Follow us: Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Google+ Follow us on Linkedin Follow us on Tumblr Subscribe to our RSS or Atom feed
Monday, October 23, 2017
Southern Weather Radar


Our Writers

  • Adam Peck
  • Alan Gordon
  • Alex Kearns
  • Alex Seitz-Wald
  • Alice Murray
  • Allison Korn
  • Alyssa Cagle
  • Amanda Marcotte
  • Amanda Peterson Beadle
  • Andrea Grimes
  • Andrea Lee Meyer
  • Andrew Bowen
  • Andy Brack
  • Andy Kopsa
  • Andy Miller
  • Andy Schmookler
  • Ann Marie Pace
  • Ann Woolner & Leonard Ray Teel
  • Anna Dolianitis
  • Anna Forbes and Kate Ryan
  • Annelise Thim
  • Anoni Muss
  • April Adams
  • April Moore
  • Ariel Harris
  • Armando
  • Arthur Blaustein
  • Austen Risolvato
  • Austin McMurria
  • Barry Hollander
  • Bert Roughton III
  • Beth Ostlund
  • Betsey Dahlberg
  • Bill Caton
  • Bill Hamm
  • Bill Mankin
  • Bill Montgomery
  • Bill Moyers & Michael Winship
  • Bill Phillips
  • Bill Semple
  • Bill Tush
  • Billy Howard
  • Bob Bohanan
  • Bob Pritchard
  • Booth Malone
  • Bootsie Lucas
  • Boyd Lewis
  • Brad Clayton
  • Braden Goyette For ProPublica
  • Brandon Collins
  • Brett Martin
  • Brian Randall
  • Brianna Peterson
  • Bruce Dixon
  • Bruce E. Levine
  • Burton Cox
  • Candice Dyer
  • Carl Kline
  • Carol Carter
  • Carson M. Lamb
  • Casey Hayden
  • Cathleen Hulbert
  • Center for American Progress
  • Chantille Cook
  • Charles Finn
  • Charles O. Hendrix Jr.
  • Charles Seabrook
  • Charles Walston
  • Chelsea Toledo
  • Chelsey Willis
  • Chris Bowers
  • Chris Kromm
  • Chris Wohlwend
  • Christopher Burdette
  • Chrys B. Graham
  • Chuck Collins
  • Cliff Green
  • Cody Maxwell
  • Collin Kelley
  • Craig Miller
  • Crissinda Ponder
  • Dallas Lee
  • Dan Kennedy
  • Daniel Flynn
  • Daniel K. Williams
  • Daniel Palmer
  • Danny Fulks
  • Dante Atkins
  • Darby Britto
  • Dave Cooley
  • Dave Johnson
  • Dave Pruett
  • David Bradford
  • David Evans
  • David Harris-Gershon
  • David Jenks
  • David Kyler
  • David Parker
  • David Roberts
  • David Rotenstein
  • David Swanson
  • Dean Baker
  • Deb Barshafsky
  • Debbie Houston
  • Deborah Chasteen
  • Denise Oliver Velez
  • Dennis McCarthy
  • Desiree Evans
  • Dian Cai
  • Diana
  • Diane Rooks
  • Dina Rasor
  • Dindy Yokel
  • Doc
  • Don Lively
  • Don O'Briant
  • Donnie Register
  • Door Guy
  • Doug Couch
  • Doug Cumming
  • Dr. Brian Moench
  • Dr. Dorothy Ann Boyd-Bragg
  • Dr. Nick De Bonis
  • Dr. Ravi Batra
  • E. David Ferriman
  • Earl Fisher
  • Eden Landow
  • Eileen Dight
  • Eleanor Ringel Cater
  • Elizabeth Shugg
  • Ellen Brown
  • Elliott Brack
  • Erin Kotecki Vest
  • Fatima Najiy
  • FishOutofWater
  • Francisco Silva
  • Frank Povah
  • Fred Brown
  • Frederick Palmer
  • Gadi Dechter, Michael Ettlinger
  • Gail Kiracofe
  • Gaius
  • Georgia Logothetis
  • Gib Ennis
  • Gina Williams
  • Gita M. Smith
  • Glenn Carroll
  • Glenn Overman
  • Gordon Anderson
  • Gregory C. Dixon
  • Gryphon Corpus
  • Hamp Skelton
  • Harriet Barr
  • Heather Boushey
  • Henry Dreyer
  • Henry Foresman
  • Hollis B. Ball III
  • Hugh
  • Hyde Post
  • Ian Kim
  • Ian Millhiser
  • Isabel Owen
  • Ivy Brashear
  • J.A. Myerson
  • Jack deJarnette
  • Jack Wilkinson
  • Jacklyn C. Citero
  • Jake Olzen
  • James Hataway
  • James Marc Leas
  • James N. Maples
  • Janet Ward
  • Jasmine Burnett
  • Jason Palmer
  • Jason Parker
  • Jay Thompson
  • Jaz Brisack
  • Jeff Cochran
  • Jeff Davis
  • Jeff Rayno
  • Jeff Spross
  • Jeffry Scott
  • Jennifer Hill
  • Jesse Harwell
  • Jessica Luton
  • Jim Allen
  • Jim Bentley and Jeff Nesmith
  • Jim Clark
  • Jim Cobb
  • Jim Fitzgerald
  • Jim Newell
  • Jim Stovall
  • Jim Walls
  • Jim Warren
  • Jimmy Booth
  • Jing Luo
  • Jingle Davis
  • JL Strickland
  • Joan Donovan
  • Jodi Jacobson
  • Jody Wegmueller
  • Joe Earle
  • Joe Shifalo
  • Joel Groover
  • Joey Ledford
  • John A. Tures
  • John Dembowski
  • John Hickman
  • John Hickman with Sarah Bartlett
  • John Huie
  • John M. Williams
  • John Manasso
  • John Sugg
  • John Tabellione
  • John Yow
  • Jon Sinton
  • Jonathan Grant
  • Jonathan Odell
  • Joni Hunnicutt
  • Jonna Pattillo
  • Joseph B. Atkins
  • Joseph Gatins
  • Josh Dorner
  • Josh Sewell
  • Joy Moses
  • Judith Stough
  • Judy McCarthy
  • Juli Ward
  • Julian Bond
  • Julian Riggs Smith
  • Julianne Wyrick
  • Julie Ajinkya
  • Julie Puckett Fodera
  • Just Plain Will
  • Kaili Joy Gray
  • Kate Greer
  • Kate McNally
  • Katherine A. Edmonds
  • Kathleen Brewin Lewis
  • Kathleen Harbin
  • Kathleen R. Gegan
  • Kathryn Hoffman
  • KC Wildmoon
  • Keith Graham
  • Ken Edelstein
  • Ken Haldin
  • Ken Hawkins
  • Ken Peacock
  • Kevin Austin
  • Kevin Duffy
  • Kip Burke
  • Kirk McAlpin
  • Kirsten Barr
  • Kos Moulitsas
  • Kristie Macrakis
  • Lacey Avery
  • Lamont Cranston
  • Laura Clawson
  • Laura Smith
  • Laurence Lewis
  • Lawrence S. Wittner
  • Lee Leslie
  • Lee Robin
  • Leon Galis
  • Leonce Gaiter
  • Les Eatwell
  • LikeTheDew
  • Linda Hunt Beckman
  • Linda Jordan Tucker
  • Lisa Byerley Gary
  • Lisa Kerr
  • Lois Beckett, Propublica
  • Lorraine Berry
  • Louie Crew Clay
  • Louis Mayeux
  • Lovell Jones, Ph.D.
  • Lucy Emerson Sullivan
  • Lucy Guest
  • Maggie Lee
  • Maisha White
  • Mandy Richburg Rivers
  • Margi Ness
  • Marian Wang, ProPublica
  • Marie Diamond
  • Mark Dohle
  • Mark Johnson
  • Mark Sumner
  • Martha W. Fagan
  • Mary Civille
  • Mary Elizabeth King
  • Mary Kay Andrews
  • Mary Lee
  • Mary Willis Cantrell
  • Matt Blakely
  • Matt Johnson
  • Matt Musick
  • Matt Renner
  • Matthew Wright
  • Maurice Carter
  • Meg Livergood Gerrish
  • Meghan Miller
  • Melanie Rochat
  • Melinda Ennis
  • Michael Bailey
  • Michael Beckel
  • Michael Castengera
  • Michael Ettlinger
  • Michael J. Solender
  • Michael Linden
  • Michael Lux
  • Michael W. Twitty
  • Mike ”Hunter” Lazzaro
  • Mike Copeland
  • Mike Cox
  • Mike Handley
  • Mike Lofgren
  • Mike Ludwig
  • Mike Williams
  • Mimi Skelton
  • Moni Basu
  • Monica Smith
  • Murray Browne
  • Myra Blackmon
  • Nancy Melton
  • Nancy Puckett
  • Nancy Robinson
  • Nancy Rogers
  • Neill Herring
  • Nelly McDaid
  • Nikki Gardner
  • Niles Reddick
  • Noel Holston
  • Occupy Wall Street
  • Overman & Senn
  • Pamela Sumners
  • Pat Garofalo
  • Pat LaMarche
  • Pat Norman
  • Patrick Andendall
  • Patrick L. Ledford
  • Patsy Dickey
  • Patti Ghezzi
  • Paul Buchheit
  • Paul Krupin
  • Paul Rutledge
  • Paul Thim
  • Pete & Jack
  • Peter Crawford
  • Peter Turnbull
  • Phil Gast
  • Phil Noble
  • Philip Graitcer
  • Phyllis Alesia Perry
  • Phyllis Gilbert
  • Piney Woods Pete
  • Polly
  • R S
  • R.L. Miller
  • Rafael Alvarez
  • Randy Conway
  • Randy Schiltz
  • Ray Bearfield
  • Raymond L. Atkins
  • Reagan Walker
  • Rebecca Sive
  • Ric Latarski
  • Richard Eisel
  • Righton C. Willis
  • Rob Chambers
  • Rob Coppock
  • Rob Douthit
  • Robert Allen
  • Robert Dardenne
  • Robert E Hunt Jr
  • Robert Jensen
  • Robert Lamb
  • Robert M. Williams, Jr.
  • Robert Mashburn
  • Robert Weiner & Richard Mann
  • Robin Marty
  • Rodney Adams
  • Roger Gregory
  • Ron Feinberg
  • Ron Taylor
  • Rose Aguilar
  • Rose Weaver
  • Rosemary Griggs
  • Russ Wellen
  • Sam Morton
  • Sao Magnifico
  • Sara Amis
  • Sarah Ayres
  • Sarah Bufkin
  • Saralyn Chesnut
  • Scott Anna
  • Scott Borchert
  • Scott Keyes
  • Scott Wooledge
  • Sean Manion
  • Seth Cline
  • Shane Gilreath
  • Sharon M. Riley
  • Shay Dawkins
  • Sheffield Hale
  • Sheila Barnard Nungesser
  • Sigrid Sanders
  • SoniaTai
  • Sonya Collins
  • Soraya Chemaly
  • Spencer Lawton
  • Stephanie Taylor
  • Stephen Lacey
  • Stephen Wing
  • Steve King
  • Steve Krodman
  • Steve Valk
  • Stuart Liss
  • Sue Sturgis
  • Sujigu
  • Susan De Bonis
  • Susan Soper
  • Susan Wilson
  • Suz Korbel
  • Tammy Andrews
  • Tammy Ingram
  • Tanya Somanader
  • Ted Kooser
  • Terri Evans
  • The Barnacle Goose
  • Thomas A. Bledsoe
  • Tiger Liliuokalani
  • Tim Oliver
  • Timothy Freeman
  • Timothy Hurst
  • Tom Baxter
  • Tom Crawford
  • Tom Ferguson
  • Tom Millsop
  • Tom Poland
  • Tom Walker
  • Travis Waldron
  • Travis Waldron & Pat Garofalo
  • Trevor Stone Irvin
  • Tricia Collins
  • Troubadour
  • Valerie Evans
  • Viveca Novak
  • Waldron, Somanader & Garofalo
  • Walter Rhett
  • Wanda Argersinger
  • Wayne Countryman
  • Wayne Johnson
  • We The People
  • Will Cantrell
  • Will Nelson
  • William Cotter
  • William Hedgepeth
  • Yana Kunichoff
  • Yasmin Vafa
  • Zack Beauchamp
  • Zack Ford
  • Zaid Jilani
  • Zaina Budayr




  • Writer Login


    Springsteen, God and Guns

    by | 4 | Sep 16, 2010

    Author’s Note: Upon Bruce Springsteen’s endorsement of President Obama for a second term in office, one gave thought to summer ’84 when Bruce Springsteen’s popularity reached a new peak. That same summer, Ronald Reagan was on his way to a second term as President. It was a time of celebration for the Republican Party’s right wing, which was enjoying a peak of its own. Those of us lamenting the political situation then had little idea of how far-right the Republicans would go. We wouldn’t have expected them to one day nominate a Sarah Palin for Vice President or to hear one of their Senatorial candidates discuss “legitimate rape.” Neither would we have expected their kindred to favor bringing guns to church. It’s a lot to hope for, but it would be great if the election on Tuesday could lead to reversing such madness.

    The guy in Bruce Springsteen’s “My Home Town” feels let down. He isn’t that bitter, just shaken over the changes he’s encountered and wary of the changes ahead. Wife and kid in tow, he’ll start over in a new place, maybe in one of the southern states, where the job market holds promise. The guy hates to leave his home town; it’s the setting for the memories of childhood and where the mysteries of adulthood unraveled, often joyfully, but at times with the ball in his court and the pressure on to make the right play. Scoring the winning goal in the real world is tougher than on the playground.

    As with “Downbound Train,” another song from 1984’s Born In The USA, the storyline in “My Home Town” is beautifully rendered. Springsteen puts us in the guy’s shoes. His character in “Downbound Train” is the ’80s equivalent of the Depression era’s migrant worker, working at the car wash, “where all it ever does is rain.” The guy feels drenched, not so much by the water spraying down the cars, but from the misery pouring down on him. We read from Matthew 5:45 that it rains on the just and the unjust. Surely it does, but many of the characters in the songs on Born In The USA simply wonder when the storm will let up.

    Born In The USA has engaging narratives by one of America’s most thoughtful songwriters, but too often its songs are cluttered with ’80s styled production techniques. There’s bombast with the pounding drums and synths. Bruce Springsteen albums are supposed to sound like a collection of Bruce Springsteen songs. There was no need to emulate Phil Collins and other noise-polluters of that age. The flashy sounds too often got in the way of Springsteen’s sharp observations.

    Three years later, Springsteen released Tunnel of Love, a revealing and brave album. The production was far more restrained; so the haunting and beautiful melodies take center stage. That approach worked splendidly again in 2002 with The Rising. Released less than a year after 9/11, Americans looked to their heroes, and Springsteen is considered one, to deliver consoling messages of hope, perhaps the way young workers in the smokestack towns did in ’84. Springsteen delivered. “The Rising” is not only a great album, but in the words of Atlanta writer-actor Tommy Housworth, “an event, a comeback and an apolitical commentary on loss in America.” Springsteen gives consideration to what’s been lost, but advocates, as he has before, having a little faith. The days of celebrating do not remain in our past. The music on the album reinforces the spirit of his messages; the melodies soar, sway and comfort.

    Let’s think of America as an old vinyl 45. The “A” side reflects the nobility of the country’s ideas and its generosity. Certainly it will be a hit record heard and loved by millions. It calls to mind the songs on The Rising. But there’s a droning B-side too. It reveals anger based on fears, lies and prejudice. Some disc jockeys, particularly those on the political right, can’t resist playing it. That brings us to the group now masquerading as Lynyrd Skynyrd.

    This is not your father’s Lynyrd Skynyrd. That band met a tragic end October 20, 1977 when its chartered plane crashed in Mississippi, taking the lives of lead singer and principal songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister, back-up vocalist Cassie Gaines. Such talent and vision cannot be replaced, but a band calling itself Lynyrd Skynyrd, with only guitarist Gary Rossington from the glory years, continues to release new albums and tour. In an effort to project authenticity, this Lynyrd Skynyrd’s lead singer is Johnny Van Zant, Ronnie’s younger brother.

    Commonality of flesh and blood does not guarantee replication of a sibling’s accomplishments (see Jorge Santana or Chris Jagger), but maybe the little brother’s spirit could excite Lynyrd Skynyrd’s hard-core devotees at concerts as they listened, closed their eyes, and made allowances. Even though Lynyrd Skynyrd never made a classic album in the four years before the crash, they did record many great songs, enough to fill a red-hot set list. The faux Lynyrd Skynyrd, devoted to those songs, could crank ’em out and satisfy the fans.

    Keeping the fans happy is important. They might be armed.

    Go back 35 years. 1975. Rock and Roll had moved on from the days of peace, love and understanding, but it was years away from reflecting the views of people who become bitter, and “cling to guns or religion.” Lynyrd Skynyrd, one of the two hottest bands in the American South at the time, conveyed a wariness about those packing heat in their song, “Saturday Night Special.” Co-written by Ed King and Ronnie Van Zant, the song’s message is clear.Observing the carnage, the older Van Zant made a suggestion.

    Hand guns are made for killin’

    Ain’t no good for nothin’ else

    And if you like your whiskey

    You might even shoot yourself

    So why don’t we dump ’em people

    To the bottom of the sea

    Before some fool come around here

    Wanna shoot either you or me.

    Polluting the oceans with pistols is not advisable, but Ronnie Van Zant was on to something. Those easily acquired pistols bring a lot of misery and shouldn’t be so widely available. Jealous husbands, angry gamblers, drunks and street thugs use them to their advantage.

    Now, back to the present. The faux Lynyrd Skynyrd is touring behind their latest album, God and Guns. The title cut and another track, “That Ain’t My America”  depict a nation in free fall where citizens are deprived of their rights to smoke, worship God and procure firearms to protect their families. They represent America’s droning B-side. It’s the America where slamming Uncle Sam won’t be tolerated, never mind The Bill of Rights. It’s the America where it’s thought a child is denied his freedom to worship if organized (coerced) prayers are not allowed in the public schools. It’s the America going the way of the Roman Empire unless the people who somehow connect the Prince of Peace with “peacemakers” form a line of defense.

    It’s to the women and the men who in their hands hold a Bible and a gun

    And they ain’t afraid of nothing, when they’re holding either one.

    In the heart of America’s droning B-side is an organization called God and Guns. On its website a “Statement of Faith” is offered, not much different than that of many Evangelical groups, conservative and otherwise. It’s followed by a “Statement of Faith about Weapons.” Here’s where it gets strange. This faith organization holding Jesus Christ as Lord cites only scriptural references from the Old Testament, none from the New Testament which covers the life and teachings of Jesus. That probably saves them from having to explain away scriptures such as Matthew 26: 50-52, in which Jesus was seized prior to his trial and crucifixion. One of his disciples drew a sword and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Jesus admonished his defender, saying “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” In Luke 22, we read of Jesus healing the slave’s ear. It’s curious that a group so enamored of weaponry overlooked this action-packed story.

    People experiencing hard times can be easily exploited. The approach of the gun groups is to align their cause with what millions deem most important, like faith and salvation. Those exploiting say just enough to get people worked up and fearful of losing their freedoms. It’s a common refrain on America’s B-side.

    Americans, whether they listen to Springsteen’s songs of hope or the songs of resentment by the band calling itself Lynyrd Skynyrd, have seen changes making life here different and more difficult. Yet Americans are still able to worship as they choose, buy firearms to protect themselves and say what they please about the government. Just look at the last 50 years of the nation’s history; new freedoms have been embraced and supported by law. It’s still a country Ronnie Van Zant’s “Free Bird” would enjoy traveling through.

    ###
    Jeff Cochran

    Jeff Cochran

    Jeff Cochran worked in advertising at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 27 years before accepting a buy-out in the Summer of 2008. In the seventies/early eighties, he handled advertising for Peaches Records and Tapes' Southeastern and Midwestern stores. He also wrote record reviews for The Great Speckled Bird, a ground-breaking underground newspaper based in Atlanta.

     

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email

     

    • This is one of the most amazing music critiques I’ve ever read, distilling a country’s distress into the two sides of a 45. Beautifully written and an amazing revelation of America’s nature through the soundtrack of two distinctly different artists.

    • Ray Bearfield

      My nomination for a worthwhile attempt to synthesize the two sides of the record: The Drive-By Truckers’ Southern Rock Opera. After listening to it, Sweet Home Alabama will never sound the same.

    • Chuck

      Excellent commentary! We need you writing pieces like this in Rolling Stone.

  • Worthy of Comment






  • Health Care: U.S. vs. Canada



  • 'L-G-B-T' - James Corden
    Sings for Transgender Troops



  • "The Elections Are Rigged" Arnold Schwarzenegger On Trump, Congress, Gerrymandering

     

  •  
     
     
  • %d bloggers like this: