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YESTERDAY IN PART 1 we sang in solidarity for picket lines, against dodgers, and most definitely against Hitler. Today, we continue through The People’s Song Book with songs about congressmen and landlords.
Are You Listening, Washington, D.C.? This timeless ditty is sung to Little Brown Jug, with words by Agnes “Sis” Cunningham, 1909–2004. Wikipedia says Sis “was an American musician, best known for her involvement as a performer and publicist of folk music and protest songs.”
I emphasize the word “timeless.”
Are You Listening, J. Edgar Hoover and Joe McCarthy? “The Investigator’s Song was written for a PCA meeting in Madison Square Garden on March 31, 1947.” Wikipedia notes, “The Progressive Citizens of America (PCA) was a social-democratic and democratic socialist American political political organization formed in December 1946 that advocated progressive policies, which worked with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and allegedly the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), as a precursor to the 1948 incarnation of the Progressive Party.”
Today, American actor, comedian, and singer Zero Mostel is perhaps best remembered as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Wikipedia notes that back in the 1940s, though, “According to biographer Arthur Sainer, ‘MGM blacklisted Zero Mostel way before the days of the blacklist,’ this, because of Mostel’s political jabs at right-wingers. He returned successfully to the movies in the 1950s and reached the height of his career a decade later.
Henry Wallace served as 33rd vice president under FDR and was the Progressive Party nominee in the 1948 presidential election. Frank Kingdon was an author, educator, newspaper columnist and PCA co-chairman until he left the group in 1947 because he sensed the futility of a Wallace candidacy.
For another example of Harold Rome’s satire, watch a 1978 TV show of his 1937 Pins and Needles.
Turn on the Sarcasm. Pity the Downtrodden Landlord originated in England during World War II. It became the song of “thousands of United States tenants threatened with eviction when Congress lifted rent controls. To be sung with a fine sense of sarcasm!” notes The People’s Song Book.
Do I hear this song resounding in these Covid times? Or is it the House Un-American Activities Committee at the door? ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2022