Sunday, September 24, 2006

Just Say Yes

No, stop. Don't run away. This is a charity comp, a pacifist charity comp, but it's really good, mostly.

Josephine Baker, under the Arthur Magazine banner, has put together So Much Fire To Roast Human Flesh, a response to overzealous and downright wrong military recruiters. "All profits from sales of So Much Fire... will be distributed to specific counter-military recruitment and pacifist organizations and programs who effectively advise high school students and other Americans at risk of being taken advantage of by the military's recruiters and omnipresent big-budget marketing campaigns."

I'm no pacifist, but I can't imagine anyone signing up for anything under this administration, least of all under coercion, so every cent this comp generates is a worthy one in my mind.

A whole litany of folks, freak and otherwise, contribute tunes, from Michael Hurley to Devendra Banhart. Mostly the theme is anti-war, though some songs are a lot more explicit than others. Some of the more interesting contributions: Rachel Mason's "The War Clerk's Lament", a totally unhinged performance that captures the narrator's cog-in-the-machine state of mind; Feather's "Dust", an awesome slab of acid rock straight from a late-60s AOR playlist; Dave Pajo's Neil Young-like "War is Dead", which chugs along like a slow, determined train; and MVEE's take on Young's "Powderfinger", taken to new places thanks to Erica Elder's smart double-tracked vocals and a close-miked, campfire ambiance.

Here are two of my favorites: Kath Bloom's "Baby Let It Come Down on Me", an absolutely breaktaking song about a selfless offering of support (to a man, returned from war, to the country?) with keening vocals rivaling the best Mary Margaret O'Hara ever belted out; and John Allingham and Ann Tiley's "Big War", a high lonesome folk ballad of love in a time of war, its chorus an empowering call to stop the war in all its simple, plaintive calm.

Worth every penny and then some. Buy the album here.

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