Janet Greene – Poor Left Winger

Stuff it, Joan Baez?

When one thinks of folk music and the 1960s, it’s all civil rights and peace and love and… well, not universally. Janet Greene isn’t well known but sings here about a folkie supposedly duped by the beard of Karl Marx. The tune satirizes coffee shop folk singers, and even reviews the Marxist concept of “dialectical materialism,” in which economic systems progress and change, ultimately transforming to the selflessness utopia of communism. Greene suggests that the real motivation for support of this ideology is the folk singer’s lack of success in life: he’s a “frustrated heel,” looking for a political scapegoat (capitalism) to blame. There is an irony here given Greene’s obscurity! Still, let’s consider her mildly refreshing if folk music too often sticks to one side of the political spectrum.

She also gets animated on this topic with Commie Lies.

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4 thoughts on “Janet Greene – Poor Left Winger

  1. American folk music is rich with political commentary and topical issues. Because of the popularity of American folk music in the middle of the 20th Century – and the socio-political climate in America in the 1950s and ’60s (the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War era, etc.) many people these days conflate American folk music with political commentary. Looking at the entire tradition of American folk music, meanwhile, it’s clear that folk songs cover topics ranging from historical events to songs about food and cars, sex and money, and of course plenty of heartbreak and death. However, the songs that stick with us the longest are generally songs about overcoming struggle; the moments when the world is quietly hoping for change, but one single folksinger has the nerve to stand on a stage, open their mouth, and sing out against injustice.

  2. spawned a host of groups that were similar in some respects like the Brothers Four , Peter, Paul and Mary , The Limeliters , The Chad Mitchell Trio , The New Christy Minstrels and more. As noted by critic Bruce Eder in the All Music Guide, the popularity of the commercialized version of folk music represented by these groups emboldened record companies to sign, record, and promote artists with more traditionalist and political sensibilities.

  3. Pingback: Janet Greene – Commie Lies | Political Tunes

  4. Pingback: Vera Vanderlaan – Freedom Is A Hammer | Political Tunes

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