With thanks to Apesma’s Lament

I found something on John Shaw’s Utopian Turtletop that struck me as the perfect follow-up to yesterday’s post: this mesmerizing clip of protest songwriter Len Chandler, an amazing Joan Baez, and a barely audible Bob Dylan doing Keep Your Eyes on the Prize at the March 18, 1963 March on Washington. The tune behind the song began as Hands on the Plow, a traditional spiritual, but in the mid-fifties was reworked with new lyrics at the Highlander Folk School. The lyrics here were yet another take on what was by then a civil rights movement anthem.

The song never stops being relevant. Bruce Springsteen and The Seeger Sessions Band, wich includes my new hero Mark Anthony Thompson sharing lead vocals, performed this classic forty-three years later in Amsterdam, Holland. This remarkable 2006 concert tour often sold out in minutes at European venues, while U.S. tour dates, even in New Jersey, played to partially empty amphitheaters.  Sad.

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