Americana (Moe Bandy)

We're all for diversity and allowing the world to experience the marvel of freedom without tyranny. That said, we have our moments of doubt as we allow the cultures of other parts of the world to influence the values on which America was founded. Whatever the future holds for our great land, it's healthy and respectful to reflect on some of the nostalgia that built this great nation.

Here is a light perspective from Moe Bandy. It represents lament for what has been lost, yet a sense of hope that it does still exist and always will, a pride and confidence in what this country is made of.
Lyrics (Americana)

I've traveled all around this country
In my time I thought I'd seen it all
But today I took a detour down a back road
Through a little town whose name I can't recall

There were old men on benches playing checkers
Children playing hop scotch on the square
And high above a statue of an unknown soldier
Old glory was waving in the air

Suddenly I realized what I'd too long forgotten
Chill rose  up like mountains on my skin
Overcome with a feeling
I knew I was seeing
America all over again

Picture of a people proud and free
And I'll keep holding to the dream
You're still what living means to me

I knew the stop would throw me off my schedule
But I parked around behind the Five and Dime
There's something about a small town in the Summer
Like a Norman Rockwell picture back in time

Kids were courting at the Rexall soda fountain
Like we did before they built the shopping mall
I saw so many reasons why I love this country
You know some things never really change at all

As I left the two-lane road
And pulled back on that super high way
I thought of what I'd seen back in that town

And it hit me like a freight train
That a stone's throw from the fast lane
America is still safe and sound
Last Cowboy Song (Ed Bruce)

Last Resort (Eagles)

Don Henley and the Eagles do a stellar job in this number painting a sobering picture of the westward movement and the white man's self righteous "justification" for stomping on the lives and culture of the American Indian.

Henley begins the live performance by saying "You've heard how the west was won, this is about how the west was lost". One of the best lines in the song says "We satisfy our endless needs, and justify our bloody deeds", referring to what was done to the native American civilization for the white man's gain.

The number is a lyrical lament of how the beauty of the west was slowly torn away and devoured by development and greed...for selfish pursuit of the beautiful life...for opulence and material riches,  with disregard for it's devastating impact. Henley goes deeper into how native American civilizations were destroyed for the white man's lust and then lunges one more layer into suggesting spiritual hypocrisy.

This one is worth a long listen ... or two!

Fire On The Mountain (Marshall Tucker Band)

A poignant perspective on how desperation and greed turned migrating humanity into ravenous animals during the California gold rush in the mid 1800's.
Lyrics (Last Resort

She came from Providence,
the one in Rhode Island
Where the old world shadows hang
heavy in the air
She packed her hopes and dreams
like a refugee
Just as her father came across the sea

She heard about a place people were smilin'
They spoke about the red man's way,
and how they loved the land
And they came from everywhere
to the Great Divide
Seeking a place to stand
or a place to hide

Down in the crowded bars,
out for a good time,
Can't wait to tell them all,
what it's like up there
And they called it paradise
I don't know why
Somebody laid the mountains low
while the town got high

Then the chilly winds blew down
Across the desert
through the canyons of the coast, to
the Malibu
Where the pretty people play,
hungry for power
to light their neon way
and give them things to do

Some rich men came and raped the land,
Nobody caught 'em
Put up a bunch of ugly boxes, and Jesus,
people bought 'em
And they called it paradise
The place to be
They watched the hazy sun, sinking in the sea

You can leave it all behind
and sail to Lahaina
just like the missionaries did, so many years ago
They even brought a neon sign: "Jesus is coming"
Brought the white man's burden down
Brought the white man's reign

Who will provide the grand design?
What is yours and what is mine?
'Cause there is no more new frontier
We have got to make it here

We satisfy our endless needs and
justify our bloody deeds,
in the name of destiny and the name
of God

And you can see them there,
On Sunday morning
They stand up and sing about
what it's like up there
They call it paradise
I don't know why
You call someplace paradise,
kiss it goodbye
Lyrics (Fire on the Mountain)

Took my fam'ly away from my Carolina home
Had dreams about the West and started to roam
Six long months on a dust covered trail
They say heaven's at the end but so far it's been hell
And there's fire on the mountain, lightnin' in the air
Gold in them hills and it's waitin' for me there

We were diggin' and siftin' from five to five
Sellin' everything we found just to stay alive
Gold flowed free like the whiskey in the bars
Sinnin' was the big thing, lord and Satan was his star
And there's fire on the mountain, lightnin' in the air
Gold in them hills and it's waitin' for me there

Dance hall girls were the evenin' treat
Empty cartridges and blood lined the gutters of the street
Men were shot down for the sake of fun
Or just to hear the noise of their forty-four guns
And there's fire on the mountain, lightnin' in the air
Gold in them hills and it's waitin' for me there

Now my widow she weeps by my grave
Tears flow free for her man she couldn't save
Shot down in cold blood by a gun that carried fame
All for a useless and no good worthless claim

And there's fire on the mountain, lightnin' in the air
Gold in them hills and it's waitin' for me there
Fire on the mountain, lightnin' in the air
Gold in them hills and it's waitin' for me there
Waitin' for me there


This scene from "A Few Good Men" is one of the best in all movie history. In addition to the class A acting, the message is so poignant. The scene is most noted for the line that will surely go down as one of the most quoted lines from a movie of all time ... "You can't handle the truth". However, there is a line that is just as powerful in pointing out the utter ignorance of judging the actions, ethics, and fate of people in potions that require them to make moral and ethical decisions on behalf of our American freedoms every day ... "You have the luxury of not knowing what I know". That line deserves a lot of contemplation before judging people we put in power to protect us from the tyranny and extremists that want to destroy America and all we stand for.
Have you ever spent the late afternoon
watching the purple shadows deepen in Arizona desert?
Or seen a herd of Elk plow their way
through waist deep snow on a cold Colorado dome?
Did you ever see the sun go down in Hawaii,
Or seen the stormy waves break over the rock bound coast of Maine?
Or have you ever see an eagle fly up out of the mists of Alaska?
Or a big October moon hanging full over the still Dakota badlands?

Have you ever tasted the gumbo in New Orleans, Bar-B-Que in Carolina
Or the chicken wings in Buffalo?
Have you ever had Brunswick stew in Macon, or cornbread in Burmingham?
Or brisket slow cooked over hill country mesquite wood?

Did you ever drink the water from a gurgling branch in Utah,
Or, stand on the mountain above El Paso Del Norte
And see the lights twinkling clear over into Mexico?
Did you ever jangle horses in the pre dawn stillness of a perfect Texas day
And watch their shodded hooves kicking up sparks on the volcanic rock?

Or tended a trout line on a foggy Carolina morning,
Or heard the distant song of a lovesick whippoorwill
On a pristine Tenneesee late night?
Have you seen the faces on Mount Rushmore or stood at the Vietnam monument?

Have you ever crossed the mighty Mississippi,
Or been to the daddy of them all in Cheyenne, Wyoming?
Or seen the mighty Vols run out on the football field on a chilly autumn afternoon?

Did you ever see the Chicago skyline from Lake Shore Drive at night?
Or the New England follage in the fall,
Or the summer beauty of the Shenandoah valley,
Or Indiana covered with new snow?

Did you ever seen a herd of wild horses running free
Across the empty spaces in Nevada?
Or, caught a walleyed pike out of a cold Wisconsin stream?
Or ,marveled at the tall ship docked in the harbor at Baltimore?

Did you ever see the early morning dew sparkling on the blue grass,
Or, the wind stir the wheat fields on a hot Kansas afternoon?
Or, driven the lonely stretches of old Route 66?
Have you ever heard the church bells peal their call to worship
On an early Sunday, in some small town in the deep south?

Or pass through the redwood forest just as the sun was going down?
Have you ever been to Boise or Batchlee or Beufort or Billings?
Have you ever passed through Sanford or Suffolk or San Angelo?
Have you ever seen the falls at Nigara?
The ice palace in Saint Paul?
Or the Gateway to the west?

This then is America!
The land God blesses with everything
And no Effel Tower: no Taj Mahal;
No Alps; No Andes;
No native hut; nor Royal Palace -
Can rival her awesome beauty,
Her diverse poplulation, her monolithic majesty.
America the Free !
America the mighty!
America the beautiful !
I pledge alligence to the flag of the United States of America
And to the republic for which it stands
One Nation Under God indivisible
with liberty and justice for all!

An American Family
PBS Series from the '70s

American Grffiti

America the Beautiful by Ray Charles
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