I played the crap out of my cassette of Tracey Chapman. I recall it as a perfect album…some amazing songs but no duds. I’m relistening to it for the first time in years! Indeed, in the last free-ish week before term, I intend to listen to her full corpus.
“Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” is maybe my current favourite:
I remember thinking, in the naiveté of youth, that this was the sort of song that could change the world, like the folk (and other) music of the 1960s. As a baby buster, I had pretty serious ’60s envy and bought a lot of the myths (why wouldn’t I?).
But “Talkin'” came out in 1988…that’s 30 years ago. Further away than the ’60s were for me growing up. Lots of things have changed, but rising inequality seems to make a mockery of “Talkin'” as prediction or herald.
Of course, it’s not fair to burden a song with one’s own misconceptions. The descriptive parts still ring true and the aspirational chorus still inspires:
Oh, I been standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in the unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotionDon’t you know they’re talkin’ about a revolution, it sounds like a whisper
And finally the tables are starting to turn, talkin’ ’bout a revolution
Yes, finally the tables are starting to turn, talkin’ ’bout a revolution