Oh Say Can You Sing

Digby’s looking for songs or song lyrics that exemplify liberal identity. He’s using embarrassing hack Gretchen Wilson and her bad and obvious song as an example of how a certain type of in-your-face dime-a-dozen country music has come to be tied to conservative politics, like a perfect marriage between a giant pile of money and a rotting bucket of squid, and saying, hey, what’s our music?

It’s an interesting question, because all stereotypes aside (and admitting that what I know about music would fill a very small page in the world’s smallest notebook), it’s about what type of and what specific music speaks to you, what feels familiar to you and what makes you say, oh, I know how that feels. Myself, I’ve always been partial to Bob Dylan:

Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?

Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?

I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’,

I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,

Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,

Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,

Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,

Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden,

Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,

Where black is the color, where none is the number,

And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,

And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,

Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’,

But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’,

And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard,

It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

But in the end, you really, really, really can’t beat a much-loved, much-warbled, drunken old bar song like this.