Radical Songs for Rough Times

by Dan Hanrahan

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Break up a forest put it in a box and send it far Climb a mountain touch the top and blow it up Find a river, steamboat a river and dam it up A bubble in the soil is a-gurgling oil now blow it out Chorus: Oh, civilization Find a child, take a child break her down Spy a bird and chase a bird and cage him up Find a tribe and chase a tribe and take the land Burn up the forest for a grazing herd, now settle down Chorus Sight a whale on the rolling waters and bring her down Fish the oceans to the final fish now come back home Chorus
A pesar del fascismo yo voy a amar voy a leer la poesía Y contra el fascismo yo voy a luchar Lo voy a derrotar con los amigos Hay un secreto bien ocultado Casi olvidado en un rincón Está en el cuadro de Remedios Varo Está en el arco del halcón Puente Que va volando muy distante Por los rayos, por las nubes A pesar del fascismo yo voy a cantar Voy a cultivar un jardincito Y contra el fascismo yo voy a andar Por los caminos muy callados Abajo del cielo y las mariposas Las brisas murmurando una canción El águila mirando el río curvando El agua brillando en el cañón Puente Y se oyen muy distante Unas letras de un canto *** In spite of fascism I’m going to love I’m going to read poetry And against fascism I’m going to fight I’m going to defeat it with my friends There is a secret well hidden almost forgotten away in a corner It is in the painting of Remedios Varo it is in the arc of the falcon Bridge who flies far away through the sunrays through the clouds In spite of fascism I’m going to sing I’m going to grow a little garden And against fascism I’m going to walk down the roads so quiet Underneath the sky and the butterflies the breezes whispering a song The eagle watching the river curving the water shining in the canyon Bridge And you can hear far away the words of a song
Swindle 03:17
Roll out the barrels of bile, the days without smiles Bring on the sadness parade, the bloodless brigade Come on in and tie one on You’re going to see a show tonight They call me Trump or Drumpf Or Donald the Duck You can march against me, I don’t give a … I take my time, I can’t spare you a dime One day the world will be mine Chorus Roll out the buckets of piss and listen to me hiss This is one show you cannot miss I’ll toss you a kiss from my pursed lips And I’ll show you how to swindle the world I hold a stone in my hand and turn it to sand You better strike up the band Cause I'm feeling grand Drink up your wine And sing auld lang syne Cause one day the world will be mine I got a couple of tricks I use in a fix Now you see it now you don’t it’s gone in a mist What used to be yours I now clutch in my fist And this is how you swindle the world
Resign 02:07
Resign, Donny, resign Read the marches as a sign And believe that it’s time To listen to the voices in your mind And find an island in the sea where you can learn to be free From the infantile cravings that are creeping ‘cross your brain From the churning and the yearning That are driving you insane Resign, Donny, resign Pay attention to the drumbeat Growing louder all the time And give yourself a break from your crimes Let the sun in the sky Remember how to shine Take the craven stupid dreams That occupy your days And feed them to the beast That is crouching in the shade
ned ludd & queen mab ned ludd & queen mab a comet flares above it’s 1811 and down in the mud with a hammer & a glove they’re breaking up the frames and troubling the heavens and they’re hearing ned ludd in the flickering rain yeah they’re hearing ned ludd in the whispering rain queen mab & ned ludd the queen she flies above and down within the meadows she bewitches she who stands by the factory wall she bewitches she who stands by the willow by the pond ned ludd & queen mab a weaver’s not a weaver if he’s weaving on a factory frame queen mab & ned ludd they’re roving ‘round the midlands in the the forests and the valleys in the fog in the nottingham woods in the carolina pines in the caves of your mind on the california coastline we’re hearing ned ludd by the flickering flame yeah we’re hearing ned ludd by the whispering flame on the antlers of an elk on the hooves of a goat in the amber of your brain in the shaking up of a shadow we’re seeing queen mab through the flickering flame yeah we’re seeing queen mab through the whispering flame earth shall breed and frost shall freeze water a shield make fire eat wood ice shall bridge one shall break frost’s fetters free the grain from the wonder lock
Freddie Gray Freddie Gray went out one day Onto the streets of West Baltimore Though he didn’t know he was in the sights Of an awful hateful might He told his sister goodbye he gazed toward the sun Nobody knew the deed to be done To Freddie Gray his mother’s only son In West Baltimore that April day On the same streets Frederick Douglass walked And then escaped from in old Baltimore But where you gonna run in 2015 When they open up the van and put you on the floor Well it’s a boot on the back it’s a blow to the head Then it’s a rough ride and then you wind up dead In old Baltimore some ghosts won’t go away Like the ones that killed Freddy Gray that day Well it’s a prayer in the wind it’s a tear on the pavement It’s demanding the truth from the government In old Baltimore some ghosts won’t go away Like the ones that killed Freddy Gray that day
Ferguson 03:36
To his grandma’s house He was walking home Down Florissant Avenue Clouds racing above In the afternoon The Mississippi flows not far away Sometimes he swore He could hear it say Don’t worry Mike everything’s okay Chorus Just down the road From St. Louis There lies a town named Ferguson And on an august night in 2014 Six shots rang out in infamy What he did to die nobody knows the chief of police isn’t saying a word But there are those who saw And there are those who heard Dred Scott was told just down the road You are not a man, you must be bought and sold And now they told Mike Brown you won’t be growing old Chorus His hands were pointed toward the sky This wasn’t a day for anyone to die Got people all around All wondering why They left him laying there like nobody’s son But in the August light they saw what was done Done to big Mike Down in Ferguson
(English translation follows) Con tu cabello de ardilla muerta Pendejo Y tus ideas que son pura basura Pendejo Y tus mentiras que provocan miedo Pendejo Vete al hueco De dónde te arrastraste Sal con tus fascismo Patético de la tele Pendejo Eres capitán de un barco hundido Pendejo La boca abres y sólo sale lo absurdo Pendejo Buscas la corona para ser el rey bebé Pendejo Coro *** With your dead squirrel hairpiece – Pendejo And your pure trash ideas -- Pendejo And your fear provoking lies -- Pendejo Chorus Go back to the hole That you dragged yourself out of -- Pendejo Get out of here with your Pathetic television fascism… Pendejo You’re the captain of a sunken ship -- Pendejo You open up your mouth and blurt out the absurd -- Pendejo You’re looking for the crown to become the baby king -- Pendejo Chorus
(English translation follows) O capitalismo Eu nasci no capitalismo E eu sei que é hora De sair O capitalismo Não quero morrer no capitalismo E eu sinto que é hora De fugir Ponte Ó capitalismo você me disse Que ia trazer Um paraíso Onde tudo se podia ter Mas capitalismo Hoje em dia meu capitão Nem o rio nem um peixe Nem o ar nem uma nuvem Tem liberdade Da morte viva No olhar de você Acho que é hora De correr Ponte O Capitalismo O que resta Já que acordei Do sonho vivo Em que me embrulhei? *** capitalism/I was born into capitalism/ and I know that it’s time/to leave Capitalism/I don’t want to die in capitalism/and I know that it’s time/to flee Bridge: Capitalism/you told me/that you would bring/a paradise/where everything could be had What capitalism/today my captain/not even the river or the fish/ not even the air or the cloud Is free from / the living death/in your gaze/ and I believe it is time to run capitalism/what is left/now that I have awoken/from the living dream/that I had wrapped myself up in?
oh, rex tillerson don’t bury my son down in the skull garden in the bright burning sun oh, rex tillerson don’t bury my daughter in a world full of oil without any water now exxon and bp and chevron and shell are trying their damnedest to send us to hell now exon and bp and chevron and shell got blasted dead futures they’re trying to sell oh, rex tillerson we’re done playing dead we're rising like lazarus and coming for your head we’ll ask you politely to put away the drill but if you don’t listen we’ll make sure you will
on the wrong side of a drone i found myself alone now i’m singing from a land that’s beyond the line that’s drawn into the sand by a cold and wicked hand now i’m sitiing on the wrong side of a drone i never thought i’d see the time when it would be a crime to see my sister wed to her one true love we were driving on the way to a banquet on that day when we got onto the wrong side of the drone Chorus so raise your cup and say a toast to the people you love most and kiss your children on the forehead while they sleep because there’s one thing that i know sad that no one told me so they could wake up on the wrong side of a drone Chorus
Captain 02:35
My captain i’m dying you sent me to hell you sent me to dream about a place to lay down well i’d lay down in a meadow not in this cold sand my captain i’m dying and you won’t reach out your hand *** in the high grassy meadow i met my true love christine of the flashing eyes like some light from above my captain you told me this was a noble war now i’ll not see my christine and i don’t know what for *** the shots and the screaming the bombs breaking the night they broke me right with them and i’ll never be right the ash gray horizon the hate in the eyes we wake up like ghost men and sleep under dead skies *** so it’s one for my country and i’m slipping away my captain you sold me and it’s my price to pay yes it’s one for my country as i’m slipping away christine of the flashing eyes i’ll see you one day


Dedicated to all of those who are seeking to recover the old stories,
from before the time of the empires.


released September 15, 2020

Produced and arranged by Dan Hanrahan, Anthony Staiti and in the 415 living room in Baltimore MD.

Engineered by Anthony Staiti.
Mixed & Produced by Alan Weatherhead in Richmond, Virginia.

Dan Hanrahan Vocals and guitar. Banjo, handclaps & tambourine on ”Drone Song.” Banjo and snare drum on ”Swindle.” Ukulele on “A Pesar del Fascismo.” Bells on “Ned Ludd & Queen Mab.”

Geff Stewart Banjo on “A Pesar del Fascismo” and “Ned Ludd & Queen Mab.” Fiddle on “The Ghosts of Baltimore” & “Ferguson.”

Ian Rashkin Upright bass on “Oh, Civilization,” “Swindle,” “The Ghosts of Baltimore,” “ O Capitalismo,” “Rex Killerson” & “Drone Song.”

David Crandall Horns on “Swindle, “Resign,” and “Ned Ledd & Queen Mab”

Kidd Smith Snare drum on “Resign” and “O Capitalismo.” Wine jug percussion on “Drone Song.”

Baggypantsrich Harmony vocal on “Drone Song.” Harmony vocal, bass guitar & lead guitar on “Pendejo.”

Anthony Staiti Lead guitar on “O Capitalismo” & “Rex Killerson.” Banjo on “Swindle.”

Alan Weatherhead Extra strings on “Oh, Civilization.” Extra horns on “Resign.”

415 Records and Books c/o danhanrahan.net * danletras@yahoo.com

Cover painting: “Snow Owl” (2006) by E. Elizabeth Downing * lizdowningart.com

Layout and design by Virginia Warwick * virginiawarwick.com


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Dan Hanrahan Chicago, Illinois

Musician and writer Dan Hanrahan has a long history in out-there folk circles. He specializes in surrealist ballads laced with glam and Brecht. Hanrahan has shared the stage with Gordon Gano and received plaudits from Eugene Chadbourne and Shimmy Disc’s Kramer and has opened shows for They Might Be Giants and Throwing Muses. ... more

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