want to argue with me on how we rise above our circumstances, but as we square off, know that my contention is that it is love that busts us out.

Hate imprisons. Love liberates.

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• Click HERE to see Bob Dylan in 1975 singing his protest song, “The Hurricane,” while Carter sat in prison (and remained there for another decade).

Be the Best You Can

blog pic

Stephanie Brown is the type of person who gives you a gift for her graduation. She did some great cyber-sleuthing and discovered a blog that I had for many years titled, “Minutes to Memories,” from one of my all-time favorite songs and gave me the beautiful artwork pictured above with the lyrics from the chorus.  This is now the first thing people see when they enter our home.

Minutes to Memories was not one of John Mellencamp’s greatest hits, so I considered it a long shot this week when I attended my first Mellencamp concert. But the universe smiled my direction, and the third song in the set was Minutes to Memories, the song that for nearly three decades has pulled me out of many a pity party.

Mellencamp is a terrific artist and storyteller, and this song in particular draws me into a world where I can imagine having a talk with my dad. Having missed that opportunity for over two decades now, I love the song even more.

Here are the lyrics. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Minutes to Memories (John Mellencamp)

On a Greyhound thirty miles beyond Jamestown
He saw the sun set on the Tennessee line
Looked at the young man who was riding beside him
He said I’m old, kind of worn out inside

I worked my whole life in the steel mills near Gary
My father before me, I helped build this land
Now I’m seventy-seven and with God as my witness
I earned every dollar that passed through my hands

My family and friends are the best things I’ve known
Through the eye of the needle I’ll carry them home

Rain hit the old dog in the twilight’s last gleaming
He said, “Son it sounds like rattling old bones”
This highway is long but I know some that are longer
By sun up tomorrow I guess I’ll be home

Through the hills of Kentucky across the Ohio River
The old man kept talking ’bout his life and his times
He fell asleep with his head against the window
He said an honest man’s pillow is his peace of mind

This world offers riches and riches grow wings
I don’t take stock in those unsettled things

Days turn to minutes and minutes to memories
Life sweeps away the dreams we have planned
You are young and you are the future
So suck it up and tough it out, and be the best you can

The old man had a vision, it was hard for me to follow
I do things my way, and I pay a high price
When I think back now on the old man and the bus ride
Now that I’m older I can see he was right

Another hot one out on highway eleven
This is my life, it’s what I chose to do
There’s no free rides. No one said it’d be easy
The old man told me this my son I’m telling it to you

Days turn to minutes and minutes to memories
Life sweeps away the dreams we have planned
You are young and you are the future
So suck it up and tough it out, and be the best you can.

Still Looking Up to Dad

Me and DadMe & Dad (June 1972)

It has been over twenty years since I had a father to call on Father’s Day weekend. Some of you can relate; others cannot. Sadly, some don’t have much of a father to call in the first place; others do (or did).

A few years ago I ran across this song by country music legend, Chet Atkins. On some level I think everyone can appreciate it. I especially do this weekend.

[Click HERE if the video doesn’t come through for email subscribers.]