Year: 1997
Original Format: cassette

Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about freedom. Everybody wants it but nobody really knows what to do with it. It’s perplexing and troubling and mysterious but, as someone once said, I like the trouble and I like the mystery.

Playlist:

I See the Truth Peter Tosh
This is from the documentary Stepping Razor: RED X, which as of today anyway is available for free viewing on yer YouTube:

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Dub Revolution (Part 1) Lee “Scratch” Perry and the Upsetters
“The great sound system engineers of Jamaica in the late 1960s and early 1970s pioneered the instrumental remix and were the first to make the style popular. Using only primitive recording and mixing equipment, the mixing engineer took a lead role in defining the sound of the recording, using the mixing board as his instrument. The resulting dub craze that occurred in Jamaica in the mid 1970s further established the mixing engineer as an artist. For the first time in recorded music, the sound of a recording become connected not only with the musicians and the producer, but with the mixing engineer as well. Dub became a tradition and a part of the musical culture in Jamaica. The proliferation of instrumental mixes, known as versions, as well as radically remixed dubs that resulted opened the doors to a vast new field of musical expression that would eventually be embraced not only by Jamaican music but by popular music all over the world.” —John Bush, Dub Revolution: The Story of Jamaican Dub Reggae and Its Legacy

Vent Tricky
“Ventolin is an asthma inhaler, which is the medicine she’s referring to. The song is about how some individual is making the narrator have an asthma attack, but is also the one that hid the narrator’s medicine. It’s also probably a metaphor for a relationship, in which the individual caused the person to get into this ‘state’ and has hid his/her ‘medicine,’ which is getting out of the relationship.” —Commenter “shnugen17,” Songmeanings.com

Fuck Shit Up The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
“The intentional, and deliberate action of creating chaos for the amusement of one’s self or peers; Fucking Shit Up is appropriate in almost all situations including, but not limited too: Schools, Malls, Homes, Weddings, Parties, Occupational Facilities, Cemeteries, Supermarkets, Fast Food Restaurants, Fairs, Beaches, Public Events, Hospitals, and Gang Affiliated Territories. Fucking Shit Up is a skill that not many possess. Only a true psychopathic, twisted, demented, traumatized, deranged, sick bastard is capable of such acts of cruel, unusual and chaotic behavior. This specific type of behavior originated in the city of Miami, Florida.” —Urban Dictionary

Fight the Power (excerpt) Public Enemy
Fight the Power The Isley Brothers

Free Goodie Mob
Things I’ve learned today: 1) Goodie Mob will be opening for Erykah Badu in Greensboro, NC just a few days from now — May 27, 2022. I bet that will be a barn-burner, Jack. 2) There’s a much longer version of this song, complete with rap, that is really quite tremendous:

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No More Kings Pavement
3) Pavement’s version of this Schoolhouse Rock chestnut is quite faithful in its own weird way. 4) Back in 2008 one “burtflaxton” combined original SR animation with Pavement’s audio, with delightful results:

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You’re Free Producers for Bob
Good advice from Mr. Dobbs.

The Harder They Come Jimmy Cliff
Among those to have covered this song over the years are Joe Strummer, Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, Jerry Garcia, and, um… Cher?

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The Guns of Brixton The Clash
And among those who have covered this song is Jimmy Cliff himself. Ain’t that something?

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The Shot Heard Round the World Ween

I Like the Mystery James Cox
For many years I had forgotten where got this. Turns out it’s from Ken Burns’ 1997 PBS documentary Thomas Jefferson. There must have been an edit in there somewhere, because the transcript I found goes like this:

I go right back to the equality clause. It is “all men are created equal.” I think that’s the key one. And that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of happiness — it’s difficult to know. It’s not quite — he isn’t a pleasure-seeker. And yet he knows that freedom is happiness too. That liberty will enable you to pursue happiness. And how grand it is that in a capitalistic country like this, that he did not follow Locke and have life, liberty and property. And that mystery of the pursuit of happiness suits me just fine. If the equality clause will trouble us a thousand years, as [Robert] Frost said [in North of Boston, “The Black Cottage” (1915)], if it’ll trouble us, then the pursuit of happiness will mystify us forever. And I like the trouble and I like the mystery.

The Battle of New Orleans The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
“The guy over there at Pease — a woman actually — she said something about a country-western song about the train, a light at the end of the tunnel… I only hope it’s not a train coming the other way. Well, I said to her, well, I’m a country music fan. I love it, always have. Doesn’t fit the mold of some of the columnists, I might add, but nevertheless — of what they think I ought to fit in, but I love it. You should have been with me at the CMA awards at Nashville. But nevertheless, I said to them there’s another one that the Nitty Ditty Nitty Gritty Great Bird — and it says if you want to see a rainbow you’ve got to stand a little rain. We’ve had a little rain. New Hampshire has had too much rain.” —President George H.W. Bush, 1992

Amnesia David Byrne
“Amnesia refers to the loss of memories, such as facts, information and experiences. Though forgetting your identity is a common plot device in movies and television, that’s not generally the case in real-life amnesia. Instead, people with amnesia — also called amnestic syndrome — usually know who they are. But, they may have trouble learning new information and forming new memories.” —The Mayo Clinic

I’m Set Free Velvet Underground
Eno does a nice cover of this one:

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High Water Mark Harry Dean Stanton
From Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, of course. HDS (RIP) is a good match for HST’s prose.

Revolution Los Lobos
Los Lobos did this song at the famously disastrous Woodstock 99, which seems very apropos. The concert may have been a fiasco, but they sound fine:

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The Getaway (excerpt) Tuatara
This was one of those cases where you hear something on the radio, wait for it to be back-announced, and immediately run out and buy it. The album, which features members of REM and Screaming Trees, was disappointing. In fact even this song goes on for too long, which is why I faded it out. But for a minute there it really levitates.

Think Aretha Franklin
This song is frustratingly short; they’re just getting going when it fades out. But you can always play it again.

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