Saturday, January 16, 2010

"It Shoulda Been Pete" and "Too Big"

I just have to share what may have been the most amazing afternoon of my life. I went to the weekly peace vigil that's held in Wappingers Falls, that Pete Seeger often attends. He was there today, and asked me again to sing my song "Peace Pilgrim" (second song on my CD). I didn't bring my guitar, so he accompanied me on the banjo and joined in on the chorus, as did the dozen or so other demonstrators. I was so awed by the thought that Pete was playing and singing my song that to this minute I'm not sure I remembered to sing all the verses.

Then Caitlin O'Heaney, bless her heart, who lives in Beacon and is a good friend of Pete's, asked him if I could sing him my song about him, "It Shoulda Been Pete." I had sung this song at the last "Water Not Weapons" hootenanny at the Yippie Museum Cafe, which is where Caitlin heard it. Joel Landy's intrepid high school students recorded the entire hootenanny, which can be accessed in four parts at Joel's web site,
sing freedom

I was the first performer in part three, which you can view by going to

this site
The second song I did on the video was "It Shoulda Been Pete." I'll talk about the first one in a minute. Anyway, Pete somewhat reluctantly agreed to hear it, and couldn't help himself -- he played along on the banjo, with a broad smile on his face. When I finished, he said, "I have to admit it -- it's a good song!"

I had been reluctant to direct anyone to Joel's video previously because I had heard from

Paul Kaplan
that Pete had personally called him and asked him to take Paul's song praising Pete off of You Tube. But now I feel I can at least direct a few people to this; it's not like it's on You Tube...yet...hopefully Pete won't object.

Here are the words to "It Shoulda Been Pete":

It Shoulda Been Pete (c)2009 Pat Lamanna

I heard the news the other day, it took me by surprise.
They said Barack Obama had won the Nobel Prize!
But, isn't this the very same man who sent more troops to Afghanistan,
And tortured prisoners in Baghram, and threatened to invade Iran?
So all that I can say is...

Chorus: It shoulda been Pete, it shoulda been Pete,
Gettin' that call from Oslo, it shoulda been Pete. (Spoken): Re-peat!
It shoulda been Pete, it shoulda been Pete…

I was so happy on that night when he won the election.
But that was just a year ago; and what has he done since then?
Please don't think me coarse or rude, but isn't this the very same dude
Who watched as Palestine got screwed, and Bush's black sites continued?
And all that I can say is...


I'm willing to keep an open mind, someday he might deserve this.
But why not give it to a guy with 90 years of service?
Who taught the whole wide world to sing "My Rainbow Race" & "Dr. King"
And "Sailing Down My Dirty Stream"? Each time I hear that banjo ring,
All that I can say is....


The past is past, what's done is done, there is no turning back.
But now we know what we must do: put pressure on Barack!
With letters, phone calls, emails, tweets, and demonstrations in the streets,
We'll use the lessons learned from Pete, build victory out of defeat,
So we won't have to say...

Now, as to the first song I sang at that hootenanny, it was called "Too Big," and here are the words:

© 2009 Pat Lamanna

When you whine and you cry that you’re too big to fail
When your Board of Directors is carted to jail
When you don’t make a damn thing that anyone needs
That’s when you know you’re too big to succeed.

When you write all the bills that the Congressmen pass
When you’ve got the World Bank to cover your ass
Your profits and bonuses, all guaranteed,
That’s when you know you’re too big to succeed.

Bridge: How do you know you’re too big to succeed?
When your only value is unabashed greed
And you don’t know who suffers, and you don’t care who bleeds,
That’s when you know you’re too big to succeed.

When you don’t have to worry that the markets will crash
And you think the whole world is for dumping your trash
While plains turn to desert, and icecaps recede
That’s when you know you’re too big to succeed.


When the people wake up and they open their eyes
And they look all around and they start to arise,
And they keep right on rising till everyone’s freed,
That’s when you’ll know you’re too big to succeed. (Repeat 3 times.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Radio Head

Happy New Year!

On Monday, January 4, 2010 I drove out to the Pine Hill Community Center for an interview with Terry Doyle of Imprint, an Internet radio show. My show will be aired the week of January 24th. For the exact schedule, visit

I’d met Terry at NERFA, the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance ( conference in November. I was sitting at the Peoples Music Network table; he was tabling nearby. I gave him one of my CDs. A few days after NERFA, I got an email from Terry: Pat, I like the sound and feel of your CD…I’d like to line you up for an interview for the ‘imprint’ program in the near future.” (I should mention here, I print out all the positive feedback I’ve gotten about the CD and file it in a folder marked “CD Project Feedback.” When I’m feeling down it’s great to read through it all.) It took awhile to work out a day that was good for both of us, but finally here was the day.

Driving out to Pine Hill was a joy. Pine Hill is a tiny town off of Route 28 just 10 miles past Phoenicia, the town where Camp Woodland was located. I always love to drive to the Catskills. On this day, there had been a rather serious snowfall the day before, so it lay still white and enchanting on both sides of the road. The roads themselves had been plowed and sanded with red dirt that stuck to my tires and the bottoms of my boots, when I walked through the parking lot. Along the way I stopped at Bread Alone, my favorite bakery, for a loaf of organic mixed grain.

Terry was waiting when I arrived. We spent about an hour chatting before getting down to the 18-minute interview. Terry had chosen three good songs to play and had come up with some great questions. It went smoothly, I thought, and I said most of what I had wanted to. (I did forget to plug Peoples Music Network, but that’s the only regret I have.)

I’ve been doing whatever radio I can, but I guess I’m not doing the shameless self-promotion bit as I should be. Oh well, I have a day job; this is a hobby and I can do (or not do) what I want.