I’ve got America on my mind these days.
Barack Obama swept through town yesterday and turned Australians of all stripes and political persuasions into pumpkins. All we heard was how great and important America was to Australia. As well as a lot of turgid guff about American military might.
America is also on my mind because in a day or two I’ll be taking that long flight north to visit my family. I used to live there, many years ago. And like it or not America will always account for a big part of my internal landscape. Over the several decades of my life America has evoked strong sentiments. ‘Wow!’ when I was 11. ‘Cool!’ when I was 16. ‘Shame!’ when I was 30. ‘Who cares’ when I was 45.
Now the feeling I get is ‘Oh dear!’. America seems tired and lost. Something like an old man spinning slowly on his cane in a shopping mall, looking for the exit.
What will I find next week? I’m not sure but for tonight’s Friday Night Special I’ve put together a bunch of songs about America and the feeling it arouses in my heart these days. Sometimes light but mostly shade.
01 American Tune [Paul Simon]
02 We Almost Lost Detroit [Gil Scott Heron]
03 Elvis Ate America [U2 and Eno]
04 Ghosts of American Astronauts [The Mekons]
05 Why Is It So Hard [Charles Bradley]
06 All Of God's Children Ain't Free [Johnny Cash]
07 No Dark In America [Rosco Gordon]
08 American Dream [Lucinda Williams]
09 Battle Hymn Of The Republic [Al Green]
10 American Dream [Bobby Womack]
12 Migration to America (The Migrant Worker Suite) [Zimology]
13 America Is [Violent Femmes]
14 Jesus Children Of America [Stevie Wonder]
15 Democracy [Leonard Cohen]
15 Gone [John Hiatt]
16 Wild American [Kris Kristofferson]
17 American Hotel [Tom Russell]
18 The Great American Novel [Larry Norman]
19 White House Blues [Charlie Poole with the North Carolina Ramblers]
20 Amerika V. 6.0 (The Best We Can Do) [Steve Earle]
21 Crime To Be Broke In America [Spearhead]
22 Madison Avenue [T Bone Burnett]
23 Saint America [The Watts Prophets]
24 America Is Waiting [David Byrne & Eno]
25 Are You Glad To Be In America? [James Blood Ulmer]
25 Purgatory Road [Ray Wylie Hubbard]
26 America's Messianic Vision of Democracy [Noam Chomsky]
27 Its Time to Make a Change [Madison's Lively Stones]
28 Home Sweet Home [Beaux Freres]
29 America the Beautiful [Neil Young]