Strawberry Music Festival 2007

Live at Camp Mather, CA, September 1, 2007.

Unlike Bruce Springsteen and, in recent years, The Dixie Chicks, one generally does not associate folk-rock artist Lucinda Williams with political raps onstage.

Probably because of the picturesque setting of the Strawberry Music Festival – which takes place at Camp Mather, Yosemite, California with mountains, meadows, pine forest and lake – that it just riles up Williams who feels that America is not a bad place. In fact, it’s a beautiful place, but it sure is going to hell because of a bad government.

That’s probably why she sounds so decidedly venomous on the track Unsuffer Me. Then she hits out at Bush and his cronies. She says: “I’m getting sick and tired of reading the front page of the papers everyday and listening to this garbage within the White House and all this crap. We gotta get rid of these people. Please, can we quit talking about it and do something about it? I’m tired of this. They act like there’s so much time to sit around and discuss things… I think, the White House should take some psychedelics. I don’t know what other answer is there. Nothing else seems to work, you know. They go to church, they claim to know god, they claim to be spiritual, religious people. Obviously they are not, that’s not doing any good. I think somebody needs to put LSD in President Bush’s coffee.”

Before she ends her set, she makes another plea. “I’m probably on the FBI list… since 1968 or 69 when I was kicked out of high school for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Don’t get me wrong. I love this country… I’m a patriot and if you are a patriot, you should be a revolutionary. Let’s bring revolution back to patriotism. Patriotism is about revolution. Remember? That’s what this country was founded on. Not fundamentalism, not fundamentalist religion and the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. That’s not what this country is supposed to be about…”

To emphasise that there is a place for politics in music, just before her final song, I Live My Life, she says, “This is a Fats Domino song… it’s an uplifting, let’s live and enjoy the time that we have while we make changes at the same time.”

This is not the complete show but, especially in these troubled times, these tracks certainly are worth listening.

Thanks to litmus who recorded the show and for sharing the lossless tracks on the internet.

1. Unsuffer Me
2. “Tune In, Turn On, Don’t Cop Out” rap
3. Sweet Old World
4. “Put LSD in President Bush’s Coffee” rap
5. Marching the Hate Machines Into the Sun
6. “Bring Revolution back to Patriotism” rap
7. I Live My Life
8. Strawberry Announcements

Click here to download the tracks.

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