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about

“‘An’ I got thinking’, on’y it wasn’t thinkin’, it was deeper down than thinkin’. I got thinkin’ how we was holy when we was one thing, an’ mankin’ was holy when it was one thing. An’ it on’y got unholy when one mi’able little fella got the bit in his teeth an’ run off his own way, kickin’ an’ draggin’ and fightin’. Fella like that bust the holiness. But when they’re all workin’ together, not one fella for another fella, but one fella kind of harnessed to the whole shebang-that’s right, that’s holy. An’ then I got thinkin’ I don’t even know what I mean by holy....
‘I can’t say no grace like I use’ ta say. I’m glad of the holiness of breakfast. I’m glad there’s love here. That’s all.’”
-Reverend Casy, The Grapes of Wrath

SPECIAL THANKS TO DAVID FULLER, JESSICA CAMPBELL, NAN YOUNG LEE, NO SOONCHEON, SMB MOUNTAIN SCHOOL, GANGJEONG VILLAGE, BILL JOLLIFF, CAMAS FRIENDS, CAMP SINGING WIND, FATHER BIX, SISTER STELLA, PACO AND SILVER, TACOMA AND SEATTLE CATHOLIC WORKERS, RANDY AND EDITH WOODLEY AND ALL FRIENDS AT ELOHEH FARM, SENJI KANAEDA AND GILBERTO PEREZ, WANBLI AND NOELLA RED HAWK, AND CIRCLE OF HOPE.

credits

released October 8, 2014

Produced start to finish by David Fuller
Artwork by Nan Young Lee
Lonesome George written by Sooncheon No

In loving memory of Wendy Swift Behr

Portland, OR Fall 2014

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Seth Martin and The Menders!

“Without the usual technical apparatus you are freer to play, and people are encouraged to participate as there is no wall that microphones and speakers can often cause,” he said. “There is no alienation, only openness and diversity, and that’s how healthy relationships last.”

--Conor O' Reilly (groovekorea.com/article/meet-seth-martin-folk-musician)
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Track Name: Ten Angels
I thought I heard the word of God
A crimson ball of fireweed flower
The wind blew through my skin for hours
Ten angels in a firing squad
I thought I heard a word of God
I thought I heard a word of God

Fell to the ground, I kissed the dirt
Dark blood and sweat soaked through my shirt
Turn a twisted grin at the men on guard
I swear I heard the voice of God
I swear I heard the voice of God

I saw it in my grandma’s face
A darkness filling up the space
In her gnarled hand, a lightning rod
I thought I heard a word of God
I thought I heard a word of God.

I never could pronounce your names
Oh, without feeling guilt and shame
I learned to bend, to bow and nod
‘Til I thought I heard the word of God
I thought I heard the word of God

Ten angels in a firing squad
I thought I heard a word of God
Track Name: The Operation
Well, I fell so far I thought that I was flying, then slept so long my friends said I was dying
The operation was successful, but the patient died

Now my mind on fire burning memories of Eden, open-eyed nightmare, cattle-car screaming, so many folks huddled inside
Alone and along for the ride

My headphones on, yeah I’m plugged into the family, electric sugar, a filling for each cavity, a drink that’s not been tried
Alone and along for the ride

What a circus! What a threat it is to rest!
Prison walls falling down, singing with the fellowship
The operation was successful, but the patient died

Well, the fruit always grew just fine without the factories, don’t believe me? Check online, the web will tell you everything, getting faster all the time
Alone and along for the ride

Now the crowd goes wild, yeah, the gladiators scream and bleed, ever wonder why the circus bread is always free?
The operation was successful, but the patient died

Slick and clever plastic manufacturing
Pull the lever, never better, something new, the same old thing, a carrot on a fishing line
Alone and along for the ride

I don’t need no more of these machines to make me free, but I’ll sing your freedom song, love, until it’s singing me
The operation was successful, but the patient died
Track Name: Skibbereen
Oh, father dear, and I oft’ times hear, you talk of Erin’s Isle
Her lofty scenes, her valleys green, her mountains rude and wild
They say it is a lovely land wherein a prince may dwell
Then why did you abandon it?
The reason to me tell.

Oh son, I loved my native land with energy and pride
‘Til a blight took over all my crops, my sheep, my cattle died
The rent and taxes were so high, I could not them redeem
And that’s the cruel reason we left old Skibbereen

Yes, well do I remember that cold December day
The landlord and the sheriff came to drive us all away
They lit my roof on fire with their cursed English spleen
And that’s another reason we left old Skibbereen

Your mother too, God rest her soul, fell on the snowy ground
She fainted in her anguish seeing the desolation round
She never woke but passed away, from life to immortal dream
She found a quiet grave, my boy, in dear old Skibbereen

And you were only two years old, and feeble was your frame
I could not leave you with my friends, for you bore your father’s name
I wrapped you in my cota more in the dead of night unseen
I heaved a sigh, then waved goodbye, to dear old Skibbereen
Track Name: The Blackest Crow
As time draws near, my dearest dear, when you and I must part
What little you know of the grace and awe of my poor aching heart
Each night I suffer for your sake, you’re the one I love so dear
I wish that I was going with you, or you were staying here

I wish my breast was made of glass wherein you might behold
Oh there your name I’s wrote, my love, in letters made of gold
Oh there your name I’s wrote my love, believe me when I say
You are the one I love the best until my dying day

The crow that is so black, my love, would surely turn to white
If ever my love prove false to you, bright day would turn to night
Bright day would turn to night, my love, the elements would mourn
If ever my love prove false to you, the seas will rage and burn

And when you’re on some distant shore, think of your absent friend
And when the wind blows high and clear a line to me pray send
And when the wind blows high and clear, pray send a line to me
That I might know by your own hand, how time has gone with thee
Track Name: Wind Blown River Run
After all the wind has blown
After all the birds have flown
After all the wind has blown
And your friends have all gone home
And you’re alone

After all the rivers run
After all the songs been sung
After all the rivers run
After every battle’s won
Where will you go?

After all the smiles fade
No more welcome home parade
After all the smiles fade
And the hero needs another face
Will you fade?

After all the flags are furled
And the cities wash away
After all the flags are furled
You’ve grown tired of this world
Where will you stay?

After all the wind has blown
After all the words have flown
After all the rivers run
After all the songs been sung
After all the bells been rung
Will you go and find someone
And make a home?

Let’s go and find somewhere
And make a home.
Track Name: Halfway Home (with Cheong Seon-nyo halmoni)
A sound collage, with crickets from an evening walk in my hometown in the shadow of Mt. St. Helens, after a summer in Korea, hiking, playing music, and working with villagers and activists on Jeju Island, trying to stop the construction of a US/Korean Naval base being built in small fishing and farming village, Gangjeong, against the wills of the villagers. The music box belongs to my mother, and originally it was a gift to my great grandmother from her husband, who survived a shot in the head when he fought in Japan during WWII. The music box melody is “Sukiyaki” (Ue o Muite Arukou", "I Look Up As I Walk"), a 1960s Japanese pop song that became very popular in the US. However, while it was largely appreciated as a love song in English, the song lyrics were originally written by poet Rokusuke Ei as a protest against continued US military presence in Japan after WWII, and a lament for the failure of student movements to stop the US military machine and Japanese government from continued collaborations.

Midway through the song, there is a recording of a Korean elder from Gangjeong Village singing “Lonely Arirang” (홀로 아리랑), accompanied by several Korean musicians and myself on the banjo.

This recording is from the end of International Peace For The Sea Camp, in Gangjeong Village, Jeju Island, South Korea, during the Summer of 2014. For several days, activists and villagers from Okinawa, Jeju Island, and Taiwan gathered together under the shadow of the ever growing Naval Base to encourage one another, share stories, and offer perspectives on effective ways to resist US military presence, particularly the destructive cultures and economies that sprawl from US bases and destroy indigenous culture and land-bases, as happened and continues in Okinawa.

Lonely Arirang, like Sukiyaki, is a love song, in this case a passionate declaration of allegiance to the islands, rivers and mountain ranges that make up Korea, deliberately referring to them as part of one Korea, despite the fact that the places named are currently politically broken apart and claimed by different governments (Japan, North Korea, South Korea) or, as in the case of Jeju Island, being occupied and destroyed by foreign, military and corporate agendas.

In 2012, when several foreigners were arrested for participation in a nonviolent protest against the base construction in Gangjeong Village, a police chief told us in broken English, “I am not arresting you, Samsung Corporation is.”

In the midst of a global war on nature and local ecosystems and human cultures, love songs for places, for home, are radical songs.

We are all connected, often times more deeply than we know or would like to know, by history, land and the decisions of the powerful around us in past and present generations.

The struggle for Gangjeong Village to retain its land and way of life free of a military base and the destructive culture it brings is the same struggle that Japanese students took part in decades ago against perpetual US military presence on their home turf. It is the same struggle that Lakota families from Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations are taking part in now as they dig deep into their battered history and use song and wisdom teachings to show young American Indians how to stand up to the Keystone Oil Pipeline.

And it is the same struggle we all join in when we listen to the folk stories of our own regions, and sing our love songs for home.

It is the struggle of the small people who belong to the earth and the heritage of the world’s folk singers and various micro-cultures and ecosystems, living with and honoring our relationships with the ground that bore us, against the arrogance of a few, removed from any sense of obligation to history or soil or one another.

And songs across the earth, such as Sukiyaki, Lonely Arirang, The Blackest Crow, Mole in the Ground, and Skibbereen remind us of our shared heritage and common mother, and invite us to swim again in the river of life and folk wisdom that our ancestors have left us, to feel them again, to feel the earth again, and to gain voices and power to resist the forces of forgetfulness and greed that are spreading like a plague, feeding on the hunger that comes from cultural and spiritual rootlessness.

“Destroy the old, and you destroy our memory of the past. Don’t you care about the people who lived and died before us? There is no future for people who worship the future and forget the past. Democracy doesn’t mean you can ignore the minority.”
- Shun Kazama, From Up on Poppy Hill
Track Name: Mole In The Ground
Well I wish I was a mole in the ground
I wish I was a mole in the ground
If I’s a mole in the ground I’d root that mountain down
I wish I was a mole in the ground

Well, Kempy wants a nine dollar shawl
Kempy wants a nine dollar shawl
When I come over the hill with a forty dollar bill, it’s baby where you been so long?

Well I don’t like the railroad man
No I don’t like the railroad man
Well the railroad man, he’ll kill you when he can, and he’ll drink up your blood like wine

Well I wish I was a lizard in the Spring
I wish I was a lizard in the Spring
If I’s a lizard in the Spring, well I’d hear my darlin’ sing, I wish I was a lizard in the Spring

Well Kempy let your hair roll down
Kempy let your hair roll down, let your hair roll down and your bangs curl around
Kempy let your hair roll down

Well I wish I was a mole in the ground
I wish I was a mole in the ground
If I’s a mole in the ground, I’d root that mountain down, I wish I was a mole in the ground
Track Name: Laredo
As I walked out in the streets of Laredo
As I walked out in Laredo one day
I spied a poor cowboy all wrapped in white linen, wrapped in white linen as cold as the clay

I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy
These words he did say as I swiftly stepped by
Come sit down beside me and hear my sad story, I’m shot in the breast and I know I must die

‘Twas once in the saddle I used to go dashing, ‘twas once in the saddle I used to go gay. Well, first led to drinking and then to card playing. Got shot in the breast and I’m dying today

Get six jolly cowboys to carry my coffin
Six pretty maidens carry my pall
Throw bunches of roses all over my coffin. Roses to deaden the clods as they fall

Then beat the drum slowly!
Play the fife lowly!
Play the death march as you carry me home
Take me, green valley!
Lay the earth o’er me
I’m a poor cowboy and I know I done wrong

We beat the drum slowly, we played the fife lowly. We bitterly wept as we carried him home. For we all loved our comrade, so brave, young and handsome. We all loved our comrade, although he’d done wrong
Track Name: Right On Time
And the sun falls swiftly
And the sun falls swiftly
Golden and red behind the mountain’s shadowed lines
Right on time
And I wonder where you
And I wonder where you are now
And the moon she rises
And the moon she rises
Slowly into the lonely and blue starless night
Love of mine
And I want to hold you
And I want to tell you
Everything will be alright, just close your eyes
You can close your eyes
Now I long to hold you
How I long to hold you close to my heart
And sing you a song that would make you smile
Rest a while
And I wonder where you
I wonder where you are now?
Now I long to show you
How I wish I’d told you
Just how much I love you
Over and over, over and over
Touch you and hold you
In my arms
Safe from harm
Now the wind blows lowly
Now the wind blows lowly
Lonely and softly through the dark and swaying pines
Love of mine
And the sun fall swiftly
And the sun rolls quickly
Golden and red along the mountain tiger’s spine
Right on time
And the moon she rises
And the moon she rises slowly into the lonely and blue starless night
You can close your eyes
Love of mine
Close your eyes
Track Name: Lonesome George
I know he is sad
I know she is sad
You know I’m so sad
Everybody’s sad

I know he is lonely
I know she is lonely
You know I’m so lonely
Everybody is lonely

I know he is stupid
I know she is stupid
You know I’m so stupid
Everybody is stupid

I know he is crazy
I know she is crazy
You know I’m so crazy
Everybody is crazy
Track Name: The Lone Wild Bird
The lone wild bird, in lofty flight
Is still with thee, nor leaves thy sight
And I am thine

The ends of the earth are in thy hands
The sea’s dark deep, and far-off lands
And I am thine

I rest in thee. I rest in thee. I rest in thee, great spirit come and rest in me.

Over razor-wires, under skies of fire,
In prison cell and concrete hell,
Still I am thine.

And in the caged reserves, like human cattle herds, they cut your hair, so long, but Samson’s growing strong, singing:
I am thine.

I rest in thee. I rest in thee. I rest in thee, great spirit come and rest in me.

Dredged-out mountain spires, daughters left for hire, needle paralyzed, joining homeless choirs, crying
I am thine.

And here the rising bread, there the parched unfed, all these well-known truths that remain unsaid, while
I am thine.

And the moon and the sun, the many in the one, waves of ecstasy, kissing deepest grief, with
I am thine

We wear your seamless cloth of joy and loss, severed roots and limbs, time to start again. Start with
I am thine

I rest in thee. I rest in thee. I rest in thee, great spirit come and rest in me.