Songs for Survivors

Graham Nash sings of justice and peace

Thirty-plus years of writing, singing and performing has not mellowed Graham Nash. “Military Madness” has been his theme since the Vietnam War period. He made that song a centerpiece during the recent tour of Crosby, Still, Nash and Young. Now with the release of his new CD, Songs for Survivors, his first single album since 1986, Nash renews his call for peace, justice and an end to hypocrisy. David Crosby helps him out on a few songs.

The signature song in the CD is “Dirty Little Secret,” about the horrendous racist attacks in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which took place over two days in 1921. Over 36 people died and 35 city blocks were burned down. Black people in Tulsa were held in internment camps. Except for people who study race and class in the United States, this disaster is rarely discussed. That is the “dirty secret” Nash unveils. But the song also serves as a metaphor to similar lies and secrets that need to be exposed.

The lyrics from that song speak volumes: Greenwood Oklahoma, June of ‘21 Someone Set the Night on Fire Lost a lot of People As the Day Begun Who Lit the Funeral Pyre?

On An Elevator in the Heart of Town Someone made somebody scream Black and white, going up and down Who’s gonna lost a dream?

Dirty Little Secret

Headlines Printed in the Daily News Awake the Sleeping Race Inside Disarm the People, Keep ’em All Confused Kill Before They Turn the Tide Dirty Little Secrets Going Round, Whispering From Ear to Ear. Burning Down the Very Heart of Town Nobody Shed a Tear.

Dirty Little Secret, Dirty Little Secret

Look Up to the Sky, Your Tears Fall From the Clouds But Greenwood don’t you Cry, Just Shout It Rout Out Loud. It’s Such a Dirty Little Secret

Getting So Much Darker Every Day. It’s Hard to Rise Above It All. “Can’t We Get Along?” I heard Someone Say. Who’s Gonna Make the Call?

’Cause All the Walking Wounded Pay the Price For Living In the Promised Land. Take Care of Your Neighbor Would be My Advice, ’Cause Nothing Every Goes as Planned.

It’s Such a Dirty Little Secret, Dirty Little Secret, Dirty Little Secret Dirty Little Secret

The other album songs speak to hypocrisy in the U.S. and the need to rise above it. The tracks include: Blizzard of Lies, Where Loves Lies Tonite, Liars Nightmare, Nothing in the World. The Chelsea Hotel song should catch some interest. Coming out in the year after Sept. 11, this album is a must for those making compilations of “September 11th Music.”

– Eric Green (The author can be reached at pww@pww.org)