Archive for September 18th, 2022

Ten Times More


When the crooks they work, we gotta work
Not once, not twice, but ten times more
Where the robbers they walk, we gotta walk
Not once, not twice, but ten times more

–Woody Guthrie, Ten Times More

I was going to play something sort of cool and breezy for this week’s Sunday Morning Music as a counterpoint to my last couple of diatribes here. But I recently became aware of a new album from the Boston-based Celtic punk band, the Dropkick Murphys. The album is called This Machine Still Kills Fascists and is their take on a group of unrecorded songs written by Woody Guthrie.

This is not a new idea. One of my favorite albums is Mermaid Avenue from a collaboration of Wilco and Billy Bragg in which they did very much the same thing. In both cases, the Guthrie family approached these artists and invited them to take on the project of bringing these lyrics to life.

In the case of the Dropkick Murphys, this began about 20 years ago when Nora Guthrie, Woody’s daughter, made them the offer, saying that she thought her father would have felt like a kindred spirit with the band and what they were doing.

They took it on then and the result was their version of Woody’s Shipping Up to Boston. It is, by far, their most well-known song. It was used effectively in a pivotal scene in Martin Scorsese‘s film of Boston gangsters, The Departed. It is also considered the unofficial Tanthem of Boston. To be honest, though I was a fan of the song, I didn’t know it was a Woody Guthrie song and only recently became aware that they had recorded that small group of his songs that were included in their 2005 album, The Warrior’s Code.

This new album is a more direct collaboration with Guthrie’s music, comprised only of his songs and borrowing its title from the message famously scrawled on Woody’s guitar, This Machine Kills Fascists. They also went out to Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is Woody’s hometown and home to the Woody Guthrie Center, to record the album at Leon Russell’s The Church Studio. Leon Russell was also a Tulsa native.

The result is stirring group of Guthrie’s pro-union/labor, anti-fascist songs infused with the Celtic fighting spirit of the Dropkick Murphys. The song below is titled Ten Times More which has Woody saying that in order to beat back those who would oppress you, you have to meet their effort with not equal effort but ten times more effort.

In short, you can’t take half measures with would-be fascists– you have to overwhelm them with your resistance.

I also have included Shipping Up to Boston, for those who may not have heard it before.

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