John Mellencamp – Rain On The Scarecrow

Mellencamp’s 1985 album, Scarecrow, which includes this angry song, is considered among his most worthy of contributions to the vein of music drawing from the heartland and singing about everyday folk.

The song takes its cues from Woody Guthrie-like themes, and is about the foreclosures of family farms. Farmers occupy a symbolic place in industry, as if growing the food we eat is a special occupation compared to the desk jobs of – especially – bankers!

Yet family farms faced many challenges at the time of this song. They lacked economies of scale to compete against behemoth agri-businesses: massive operations that may have also been the recipients of government largesse. Trade liberalization allowed cheaper imports hard to compete with. We demand lower cost food at the Wal-Marts and big box grocers, cutting into the bottom line of smaller producers. The fear was (is) these traditional farms would vanish…

As help, Mellencamp and fellow musicians Neil Young and Willie Nelson have done their best to save the family farm, with regular “Farm Aid” benefit concerts.


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