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Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Music news, rumors, what you're listening to, how you're listening to it and whether it's all on the up-and-up.

Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby doppel » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:56 am

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald -Gordon Lightfoot
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Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby kurt_w » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:46 am

doppel wrote:The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald -Gordon Lightfoot


There's a million folk songs that are about historical events, but it's a little trickier to think of ones that just kind of allude to them, without laying out all the details. Which I think is what the original poster was trying for (see the 6:55 am comment).
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Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:58 am

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Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby doppel » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:17 pm

kurt_w wrote:
doppel wrote:The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald -Gordon Lightfoot


There's a million folk songs that are about historical events, but it's a little trickier to think of ones that just kind of allude to them, without laying out all the details. Which I think is what the original poster was trying for (see the 6:55 am comment).


Fucking shoot me where I lie. I went by the thread title, not Nick's clarification/thread herding. Where are the thought police when we need them? Thanks for setting me straight, friend.
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Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:20 pm

I'm not too sure about these two from The Decemberists (whose very name has a strong historical context):

"This Is Why We Fight" reminds me of Frank Capra's WWII propaganda documentaries.

Also "Rox in a Box" might he about a mining disaster, although it sounds like a sea shanty to me.
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Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby Galoot » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:32 pm

In the "alluding to" category: Richard Shindell wrote a song for Joan Baez at her request, and he says that he wanted it to be a bookend to "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", which Baez had a hit with. The song, "Reunion Hill", is told from the point of view of a Civil War widow, years after the war, who still waits for her husband to come back to the farm.

It's a gorgeous song. I think it is the best one Shindell ever wrote, and I got to see him perform it at the old Luther's nightclub about ten years ago.
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Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby Nick Berigan » Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:47 pm

I really like that.

(And for those concerned about conformance to my definition, note that I will not be issuing final grades. It's all good.)
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Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:58 pm

As a work of historical myths, does the Bible count? If so, (Daniel in) "The Lion's Den" - Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland.
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Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby fennel » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:19 pm

Nick Berigan wrote:Yeah. I like that. And despite an early poster's need to take a shot, I do mean REFERENCING as opposed laying it all out.
No, I think you mean to make reference to. Reference, as a verb, has a very particular meaning. It's like an unambiguous way of addressing or citing something. It is commonly misused in bureaucratese to mean to refer to, but there it suits the speaker, for it adds to the listless pall of turbidity that discourages questioning.
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Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:25 pm

Luckily fennel (shouldn't names be capitalized?) didn't give me shit in an earlier post, when I put a song title in italics rather than in quotes.
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Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby fennel » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:27 pm

I have no preference for citation formats. And, really, I don't imagine that grammar or usage is primarily prescriptive. But it's awfully nice to see – when a speaker makes use of non-standard English – that some thought has been given to that usage. Then you can parse the actual words for meaning, rather than guessing at what they were trying to say.

I don't doubt that the most pathetic examples of current usage will be formally accepted in a few year's time. Language evolves, even if the partriculars more resemble metastasis than innovation. That's the way it goes, and that's just fine.

In the meantime, can't we make an effort to say what we mean? [Insert curt smile of Downton Abbey character, Mrs Isobel Crawley]
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Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby kurt_w » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:08 am

fennel wrote:I don't doubt that the most pathetic examples of current usage will be formally accepted in a few year's time. Language evolves, even if the partriculars more resemble metastasis than innovation.


A few year's? Partriculars? Not sure if that was intentionally or unintentionally self-referencing there.

Image
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Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:09 am

I've always wondered about the backstory for Neil Young's "Powderfinger." It is one of my favorite Young songs (I especially like the version on Live Rust). To me it evokes a certain time and place in history, West Virginia or Kentucky during the Civil War.
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Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby Kyle Motor » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:17 am

"Goin' Blind" by KISS is a prophecy that will come true in the year 2042.
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Re: Great tunes that reference historic times and events

Postby scratch » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:24 am

Kenneth Burns wrote:Johnny Horton had a bit of a cottage industry in history-based country songs. "The Battle of New Orleans" is great, also "North to Alaska."


Also "Sink the Bismarck"-- though I've never understood how "shells as big as trees" could have been shot by "guns as big as steers" unless it was giant steers or tiny trees. Not to mention whether WWII had "just begun" when the Bismarck was active.

"In May of nineteen forty-one the war had just begun,
The Germans had the biggest ship,
They had the biggest guns.
The Bismarck was the fastest ship,
That ever sailed the seas,
On her deck were guns as big as steers,
And shells as big as trees.
Out of the cold and foggy night,
Came the British ship the Hood.
And ev'ry British seaman he knew and understood,
They had to sink the Bismarck, the terror of the sea.
Stop those guns as big as steers,
And those shells as big as trees."
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