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Lyr Add: There's Anger in the Land (D West, H West

Mrrzy 25 Sep 14 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 26 Sep 14 - 09:32 AM
Mrrzy 26 Sep 14 - 10:00 AM
Mrrzy 26 Sep 14 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 27 Sep 14 - 06:03 AM
Jim Dixon 28 Sep 14 - 10:52 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: ANGER IN THE LAND, not by PP&M or Odetta
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Sep 14 - 05:06 PM

ANGER IN THE LAND as performed by (I had thought it was Odetta but the Internet doesn't find her doing it, and the PP&M versions are cleaned of the second verse), recalled by Mrrzy

Feel free to discuss the topicality of this song with the cops shooting threads, or the fact that the full version has been cleaned.

ANGER IN THE LAND

Oh, there's grievin' in the country.
There's sorrow in the sand.
There's sobbin' in the shanty,
And there's anger in the land.

There's been another lynchin'
And another grain of sand
Swells the mountain of resentment
Oh, there's anger in the land

A woman broods in silence
Close beside an open door,
Flung down on her flimsy doorstep
Lies a corpse upon the floor.

"You'll not ask me why I'm silent,"
The woman said to me.
Her two eyes blazed in anger
And her throat throbbed agony.

"Once my heart could cry in sorrow.
Now it lies there on the floor
In the ashes by the hearthstone.
They can't hurt it anymore."

Oh, let the wind go cryin' yonder
In the tree-tops by the spring.
Let its voice be soft and feelin'
Like it was a livin' thing.

There's grievin' in the country.
There's sorrow in the sand.
There's sobbin' in the shanty,
And there's anger in the land.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Anger in the Land, not by PP&M or Odetta
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 26 Sep 14 - 09:32 AM

Actually, you probably recalled it from the singing of Hedy West. It was written by her father and trade union organiser, Don West, and recorded by Hedy on her LP, Serves 'em Fine. Fontana STL5432.

A very powerful song thought and one which should be back in circulation. It puts me in mind of that most frightening of all anti-racist songs, Strange Fruit.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Anger in the Land, not by PP&M or Odetta
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Sep 14 - 10:00 AM

I don't think so - but thanks. We had it on a record when I was growing up, and I've never heard of her so we didn't have a record with her on it, if that makes sense.

Wonder why they took the verse about the lynching out when they sang it, PP&M I mean.

Bully for Hedy's father, too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Anger in the Land, not by PP&M or Odetta
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Sep 14 - 10:20 AM

Found another thread on this, that didn't pop up on my earlier search.

Blicky.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Anger in the Land, not by PP&M or Odetta
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 27 Sep 14 - 06:03 AM

Mrrzy. If you've never heard of Hedy West, then I strongly recommend that you get an earful, for she was an absolutely wonderful singer.

I can particularly recommend two compilations:-

Hedy West Accompanying Herself on the 5-String Banjo Plus Volume 2. Vanguard VCD 71924. The strange title comes about because they represent two LPs which Hedy recorded for Vanguard in the early sixties.

Ballads & Songs From the Southern Appalachians. Fellside FECD 241. That's a double CD which reprises three albums which she cut for Topic in the early/mid sixties; Albums, Old Times and Hard Times: Pretty Saro and other Appalachian Ballads: Ballads.

The Fellside is, for my money, the most wonderful of the two, but you can find Anger in the Land on the Vanguard.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THERE'S ANGER IN THE LAND (Don West)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 28 Sep 14 - 10:52 AM

From No Lonesome Road: Selected Prose and Poems by Don West (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004), page 147:


THERE'S ANGER IN THE LAND
Don West
    Note: In the summer of 1950 I picked up a Negro hitchhiker in South Georgia and brought him across the Chattahoochee at Eufala, Alabama. As we crossed the river he began telling me the story of how his brother was lynched and his body cut down from the limb and flung across the doorstep of his mother's shack—broken, bleeding and lifeless.
Oh, there's grieving in the plum-grove
And there's weeping in the weeds,
There is sorrow in the shanty
Where a broken body bleeds.

For there's been another lynching
And another grain of sand
Swells the mountain of resentment—
Oh, there's anger in the land!

And a woman broods in silence
Close beside an open door
Flung across the flimsy door-step
Lies a corpse upon the floor!

You'll not ask me why I'm silent;
Thus the woman spoke to me.
Her two eyes blazed forked anger
And her throat throbbed agony.

Let the wind go crying yonder
In the tree-tops by the spring,
Let its voice be soft and feeling
Like it was a living thing.

Once my heart could cry in sorrow
Now it lies there in the floor
In the ashes by the hearth-stone—
They can't hurt it anymore!

Did you ever see a lynching,
Ever see a frenzied mob
Mill around a swaying body
When it's done the hellish job?

Yes, the night was full of terror
And the deeds were full of wrong
Where they hung him to a beech-wood
After beating with a thong.


There's grieving in the plum-grove
And there's sobbing in the sand,
There is sorrow in the shanties—
And there's anger in the land!

[This poem was originally published in The Road is Rocky by Don West (1951). It was set to music by Hedy West.

[Don West (1906-1992) was the father of Hedy West (1938-2005).]


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