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August 16

Johnny Cash’s Cool Lego Video of ‘The One on the Right’ Talks Politics in Music

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I’ve just recently written about how the Gatlin Brother’s political songs are causing a row in the country. If you haven’t heard of them yet, check “Stand Up and Say So.” It is in reference to Hillary Clinton’s dream of America. Good for them because they have got one mind on the issue. But, what if they have differing thoughts? Will that matter?  According to Johnny Cash’s “The One on the Right is The One on the Left”, there will be huge trouble if members of the group mix politics with their music.  He detailed in the song the danger of doing so and left a piece of an advice that states:

“Now this should be a lesson if you plan to start a folk group
Don’t go mixing politics with the folk songs of our land
Just work on harmony and diction
Play your banjo well
And if you have political convictions
Keep them to yourself…”

Now for the entirety of the song, check the LEGO version of it. How witty.

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Politics expressed in music is not a new phenomenon. It may have just been an outlet for the singer or the songwriter’s sentiments, but it never fails to spark dialogues among fans. It could range from productive discourse to heated debates to blame-shifting the artist for either being too liberal or too conservative. (Remember the Dixie Chicks’ controversy fresh off last year?) Regardless, politically-minded artists would pretty much know how music is influential and would intentionally use it as a rallying cry. (A good strategy to stir reactions and detractors yes, but rarely does it accomplish anything worthwhile for the nation except as a means for intellectual exercise).

SONG BACKGROUND:

“The song was inspired by the resurgence of folk music in the 60s, brought by Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs and Judy Collins. It’s a tongue-in cheek to be sure, but it has a moral that’s pointed right at The Weavers, a folk group torn apart by Senator Joe McCarthy and the Red Scare.”
Lifted from genius.com/Lyrics, written by George Plant –

BOTTOMLINE?

Living in a free country might give any music artist the privilege to speak his or her mind (politically speaking), but it does not guarantee tolerance from politicians and fans they irked. A quick look up of history online would show that those who did ended up disbanding or killing their careers.

What do you have to say folks? Should our esteemed Country musicians stay out of politics?


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