Song Of The Day 2/26/2014: Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood - "Greenwich Village Folk Song Salesman"


The Partisan Divide: "Greenwich Village Folk Song Salesman" doesn't identify the partisanship of the title character. But we can safely assume that if he's peddling "songs about Detroit and Vietnam, and a new one about the economic opportunity program," then we ain't talkin' about Lee Greenwood. (I've been sitting on that pun for three days. Although this song was actually written by the great Tom T. Hall.)

This song does, by proxy, raise an interesting point which I'll take the bullet for, which is that although you got your Woody Guthries and your Pete Seegers and the likes, writing political songs is an especially hazardous trade, because the lyrics are, frequently, pedantic and awful. And don't tell me Bob Dylan was a political songwriter. Especially 1965 and onwards, but even before that, what did he have? "Masters Of War"? Everyone not employed by Halliburton feels that way, and even there I expect some Halliburton employees are temps.

There's this one political band - I'm fairly sure they're still around - who were comprehensively terrible. I remember hearing them on WFMU one afternoon, in the stated context that we were hearing crap music. This was a lyrically awful song about the plight of child sweatshop workers. I would have found this song terribly funny, if I hadn't realized that I'd heard them played, in a serious context, on my own radio station KAOS at some point. I don't remember the name of the band, unfortunately. But I know it was something like "(Lead Singer/Songwriter) and (The Sappily, Campily Constructed Name Of The Backup Band That Was Grating And Probably Alliterative)." If you happen to know which band I'm talking about, please drop me a line. Then I'll find a song from them and put it up here as an example of how not to write a song. And then you and I will have to sever all contact. Sorry about that.

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