Monday, February 13, 2006

MARTY STUART GETS POLITICAL: “BADLANDS”

UP FRONT News Feb. 11, 2006
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham

“The paper that can’t be bought and can’t be sold.”

Country/gospel rocker Marty Stuart, still, despite his long overdue national exposure on Conan O’Brien, remains far less well known than his relative and close friend Johnny Cash, for whom he served as lead guitarist (and, for a time, son-in-law) for years. Although I’ve only seen a man that many regard as, at the very least, a string instrument prodigy (he demonstrated his virtuosity as a rock ‘n’ roll mandolinist on the O’Brien show to spontaneous audience cheers) once live, I still remember that performance in March, 1993 at the Westbury Music Fair in Long Island. It became immediately memorable for me because, during his long pause between appearing on stage with his band and starting to play, I went up to him (no Madison Square Garden-like barriers at Westbury) and gave him an UP FRONT News article I had written about him. He took it, looked at me, said “Thank you” , and then, as soon as got to my seat in a matter of a few moments, began to play. The song that sticks with me best was his rendition of a quite eerie rock ‘n’ roll ballad, “The Veil”, about love and murder in which he accompanied himself on the acoustic guitar.

Mr. Stuart has an extensive discography with a number of his CD’s available in major record stores in the “country” section. No church should be without his “Souls’ Chapel” all-gospel album. Until the release of his CD “Badlands”, I was unaware of Johnny Cash’s and Stuart’s involvement in the struggle for survival of in particular the genocided Lakota Indians of South Dakota. The Badlands are the lands of Wounded Knee, Little Big Horn, and General Custer’s fate. It is, as Stuart points out in pure rock ‘n’ roll, the land of broken promises – e.g. by Bill Clinton. Below are the lyrics to the title cut.

“Badlands”, by Marty Stuart
Somewhere between the warning and the dying,
Just beyond the thunder of the gun.
The bones of thirsty ghosts are sad and crying.
Believing their redemption day has come and gone.

It’s a bitter pair of dice, this dust of Eden.
Lost and lonely kingdom of the plains.
Well, God looked down and saw a world of sufferin’,
And then cried out, “I’m gonna give this place a name!”
Badlands, badlands, badlands, badlands!

Well, it’s a church without a steeple.
But in the heart of its people,
Good will come again to the Badlands.

Instrumental

It’s a wilderness that lies
In a broken promised land.
Where the devil and his soldiers
Hang around like next of kin.

But the shadows have eyes,
And I hear voices in the wind.
Tellin’ me the second comin’ of the red man
Is closer than it’s ever been.
Badlands, badlands, badlands, badlands.

Well, it’s a church without a steeple,
But in the heart of its people,
Good will come to the Badlands.

Badlands, badlands, badlands, badlands.

Instrumental

Badlands, badlands, badlands, badlands.
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Email: Tomsupfrontnews@yahoo.com

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