Had Enough Yet? Songs of Protest, Resistance and Hope

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Haven’t ever done a CD like this before.   All resistance, protest and finally some hope songs.   For those of you who are interested, I thought that you might like to know about the individual cuts, the lyrics, and the folks who helped make this statement.

The players who contributed to this CD are:

Acoustic Guitars, Lead Vocals:   James Lee Stanley

Electric Guitars:  Paul Barrere, Larry Carlton, Laurence Juber, Marc McClure, Rick Ruskin

Keyboards:  Jim Ehinger, John Jarvis, Dennis Holseybrook, James Lee Stanley

Bass:  Ken Lyon, Chad Watson, James Lee Stanley

Drums and Percussion:   Scott Breadman,  Joe Pusateri, Washington Tahr, James Lee Stanley

Sax:  Rob Kyle

Banjo:  Peter Tork

Background vocals:  Rita Coolidge, Joann Harris, Pamala Stanley, Lisa Turner, Stephen Bishop,  Don Dunn, Dirk Hamilton, Doug Heywood, James Hurley, Eric Lowen, Dan Navarro, Jim Photoglo, Joe Rathburn, Jeremy Saje, Peter Tork, and James Lee Stanley

 

The Songs

The World We Left Behind (2005) was written in the days after Katrina, when the appointed president couldn’t put together an emergency response team or plan.  I was enraged, as I felt if this were Beverly Hills, it would have been fixed in a day.

 

It’s a sky the shade of iron, it’s a storm just out of sight

They say the sun may shine tomorrow but it’s going to rain light hell tonight

Even when there’s no denying thunder clouds or rising floods

Still some won’t believe what lies before their eyes til they’re sinking in the mud

Have you ever stopped to wonder, does it ever cross your mind

That there’s a world in which we struggle and a world we left behind.

 

What has happened to the promise; to the brightest and the best?

Yesterday we had the grandest dreams.  Have they all been laid to rest?

Are we going to disregard the rest?

I believe do unto others as you’d have them do for you

Nothing else fulfills with so much grace, so simple and so true

Have you ever stopped to wonder…

 

Remember our beginnings, every hope so bright and new

And every shining possibility for the many not the few

 

Some believe there’ll be a rapture and those with faith will disappear

Could it be it’s all mythology?  Just a prayer to ease our fear?

Do you see those golden slippers?   Do you hear that glory train?

Or do you make your peace right here, right now, in your laughter and your pain

If you’re able…if you’re Cain.

 

Remember our beginnings?   Every hope so bright and new?

Every shining possibility for the many not the few.

Do you ever stop to wonder?   Does it ever cross your mind

That there’s a world in which we struggle and a world we left behind…

 

Welcome to the New World (1988) (Original Title Welcome to the Greenhouse) is a song of frustration resulting from everyone knowing what’s wrong and everyone ignoring it.  Who do you tell if everyone knows?

Where do you go when you know where it leads?

Who do you tell if every one knows

Heads in the sand, won’t hear another word

Tho they’ve already heard they won’t let it show

 

They turn away, who are they anyway?

Running the show, making all of the rules

Deep in the dark, we’re caught in a spiders web,

lost in the light ahead, we’re so many fools

 

‘p high in the sky, we’ll get there by and by

Get our reward if we’re good little sheep

Mud in your eye…Drink to the here and now

Mamon, the sacred cow, she never sleeps

 

Follow the herd into the slaughterhouse

You can’t lose your place in this long standing line

Lower your head, act like there’s nothing wrong

This is where we belong, there’s plenty of time.

 

The Covenant (1991) inspired by the idea that if you see something and you do nothing, you say nothing, then you are complicit.   We cannot turn away from injustice and expect it to just go away. “the children are afraid that their world has been betrayed in the covenant that’s made by the silence.”

 

There’s a shadow on the land and a silence that surrounds it

It’s the silence of a lamb when it knows the wolf has found it

And it freezes in its tracks and it never makes a motion

“take another, don’t take me” is it’s prayer and it’s devotion

And the children are afraid that their world has been betrayed

In the covenant that’s made by the silence

 

So we look the other way and pretend that we don’t notice

That our flocks have gone astray fed on media and lotus

Fed on image over truth fed on style over substance

Just more campaign, “read my lips” just more money over justice

And the children are afraid…

 

Don’t we all know wrong from right?   And no matter what they tell us

We know the shadow from the light, we know the lies they try to sell us

But we pretend “they care for us”   we pretend they were elected

We pretend they tell the truth, we pretend “it’s complicated”

And the children are afraid…

 

Riding red eyed on a rail, I had a dream we all united

And a rage swept through this land by the fires we’d ignited

Everybody on their feet raised their fists and raised their voices

They took that rage into the streets and took the heat for their own choices

And in that dream, we’re not afraid, and no world has been betrayed

And no covenant is made by the silence.

 

Political Party (1995) was written by my pal Larry Good and simply points out the treason inherit in putting party before country, party before decency, party before the constitution.

 

It’s a couple of well places phone calls it’s a noticeably empty chair

A secret agenda, unwritten rules, you don’t even have to play fair

We’re having a party, we’re having a party

 

Laughing people carry on in an undertone of panic

Those who have the most to lose are grossly diplomatic

Recruiting happens instantly with a handshake or a kiss

A fingerprint or a photo will get you on the list

We’re having a party…

Political, political party, political political party…

 

It’s just you me and them, the hostess knows who I am

Be sure and mind your manners so they ask you back again

And don’t come empty handed if you wanna make some friends

We’re having a party…

 

All for one and one for all the best intent you’ve got

Til someone’s rainbow crashing down sweetens up the pot,

We’re having a party…

 

The Jackal (1986) is a song written from the point of view of a terrorist who has no other platform to air his grievance other than violence.   We must take responsibility for this as well.   The powerless and the voiceless can only resort to violence.

 

It won’t be long, it’s coming soon

We’re only waiting for the dark of the moon

Then we’ll rise like a tide, we’ve got God on our side

So how can we lose?   And what have we got to lose?

 

We’ve lived our lives under the gun

For years and years the helpless ones

But the worm has turned and the lessons will burn

As bright as the sun, as bright as the desert sun

 

In every war somebody dies

And we know there are no innocent lives

When you turn away from what’s wrong

Each day you’re living a lie

You’re living a lie

 

To us you’re all one of a kind

And when we leave, we’ll leave no one behind

We don’t care who dies, it’s an eye for an eye

Til the whole world is blind, til the whole world is blind

Eye for an eye til the whole world is blind

Eye for an eye til the whole world is blind

Will it be an eye til the whole world is blind?

 

It won’t be long it’s coming soon

Its won’t be long it’s coming…soon

 

Do It In His Name (2015) was inspired by the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue same sex marriage licenses and used her religion to explain her bigotry, ignorance and intolerance.  Delusional mythology is its own curse but it impacts all of us.

Some say nothing’s bad or good  til thinking makes it so

Some believe in heaven, some say thay just don’t know

I keep my own counsel  I wish you’d do the same

cursing me or blessing me, you do it in his name

 

you do it in his name  you know what he would do

you do it in his name, I guess it’s nothing new

you do it in his name you know not what you do

 

people have opinions, people have beliefs

some come for the comfort, some for the relief

some borrow what they cannot steal, some do it for their gain

some fake it when they cannot feel, they do it in his name

 

they do it in his name they know what he would do

they do it in his name as if they really knew

they do it in his name and to hell with me and you

 

blackened beads of rosaries, golden wheels of prayer

crosses with the Star of David, crescents in the air

symbols of the faithful, the truth is theirs alone

superstition, sacred cows, roll away the stone

 

embrace whatever comforts you and i will do the same

no one knows what’s coming next and who knows who’s to blame

why judge anybody, just let each other be

hey, I’ll let you in my heaven, you can do the same for me

hey, I’ll let you in my heaven, you can do the same for me

 

 

we’ll do it in his name who knows what he might do

we’ll do it in his name, it’s up to me and you

we’ll do it in his name

 

Easy To See (2016) inspired by the constant lying of the 45th president, a person put in place by manipulation of a foreign power, gerrymandering and voter suppression.   Shame on us all.   Eschew obfuscation?

It’s so easy to see when you lie, you get that far away look in your eye

And then your lips start to move as you get in that groove

It’s so easy to see when you lie

Yes, it’s easy to see what we’ve lost and it’s easy to measure the cost

Banker priests multiply what adds up to a lie

It’s so easy to see what we’ve lost

 

All the mobius conversation is just a dubious exhortation

And when I object to your tweets and your texts you say,

“I must eschew obfuscation?”

 

We all know why you do what you do, you think the choices should be up to you

But regardless your money, it’s not up to you honey,

We all know why you do what you do (whacka due whacka due)

Don’t you dare tell me how much you care when the rest of us barely get a share

We all know that your able and there’s room at that table, so

Don’t you dare tell me how much you care

 

All the dubious exhortation is just a spin doctor clarification

And when I object to your tweets and your texts you say…

“I must eschew obfuscation!”

 

Enough is enough I’ve heard tell, and it’s not that we don’t wish you well

But there’s really no doubt, you are squeezing us out

Enough is enough ring the bell!

 

All your spin doctor clarification is just a mobius conversation

And when we object to your tweets and your texts you say,

“I must eschew obfuscation.”

 

Everybody Knows (1994) written because everybody DOES know, they just pretend they don’t, or look away, or deny it.

Too much to drink and not enough thinkin

soon we’re running the the back room bare

I stubbed my toe on a bucket full of snow,

Bet you’re wondering how much I could possibly care

Found myself in a honky tonk naked from my head down to my toes

Winking at some stranger while her boyfriend’s getting angry,

He says, “never trust a man with no clothes”

Cause everybody knows ( the soup from the bone)

Everybody, everybody knows (the soup from the bone)

 

Everybody knows it’s really not the clothes that make the man

It’s the man that makes the clothes

Nobody has to tell you what to think or what to say or how to act

Cause I think everybody knows

Everybody knows each opinion he holds

isn’t one that he made up on his own

so let’s all get together, take a good look at this water

see if we can tell the soup from the bone

cause everybody knows…

 

Everybody knows you see it on the TV, it’s just another shepherd for the sheep

Sex stars, rock stars, lying politicians are all making promises they never mean to keep

And everybody knows every word they say, cause we’ve heard it all before

So let’s all get together, tell those mother fila-bastards that we ain’t gonna take it no more

Cause everybody knows…

 

Open Your Eyes (1995) inspired by all that goes on in our world, the good, the bad and the ugly.   It is all on all of us.   We either wake and get active or we bury our heads in the sand and wait until our bodies follow.

 

Open your eyes, this is a battle cry

All that you see is owned by you and me

 

Rivers flow down to the sea, it’s what all rivers know

Journey’s end and then the cycle starts all over again

Open your eyes…

 

Right and wrong, cry of hunger and a robin’s song

Prison bars, prom queens, drive by shootings crack wars

The battle cry is “open up your eyes…”

 

Down to you now that you know what are you gonna do

Turn your head or raise your voice and say what must be said

The battle cry is “open up your eyes…”

 

Rivers flow, it’s what all river’s know

 

Change (2005) was inspired by the political situation of this decade.   I feel it is so obvious how to treat each other, how to be on this planet together, how to live, but evidently I am even more naïve than my detractors would have you believe.

When are we going to change

When are to live and let be

When will we finally see

It isn’t them it’s you and me

And nobody else can set us free

When are we going to learn

 

What will it take for you and me

To follow the path and find the key

To live here in peace eternally

When are we going to learn

 

When are we going to change

When will see not black and white

But all of the colours shining so bright

When will we see the light

As easy to tell the day from the night

As easy to see what’s wrong and what’s right

So when are we going to learn

 

Why must we follow helplessly

Leaders so blind why must we be

Like lemmings who rush into the see

When are going to learn

 

When are we going to change

When will see what we must know

We always reap what we sow

We plant all the seeds and watch them grow

We’re moving in faith and still don’t know

When we are going to learn

 

I know we’re going to learn

I know one day we’ll live in peace

And we will finally see there is no them

Just you and me and nobody else can set us free

And we are going to see

And we are going to learn

And we are going to change

 

Once Touched By Flame (1992) reminds us that once we know and acknowledge the truth of a situation, experience or epiphany we cannot ever go back to the way we were.   No matter how much we deny it, we are changed.

 

Once touched by flame, nothing’s ever the same

The changes remain when you’re once touched by flame

 

Listen, something’s in the wind and

you can hear it,  it’s coming

It’s the word that will not die

Once touched by flame…

It’s leaving something to believe in

when the soul is grieving

For the light that will not fade.

Once touched by flame…

 

So wrong, in the dark for so long

Catch the spark and hold on

Hold on, hold on…

Once touched by flame…

 

What Would You Do (2013) inspired by the idea that protest songs are only listened to or have impact on folks that already agree with them, so I wanted to write a song that pointed no fingers, placed no blame, just asked the question, “what would you do” and let everyone come up with their own answer.

SWhat would you do, say it’s all up to you

Say the whole world’s in your hand

Would there be change or would things be the same

Have we already done all we can?

 

Would your world be about power and greed

And would the choices you make lose our souls

Or would stand for every woman and man

And see every heart broken made whole

What would you do…

 

All of our lives we’ve been told paradise

Resides in the heavens above

What would you do if you suddenly knew

It was here with the people you love

 

Would you wage war, would you breed hate more

Would you use terror to rule

Or would the water run sweet and the land at our feet

Be peaceful and green, clean and pure

 

What would you do…

All songs by James Lee Stanley except where noted and all songs published by James Lee Stanley Music, BMI or The Real James Lee Stanley Music, SESAC