Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Del McCoury Band & Various Artists: Moneyland

“All of my family grew up in rural America, a place where hard work is rewarded, friends are always ready to lend a hand to someone in need, and they still believe in the "original" Golden Rule--"do unto others...". That's why I can't ignore what is happening to hard working folks all across this country--but especially in rural America. Most have worked just as hard as I have, and love their kids and grand kids just as much as I do--but they've had some bad breaks. If their jobs are going away--along with their pensions in many cases, their hospitals are being closed, and they are struggling to meet their basic needs--I have to do what I can to help.” – Del McCoury

Bluegrass great Del McCoury’s new single, “Moneyland” (written by John Herald), is the centerpiece of this multi-artist compilation album aimed to bring attention to the plight of the working folks of America. All of the songs here speak to the widening economic gap between the top 1% and the 99% of us that are finding it more difficult to find a decent job, afford healthcare, food, and housing for our families.

The CD is bookmarked by excerpts from a couple of once-more pertinent radio addresses from Franklin D Roosevelt’s “Fireside Chats.” Bluegrass pioneer, Mac Wiseman, introduced Del McCoury to Bernard ‘Slim’ Smith’s 1932 recording >”Breadline Blues”, Smith’s original follows the first of FDR’s chat. A newly updated version,”Breadline Blues 2008”, leads into the closing chat. Del Mcoury is joined on this contemporary version by Mac Wiseman, Tim O’Brien, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.

Between the double bookends, Moneyland is a collections of songs, new and old, about what Del McCoury calls the “Forgotten America” – the working people. The Del McCoury Band brings three new songs to this collection, including a remake of the Beatles’ classic “When I’m 64” and a hilarious story of a rich man who moved to the country to become a rancher entitled “Forty Acres And A Fool.” Country Music Hall of Famer and voice for working folk, Merle Haggard, provides his 1973 classic "If We Make It Through December” and from his 2007 release, "What Happened?" Dan Tyminski supplied his 2001 recording, “Carry Me Across The Mountain,” based on a true Depression era story of a child in need of far-off healthcare. Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell provided their moving version of “Mama’s Hungry Eyes.” Merle Haggard and Marty Stuart sing of the “Farmer's Blues.” Pianist Bruce Hornsby provided a reworked version of his 1986 hit, “The Way It Is” with the gospel group The Fairfield Four. Patty Loveless supplied a moving rendition of “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.” Chris Knight's contemporary song of rural economic desolation, “A Train Not Running” tells the sad tale of families devastated by closed workplaces.

"I'm in a position where I can make good choices," McCoury says reflectively. "And aside from just doing what I do musically, I can help others do the same themselves, and get a message out that people need to hear and think about-and, especially in an election year, take action on. This isn't about party politics, it's about doing what's best for our country and everyone in it, not just a lucky few."

The Del McCoury Band - Moneyland.mp3

Chris Knight - A Train Not Running.mp3

Artist: Del McCoury
Artist Website:
Title: Moneyland
Label: McCoury Music
Release Date: July 8, 2008
Available for: purchase or download from: McCoury Music,, Plan 9 Music, or your independent local record store.


Anonymous dan said...

I love Del's quote about "doing what's best for the country". If only one elected official adopted that attitude, and had the balls to make some noise, think of the groundswell that would start...
Anyway, I really like the Chris Knight "A Train Not Running". It's a very different version than the one I own. This one is acoustic, and somehow, much more poignant.

August 21, 2008 7:01 PM  
Blogger 田园树 said...

good music.
but i heard music in usa have copyrights,but it is free to download here,why?

August 22, 2008 1:12 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

The music that is posted here is either music from my own collection on which the copyright has expired, or music provided to me by the artist or label for review and promotional purposes.

August 22, 2008 1:35 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Dan, sadly, "doing what's best for the country" and "elected official" can seldom be used in the same sentence.

August 27, 2008 6:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The music that is posted here is either music from my own collection on which the copyright has expired, or music provided to me by the artist or label for review and promotional purposes."

That's a lot of crap. Copyright may have expired on a song from the 20's but nothing sooner, and what publicist says, "Please post mp3 files that we sell on iTunes and eMusic..."

If that's true, say so. Give the publicist's name. Also add links to the artist's website and iTunes. If these artists are so chummy with you about giving away their music, they should grant you an interview, too.

In your favor, at least you're not giving away the entire "Moneyland" album, as so many blogs do. You have some integrity. You also want to write about the music yourself rather than steal a description from allmusic, and that's in your favor, too.

But iTunes and amazon only give 30 seconds of a song as a sample.

Gray areas even in bluegrass.

Lastly, the publicist who gave you MONEYLAND to give away, apparently didn't tell you the author's name is John Herald, not John Harrell.

John, like so many songwriters, was not getting his fair share of royalties due to so much illegal downloading. And like so many performers, he couldn't get many bookings that paid well.

That left him near broke and suicidal.

Which is why he is being referred to in the past tense.

"The plight of the working folks of America" includes singers, songwriters, record store owners and others who are suffering from an erosion of morality. Your fellow bloggers who think nothing of putting up entire albums and entire discographies ain't helping.

But putting up only one or two cuts...with real description and not just album cover and link, that makes you better than most.

September 08, 2008 11:15 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Your well intentioned, but misguided condemnation of Old Blue Bus and other legitimate music blogs is unfounded and misinformed.

Artists, record labels, and their publicists do indeed provide music bloggers with CDs, mp3s, and promotional material for review and posting. During an average week I receive three CDs in the mail. These promotional CDs are clearly marked as “For Promotion Only – Not For Sale” or have had the UPC bar codes removed to preclude retail sale and are usually received a month or two before the CD is released for sale to the public.

You asked “...what publicist says, "Please post mp3 files that we sell on iTunes and eMusic... If that's true, say so. Give the publicist's name.” The name of the publicist or distributor is of no concern to the music buying public and I see no reason to post that information. Do you also require your grocer to identify which trucking firm delivered the vine ripe tomatoes you place in your basket? Does it really matter to a CD buyer if the CD is distributed by Sony/BMG, Side Street, Killbeat, Paperwork Media, Smithsonian Folkways, or Sideways Media? These are a few of the names your requested. Each of these companies has sent me CDs, mp3s, photos, bios, promotional copy, and in one case, concert tickets in the past two weeks. Smithsonian Folkways approached me over a year ago with an offer of partnership in promoting their vast catalog of wonderful music, of which I am proud to help promote. In the past month I have posted reviews of four Smithsonian Folkways releases, including the mp3s and cover art that they provided to me. Most promoters also offer to set up interviews with the artist. I have done this only a few times in the past as interviews are difficult to coordinate. I do have a “real” job during the day. Other than great CDs and helping to expose a wider audience to the music that I love; I receive no compensation for my work on this blog. By the way, your back-handed compliment about me “not stealing” the album review from gave me a chuckle, as most of the album descriptions there are word-for-word quotes from the distributor’s promo copy.

Thank you for pointing out my sloppy typing error. I have corrected my post. I am well aware that “Moneyland” was written by the late, great John Herald. I identified him as the author of the tune because I believe that most of my readers consider, as I do, John Herald and the Greenbriar Boys to be icons that played a key role in the resurgence of bluegrass music. You assert that John Herald took his life as a result of “...not getting his fair share of royalties due to so much illegal downloading. And like so many performers, he couldn't get many bookings that paid well.” This is purely speculation on your part. I do not know your reasons for these beliefs or motivation, as you hide behind a veil of annimity. For over fifteen years I was a concert producer and promoter, I do not believe that John Herald “...couldn't get many bookings that paid well.” “Roll on John” was released in 2000 and at the time of his death in 2005 he was recording material for a new release. That hardly sounds like a destitute artist.

Many artists, especially in the less commercially viable genres such as folk and bluegrass are well aware of the value of the word-of-mouth type of endorsement that music blogs present. One of the first and most outspoken artists with a view contrary to the RIAA is Janis Ian. Please read her take on the value of internet file sharing here. Many of her beliefs are shared by many of the artists that I have talked to. Guitar master Harvey Reid is the one exception that comes to mind, but I believe his objections have more to do with the quality of mp3s.

You wrote “The plight of the working folks of America’ includes singers, songwriters, record store owners and others who are suffering from an erosion of morality.” Theology aside, long time readers of Old Blue Bus are well aware of my views on the working folk. I have worked for over thirty years in heavy industry (refineries, chemical plants, and power plants.) I am proud of be one of the working class. As an amateur musician, I have also been involved in various aspects of the music business. It all started in school where I hosted a weekly radio program while I was studying ethnomusicology. In the 1980s I began building a mobile recording studio in an old school bus that gives this blog it’s name. For over fifteen years my wife and I were the owners of Front Porch Music in Hobe Sound, Florida. We started with two boxes of LPs graciously loaned on consignment from Ed Denson, founder of Kicking Mule Records. From that humble beginning we operated an independent record store, produced a highly acclaimed concert series, sponsored several local radio programs, and acted as booking agents for four other concert venues around Florida. My wife (the booking agent) was once named as “the most influential person in folk music” at the South Florida Folk Festival. I have written articles on music for several magazines and penned an entry on music history for The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. A humble résumé for sure, but I feel fortunate to be involved in the music that has brought me so much enjoyment.

September 09, 2008 9:21 PM  

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