A Review of the Janet Bates CD
by Janet Bates
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 7/06
Social commentary songs remain alive and well. It's just that, compared to yesteryear, there are
so few outlets playing such music today.
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So, if a topical, political CD is released into the musical 'forest" and very few, if any, hear it, does it make any sound?
Such conundrums do not deter Janet Bates. Currently residing in Oregon,
Bates continues sincere in and committed to the personal and musical
expression of her beliefs and values.
This is her latest release, loaded with topics du jour from our daily newspapers and weekly magazines.
In "Bearded stranger," about a return visit by Jesus, Bates wonders
whether many of 'spiritual leaders' who are focused more on expanding their
personal billfolds or congregation size than preaching about and and living a good life, would
recognize, let alone, accept Jesus. Bates, a defier and denier of the
status quo a la Jesus, closes this cut with:
"...how would you recognize a savior if he touched you on your sleeve
Wouldn't the FBI have Jesus under surveillance as an enemy of
don't you think he'd be a poor man, don't you think he'd come in peace
he would look out at the sorrow and the darkness and the pain
and he would start a revolution, once again"
"Rwanda" depicts the ever-present clash between (im)morality, national and international interests. As George Santayana wrote: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
About how current events should be a clarion call for activism,
"Calling for you" asks "...Is it getting harder to believe what is
said, is it getting harder to just turn your head..."
In "Prisoner of New Orleans," Bates takes the real life viewpoint of a single, working mother who is denied passage over a bridge out of New Orleans during the Katrina disaster.
"Mother's day" bleeds irony. A mother worrys whether her son is amoung
the latest casualty in Iraq, rules out the possibility, but then
realizes that there is another mother somewhere who actually has just
suffered the loss.
As always, Bates encases her lyrics in a collage of instrumentation
that propels the songs forward. And fear not; this is no preachy
screeching. It is a musical commentary on the important topics and
events of the day. This is sonorous humanism personified, light for
those blinded by the darkness.
- Calling for you (4:00)
- Another child (5:00)
- Bearded stranger (2:36)
- Farewell to you, army of one (3:22)
- Do us part (3:59)
- Rwanda (3:41)
- Prisoner of New Orleans (3:03)
- A prisoner of conscience (3:26)
- Mothers day (3:46)
- A day is coming (3:07)
- American soldier (4:20)
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