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The Mudcat Cafesj

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(Richard Fariña)

I was standing on the sidewalk, had a noise in my head.
There were loudspeakers babbling, but nothing was said.
There were twenty-seven companies of female Marines.
There were presidential candidates in new Levis jeans.
It was the red, white and blue planning how to endure.
The fife, drum and bugle marching down on the poor.
God bless America, without any doubt.
And I figured it was time to get out.

Well I have to b'lieve that in between scenes, good people.
Went and got em done in the sun, good people.
Tourist information said to get on the stick.
You ain't moving 'til you're grooving with a Cubana chick.
So I hopped on a plane, I took a pill for my brain,
and I discovered I was feeling all right.
When I strolled down the Prado, people looked at me weird.
Who's that hippy, hoppy character without any beard?
Drinking juice from papayas, singing songs to the trees.
Dancing mambo on the beaches, spreading social disease.

Now the Castro convertible was changing the style,
a whole lot of action on a blockaded isle.
When along come a summons in the middle of night,
saying, "Buddy, we're about to indict."
When I went up on the stand with my hand, good people.
You've got to tell the truth in the booth, good people.
I started out with information kind of remote.
When a patriotic mother dragged me down by the throat.
"If they ask you a question, they expect a reply!"
Doesn't matter if you're fixin' to die.

Well I was lying there unconscious feeling kind of exempt.
When the judge said that silence was a sign of contempt.
He took out his gavel, banged me hard on the head.
He fined me ten years in prison, and a whole lot of bread.
It was the red, white and blue making war on the poor.
Blind mother justice, on a pile of manure.
Say your prayers and the Pledge of Allegiance every night.
And tomorrow, you'll be feeling all right.

Notes from
Political activism earned folk music artist/beat novelist Richard Farina a
subpoena to testify
before the House Un-American Activities Committee. The government wanted to make
him a criminal
after a playfully defiant trip to Cuba and his outspoken performances in college
campus communities.
But the crimes that were taking place in the United States of America were not
of the sort that
were perpetrated by Farina. They were violations of Civil Rights and personal
freedom provided for
by the U.S. Constitution. Though killed in a 1966 motorcycle accident, his
lyrics set to the
Celtic strains of acoustic guitar and Appalachian dulcimer, and his 12-bar blues
with electric guitar and bass accompaniment, remain as an indictment of those

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