Selection on “Christian” Rock, from “Rock Commentaries” IX

   In honor of Creed, we will include a list of ten Christian Rock songs, or songs that could be played toward the purpose by a christian rock band. These are songs that could make up a great Christian Rock concert, enriching a small and struggling genre. Why this should be is a good question, if one considers that there is fine Christian bluegrass music out of the middle of America. There is Christian classical, but not Christian Big Band or square dancing music. Some modes do not fit. The purpose of music itself is to glorify the Creator, as Henry Schaeffer says. There is some question here, though, of whether the rock beat is not itself corrupt and irredeemable. But if Christianity is also a soaring of the intellect, and enlists the greatest passions, one would think the rock mode might be especially suited, if one could find the right way, and this we think was done by Scot Stipe of Creed and in Jesus Christ Superstar to some extent. The acoustic or folk ballad type of explicitly Christian music is somehow easier to come by, and there are some among my simply best of all songs list below. But there will be no longer any excuse that there should not be very successful Christian Rock concerts. The first three penitent songs, and not explicitly Christian, though they demonstrate the recognition of wrong in a Biblical context. Locomotive breath, studied above with Aqualung, is included because the fellow caught as if on a tragic train ride ends by picking up Gideon’s Bible, though I am not sure I have understood the meaning aright. God stole the handle, or seems to the fellow to have taken away the means of stopping the tragic train.

15. In the Light Led Zeppelin

14. In My Time of Dyin’ Zeppelin

13. Take Me to the River, Talking Heads

12. Locomotive Breath Jethro Tull

11. House of the Rising Sun Eric Burden

10. Stealin Uriah Heep

9. Jesus Children Steevie Wonder

8. Aqualung side two (above)

7. All along the Watchtower (above)

6. Presence of the Lord Blind Faith (

5. Easy Livin Uriah Heep

This is a thing I’v never known before, its called easy livin’

This is place I’v never seen before, and I’v been forgiven

Easy Livin, and I’v been forgiven, since You’ve

Taken your place in my heart.

Somewhere along the lonely road, I had tried to find you

Day after day on that winding road I had walked behind you

  1. Love One Another Jesse Colin Young
  1. Love reign O’er Me The Who Quadrophenia
  1. Pride (In the Name of Love) U2

Bob Dylan Lately

   Bob Dylan has recently declined to travel to Switzerland to accept the Nobel Prize, and I have just learned from the BBC that he once declined to appear at the White house. The Dylanologist cited said the reason was money, as he just made 7 million doing two sets of 18 songs in California. Surrounding the Nobel Prize, there was speculation that it was that old Dylan arrogance, which I too share with him, as a systematic smart ass. But I want you to consider another possible reason.

   Dylan maybe freaked out a bit when he became very great, back in the sixties, and suddenly the FBI is spying on him and someone seems to have threatened him for an appearance on stage. They wanted to make him the poster-boy for the hippie movement, and what he said and did suddenly effected not only the direction of music, but world politics, and in a way one cannot always control. Dylan graciously remained a singer, an American Folk singer, with a mission like Woody Guthrie devoted to the mission of music.  He also remained a human being, setting off on a Spiritual journey that brought him to the Jewish teachers and for a while, and maybe still, even to Jesus. He was being just what he was so that he could do his proper work, rather than be distracted by the world. What appears as arrogance is a necessary defense and a humor based often upon tautology which indicated what one would need to see in order to understand him: “I am a song and dance man,” “It’s not acid rain, its just a hard rain,” etc. I think those things happened just before the cycle accident, and a bit after his sorrow over the booing of the old folkies. (He always was very sad about that, I thought inordinately). He may just not like travel, even in a big way. Why get on a plane these days?  Why go be a celebrity? But to play music, rather than to take great honors in a public forum, he fearlessly appears. He is not like most men, caring foremost for wealth and fame, so when that world judges him, they are bound to misunderstand.

   I have two of his songs ranked not yet in the top ten lyric poems of all time, but he is surely the only competitor with Cohen for greatest lyric poet. Well, there is Lennon and McCartney, Townshend and Waters, and perhaps Plant, but that is still probably true.  Paul Simon, too. Now I am thinking that it is mere personal preference that kept Hard Rain and Sad Eyed Lady out of my top ten, since these are like prophetic, and there are probably one or two others that good that I have not fathomed.

   The only time I saw Dylan was in Ann Arbor here, just before the Sixties Rock nostalgia or recognition of just how great this stuff was. Donovan once played around here at a bar, but I missed it. But Dylan stood there in his hat, while up in the seats to his left, I soaked up some great learning from his posture, like being mesmerized at the forearms of Leon Russel. Dylan then seemed a bit rusty, at the start of a return to touring or playing again. I thought Elvis Costello, who backed him up with an acoustic solo show, maybe should have had the band that night.

Winter’s not gone yet, if the wild geese fly that way

                                                                                        The Fool in Lear

You don’t need a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows

                                                                                           Bob

Yahoo and Bing Mess with the Intenet

   Someone has selected the least flattering possible categories from my collection, errors which cannot be removed from the WordPress categories. These are quite obviously selected to create a certain appearance, after Reddit connected me to the two year cancelled Marijuana website of the same name. “Folk Love,” “Drugs” “Foreighn Policy” and “Education” were on there yesterday, and I know a certain government agent who likes to make fun of my misspellings. This blog was never categorized by me as “Foreign Policy,” though the Edward Follis article that now appears below may accidentally have been. Nice, for an old blind guy with more to say than time to edit. “Folk” and “Love” were two separate categories, combined by accident and un-erasable. If this is the FBI, well…FU. If it is someone else, the FBI/Etc. might want to clear its reputation. Perhaps much might be revealed by finding out, as from Yahoo, who is doing this, and what else they have been doing. The practice continues down the page. Hey, do not fear that stranger on the bus! We have just had an election interfered with to promote fascism, and this sort of thing will stop if we expose who is doing it. On the other hand, they count on their guy getting control of the FBI and preventing inquiry. Can’t corrupt the president, just corrupt the next guy, the whole nation, and the presidency itself. Hey FBI, nice work revealing Kaspersky and the Russian involvement in the U. S. elections, after we, the U.S., tried to be so nice, you know, promoting better relations to wok together against the Russian strikes demonstrate is our common enemy.. You might read that comment on being poor, as I am both quite proud of it and of being poor, rather than whoring my share of American liberty. You like bending over so Machiavelli can impress his form on the matter, proud man?

   Kaspersky knew of and used this blog within two days, while the FBI still will not listen to me, and has no questions for me at all.

   I have been prevented, apparently by Microsoft, from using Google, had my computer infected with a virus coincident with reading the article “So, Trump was a Putin Puppet After All,” and none of the search engines find my website by key word searches, so that about 98 % of my traffic is word of mouth. No one will look into this, and we wonder how the elections could have been turned through the spy-marketing system we all love so much we just can’t even admit it exists, let alone put a stop to it. Or is it just Me?

   Here is the Yahoo listing a few days later, with the unused category listed first, and other things about one half remarkably selected to create an appearance. My suggestion again is that I have an agent who likes to present me this way. Compare the Google listing, which is a bit more normal. Again, such things done could easily turn an election, and by that the whole world. It is well beyond the possibility of accident, and intention could be demonstrated to a jury:

“The Wall,” Pink Floyd and P. E. Trump

   Has anyone yet considered the fertile ground of this comparison? Pink Floyd’s The Wall is a study of how Right Wing, fascist tyranny might emerge in Great Britain through music culture. The wall is a great theme, though no one can say just which wall. When the Berlin wall fell (1989), the theme was quickly adapted, though it is far more general than even Donney’s wall or the great wall of China. It is the wall of the artificial world made by the subjection of the human things to the things of the body- wealth, power, and fame, otherwise known in America as “success.” Yea, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

I have a study of The Wall, around the late Seventies section of my Rock Commentaries, accessible up there in the Menu. The Rock opera covers the time from the end of World War II up to the emergence of the cause of World War Three.

   Just a note: Conservative liberal arts people, while toasting Machiavelli, generally have a knee-jerk disdain of this opera due its apparent anti-education theme. The dark sarcasms of the English schoolmaster indeed failed to prevent the emergence of tyranny, because education in the West is so stifling and again artificial. We like the scene where the schoolmaster reads the words of Dark Side of the moon, making fun of what becomes enduring English poetry. We also like the telling of how these go home at night, and their savage wives beat them within inches of their lives. They are not capable of cultivating the spirit of liberty, which is worth more than the jobs and technology said to be the goal toward which we are supposed to enslave the youth. This is not Shakespeare’s anti-Machiavellian education, nor is it Jefferson’s love of liberty and hatred of tyranny.

P. S. : There really is a dark side of the moon, as evidenced by the missing socks, which the little man steals and hides there. These will be found one day, confirming a theory which, like the Biblical Revelation, was once thought to be a mere fairy tale.

Rock Music and Dance: Classical and Socrates

   Throughout the book of Rock commentaries (to be found in the menu on the homepage) I wonder about the strange question of Rock music and dance. Dance disappeared from music when Rock came, and there was no dance music from about 1965 through till about 1976, except for Reggae and Funk, which is a bit different from Rock. We note in Chapter One that air guitar seemed to be the bodily motion that goes with Rock, and remember how awkward it was in High School trying to dance to Led Zeppelin.

   Well today, as I was singing Kashmir and dancing to Santana out in the shed, and doing some involuntary air guitar to Ziggy Stardust, it occurred to me how that thing about Rock is not because of the influence of Jazz, but rather reminds me of the way the my old professor would air-conduct Mozart etc. Classical music too is not dance music, except when it is designed for like those French ballroom dances that developed out of the Italian ballroom dances of the late Middle ages.

   And then of course the whole Question quickly reminds me of Socrates. The very famous passage from Xenophon’s Symposium (II. 19) is roughly as follows:

Socrates: Or will you not see the same necessity then, that Charmedes caught me dancing early in the morning?

Yes, by God, said Charmides; and I was out of speech, and did not know if you were mad. But when I heard you say what you say now…

Charmedes then relates that he does not dance, but went home and practiced his shadowboxing, and if he was smart, some wrestling as well to keep his body and his art balanced, rather than developing only arms or legs. He was practicing only gymnastics and not music. The Socratic method of dance combines the two, moving the whole body, and that too is what I do, making adults speechless, but making Children laugh. You see, children are often not at a loss for the proper response by nature, and so are often much more fun to dance before than speechless and humorless adults.

   Imagine if Socrates had our recorded music at the touch of a button, and his own electric shed!

The Eagles “Last Resort:” Lyric Commentary

   There are some very good interpretations on the website Songmeanings.com, especially about the words Lahaina, by Hawaii, and Malibu, which means paradise. It is also very important that the inspiration came from the death of a particular person who came from Providence Rhode Island, moved to California, and was killed in a drunk driving accident by the president of Pepperdine. This Christian school bans drinking, and subsequently also banned this song, in violation of the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. He, the writer, does not think she came by the Providence of God, but just the Providence in Rhode Island. Providence RI was established by Roger Williams, the founder of the Baptists in America. He is responsible for the teaching of the separation of Church and State by the two clauses of the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, as Baptists persuaded Jefferson and Madison that this, the freedom of religion, was possible. That the old world shadows hang in the very old city of Providence is another very nice point. Now, had we followed the teachings of Jefferson, we would not have treated the natives so badly. Jefferson set the laws for the Northwest Territory, here in Michigania, and tried to secure the rights of the native Americans. The natives needed to turn wild property, which they did not own, into deeded property of a smaller extent so that they would have the vote and representation in Congress. The bad stuff really starts with Andy Jackson, who defied the Supreme Court and the ruling of Chief Justice Marshall to commit the national sin of the Trail of Tears, when Christian Cherokee were marched to their deaths on the way to Oklahoma. We need to get this disgrace off the twenty dollar bill. Allow us to suggest replacing him not with a woman to flatter our PC, but with Leopold Pokagon, the only native to successfully oppose Indian removal through the courts, and a truly great American.
The best example of the mistreatment of the natives by the Europeans may be the island where Columbus landed (Santo Domingo), and the enslavement and destruction of the very peaceful tribe there, which one can read about on the website takingthemaskoff, in his discussion of Thanksgiving. But, outside the meaning of the song, we now idealize the natives. While some were very nice, like the Hopi, Nez Perce and Powhattan, some were very savage and cruel, because Indians, as we called them, are humans too, and with our powers, some would have done the same or worse. The Sioux and the Iroquois are very warlike, and would torture at the drop of a hat, or scalp. The Iroquois would tie captives between two saplings and watch them torn slowly in half. And where are the reservations that the Iroquois or Sioux set up for the tribes they conquered? There is not a single example of any accommodation, because that is how uncivilized peoples are. Some, like the Aztecs and Anastasi, practiced cannibalism and human sacrifice, which we ban following Abraham, for the benefit of the whole world, including the natives. All peoples will be ruled mostly by custom, and the Biblical customs are superior, if we would follow them, though we have forgotten the horrors that Abraham and Moses replaced. No one else bans this stuff, so we perhaps need to think twice about “How they loved the land.” Now, the natives, who are very susceptible to alcohol, have casinos and are a part of this sinful American dream, bowling over the natural beauty to corrupt their fellow Americans with gambling. (The Europeans had alcohol for 10,000 years, so that those who were going to kill themselves with it did so, and they built up a genetic tolerance, even before distilled spirits were invented by the Muslim scientists of the 800’s). No one on the website Songmeanings has yet commented on “while the town got high,” which is what the Americans are now doing with their hippie liberty while their nation is destroying itself. We are governed mostly by custom and popular opinion, just as are the Christian free-market-eers. But the song is about these free marketeers: “Jesus is Comin'” on a neon sign, the American way. The song is Apocalyptic. We are failing this, our last resort, and we must change. We sing in Churches about what it is like up there, but we will not make it, but kiss paradise goodbye if we fail this, our last resort. This is called a rape, even worse than our prostitution, selling the higher things and our beauties for profit, because our free market philosophy subjects everything, not just providing for the body, to money-making. Soon it is not just adding value that earns profit, but the power of money, used to destroy the value of competitor’s products and extort money with the power that value creating brings, then used to control the Congress that out regulate the markets to assure that these companies do not profit by destroying the common good and individual rights, so that no company willing only to make an honest buck can compete. That is how Oligarchy turns quickly into tyranny, and we are letting this happen, just now. We are supposed to exercise our dominion not to rape or prostitute, but to husband the animals and the land as stewards of the Lord’s Creation (Genesis 1).
To conclude, we call attention to the commercial Babylon described in the eighteenth chapter of the Revelation, following the account of the ecclesiastic Babylon of Chapter 17. We hope America can avoid being this commercial Babylon, though it does not look hopeful. We also note that all that is required for the events of Revelation to take place, given the politics and political climate in the rest of the world, is the destruction of America. Everything else is nearly now in place.

mmcdonaldon February 22, 2016   Link

Lyric Interpretation: Chain Gang

Here is an example of lyric interpretation, really just a note that I would try to work into the Rock Commentaries book, if it even fits. Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders wrote this, called “Chain Gang,” back in the Sixties. It is about getting back to work after a period of mourning for a love or friendship. In the book, we have said that the lyric is “apocalyptic,” (as an adjective, not a noun) without saying much about why. Here is the key section:

The powers that be

And force us to live like we do

Brings me to my knees

When I see what they’ve done to you

But I’ll die as I stand here today

Knowing that deep in my heart

The’ll fall to ruin one day

For making us part.

The “powers that be” can destroy love and things superior to anything these powers know. As in the Revelation, evil may glory in the conquest of the good, or the saints, though this reign of terror on the earth is very brief, “seven years” or maybe shorter. These think they have defeated God by striking down the innocent and noble. But they fall quickly to ruin, and for their very malice to the good. The good, meantime, the lovers or friends, are briefly defeated, and everyone then questions divine justice so deeply that faith dissolves. The Jews after the Holocaust lost faith in great numbers, as the intellectuals turned to science, since a just God could not possibly allow what they have seen.  This is called the problem of evil, and includes the question of divine justice. But the truth is, like the yin yang symbol with the spot of light in darkness, that the good have lived, and even brought the evil down by being present for their malice. So the evil may briefly ascend, even as the good may briefly be subjected. And the moments that touch on the life of the soul may be eternal.

Providence does not work the way we want it to, when we are trying to get God to serve us. This willful puppeteer of the universe is not what scripture teaches. The name “Almighty” may be the only scriptural teaching on Providence.  Jesus, in the parable of the sower and the teaching in Luke about the tower at Siloam, has a different teaching. The problem of evil does not go away, but it is a little less severe. Accident and malice are better accounted for by recognizing that the mythic picture which says that God made a world of real accidents and liberty because he wanted to see what we would do, and to have other things that move themselves in every sense, and really cause and choose. Why be the only one, alone? The free will and determinism question always seemed to me a bit illusory, like both are true and neither mean what we think. We take up the whole question forgetting that we cause, and not just like animals cause: we have eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

To have a soul with the highest faculties and capacities, the perversion of these must be possible. So in the world, the possibility of good does not require evil, but opens that possibility for a bad third of mankind to fall into.

The continual harassment of the workday world, the prison “chain gang,” which she tersely accepts, brings her to her knees, though, when she sees how this has destroyed one that she loves. Here she is like Cordelia in Shakespeare’s King Lear, who for herself could “out frown false fortune’s frown,” but for her father Lear, seeing what has happened to him, she is “cast down,” downcast or sad. James Taylor says the same thing in “Fire and Rain,” when he says, “Suzanne, the plans they made put an end to you.” She, Chrissie, will die as she stands now, in the permanent conviction that they, the powers that be, will fall one day for destroying the fragile mortal plant of love.

Rock Commentaries First Draft Finished!

Do You ever wonder about the meaning of songs? The last three Chapters of the Rock Commentaries were set here on WordPress today, and will be available free for a limited time. The list of Songs that are good to play at weddings should be helpful for DJ’s and those getting married, and the essay on Bloom should be helpful to philosophers. The articles on Aqualung, Quadrophenia, Ziggy Stardust and Creed I think are among the best things written on these, but writers always think that the day they print, till they get home and see all the errors! As said before, it’s because if we could think of anything better, we would include it! I expect to learn more soon from Sean Wilentz and Greil Marcus. But I still think I’m right about Sad Eyed Lady, and don’t want to hear that its about his wife instead, even from Dylan- ok, maybe both. Come visit!

Rock Commentaries on Kickstarter

We have launched the project to publish the Rock Commentaries, in whatever form this will be allowed. The first half of the book is now free on the website mmcdonald77.wordpress.com. Soon the second half may go up. I want to work more on Quadrophenia and Dylan. Yesterday I wrote on Sad Eyed Lady. Who is she, where the sad eyed prophets say that no man comes? His warehouse eyes? And should he leave them by her gate? Or rather, sad eyed lady, should he not just wait? For an anti-intellectual, are the images not about philosophy or even the spirit and the Church? That Bob.

Another section of the Rock Commentaries: Louie Louie, Love, and Dylan

Part One, Chapter One of the Rock Commentaries has just been published. After the intro on Music history and American Pie, this one, about Louie, Love and Dylan, has been published at the Music page of the website mmcdonald77.wordpress.com. Click on the subsection under Music, one of the seven pools on the Menu at the top of the screen. I am very proud of this today! We want Bob to like it, even though most of Hard Rain, we still don’t know what it means! But see if this is not the best Rock commentary on Lyrics you have ever read! Writers always think that on publishing day, cause if we could think of anything better, we would write it!

Peace/Love, MM

P. S. Now, and next chapter, we start to Rock.