|David Rovics||RATING: ***|
|We Just Want The World||Reviewer: Brendan Carson|
David Rovics is a member of that ever-diminishing group - singers with a social conscience. This CD comprises a collection of his own works. The theme throughout is of the lack of justice for people throughout the world. He carries on a noble tradition most notably represented by Woody Guthrie. Unlike many political songwriters there is no sentimental mush here.
He starts with McDonalds and the fast food industry and their global disregard for workers and their rights. I am sure there's many an Irish boy and girl who has worked for peanuts in cafes pubs and clubs who will recognise the issues covered in Minimum Wage Strike.
The title track We Just Want The World takes the fight on to the environment, education and finance. Some excellent guitar riffs on the track give a bounce to a subject that could be a bit sloppy. Cleverly crafted with some excellent backing on banjo from Eric Royer.
In Judi Bari he pays tribute to a leader of the environmental movement. The melody is that of the famous Joe Hill. I'm not really sure about this one - too many syllables in Judi to work lyrically. While I can appreciate the sentiment I think David would have done better to write his own tune. The point is, of course, to make the direct comparison between Joe the Union leader who struggled and died for workers rights and Judi who struggled for the rights of the young to inherit a world fit for people to live in but it's a bit contrived to work effectively.
In Parking Lots and Strip Malls he treats a serious issue with humour. The American desire to build the biggest of everything in the world has now begun to infect Ireland with the corner shops disappearing in the shadow of hypermarkets and car parks.
David shows he is not afraid to take on difficult issues. Saddam Hussein may very well be a tyrant and despot but one can hardly blame the people of Iraq for that. In Contras, Kings and Generals he points out the hypocrisy of the US and UK who will bomb for self interest and claim democracy as justification. Nice use of irony - 'We had to destroy the village we had to destroy it in order to save it, to make this jungle grow first we had to pave it...'
'Henry Ford was a Fascist - and a nasty one was he - he'd build tanks for anyone for the proper fee.' This song made me smile because of it's simple effectiveness lilting along with great guitar picking.
Song for Hugh Thompson shows that not every US soldier can be tarred with the brush proper to the Lieutenant Carey's of this world. Hugh Thompson was the helicopter pilot who put an end to the massacre. Great use of sound effects and tasty fiddle playing gives the song a great haunting quality.
Overall I have to say that I enjoyed this record immensely. The guitar playing is great and supporting musicians are outstanding, especially the banjo playing of Eric Royer. I would strongly recommend that any young songwriters or guitarists should buy this one. at the top of the page. Purchase details available there.
David played at Downpatrick Folk Club in 2000.