Last year, when Other’s People’s Lives was released I knew music had regained an important place in my life. “The world will never change, so we must dig inside and crawl outside ourselves,” he wrote. I knew as I listened I had to climb outta my self-imposed retirement from writing about music to joining the ranks of the living again. I haven’t looked back.
And, a new album comes out! Is he going to push me back into my shell? Turns out, and this is hard for me to believe, that this album, Working Man’s Café is even better! Starts off with Vietnam Cowboys, which explains quickly how all the old protestors have joined the capitalist system to make lotsa $$$ over the trauma our country inflicted. Of course, the song is really about our current situation, ‘cause in the end all war has the same end “take our culture right to the third world.” More markets to exploit. Besides, what were our current leaders doing while the rest of their generation was being killed in Vietnam & attempting to take over their business interests? Yep y'all, they were playing cowboys and getting drunk in Texas. All fine and good, but does this translate into great rock and roll? Absolutely – guitars shine and sparkled. Shoutouts for No One Listen (“Why is it difficult to get things done in the age of computers and communication?”) and Hymn for a New Age.
Hymn for a New Age is especially hitting for me because I am a believer in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ; yet I am painfully and sorrowfully aware of how the American church & political system has completely distorted His message. I try my best to think through issues, but I have no idea how in the world one can bring the words of Jesus back into a discussion without bringing up the pain the world is currently feeling caused by people who claim to be his followers. Well, I can’t imagine anyone being swayed by the words of a music reviewer about spiritual matters, but I will say that Ray Davies continues to renew my faith in Rock and Roll!