February 7th - For Your Immediate Attention!
For Your Immediate Attention! - Serious Bizness, 1982
You don't hear a lot of protest songs these days. "Political" songs, maybe - and probably more and more in the coming months. But the sort of music that begs to be sung at rallies, accompanied only by an acoustic guitar - where maybe the rhymes are a little clunky and the lyrics are a little broad and the tune itself doesn't do a lot of the work but there's a lot of earnest passion there.
For Your Immediate Attention is exactly that kind of music. I mean, it's not the bad stuff I mentioned - or rather, there are some rough bits in there but the entire album is a really good piece. Every song takes on a political issue, from nuclear power to the rights of indigenous peoples to heroin addiction, in a style that is strident but honestly refreshing in its earnestness. The opening song, which is titled Serious Bizness and is a thesis statement for the band - because of course it is! - is stuck in my head right now, with some extremely great harmonies. But my favorite track is probably the ballad Dusting Dreams (for local 1597, DC 37 AFSCME, AFL-CIO), which is slow and sparse and very very beautiful.
The musicians - Jaribu and Ngoma Hill - didn't rest on their laurels after this album; they have another one, and Ngoma Hill continues to perform slam poetry while Jaribu Hill is a labor activist in the South. It's great to listen to and I think it'll serve us well over the next few years.
Click here to read liner notes and purchase this album from Smithsonian Folkways