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Monday, November 3, 2008

Politics, Blues And Bob Dorr And The Blue Band

I have stayed away from politics on this blog for the most part. Occasionally, I make a smart remark about wingnuts, or uber conservatives, but for the most part I stay neutral. However, I feel that just because you are a musician, or an entertainer, doesn't mean you don't have an opinion. When you look at the pundits on TV, or out here in the blogspehere. You realize that, heck you may know as much as they do, and most of them tend to pull it out of their, a, hmmmm, you get the point.

That brings me up to a couple of things. First, those of you who have been here from the beginning may remember my first blog, Historical Rants. It was my place to rant about politics. I stopped it over a year ago, but with the election brewing and I was needing a place to vent I secretly started it again. If you would like to read it Click HERE. I basically wrote about things that were upsetting me during the last couple months of the election. I am going to keep it up and running for awhile, but I will probably pull it down at the first of the year.

That said, here is a great email that I received from Bob Dorr and the Blue Band. Bob had sent out a political letter on his blues email list, and it started quite the controversy among some of his listeners. A lot of them felt that we as performers should just shut our months, and play music. My own personal feelings about playing the blues and politics is that you should stand up to social injustice, and speak your mind about politics. If you have an inkling of the history of the blues and the struggle of African Americans for freedom and equality then you should realize that the blues is part of politics. Taj Mahal once said that a traveling bluesman could sing about how much he hated his woman, and wanted to see her dead, but that didn't mean he was singing about his girl. He was probably singing about Jim Crow, or the big boss man. You have to realize that if the old bluesman was singing about beating or killing a white man in the south he would have ended up swinging from a tree, and no doubt many an unknown bluesman ended up just like that.

So anyway if you would like to see my writing on history and politics Click HERE, and if you want to read Bob Dorr's amazingly passionate letter to his fans read on:


I'm sure there is one thing we can ALL agree on regarding the 2008 Presidential Campaign: even political junkies like me are glad that it'll all be over in less than 48 hours!...

Just so this can be an "official" Blue Note: we had our annual business recap meeting this afternoon. Everyone has voiced an interest in keeping it going for another year. We made a profit of $487 in the record business this year. Divide that by 7 and you can see that financial times in the small-time music biz are "challenging". However, we LOST $2559 in the record biz last year, so the "trend" is UP! We would all like to add WAY more songs in the coming year (last year was spent getting the new guys caught up on all the old songs) Because we have band members from Iowa City, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Des Moines and Dike, the biggest rehearsal problem we have is that no matter whose house hosts the rehearsal, somebody (usually at least 3 of us) will have at least a 4 hour round trip just get there and back home. Finding the time and resourses will be the challenge. In addition to the business meeting, we did relearn 4 of our Christmas songs (did you know that we have 3 Xmas CDs?) and we worked up another song that Davis sings and a brand new original song that Heath wrote/sings. Here's hoping we see you many times in the coming year and maybe even play a party at your house!...

OK, here it goes. This could turn out to be quite the ramble. If you don't want political commentary from your "entertainers" (Shut Up And Play Yer Harmonica!) then it's time for me to remind you to VOTE for whomever is your candidate and we'll hope to see you this coming Friday, Nov. 7 at The Hub, 4th & Main, here in Sparkle City (Cedar Falls)-it's another "Geezer Gig" 6-9pm, fun, dancing, and home by the 10 o'clock news! And Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Riverside Casino and Resort, south of Iowa City, we play the show lounge 8:30p-midnight. In the last month I have come to realize that The Blue Band is, in a small way, a uniting force that obviously brings together people of VERY different political persuasions on the dancefloor of life. I'm very proud of that. Thanks for that compliment...

So, where were we? Oh yeah, the reactions to my first "Politico Blue Note" Sept. 26, 2008: how right you are, they don't mix..sorry bob, unsubscribe...I don't really have a choice in who to vote for. I won't vote for Obama and I hate even putting his name on this page or on anything of mine, so that is the way it is...But its not as scarey as the thought of the extreme left, socialist, terrorist-befriending, white-hating, Barack Hussein Obama being president, and Joe Biden, with all his gaffes, a heartbeat from the presidency. Or not as scarey as Hillary and Bill getting back in the white house! Now THAT scares the HELL out of me!...Bob - I'd suggest that you revert to your prior thoughts of not trying to mix politics with entertainment. You should NOT be offering your editorial political comments. Many of your musical fans (including me), although we love your band.....DO NOT SHARE YOUR APPARENT POLITICS. I will spare you my comments on why I'd rather see Sarah Palin in office than either Obama or Bidden. However, I'm sure you would not enjoy my comments any more than I enjoy your political commentary. Please update us on your musical activities and do not insert your political views...Stick to entertainment Bob….keep your political view to yourself....

But did you see some of the reactions to the reactions?!: Don't lose the faith, Bob...I just read your most recent Blue Newsletter and I definitely share your fears about Ms. Palin...U seen john/sarah original mavericks ad? The original mavericks were brett and bart and they were card sharps and con men. Keep that in mind...The fact you had any responses in SUPPORT of Sarah Palin scares the hell out of me Bob...When did everyone get so intolerant of ANYTHING other than their overly-materialistic, conventional, TV-obsessed lives? F*** (editor's spelling) ALL OF THEM, Bob. If they can't stand a difference of opinion, maybe they should just stay home and watch Judge Judy. I am 110% on your side, and I don't even agree with your politics...I hate living in a world where people all of a sudden don't like your music because of your political leanings. Even if you are a Libertarian, I still love you and the band and your music!...Wow Bob! I had no idea you'd get that kind of response! I'm shocked! I always like discussing politics, and I can agree to disagree. I wish those fans you quoted could at least have a robust debate without taking everything so personally. Jeez, we're all friends here, aren't we?...Unlike some of your other subscribers, I appreciate your willingness to share your views/concerns about our country's situation. Whether I agree with you or not (I mostly do.), I think it takes courage to speak up in the way you have and I admire that...For goodness sakes, nothing says everyone has to agree with you, but – in my opinion – you didn’t deserve all the venom you received in response. What a shame that we can’t just share personal beliefs, political or otherwise, without fear of retaliation. I hope that one day we all grow up and act like the intelligent adults we want everyone to think we are. I don’t share all of your opinions, but I’m glad you wrote them. And to whoever it was that said you shouldn’t “mix politics with entertainment” When did those two things become mutually exclusive???????...I'll skip next weeks political stuff, I've truly got my fill of that but do love the freedom we have to express our own ideas and I always vote...love the newsletters to keep up with the band activities. And unlike some, it appears, I enjoy your political notes. I don't always agree with what you say, but it's interesting to hear (read) what others think about the upcoming election...My goodness! Some people really get upset! Unsubscribe? Yes, they are entitled to their opinions and while friends do not always agree, they’re not RUDE to one another...

These were just SOME of the reactions to the reactions. Again, to everyone's credit, all of those notes were signed. Now you are beginning to see why I am so proud that The Blue Band can be a "coming together" for people of such diverse opinions. Thank you for weighing in...

I am a displaced Libertarian. Bob Barr, Newt Gingrich's henchman and the primary advocate for bringing articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton, was nominated by the Libertarians. I can't vote for that. (can ANYONE explain to me why we, as Americans, allowed Bill Clinton to be impeached, essentially for having a consenting affair with a woman over the age of majority, while we have have done NOTHING to hold President Bush accountable for lying us into an unnecessary war, morally and fiscally bankrupting our country, and generally being totally inept at solving our country's problems while lining the pockets of his cronies and selling out our country's stature around the world?) It would be easy for me to say that I will be writing in Ron Paul's name and be done with it. But that would be kind of a copout (that word is a throw back to the old hippie days, isn't it?) for our purposes of discussion among friends. We're all friends here, aren't we? Aren't we??!!...

One of the greatest generals in the 20th century and a vastly underrated President, Dwight Eisenhower, warned, as he was leaving office, of the "military industrial complex" taking over our country. (If we could just have some moderate Republicans like Eisenhower, who believe in low taxes and less government interference in our lives, I would be inclined to vote that way. But they don't make Republicans like Ike anymore) It seems to me that Senator McCain IS the military industrial complex. His grand dad was an Admiral. His dad was an Admiral. And he has been a military man all his life (not that there's anything WRONG with that!) He ranked near the bottom of his graduating class, but somehow has surfaced to run for President. This is Deja Vu all over again. Isn't it time to let the smart people run our country? I don't want someone "like me" to run the country. I want someone WAY smarter/better...

Senator Obama IS the personification of the classic melting pot that built our country. He is black AND white. He started at the bottom of the social heap. Do you have any recollection of how people of "mixed race" were looked at in our country 40 years ago? His dad and grand dad could not pull any strings for him. Through intellect, ambition, perseverance, and TEAM BUILDING, this man has created an organization and plan that has won the endorsement of Warren Buffet and Colin Powell. He doesn't need (or probably want) my endorsement, but he's got it anyway. His grassroots story is one I find inspiring. He's got my vote...

Senator McCain is a revered hero whose time has come and gone (ironic that the country would have been WAY better off with him as President the last 8 years, when it WAS his time) Senator Obama's life experience is inspiring too. He can only get better. He doesn't need his wife to get his email (!) (Christ, if McCain is less cyber literate than I am, we're in lots of trouble if he gets in) (and really, don't get me started on Sarah Palin, the Maverick in $75,000 worth of Neiman Marcus clothes) Most of my cultural heros are black musicians. Most of my sports heros are black athletes. I will be voting for Senator Obama and hope he becomes one of my political heros. Time for a change. Break out the CAKE!...

See yas on the Blue Highway, thank goodness those political yard signs that everybody is stealing and vandalizing will be gone in three days (do we really NEED surveillance cameras to keep an eye on political yard signs?) take along your zydeco tie and rub it (!) while you're standing in line to vote and always remember, we love you. Bob Dorr & The Blue Band

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