The Power of Protest

May 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Even people who do not watch or read the news on a regular basis (as I no longer do since leaving that field years ago) can’t help but be familiar with the latest events taking place in Baltimore.

I don’t normally write songs about topical events because such songs run the risk of becoming dated before they ever become widely known. Both the events and the public feelings (on all sides) aroused, along with the relatively short shelf life of protest songs got me to thinking of Phil Ochs, a folk singer who became well known in the 1960s and faded almost as fast, on both accounts because of the topical songs he wrote and sang about civil rights, the Vietnam War, and so much more.

In spite of the short life span of “protest songs,” I felt like I wanted to and should write something about what has been happening in Baltimore.

Apparently, great minds think alike because, no sooner had I finished writing my song when I found out that Prince had also written a song about Baltimore. I’m sure his is probably better. For one thing, he writes with more of a vested interest as an African-American. Second, he has been writing commercially/professionally for longer than I. In spite of that, I share what I wrote in hopes of adding a little something to the discussion and in hopes of getting more people talking.

          Baltimore, City of Broken Dreams

I see the pictures on the evening news
So many people,
So much to lose
Baltimore –
Coming apart at the seams

I hear the people yelling in the street
So much anger
You can feel the heat
Baltimore –
A city of broken dreams

From Camden Yards
To old Mount Clare
The tension’s building
It’s everywhere
From Pier SixTo the Armistead
All your colors
Now have run to red

I hear the critics from the left and right
The middle ground
Is nowhere in sight
Baltimore –
The memory of Pratt Street lives on

People opening wounds that never healed
Long buried passions
Are again revealed
Baltimore -The charm of your city has gone

From Camden Yards
To old Mount Clare
The tension’s building
It’s everywhere
From Pier SixTo the Armistead
All your colors
Now have run to red

Baltimore –
Your colors have all run to red

Baltimore –
Your colors have all run to red

© 2015 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

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