Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hattie Carroll

I'm listening to Dylan singing "The lonesome death of Hattie Carroll" at the moment. He recorded it on "The Times they are a-changin'" in October 1963. It relates events - the manslaughter of Hattie Carroll by William Zantzinger - which took place in February 1963, and for which Zantzinger was sentenced to six months in prison in August 1963.

Where is the contemporary songwriting today? Who is writing songs about current affairs? I know there will be folk singers out there who are doing so, but even back in '63 Dylan was already famous. I can't think of anyone in the public eye today who writes such songs.

And the weird thing is that we are in the middle of a highly unpopular war. Why isn't it the catalyst for a new generation of protest art? Thatcher's children just can't be arsed, perhaps.

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