Tuesday, August 4, 2009

WEEKLY GEEKS: Music and Books


This week we have a guest post by Ashley of Complete and Unabridged:

So, my fellow Weekly Geeks, your challenge this week is to come up with at least one song-book match. It could remind you of a theme from the book, a specific part of the plot, or even one of the characters (a sort of theme song, if you will). Be sure to include samples of the lyrics and the reason why that song reminds you of that book. If you can provide a link to a recording of the song so that other geeks can hear it that would be great as well. (One good place to look for links is last.fm, there are others, too).


I have an obscure book and an even more obscure singer and song to write about this week.

Once upon a time in 2005, I got an iPod. Then I discovered that there was a free song available for download every week on iTunes. I love me some free songs. One of the first songs I downloaded was called Suicidewinder by Ridley Bent. I loved that song; it still is the most listened to song on my iPod. I liked it so much, I bought the CD Blam! which just goes to show that it was worthwhile to give me a free song.

Blam! has been described as hick-hop, a blend of country/folk and hip-hop. some songs are more rap, some more country. I fell in love with several songs, and the one titled Fruit Pickers always reminded me of what I imagined The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck was about, even if I hadn't actually read it. Set during the dirty thirties, Fruit Pickers is about the beginnings of a union for the migrant fruit pickers in California. It's like a political folk song written by a Halifax-born, Alberta cowboy.

As I went looking for some information to write this little Geeky post, I discovered that I was correct to associate this song with Steinbeck, I just had the wrong book. It is actually based on his book In Dubious Battle, a lesser known book that I also haven't read. You have to like a singer who writes a song based migrant workers from an obscure book by Steinbeck.

Fruit Pickers (In Dubious Battle) words by Ridley Bent, music by Cameron Latimer

Jim Nolan had a hard man for an old man,
they'd say he'd take on five men with his bare hands,
But somehow he's always come up against six,
And Jimmy found him one morning beaten to death in a ditch.
So he put his pop in the earth and on his way back to work
He stopped in Lincoln Park where a man talked about self-worth
And got cracked in the back of the neck with a nightstick.
Locked up for being a vagrant which in America during the depression,'
was a word synonymous with communist.

Now some men in the pen talked about this resistance,
said fighting for yourself is useless but fighting for a cause is bliss.
Well Jimmy listened and when free he enlisted,
He barely subsisted for months but he persisted. He assisted Max, a veteran field agent
Who saw in his new comrade a keen mind and a quiet strength.

There's some fruit pickers in southern California just got their wages cut
you and I are on the next train down there, see if we can't stir things up.

A snippet of Fruit Pickers (In Dubious Battle) can be heard partially here at last.fm

1 comment:

Lady Lazarus said...

I've never heard of the band but just the description - hick-hop - makes me want to check them out :-D