British Conservative May’s Dolly Parton parody song

This 11 October 2018 music video from Britain says about itself:

Theresa May (aka Folly Partin’) pleads with DUP leader Arlene Foster not to collapse her premiership with this haunting take on “Jolene“.


Arlene, Arlene, Arlene, Arlene
I’m begging of you, don’t collapse my premiership
Arlene, Arlene, Arlene, Arlene
Please don’t, because I’ll never hear the end of it

I bribed you guys a billion quid to prop up us Conservatives
Is this how you repay me, Arlene Foster?

Yes, I blew my majority and came to you, the DUP
Remember how you said, “Eh, it’ll cost ya”
Your aims are contradictory: no border in the Irish Sea
And none on land either, that doesn’t work!

You don’t believe in dinosaurs and rights of women to abort
Some unionist you are, you utter berk

Arlene, Arlene, Arlene, Arlene
Don’t f**k this up, for absolute f**k’s sake
Arlene, Arlene, Arlene, Arlene
I’ll give the money tree another shake

United States country singer Merle Haggard dies

Today, United States country singer Merle Haggard has died. This music video from the USA, of a song about the Iraq war, says about itself:

26 February 2009

Music video by Merle Haggard performing America First.

To remember him, I repost a 2007 blog post about him.

From Rocky Mountain News:

[US country singer Merle] Haggard, 69, talking to Rocky music writer Mark Brown from his home in Redding, Calif., continues to be the outlaw and renegade, a quality that has taken him to both jail and the top of the charts. …

*Your song America First came out against the war in Iraq without sounding unpatriotic.

“I think it’s pretty well agreed upon that I am an American.

My family history and my actions and my relatives who fought in previous wars, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam.

I’ve had grandchildren and brothers and cousins (serve).

I tried to get in but I was too young. I wound up going to jail for trying to get in the Army.

I think it’s a well-known fact that Merle Haggard is a red, white and blue American.

There are a lot of red, white and blue Americans who don’t believe in what we’re doing now, don’t believe we’re being told the truth.

We’re being told the truth after the fact because they get caught in their damn lies.

It’s a terrible time, politically, for America.

That Merle Haggard, during the Vietnam war seen as supporting that war, now opposes the Iraq war says quite something on George W. Bush.

New tarantula species named after singer Johnny Cash

Aphonopelma johnnycashi. Image credit: Hamilton C.A. et al.

From in the USA:

Aphonopelma johnnycashi: Newfound Tarantula Species Named after Johnny Cash

Feb 5, 2016 by Enrico de Lazaro

A team of researchers, directed by Dr. Chris Hamilton of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History, has discovered a previously unknown species of tarantula that lives in the plains and foothills of the western Sierra Nevada Mountains, the United States, and named it after the famed American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author Johnny Cash.

The newly-discovered species, Aphonopelma johnnycashi, has a distribution running along the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California and can be found inhabiting the following regions: Sierra Nevada, Central California Foothills and Coastal Mountains, and Central California Valley.

“The specific epithet, johnnycashi, is in honor of the country music legend, Johnny Cash,” Dr. Hamilton and co-authors explained in a paper in the journal ZooKeys.

“This species can be found near the area of Folsom Prison in California (famous for Cash’s song ‘Folsom Prison Blues’), and like Cash’s distinctive style of dress, where he was referred to as ‘the man in black’, mature males of this species are generally black in color.”

The breeding season of Aphonopelma johnnycashi, when mature males abandon their burrows in search of females, occurs during the fall (generally September-November).

“More than 50 different species of tarantulas had been previously reported from the United States, but that many of them were poorly defined and actually belonged to the same species,” Dr. Hamilton said.

To gain a better understanding of the diversity and distributions of these spiders, he and his colleagues spent more than a decade searching for tarantulas throughout scorching deserts, frigid mountains, and other locations in the American Southwest.

The team studied nearly 3,000 specimens, undertaking the most comprehensive taxonomic study ever performed on a group of tarantulas.

Because most species of tarantula in the United States are very similar in appearance and cannot be distinguished from each other using anatomical features alone, the researchers implemented a modern approach to taxonomy by employing anatomical, behavioral, distributional, and genetic data.

Their results indicate there are 29 species in the United States, among which Aphonopelma johnnycashi and 13 other species are new to science.

This music video from the USA says about itself:

Johnny Cash – Man in black with lyrics

Recorded February 16, 1971; Nashville, Tennessee

Singer Shania Twain against extinction of leopards

This music video is called Shania TwainThat Don’t Impress Me Much.

From Wildlife Extra:

Singer Shania Twain becomes a Leopard Ambassador

Singer Shania Twain has helped wild cat conservation organisation Panthera launch #IFAKEIT – a social media campaign to raise awareness of the need to save one of fashion’s most revered but underrepresented icons – the leopard.

“I was shocked to learn that these gorgeous animals are being killed for their beautiful skins and other parts for the illegal trade, and yet are so loved by the fashion world,” says Shania, who has been given the title of Leopard Ambassador.

Referred to as the ‘new neutral’, the big cat’s spotted print has inspired fashion for centuries, influencing style all over the world.

The purpose of this campaign is to inform the general public that while the spots they are wearing are so widespread, the real leopard is under serious threat.

Every year, more leopards are killed in the wild than any other big cat. The species has vanished from nearly 40 per cent of its range in Africa and over 50 per cent in Asia. Many are killed simply for their beauty, as although they are in jeopardy from loss of habitat and conflict with people, the demand for their skins is one of the main causes of their decline.

Even though the international trade in leopard skin is now illegal, it is still common for local communities in Africa and Asia to use real leopard skins for religious and cultural ceremonies, whether worn as capes or used for other traditional regalia.

Panthera’s Furs for Life Leopard Project is providing a simple and sustainable solution that protects leopards but also supports local culture, collaborating with digital designers to create a high-quality and realistic faux leopard skin to replace the authentic skins worn at ceremonies.

More than 5,000 faux leopard capes have already been donated in southern Africa, and Panthera’s new partnership with the Peace Parks Foundation and Cartier will enable the distribution of at least another 13,000 more capes before the end of 2017.

“We wanted to capitalise on the fact that people everywhere are wearing more leopard print than ever, but so few know what’s actually happening to them in the wild,” says Shania.

“With Panthera, we aim to begin this conversation and generate awareness for leopards on a grand scale, while giving people something tangible to grasp, and engage in a fun and impactful way.”

To do this, the singer and the charity have launched the #IFAKEIT campaign, which asks people around the globe to join the movement and show how they ‘fake it’ for leopards.

They are encouraged to post photos of themselves wearing fake leopard print to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the #IFAKEIT tag. …

The campaign first aims to generate 18,000 unique mentions tagged with #IFAKEIT on social media, to accompany each donated cape, as a thank you to the communities willing to fake it and to stop leopards from being killed for their skins.

The campaign also aims to raise $300,000 for the creation of at least 5,000 new fake leopard skins to distribute to communities outside of southern Africa, and to support other conservation activities to protect leopards across their range.

Lizwi Ncwane, an elder and legal adviser of the Nazareth Baptist ‘Shembe’ Church, says, “As a leader of the Shembe community, I have seen first hand how receptive my community is to using these fake skins.

“Not only do they look and feel like real leopard skins, they also last longer. We’re grateful that Panthera has worked with us in finding a solution that interweaves the conservation of leopards with the customs of the Shembe.”

Country musician Willie Nelson’s new album

This music video from the USA is called Whatever Happened To Peace On Earth? Willie Nelson.

By Hiram Lee in the USA:

Willie Nelson’s Band of Brothers: A songwriter returns

2 September 2014

Veteran country music artist Willie Nelson is now 81 years old. Approaching the sixth decade of his career, he continues to record and perform at an impressive pace. A talented singer, songwriter and guitarist, it is hard to think of another performer in the genre as well liked as he.

Nelson has been making music professionally since 1956. While he found little success as a recording artist in those first several years, he was able to establish himself quickly as a songwriter of note. Some of his early compositions have become standards recorded by large numbers of country, jazz and blues musicians. Nelson wrote “Crazy,” made famous in a legendary recording by Patsy Cline, and “Night Life,” which Ray Price recorded. “Hello Walls” became a hit for Faron Young and “Funny How Time Slips Away” was recorded by Billy Walker.

Like most country music performers, the Texas-born Nelson’s career eventually became centered in Nashville. But Nelson never quite fit in there. He grew frustrated with the constraints of the Nashville entertainment industry and moved back to Texas in the early 1970s. …

In more recent years, an even larger majority of Nelson’s recorded output has consisted of songs by other composers. His latest album, Band of Brothers, however, marks a return to songwriting. Not since his 1996 release Spirit has a Willie Nelson album featured this many new compositions.

Band of Brothers is an interesting and entertaining album. Nelson’s unique, nasal singing voice has begun to weaken somewhat, but his loose—even casual—sense of rhythm remains. His lyrics fall into the music like clothes tossed onto a bed, but they fit him well in the end. …

This music video from the USA is called Willie Nelson/ The Git Go – New Album “Band Of Brothers”.

While Band of Brothers may represent Nelson’s return as a songwriter, some of the strongest songs are still those written by other composers. Perhaps the best verse on the album belongs to veteran songwriter Billy Joe Shaver and his song “The Git Go.” In a duet with Jamey Johnson, Nelson sings Shaver’s angry words:

Money breeds war as long as there’s a man alive/Rich kids go to college and the poor kids fight/And high rollers crap out every time/Roll up soldiers’ bones like loaded dice/War is a beast that makes every mother cry.

One is reminded that when popular country music stars, including Toby Keith and Darryl Worley, wrote openly pro-war songs like “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” and “Have You Forgotten?” during preparations for the Iraq war in 2003, Willie Nelson responded with the anti-war song “Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth?” in which he asked the questions: “How much oil is one human life worth?” and “How much is a liar’s word worth?”

Country singer Shania Twain helping leopards

This video is called The Leopard Queen [Full Nature Wildlife Documentary].

From Wildlife Extra:

Shania Twain to help save leopards

Superstar country singer Shania Twain has joined cat conservation charity Panthera as a Global Ambassador for its newly launched leopard conservation initiative, Project Pardus. Twain intends to use her global platform to make the connection between the cat’s renowned beauty and its plight in the wild.

“The image and spirit of the leopard is an inspiration to millions around the world, including myself,” said Shania. “That it is also the most oppressed of the big cats is almost unknown. If we’re to save this animal in the wild, we have to get ahead of the curve before it suffers the same fate as so many other species that we once felt to be secure in their numbers. I feel privileged to give back to a creature that depends for its future on what we do now to save it…and I urge the wider world to join Panthera and me in this mission.”

Leopards are threatened by the relentless destruction of habitat, and are being killed in the thousands by livestock herders, unsustainable trophy-hunting and poaching for their skins and body parts.

Panthera’s work already encompasses the African leopard as well as the endangered Persian or Caucasian leopard of Central Asia and the highly persecuted Indian leopard. With Project Pardus, the organization will launch new conservation initiatives that target other highly endangered sub-species including the Arabian leopard and the Sri Lankan leopard.

“The leopard is an amazingly versatile cat, able to live in habitats ranging from tropical rainforests to the Kalahari Desert,’’ said Dr. Luke Hunter, Panthera’s President and one of the world’s authorities on leopards. “However, that adaptability has meant the species has been largely ignored by conservationists. We are delighted and honoured that Shania will help put the leopard onto the conservation radar. With her help, the leopard will receive the urgent attention it needs.”

This music video from the USA is called Shania Twain Up! Live In Chicago 2003.

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Common Linnets at Eurovision song contest

This video is about a common linnet singing.

Common linnets will be the Dutch participants in the 2014 Eurovision song contest in Denmark.

Not meaning the birds, but two Dutch country and western singers with that stage name.

From the Eurovision song contest site:

The Common Linnets to represent the Netherlands in Copenhagen

Hilversum, the Netherlands

Today at the Wisseloord Studios in Hilversum, AVROTROS announced that The Common Linnets (Ilse DeLange and Waylon) will represent the Netherlands at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen.

Ilse DeLange and Waylon are definitely not unknown on the Dutch music scene both having made a big impact throughout the years.

Today it was announced by broadcaster AVROTROS that the two have joined together to form The Common Linnets and are poised to represent the Netherlands at Europe’s favourite TV show in May.

It was also announced that the song will be presented at the beginning of March. Below you can find some more information about this exciting duo.

This video says about itself:

The Common Linnets PREVIEW of Eurovision 2014 – The Netherlands.

US bluegrass musician and peace activist Scruggs dies

This music video is called Flatt & Scruggs Foggy Mountain Breakdown.

By Hiram Lee in the USA:

Bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs dies at 88

31 March 2012

Legendary Bluegrass musician Earl Scruggs died March 28 at the age of 88. Scruggs was an iconic banjo player who developed the three-finger rolling technique that became the defining sound of Bluegrass music. The recordings Scruggs made with Bill Monroe in the 1940s and with his long time collaborator Lester Flatt in the 1950s both shaped the genre and stand out among the finest work it has produced.

Scruggs was born January 6, 1924 in Shelby, North Carolina and grew up in a community called Flint Hill, which would later provide the name for one of his best known songs, “Flint Hill Special.” Scruggs was raised in a highly musical family. His father, a farmer, played banjo as did many of his brothers and sisters. Scruggs himself began playing the instrument around the age of four.

By the late 1930s, Scruggs had made his first attempts at becoming a professional musician. He joined a local group called the Morris Brothers, but was soon forced to quit, taking work at a local textile mill to help support his widowed mother. His life as a professional musician would not really begin until the end of World War II.

The Carolinas provided a rich musical environment during this period. Scruggs was influenced by a number of musicians in the area, both amateur and professional, including Snuffy Jenkins (1908-1990), who had begun to move away from the old-time “clawhammer” or “frailing” style of banjo in which the strings were strummed or rapped with the backs of the player’s fingernails. These new players utilized a freer, more syncopated finger-picking style. Scruggs surpassed them all, developing his own three-finger, virtuoso technique that would set the bar for all the players who came after him.

Scruggs’ big break in music came when he was hired by Bill Monroe, the “Father of Bluegrass,” in late 1945. Bluegrass music, which emerged and developed in the postwar period, was an energetic new style of folk music characterized by fast tempos and instrumental virtuosity, along with close harmony singing with soaring tenor vocalists taking the lead. The music seemed an almost cathartic release for the musicians who had finally put the Great Depression and the war years behind them.

Scruggs revitalized Monroe’s band the Blue Grass Boys, a group which also included the talented singer and guitarist Lester Flatt. Prior to Scruggs’ recruitment, David “Stringbean” Akeman had been the group’s banjo player. While a talented performer, Akeman played banjo in the old style and Monroe’s new musical experiments demanded something different. Scruggs’ new style of playing was the missing piece of the puzzle.

After a few years with Monroe’s group, Flatt and Scruggs left in 1948 to form their own band, the Foggy Mountain Boys. Their 1949 recording “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” remains their best-known song. With its distinctive melodic pattern played by Scruggs sliding his fingers into the notes and the surprising E minor chord in the opening theme, the song has become a kind of Bluegrass standard. The hurried, forward momentum of the song is exhilarating. …

The best work of Flatt and Scruggs, including the songs “Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms,” “Pike County Breakdown,” “Jimmie Brown the News Boy,” “Salty Dog Blues,” “Doin’ My Time,” “Down the Road” and “Earl’s Breakdown,” are essential listening and would provide an ideal introduction for listeners approaching Bluegrass music for the first time.

While their best music was undoubtedly recorded from the late 1940s through the 1950s, Flatt and Scruggs gained even wider recognition in the 1960s with their inescapable “Ballad of Jed Clampett,” the theme song to The Beverly Hillbillies television show. Their music was also featured prominently in Arthur Penn’s 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.

During this time the musically adventurous Scruggs embraced the up and coming musicians and new sounds in folk and rock music, often to the chagrin of the more traditional Flatt. At Scruggs’ urging, the duo began to expand their repertoire to include music from more contemporary songwriters, including Bob Dylan, John Hartford and Tim Hardin. Tensions over the group’s musical direction eventually led to its break-up in 1969.

That same year, Scruggs performed “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” at the October 15 Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam demonstration held in Washington, DC. In an interview filmed at the demonstration, Scruggs said “I think the people in the South is just as concerned as the people that’s walkin’ the streets here today … I’m sincere about bringing our boys back home. I’m disgusted and in sorrow about the boys we’ve lost over there. And if I could see a good reason to continue, I wouldn’t be here today.”

In the 1970s Scruggs formed a new group, the Earl Scruggs Revue, which included his sons Randy and Gary, and which mixed in elements of rock and blues music along with country and bluegrass.

Scruggs continued to record and perform into the last decade. Among his more notable recent recordings was the 2003 album Three Pickers, a collaboration with Ricky Scaggs and guitar great Doc Watson.

The news of Scruggs’ death on March 28 has been met with an outpouring of generous tributes from his fellow musicians. The warmth with which so many have spoken of the Bluegrass innovator is a testament to the enormous influence and inspiration his music has given to musicians and listeners all over the world. His passing at the age of 88 is a deeply felt loss.

Women in Peace-Building: Peace Amidst War for Resource Control. Emem Okon, Other Worlds: “In ‘Birthing Justice: Women Creating Economic and Social Alternatives,’ 12 women from movements around the world invite us into their lives, sharing their vision of what the world can and must become, and showing us what they and their community are doing to build that world…. We’re excited to kick off the Birthing Justice series with Emem Okon’s story, and we hope it will inspire you to be a part of the movement to honor, share, and celebrate the earth’s resources”: here.

English pro peace singer Michael Weston King

This video says about itself:

Michael Weston King – Hey Ma, I’m Coming Home

Michael Weston King live @ Toogenblik, Haren (Brussels, Belgium) on June 11, 2010.

From the new album “I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier”.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Michael Weston King

I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier (Valve Records)

Tuesday 17 August 2010

by Ivan Beavis

Inspired by the endless vigils of Wootton Bassett for the returning war dead of Iraq and Afghanistan, Michael Weston King has released this anthology of protest songs.

On some tracks, he has set music to words written decades ago. On others, he has used his own compositions to express the frustration, anger and sadness of ordinary people at the fact that the passage of time seems not to have lessened the madness and waste of war.

It is fitting that King has added his individual talent here to revitalise the arrangements of two classic songs from the great Phil Ochs.

His choices of Cops Of The World and Is There Anybody There are strikingly relevant today as we contemplate the state cover-up of the killing of Ian Tomlinson and the hundreds of our youngsters and the countless hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans being killed and maimed in the name of imperialist wars.

Also included are songs by Bob Dylan, Roosevelt Sykes, Bobby Womack and even Simple Song Of Freedom from Bobby Darin.

This shows the depth of research that King must have undertaken in order to amass this collection.

The sleeve notes point us to loads of other songs that he wanted to include but couldn’t.

However, King is best known worldwide as a singer-songwriter.

He has written songs for Townes Van Zandt, The Reveres and countless others and his self-penned contributions here are outstanding.

There is the boundless optimism of the front-line soldier in Hey Ma I’m Coming Home.

There is the certainty that we will win one day in In Time, and In Spain The Dogs Are Too Tired To Bite You reflects the exhaustion felt by working-class people struggling to survive and to change the status quo.

This is a heartfelt album, lovingly put together by King and his devoted band.

The standard of musicianship is extremely high and complements in a novel way what Langston Hughes was trying to say in the title track – no parent raises their child to be killed in the service of the elite.

The fight against war, against police brutality and for our voices to be heard will step up as we seek to resist this Con-Dem assault on the working class.

It’s doubtful that the mass media will play any of the songs showcased here, but if you want a worthwhile soundtrack to listen to as the bastards try to grind you down then you had better buy this album. It won’t lessen the pain, but it will strengthen your resolve.

Britain: Four of the Metropolitan Police’s riot squad will appear in court next month to answer charges of actual bodily harm against Babar Ahmed, a south London IT worker: here.

US miners and singer Kathy Mattea

This video from the USA is called Kathy Mattea sings Coal Tattoo @ Joes Pub in NYC.

From British daily The Morning Star:

The soul of Coal

(Tuesday 20 January 2009)

Interview: Folk musician KATHY MATTEA

KATHY MATTEA explains to MIKE NEWMAN why her mining town heritage lies at the heart of her songwriting.

It’s often the case that people reaping some success in the music industry turn their backs on where they came from, the fame and the financial rewards conspiring to make them forget their roots.

But it was quite the reverse for double Grammy award-winning country music superstar Kathy Mattea, who drew deeply on her mining heritage to bring out her latest album Coal.

Mattea was born and brought up in West Viriginia. As both grandfathers were miners and her parents grew up in coal camps, mining was in her blood. Her mother worked for the United Mine Workers of America.

Mattea has found great success as a country music singer, but the Sago Mine disaster in 2006 brought her full circle back to the mining community that she came from.

At the funeral of the 12 miners who died at Sago, she was asked by news broadcaster CNN which covered the sad event to finish its coverage with a song.

Since she was 19 years old, Mattea had been collecting mining songs and, while looking through her collection to choose a song that would do justice to the 12 miners and their families, it became apparent that there were enough songs to make an album. So Coal was born.

Mattea and her acoustic band are making a welcome visit to Britain and I managed to talk to her just before she left the US for the start of the tour. I wonder how important Coal was in relation to her many other releases. “I can say that it’s unprecedented in lots of ways,” she says.

The WSWS recently interviewed Ruth White, whose book Little Audrey deals with 1948 life in the coal town of Jewell Valley, Virginia: here.

Worldwide, thousands of workers die every year from mining accidents, and instantaneous coal outbursts in underground mines are among the major killers. But although scientists have been investigating coal outbursts for more than 150 years, the precise mechanism is still unknown: here.

50 years ago: UMW head John L. Lewis resigns: here.

Over 2,500 striking coal miners picketed against strikebreakers outside of the Sprouse Creek Coal Company in West Virginia on February 21, 1985. Police arrested 44 miners that day, bringing to 100 the number of strikers locked up: here.