Jump to content
xisto Community
Sign in to follow this  

Storie about: larry long

Recommended Posts

Stories from the Road

Larry Long has written several hundred songs during his 30 years of travel as a Troubadour; inspired by the people he has met and stories he�s been told in communities across the world. Here are some excerpts from liner notes of stories behind some of the songs he has recorded on CD.Here I Stand: Elders' Wisdom, Children's Song

Here I Stand: Elders' Wisdom, Children's Song is a celebration of rural Alabama communities. It is based upon the shared memories and wisdom of their elder members fashioned into songs by school children. As a part of Elders' Wisdom, Children's Song, the elders told their stories and the children listened. With the help of their teachers and the creative guidance of Larry Long, the children transformed the stories into artwork, recitations, and songs. Students became historians, writers, artists, and musicians for their communities; they became links between the past and present.

Work is the prevailing theme. Like the peoples, cultures, and communities represented, the work is diverse. The songs are of Appalachian people who dug coal for little reward and faced the dangers of the mines; they are about people in the fields of the Black Belt -- ill paid and used; they are of people doing the hard, everyday work of home, of people who brought life and of people intent upon making a living.

The songs and their accompanying recitations were originally performed by the children and Larry Long as part of public celebrations honoring the elders and powerfully linking schools and communities. Inevitably the performances indicated the capacity of schools to honor their communities and to preserve, enrich, and celebrate their culture Elders' Wisdom, Children's Song makes clear that communities are important and stimulating learning resources for schools and that the study of their own places provides students with unique and relevant opportunities to use and acquire academic skills.

Elders' Wisdom, Children's Song is a core project of Community Celebration of Place, a non-profit organization founded and directed by Larry Long, and has been sponsored by the PACERS Small Schools Cooperative as a part of its program, Better Schools Building Better Communities. PACERS is an association of 28 small rural Alabama public schools committed to strengthening schools and communities.
It Takes a Lot of People

It Takes a Lot of People was recorded live at the historic Crystal Theater, built in 1921, in Okemah, Oklahoma (home of Woody Guthrie), on December 1, 1988. It was Okemah's first tribute to Woody Guthrie. Woody Guthrie performed on this very stage as a member of Okemah's High School Glee Club. The tribute was blessed with the participation of students from Langston, Davenport, and Okemah plus renowned banjo virtuoso Alan Munde and Fidlin' Pete Watercott.

"I felt the warmth of my family all around me. Clara, Roy, Woody, George, Papa and Mama. They, too, all sat here in this very theater many years ago. When the children came marching down the aisle and on the stage I swelled with pride and the tears came. I knew Woody was watching." Mary Jo (Guthrie) Edgmon, Woody's sister.

For fifteen years Fiddlin' Pete and I have performed together. He's the only person I know that gets free health care with a bow and fiddle. When the fiddle begins, the politics end. So off we flew across Oklahoma, singing with Mr. Olden Edwards at his church, Chubby's Cafe, Gerald's Barber Shop, Madge's Donut Shop, Wagon Wheel, and Okemah's Senior Citizen Center, where the oldest man in Okfushdee County, Mr. George Dodson, clogged down the aisle when he heard the fiddle talk.

As a child, I would close my eyes and allow my finger to drop on the scripture that God wanted me to read. In times of need God's revelations leaped off the pages of the PSALMS. The PSALMS gave me the poetry of the vastness of creation and the concentration of human longing. With the wail of a mother giving birth, the PSALMS cry out in joyous song. With the heartbeat of every person thrown into exile, the PSALMS take us home again.

I was born into a southern Baptist family, raised in a Jewish community, adopted by Franciscans and rediscovered God in a Dakota sweat lodge. But as Mark Twain writes, "travel is fatal to prejudice," and so it is when one journeys through comparative translations of religious text.

What is the difference between lacking and wanting? What is the difference between justice and righteousness? What is the difference between enemy and tormentor? What is the difference between forever and long years? Each question brings us closer to the community of God. Through discussion we find each other, delighting in the span of God's net.

My mother would sing the PSALMS to us at bed time; consoling us by affirming the presence of God in our every sleeping and waking hour. Now, with the same breath, I sing for my children. One night, while singing with my three year old daughter in a canoe beneath a full moon, she said, "Daddy, look at all the angels. Just look at all the angels."

As my grandmother underlined in PSALMS 139 of her Bible, given to me at her death, 'the night shall be light about me.' Surely it is so.

I give thanks with all of my heart
I give thanks with all of my mind
In the presence of angels I sing
Calling out to you one more time.
Run for Freedom, Sweet Thunder

About the Run for Freedom: In 1981 Lakota children organized a 400 mile spiritual run to the Sioux Falls Prison in South Dakota. They called it the Run for Freedom. The runners were to exchange 'Sacred Prayer Staffs' with their relatives in prison. But on June 2nd, one of the runners, Kimberly Rose Means (Wanbli Wakan Win) was struck down by a drunken driver; a white man who was later released on a misdemeanor charge. This recording is dedicated to the children on the Run For Freedom; and to the spirit of Kimberly who lived her life in service for her people.

"Kimberly passed on to the spirit world at the tender age of eleven. An innocent young girl who was so full of life-so beautiful. The loss of a loved one is something you never get used to. You just learn to accept it. In accepting her loss, I choose not to remember the tragedy of her death, but the beauty of her life. Kimberly has taught me many things, and continues to teach me every day. She has taught me the meaning of patience. She has taught me what it means to be humble. And above all, she has taught me the importance of our children and how much they have to offer if we listen. I believe that Kimberly has a message for all of us. Her message is of struggle and sacrifice. And her message is of beauty. A beautiful people. A beautiful land. Beautiful water. A beautiful life!"

Ted Means

"Water in the Rain"

This song is for the 38 and the Santee Nation. Placing the Santee Dakota Nation on reservations for the first time in 1851 was an act of cultural genocide. A mere decade thereafter, deprived of the freedom of the hunt, this ancient people stared starvation in its grim face. In August of 1862, there began a final defense of the Dakota Oyate - the long road to Wounded Knee. When the Wars of August were quelled, 303 Dakota were marked for the gallows. President Lincoln, in commuting the sentences of all but 38, paved the way for the largest mass execution in United States history.

To talk about the troubadour on the road is to talk about a poetry free of institutions and patronage -- a poetry rooted in the earth rather than suspended in lofty abstractions -- a poetry that could turn the social order on its head and get away with it because the poet could also play the clown -- a poetry that spoke volumes to the people who knew first hand the long struggles and the small victories it recounted. In the road and its songs we find the connection between generations of troubadours, medieval and modern.

On the road the troubadour's audience and inspiration are to be found in the taverns, fairs, forests, small towns and neighborhoods where life and love are met, not in the abstract, but in the people. Here the poet discovers and celebrates the mundane and the sublime. The themes are many and varied -- the challenge of living with the earth and the wonders of its gifts, the fight for dignity and justice, the power of fate, the need for faith, the treasure of friendship. On the road the troubadour sees the colors of life, smells the awakening of the earth in the spring, and hears the voices of the people making their peace with the rhythms of the seasons and the seasons of the human being -- sowing, harvesting, birthing, dying, loving, laughing.

- Madonna Hettinger,

Assistant Professor of Medieval History, College of Wooster, Ohio (excerpt)

Well May the World Go

(Field recording of Pete Seeger interview by Larry Long)

In the mid 1970s I sang for farmers fighting the construction of a high voltage power line in central Minnesota. It was a populist movement that brought together rural and urban people concerned about the environment, the family farmer, and the collusion between big, privately-owned utilities with the rural electric cooperatives. It was through fighting this high voltage power line with song that I met Pete Seeger. And it was quite by accident.

The farmers fighting that high voltage power line began reaching out to other farmers in order to build a larger rural coalition. It was in this spirit that a farmer named Virgil Fuchs and I took a trip to Appleton, where the first American Agriculture Movement strike office in Minnesota was established.

When we arrived at the strike office it was crowded with sugar beet farmers with their feed caps on. Virgil talked to them about how the big utilities had lied to the farmers in his county in order to get an easement to build their high-voltage power line. He then asked me to sing a couple of songs. When I got done singing this man everyone called "The Governor" said, "Larry, you remind me of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger." The man's name was Elmer Benson. When Elmer was governor of Minnesota and the lumberjacks were on strike, Elmer called the National Guard out on the company! The lumberjacks won the strike.

Elmer told me many stories of when Pete and Woody came to the Midwest singing for the farmers and workers in need, and he called Pete and told him about my work. The next thing I knew I was on an American Agriculture Movement tractorcade heading east to Washington D.C. It was a slow trip that was started by a lonesome farmer from the Fargo/Moorhead area in a non-enclosed cab in the middle of winter.

By the time we reached Washington D.C., we were 100 miles long, single file, pulling into our nation's capital. I stayed in Washington D.C. for three months with those farmers that year. While I was there Pete Seeger called the national strike office and asked for me. Pete told me about his singing in Washington D.C. with dairy farmers in the 1930s.

I visited Pete and his wife Toshi at their home in upstate New York. What I remember most from that visit was going along the shores of the Hudson with Pete. While talking, Pete began to reach down and pick up cigarette butts along the shore. Soon I began doing the same�all the while talking. Then we were walking between fishermen fishing and throwing their cigarette butts and aluminum cans into paper bags. Next thing we know those same fishermen have stopped fishing, and they're picking up their own cigarette butts and cans, and within a very short period of time that little section of the Hudson River was cleaned up.

That moment redirected my life for the next ten years. After I returned to Minnesota I helped start a movement called the Mississippi River Revival whose main functions were to pick up both visible and invisible trash along and in the river and to celebrate the diverse culture of people along her banks.

Once you meet Pete you end up doing a whole lot more work for other people than you imagined yourself ever doing. Pete just has that way with people. He makes you feel like you can change the world, and before you know it that's exactly what you've done.

But when you try to give Pete credit for that inspiration he often replies, "You know I saw this cartoon of a tired woman with babies in her arms, cleaning the kitchen. When the telephone rings, she replies, 'No my husband isn't home. He's off trying to save the world.'"

Copyright Š 2003 by Larry Long.

Notice from BuffaloHELP:
Forum rules states that if an article was published elsewhere first, even though you wrote it, you must use QUOTE tags and place them inside quotes--even if it's your own word. Please review the forum rules and TOS. Source http://forums.xisto.com/no_longer_exists/

Edited by BuffaloHELP (see edit history)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Larry Long

In my signature area you will find some useful links to review the forum rules and TOS (terms of service). Please take the time to review them.



Please remember that remark such as yours is considered as SPAM--one liner without contribution--please be more thoughtful next time when replying or posting.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

well of course what larry long did was spam as well, since it is quoted and he has nothing to add to it at all.heres a tip if you quote long messages you won't get any credits regurdless of all long it is.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Guidelines | We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.